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Analysis

Amit Shah’s 50-year dream: Whistling in the dark?

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Amit Shah

Bharatiya Janata Party : President Amit Shah’s boast at the national executive meeting about the party ruling for 50 years may have been in keeping with his usual aggressive, bombastic style, but it has been interpreted in two contradictory ways.

One was to see it as a sign of arrogance and the other was to discern in the seeming extravagant claim a hint of whistling in the dark to keep up the party morale. Both the surmises have an element of plausibility.

If the assertion underlines hauteur, the reason undoubtedly is the BJP’s belief that it faces no serious challenge at the moment. Notwithstanding the continuing unemployment, agrarian distress, high fuel prices, falling rupee, stagnant exports and the unease among the minorities and Dalits, the opposition has not been able to get its act together.

Because of this failure, there are now doubts about how it will fare in the forthcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh since the BJP’s main opponent in these states, the Congress, which was earlier expected to have an easy run, has been unable to reach an understanding with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and is troubled by its familiar internal squabbling.

Besides, the question as to who will be the opposition’s prime ministerial face is yet to be settled while there has been no clearcut articulation of an economic blueprint. The BJP, on the other hand, is pursuing a well-defined path. Even as “vikas” (development) remains its catchphrase, it also cannily indulges in the ruses of what a dissident saffron intellectual and former BJP minister, Arun Shourie, has called a “one-trick pony”.

The “trick”, according to him, is to foment divisiveness which has been highlighted by the communal uncertainties posed by the National Register of Citizens, which the Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, wants to be extended from his state to the entire country so that the “ghuspetiyas” (infiltrators or illegal immigrants) can be summarily evicted. “Chun chun ke nikaloonga”, as Amit Shah has thundered.

The BJP’s confidence apparently stems from the belief that while the promise of development will keep the youth and the middle class on its side — as has been confirmed by the Delhi University Students Union election results where the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), won three of the top four seats — the party’s nationalist plank targeting “ghuspetiyas” and the so-called urban Naxalites will keep the opposition off balance.

It is obvious that the opposition has found no effective answers to the allegations of being soft on illegal aliens and Maoist sympathisers and has to depend on the judiciary to keep any excesses of the ruling party in check as in the matter of lynchings.

How indifferent the BJP is towards such outrages or the disquiet expressed by the “secular” intelligentsia about its rule was evident from the seeming satisfaction which Amit Shah derived from the fact that the party keeps on winning despite the murder of Mohammed Akhlaq, allegedly for eating beef, or the “award wapsi” of the urban elite.

It is not surprising that he believes that a combination of the promise of economic growth and a depiction of the opposition as unpatriotic will keep the “lion” safe from the “wild dogs”, to quote the similes used by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat while addressing the World Hindu Congress in Chicago to describe the Sangh Parivar and its opponents.

On its part, the RSS has been engaged in broadening its appeal by calling the non-saffronites to its conclaves. It goes without saying that a possible mainstreaming of the avowedly pro-Hindu organisation will help the BJP to shake off to some extent the taint in the eyes of its opponents of its association with the RSS and thereby help in the fulfilment of the dream of ruling India for half a century.

It cannot be gainsaid that at the moment, much is going for the party. It has a Prime Minister whose popular appeal is testified by virtually all the opinion polls despite the government’s palpable inadequacies. The party also has a chief whose micromanagement of the organization has turned it into a formidable election-winning outfit.

In addition, its publicity is boosted not only by its members in the government and the party, but also by an army of trolls who lose no opportunity to pounce on the BJP’s critics with venomous abuses. Not to be left behind in supporting the ruling dispensation are some ‘nationalist’ television channels whose commitment to neutrality is conspicuous by its absence.

With so much in the BJP’s favour, its 50-year project may not seem all that far-fetched — except that the Indian voter remains famously inscrutable. Considering that the BJP secured no more than 31 per cent of the votes at the height of its popularity in 2014, it is obvious that a large percentage of the population do not think much of the party.

It may be this inconvenient fact which made Amit Shah whistle in the dark.

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at [email protected])

Analysis

Election results, oil prices to direct equity indices movements – Market Outlook

Last week, the Indian equity indices dipped over concerns of a resurgence of US-China trade tensions and reports of crude oil supply cut.

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NSE Nifty

Mumbai, Dec 9 : The outcome of Assembly elections in five states, along with fears over an escalation in US-China trade war and volatility in crude oil prices, are expected to determine the trajectory of the key Indian equity indices next week.

Market observers opined that the direction of foreign fund flows in the backdrop of US Fed’s policy decision, coupled with the upcoming macro-economic data points on industrial production and inflation will also affect investor sentiments.

“Going into the next week, undoubtedly the outcomes of state elections, US Federal Reserve policy meet and other developments from the global arena will dictate the trend of the market,” said SMC Investments and Advisors’ Chairman and Managing Director D.K. Aggarwal.

On Tuesday, December 11, the results of state Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh, Telangana and Mizoram will be declared. These elections are considered as a crucial indicator of public mood before the Lok Sabha elections which are due in April-May 2019.

“In the week ahead, Indices are also likely to face pressure from a global sell-off and renewed up-tick in crude oil prices,” said Sahil Kapoor, Chief Market Strategist, Edelweiss Investment Research.

“State election results can cause markets to remain volatile and 1 per cent plus intra-day moves may be a common place.”

Besides the outcome of the state elections, an escalation in global trade protectionist measures after the arrest of Huawei’s Global CFO over alleged violation of US sanctions on Iran is expected to exert pressure on the indices.

Even an anticipated rise in crude oil prices after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia decided to go in for a production cut of 1.2 million barrels per day from 2019 might hinder the markets’ attempts to edge higher.

The brent crude oil was priced at over $63 per barrel last Friday.

Additionally, investors will remain cautious over an expected hike in US interest rates which can potentially drive away foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) from emerging markets such as India.

Last week, provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold stocks worth Rs 865.52 crore during the week ended December 7.

These factors are also expected to exert pressure on the Indian rupee.

According to Anindya Banerjee, Deputy Vice President for Currency and Interest Rates with Kotak Securities, the Indian rupee is expected to range from 70.50 and 72.50 against a US dollar in the coming week.

“With exit polls showing the risk of a BJP loss in key states of Rajasthan and MP, USD/INR can rally on Monday morning due to short covering from traders who are short on the US Dollar,” Banerjee told IANS.

“Next week will be dominated by the election results. If BJP retains MP and at least one from Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, then rupee can rally. However, a BJP loss can be negative for INR. The range can be large. It can between 70.50 and 72.50.”

However, in the past week, the local currency moved Rs 1.21 from its previous week’s close of Rs 69.59. The rupee closed at 70.80 a US dollar last Friday.

Apart from the rupee movement, markets will take cues from the macro-economic data points such as the IIP (Index of Industrial Production) and Balance of Trade figures.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is slated to release the macro-economic data points of IIP and CPI (consumer price index) on December 12, Wednesday.

Other key data points such as the wholesale price indexed-inflation (WPI) and the Balance of Trade data will be released on December 14.

On technical charts, the trajectory of National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty50 is expected to be volatile.

“Technically, while the Nifty has corrected sharply this week, the index has managed to bounce back and hold above the 50-day SMA. This gives the bulls a chance to make a comeback,” HDFC Securities’ Retail Research Head Deepak Jasani told IANS.

“Further, upsides are likely once the immediate resistances of 10,775 points are taken out. Crucial supports to watch for any weakness are at 10,588 points.”

Last week, the Indian equity indices dipped over concerns of a resurgence of US-China trade tensions and reports of crude oil supply cut.

Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex lost 521.05 points, or 1.43 per cent, to close at 35,673.25 points, whereas the 50-share NSE Nifty declined 187.05 points, or 1.71 per cent, to settle at 10,693.70 points.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])

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Analysis

Reverse bidding: Five players get nod to supply 12,000 rail wagons

The Railways is suffering due to the slow pace of delivery and has tried to step up procurement.

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rail wagon
Picture Credit : OTV

New Delhi, Dec 9 : Stepping up its wagon procurement, Indian Railways has selected five players through the reverse-auction method — a first for the wagon sector — to manufacture and supply over 12,000 wagons worth about Rs 4,000 crore.

The Railways has floated tenders to procure a total of 21,758 wagons of various types — covered, flat, open and guard vans — to cater to its growing needs in the next two years.

“We have finalised contracts for 12,611 wagons in the first lot through the reverse-auction process, which is being adopted for the first time in wagon procurement,” a senior Railways official told IANS.

In a reverse auction, the sellers compete to obtain business, and prices typically decrease as the sellers underbid each other after the lowest price is made public.

The official said the reverse auction carried out online ensures transparency and the most competitive price for the purchase as the order of more than 21,000 wagons is the largest so far.

Maintaining a strict delivery schedule, Railways has asked the five wagon manufacturers who have won the race in the competitive bidding – Jupiter Group, Modern Coach Factory, Titagarh Wagons, Texmaco and Besco — to deliver a substantial number of wagons in the first six months.

The Railways is suffering due to the slow pace of delivery and has tried to step up procurement.

While Besco has got the nod for supplying 395 guard vans, the remaining four companies of Titagarh (5,058), Jupiter (2,894), Modern (2,643) and Texmaco (1,621) have to supply open wagons before February 2020.

The Railways will take up the procurement of the next lot through the reverse-bidding process shortly.

(Arun Kumar Das can be contacted at [email protected])

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Analysis

Strategies to Quash Financial Crisis for those who are into Mid-Life Entrepreneurship

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Dec 8 : There are an  increasing number of Entrepreneurs going through financial struggles, because of poor planning and knowledge and let’s discuss the way out

The nascent stage of entrepreneurship is not the easy road, especially if one is a mid-life entrepreneur. Most have them have started their journeys by taking a dip in their savings and leveraging it to catapult their business forward. Vaibhav Datar calls for a sound planning and strong command over one’s financial assets which would assuredly help resolve expenditure, stress related to expenditure and negate the involvement of middle men (read taxmen) haggling the hard earned money and taking control over whatever little time the entrepreneurs have.

Not having a well paved path can lead to entrapment of the ventures who go back to the safety net of their salaried jobs but without any lessons learnt. These once enthusiastic entrepreneurs often end up blaming the market, the customer and external factors without realizing that the real change needs to occur within. Only if they had taken a hard look at their money and controlled their urge to splurge, things would have been different.
To avoid this conundrum, listed are the few strategies which will help mid-life entrepreneurs to move away from financial crisis towards financial abundance.

Vaibhav Datar said, “Creativity is directly proportional to the capital influx. In certain times if the entrepreneur experiences a dry financial spell, it is time to change the strategy and put creativity in full gear. The distinct element of being ‘out-of-the-box’ is helpful while it remains aligned to the industry and the business motive. This leads to combination of creativity and proactivity that can concord the perfect recipe for success.”

Vaibhav Datar said, “It has been observed that people tend to reject monetary help with no conscience. It is in the nature of human to be sceptical about the compliments or help that because one does not accept and acknowledge that what he/she earns is a reward for their hard work and knowledge. Compliments often digress to negativity where the receiver tends to believe in the ulterior intention of the other party and create a disbelief over something absolutely trivial. Humans immediately reciprocate a compliment with another one as we do not like obligations. Same thing can be applied to monetary assistance. We are inclined to believe that borrowing funds sets a bad example and any monetary transaction is pushed away because human mind doesn’t allow one to feel worthy of it.

Unless there is a valid reason behind this understanding, one should not push away help of any sorts and this idea needs to be implemented with immediate effect.”

Vaibhav Datar  said, “Quite often, people end up giving more funds than required. Why does one do that? The answer is recognition and appreciation. In one’s zest for adaptability & acceptability, it is accepted that respect and love can be bought with money.However it does not work that way. By spending more, people create an impression that monetary benefit is something that doesn’t matter as much as it should and by adopting this reckless behaviour, people often pave path to more such opportunities. Nothing can be negatively drastic than that.

In this time of online transaction and digital money, the feel of the actual currency is taking a back seat and earning money is no more a joyous option as it once was. By being grateful towards the earned money and understanding the value, not only entrepreneurs but every person will reminisce the value of every rupee earned and be more conscious of where it is being spent.

Financial knowledge has utmost importance when it comes to managing money and being aware of the flow of money takes the cake in any financial planning. Buy a book on financial independence, play business games like Cash flow 101, make friends with financial planners, read financial papers and increase one’s financial literacy.

Money is equated with water. As always said by the traditional people in India, akin to water flowing through leaking taps money goes away faster than you thought. By undertaking a critical analysis of the money being spent and understanding the conjecture at which it can be optimized, the entrepreneur can reduce the chances of acute dearth of cash and can rely on the well thought measures to punctuate the entire money repository for various other purposes.

As I go through innumerable life coaching conversations with mid-life entrepreneurs, I find an increasing number of them going through financial struggles, because of poor planning and knowledge. Let’s be more aware about our future financial needs and take concrete steps towards becoming a rich mid-life entrepreneur.

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