Distress To De-Stress

Stress is a disease of the twenty-first century. Everyone seems to be in stress – from a child to a retiree. The only time you are free from stress is when you are inactive. So you look for long weekends and holidays to escape from stress. The moment activity begins mental agitation returns. Vedanta speaks of your birthright as a human being to combine dynamic activity with perfect serenity of mind. Then perfect action emerges. You are successful and happy. Billie Jean King, the Wimbledon champion, says dynamic activity performed in an environment of tranquillity brings excellence, effortlessness in the midst of intense exertion.

What disturbs the mind? You believe a bad boss, nagging spouse or the weather causes you grief. The truth is that nothing in the world can disturb you except yourself. Stress is defined as mental turbulence caused by unfulfilled desire. As long as a desire remains unactualised you will be in stress. Yet desire is being recklessly fuelled and people are in stress.

Unbridled desire makes you unhappy. When desire is fulfilled you want more and greed  leads to delusion. Fulfilled still further, you are envious of those who have more than you and arrogant towards those who have less. If desire is obstructed the thought flow going from you to the object of desire gets deflected towards the obstruction. This is called anger. All this creates a lot of misery and tension.

Unrestrained desire prevents enjoyment. A person obsessed with money can never enjoy his money.  He has the best that money can buy but he is so stressed that he doesn’t enjoy any of it. Desire puts you on a collision course with others which prevents you from having meaningful relationships. And desire forces you to compromise your values. When you cross the line set by your own conscience you become a slave of your own weaknesses.

Rampant desire unsettles the mind. The mind rambles to the past and future, unable to concentrate on the present. This leads to failure. The nervous nineties in cricket or unbelievable lapses in a tie breaker are striking examples. When the intellect holds the mind on the present action without allowing it to meander to past worries or future anxieties you are concentrating. The moment a desire is fulfilled your attention shifts to something else you do not have. Thus you no longer enjoy what you have. Lastly, the mind gets attached to what you have. The law is – attach you lose, detach you gain. Possess and enjoy the world but never get bound to it. Wherever there is attachment the interaction becomes painful and in the end you lose the object. Hence desire is your greatest enemy. Yet this very enemy you pamper, nourish and encourage.

Vedanta says desire obstructs your gaining object of desire. A person obsessed with marriage finds it difficult to find a partner. A man lusting after money does not gain it. When you rise above desire and work for something beyond, the object of desire comes to you. Then you can enjoy it thoroughly with a calm mind.

So what is the way out? The first step is to manage desire with intellect. If the intellect approves, go ahead and fulfil the desire without fear or guilt. But if the intellect vetoes it, keep away. This gives relief. The next step is desire reduction by upgrading desires. Pick up a higher desire. The lower one drops.. Finally when the lure of the Infinite grips you all desires vanish. You are in Bliss.

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Railway Station Roundel

 Ever wondered where this station name roundel came from ?

The origins of the roundel, in earlier years known as the ‘bulls-eye’ or ‘target’, are obscure. While the first use of a roundel in a London transport context was the 19th-century symbol of the London General Omnibus Company – a wheel with a bar across the centre bearing the word GENERAL – its use on the Underground stems from the decision in 1908 to find a more obvious way of highlighting station names on platforms.

The red circle with blue name bar was quickly adopted, with the word “UNDERGROUND” across the bar, as an early corporate identity. The logo was modified by Edward Johnston in 1919.

Each station displays the Underground roundel, often containing the station’s name in the central bar, at entrances and repeatedly along the platform, so that the name can easily be seen by passengers on arriving trains.

The roundel has been used for buses and the tube for many years and, since TfL took control, it has been applied to other transport types (taxi, tram, DLR etc.) in different colour pairs.

The 100th anniversary of the roundel was celebrated by TfL commissioning 100 artists to produce works that celebrate the design.


Failure vs Mistake

The difference between a failure and a mistake

A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.

A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness, selfishness) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding.

We need a lot more failures, I think. Failures that don’t kill us make us bolder, and teach us one more way that won’t work, while opening the door to things that might.

School confuses us, so do bosses and families. Go ahead, fail. Try to avoid mistakes, though.


United States of America Long-Term Rating Lowered To ‘AA+’

United States of America Long-Term Rating Lowered To ‘AA+’ On Political Risks  And  Rising Debt Burden; Outlook Negative

Overview
· We have lowered our long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States of America to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’ and affirmed the ‘A-1+’ short-term rating.
· We have also removed both the short- and long-term ratings from Credit Watch negative.
· The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.
· More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
· Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics any time soon.
· The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.

 


Greater Noida Crisis : The Economics Behind

Greater Noida Crisis : The Economics Behind

Greater Noida crisis are making waves in almost all quarters of the society. I mean the  government, judiciary, politicians, real estate power brokers, banks & financial institutions, investors (common man) and of course the Farmers.

One fine day the court decides that the compensation given to farmers is not justified and the state government has taken their lands on some false pretexts.

Lets look at how the money changed it hands during the whole transaction –

Land Flow chart

FARMERS ————————> GOVT ———————–> BUILDERS ———————–> INVESTORS

Farmers gave land to the government against money, govt sold this land to real estate builders against money (& say bribes) and then the real estate  companies sold their projects i.e land divided into apartments to the Investors. These Investors borrowed money from the Banks to finance their deals.

Banks lend both to Investors & Builders, as they were authorized by the Govt.

Money Flow Chart

FARMERS <———————– GOVT <———————- BUILDERS  <———————— INVESTORS

(builders  & investors : borrowed money from banks)

Investors Money = Personal Savings + Investors Bank Loans

Builders Money = Investors Money + Builders Bank Loans

Govt Money = Partial of Builders Money

Farmers  Money = Partial of Govt Money

———————————————————————————————————————————–

In-depth balance sheets –

Builders Books should account for the Investors Money, Builders borrowed money from bank for the project, Land Cost, Bribes to Government Officials, Actual Project Cost (to be few majors).

Builders Profit = Investors Money + Bank Borrowed Money – Land Cost – Project Cost – Commissions

(Commissions here include bribes paid to Govt Officials for allocating land & commissions handed to agents for selling their properties)

 

 Case Analysis :  Judiciary says return the Framers Land

Government will return the Land Cost to the Builders. Now the main concerns are –

1. will Govt also return the commission / bribes they received – NO

2. money given as commissions to agents will also not come back.

3. money already invested in starting the building work, will not come back. (which includes Investors Money  and Bank Borrowed Money)

4. now the money left is not enough to be returned back to investors and the bank. (builders profit is directly proportional to investors money, now he is in a fix. if he sold flats at high rates, he needs to return the same money back or if he sold the flats in nominal rates, he still needs to return back).

5. builders are in a bigger problem here. however the kind of people they are, its extremely difficult to extract out the Investors money. they are in such a grave problem, that they cannot do anything but to delay the payments, or give back a small token of money.

6. investors who are the common people will be crushed. they have already taken loans, they EMI’s have started (some cases) and they see no future.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

What is going to happen ahead –

1. farmers can’t use these lands for agriculture again. that’s why they sold in the first case.

2. farmers said the Govt took land at a very cheap rate, they have never denied the fact – they are open for re-negotiation.

3. after the political situation settles down a little, they are going to re-negotiate.

4. Govt will again sell the same land at revised rates to the Builders, they will again receive their commissions.

5. Builders will further pass on their new cost to apartment owners on pro rata basis.

6. in the end the investors, will be required to pay more – whether he likes or dislikes. (as this is approved by the Government)

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Money invested in the supply chain is going to yield better results be it Banks, Builders, Government, Farmers. (quantum is huge)


Population Dynamics Ruling the World

Population Maths

The other day i was reading some articles on population and made some quick references to Wikipedia. Population of China is just 120 million more than India and in the last decade alone population in India grew by a staggering rate of 17.5 % compared to 5.4% of China.

China & India population account for almost 19.33% and 17.47%  respectively in the world, and immediately after them is USA which almost 25% of India and is just 4.5%.  The Females % in China & India is almost 48 % , where as in USA females are about 50.8% of the whole population.

Rank Country / Territory Population  % of World population Source
World 6,929,400,000 100% US Census Bureau’s World Population Clock
1  Chinan2 1,339,724,852 19.33% 2010 China Census
2  India 1,210,193,422 17.46% Provisional 2011 Indian Census result
3  United States 311,705,000 4.5% Official United States Population Clock
4  Indonesia 237,556,363 3.43% 2010 Indonesian Census
5  Brazil 190,732,694 2.75% 2010 Official Brazilian Census results
6  Pakistan 176,554,000 2.55% Official Pakistani Population clock
7  Nigeria 158,423,000 2.28% UN estimate for 2010
8  Bangladesh 150,863,000 2.18% Official Bangladeshi Population Clock
9  Russia 142,905,200 2.06% 2010 Russian Census
10  Japan 127,950,000 1.85% Official Japan Statistics Bureau

Population of India at Glance

Indian Population shows a different challenge in itself. Firstly the sex ratio is highly skewed, which statistically says there are less number of women as compared to men, and in absolute terms there are about 3,00,00,000 females short.  Even the literacy rate in women is just 65.46% as compared to 82.14 % in men.

In-depth analysis on population, demographics & lifestyle indicators can revel some more fascinating facts about India.


Will India Become Old Before It Becomes Rich? by A.T. Kearney

Will India Become Old Before It Becomes Rich?

Demographic changes and the impact on business strategies

Business leaders are largely aware of the role that demographics can play in a changing world, yet many executives remain uncertain as to how they can approach this field in their business planning. While tools are available to help understand the impact of population trends on economic activity—such as migration and urbanization patterns—age structure is perhaps the most powerful way to identify changes in consumption, productivity and ultimately demand for products and services.

How does India improve its infrastructure, education and other areas to ensure that the country becomes rich before it becomes old?

Over the past decade, a demographic revolution has taken place that will have a dramatic impact on global consumer markets for the next 50 years and beyond. Birthrates have declined sharply in Latin America and in the Islamic world, where several countries, including Indonesia and Turkey, are now at or below replacement levels. By contrast, in North America and Northern and Western Europe, birthrates have sharply increased, with the United States, Britain and France now above replacement levels and Germany recording its highest birthrate for almost 20 years. Conversely, with very low birthrates, Southern and Eastern Europe (including Russia) face a challenging future with few people of working age to support large populations of elderly. China may face the most difficult challenge of all as its working-age population peaks and starts to decline in the coming decade. These and other issues related to aging are on the minds of consumer industry executives worldwide.

The Sweet Spot of Economic Growth

When there is a large workforce and few dependents, a phenomenon called the sweet spot emerges. Today the dependency ratio (those under age 15 and older than 65 versus those who are 15 to 65) is very low, resulting in higher levels of economic growth due to more consumption and investment.

Different countries experience this sweet spot at different points in time, which helps explain periods of economic growth. Much of the recent growth in economies such as China can be attributed to lower dependency ratios. Potential demographic dividends still exist for many countries because we know that countries with increasing numbers of working-age adults, relative to dependent elderly and children, have an opportunity to increase employment, investment and savings. While we may identify the time period in which select countries can realize this bonus, whether or not the demographic bonus is realized depends on public policy and the creation of economic opportunities.

Age structure is perhaps the most powerful way to identify a country’s changes in consumption, productivity and, ultimately, its demand for products and services

There are commercial implications for each stage of the demographic transition. For example, in countries such as Japan, Germany, the United States and China, retail has increased rapidly during sweet spot periods. Even eating out as a phenomenon rose in Japan and the United States during this time period. However, different stages of the demographic transition present different types of opportunities. For a very young country, the main consumer focus will be on food and nondurable consumer goods. For a country such as China, which is at the zenith of its sweet spot, consumers demand more housing and durable goods. For an aging society such as Japan, consumption will shift and support growth in healthcare and services.

India’s Future

For India, there are three facts to keep in mind while planning for the future:

  1. The sweet spot will continue until 2037; in the next 20 to 25 years, the working age consumer group will be dominant. Female earners will become an important part of this group as more women enter the work force.
  2. The number of people in the old-age group is expected to increase rapidly (in absolute terms) after 2020. In fact, over the next 10 years, the fastest growing age group in percentage terms will be people older than 55. This presents opportunities and challenges: Opportunities exist in introducing new products and services designed for older people—such as health foods, health services and financial services, among others. The challenges are in lower consumption levels of older people and reduced overall disposable income of the working-age population as old age dependency rises.
  3. A detailed analysis of age-wise consumption (for example, intake of various food items over the past five years) reveals three distinct age groups that behave similarly: up to 24 years, 25- to 34-year-olds and 35 years and older.

To this last point, does this mean that “old” age characteristics in India—at least those reflected in buying propensity—start after the age of 35? Not necessarily. Indian consumers do not inevitably start buying every product and service like people age 35 and older. Rather, India has a higher proportion of multigeneration households than developed countries (or even some emergent markets such as China and Turkey), which means specific goods and services are purchased for an entire household. This is a good example of why the commercial implications of demographics have to be calibrated with local customs.

While we recognize that sweet spots are necessary, they are not a sufficient precondition for growth. Bad government policies can frustrate the demographic opportunity just as good policies and good business leaders can overcome the demographic problems of an aging society. So, as the “window of opportunity” remains open for another 25 to 30 years, the key question: How does India improve infrastructure, education and other enablers (for maintaining high and inclusive GDP growth) to ensure that the country becomes rich before it becomes old?

Bad government policies can frustrate the demographic opportunity just as good policies and good business leaders can overcome the problems of an aging society

There is a distinct danger that India will grow old before it grows rich if it continues on its current path. Of all the countries that have entered this sweet spot, India currently has the lowest per capita income at around $815 per year, which is about one-third of China’s.1 Even if India grows at a robust 8 to 9 percent per year for another 10 to 12 years, the average income levels will only reach what China’s are today (around $2,200 per year). If India maintains the same growth momentum until 2035, average income levels will be comparable to Turkey and Malaysia today ($4,700-$4,800). In contrast, “young” countries in the sweet spot and competing for investments, such as Brazil, Turkey and Malaysia, have significantly higher incomes to start with (at least five times that of India’s today). Therefore, depending on how quickly incomes rise and distribute in the next 20 to 25 years, India could become a larger middle-class country (with 70 percent or more of the population with annual incomes less than US$10,000), rather than a “rich” country. There will, however, be a meaningful number of both rich and upper-middle-class households (60 to 70 million households with annual incomes of $10,000 or more), which means marketers will have to make sharper choices in terms of identifying target groups, decision makers, products and services, value propositions and operating models, among others.