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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Konkani becoming minority education medium

The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which was on two-day tour of the state, has concluded that the state language, Konkani, was becoming a minority language, as education through the language is declining.

Disclosing this to reporters this evening, Dr Tahir Mahmood, a member of the commission said that the conclusion was drawn after various representatives made reference to the issue. He also said that it was brought to the knowledge of the commission that many people preferred to educate their children in English.

The commission met the Chief Minister, cabinet ministers, members of non-government organisations, representatives of various minority committees and government officials to study the measures adopted by the government to implement various schemes aimed at the upliftment of religious and linguistic minorities.

Dr Mahmood also told reporters that the representatives of Christian community told the commission about the problems they had faced due to insistence of the authorities on minority status certificate before issuing them permission to open school.

Disclosing that the insistence on the minority status certificate was not necessary as any community identified as minority in any state enjoyed privileges enshrined in Constitution, he went on to add that perhaps this was a tactic for denying right to the minority community. The Christians did not have other major grievances, he added.

With regards to the Muslims, he said that major complaint from the representatives of the community was the shortage of teachers in Urdu medium schools. He said that the issue was raised with the government which has promised immediate action in the matter. Representatives of Jain community also met the commission.

Dr Mahmood said that the commission has concluded that the government efforts for upliftment of minorities were appreciable and that the poverty level was very low. The grievances and findings of the commission have been communicated to the state government, he added.

He also informed that the commission has visited all but four states (Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh) and an Union territory (Lakshadweep) as part of its mandate to identification minorities among socially and economically backward classes, implementation of various schemes towards them and whether there was need for changes for the same.

The chairman of the commission, Mr Justice (retired) Ranganath Misra, member secretary, Ms Asha Das (IAS), and Dr Anil Wilson (member) were also present during the press briefing.

Kamat Hotels to raise $20 m via ECBs to fund spread

Kamat Hotels India, the owner of Mumbai-based Orchid Hotel, is planning to raise $20 million from the overseas markets through external commercial borrowings (ECB). The company will raise the capital to fund its immediate expansion plans.
“Market situation is ideal for an ECB route. However, we might even give a second thought for a fresh public issue. The board will soon meet to approve the plan,” said Vittal Kamat, chairman and managing director, Kamat Hotels India.
The group is developing heritage hotels around structures such as forts and palaces across the country.
“For the first time in the country KHIL will develop three star hotels - branded Kamhotels - on forts like Jadhavgarh, Amboli and Sawantwadi in Maharashtra. We will be expanding the hotel chain across other states of the country. These hotels will have 120 rooms with an average room rate of Rs 2,000,” said Kamat.
According to him, India holds a tremendous potential in the area of heritage and culture tourism. A budget hotel developed around a heritage structure will attract the middle class, he said.
“In the next three years, 35 per cent of Indians will own vehicles enhancing their mobility. The commutation will grow ten fold then from what is seen today. In such a scenario, the demand for budget hotels with a clean kitchen, bed and toilet will grow,” he said.
Over 40 crore domestic tourists visited India in 2005, growing at 25 per cent every year.
Over 39.2 lakh tourists visited India during the period, a 19 per cent increase over the estimates in the previous year.

Indian tycoons hit dead end abroad

What's common between Vijay Mallaya, Ratan Tata and Lakshmi Mittal besides the fact that they are all Indian-born entrepreneurs looking to dominate global business?

All three are victims of economic patriotism on foreign soil.

It came as no surprise when Mallaya's United Breweries announced on Monday that it was opting out of the race to acquire French champagne maker Taittinger after resistance from local groups to his bid.

Mittal and Tata have already been there, done that.

While opposition to Mittal's bid to acquire Luxembourg-based rival Arcelor is something that legends are made of, Tata too is hearing voices of discord to its $2 billion investment proposal in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Energy experts in Bangladesh, while speaking at a seminar on Investment Proposal of Tata and the National Interest: A Review, in Dhaka University, went to the extent of saying that Tata would not have dared to put forward such an investment proposal if Dhaka had a government that was accountable and transparent.

In France, local groups had appealed to Champagne Taittinger's US owner Starwood Group to sell the brewery to a French bidder.

Opponents to Mallaya's bid were more vocal over the Internet, with an Italian blogger saying that it was unimaginable that a Taittinger bottle would be labelled in Hindi, if the Indian liquor baron took over the firm.

Tatas' investment proposal includes setting up a 2.4 million tonne steel plant, a 1,000 MW power plant and a fertiliser plant.

While denying any "anti-India" sentiments, the lobby opposing the investment said that Tata has made this proposal only because it would not get gas at a cheaper price anywhere else in the world.

The industry experts said earlier this month at a roundtable conference of the National Committee for Protecting Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources and Electricity-Port that the investment deals with the Indian conglomerate would be 'suicidal' for Bangladesh.

In the Mallaya-Taittinger case, UB group known for its aggressive acquisition policies had earlier said that the company was aware of the possible roadblocks to be faced in its bid to acquire the French company.

However, Mallaya decided to go ahead with the bid, as the approval of workers’ council was not required for ratifying the deal in the event of UB Group winning the bid, sources said.

Mallaya was also banking on close ties with the French government, which he had established after Kingfisher Airlines placed an order worth more than $6 billion with French aircraft major Airbus, sources added.

However, the French government decided against lending any support to Mallaya as a successful acquisition could have given nationalists playing the card of 'economic patriotism' a shot in arm, especially after the recent furor over Mittal's bid for Arcelor, an academician studying trends in the global Mergers & Acquisitions market said.

Incidentally, there were two French bidders along with a member of the Taittinger family in the race for Taittinger, besides the UB Group.

Last week also saw Mittal, the world's largest steel maker, being stunned by Arcelor, which decided to merge with Russia-based Severstal.

Trouble was also brewing for Mittal in distant South Africa, where union workers are planning a revolt against his lay off policies.

The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa has decided to launch a series of protests against Mittal Steel.

They would be seeking government intervention in the ongoing restructuring of Mittal Steel, South Africa and the company's lay-off policies.

While commenting on the continuing opposition to his take over bid of Arcelor, Mittal Steel CEO Lakshmi Mittal had aptly summed up: "If a company like ours faces resistance for merger, it could affect businessmen in India who are aspiring to expand globally."

Though India has expressed concerns about racism in the business space and European governments have denied it, experts point out that 'economic patriotism' does play a role when it comes to clinching business deals on foreign soil.

It became evident from Arcelor CEO Guy Dolle's statement that Arcelor was Europe's "crown jewel" and its success was vital to Europe's overall economic health.

A little taste of the NBA

It has quickly become a tradition for one of Canada's most rapidly-growing sports right here in Winnipeg.

The NBA's 3-on-3 basketball tournament comes to the Red River Exhibition Association grounds once again this weekend.

"It's been a great run for the park, with as many as 3,000 to 5,000 kids and parents coming out," Kevin Clifford, the association's events manager, said yesterday. "Our first one was in 1998 and it's nice to be able to help out the Toronto Raptors and Basketball Manitoba."

Actually, Winnipeg started hosting these tourneys, then known as Hoop It Up -- with the help of NBA Canada -- before the Ex took over as hosts in '98 and the Raptors are more actively involved now.

Winnipeg is the second stop on the circuit, which started in Calgary this year.

"This is all about bringing the NBA type of experience to Winnipeg," said Rajani Kamath, the Raptors manager of corporate communications. "It's about growing grassroots basketball, which continues to grow in popularity. In fact, it's one of the two fastest-growing sports in Canada, along with soccer.

"This is the only national 3-on-3 basketball tournament and it is one of the most popular 3-on-3 tournaments out there for all ages and skill level. There will also be a number of related activities, with entertainers, mascots and clinics."

In fact, former Raptor Jerome (Junkyard Dog) Williams -- who is now the Raptors' community rep -- will be on hand on Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

"I remember when (Canada's) Steve Nash (now of the Phoenix Suns) was here for a clinic," Clifford said. "The popularity ebbs and flows a bit. When we first started, we had a lot of ex-university players and some (Winnipeg) Thunder players in the top events.

"I'm seeing a lot of younger teams now. And it's amazing the number of girls who come out."

Spectators are welcome to watch the unique 3-on-3 games. Although admission is free, parking is $3.

JK Tyre Junior Cup set for finale

The final two rounds the JK Tyre Junior Cup 2006 will be held 3 and 4 June at the MMST Track at Irrungattukottai near Sriperumbudur.

The joint effort undertaken by J K Tyres and Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) to put this programme together to benefit newcomers and juniors has been a tremendous success generating very good response from the new young and aspiring racers.

The event has seen participants coming from various parts of the country - Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Indore, Ludhiana and Coimbatore apart from Chennai, a press release said.

At the end of four rounds Ajay Kini heads the championship table having piled up 75 points followed by Saran Vikram Tmars with 53 points and Vignesh Devarajan with 33 points.

Amaron and Valvoline have been associated themselves with the junior cup championship.

The races will commence at 11 a.m on both days.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Home for the mentally ill seeks public support

Friends for the Needy, a home for the mentally ill at Tirumullaivoyal, has appealed to the public to contribute towards its building project at its rehabilitation centre in Kathirvedu, Puzhal.

Talking to mediapersons on Thursday, Geetha Mathew, founder trustee, said the organisation was founded after seeing the sufferings of the mentally ill due to high costs of medication and accommodation. On an average, the centre could treat 20-25 patients for rehabilitation. There was a long waiting list for admission.

Dr. Sarada Menon, honorary adviser, said mental illness was worse than physical illness. The treatment required not just medicine, but compassion, physical touch, love and affection. Such care could only be provided by non-governmental organisations.

Dr. Santha Kamath, a psychiatrist who is on the visitors committee, said the home was shifted to Kathirvedu in July 2004. The inmates were housed in temporary sheds and the construction of a new home was taken up. The building was nearing completion, but construction of the second floor was deferred due to fund crunch. The total cost of the project was Rs. 40 lakhs and Rs. 18.5 lakhs still remained to be collected.

The building is expected to be completed by June. The facility can take in 40-50 members. The monthly expenditure in running the home, including food, medicines, toiletry, electricity and water charges, telephone and communication costs, has been estimated at Rs. 1,19,000, Ms. Mathew said.

"Fifty patients have been rehabilitated and have rejoined their families. Some need life time support. The trust needs to take care of such patients. Contributions to the trust are eligible for Income Tax benefits under Section 80 G," Ms. Mathew said. She can be reached at 2637 6755/Prakash H. Lulla, Kilpauk Resident Welfare Association at 98418 66747.

Quota system: Diverting attention from the real problem

By Bhamy V. Shenoy

(Bhamy V. Shenoy, an international oil expert, is a member of the India Development Coalition of America who is involved in several NGO projects in India. He can be reached at

It is sad to see how the quota issue has been put on the national agenda by India's political leaders when the country is facing so many other more pressing problems.

Sam Pitroda was right in suggesting that quota should not be the criterion for selecting students for institutions of higher education. But his suggested strategy of increasing the number of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is not feasible. Already, the existing IITs are facing the problem of recruiting qualified faculty to replace those who are retiring. They also have the usual old problem of finding financial resources. How are we then going to start 70 more IITs? Thus, Pitroda's strategy is a non-starter.

Well respected IT guru N.R. Narayana Murthy has also suggested that quota should not be the deciding factor for selection of students for higher education institutions. The quota system will not help the students who get admitted under quota, nor of course do those who fail to get admission despite being "merited" students for the reasons given below.

One of the significant reasons for IITs being institutions of excellence is the fact that they are able to attract the best and the brightest. Another factor of equal importance is their ability to attract outstanding faculty. If the quality of students suffer as a result of admitting as much as 50 percent (likely to be more in the future years as we have seen in Tamil Nadu) under the quota system, the general standard of students will come down and so the quality of faculty too. Then those institutions slowly will be no different from most of the educational institutions we have in the country today.

In the beginning when IITs started, they were able to get some outstanding faculty. The salary structure the IITs were offering was above average. There were not many opportunities for them to get employment in India. Seeking employment abroad was not that popular; avenues to get employment abroad were not known as we do today. Since IITs were not that well known, the competition to get into IITs was not as fierce as today. After a few years, as IITs became well known and competition became fierce, they attracted outstanding students.

This period with hindsight may be considered as the golden age of IITs. They had three factors in their favour; outstanding students, excellent faculty that had joined in the beginning and the required amount of budget. But, in recent years, IITs have started to lose two of the three factors favouring them. Faculties who joined IITs in the beginning are retiring and they are finding it difficult to replace them. Second, the government has correctly decided to reduce funding to IITs by diverting funds to primary and secondary education. Thus, the only favourable factor for IITs today is their ability to attract good students. If that is diluted under the pressure of quota system, IITs are likely to lose their shine.

Those IIT alumni who were thinking of donating funds may think twice now. Is this the beginning of the end for IITs as has happened for some outstanding educational institutions in Karnataka like Maharaja's and Maharani's colleges of Mysore?

Another question often asked during this debate is why the issue of merit for capitation fee based colleges was not raised. In fact, that was the very reason for questioning the rationale for opening the capitation fee based colleges. Private colleges that gave a majority of the seats based purely on capitation fee failed to flourish. In fact many of them would be closed if the government liberalises higher education under the free market system. They attracted neither good faculty nor good students. None of them could do any research. Do we want our IITs to be like those failed capitation fee based colleges?

In recent years with increasing frequency the question of assessing "merit" is being asked. It is true that just scoring high marks by attending four or six years of coaching classes cannot be considered as merit. We need to develop a better system of assessing the merit even if it is less objective. However, just because we do not have a foolproof system and perhaps we may never have one, we should not commit another blunder of selecting students based on their accident of birth. Let us stop dividing and subdividing society based on caste.

Another relevant issue discussed during the quota debate is the need to solve the social justice problem of helping SCs (Scheduled Castes), STs (Scheduled Tribes) and OBCs (Other Backward Classes). No society can prosper if it does not solve these types of social problems.

In the United States, where blacks and Hispanics are in the minority, they needed affirmative action programmes to help students from those communities. However, because of the constitutional constraints, they have not been able to take recourse to a quota system. Still, they are handling the problem with some sensitivity and have zeroed in on this problem by improving primary and secondary schools.

It is a well-known fact that our government schools, which are educating the children of poor SCs, STs and OBCs, have collapsed. Nearly 40 percent of the children attending these schools are unable to read and write even after being there for two to seven years. About 80 to 90 percent of the students joining these schools are unable to complete high school education and only a minuscule number are able to go to colleges.

This problem should be on the national agenda of all the political parties. They should consider establishing thousands of schools like The George Foundation at Shanti Bhavan near Bangalore to give world class education to SCs, STs and OBCs. Even after 59 years of independence, we have not been able to give primary education and simple learning skills to these strata of society and now we are keen to admit them to higher education. How can we construct a super structure without any foundation?

Finally, who are the real beneficiaries of the quota system? Not many children of poor SCs, STs, and OBCs are able to complete even eighth grade today. It is only the children of the creamy section of SCs, STs and OBCs who are able to complete college. They are also the ones who should be able to compete on an equal footing with students from the so called forward class. In what way can this be considered as correcting the age-old problem of discrimination based on caste? This is just nothing but a cheap trick played by the unimaginative, selfish and unconcerned political class to create a vote bank and help themselves.

Added a new Konkani Association

Check out the Konkani Association Page.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Internet art magazine launched, claimed to be India's first art e-zine - magazine on the Internet - that aims to bring together artists, critics, collectors and the lay public, was launched here Thursday with a group show by 41 artists. 'The e-zine keeps you in touch with today's fast-moving art world through in-depth features, interviews with leading artists, profiles on rising stars and up-to-the-minute coverage of trends from independent critics,' said its editor-in-chief, Anoop Kamath.

It will have an extensive reviews section covering exhibitions held in all major centres in India, as also regular features on new-age art, art investment and legal issues pertaining to art, Kamath added.

The e-zine will be updated on the first and 15th of every month.

Markets to enter a consolidation stage: Baliga

Fundamental Analyst Ambreesh Baliga says that the markets are going to enter a stage of consolidation.

The markets may move up and may reach around 11,000 or 11,200 on the higher side of the range.

He says that this is a time for investors to buy with a long term perspective of around one year to 15 months. Those investors who are holding midcap stocks should continue to hold, if they have the power to hold.

He said that the frontline sectors are IT, Pharma and FMCG.

interview with Fundamental Analyst, Ambareesh Baliga of Karvy Stock Broking:

Q: Do you think yesterday’s bounceback is sustainable, or are we still in a tricky territory?

A: I think we are still in a tricky territory. I think it is more of a pull back. Possibly the market could go up another 200 - 300 points. Then I think we will enter a phase of consolidation, which could be a wide range of consolidation possibly between 9,800-10,000 levels and on the higher side 11,000-11,200 levels.

Q: One word on the sort of buying that was coming into the frontliners, are you advising your clients to go out and buy or otherwise?

A: For the last three sessions we have been telling our clients to go out and buy. In fact we have been 70% in cash before this crash and post that we have been asking our clients to buy and telling them to invest 20-25% of their investable surplus. I have told them to look at the next 12-15 months time period and one could see a downside of another 800-1000 points but its surely a time to start buying.

Q: What are you advising your clients in midcaps?

A: If people have the power to hold on for the next one year or so, we are suggesting to hold on. But those who have taken funding, we are asking them to exit at higher levels because if the markets start to come down again, these same brokers will force them to sell those shares. Basically we are checking out on the holding position of the clients and if they are able to hold on, we are asking them to hold.

Q: One word on RPL, what would you advise people to do now?

A: I don’t think it will come down very much from here but those who are buying RPL should have atleast a two to three year view and if one is satisfied with this stock doubling in the next 2-3 years, only then one should buy. Don’t expect this stock to run up to Rs 100 in the next 3 months.

Q: Where in the frontliners are you seeing buying opportunities?

A: Immediately we are buying in IT, Pharma Stocks, FMCG and going ahead if the market falls then we will be buying into metals, engineering stocks. We see lot of value in this space where the valuations have come down to realistic levels.

Q: What about Bata India and Hindustan Motors?

A: One should sell Bata India at these levels and for Hindustan Motors, if it comes down by another Rs 3-4, then it is a very good opportunity and even at these levels it is a decent opportunity. One can get Rs 10-15 on these stocks over the next six to nine months but again one can expect an immediate bounce back.

Q: What do you make of this opening? It is a bit sluggish for sure. Do you see it falling through or holding a weakish kind of range?

A: It is difficult to say whether it will fall through or not, but I think it will be quite volatile even during the day. It is difficult to say whether it will close up or down. One thing, which is clear is that, in any market public participation is needed and in this market, I don’t think there is any public participation at all. People are so bruised and even if the market moves up, there will not be any follow up support. I don’t think that will be there for a couple of months, going forward. So there is no way the market can shoot up much more from here. I think that is quite clear.

Q: Just compare this with October. Do you think this time is different from October?

A: This time is different because in October people must have lost just two months of their earnings. But in this fall I think people must have lost one to one and half years earnings. People are bruised so badly, so I don’t think they have the conviction, confidence or the money to come back to the market and start buying. I think it will take a while for these people to come back. Until then I really don’t see too much of a momentum in the market. They could be supported at lower levels from the funds that are buying but the follow up support, which normally comes from the public, will not be there.

Q: The only space standing out is Nalco, Hindalco, would you buy anything there?

A: Not now, I would rather wait for a fall there. Whereas I will surely pick up stocks in IT, FMCG and Pharma. People should buy metals but at lower levels.

Q: What about the real estate stocks? Anything you would be picking up from that space?

A: That is one space from which I would be thinking of getting out. The DLF issue is a great opportunity for people to exit the other realty stocks, which have been flying. Anyone who has some space in his backyard, has become a realty player. I think it is getting a bit too dangerous in this space. I think it is time to exit the realty plays and get into a lot of other stocks where there is value today.


I don’t hold positions in Hindustan Motors and Bata India, but I have picked up stocks in the last three days, although we haven’t discussed those stocks.

Indian Shares Fall Amid Volatile Trading

Indian shares fell sharply Wednesday after a roller-coaster session as investors sold shares, unnerved by persistent volatility in the market.

The Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-stock benchmark Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 250 points, or 2.3 percent, to 10,573, off an intraday low of 10,505. On the rival National Stock Exchange, the 50-share S&P Nifty fell 84 points, or 2.6 percent, to 3,116.

"Investors are scared. They don't like to be proved wrong in this volatile market," said Jayant Pai, vice president at Parag Parikh Financial Advisory.

Indian share prices have seen sharp falls and volatility over the past two weeks, tracking the trend in Asian markets amid fears of interest rate hikes and higher inflation. The Sensex has fallen 16 percent since hitting an all-time high of 12,612 on May 10.

"The Sensex tested the 11,000 mark today, but could not sustain the gains as investors preferred to take out whatever is on the table," Pai said.

Among blue chips Oil & Natural Gas Corp., or ONGC, fell 5.9 percent to 1,164.75 rupees and Reliance Industries lost 3.2 percent to close at 938.50 rupees.

Technology shares ended lower despite a fall in the rupee against the U.S. dollar, which is usually a positive for exporters.

Among software shares, Wipro Ltd. fell 4.3 percent to 452.95 rupees, while Infosys Technologies Ltd. declined 2.1 percent to 2,858.20 rupees.

PU topper to pursue MBA

Bharat P Bhat, student of DVS Composite Junior College, Shimoga has stood first in the state in the second PU science exams this year.

Till Monday, the college and Bharat’s parents only knew that he had got the highest marks in Shimoga district, but were thrilled to know that he had topped the state also.

Speaking to press persons, the young achiever said he owed his success to parents who motivated him and his teachers who guided him.
He also said that he was able to score well because his concentration levels are high, which he developed by playing chess. Neither is he a bookworm nor did he take private tuitions. Only classroom teaching and his preparations in the college library brought him success, said Bharat.

Bharat Bhat wants to take up MBA and is confident that he will realise his ambitions in life. The young achiever also expressed the desire to work for the society’s progress.

Bharat’s father K R Puttu Bhat is the chief manager at Canara Bank, Sringeri.

Principal of the college S Ranganathaiah said he was proud that Bharat had won laurels for the institution by scoring the highest marks in the state.

The principal described Bharat as being a hardworking student who is confident and interested.

Losing faith in the system

There has been a sharp decline in the number of cases being filed in Mumbai's consumer courts.

It took George Thomas, a technician in Mumbai, 14 years to get justice from Mumbai’s consumer court. Thomas was involved in a long-drawn fight against Maharashtra’s City Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). On the day of the final judgment recently, the court ordered CIDCO to pay him Rs 5 lakh as compensation. Thomas walked away — victorious, but also a very tired man.

The inordinate delay in disposing of cases such as those of George Thomas is one reason Mumbaikars are staying away from the city’s consumer courts. In fact, last year, the city with a population of almost 1.5 crore, saw fewer than 1,000 cases being filed in its three district consumer courts. In two of these fora, the number of complaints had declined to between a fourth and fifth of the number of cases filed in 2001.

“The consumer is either very happy with his services or has lost faith in the consumer redressal system,” quips Dr Manohar Kamath, a consumer activist in Mumbai. Agrees Jehagir Gai, another consumer activist in Mumbai, “There has been a 50 to 60 per cent decline in the rate of filing complaints in Mumbai’s district consumer courts since 1999.”

The filing of complaints is often directly proportional to the number of cases the court has disposed of in recent years and months. “Petitioners usually go to the court’s registrar to find out about the number of pending cases. If there are too many pending, most of them decide against filing in the consumer court as they’d rather not waste their time,” says Dr Kamath.

Right now, as many as 14,539 cases are pending before the State Consumer Redressal Commission, Mumbai. And of the 1,61,279 cases filed in the various consumer courts in Maharashtra ever since their inception, only 45,649 have been disposed of so far.

If the government acts upon a recent directive of the Bombay High Court (arising out of a public interest litigation filed by the Consumer Courts Advocates Association of Maharashtra and Goa), Mumbai, together with five other districts of Maharashtra, will get an additional district consumer forum.

But will that help clear the backlog of cases in consumer courts? Perhaps not, say experts. While adding to the number of consumer courts may go some way towards easing the burden of existing courts, the real malaise of Mumbai’s consumer courts seems to lie elsewhere. Most activists feel that more than infrastructure, it is the style of functioning of the lawyers and the judiciary of the consumer courts that needs to change.

These courts were designed to dispense justice in not more than 90 days. But a look at some numbers tells the story of their performance. For example, of the 1,074 cases disposed of in Mumbai’s consumer courts last year, only 37 were resolved within 90 days. Again, in two of its three district fora, only two and three cases, respectively, were disposed of in the required time frame.

“Lawyers are mostly interested in prolonging cases,” says Justice Suhas Barve, a retired district court judge and president of the Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum. “They often come unprepared, for which I do not hesitate to scold them in court,” he adds.

But as Dr Kamath points out, “While lawyers are the main culprits when it comes to wasting the court’s time, judges are also to be blamed for allowing this to happen.” Justice Barve concurs. “Thirty to 40 per cent of the consumer court judges are responsible for causing delays,” he says.

And sometimes things can take a bizarre turn. Gai mentions one consumer forum “that remained closed for months as the judge suffered from health problems.”

Furthermore, many judges add to the general inefficiency by turning up late for hearings. “In my 10 years’ experience in consumer courts, I have never seen a judge coming in before 11.30 am,” says P.C. Singhi, a retired IAS officer and consumer activist in Mumbai. This, despite the fact that the working hours of consumer courts are supposed to be from 10.30 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm.

The recent PIL filed by the Consumer Courts Advocates Association describes Mumbai’s district consumer court judges as being largely disinterested in the speedy disposal of cases and as not being held accountable for their actions. But Justice Barve, who is known for the speed with which he deals with his cases, says he has been disposing of 50-60 cases a month. To try and clear the backlog, he has been focusing on those that have been pending from 1991 to 2003, leaving the more recent ones to two of his colleagues.

The Consumer Protection Act advocates an ideal disposal rate of 75 to 100 matters a month. But even this figure, Dr Kamath says, is too low. “If each of the three judges in a court were to deliver six judgements a day, it would mean getting rid of about 132 cases a month.”

Is that too much to ask?

Other side of beauty and fame

Mumbai city - the world of glitter and glamour - can also be very brutal.

Here talent and skill comes second to beauty and body. This leads young men and women to cosmetic surgeons and starvation diets.

The case in point is of Mahua Kamath – member of all girl band VIVA.

Four years back she was one of the most famous faces on television, winner of a talent hunt she was part of the all girls quartet VIVA.

Unusual celebrity

With unconventional looks and a far from perfect body, Mahua was an unusual celebrity.

"Out of 5000 girls who auditioned, there were just a handful who were heavy. I was one of them and thankfully I went through," she said.

"But I still pulled through because at that time my weight wasn’t bogging me down, for me it was just about the talent and singing," she added.

"As soon as I got in it, we didn’t have time for anything, on top of that we had the diet and exercise regime," she said.

Mahua used to meet with their dietician who would give her pills etc.

Tough work-out schedule

"It was really upsetting because we used to get up at 5 in the morning, work out for two hours and come back and have breakfast, which consisted of eight almonds, " she said.

Apart from this she had two hours of singing practice and two and a half hours of dancing, which was strenuous.

For lunch she had a dry bran roti with dry sprouts.

"It was a lot of pressure, because I fainted a few times, didn’t have enough energy," she said.

The fall-out

"Right now I am suffering from hypo thyroidism, which if not taken care of can be fatal," she said.

"I was told by the doctor that my erratic eating habits, diets, and the pills had been stuffed in to my system and that led to this problem," she said.

"A lot of women face it, but I am not supposed to have it at such a young age, I am just 24-years old," she said.

After VIVA broke up in 2003, Mahua for a while went into a shell, her self-confidence was shaken.

The irony is that a lot of people across the country not just appreciated Mahua's talent but felt she was more real and could identify with her.

But it wasn’t a very positive thing for the people who put in money for pop stars.

"They kept saying I need to look good and fit into certain clothes, this is your destiny," she said.

Mahua came into the limelight because she wanted to sing, little realising that in the industry, looks are at a premium.

And there's really no limit to what people will go through or made to go through in the name of beauty.

Kamath takes over as ED, Bank of India

K R Kamath assumed the charge as the executive director recently. Earlier he was general manager in Corporation Bank since 2002, in charge of Information Technology, Information Security, Management Information System and Integrated Risk Management.

He is a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers. He was promoted to executive cadre in 1994 and was posted as regional manager for Collection And Payment Services, (CAPS) a 'specialised business unit' set up on an experimental basis by the Bank. Contribution of Kamath in building a strong team, spearheading the marketing activities of CAPS and positioning CAPS as the flag ship product of the Bank, has earned him special recognition.

During his tenure in Information Technology Division in Corporation Bank, Kamath was responsible for 100 per cent automation of the branches, migration of about 88 per cent of business to Core Banking Solution, positioning the 900 strong ATM network of the Bank, putting in place Wide Area Network of the bank, introduction of Internet Banking and implementing the Information Security System.

Kamath has to his credit several corporate awards instituted by the bank such as, Super Productivity Award, SOGian Award, Chairman's Club Membership and Regional Leadership Award.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Join the G S B Konkani Group


In all we have 35 members as of today. If you want to join the group or know someone who is a konkani & would like to join the group , here is the link :


Konkani World

He lost a chunk of his savings

While there were smiles and sighs of relief on Tuesday as the equity indices recovered, they did not reflect the deep wounds this meltdown has inflicted on many investors/traders. Take the case of a retired general manager of a PSU bank in Mumbai. He had taken loans against his FDs worth Rs 22-23 lakh, and in two trading sessions - Friday and Monday - he lost Rs 7 lakh of that money.

"Earlier I used to advise him, taking into consideration his age and risk profile. But as the markets rose to dizzy heights, he thought I was too conservative and stopping him from making big money, so he went to somebody else," said Mr Sandeep Shenoy, Strategist at Pioneer Intermediaries, Mumbai.

"He is 68-year-old and yesterday he came to me weeping. It was painful for me to watch a man of his age crying like that. He started blaming his broker, but I had to tell him he had only himself to blame."

He added that what was amazing is that an ex-banker like him — "and there are more like him" — could speculate with their money in this reckless manner.

"I had always thought that bankers are conservative people, but more people like him have lost a chunk of their lifetime's savings in this crash."

Mr Shenoy said that once the Sensex had crossed 10,500, he had counselled his clients to book profits and keep at least 30 per cent of their investment in cash. "But people just don't listen. I know a few cases where the investors had made a profit of Rs 1-2 crore as the market went up. But the majority of them have lost 90 per cent of that money in this crash. "

He finds it a matter of concern that the heady rise in the equity market has brought new classes of investors "who don't invest; they just speculate and punt. In cities like Nagpur, Chennai and Vijayawada, there are many women — housewives, school teachers, college professors, beauty saloon owners, etc - who are playing the markets.

They bring in Rs 2 to 3 lakh and indulge in trading and punting and when sudden and sharp corrections happen as during the last few trading sessions, they get scalded."

But then one ace investor, Ms Cynthia Zacharias, Director, Cinzac Sales and Services, Kochi, sat out the last few rough sessions "without doing anything at all. I feel a little bad that I could have made some money, but I decided not to do anything. The 1,111-point crash didn't bother me because I'm a long-term investor who is invested in fundamentally sound companies and I know the market will bounce back," she said confidently.

On the overall direction of the market, Mr Shenoy thinks that on Tuesday in the post-noon session, "when the payout obligations are over, the market will start rallying. Of course on Thursday (when F&O settlement takes place), there might be some more shakeout and fireworks but after that we expect the Sensex to settle down around 11,200 to 11,300."

Mr Shenoy's advice to investors: "If you have money and the patience to wait for two to three quarters, this is the time to invest for a return of 15-20 per cent. But don't leverage, don't trade and don't punt... if you do, you'll get your back broken."

Global E-SoftSys becomes Microsoft Gold Certified Partner

Bangalore : Global E-SoftSys, providers of e-Commerce consulting and full lifecycle development of e-Commerce, web, wireless and client/server applications, has attained the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner status.

The status represented the highest level of competence and expertise with Microsoft technologies and a close work relationship with the world IT major.

In a release here today, Global E-Softsys Chairman K U Shenoy said the certification acknowledged both the value of solutions as well as focus on customer satisfaction of Global E-SoftSys. During the last eight years, the company had developed several products and completed many turnkey custom software development projects on time and on budget for its customers in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific using Microsoft technologies.

''The advanced features offered by Microsoft .NET development framework, combined by our company's .NET expertise have helped us to successfully complete several enterprise class application development projects and e-Commerce sites. The partner status is a testimony to Global E-SoftSys' ability to provide software solutions that meet strict Microsoft guidelines and approval and acceptance from the client base,'' he added.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ramesh Pai passes away

UDUPI: The senior news editor of Udayavani Daily B Ramesh Pai died of head injury on Sunday morning.

He was 56. Pai had met with an accident on May 16 and after treatment at KMC Manipal and got discharged. On Sunday morning, he was admitted to the Hospital again after he complained of uneasiness. He breathed his last around 10.30 am.

Pai served as a journalist in Udayavani for around 30 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

The Udupi District Working Journalists’ Association has condoled his death.

Kingfisher looks west; eyes US airline

The Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines is now scouting for acquisitions in the US, following aborted efforts to acquire Air Sahara.

The acquisition proposal is aimed at expediting its international operations, which is stuck because of strict government norms. According to highly placed sources, Kingfisher Airlines is in talks with four leading US-based airlines.

"The talks are at a preliminary stage. Kingfisher Airlines still has time as it is planning its international foray by September 2007," sources said, adding that the airline was working out various modalities for international operations, but nothing has been finalised.

Kingfisher Chairman and Managing Director Vijay Mallya declined to comment. He, however, said: "We are very much keen on starting India-US operations. Kingfisher Airlines is actively pursuing with the government for relaxing norms for international operations."

Currently, an airline needs at least five years of continuous operations and a fleet of 20 aircraft to start flying on international routes. Kingfisher Airlines had started its operations last year.

Meanwhile, the airline floated a US subsidiary -- Kingfisher International Airlines Inc -- in a bid to launch non-stop flights from New York to various Indian cities. The airline has also signed a deal with Airbus to acquire five A 340-500 aircraft worth $1 billion for flights to the US.

Mallya said the airline was planning to fly Bangalore-San Francisco and Mumbai-New York routes with long-range four engine Airbus aircraft. Connecting 15 Indian cities, Kingfisher Airlines operates 70 flights daily.

Currently, it has 13 aircraft. Ten more aircraft are slated to join the Kingfisher Airlines fleet during the remainder of calendar 2006. By 2010, the airline will have 69 aircraft in its fleet.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Indian outsourcing crash? - Harish Baliga

Indian outsourcing industry is headed for a crash and an outright depression – here is why? - Harish Baliga

Indian outsourcing industry is headed for a total and permanent collapse. India has systematically converted millions of its talented individuals into becoming phone operators and low-end software application programmers for American, European and Japanese companies. This will back fire like never seen before.

In a stagflation driven world economies, commodity prices are going up because of higher demands and comparatively much lower supply. However, people are making much less in western world especially in America and Europe as India and China continue to export their massive underemployment and wage deflation to the Western nations. People who used to make $100,000 annually in large American companies have lost their jobs and since then have found employment in small companies with $30,000 per year. The unemployment in America today is very low but every one is underemployed.

First the American and European companies had a sigh of relief in finding India and China where they can generate their goods and services for pennies on the dollar. Then came the reality. They just cannot sell these goods and services in their own markets because underemployment has grasped America, Europe and Japan. In addition Indian and Chinese qualities are way inferior. Then the American and European companies look into further cutting the cost of production of goods and service generation. With increased oil, gas and food prices as well shortage of real estate, wages are going up rapidly in India and China while quality of service and production of goods are at best same if not declining. The western companies now look for total automation to replace India and China. The robots and automated computer programs take control. The outsourcing contracts disappear in no time. India and China becomes dry and their economies literally collapse with steady fall in GDP and stock prices.

Any country that has become a super power has in the past first gone through a period of false boom, then a massive scary depression and then finally a recovery into sustainable growth period creating a new super power. That is exactly what happened to America between 1920s and 1940s. During 1920s American stock market boomed while economy actually ran on thin ice making a false sense of prosperity. Then came the stock market crash and the depression of thirties. Finally America became a real super power in forties and beyond. The same are repeating in India and China between 1995 and 2015. The false export driven boom is over. Now is the time for massive stagflation, increased global trade tension and protectionism. India and China will close their doors in no time once they find they cannot milk America and Europe. America, Japan and Europe will have little to care for India and China if it is evident that cheap workers of India and China can be more economically and efficiently replaced by computer automation, artificial intelligence and robotics.

India and China will eventually in the next ten years reinvent itself. They will create a free trade zone in Asia and make their domestic economies grow. India and China are destined to become sustainable super powers by 2030. The golden era of India and China will begin in 2015 and stretch from 2015 to 2085. However, for now things have to correct itself in the great Asian depression of the early twenty-first century.

LifeKen announces entry into Chennai

Lifetime Healthcare Pvt Ltd, a leading player in organised pharma retail, has announced the launch of ‘LifeKen’, a leading chain of pharmacy retail outlets in Chennai. Currently, with four stores operational in Chennai and expanding rapidly, the company plans to establish 50 outlets in the next year and 200 stores by end of FY 2006-07 in three-four cities across south India and 700 stores over the next three years. An initial investment of Rs 40 crore would be used for the immediate expansion plans.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch of LifeKen, M C Kini, CEO, promoter and director of the company, said, "LifeKen is a facilitator for wellness of the customer. We would like to make buying of medicines a pleasant experience for the customer, by creating the right ambience and providing value-adding services. We aim to be present in 8-10 cities over the next five years, and plan to induce external funding at the 200-store level."

"We are convinced and excited about the size of the opportunity that pharma retail presents. The good thing is that there is space for everyone. For instance, Chennai has around 5,700 pharmacies and the share of organised pharma retail chains is just 120 outlets. We are targeting customers seeking retail experience in pharma and our growth can go hand-in-hand with the traditional pharmacies," Kini added.

A Suryanarayanan, COO, promoter and director, said, "We are encouraged by the initial response that we have got in Chennai and are eager to take the same organised pharma retail experience to other cities like Coimbatore and Hyderabad soon. We will be looking at specially designed programmes for consumers with special healthcare needs and a call centre support to our customers shortly."

LifeKen is positioned as a pharmacy that actively supports wellness and health for everyone, by being present in one’s own neighbourhood. The stores in Chennai are currently located at Porur, Kilpauk, Mogappair and Saidapet. An additional five stores are under finalisation for opening over the next two months.

The medicines are stored in a clean, hygienic and air-conditioned environment to maintain their potency and are offered at fair prices, Suryananarayanan said. LifeKen also offers customer loyalty programmes, free home delivery, health camps and wellness programmes free or at little cost to customers, among others. LifeKen retains a wide range of more than 12,000 products and, hence, assures availability at any given time.

The product range at LifeKen comprises:

Wide range of Allopathic medicines (prescription and OTC)
Select Ayurvedic brands
Dental care (including special medicated toothpastes)
Orthopedic products (such as knee caps, abdominal belts, collars)
Women care and baby vare
Hair care and skin care
Protection products (such as adult diapers)
Nutrition and toiletries

Recognising the fact that technology is at the heart of all organised retail in order to tie together customers and the supply chain across a range of stores, LifeKen has invested up-front in the finest technology for its business. In short, LifeKen aims to be a one-stop shop for all healthcare needs by being present in every neighbourhood, Suryanarayanan said.

LifeKen currently has 25 stores in Bangalore and four stores in Chennai and are expanding rapidly, says Suryanarayanan. They are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, 365 days a year and offer other conveniences like free home delivery. They also plan to introduce night services shortly.

UWS grad heads for prestigious computer security program

Peter Goetsch of Iron River, Wis., will receive his college diploma today and the opportunity to protect America's computers.

Goetsch, 31, not only graduates from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a degree in computer science, but he also has been accepted into a highly selective national computer security scholarship program.

He will spend two years at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma learning to safeguard our country's computers.

In exchange for the federally funded education, Goetsch will work as a computer security expert for the government for at least two years after he receives his master's degree.

"I'm pretty happy about it," the South Shore High School graduate said. "It's a great opportunity for me. I am going to get paid to get my master's. I am just about guaranteed a job when I am done."

Goetsch is the third UWS graduate accepted into the program in four years.

UWS computer science professor Victor Piotrowski isn't surprised that another UWS student has won a Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service (commonly called Cyber Corps) award.

"It's more like a confirmation that we are on the right track than a surprise," he said.

At UWS, Goetsch set up security for the university's advanced computer lab, and worked with another student on a computer security research project. He carried a 4.0 grade point average while at the university.

"I look for people who have a passion for the subject," said Sujeet Shenoi, professor of computer science at Tulsa. "Grades are important, but grades are not the only thing. Peter is one of those guys who struck me as being passionate about this stuff and well trained.

"Another thing is I've had two very good students from UWS. I know what UW-Superior teaches."

The two UWS alumni who attended the Tulsa program -- Lucas Hendrickson, class of 2004, of Poplar and Mike Swanson, class of 2003, of Hibbing, both work in computer security for the federal government.

Shenoi directs the Cyber Corps program at Tulsa. Every year about 1,000 people apply for a spot there. About 35 are accepted, he said.

Nationwide, only about 150 students are accepted into the Scholarship for Service program each year, said Kathy Roberson, program manager.

The federal government created the program to increase the nation's number of highly trained computer experts, most of whom work with computer security. The program graduated its first nine students in 2002.

"We believe it's a real success," Roberson said. "We've had 416 students who have graduated."

Goetsch is looking forward to joining the ranks.

"I'll be right on the cutting edge," he said. "There will always be something new coming up. We'll have to come up with ideas faster than the hackers can or at least be able to shut them down shortly after they start."

Attacks on the Internet and computers have become common. According to the Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University, there were six such attacks reported in 1988. There were 137,529 attacks in 2003.

Because of the widespread use of automated attack tools, attacks against Internet-connected systems have become so commonplace that the center no longer publishes the number of reported incidents.

Protecting against such attacks is a vital job, Shenoi said.

"I tell my students, 'Make a difference, then make a buck,' " Shenoi said. "They can serve their country a few years, then join Microsoft or a beltway bandit. I tell them, 'Our enemies are willing to die for their cause, can't we at least work hard?' "

Shri K R Kamath appointed as Executive Director

Shri K.R. Kamath assumed the charge as the Executive Director on 18.05.2006. Shri Kamath was a General Manager in Corporation Bank since 2002, in charge of Information Technology, Information Security, Management Information System and Integrated Risk Management.

A brilliant academician, Shri Kamath had secured "VI rank" in University of Mysore in II year B.Com in the year 1975 and was adjudged as the "Best Outgoing Commerce Student" of the college in the year 1976. He is a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers.

He was promoted to Executive cadre in 1994 and was posted as Regional Manager for Collection And Payment Services, (CAPS) a "Specialized Business Unit" set up on an experimental basis by the Bank. Contribution of Shri Kamath in building a strong team, spearheading the marketing activities of CAPS and positioning CAPS as the flag ship product of the Bank, has earned him special recognition.

During his tenure in Information Technology Division in Corporation Bank, Shri Kamath was responsible for 100% automation of the Branches, migration of about 88% of business to Core Banking Solution, positioning the 900 strong ATM network of the Bank, putting in place Wide Area Network of the Bank, introduction of Internet Banking and implementing the Information Security System. During this period, the Bank received various awards from IDRBT & IBA for the technology lead of the Bank.

Shri Kamath has secured various Corporate Awards instituted by the Bank such as, Super Productivity Award, SOGian Award, Chairman's Club Membership and Regional Leadership Award. He was also conferred with "Sanman Award" by Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, Calicut Range, Calicut for the financial year 1997-98 in the year 2000.

He was one of the participants of the Technology Tour of US organized by TATA IBM in the year 1997-98. Shri Kamath has undergone various training programmes including workshop/seminars at IIM, Ahmedabad, IBA and BTC.

Known for his conceptual clarity, communication skills and ability to build strong result oriented teams, Shri Kamath has been one of the key members of the Team that has conceptualised and initiated steps to implement Organisational Transformation Project of Corporation Bank. With 29 years experience of working in various capacities in Corporation Bank,he will now add strength to the Team 'Bank of India'.

Friday, May 19, 2006

25 years and still going great guns

Twenty-five years in the food industry is no mean achievement. Sri Ganesh Prasad, a vegetarian hotel situated in S N Lane, opp Rice Memorial Church, Avenue Road Cross, has just completed 25 years of existence. Metrolife caught up with the proprietor Yagna Narayana Bhat and his son Venkat Raj, over lunch (what else) for a walk down memory lane and back.

“It was the year 1980, when we opened the doors of our hotel Sri Ganesh Prasad, to people here. I had come down to Bangalore in search of a job two years before that and my father who worked at several hotels in the City, got me a placement at Ashoka Upahara. We wanted to start our hotel but didn’t have financial support. A friend who knew a banker helped us get loans. We bought this place, then called Ramanath Lunch Home, and renamed it Sri Ganesh Prasad as I have great faith in Lord Ganesha,” says Mr Bhat.

The Bhats hail from Barkur, Udupi district. He says ever since he can remember, he has been interested in cooking. “My father is an excellent cook and he cooked for our guests in the hotel whenever he visited us. I’ve always wanted to run my own hotel. My mother advised me to finish Class X. Today, I can relax a bit as my son Venkat, an engineering graduate, has shown interest in taking the business a step higher,” he says. As we spoke, Mr Bhat ordered some coffee, freshly brewed in an old copper filter. “That gives a special flavour,” offers Mr Bhat. As we chat, we learn that the hotel dishes out some 400 varieties of food items each day. “We use pure ghee/sunflower oil, no dalda or refined oils.”
Among the specialities of the hotel are North Indian and South Indian food items, Karavalli items like Patrode, Sukkina Unde and rice kadabus, besides Mysore Pak and long-forgotten sweets like Haalbai, which used to be a regular during festivals in traditional Bangalore households. The Gudbud ice-cream is a must-try here.

The prices are truly affordable. In fact, their mini meals are for just Rs 12 a plate! A regular meal for two (with dessert) costs approx Rs 100 - 120.

The hotel has three levels: the darshini (or self-service) wing onm ground floor, non-A/C on mezzanine floor, A/C on first floor and a party hall on the second floor, that doubles up as a restaurant during peak lunch hour (when no parties are taking place).

The interiors are not too fancy, but are comfortable enough to linger over your meal. The walls have murals of Ganesha in all sizes and the pillars have cut mirrors lending a feeling of space. There is no elevator in the building, so if you’re weak-kneed, you’re better off not attempting the climb to the A/C hall.

As for their future plans, Venkat, fresh out of college, says “There are many, but we have to take them one at a time. We are looking at expanding our service with lodging facility.” A loyal clientele, quality food and their belief in the power of hardwork have ensured them success.

Bloodbath on Dalal Street

The 30 scrip sensitive index witnessed a historic fall on Thursday amid massive selling by foreign funds as also local operators losing an unprecedented 826 points (6.77 per cent) over the previous closing to end at 11,391 levels.

There was blood all over Dalal Street with only four of the top 500 shares managing to avoid battering.The market has thus crashed in two of the last four trading sessions perhaps indicating the three-year bull-run may be coming to an end.

It was the biggest-ever fall in absolute terms (i.e. in terms of points) though not in percentage terms. In April 1992, the market had tanked by 12.77 per cent – the biggest fall ever in terms of percentage though the sensex had dropped only 570 points as the value of sensex in those days was small.
Brokers attributed Thursday’s fall to the global meltdown and confusion over the proposal of the Central Board of Direct Taxes to impose higher tax on foreign institutional investors. As per one version, the foreign funds may need to pay tax at about 40 per cent if they are treated as traders. Currently, they are being treated as short-term players and paying 10 per cent as short-term capital gains tax.

The draft guidelines issued by the CBDT give 15 conditions to assessing officers to determine whether one is stock trader or investor. The CBDT has invited comments from all the stakeholders before May 25 on the draft guidelines. Given that FIIs are big players on the Indian markets, operators were apprehensive about a possible FII response to the government move and pressed sales. The foreign funds themselves also have reportedly made huge sales. In fact, they have been net sellers for the past four trading sessions in a row.

A look at the data made available by SEBI reveals that the FIIs were net sellers (selling being more than purchases) to the extent of Rs 2,900 crore between May 11 and 17. Whereas, domestic mutual funds were net buyers (buying being more than selling) worth Rs 1,600 crore.

Thus, the selling by foreign funds could not be absorbed by the buying effected by domestic funds resulting in bearish trend. The FIIs buying/selling figures for Thursday were not available. But it is believed the FIIs pressed heavy selling on Thursday.

Mr Umesh Kamath, Fund Manager, Canbank Mutual Fund, said the market is at 12,000 levels and so the fall is sharper. The sensex had gone up from 9,000 to 12,000 levels without any meaningful correction. He, however, felt the 11,300 levels could get support.

At the time of Demat scam, the market had gone down to 11,344 levels from which point it had bounced back. Similarly, last week it had gone down to 11,374 levels before getting support.

However, if these levels fail to get support, the sensex could go down to 10,800 levels.

According to Mr Kamath, any clarification from the CBDT about the tax treatment of FII gains would help market recover. As it is the sensex has already undergone a correction of over 1,300 points and thus expected to look up from present levels.

When asked which sectors have fallen the most, Mr Kamath said all sectors have gone down. He pointed out that barely two weeks ago, the market was bullish about cement and steel. However, they have been proved to be the worst performers now.

When asked as to how small investors should look at Thursday’s crash, he said investors should not go for overexposure to the equity market nor should they be underinvested in shares. They should take a medium to long term view and the exposure to various asset classes like shares, gold, real estate and cash should be properly balanced.

A look at the BSE indices table reveals that all the 18 indices closed in the red. BSE Metal index was the worst performer losing 1180 points or 11.37 per cent to close at 9199. Consumer durable index lost 8.24 per cent . Auto, capital goods, oil and gas also suffered heavy losses.

BSE IT that tracks shares belonging to the information technology sector lost 5.34 per cent. The advancedecline ratio was hugely negative with 2241 shares declining and only 288 shares gaining during the day on the Bombay stock exchange. Among the biggest losers were ACC (12 per cent), Hindalco (11.97 per cent), Tata Steel (10.91 per cent) etc. Reliance Energy, Maruti Motors, Gujarat Ambuja Cement also suffered huge damage. Despite the massive fall, the volume of trading was not very high with BSE recording turnover of Rs 4,862 crore and NSE Rs 10,593 crore in the cash segment.

The more broadbased Nifty index computed by NSE lost 6.77 per cent or 246 points to close at 3388 levels.