Showing posts from April, 2009

2009 Elections

With seven hundred million voters (possibly, two hundred million of them illiterate) and a colorful cast of leading characters, Indian elections are one of the most fascinating events of our times.
Sonia Gandhi: Sixty something Italian, widow of a Prime Minister, cannot speak Hindi clearly, represents the heart of the Hindi belt, reticent and operates by consensus.
Mayawati: Dalit woman, unsophisticated and aggressive, unmarried, narcissist and uses the administrative machinery to build huge statues for herself, weighs herself in gifts of gold on her birthdays and accumulator of wealth.
Advani: Refugee from Pakistan, erstwhile RSS member, loves Hindi movies, chief claim to fame being that he rode a truck decorated as a chariot to demolish Babri Masjid, 81 years old and using the full power of the net to promote himself.
Manmohan Singh: Ph.D. from Cambridge, economist, brilliant and honest, has had three heart surgeries, lost the only election he fought, bureaucrat extraordinaire.

Tough Times for Indian Retail

The retail industry operates on extreme efficiencies. The net margins are thin and each cost element is typically tracked closely and working capital is tightly controlled. The Indian retail is going through its baptism by fire and discovering the impact of extra costs in the system. The regulatory issues, infrastructural bottlenecks, supply chain constraints, sourcing problems and lack of economies of scale are creating inefficiencies and hence additional costs. These costs have hobbled the industry and thus have led to the turmoil the industry is in.

The infrastructure in the country is generally deplorable. The supply of power is erratic and inadequate in most places forcing the retailers to invest in extra capital equipment for power and extra costs. The roads are in a decrepit condition leading to delays and wastages during transit. This also means that within the country , the best produce cannot be transported and so large retail is not able to offer the advantages that it ca…