Haryana and Orissa lead Investment Tables

Ila Patnaik reviews CMIE data on state wise per capita investment in 2007. The states with the leading investment per capital are Haryana and Orissa. It just happens that I am quite familiar with both states since I am Oriya and go back there to visit my folks quite often and because I grew up in Haryana and go back there once in a while as well.

Both states have able forward thinking administrations. And some help of course. Haryana’s proximity to Delhi is something they have taken advantage of. Orissa is blessed with more than its fair share of natural resources. But beyond that there is still a lot of good work going on. In Bhubaneswar, the traffic isn’t anywhere near being a problem yet. But the government is working hard to widen roads. Shows that someone is thinking ahead.

Patnaik attributes the differences and the trends in investment per capita to the quality of the state government administration. If I were to drill down a little more and ask myself the question, what would I look at if I were to set up a new center for my business my criteria would be as follows:


BCCI and Indian Cricket – Monopolies are Never Good

Last week the returning winners of the Twenty20 World Cup, jammed up traffic in Mumbai. Sharad Pawar, the BCCI President and also Union Minister for Agriculture, cancelled all his appointments to receive the Indian cricket team. There was a big press conference, at which he made a speech that was, it seems, more a political speech than anything else.

And why not? He is a politician in a cricket crazy country. Why shouldn’t he take advantage of the rare occurrence that is an Indian team winning a major championship? Many other politicians in various states had the same idea and showered gifts and cash upon their home state players. Everyone loves a winner.


Auto-rickshaws in Mumbai

Photo by Mark Hillary 

There is much good to be said about autos in Mumbai. They are generally available in plenty at all times of the day. And to a lesser extent even in the middle of the night. They generally charge by the meter, which is more than can be said about Delhi or Bangalore. And they (again generalizing here) have a more positive attitude towards their passengers and humanity at large than their brethren in other metros.


Number Games – BEST TV Advertising

Among business newspapers in India, Business Standard is good and is constantly improving; Mint is new but very good too. Both have an online presence [B-S Mint] and do not have irritating pop-up ads. The B-S site is not password protected (Mint is) which makes it an ideal solution for linking to. I wouldn’t want my readers to be subjected to the advertising irritants that an Eco Times creates.

Here is my first link to B-S. An article in today’s B-S reports that BEST buses in Mumbai have installed TVs in their buses which will show ads. The idea is clever but not novel. It has been tried but has met with resistance in the US where fares are not (or less) subsidized. Bus Radio is a similar project that does radio advertising in school buses. In India where the fares have to be kept very low to remain affordable, this could be an interesting way to help keep the fares down.


Sound and Fury – the 123 Agreement

I’m in India right now and over the weekend have been on a forced diet of the news channels. Top of the news menu is the possible fall of the government over the 123 Agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation between India and the US.

The coverage since yesterday on NDTV seems more like a soap opera than anything else. Like a soap opera it is low on content, high on drama but the acting is terrible. At the end of an hour long program in which many pols from both CPI(M) and Congress were interviewed, I was no more enlightened about the issues as I was before the program. (thank god for Wikipedia!). To the credit of the NDTV anchor, he tried his best to get his guests to talk about the issues, but it was clearly not a top priority for them. They preferred to refer to documents and dates without talking about what was in them. Make bombastic statements about the sovereignty of India being compromised or protected. And of course throw accusations at the other party about their motivations.


Trip to IIM Ahmedabad

Last weekend I made a trip to my alma mater – IIM Ahmedabad. Prof. Arvind Sahay who teaches Marketing and is the Chairman of the PGP X program, invited all the entrepreneurs from my batch (and his). Ten entrepreneurs from PGP 89 came to campus and participated in various classes, panel discussions and presentations. It was great fun. With hugely successful entrepreneurs like Sanjeev Bikhchandani (naukri.com), R. Subramanian (Subhikhsa) and Rahul Bhasin (Barings Pvt. Equity) in the class, the students got a massive dose of ‘from the horse’s mouth’.


In Mumbai

Landed in Mumbai a couple of days ago. Sahar airport has improved quite a bit in the last 2 years that I have been flying into Mumbai. It is far from the kind of airport that one would expect the financial center of India to have, but I think the airport authorities are doing a good job with what they have. The immigration lines are now well managed. Baggage claim has more capacity and the baggage carts are new and improved.


Leadership Challenges – the Fog of Economics

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

– William Butler Yeats

The world’s biggest issues today are economic issues. They are about growth, inflation, unemployment, income distribution and so on. Many other issues are not directly about economics but are indirectly so – like climate change or immigration in the US. Even terrorism ultimately is linked to economics – people with nothing to lose are easy prey for those who preach hate.

As the world’s governments deal with these thorny economic issues, they face many challenges. The one that is peculiar to economic issues is that most voters don’t understand the economics behind these economic issues.