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My letter in Financial Express of 28th April 2010

My letter in Financial Express of 28th April 2010
I read the following editorial in FE of 22nd April :
FE Editorial : Boost to infra

The Financial Express

Thursday, Apr 22, 2010 
The measures taken to boost infrastructure investments in the annual credit policy will go a long way in further accelerating and extending fund flows into this crucial sector.
Particularly welcome is the move to liberalise the availability of bank funds to large-scale infrastructure projects by treating annuities from BOT projects and toll collection rights as tangible securities. Equally welcome is the move to reduce the provisioning for substandard infrastructure loan accounts from 20% to 15% under certain conditions that will allow banks to escrow cash flows and also secure a clear and legal first claim on such cash flows.
Similarly, the appetite for infrastructure bonds will also be buoyed up by the move to allow banks to classify their investments in non-SLR bonds issued by infrastructure companies in the held-to-maturity category from the mark-to-market category. These steps will not only improve the availability of bank funds, which have shot up by an astounding 42.3% to Rs 1,08,757 crore on a year-on-year basis in the period ending February 2010, but also improve the working of the corporate bond market.
This will boost private participation in infrastructure projects, which is crucial for sustaining long-term growth. This is especially the case as India’s potential on this count is substantial; the country has already emerged as a world leader in the implementation of infrastructure projects with private participation.

Most recent numbers from across the globe show that India has registered impressive gains in investment commitments in infrastructure projects with private participation going up from $20.6 billion in 2000-05 to $24.7 billion in 2006-08 in the telecom sector alone. Gains were much higher in the transport sector, where such investments accelerated from $4.3 billion to $19 billion, and also in the energy sector, where they shot up from $8.4 billion to $28.5 billion during the period.
This is in sharp contrast to the trends in other countries like Brazil and China, where the investment commitments in infrastructure projects with private participation came down in the latter half of the decade. The only other major developing country that has been able to improve private participation in infrastructure projects was Russia. But Russian gains were only in the energy segment where the fund commitments increased more than twelve-fold. However, India still has a long way to go before it can rest on its laurels, as the demand for private sector funds is expected to grow exponentially, given that overall funds for development of the infrastructure sector are expected to shoot up from around $500 billion in the Eleventh Plan period to more than a trillion dollars in the next.
Here is what I had e-mailed to FE in response to above :

Dear Sir, 
This refers to your Editorial On Infrastructure ( “Boost to Infra” FE 22.04.10). 
While appreciating your views,I would like to make a point that there are several problems related to financing of infrastructural projects.
These are as under : 
a) Demand for investment is voluminous but there has been a lack of interest from private sector in general as observed from past trends so far. 
b) Weak tariff regulation, dis-honouring of concessional committments made by state/central Governments,high level of corruption,lack of transparency in governance, extremely poor accounting practices and disclosure norms are some of the other major irritants. 
c) The projects have to be bankable and users must have not only willingness but also ability to pay for usage of the infrasructure.
Merely relying on Government guarantees and subsidies are not adequate measures. 
d) The appraisal of such projects needs to be done very carefully to ensure that income generated during the entire life time of the project is adequate to take care of the interests of all stake-holders—banks,consortiums,private sector, public sector etc. 
e) They are very time-consuming projects and may take anywhere from 10 to 20 years for completion and as such normally banks are quite hesitant to finance such projects involving long term funding since if repayment of loans to banks doesn’t come in time,there can be serious mismatch problems and consequently it may lead to unmanageable NPAs. 
f) Environmental and other such clearances and NOCs from concerned departments take a very long time to arrive and this can have a telling effect on the project imlementation schedules. 
g) Getting possession of land,paying compensations to land owners, re-settling the displaced / to be displaced population of the area, are also other problem-areas which can lead to several issues leading to questioning the basic feasibility / viability of the projects if delayed beyond reasonable time. 
Hence the Government,while clearing the way for booster dose for backing the infrastructure sector,needs to do a critical analysis of all such major problems to avoid the projects becoming a drain on the economy by turning into proverbial white elephants. 
Here is what FE finally published in its “Letters To The Editor” column of FE on 28th April 2010: 

Letters to the editor

The Financial Express
Posted: Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 2038 hrs IST
Updated: Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 2038 hrs IST
Apropos of the edit ‘Boost to infra’ (FE, April 22), I would like to make a point that there are several problems related to infrastructure projects. The demand for investment is huge but there has been a lack of interest on the part of the private sector in general; weak tariff regulation, dishonouring of concessional commitments made by governments, high level of corruption, lack of transparency, poor accounting practices and disclosure norms are also some of the major irritants. The projects have to be bankable and the users must have both the willingness and the ability to pay for using infrastructure.
JS Broca,
New Delhi
Readers will observe that the abridged version of my letter published by FE has left out many important and relevant points under the garb of “space constraints” !!
That’s an example of Freedom Of Expression !! (?) 

The Mystery of the Missing Hat ….

The Mystery of the Missing Hat 
Here is an interesting mystery story with a moral (?)
Murphy showed up at Mass one Sunday and the priest almost fell down when he saw him. Murphy had never been seen in church in his life.

After Mass, the priest caught up with Murphy and said, “Murphy, I am so glad you decided to come to Mass, what made you come?”

Murphy said, “I got to be honest with you Father, a while back, I misplaced my hat and I really, really love that hat. I know that McGlynn had a hat just like my hat, and I knew that McGlynn came to church every Sunday. I also knew that McGlynn had to take off his hat during Mass and figured he would leave it in the back of church. So, I was going to leave after Communion and steal McGlynn’s hat.”

The priest said, “Well, Murphy, I notice that you didn’t steal McGlynn’s hat. What changed your mind?”

Murphy said, “Well, after I heard your sermon on the 10 Commandments, I decided that I didn’t need to steal McGlynn’s hat.”

The priest gave Murphy a big smile and said; “After I talked about ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ you decided you would rather do without your hat than Burn in Hell, right?”

Murphy shook his head and said, “No, Father, after you talked about ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’, I remembered where I had left my hat.”


“Kya tere baap kaa road hai?”

Kya tere baap kaa road hai?”
– An apocryphal story involving Russi Mody.
(Ex MD Tata Steel, Jamshedpur) –


It is said that once Russi Mody was on an official trip to (the then) Bombay. Even though it was a Sunday morning, Russi had to visit Bombay House, the Corporate Head Quarters of the Tata Group. Russi was driving a Mercedes himself as it was a Sunday and there was very little traffic and also it was the chauffeur’s day off. Russi was wearing simple shorts and a T shirt.

Knowing that he would take just a few minutes to finish his work in Bombay House and that it was a non-working day in the business district with very low traffic, he decided to take liberties to park his Merc in an other-wise no parking zone. 


A conscientious traffic cop noticed all this and he immediately rushed to Russi who had started sauntering towards the Bombay House entrance. 


In a gruff voice the Pandu Havaldar asked Russi “Kyun bhidu, baap kaa sadak samajh kay rakha hai kya?”

Russi very non-chalantly replied “Haan kuchh aisa hi hai. Aapko English padhna aata hai kya?” Then he gently held the Pandu’s arm and walked him to the kerbside and pointed to the metal signage of the road. He asked the cop “Kya Likha Hai?”

The cop said “Sir Homi Mody Street”.

A mischievously smiling Russi discloses “Woh Mera Baap Tha“. 

Russi was allowed to leave his car parked in the “No Parking” Zone  that Sunday morning.




Aaj aisa kaam karo, kal tumhara beta/beti  aisa hi kucch kar paaye.                        

A story from my childhood …

A story from my childhood …

As a school boy I was fascinated with magic tricks and had loved  reading tales of magic.One of my favourites was of course the story of Aladdin.

Here it is in brief :

Aladdin and the magic lamp

The original story of Aladdin is a Middle-Eastern folk tale. It concerns an impoverished young ne’er-do-well named Aladdin, in a Chinese city, who is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb (who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin’s late father) to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin finds himself trapped in the cave. Fortunately, Aladdin retains a magic ring lent to him by the sorcerer. When he rubs his hands in despair, he inadvertently rubs the ring, and a djinni appears, who takes him home to his mother. Aladdin is still carrying the lamp, and when his mother tries to clean it, a second, far more powerful djinni appears, who is bound to do the bidding of the person holding the lamp. With the aid of the djinni of the lamp, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful and marries princess Badroulbadour, the Emperor’s daughter. The djinni builds Aladdin a wonderful palace – far more magnificent than that of the Emperor himself.
The sorcerer returns and is able to get his hands on the lamp by tricking Aladdin’s wife, who is unaware of the lamp’s importance, by offering to exchange “new lamps for old”. He orders the djinni of the lamp to take the palace to his home in the Maghreb. Fortunately, Aladdin retains the magic ring and is able to summon the lesser djinni. Although the djinni of the ring cannot directly undo any of the magic of the djinni of the lamp, he is able to transport Aladdin to Maghreb, and help him recover his wife and the lamp and defeat the sorcerer.

Having read this story and having watched it play acted on stage a few times, I find modern day parallels with the story very hilarious.

I am always on the look out for such amusing tales.Here is one with a witty end :

Bill Clinton & the Genie
Bill Clinton was walking along the beach when he stumbled upon a Genie’s lamp. He picked it up and rubbed it and lo-and-behold, a Genie appeared. Bill was amazed and asked if he got three wishes.


The Genie said, “Nope…Due to inflation, constant downswing, low wages in third world countries, and fierce global competition, I can only grant you one wish. So…What’ll it be?”


Bill didn’t hesitate. He said, “I want to be remembered for bringing peace to the Middle East, instead of that other stuff with Monica, and Jennifer, and the rest of those women. See this map? I want these countries to stop fighting with each other.”


The Genie looked at the map of the Middle East and exclaimed, “Jeez, Fella! These people have been at war for thousands of years. I’m good, but not THAT good. I don’t think it can be done. Make another wish.”


Bill thought for a minute and said, “You know, people really don’t like my wife. Even though she got elected, they call her a carpetbagger. They think she’s mean, ugly, and pushes me around. I wish for her to be the most beautiful woman in the world and I want everybody to like her. That’s what I want.”


The Genie let out a long sigh and said, “Lemme see that map again.”
Wait a while, before I dig out some more modern versions of this fascinating childhood tale !  

Tryst with ATMs….

Tryst with ATMs
Atreyaji had posted a humourous poem on Muse on 23rd April 2010 titled “My Tryst with ATMs”. I had liked it. In response to it, I am posting this equally funny piece.   
I am reminded of a humourous piece I read sometime ago on a related matter and liked its in-a-lighter-vein-approach.So I am posting it as a separate posting so that all can enjoy the pun and the fun ! 
OK…… look don’t hold it against the messenger and I am not sexist and if you read further you will find one for the guys too.  Got this in an email and found it amusing and relatively clean and thought you might also.  We all have seen variations on these themes in our daily lives.
1. Stating in a clear sweet voice, “Honey, we need to go to the ATM.”
2. Kiss ‘Honey’ on cheek after he volunteers and tuck a ‘short shopping list ’ in his shirt pocket.
3. Return to lounging before TV and eating Bonbons while playing with ‘Precious’.
1. Drive up to the ATM
2. Reverse back the required distance to align car with ATM
3. Re-start stalled engine
4. Open the car window
5. Find handbag, empty all contents onto the passenger seat and locate ATM card
6. Turn radio down
7. Attempt to insert card into ATM
8. Open car door to allow easier access to ATM due to excessive distance from car to ATM.
9. Insert card
10. Re-insert card the right way up
11. Ignore the sound of car horn from vehicle behind
12. Search contents of handbag (on passenger seat) to locate diary with PIN written on the inside back page under “Date of Birth”
13. Enter PIN
14. Press “cancel” and re-enter PIN
15. Enter amount of cash required and check make-up in rear view mirror
16. Drum fingertips on steering wheel, look at ATM for one minute and then press “enter”
17. Retrieve cash and receipt
18. Search contents of handbag (on passenger seat) to locate purse and place cash inside
19. Place receipt in back of checkbook
20. Re-check make-up
21. Drive forward two yards
22. Reverse back to ATM ignoring the sound of car horn from vehicle behind
23. Retrieve card
24. Search contents of handbag (on passenger seat) to locate cardholder and place card in an empty slot
25. Drive two or three miles
26. Release parking brake 
1. Drive up to the ATM
2. Open the car window
3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN
4. Enter amount of cash required and press “enter”
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt
6. Close window
7. Drive away

 ATM PROCEDURE FOR MALE CUSTOMERS (as actually practiced):

 1. Drive up to the ATM while complaining mentally at least, verbally if a buddy is with you, about how darn narrow those drive through lanes are getting and how dangerous those concrete filled steel poles are to fine paint jobs.
2. Open the car window after juggling ¾ gallon soft drink cup and in frustration of finding  no place to put it, you decide the roof is a good place for it, you put it up there.
3. Glance at instructions on ATM.
4. Insert card into machine, call wife on cell and ask her to look under keyboard where  all numbers are stored and enter the PIN she provides.
5. After PIN is rejected, begin complaining (as in #1 above) about how they make those keypads for people with small fingers. Recall wife again and irritate her again  and reenter the same number she first provided.
6. Enter amount of cash required and stop to recalculate if you’re getting enough and press, “enter”.
7. Turn half way around in the seat several seconds after the honking has stopped  behind you and if the driver is
            a) female, smile and wave;
            b) male, smile and flip the bird.
8. Wondering what’s taking so long with the transaction you read the, now flashing display on the little screen, which informs you that there is a problem with your transaction  and you need to start over.
9. Repeat steps 5 through 7 as many times as necessary until you adopt a slow deliberate  manner to insure if a mistake is made this time, it’s the ATM’s fault, not yours.
10. Retrieve cash, card and receipt. Cash is folded around card with a practiced one-hand technique and placed in shirt pocket. Receipt is crumpled and it somehow magically disappears (and is only to be found by the next owner of the vehicle). The list given by wife mysteriously disappears somewhere around this time as well. Which leads to free range memory being used in stores later. Which quite possibly leads to sleeping on the couch for the next night.
11. Close window while thinking about where you need to be sometime down the road.
12. Drive away, scarping chrome off your bumper on one of the concrete filled steel  poles you commented on earlier.
13. Stop somewhere for another ¾ gallon soft drink to enjoy as you wash the last one from where it spilled on the roof and trunk or got dumped into the back of the truck.
Have a nice day at your ATM the next time !!

God’s e-mail…

God’s e-mail  

One day God was looking down at earth

and saw all  the bad behaviour that was going on.

So He called one of His angels

and sent the angel to earth for some time.

When the angel returned, he told God,

‘Yes, it is really bad on earth;

95% are misbehaving

and only 5% are not.

God thought for a moment and said,

‘Maybe I had better send down a second angel

to get a second opinion.’

So God called another angel

and sent him to earth for some time.

When the angel returned,

he went to God and said,

‘Yes, it’s true. The earth is on decline;

95% are misbehaving,

but 5% are being good.’

God was not pleased.

So He decided to e-mail

the 5% who were good,

because he wanted to

encourage them,

and give them a little

something to help them keep going.

Do you know

what the e-mail said?

Okay, I was just wondering,

because I didn’t get one either !! 

(Based on a motivational e-mail received by me from a well wisher) 

Your replies in the form of a draft e-mail from God,had you received one,are welcome !!



Boss Cards

They come in all shapes sizes and forms.Here is a random selection from some really funny sources.Hope you will find one that fits your boss like a Tee Shirt !

I will now run….for I have a meeting with my Boss !!
See you later……..




We all know  courtesy our media, about what all happened btween Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malick before their drama culminated into a happy ending.  
Here is what I penned in response to a poem by Atreya Sarma on Muse on 14th April 2010,titled :The Sania-nama: Love knows no borders.
Dear Atreya, a delightful dig on this BIG Breaking News Episode !
Here is my light dig based on an old nursery rhyme:  

Old  Version                     New Version 

Johnny, Johnny,         Shoaib, Shoaib,
Yes, Papa,                          Yes, Abba,
Eating sugar?                 Eating Biryani with Ayesha?
No, Papa                             No, Abba, 

Telling lies?                    Telling lies to all the Media ?
No, Papa                              No,err Yes, no,…Yes Abba !
Open your mouth        You put your foot in your mouth
O Ha! Ha! Ha!                   Ya ! Ya ! Ya! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Here is Atreya’s response to above :
Brocaji, Hats off for your regaling parodied rhyme in response and thank you a lot for the appreciation.Best regards.

U Atreya Sarma,
Apr 14, 2010

Before I end,here is adelightful cartoon from HT…E..N..J..O..Y.
Sorry folks,the cartoon seems to be a copyright so it could not be reproduced. Instead, here is a wedding photo of  the couple:Cute,no ?


Funny Boss Day Quotes

Funny Boss Day Quotes:
  • Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.
  • Ability is what will get you to the top, if the boss has no daughter.
  • There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
  • Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
  • I’ve met a few people in my time who were enthusiastic about hard work. And it was just my luck that all of them happened to be men I was working for at the time.
  • Show me a man who is a good loser and I’ll show you a man who is playing golf with his boss. The first myth of management is that it exists. The second myth of management is that success equals skill.
  • By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
  • The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
  • One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.
  • The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week.
  • The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate you away from those who are still undecided.
I will end this with a prayer of an employee :
Dear God,
Give Me The Wisdom To Understand My Boss.. ..
Give Me The Love To Forgive Him.. ..
Give Me The Patience To Understand His Deeds.. ..
But Dearest God Don’t Give The Power Because If You Give Me Power,
I will buzz off before you decide to break my head.See you soon in the next episode……..

Never go to HR department for asking salary raise

Never go to HR department for asking salary raise

Episode-III :

After 2 years of selfless service, a man realized that he has not been promoted, no transfer, no salary increase no commendation and that the Company is not doing any thing about it. So he decided to walk up to his HR Manager one morning and after exchanging greetings, he told his HR Manager his observation.

The boss looked at him, laughed and asked him to sit down saying: My friend, you have not worked here for even one day. The man was surprised to hear this, but the manager went on to explain.

Manager:- How many days are there in a year? Man:- 365 days and some times 366

Manager:- how many hours make up a day? Man:- 24 hours Manager:- How long do you work in a day? Man:- 8am to 4pm. i.e. 8 hours a day.

Manager:- So, what fraction of the day do you work in hours? Man:- (He did some arithmetic and said 8/24 hours i.e. 1/3(one third)

Manager:- That is nice of you! What is one-third of 366 days? Man:- 122 (1/3×366 = 122 in days)

Manager:- Do you come to work on weekends? Man:- No sir Manager:- How many days are there in a year that are weekends? Man:- 52 Saturdays and 52 Sundays equals to 104 days

Manager:- Thanks for that. If you remove 104 days from 122 days, how many days do you now have? Man:- 18 days.

Manager:- OK! I do give you 2 weeks sick leave every year. Now remove that14 days from the 18 days left. How many days do you have remaining? Man:- 4 days

Manager:- Do you work on New Year day? Man:- No sir!

Manager:- Do you come to work on workers day? Man:- No sir! Manager:- So how many days are left? Man:- 2 days sir!

Manager:- Do you come to work on the (National holiday )? Man:- No sir! Manager:- So how many days are left?

Man:- 1 day sir! Manager:- Do you work on Christmas day? Man:- No sir!

Manager:- So how many days are left? Man:- None sir! Manager:- So, what are you claiming?

Man:- I have understood, Sir. I did not realize that I was stealing Company money all these days.



What’s your take on this ??