Everyone from Navjot Singh Sidhu downwards has a view on statistics, comparing them with all sorts of female attire worn at the beach and elsewhere. In our hands, the useful stuff is winnowed from the chaff and laced only with some interpretation to help you along. For often there is deep meaning in a small change.
What does it mean if ONGC, number three last year, moves past Reliance Industries to become number two? Apart from Reliance's own reasons - its stock has lost 12.5 per cent between May 16 and September 30 - that change epitomises an all-around surge in public sector companies. PSUs in the BT 500 show a 31 per cent rise in combined market capitalisation, compared with a 13 per cent fall last year. The entire market capitalisation of BT 500 companies has risen 35.5 per cent.
The rise was only to be expected this year. Much of the euphoria around the historic mandate Narendra Modi won on May 16 was fuelled by the hope that he will revive businesses. The Sensex rose 11.5 per cent between the day of the results and September 30, the day of the BT 500 data. Is this therefore a promise kept?
Still a bit early to make that call. But as we go to press, the Modi government seems to have put a lukewarm Budget behind it to initiate measures that promise to reform labour laws and push projects. No miniskirt or bikini can conceal the significance of that.
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