From the Executive Editor

Every bear phase comes to an end and is followed by a new, and usually a longer, bull era.

As the makeshift Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee went through the motions of presenting a lacklustre interim Budget, it was clear that the policymakers have little idea of how to tackle the current crisis. All he said was that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, without specifying the latter. He quoted Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who has repeatedly stressed that she expects India's growth to be equitable, sustainable and all-inclusive. But there were no signs of how this would be done in these times, when earnings, spending and investments have been impacted adversely.

The only clarity that Mukherjee showed was in his prediction that we would be in it for the long haul. The world economy, he noted, was likely to fare much worse in 2009, compared with 2008. In the case of India, the conditions in the current year were "not likely to be normal". More importantly, tax collections in 2008-9 were likely to be much lower than the Budget estimates, leading to unusually high revenue and fiscal deficits. While fiscal deficit for the year is now estimated at 6% of GDP, compared with the budgeted 2.5%, revenue deficit is likely to be 4.4% of GDP (instead of 1%).

In such a scenario, our cover story should be a must read for everyone. For, even as the so-called experts are clueless about when the Indian economy and stock markets are likely to witness a revival, we present you with a near definitive analysis to spot the next boom. If you look carefully at the 10 indicators that we have chosen, you will be in a better position than the others to ride the next bull wave as and when it happens (either in 2009 or 2010). The only caveat is that you shouldn't consider these factors in isolation. Unless all of them, or at least a majority of them, move in the right direction, an upturn is unlikely.

So, while you successfully battle your current crises, make sure that you don't lose track of the big picture. Every bear phase comes to an end and is followed by a new, and usually a longer, bull era. In many instances, a normal bear phase doesn't last more than two years, though the current global recession can be more prolonged. In any case, you need the right ammunition to hit the bull's eye next time.