Also, Ramalinga Raju for FM

December 17, 2008

I have only one question for the people who’re calling for Ratan Tata to be Prime Minister.

Are you fucking idiots?

In the past few years, the Tata Group, with Ratan Tata presiding, has:

  1. spent money buying luxury car brands just months before the world headed for a recession
  2. completed an expensive purchase of Corus, and now has to worry about getting money in the middle of a global credit crunch
  3. started, and then abandoned the ridiculous Chai-Unchai concept of tea bars for Tata Tea
  4. further lost market share in mobile telephony, had to write off years of accumulated losses in Tata Teleservices, and is desperately clutching at the Virgin Mobile straw to turn things around
  5. screwed over small shareholders in the TCS IPO (wait, the Tatas have been screwing over the small shareholder for years on end)
  6. spent money putting up a car factory in Bongland of all places, royally screwing up the land acquisition, walking into a PR disaster, and then running to Gujewland, something they could have done to begin with and saved themselves much grief
  7. and, of course, most recently, cut down on security at the Taj Mahal Hotel a week before it was attacked

With this track record of incompetence, you want to make Ratan Tata responsible for the country. If you have to exhibit your desperation, why not just wish for the British to take over once again?

What about Azadi for Punjab?

September 11, 2008

The brouhaha about independence for Kashmir, with arguments about whether it’s liberal, or sensible strategy, or whatnot has obscured the far more important question of when Punjab will gain independence from the rest of India.

I mean, look at the situation. Greater Punjab (encompassing Indian Punjab, Pakistani Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Delhi, and Western UP) does all the work. It gets India gold medals at the Olympics. It produces food, Maruti cars, and thermal undergarmaments for the rest of the country. It doesn’t suffer floods, have Mamata Banerjee, or slaughter VHP swamis or Christians. Neither does it have politicans who go about smashing shops and theatres or calling for bandhs. Basically, Greater Punjab does all the heavy lifting while the rest of India freerides. Our manifest destiny is being hijacked by a bunch of wankers from East of Kanpur and south of Bathinda. And frankly I am sick of it.

So it’s time to call for Punjew self-determination. I am sure I will be supported in this by Swami Aiyar, Vir Sanghvi and Arundhati Roy. If not – well, we have the martial races.

Dear Tata Motors,

September 5, 2008

What were you thinking in the first place by going to Bongland?

Even More on Land Sale Reform

February 5, 2008

Barun Mitra has a Mint oped today on why not allowing the free sale of agricultural land is a bad idea. Excerpts:

Which leads us to the question: Why is it legitimate to acquire land for industrial use, but prohibit farmers from consolidating and expanding their landholding to improve agriculture? Why shouldn’t a farmer be able to legitimately acquire a thousand acres?

Indian industry can raise capital from the global market on the basis of a prospectus, which promises performance in the future. But Indian farmers can’t raise adequate capital on the basis of the land asset which they already possess.

However, it is critical that the value of the land of farmers, often their only asset, is maximized, and it is made simple to capitalize. The problem facing the poor is not their poverty, but inability to capitalize their assets. Typically, agricultural land hardly fetches Rs2-3 lakh per acre. Agriculture income, even if the land is cropped twice a year, can hardly be more than Rs30,000 per acre, at current productivity levels.

The industry could also offer shares or bonds in lieu of land. Or even provide alternative land if the farmer decides to continue with his vocation. In an open land market, with protected property rights and security of contract, there would be a wide range of choices to meet almost every requirement.

Very much worth reading. So do read.