- Traditional Bihari art facing extinction
- India moving towards a grave food crisis
- Nitish not in favour of China model
- The right short of company
- CIFA conducts refresher course for Bihar officers
- After 3 years Patna witnesses such incessant rain
- Ara Fathua Rail Line is the need of the hour
Posted: 21 Jun 2011 06:12 PM PDT
While children today amuse themselves with electronic gadgets, India's traditional dolls are, unfortunately, being sidelined. Together with the magical colours of nature, the richness of mythology, and the joy of festivals, these time-honoured dolls are increasingly becoming rare to find.
Many varieties of dolls made in India are created using eco-friendly and bio-degradable materials like mud, wood and waste cotton clothes. For example, clay dolls are made all across the country and are used as offerings for worship, and in the case of Ganesha idols, for immersion. Each region possesses its distinct clay craft tradition. While Bihari toymakers make clay dancing figures faintly reminiscent of Mauryan pottery, the speciality of Lucknow is a series of dolls depicting musicians and brides of India. In Bihar, there is a charming tradition of giving every bride a lapful of clay dolls. In Panruti, a village in Tamil Nadu, clay dolls are moulded by hand and depict rural scenes, animals , birds, gods and goddesses and the ever-popular Chettiar couple. Panruti dolls are also an integral part of the Dasara Kolu Festival.
The most prolific and variegated of Indian traditional dolls are made out of wood — carved, sculpted, lacquered and painted. The most famous being the lacquered dolls, which are made at Etikoppaka in Andhra Pradesh. Channapatna in Karnataka is home to a mind-boggling repertoire, which includes birds, animals, snakes and rattles among others.
These, along with the brightly coloured Kondapalli dolls of Andhra Pradesh, made out of light 'punki' wood, are the traditional dolls of these regions.
Sudarshan Khanna, head of department, toy design, at the National Institute of Design (NID) says, "It is sad to note that over the years, we have neglected the craft of doll making in India, which beautifully reflects the tradition and culture of the country." Conducting workshops for the much ignored doll making community, improving their designs and training them in quality control methods, the design institute seems to be doing all it can to revive this traditional folk art.
Posted: 21 Jun 2011 07:51 AM PDT
NEW DELHI: India could be facing a crisis soon if immediate steps are not taken to ease the burden on godowns bulging with grain stocks as the current storage capacity of 62.8 million tonnes may prove inadequate, officials say. The government had record rice and wheat stocks of 65.6 million tonnes in its godowns in early June and officials say there will be no place to keep paddy after the kharif harvest arrives by September-October.
“There will be a crisis in three months. The damage in some cases has already been done,” a senior official who did not wish to be identified said. The government plans to increase procurement by 10 million tonnes to 70 million tonnes and has disallowed exports to meet the projected requirement of grain under the proposed Food Security Act.
Madhya Pradesh, which has seen a huge increase in procurement in recent years, faces correspondingly huge problems. In some places, such as Itarsi, the grain is being dumped on top of sand bags as there is no time to build pucca cement structures. Procurement in Madhya Pradesh has gone up 10 times in the past few years and has increased from 5 million tonnes to 50 million tonnes. Most of the grain is stored in the open and the prospect of huge wastage stares the authorities as monsoon rains arrive. The godowns most often depend on plastic sheets to cover grain stocks.
With so much grain being procured you might expect that farmers must be getting a good deal. But that’s not always true, say experts. In the Krishna-Godavari area, the procurement of paddy has been very low and farmers are unable to sell and get the minimum support price of the crop. Frustrated at not getting the promised price, many have decided to throw the paddy on the streets and declare a crop holiday.
Procurement in some states such as Bihar also remains low and farmers are getting a price ranging from Rs 975 to Rs 1,040 a quintal of wheat while in Punjab, farmers take home Rs 1,120 per quintal and a Rs 50 bonus.
Punjab has demanded that the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat be hiked to Rs 1,480 from the current Rs 1,120 per quintal. The MSP for paddy is Rs 1,080 per quintal and comes with a bonus of Rs 80 to meet rising input costs.
Posted: 21 Jun 2011 06:06 AM PDT
Patna, June 19: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today appreciated the hard work and dedication of the Chinese but refused to replicate the Communist country's development model in Bihar.
"Be it the industries, railway or agriculture, China is supremely developed in these sectors. But we are a democratic nation developing in our own ways. It is not possible for us to adopt the process and technology China has used," Nitish told reporters here on his return from China.
The chief minister said he visited several villages in China. "The agriculture is also far more developed there with the Chinese dispensation using new technology to augment production. The Chinese have been producing 22 varieties of vegetables. But it is not feasible to follow what China has been doing in its villages and farms."
The chief minister, who was on a seven-day trip to China, was diplomatic during his interaction with the reporters on his return. But a close look into what he wished to say between the lines made it obvious that he was thoroughly opposed to the idea of "democratic" India or Bihar following the footsteps of the "Communist" China.
"I met several top leaders of China and had long discussions with them on various issues. I sensed very well that they were successful in implementing in whatever they decided. But India cannot do the things the way they were doing," he said.
Apparently, he wanted to say that a democratic Indian system could not force its "wishes and dictum" on the people the way China could do with force.
If at all there could be a policy of "give and take" between China and India, Nitish believes it should be Buddhism.
"I found a majority of Chinese having immense faith in Buddhism, which was more a way of life for them than religion as such. Buddhism is an area that sets up a common bond between the Chinese people and their counterparts in Bihar and other parts of India. The people on both sides should strengthen this bond," he said.
Nitish, however, was quite appreciative of the dedication and hard work of the Chinese people. "Their (Chinese) efficiency and pace of delivering the goods are amazing. But we cannot afford to do like them," he said.
He pointed out that India too was developing. "We will see what we can do to speed up the pace of development in our state and the country in our own way. Of course, we should study how the Chinese system has carried out phenomenal improvement in its farm, industrial and electric power sectors," he said.
"I will send a team of farmers and legislators to China to study in detail the development in almost all sectors there. Their roads are amazingly good with green woods capping them all over," he said, adding, "I got an opportunity to learn a lot in China."
Nitish said: "I visited several of their electric power plants and found that they were in a position to generate 100 per cent of their generating capacity. The feat is appreciable," he said.
On what should be learnt from the Chinese, Nitish said: "I visited many places like the Great Wall of China and several other places of historical and technological importance. The Chinese people's dedication and love for the work were etched everywhere."
"The ideals of Gautam Buddha will help India and China strengthen their relationship in the days to follow the way it did in the past," the chief minister said while signing off.
During his stay in China, Nitish visited the thermal power plant of China Huadian Corporation. He also took part in a dinner hosted by the people of Indian origin in Shanghai.
Water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary and tourism minister Sunil Kumar Pintu accompanied the chief minister to China. Besides, three senior bureaucrats, including development commissioner K. Saha and secretaries in the chief minister's office — S. Siddharth and Aatish Chandra — went with Nitish to the far-east country.
Pintu looked a worried man on his arrival. He lost his suitcase having all the papers he collected during his week-long China visit.
He got it back in the evening. It was misplaced in Delhi.
Posted: 21 Jun 2011 02:21 AM PDT
“Good Morning, Sehgal sa’ab”. It wasn’t a reference to Mr. Sehgal’s car. “Sa’ab” was short for Sahib, the equivalent of “boss” or “sir”. In any case, Mr. Sehgal had a Honda.
“Hello, Sudhir. Good to see you after all this time. Don’t tell me you have a tax problem”, said Sehgal, in a worried tone, wondering why a chartered accountant was always the guinea pig during tax return time.
“Not really, Mr. Sehgal. This is Rakesh Mannan. We want to start a company together. Tell us how. We’re going to make software for solar cars, and make loads of money. ”
Good luck with that, thought Sehgal. Great ideas, and very little operational knowledge — however, crazier ideas have succeeded and you can’t let an opportunity go. So he started.
“So you have many choices — a partnership, an LLP or a private limited. A partnership is the least cumbersome, but you do have the issue that each of you as a partner has full liability”.
“What does that mean?”, asked Rakesh.
“Rakesh, if your partnership takes a loan or your company gets sued in court, each of you is, individually, liable for everything. That means your personal assets are on the line in case the partnership needs to pay and doesn’t have the money; and if Sudhir doesn’t pay, you will need to pay the full amount, regardless of your share in the partnership.”
“But he won’t do such a thing”, said Rakesh.
“That’s not the point. Tomorrow you might add more stakeholders — will you have the same opinion? Will that person take on full liability of everyone? Partnerships are great for small businesses, but if you plan to do much more, you need to consider a Limited Liability option.”
“Ah, I see. No partnership, then. What are the options?”
“You can create an LLP or a Limited Company. These take a little more time, but I can turn it around in two weeks. The two concepts are similar, in that your liability is only to the extent of your investment in the company, and if the company is sued, you aren’t personally liable. A Limited company is better than an LLP if you wish you get, for instance, foreign investment or venture capital, and eventually list as a Public company on exchanges.”
“Limited Company it is. So what do we do? We have this great business plan, we know we need just five lakhs to start the business and I’ll put in 3, while Rakesh puts in two”, said Sudhir.
“That’s good. So you’ll create a private limited company — you tell me a name, tell me what you plan to do and I’ll work to register it. The company will have to issue shares. For five lakhs, at Rs. 10 per share, there will be 50,000 shares, and you, Sudhir, will get 30,000 shares, and Rakesh gets 20,000, in proportion with your investment.”
Sudhir thought this was nice, but was it right to restrict stakes based on money invested?
“But the five lakhs is really the seed capital — over the next six months, both of us will put in a lot of effort, which is worth a lot more. How can we divide our capital accordingly?”
“You can alter shareholding based on effort, if you create a stock option plan that compensates you with stock. This is a more tedious process, and I would only recommend it if you want to bring in external investors. For example, you might decide to issue yourselves 10,000 shares each, every month, for your effort. In a year, your individual holding percentages will change, and will reflect more of your effort and less of the cash you initially invested. Remember your shareholding today will get diluted as you raise more capital tomorrow, and the percentages are likely to come down substantially.”
“Oh. So we can’t own this company anymore?”
“Well, there’s a difference between management and ownership. For example, if you manage the company, you can decide to pay yourself a very high salary. If you own the company, you want to keep salaries down so that profits are higher and you get better dividends. When you let other people invest, you part with ownership, but usually not over management control. So there will always be a tussle between your investors and you on that note, but people have learnt, over years, that it makes sense for founders and management to have a significant stake in the company. And since you are starting off with such small amounts as 5 lakhs, if you aren’t getting a big stake, you can always quit and start a competing company with a higher stake. To motivate you to stay, investors need to give you a meaningful percentage.”
“But don’t investors require you to sign non-compete clauses?”, asked Rakesh.
Sehgal sighed. “Yes, but it’s very difficult to enforce non-compete restrictions in India. Investors might try but they know that it’s better to keep you motivated than to let you run away; legal agreements only make sense to enforce if you succeed.
Only novice entrepreneurs part with more than 50% equity in the first round of fund-raising. In fact, even in listed companies, you find that most founders or “promoters” continue to own a majority (or near-majority) stake in the business”.
Sudhir chewed on his pencil.
“That’s interesting. So we decide how the stake between us is split, and later, someone will put in money. I need to give that person shares, but at that time, I will have a product, and revenues; I might need 50 lakhs — but my share capital is just five lakhs! How does that work?”
“Once you generate revenues and profits the overall valuation of the company increases. Let’s say you generate 20 lakhs in profits, and using industry figures, you are given a valuation of 10 times profit — or Rs. 2 crores. If the number of shares hasn’t changed, it’s still 2 crores divided into 50,000 shares — or Rs. 400 per share. Remember, you bought in at Rs. 10 per share, and you have grown it to the Rs. 400 a share valuation without putting any more money. That’s the power of effort, and that’s how great companies are built — not by money alone”, said Sehgal.
Sudhir and Rakesh gave each other a look. Just five minutes into the conversation, they were worth 2 crores together. But it’s easy to be a millionaire in your dreams, they knew.
Sehgal continued, “Now you need 50 lakhs and your investor agrees to value you currently at 2 crores. That will add 50 lakhs of cash to your company, and you will issue him new shares at Rs. 400 per share, which is 12,500 shares. Now there are 62,500 shares in total. Each of you owns a little less as a percentage, and the new investor owns 20%”.
“So how does the investor make money? I can take a salary and get a return on my investment. Why should a non-involved investor bother?”
Sehgal got up to pace his room, a tactic he often employed when he was about to explain a delicate detail.
“Two reasons. One: you might be successful and give dividends to investors by sharing your annual profits, which can realize great returns on the initial investment. But this is no longer the preferred reason to invest at the early stage. The main reason is to exit at a high value. If I trust the founders, understand the market and believe in a product, the initial seed funding can multiply many times if things go right. You, for instance, might either get acquired by a big company that’s making solar cars, which gives your investors a great return. Or, you might grow big enough to get listed in the stock exchanges, through an IPO — this allows anyone else to come in and the original investors to sell.”
“Nice. That means we, as founders get to exit as well, even partially, I guess. But then, how does one list on a stock exchange?”
“If you choose to list yourself on an exchange, you typically make a public offer, where you offer the shares to just about anyone. There is regulation involved, and you will need to employ bankers and underwriters and have a great track record. With that, the greater investing crowd in the stock markets may see even more value in your shares, perhaps even 20 times profits, and the shares can be richly priced.”
“Like 4,000 rupees a share? Or 40,000?”
“Sure, but because people get scared of large numbers, listed companies tend to reduce the share prices through bonuses or splits. Imagine that when your company was worth two crores with 50,000 shares, you chose to issue another 50,000 shares for free to all shareholders, in the same proportion as current shareholding. Now the same 2 crores of value is spread across 100,000 shares, which is Rs. 200 per share, versus the Rs. 400 a share earlier. This is how listed companies tend to make their shares look affordable.”
“But if listing is so great, then why doesn’t every company list itself?”
“Many don’t qualify. The regulations require either a good record of profitability or high quality institutional investors on board, plus approval of your specific offer. Then you need to reveal your financial details every quarter, and make sure the exchanges are aware of any large decision you take. And because you have shares listed, any material information needs to be revealed immediately. This could put you at a disadvantage in a competitive field. A number of companies use creative accounting that will not be acceptable in public markets.”
“Whoa. So if we’re clean, we are okay. But this is brilliant, Mr. Sehgal. Thanks for your help. Now to get back to making our solar car software.”
“All the best, Sudhir”, said Sehgal, wondering if he should ask for shares as his fee. The Honda is nice, but petrol isn’t getting any cheaper.
Posted: 21 Jun 2011 02:08 AM PDT
Bhubaneswar: In a bid to hone the skills of District Fishery Officers of Bihar in recent advances of freshwater aquaculture, the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) here is organising a five-day training programme with 37 officers attending it. The programme is sponsored by the National Fisheries Development Board.
Inaugurating the programme, CIFA Director Dr P Jayasankar said that it is very encouraging that the Bihar Government is keen to enhance fish production in its state. Aquaculture has come to be recognised as a potent tool in removing poverty and malnutrition worldwide, he said.
Posted: 20 Jun 2011 08:43 PM PDT
PATNA: For the first time in the last three years, Patna has been witnessing incessant rain in the past more than 48 hours. And more rain and thundershowers are expected, widely spread throughout the state, in the next 48 hours.
“The southwest monsoon has become active in Bihar,” said Patna Met director Animesh Chanda. He said on Saturday deep depression over Gangetic West Bengal close to southeast of Burdwan moved westwards and lay centered over Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining areas of Jharkhand, centering Ranchi. This has resulted in southwest monsoon becoming active in Bihar causing incessant rain in the state for the last 48 hours in Patna and other parts of the state.
Beginning June 16, a cyclonic circulation extending up to mid-tropospheric level lay over north Bay of Bengal-Bangladesh coast and under its influence a low pressure area was formed over northwest of Bay of Bengal and its neighborhood. It crossed West Bengal coast on the same day, which resulted in southwest monsoon advancing to the entire eastern India. The system would move west-northwestwards and would weaken gradually, Chanda added.
In the last 24 hours, 35 mm of rain was registered in Patna with Gaya and Bhagalpur recording 93 mm and 68.2 mm of rainfall, respectively. The maximum temperatures also dipped to five below normal in Patna while in Gaya and Bhagalpur it went down to 11 and seven below normal, respectively. Minimum temperature has also fallen down by 2 C in all these places.
From June 1, this season, Patna has recorded around 97 mm rainfall. The city recorded 11 mm and 25 mm rainfall, respectively on Friday and Saturday, while the mean total rainfall of Patna in June stands at 149.6 mm.
“Kalpana-1 cloud imagery shows convective clouds hovering over the sky, causing incessant rain,” a weatherman said.
Fairly wide spread rain would occur at most places in the state during the next 48 hours with the Met department predicting 50 mm rain on Monday in Patna with northeasterly wind speed of 29 kmph and maximum temperature further going down by a couple of degrees.
However, the state is still deficient of rain ranging from 20 per cent to 59 per cent. This was mainly due to delay of monsoon by about a week.
Posted: 20 Jun 2011 08:41 PM PDT
PATNA: The proposed third line between Fatuha and Ara in Danapur division under East Central Railway (ECR) is the need of the hour as traffic on the mainline route between Mughalsarai and Jhajha has already reached saturation of about 160 and 170% causing detention of long-distance mail and express trains. However, this project does not seem to be a priority for the railways now.
According to sources, Danapur division has, of late, witnessed an astronomical increase in the number of passenger trains. About 280 passenger trains and 40 goods trains run daily through the division. Thus a third line is a must to streamline the movement of both long-distance and local passenger trains either passing or originating from the division, sources said
Among all divisions of the ECR, Danapur division has become the most crowded. Keeping in mind the daily run of Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and other Rajdhani Express trains, the division has to provide clear path for these prestigious trains. Besides, popular trains like Sampoorna Kranti Express, Garib Rath, Shramjeevi Express, Magadh Express, Vikramshila Express and Poorva Express have been running on the mainline section of the division daily, sources said.
Several long-distance trains like Patna-Ajmer, Patna-Jammu Tavi, Patna-Indore, Patna-Vasco-de-Gama, Patna-Mumbai, Patna-Bangalore, Patna-Chennai, Patna-Ernakulam and many others have been introduced on the mainline route during the past five years. Yet, the required infrastructure has not been provided in the division. Needless to say, railways does not have sufficient number of washing pits for the maintenance of rakes, sources said.
An ECR official admitted that a survey had been carried out for laying the third line between Ara and Fatuha. Railways will have to incur an expenditure of about Rs 1.5 crore per km to lay this third line. The total distance between the two stations would hardly be about 60km to 70km. Thus, total expenditure on the project wouldn’t be very high route. However, he said, railways doesn’t have any plan to build the third line.
It may be recalled that the Danapur division has been a passenger-oriented one since British period. Though the number of trains has increased manifold, railways has not been able to provide requisite infrastructure in the division. Local commuters are forced to travel in mail and express trains from Buxar, Ara, Mokama and other stations located on the mainline route. It also sometimes causes law and order problem for railways as these commuters forcibly stop trains by alarm chain pulling, sources said.
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