An owl on every branch

Now the President’s office has come under fire for a land grab (see here)

Now practically, every branch of the Government-President’s office, the Army,the Executive, the Legislature and even the Judiciary is embroiled in some controversy or the other.

Am reminded of  a couplet of Akbar Allahabadi:

“Barbaad Gulistan karne ko,

ek hi ullu kafi hai,

har shaakh pe ullu baitha hai,

anjame gulistan kya hoga?’’


To destroy a garden

One owl (colloquial for fool) is enough

There is an owl on every branch,

What will be the fate of the garden?

Friend or Servant?

An old joke about Reliance goes like this:

“There are two types of people in government-friends of Reliance and servants of Reliance”


The truth behind this joke has now become evident.

Along with Natwar Singh, Reliance Petroleum was named in the Volcker Report as a beneficiary of the oil-for-food scam.Yet it was let off scot free

When the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was asked why,he replied “After all, what can I do? It is India’s largest corporate.” (source:Caravan)


MCap to GDP Ratio

The Market Cap to GDP ratio is used sometimes as an indicator to check the valuations of the markets.

In the Indian context, (using BSE valuations) this ratio really took off  after 2002-03.(source:SEBI)

Is this indicator any good?

In 2000, according to statistics at the World Bank the market cap to GDP ratio for the U.S. was 153%. Subsequently, the dot com bubble burst.

However, in 2003, the ratio was around 130%, but the market rally continued over the next few years.( see here)

So maybe it is useful but not completely reliable.
To misquote/change of an old joke of Ben Graham:
“The correct attitude of the investor toward the MarketCap to GDP ratio might well be that of a man toward his wife. He shouldn’t pay too much attention to what the lady says, but he can’t afford to ignore it entirely !!”


A mega trend

The Dept of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations has prepared a great study on  world urban populations (see here)

Increasing urbanization is a huge mega trend with huge implications for all of us (especially Indians).

The chart below shows the projected increase in urban populations in India till 2050

If these projections come to pass, then our Indian cities will add around 500 million people to the existing urban populations in the next 40 years !

Considering our choking infrastructure, water scarcity, high food inflation,pathetic sewage systems- a doubling of urban populations can lead to severe social and economic stress.

On the other hand, increasing urbanization can also lead to investment opportunities especially in real estate and agro commodities.