Pehel an Initiative

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Akshay Moorty
Prashant Chiluka
Surbhi Nalwaya

Made as part of Rediff Contest. Team is in top 10 finalist from India.

Monday, March 08, 2010 Posted by sauravtibrewal


A Marketable Budget!

2nd March 2010- The Kolkata wing of ‘Cash-O-Nova’, the Finance club at IIFT, organized a panel discussion on Union Budget 2010-11. The distinguished panel comprised of Dr. Ajitava RayChaudhari, former Head of Economics Department at Jadhavpur University, Mr. Gopal Aggarwal, Indirect Tax Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Mr. Chetan Panchamia, Head, Equity Research Division, Eastern Financial Ltd. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Ranajay Bhattacharya, an Economics graduate and Fulbright scholar and also a popular professor at IIFT.

Dr. Bhattacharya stated that like every year the current budget too reflected the tussle between economics and politics. He set the tone by stating that this budget was “less popular” than the previous one. However this view was opposed by Dr. RayChaudhary who stated the dual problem of growth and inflation that India faces and said that only innovative budgets would be the way out. He explained how strong social programmes and the rise of the Indian middle class had helped fuel demand but due to poor monsoons we had short supply. This was causing the inflation and he thought only long term measure such as projects under Bharat Nirman like building roads and in general agriculture infrastructure would be the way out. He stressed that budget being basically a one year plan could not cure the problem of inflation; rather what it could do is set the road map for the future. He also emphasized the need to remove the subsidies unless it was absolutely ensured that it benefitted the intended persons. He welcomed the idea of Unique Identification number (UID) programme as a solution to this problem. He did criticize the hike in indirect taxes as this would hit the poorer people more than the middle class and rich.

Mr. Aggarwal voiced a similar opinion on the increase in indirect tax. He reiterated that while the change in slabs made the budget a good one for the middle and high income families, the poor were not incentivized enough. However, he lauded the fact that the honourable finance minister had set a specific date (April 2011) for the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He saw this as a step which will remove the cascading effect of the various excise tax, customs tax etc. He also spotted a trend of a fall in the excise tax and increase in service tax. He said that this was an indicator that India was slowly but steadily moving towards service taxes. He rated the budget a modest 7 on a scale of 10.

Stock market’s reaction is an important indicator of the marketability of a budget and according to Mr. Panchamia the budget was a very marketable one. It not only addressed the question of fiscal consolidation but also stated that the aim was to get the fiscal deficit down to 5.5% of GDP. This was in fact what the market was looking forward to hear as this would mean a better rating from credit agencies, thereby ensuring more inflow of FII. However he did mention that the oil subsidy had caused the debt market to give thumbs down to the budget. He was of the view that markets would be bullish as long as we avoided global pitfalls.

We also witnessed a very good discussion at the end of the session with the floor been thrown open to the students. Prof. RayChaudhari pacified the concerns raised by the students regarding overheating of economy by emphasizing on the importance of technological development. He favoured more focus on developing infrastructure over doling out subsidies. Mr. Chetan was optimistic regarding the disinvestment of the PSUs and Mr. Aggarwal felt that there was a high probability of IT tax cuts being extended by the turn of the year. The session was closed on a positive note with the speakers reasserting that there were definite benefits from this budget such as the bringing of the GST. The final assessment termed it a budget on expected lines and definitely not a path breaking one.

By: Sayani Ghosh


2009-11, IIFT

Piggybacking on Comics

written by Janani Kandaswamy

Imagine Asterix deriving his strength from Maggi soup in-stead of druid‘s potion, or Calvin playing with a Lego toy instead of Hobbes. Sounds preposterous? Maybe not. With a lot of fore thinking and planning, marketers are targeting a huge segment of customers by capitalizing on the unique place that comics hold among various age groups.

Using comic characters to reach across to children allows the advertisements to become a part of their world. Bubba the cat, for instance is the mascot for Cadbury India‘s bubblegum brand Bubbaloo. Chandamama also figures in Parle‘s strategy of promoting the multi-coloured confectionery Poppins.

What is so attractive about comics as a marketing media for children?

Comics are an integral part of childhood. The intensity of children‘s engagement with comics is very high.

Comics brands such as Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha and Double Digest are contemplating the idea of tying up with automobile and consumer durable brands. ACK Media, the owner of these comics has already churned out comics featuring LIC India, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd and the National Stock Exchange. An-other brand called Virgin comics is keen to extend its services to a lifestyle brand and a consumer products company. In the coming years there is bound to be more marketing oriented companies following the comics route of attracting young consumers.

On the other end, adults are also being targeted by advertisers. The best example would be Google who marketed their internet browser chrome through an online comic book created by Scott McCloud. The book explained the inner workings of chrome and was de-signed as a printed comic for journalists and bloggers. With good presentation, thought, useful information and easy language it created the awareness which led to a firm entrenchment of Chrome in the minds of its potential users.

With the arrival of comics as a reliable means to garner attention for a product, the marketers have to refine the groundwork they do before zeroing in on a particular medium (web/print etc). There is no single comic for everyone. So creators need to initially identify the type of people who are likely to enjoy it. Once the general audience is identified, they have to deter-mine the influencers in that group and what social media they tend to gather around.

Keeping in mind the success of comics as a marketing medium, we might just get to see our favourite comic characters assuming the roles of brand ambassadors. Now wouldn‘t that be refreshing!!!

bald eagle losing out to the red dragon....

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 Posted by Magesh Kumar

America ain't competitive nor innovative no more......... fears Thomas Freidman......

RBI Ex-General Manager Delivers a Talk on Workings of the Central Bank

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 Posted by sauravtibrewal

19th February 2010, Kolkata : Cashonova the Finance Club of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Kolkata organized a lecture by Samirananda Roy, retired General Manager, Reserve Bank of India. Mr. Roy has also served the government of India in various other capacities. Presently he is working with Disha Consultancy, a trust set up under the aegis of ICICI Bank and engaged in imparting financial education among poor people.

The lecture took us on a historical tour of the country’s central bank. Mr. Roy having served the organization for quite a long period of time presented an insider’s view of the organization. Beginning with the evolution under the colonial masters, the talk encompassed the post reform era of the Indian economy as well. The brief history of the organization was peppered with several anecdotes involving Mr. Roy and his seniors which added a personal touch to the discussion.

The lecture gave the students an insight into the various roles and responsibilities of India’s central bank. He reiterated the role of the central bank in the socio-economic affairs of the country. The students were made aware of the numerous obligations of the central bank and the importance of an overarching mandate being handed over to it. The role of RBI during different period of times and the implication of the policies as enunciated by it was made amply clear. “If the central bank of the country earns profit then country’s health is not good.” Such profound observations clearly led the students in appreciating the larger picture and interrelationship between business of the central bank and its impact on economy.

The lecture was interspersed with thought provoking questions by the students continuously thus making it seem more like a dialogue. The talk was drawn to a close with a vote of thanks and the presentation of a token of appreciation by the club coordinators.

By: Mritunjay Kumar

IIFT, Kolkata MBA(IB) 2009-11

Budget Analysis Session

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 Posted by sauravtibrewal

Corporate Relations Committee of IIFT organised a budget analysis session on 2nd March 2010. The objective of the session was to analyse various aspects of the budget from different perspectives. The speakers who graced the occasion were

1. Mr. Mohit Satyanand, who is an entrepreneur & Investment Advisor and is also a columnist with Outlook India,

2. Mr. M G Ramachandran, who is an Associate Director, PWC -Tax & Regulatory Services,

3. Prof. Rajan Ratna, Centre for WTO Studies, IIFT.

Ms. Madhuri Ghosh, the co-ordinator of CRC, introduced the speakers to the audience of over hundred.

Mr. Ramachandran started the analysis with his presentation. He elaborated all the changes made in the tax laws – both direct and indirect.

Next speaker was Prof Ratna who pointed out the fact that the budget was not for Aam admi. He justified his opinion by saying that the goods on which the excise duties have been cut like set top boxes, LCD TVs, mobile accessories are not what an ordinary man use heavily in his daily life. He also stressed on the fact of monitoring the funds allocated to various schemes.

The final speaker was Mr. Satyanand who is also a graduate from Delhi School of economics. He stressed upon the economic and political impact of the budget. He opined that the finance minister has taken a very optimistic assumption that fiscal deficit can be controlled by 3G auctioning and disinvestment provisions. Mr. Satyanand also said that we need to restore world confidence in India which is quite low at this point in time. This can be interpreted from the fact that the 10 year bond yields are trading at 7.92 % whereas in an unstable economy like Greece, it is trading at 7 %. So, Government could have done something to make world realise that India is a safe haven for investments.

After the discussions, the floor was opened for questions. Doubts over hike in MAT, rationale behind extra deduction by investing in Infrastructure bonds, deregulation of oil prices etc. came up, which was solved in a very comprehensive manner by the distinguished panellists.

At last, the vote of thanks was given by Madhuri and bouquets were presented to the speakers by the IMF (student body) president Arakkal Vedhus and Ms. Ishaani Gandhar, the convenor of CRC.

The session was very useful in the sense that three different speakers from diversified backgrounds helped us to understand the budget from three separate angles.

My first Holi-day

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 Posted by Amit Chawla

[Original Version @ Reproduced on March 1, 2010]

I've never played Holi in the last 25 years of my existence. Here's how it changed today.

0500 - Went to sleep after finishing AOE.

1000 - Loud Music from Buffy's giant speaker wakes me up. Try to sleep again, curse Buffy - but still can't sleep.

1010 - Never take advice from Singh Saab on such important issues. I was scared to go down and have breakfast. But he convinced me that nobody other than Buffy is playing Holi downstairs.

1015 - I go down in the lift. Sneak till the mess door. But that was the farthest i could go. Manjari smears tons of color on me. After exhausting all color that she had, gives me a saintly advice to remove my spectacles. Then IMF Prez takes charge. Insures that his rival Prez has eaten more color than his breakfast.

1020 - Forget Breakfast. Its time for revenge. I ready myself for counter attack. Apply an insane amount of oil, and jump in to the battlefield.

1025 - Now outside. These people haven't left a square cm of my original skin color. I'm looking like every one else now. Multi-colored.

From then onwards, i allow nobody to look less colored than me. Later, we launch an attack on seniors. They start tearing each others clothes. We pick up the tradition quickly. Within 20 mins, all guys are topless. Then, after a photo session and dancing, we decide to call it a day.

1300 - The longest bath of my life starts. All different color blends come out each time i pour a bucket.

1400 - No food inside or in vicinity of campus. We embark on a long trek to search for food. With me are Singh Saab, IMF Prez, Stallion, Koshish Tiwari and Papa Ghosh. What aggravates the problem is lack of ricks and buses. We walk till Mezbaan - closed. Move on towards IIT - Nothing. Finally we spot a bus, and fortunately its going to Saket

1500 - So, we reached Saket in 1 hr. At least McD's didn't disappoint us. We ate like famished beings. Found ricks on our way back. And happily slept from 1600 - 1830.

1830 - Made calls to all friends and family. Over in 30 mins.

1900 - The search for food continues. I must add, we always happen to eat at the most unexpected places for the sake of food variety. Now, me and I-Prez don't maind wandering around. The third person always pays the price for our adventurous journeys. This time it was Papa Ghosh.

2000 - Instant shortage of ricks again. Even JNU is closed. On top of it, we got lost in the vast campus. Finally came out after walking 4 kms. But, Mezbaan was directly opposite to the gate and it was open. But, a huge waiting line outside.

2030 - Papa Ghosh has had enough. We are now at Al Kauser, Munirka. But there are no waiters to take our order. Prez tries to exert his influence on the manager but he refuses to budge citing staff shortage. Papa Ghosh decides never to come back here again.

2130 - We are done with the food now. It was quite delicious for our hungry souls. Papa Ghosh has cooled down. He may come here again. We get into another rick. Old songs playing. And the gentle breeze. Enough adventure for the day.

2200 - Suri calls for TT. Even Doctor has started playing, it seems. Skipped the CB group meeting to play.

0000 - Just finishing the blog. One of the best days in IIFT. Back to work.