Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Diwali and the bear

I hope everyone is having a Shubh Deepawali with their family and friends and may Godness Laxmi smile on everyone with wealth and prosperity in the time to come.

However if you are Rakesh Jhunjunwala the way to earning your bounty is to go short on the Indian stock market. He is on the record now saying that Indian markets will crash. So if the big bull is now a big bad bear, no points for guess whether he is long or short on the. Like they say Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered. If the market tanks this week, it will be fantastic time to go short on the market.

In Samvat 2066 it appears the path to Laxmi Road is via Bear Street. Here is the rediff article

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wake up Mumbai

Taking a cue from his wife Sagarika, Rajdeep seems to have woken up to the reality of the India. Im my opinion I have observed that he has sugar coated his words when speaking or intervewing policticans on televsion but here he is direct and at his eloquent best.

As the megapolis one grew up in, there is an obvious emotional attachment to Mumbai. Which is why, at a studio discussion this week, when a panelist referred to the maximum city registering minimum voting as a sign of Mumbai's "resident non-Indian" mentality, I felt a little aggrieved.

Surely, a city with the energy and enterprise of Mumbai, a city which literally never sleeps, cannot be seen through such a cynical worldview.
And yet, as voting day for the Maharashtra assembly elections wore on, it became increasingly apparent that Mumbai was struggling to pass Pappu's electoral test.

Maybe, it's the same mindset which has chosen to watch the city being reduced to a giant slum by a political class which sees slum-dwellers as one large vote bank and little else.

Perhaps, that is also why year after depressing year, the city routinely goes under water in the monsoons.

It might also explain why no one has been able to challenge the builder-babu-neta nexus which has allowed the mangroves and green areas to be concretized.

You commute for eons in a creaking railway system, flyovers don't get built on time, a sealink takes years to come up, no additional power is generated for a decade, old, dilapidated buildings remain hostage to antiquated laws: nothing seems to change, and worse, no one seems to care enough to force change.

Take a look at the morning papers in Mumbai and you get a sense of just how much the city lives in a bubble of its own.

In no other city has page three merged as effortlessly into page one as in Mumbai. Shah Rukh's trousseau, Salman's antics, Priyanka's twittering, the city seems to have magnified all things trivial and made Bollywood its ultimate temple of worship. Read more

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rich behaving poorly

Sagarika Ghose seems to have hit the nail right on the head. When we see the likes of Bindas Bhai and others gloating over their riches when the average Indian is trying to make ends meet, it reminds me of Marie Antonette who said "If you don't have bread, eat cake". The liberalization of India has attracted legitimate capital as well as shady money. It is this shady money which is fuelling all the demand for real estate. Last January, at the mere mention of the abolition of P-Notes, the market crashed 20% from 21k to 17k. The money moving in Indian stock market is highly speculative leverage capital and part of those profits are ploughed back into Mumbai real estate. Folks who make money should be careful in how they invest it. We have seen how the mighty have fallen. I know of folks working on Wall Street earing $500k + bonus and those folks cannot find a job paying them 1/5 of their salary. Indian housing bubble is a subset of the Indian money supply bubble and both will unwind viciously when it become unsustainable. Manmohan, Montek and company are doing little to curb its appeal. They act like ostriches when the wolves are out in full play. The real money has to spent in building infrastructure, agriculture and basic necessities. The Naxals are not reading Sagarika's blog before striking back. They are rising against the unfair trade practices. If the poor don't become a participant in India's growth, the rich wont be able to enjoy their riches for long. Her blog is below.
Two seemingly unconnected events point to our most urgent contemporary dilemma: how should the rich behave in a country of the poor? Just a week after Corporate Affairs minister Salman Khurshid asked CEOs not to take "vulgar" salaries, Naxals beheaded police officer Francis Induvar in Jharkhand and as many as 200 Naxals attacked a police station in Gadchiroli. Four Indian CEOs recently made it to the Forbes list of 10 wealthiest CEOs in the world, yet almost half of India lives on less than a dollar a day. Today, many rich Indians are indeed vulgar and arrogant, and the poor are no longer content in their 'god given' lowliness and have taken up the gun. India and Bharat are on a collision course as never before. The government's response of a crackdown on Naxals is only a treatment of the symptom rather than the disease. If Naxalism is defined as a violent response against perceived inequality, then its not just occurring in the Red Corridor. There are versions of it going on all over India. Read more at

Monday, October 12, 2009

More scams by Mumbai builders

Just when we thought that we are aware of most the scams run by the builders, here is one more to be aware of. Not that I am a buyer at these prices, however it is something to consider before making any purchase

Builders hike transfer fee to cover up for lean phase

MUMBAI: With property prices in parts of Mumbai having stabilised, some developers who had sold properties during the slowdown are now charging
an exorbitant amount as transfer fee. Transfer fee is a one-time payment made to the residential co-operative society when there is a case of transfer of ownership. In cases where the society is not registered, which often is the result of owners not in possession of occupation certificates, this fee is charged by the developer. Though a ceiling of Rs 25,000 has been fixed by the registrar of co-operative societies, local developers have been charging as much as 10% of the total price. Vipin Patel, a property broker in central Mumbai’s Parel area, said: “In a well-known residential complex in the area, the per square foot price is Rs 19,000, with an additional Rs 2,500 per square foot as transfer fee. Transfer fee is charged by all developers and in most cases, the buyer pays for it.” The range in the area starts off at Rs 1,000 per sq ft and is as much as Rs 3,000. This is for apartments priced at Rs 15,000 to Rs 22,000 per sq ft. “Several developers had to sell apartments at rates much lower than what was prevailing between the end of last year and the middle of this year. The transfer fee is an indirect way to make up for past losses,” said a high net worth individual. In one particular case in Lower Parel, apartments were sold at prices as low as Rs 11,000 per sq ft to some HNIs. Today, with prices having increased to Rs 14,000 per sq ft, some of the investors are planning to sell their apartments. Here, the developer is asking for a transfer fee of Rs 1,000 per sq ft. Builders, for their part, said transfer fee taken from the buyer and seller is clearly accounted for. “An account is maintained for the transfer fee taken and the money is returned to the society committee once formalities relating to registration are taken care of,” said a prominent developer in central Mumbai. The society can be registered only when 60% of the flats are sold. Vinod Sampat, a property lawyer, said: “There is a lack of transparency as far as developers collecting the transfer fee is concerned and this is a way of extortion.” Mr Sampat has approached the Maharashtra state government against the practice of transfer fee. “The transfer fee is also charged by the existing co-operative societies but it is not as high as what buyers pay in new buildings,” said R Singh, another broker dealing in Worli properties.