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Showing posts from November, 2007

ET CEO Cookout - Kolkata

Yesterday's post was my entry to the Economic Times' ET CEO Cookout contest and got me a place in the winner's list. So, I am getting a chance to meet have dinner with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (Chief Minister, West Bengal), YC Deveshwar (Chairman ITC), B Muthuraman (MD Tata Steel), Percy Siganporia (MD Tata Chemicals) and Jairam Ramesh.

I will post an update on the event after tomorrow.

Solution to India's Infrastructure Problem

India's infrastructure deficit is centered around three problems:

1. Funding

2. Regulatory Framework

3. Land Acquisition

Instead of looking at the problems, let us try to look at the possible solutions.

For funding, it is obvious that the Indian government does not have the required funds to meet the infrastructure needs of the nation. One theory doing the rounds is to utilize a part of the ever-burgeoning foreign exchange reserves to fund infrastructure spends. Another way is for the government to float infrastructure bonds and provide tax breaks for people who invest in them. Also, dedicated companies can be floated (on the lines of Power Finance Corporation) that will be vehicles for long term capital for companies building/operating infrastructure projects.

Another aspect which is not focussed on much, is maintenance of infrastructure projects. Annual maintenance contracts should be awarded to companies with very strict performance criteria. The performance should be monitored by an…

Unbiased Financial Advice

Early this week, on Monday, Josh, a dear friend called me and asked me for some investment advice. He has just become a father and wants to create a fund so that it takes care of his daughter's education. Now, this is a kind of call that I keep getting regularly. Most of my friends (and friends' friends) ask me for investment advice thinking that I am an expert in the field!! I have got numerous offers to start a private (equity) fund from a few of my friends where they will "outsource" their headache of managing their savings. What I fail to explain to them is that there are no experts in the world of investments. Everyone is as good (0r bad) as the next person.

But this call got me thinking about investment advice and advisers in general. Apparently, my friend had been approached my a few financial advisers who had advised him to buy into certain mutual funds. Typically, these advisers are associated with financial brokerages and make money from commissions when peo…