There's been a lot of coverage of the efforts of Indian automakers to penetrate the US and world car markets, but here's a video story by Mark Scheffler in GlobalPost about Ford's prospects in India - and its $500 million investment there.
A guest post by Rumee Singh, who's previously interviewed Time'sBobby Ghosh and CNN's Rena Golden for this blog.
The Indian finance ministry has
started a contest to find a design for the symbol of the rupee. The
rupee is commonly used as ‘Rs’ or ‘INR’ (Indian Rupee) and has no
globally recognized symbol unlike major currencies of the world. India shares the current abbreviated form of the rupee with Pakistan, Nepal, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.
A statement from the Indian finance
ministry said the new symbol will be the 'identity of the Indian
currency'. Rules for the contest listed on the Indian Finance Ministry
website stipulate ‘the symbol should represent the historical and
cultural ethos of India’. It also requires the symbol to be applicable
to the standard computer keyboard – a drawback that the euro still
The winning designer will receive a prize of Rs. 250,000
(~$5000) and will have to surrender the copyright of the design to the
government, the finance ministry statement said. The deadline, by the way, is April 15, according to TOI, and applicants need to send in a bank draft of Rs. 500.
While a new currency symbol to join
the likes of the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen, might sound
simple, implementing one could be a difficult and expensive task.
The Dow Jones Indexes and the South Asian Federation of
Exchanges have launched the Dow Jones SAFE 100 Index. According to the press
release from Dow Jones Indexes, this is the first time indexes are created to
measure the performance of blue-chip companies in five of the eight member
states of SAFE: India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Countries not on the list are Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives.
From Michael A. Petronella, president, Dow Jones Indexes:
“South Asia is home to some of the most rapidly evolving
financial markets worldwide. By further developing securities markets and
aiming at their regional and international integration the South Asian
Federation of Exchanges has been contributing significantly to these
developments. The Dow Jones SAFE Indexes now provide market participants with
accurate, transparent and reliable performance measures of leading companies in
this region. These indexes are yet another example of Dow Jones Indexes'
commitment to index excellence, particularly in so-called frontier markets.”
The Dow Jones SAFE 100 Index measures the performance of the
50 largest Indian stocks and the 50 largest stocks trading in Bangladesh,
Mauritius, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
According to Lanka Business Online, Sri Lanka is the
smallest country weighing in the new index at 2.57 percent, with India having
the heaviest allocation at 53.48 percent, followed by Pakistan with 32.36
percent, Mauritius with 8.39 percent and Bangladesh with 3.20 percent.
The Dow Jones SAFE 100 Index is calculated in US dollars,
and the index is weighted by float-adjusted market capitalization.
Social workers in India’s slums have their own hopes related to Slumdog Millionaire: more international media, many more eyeballs, some criticism and ultimately, governmental action.
Interestingly, I think in the last few months the patronizing ‘poorism’ stories have given way to a more concrete approach to the foreign coverage. Here are a couple examples.
In "Slum economy offers hope in Delhi,"The Age's Matt Wade reports how small manufacturers in these slums are a part of India’s "informal economy" which, among others, have helped India maintain a 7% growth in the current economic situation.
Deep in one of Delhi's packed slums, Kalimuddin runs a jeans factory the size of a bedroom.
Despite the space constraints, his 10 employees work 12 to 16 hours a day and churn out 6000 pairs of jeans a month. After the jeans are dyed by another mini-manufacturer nearby, Kalimuddin sells his products at a wholesale garment market nearby. Kalimuddin's jeans are then distributed to clothing bazaars across northern India.
Locals say there are about 1000 tiny garment factories within a kilometre of Kalimuddin's outfit at Seelampur, on Delhi's eastern outskirts.
According to the article, Naeem, a 22-year-old machinist who works for Kalimuddin, is able to send up to 5000 rupees ($A156) a month to his family.
India's huge internal market has helped shield workers such as Naeem from the global economic slump.
R. Venkatesan from the National Council of Applied Economic Research says small manufacturers producing for domestic consumption could escape the economic crisis.
"I don't think this sector should see a slump," he said.
Manish Bhatia, who has been known as Nielsen Co's online guru, has been named to the new position of president of advanced digital services. From MediaPost's piece by Jay Mandese:
In another sign that the businesses of
television and online media may be converging, Nielsen Co. has put its
top online research guru in charge of developing audience data and
analytics from the TV industry's burgeoning digital data stream. Manish
Bhatia, a key player inside Nielsen's organization who most recently
was president of global services and U.S. sales for Nielsen Online, has
been named president of advanced digital services at Nielsen Co.--a new
position that makes him responsible for finding ways of exploiting the
data being generated by television digital set-top devices, and
figuring out how to integrate it with data from Nielsen's traditional
TV and online measurement services. <snip>
Bhatia is an inspired choice to lead Nielsen's digital television
initiative, because his background has one foot planted firmly in the
TV and online worlds. Before leaving Nielsen to help start seminal
Internet tracking and measurement services that were ultimately
acquired by Nielsen to form Nielsen Online, Bhatia was a long-time
Nielsen executive in its TV ratings division.
Bhatia was part of the team who created NetRatings, which was sold to
Nielsen, and has since been its top executive and leading visionary
behind its online measurement products, most recently creating Nielsen
Online's Video Census, a hybrid product that combines Nielsen's
traditional panel-based measurement techniques with direct data from
Web sites to produce more accurate estimates on the consumption of
online video content.
"He is get-it-done kind of kid," says Ned Greenberg, the director of research at Weather Channel, one of the more than 120 clients Nielsen Web has acquired in recent months. "He keeps his cool under all circumstances."
"I try to," says Bhatia, with a broad smile. "It is not always possible but I have learned to be very, very patient in life." Of course, it does not mean he is not ambitious or aggressive about his goals, he hastens to add.
SAJA has been asked if there are any South Asian victims of Bernard Madoff. We haven't come across any yet, but the release of the 162-page client list yesterday, here's our chance to find out. Please help us by going through the list - scanning it name by name, or using the search function - and by posting what you find (page numbers, too) in the comments section below, or via e-mail to saja[at]columbia.edu. Consider it an exercise in group/citizen journalism.
I'd like to point out that there is something intrinsically desi about this list: It is alphabetized by FIRST name. Just like phone books in some cities in the subcontinent used to be (and might still be).
UPDATE: The project paid off within hours - three South Asian names in the comments section (the first two names appeared within an hour). Thank you, SAJAforum readers!Keep looking, folks. And, journos/bloggers, if you quote from here, please credit SAJAforum.
NEW: See MadoffSearch.com, "the first and only Bernard Madoff Search Engine, with information on all investors at individual and institutional levels."
On the SAJA E-mail Discussion List, John Laxmi posted this comment:
From: John Laxmi <johnlaxmisajadisc[at]gmail.com>
Who asked this question and why? And, why would anyone spend the time to review the list - except for prurient reasons - and why answer this question without knowing the reason for the question? Is it a class-action lawyer trying to assemble a list of potential clients? Even if the names have been made public, should we be exposing these folks to even more publicity?
Are there married couples in the list? Any heterosexuals in the List? People of Mongolian descent? Illegal Martians? Our curiosities know no bounds.
Dun & Bradstreet, the 167-year-old company that sells information about corporations, announced additional responsibilites for Sara Mathew, its 52-year-old president and COO. From the press release below:
Sara Mathew, President and Chief Operating Officer, assumes direct
leadership of D&B’s US Customer Segments. In this role, Ms. Mathew
will leverage her experience with D&B’s US businesses to increase
sales pipeline and new customer acquisition as well as improve internal
processes and execution.
Mathew was educated in Women's Christian College in Madras, India, and has a master’s in business administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati. Company bio is here.
Press contact is Joseph Jones: jonesjo[at]dnb.com - tell him SAJA sent you.
SHORT HILLS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--D&B (NYSE: DNB) today announced leadership changes aimed at sharpening the Company’s focus on sales execution and customer value to drive a successful year in 2009. The following changes are effective immediately.
Sara Mathew, President and Chief Operating Officer, assumes direct leadership of D&B’s US Customer Segments. In this role, Ms. Mathew will leverage her experience with D&B’s US businesses to increase sales pipeline and new customer acquisition as well as improve internal processes and execution.
I visited the future, and it was wearing a bow tie and calling itself “Thomas Edison.”
The newspaper business is not only crumpling up, James Macpherson informed me here, it is probably holding “a one-way ticket to Bangalore.”
Macpherson — bow-tied and white-haired but boyish-looking at 53 — should know. He pioneered “glocal” news — outsourcing Pasadena coverage to India at Pasadena Now, his daily online “newspaperless,” as he likes to call it. Indians are writing about everything from the Pasadena Christmas tree-lighting ceremony to kitchen remodeling to city debates about eliminating plastic shopping bags.
“Everyone has to get ready for what’s inevitable — like King Canute and the tide coming in — and that’s really my message to the industry,” the editor and publisher said. “Many newspapers are dead men walking. They’re going to be replaced by smaller, nimbler, multiple Internet-centric kinds of things such as what I’m pioneering.”
Read about the speakers below. SAJAforum coverage of this topic here | here | here.
Former SAJA vice president and convention chair Vikas Bajaj (click on image for hi-rez version) will soon be moving from New York to Mumbai. He will become the New York Times business section's first correspondent in Mumbai (he will also write for the International Herald Tribune). From a memo by NYT business editor Larry Ingrassia:
I am pleased to announce that Vikas Bajaj, who has covered the financial markets and housing for the last three years, will become Business Day's first correspondent in Mumbai, India.
Vikas, who joined the Times in 2005 from The Dallas Morning News, has been an important member of our team covering the financial crisis over the last two years. At the height of the turmoil last September and October, he focused on the collapse of the stock and credit markets in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, while also writing smart, cogent pieces explaining how Wall Street and the economy were laid low by the lure of easy money and financial engineering. All told, his byline graced the front page three dozen times last year.
In his new assignment, which Vikas will start in late March, he will return to the country of his birth at a crucial time in India's history. We will look to Vikas to help explain India's dynamic, and often, chaotic economy and the impact the country's emergence is having on the world and its own population of more than 1 billion people. Recent events have been especially dramatic, with India being buffeted by the global financial crisis and its proud business community shaken by the revelation of a massive corporate fraud, not to mention the brazen terrorist attack in Mumbai.
In his new job, Vikas will report to Marcus Mabry and work closely with Heather Timmons, our contract writer in New Delhi, as well as our colleagues on the Foreign Desk and the IHT Asia in Hong Kong.
Vikas was born in Mumbai, raised in Bangkok, Thailand and educated at Michigan State. He speaks fluent Hindi, which will serve him well in his new assignment, and some Thai.
Join us in wishing Vikas well as he begins his new assignment.
Larry & Marcus
Asked why this assignment at this time, Bajaj told SAJA: "The Indian economy is going through seminal and seismic changes right now. There are many great stories to written about what is going on there, how it affects the world and how it is changing the lives of a billion Indians."
When he moves to India in March, it will be a time of transition for the NYT India staff. Somini Sengupta will soon be leaving New Delhi after a four-year stint as New Delhi bureau chief (see link below). Replacing her will be Jim Yardley, Beijing bureau chief. Also joining the Delhi bureau is Lydia Polgreen, currently West Africa bureau chief. Heather Timmons will continue to work out of the Delhi bureau for the business desk.
Ali Velshi, chief business correspondent of CNN and one of the most visible commentators on the economic crisis, has a new book out. And its title reflects what a lot of people are thinking about these days: "Gimme My Money Back Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis."
Velshi says: "I'll show you how to map out an investment strategy that's right for your individual situation: your age, your income level, your family status, your wants and needs. And I'll show you how to modify your investment plan as your needs evolve over time."
Here are the testimonials about the book:
"Despite the topic, this book is upbeat and very practical. Velshi does a great job of explaining complex financial scenarios in terms even the most inexperienced can comprehend. The 'What Did We Learn?' and 'Coming Up' chapter endings are a great asset." — John Eckberg, Cincinnati Enquirer Business Reporter and Author, The Success Effect
“This book is essential reading for anyone who takes even a passing interest in their financial affairs. A must read.” — Stephen Leeb, Editor, The Complete Investor, Author The Oil Factor
"When I hosted The Money Gang with Ali on CNNfn, we had a very simple test to decide whether a segment would work on the show. It had to be 'actionable.' Ali keeps that concept in mind on every page of his book. Without talking down to the reader, he manages to explain aspects of the financial crisis that just aren't easily simplified. He's made the content easy to understand and it's easy to put his advice to work for you." — Pat Kiernan, Anchor, NY1