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Monday, February 12, 2007

Too much stress or time

would you believe that I wrote the following junk.

hours gone days gone and gone are weeks,
spirits of the group are going weak,
looking for mails and looking for fun,
things are fading like the evening sun,
so let us start some cool activity,
few from anuraag few from anubhuti,
I know that you have no time,
yet alok and hitesh should try some rhymes
Manish and vinesh are getting so busy?
I think work is less and they are lazy
Chirag and Saurabh where are you,
you look like lost & we are looking for you.
there are no signs of jaggu and kotes,
we'r waiting for cracks and waiting for jokes,
Pankaj and vishal what's the situation,
there is no news there is no question,
there no sounds of vikas and chandu,
write something junk or something fandu,
everyone is requested to put some bang,
to light those spirits back in the gang,
mittal is waiting for reply from you,
you all should know that I love you.

I know I know its good.

please everyone of you should give it a try
write some poem and write some rhymes,
I know most you won't be close to this *********************** (j/k)
still you should give it a shot and let it miss.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Future of Banking in India – Changing Imperatives

A healthy financial system is crucial for any economy thriving to achieve high growth and yet remain stable in an increasing global capital markets. The Indian banking sector has witnessed several reforms in the era of liberalization. Government did a commendable job to ease regulations and attract foreign investments. Confidence in banking sector increased not only among consumers but also in capital market. Indeed Indian banking sector has come far from the economic instability to a period of growth opportunities. However, a closer inspection reveals that tight government control is undermining India’s overall economic performance. India’s banking sector is studied over several areas of concern and findings are quite disappointing.

If we regress few years, in year 2001, Indian banking system was creaking. Non-performing loans were reported to be as high as 10 % of the loans of banking institutions. A resource-strapped Indian government was evaluating foreign direct investment, recapitalization and capital markets to set about strengthening the sector and encouraging structural change. It critically assessed that the recapitalization would not be possible given a high fiscal deficit (6.1 percent of GDP of 2000). Also it observed that capital markets will not come forward to rescue, as even after six years, banks had only raised $1.6 billion and capital markets did not show any interest in most government-owned and private banks because of their weak performance. In short, government had to look for private domestic and foreign investor to revive the sector. India did a good job to get over the time of instability, however much is required to done to propel further transformations. The transformation can be achieved by focusing on the areas identified below.

Savings of the people
Astonishing levels of savings and investments occur outside the formal financial system. Even though the country’s households save about 28 percent of their disposable income, but invest only half of these savings in bank deposits and other financial assets. The other half is invested in housing and machinery to support household businesses characterized with low-levels of productivity. These businesses lack technology and business know-how and are below efficient scale. India would demonstrate a much faster growth if these savings could be channeled through banking sector and allocated to more productive enterprises. Government needs to take initiative outside the banking sector to squelch these businesses with low-productivity. Though there is political pressure as some believe that it will result in losses of jobs for millions, however losses in jobs would be compensated by job creation in higher productivity businesses. Banking sector needs to play an instrumental role to allow this transformation to happen smoothly.

Liquidating Gold
Indians are the world’s largest consumer of gold. Indian banks attract none of the $200 billion savings that Indians have keep tied up in the gold. A large portion of it is in rural areas, which is effectively outside the reach of current banking penetration. Building more countryside branches, as most state-owned banks have done, is not sufficient. Key is to understand rural household needs and offer products that would allow cash against gold deposits. Government should give incentives banks to launch gold-deposit schemes to attract more of the value of consumer gold into financial system through banking. This would allow more formal control over a large asset, which could be directed to fund newer opportunities and thus get a higher rate of return.

Cost of bank Intermediation
Indian banking sector suffers from very high cost of intermediation, 5.6 percent in 2004 compared to 2.4 percent in United Kingdom and 1.8 percent in US. It is high mainly because state-owned banks, whose productivity levels is 10 percent of US levels, control 75 percent of bank assets. To improve the situation government needs to encourage consolidation among state-owned banks and improve corporate governance of bank by making them independent and accountable to stakeholders. The cost of intermediation is detrimental to financial system, as because of it savers get too less a return while borrowers need to pay a high cost of capital. This motivates people to create informal market places where borrowers and savers could transact without government taxation and regulations.

Increasing Productivity using Technology
Public sector banks currently function at productivity levels far below of the best Indian banks. India’s IT sector on one side leads the technology initiatives to make American banks increasingly more productive, India’s banking sector shy away from heavy technology investments to remain least productive. India needs to ensure comprehensive adoption of proposed internet, mobile and electronic technologies by creating incentive for banks to make initial investment to revamp their underlying business processes.

Private Banks
Retail-banking customers in India are very loyal to their domestic banks. According to McKinsey’s study 69 percent would stay with their current banks even if competitor’s offered lower cost of transactions. However there are certain customer segments which are willing to try foreign banks. Multinational banks should leverage their ability to deliver quality service and a sophisticated portfolio of financial products to create willingness among consumers to shift their assets to private banks and capture a share of India’s large retail-banking market. Increased participation by private banks will not only improve the productivity of the sector but also allow a more efficient capital allocation.

Government Regulation
Government regulations oblige banks to direct a high proportion of their funding to the government and its priority investments. Banks are required to hold 25 percent of their assets in government bonds. And to exasperate the situation, state-owned banks, that control the 75 percent of total assets, hold a much larger percent of their assets in government bonds. Further banks must direct 36 percent of their loans to household businesses, agriculture and priority sectors characterized with low-levels of productivity. Directed loans have high default rates, which restricts banks to achieve higher lending levels to avoid higher risk-exposure. This diversion of funds not only takes away investment from higher productive opportunities but also contains lending levels. Government essentially is financing its budget deficit through these regulations to follow a flawed approach to achieve social welfare objectives.

Competing with China
India aims to achieve growth rate comparable to its neighbor China. A detailed inspection of the numbers can show that India needs to vitalize its banking sector to increase capital investment rate resulting in higher GDP growth. Deposits in India represent 60 percent of its GDP compared to 142 percent for China. India’s saving rate, though respectable, is only half of the China’s rate. India’s financial depth, a measure of country’s financial stock with its GDP, is just 160 percent compared to 330 percent of China. Given above figures, India can still achieve its target mainly because the allocation of capital is better in India compared to China due to increased participation by private sector banks. Non-performing loan levels as percentage of assets, though high, are only a fraction of that of China. However to expedite the process India needs to fix some basic levers and put the banking sector on right track.

To conclude, government has always approached reforms in a reactive manner starting from the liberalization in 1991 forced by the economic crisis of balance of payment deficit. India’s banking sector needs a proactive approach to allow its participation in strengthening country’s financial system. By building a strong financial system and financial asset management, India will not only achieve its current target of growth but is likely to surpass them. However, no sound financial system can be imagined without an efficient and productive banking sector, and thus India needs rejuvenate its reform initiatives and extend them beyond foreign investments.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A greeting found

Imagine this day.

I woke at 7:30 in the morning. I had gone to bed at 2:30 AM last night, so i am little sleepy. But what the hell, I got a class to attend at 8:45. There is 2.5% class participation points in the first class and there is going to be a 5% quiz in the next. Somehow reading notes, I reached in the class at 8:46. I sat through both the classes and going through pre-reads and lecture notes in the class-breaks. No breakfast no meal. Classes get over at 1:15 PM. I run back to my room so that i can get ready for the scholarship interview at 2:40. I shaved myself while going through my application. I took a shower, while revising the possible questions and answers. Wore suit and searched net for information on Citibank and banking simultaneously. I reached interview site at 2:35. And yet I was late. My name had been called earlier. Anyway I waited for 20 minutes and sat through my first interview which lasted for 15 minutes, which went well. At 3:30 I went to cafe to buy a veg-puff and went to shop for an apple. I hadn't eaten anything since the morning. I came to my room at 3:50. I loosened my tie and opened the laptop. Got the email at 4:00 that I was short-listed for the second interview and I am supposed to report to interview (AC-4) site right away. So I again tightened my tie and walked to the AC-4. I got an interview fixed at 5:00 PM. So I borrowed a laptop and started reading about banking, Citibank etc. right outside AC-4. They kept telling me that it is postponed for 10 minutes after every 10 minute. Thus I waited for 2 hours outside in full suit, and trying to make sense of all the web-pages I was going through. I entered the interview room at 6 and was thrown out at 6:10. It went pretty bad. Anyway, I came back to my room, changed to more casual cloths. At 6:30 I was walking towards academic area with laptop in my hand as we needed to submit an assignment next day. We ordered Pizzas as there was not enough time to go for dinner. From 7 PM till 4:00 AM in the morning we worked on this assignment. I finally came to my room at 4:30 in the morning. It had been 21 hours, since I was awake and didn't have a minute to relax. Then I see it on my study desk.

It was yellow envelope. "Happy Birthday Deepak" was written over it. I instantly forgot all the pain that I had gone through in all day. I smiled, put down my bag and lifted the envelope. I opened the envelope to see a really beautiful greeting card from one my quad-mates. Feeling was amazing. I had totally relaxed. I took time to go through the card carefully. Even though I had to wake up at 8 again in the morning, I took my time to hang the card on wall carefully. It was the best thing that happened to me in weeks. Thanks Bankim. It was very special. Would you believe I haven't yet mate Bankim and thanked him personally? But that is what I will do as soon as I finish my next assignment ;).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Level 5 wanna bees

This article provides space to my unresolved thoughts which arose as I attended a lecture on "Leadership lessons from Shakespearean Tragedies". Lecture began with modest attendees but with time the class was full (and more) with students sitting where ever they can find a place. And if you are like most others and have heard anything on leadership, it is unlikely that you are not introduced to a buzzword "Level 5 leadership". But just in case you have not heard about it, here is the most official link on the subject. This idea is brought to you by Jim Collins. Concept got so much popularity that Jim wrote a full book "Good to Great". It is indeed an enlightening concept, and book is a must-read (if my forewords mean anything).

It was inspiring and impressive to see the number of students of my batch who wants to be Level 5 leaders, almost the whole class. The most common question that is raised: how do/can we become a level 5 leader? On the face of it, wow I am sitting with an enlightened group of people, who have raised themselves above the riches of world and are truly interested in building something sustainable without getting concerned about who will get the credit for it. But is that true? Is this what the class is really interested in? May be they are, but I have reasons to believe otherwise. This is where the quotation fits best "ignorance is bliss". Most people don't even understand what a level 5 leader is? And yet most people would want to become level 5 without even understanding what they want to become.

In my personal and insignificant opinion, I guess most of us wants to be level 5 because the very popularity of the concept. Because, the level 5 people discussed in the book were the ones who created world's most enduring and successful organizations. Because, these level 5 are regarded as most successful and accomplished individuals. Because, level 5 leaders are highly successful. Because, the most people around the world now thinks that it is the best leader one could be. Because, most people want to celebrated and remembered as a level 5 leaders.

But this is not exactly what a level 5 leader is. The things mentioned above are just incidental. These were not the things that level 5 leaders worked for. These are not the things that they wanted to achieve. In fact they didn't even know that they would be able to build such enduring organizations. They didn't even know that someone like Jim Collins will make them famous after half a century. This is not what motivated them and this is not what they went for. In fact they were exactly the opposite. They never tried to create something enduring, they just did what they thought was right and was the only way to do things. And "everything" else just came along. They didn't take decisions to get that "everything". A decision like whether or not I should become a level 5.

So what's the point of all this? Well the point is once you have even a moderate understanding what a level 5 leader is, you will have no doubt about how to become a level 5. Because once you understand what level 5 leader is and you truly like the idea of being a level 5 and lead that life, well you already are a level 5 leader. Because once you know about it, then there is no other path for you but to follow what a level 5 leader walks on. So you see, you either are a level 5 or you are not, if you already are a level 5; your transformation to level 5 depends only upon when you understand the concept and think that this is right path. And if you are not a level 5, and wants to become one, the only reason is that you haven't understood what it means to be a level 5.

Now the big question: would I be successful if I follow the level 5 path?
Dude, it is a very insignificant question. You still haven't got it, success and popularity are just incidental, they are immaterial. They don't mean anything to a level 5. This is not why they follow the path, they just follow it. If you are a level 5, there is no other path that you will walk on (at least as soon as you come to know about this path), whether or not you achieve success on this path.

Please, the article is no assertion that I have understood what a level 5 leader is. But I have understood it enough that I now know that I am not a level 5 and hence I will never be one. To me it’s just not worthed to be a level 5. Article is written with a modest attempt to make people think twice before they think/claim that they want to be level 5 leaders. So the key to become level 5 according to me is to know more and more about it and have a better understanding.

End Note:
As I said "If you understand what a level 5 leader is, and you still want to become one, well guess what, you already are one."

Saturday, July 29, 2006

MBA: Road to El Dorado OR Road to Perdition

For those are weak in vocabulary,

El Dorado: A fantasy land of great wealth (gold, diamonds, gems etc.)
Perdition: Hell

BEFORE                                AFTER
Got nothing to say, Just want to evoke some thoughts.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fizz is all gone

Screwed marketing paper big time. And not only marketing, haven't done anything good on competetative strategy too. Economics is yet to be done. This was coming, as fizz is already gone. Haven't done half of the pre-reads in competative strategy leading to no class participation. Bunked lectures of Jagmohan Raju of Khemka and didn't bother to learn the stupid sales experiment report from markstrat. What was I expecting anyway? I didn't even know what was the chain model. Oh dude this was a crime, looks like history is going to repeat itself. I should either shift to back benches or something needs to be done. TERM 2, is all screwed.

Consolation prize: DMOP comes as savior.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

This is fiction,..

This is fiction, ok fine most [of it] is fiction.

This is 22nd August, year 2003. It was an important day in Indian sports History, think of it. Well, I had come to Gurgaon for interview in SIEMENS in the morning. I reached SIEMENS office in the morning, wrote some tests, went through a GD and personal interview and got free by 6 PM in the evening. Oh yeah, all of it went well as I was finally selected for the job. Anyway so at 6, I called a friend in Delhi, Kumar Manish (Munshi), who was working in Citi-Financial (known as Associates then), Delhi. He asked to meet him at Saket PVR. So I took a bus to Daula Kua and then to Saket. But instead of Saket I chose to get down to Citi-Financial's office. It took 1.5 painful hours for the whole trip. But only if I knew what am I going to see today then it wasn't all that painful.

I reached Citi-Financial's office at 8 PM. I called Munshi from the recepetion, and then we headed towards saket, PVR. Oh Man, it was a nice place. You can't even imagine how much I appreciated the place after being into 95% boys campus for last 4 years. It was reaaaaally nice place. Since I wasn't in job, I was short on account and since Munshi was earning more than he needed for himself, we decided to for this really expensive place to have some Thi-Food. But, oops the place was full, as guessed by Munshi. All Delhi restaurants are full on a Friday evening. So we had to leave the place and look out for another food-joint. I had to catch my train at 11:50 PM back to Kanpur so there wasn't much time left. We decided to go for this burger joint right across. Then I realized today was the league of India-Pakistan Hockey-cup. Just few words on the match, India was loosing 2-4 to Pakistan in the first half and finally won by 7-5 with three goals in last 10 minutes. Match was really good, so I has to devote few words to it, but don't worry I am not making you read all this to tell you the match scores. We grabbed some burgers and sit on side to enjoy the meal and the match. We took seats with our back on the wall to see the television placed in a nook above, on the side of entrance.

And then she arrived. Oh man, I will have to stop typing to really go through her image in my mind very very carefully. Till today, I can't imagine a full image of her's. She must be 5'7'', yeah only half a inch shorter than me. I really felt short that day. She had straight hairs, neatly tied as womb, cliped by a big and fancy butterfly pin. And there were these two sphagatties of hairs falling on both sides of her face, right till middle of her neck. What a pure skin she had, I imagined that I would have seen the water flowing down only if she would have had some. No her lips weren't red, they were more natural and a lot sensual. I had stopped eating by then. Her eyes were clean, like a crystal. She had fair and smooth complexion. She wore silver earings, almost a inch big, just a like pair two pendulums in both ears. Oh yeah I was engineer at that time, and pendulum is what a call a metal string hanging with weight at the bottom, you can't blame me for that. She was wearing long frock, longing till 4'' inches below her knee. It was parrot green, yellow color dress with flower drawn all over. Dress was short-sleeved, exposing her clean, manicured, long, smooth arms. And right then, Jugraj Singh scored a goal at 24th minute. Everyone shouted at the top of their voices. Munshi got up on his feats. I just sat there and said WOOOW. I guess my "wow" was really long, becuase it had all I air I held while watching this girl. I guess she heard my "wow", and understood that what exactly was it really for. And she turned around looked right into eyes. It must not even be a blink's duration but it was the longest moment I remember since then. I don't know something happened and I went silent for the rest of the evening. She was there for the whole match. Even though her gang wanted to go somewhere else, but she convinced to them to stay there till the match end. I could sense that her ears are on me, but I was silent.

I looked at her for next 50 minutes but never directly. Yes, I could not muster the courage to go and talk to her. Match got over, India won. I located my luggage and walked out of the place with Munshi. I turned for one last time only to see that she was looking at me with the most innocent smile, I had ever seen. Trust me, "that innocent smile" did the most harm to me till date. I wanted to turn back again to see her but for some reason I couldn't. Munshi dropped me to Nizammudin railway station. I was unusually silent for the whole ride. We waited on the station for half an hour as train was late. I wasn't talking, Munshi also understood so even he wasn't talking. Train arrived finally arrive at 1 , I got into the coach.
I finally said "Munshi, she was just too good for me .right?"
Munshi said "what you think?"
I explained "Oh come on man, Let us face it, she deserved a lot better than me."
Munshi inquired "well then, why are we talking about her now?"
I closed my eyes, took a deep breadth, imagined her eyes, and said loudly "I got to go back, I am not going to Kanpur. I need to go to Saket, right now."

We left the train, ran out of the station, we grabbed the bike and rocketed towards saket. It took 20 long minutes to reach Saket at 1 AM. I think Munshi drives really slow. We reached Saket at 1:30. There was a lot of crowd but it was all coming out of PVR late night show. We roamed around the whole place to see no sign of her. Disappointed a lot, I bought two cigrettes, both for myself (Munshi doesn't smoke). We set right below the burger joint on the ground with our back on the closed shutter. I light the cigrette and waited for a full hour, before a policeman came and asked us to leave. And we left for Balco Apartments, Munshi's house. On the next day, I caught another train and left for Kanpur. Till date, whenever I goto Delhi, I make sure that I take my dinner at the same burger joint at Saket.

As Mark Twain puts it "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

All right guys, ITS ALL FICTION.