Saturday, March 29, 2008

Who is the master craftsman?

I am sick and tired of media scripting the so called real estate 'bubble burst' every single day! Not a day passes without a story listing the free fall of real estate prices. Most of these stories are ill researched and based more on sentiment than on data. Apart from the more data oriented discussion about whether or not we shall see a correction(notice the phrase) and where and to what extent; this phase is only reminding me every passing day of the sheer media power to script the fall in sentiments which may even lead to god knows what!

Media will be most responsible if any bloodshed happens in this industry.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The IT/ITES has been the golden sector of India for past decade or so. It almost certainly is this sector that has fuelled growth and most importantly the sentiment behind the India Story. Some say this could happen because of the incentives that were given by the government for the growth of this sector apart from the more obvious cost arbitrage story. Net-net however, these companies have not paid any tax at all if they were located in an STPI unit. And of course all them made sure they were! who wouldn't?!

And now that under the STPI scheme, 100 per cent tax deduction on profits under Section 10A and Section 10B of the Income-Tax Act are available only until March 31, 2009, the companies registered with the STPI will have to pay tax at an estimated rate of 33.99 per cent in the absence of these deductions.

Now whether or not the government will increase this scheme has been a debate going on for more than 2-3 years now. Mr. Chidambaram however, found this matter hardly noteworthy in the budget speech!

To make matters more interesting the SEZ policy does provide the tax holiday to the IT/ITES companies within their premises!! Under the SEZ Policy, units in SEZs will be 100% exempt from corporate income tax for the first five years; 50% exempt for the next five years and, for the final five years, 50% of the profits ploughed back will be exempt from tax. This in addition to a plethora of other duty benefits. Oh, and no company can 'shift' into the SEZ. It has to have a 'different' business.

And this has created a lot of uncertainity in the market! And following are two stories published on consecutive day by reputed publications show how unsure the market sentiment is on this issue:

Infotech slowdown bites real estate hard

17 Mar 2008, 0001 hrs IST,T Surendar,TNN

MUMBAI: Real estate firms are beginning to feel the heat of the slowdown in IT/ITeS sectors. Leading IT companies are saying that lease of office space to software and BPO firms have fallen by over 30%. The trend is particularly bound to affect firms like DLF and Unitech which are building several software SEZs (special economic zones) across the country.

IT cos’ demand for SEZ space rising, post-Budget
Non-extension of software technology park benefits

Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee
New Delhi, March 16 2008

Real estate developers are seeing a sharp rise in enquiries from IT and BPO companies making a beeline for space in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), barely a fortnight after the Budget ducked the crucial issue of extension of the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) scheme.

I officially love confusion, uncertainity, inefficiencies in information 'cos this is when most opportunities tend to present themselves!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Revisiting Women's Day

I have always firmly believed that Women Do Not Need Women's Day. Last year I had written the same thing.

But as one wizens, I have a slightly modified view of the subject this time around. Our HR deparment is headed by a retd. Major - so you can imagine kind-hearted gentlemanly views that he might have on reporting a 25yrs junior female boss - yours truly. He is mostly amused and largely protective! Chuckle!! So Major kindly decided to felicitate all women employees (10.2% of the total staff only) on Women's Day. I was irritated enough by all TV and radio channels happily yupping about it to fill the air time. And was not too excited to be a part of this do. But for the chair I grace and the gender I poesses(!!@) I had to be there. So I was.

Smallish get together with Major cracking the typical 'funnny' jokes about men being 'all' that they are in front of women, I was sitting there half listening and looking around waiting to get back to work. And then I saw the faces of my lady colleagues. They were loving it!! They were loving the fact that someone had gone out of his way to make them feel special!! Bought roses and cute gifts for them and was giving them a 'feel good adreneline rush' for who they are - Women!!!

And then I thought all my cynical scepticism apart, there are those lots of gals who love it! Who need it. Need this pampering!! Now why should they, when the probability of any homo sapien being a women is almost 50%, is a good question. But then this statistical equality still is required to be internalised by most. Why is gender important at all when judging quality, aptitude, ability, personality of an individual? Can't an individual be just that - an individual?? These things (hopefully) will sort themselves in a due course of me. But till then, there are scores of women who need women's days!!

And I have to listen to stale jokes about Men Needing Men's Days........ :(

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