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Cover Story

  • It couldn't have been a better day to have a panel discussion on the prospects for the Indian stock markets. The benchmark Sensex on the Bombay Stock Exchange has just shattered all records by recording its highest ever single-day gain of 789 points to hurtle past 18,000. Are we moving too fast?
Nov 04, 2007
Features I for innovation

I for innovation

Citibank’s Suvidha, which was developed in India, is now being rolled out across the world. Other foreign banks are also taking innovative products developed here to other countries. Is India emerging as the global banking industry’s innovation factory?

Weaving woes

Bhoga Ambadas, 39, in the Choutuppal mandal of Nalgonda district, 70 km from Hyderabad, has managed what seasoned businesses would dread to even think of—change the core.

Hollywood in Bollywood

The Saawariya promo is really no different from hundreds of other similar trailers. The only difference: the movie has a Hollywood producer. For the first time one of Hollywood’s Big 6 studios is co-producing a Hindi film. SPE Films India, the Indian arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment has co-produced Saawariya in partnership with Bollywood producer-director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film production house.

Retail rage

It’s 10 in the morning, and at the historic Azad Maidan, where The Mahatma used to address swelling crowds during the Civil Disobedience movement, another movement is slowly gathering steam.

The rupee and the small exporter

Sitting in his Chennai office, Rafeeque Ahmad, Chairman, Farida Group, a leather shoe exporter, is a worried man. The appreciation of the rupee against the dollar has severely eroded the profit margins of his company, forcing him to contemplate drastic measures like reducing his workforce.
BT More How to exercise

How to exercise

Tired of feeling groggy all day due to a lack of stamina? Don’t know how to get all charged up for that presentation on Friday? Envious of those gym-toned bodies and wondering whether you’ll ever be able to have one? Look no further.

My fitness mantra

Ever wondered how busy CEOs, who maintain 70-hour-plus working weeks, manage to keep fit and beat stress? BT More asked nine really fit CEOs for their fitness secrets. This is how they do it.

Suits & You

Your body type should define the type of suit you wear. BT More tells you what suits to wear if you are tall, short or overweight.

What's in this season

Double-breasted jackets that show off your physique, watches with leather straps, plain white shirts... BT More helps you keep abreast of contemporary fashion.

Breathe easy suits

You don’t really have to sweat over the formal look any more.

All you did not know about peak lapels

These lapels are hot this season.

De-stress, detoxify, relax and rejuvenate

Suggestions and reflections to help you regain precious balance between health and wealth in your life.

Work out in style

Why settle for anything but the best when sweating it out? Choose from a range of workout options from the best brands in fitness.

What should you eat?

What you eat and how you eat are very important. Let’s begin.

How to de-stress

It’s never too late to relax and rejuvenate… so let’s begin.

For the love of luxury

These new products are begging your attention. Across various segments like beauty, wellness and accessories. Take a look… and get your pick.

A spaceship… A car… It's a BMW 730Ld

As sedans go, this is very near the definition of the ‘ultimate car’.

Dress up your iPOD

Want to get more out of your iconic music player? Get these accessories.

The return of gin cocktails

Gin is not very popular in India as a standalone drink. But it remains an ingredient of choice for the discerning cocktailista.

Belt-up basics

There are belts and there are belts. Here, we tell you what to wear this season.
In This Issue How long will the bull-run last?

How long will the bull-run last?

Nilesh Khare, an accounts executive, till recently had little knowledge about the existence of bulls, bears and other creatures that prowl the Street. But last fortnight when the benchmark index on the Bombay Stock Exchange kissed the 17,000 mark, he decided it was time to step into the world of investing.

Microfinance muddle

India’s microfinance movement— arguably the most comprehensive attempt ever at achieving ‘financial inclusion’ for India’s poor—is pacing ahead.

Biocon born again

From the first week of October, frequent visitors would have begun to notice subtle changes at the 25-acre headquarters of Biocon, India’s best known biotech company.

Cool Companies

Business Today's fourth annual listing of 10 companies that are hip and happening. What made each of them stand up and be counted? Read on. The top ten in pictures
60 minutes 'Big acquisitions are not part of our growth strategy'

'Big acquisitions are not part of our growth strategy'

In India for a week-long Asia conference, Dooner, Chairman & CEO of McCann Worldgroup, took time out to speak with BT’s Shamni Pande on McCann, Indian advertising, and rival WPP. Excerpts:
Back of the Book 5 tips for smart workouts

5 tips for smart workouts

Take two

Dual-mode phones are making an appearance, but are they really that useful?

What's that buzz?

Google docs has some competition in the space of online word-processing tools, Buzzword (available at http://preview.getbuzzword. com or plain is a new Flash-based online word processing tool and it is pretty cool.

Hail the master chief

Halo 3 is the biggest release yet for the XBox360, we give it a whirl.

Striking it rich

What does Ramzan have to do with a surge in carrom board exports? A lot, especially if you are a small-time manufacturer in Meerut.

Whiff of team spirit

Acumen 2007 kicks off with north zone participants vying for top honours.
Leadership Spotlight Mr Innovative

Mr Innovative

Almost 24 years after the first cars rolled out of Maruti’s Gurgaon plant, the recently renamed Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) overtook its parent, Suzuki Motor Corporation, in sales for the first time.
People People


When he announced his decision to resign as the CEO of Infosys in April this year, many people expected Nandan Nilekani, 52, to step away from the spotlight.
Book Negotiation Genius

Negotiation Genius

Is negotiation an art or a science? It is popularly considered an art, but Harvard Business School professors Deepak Malhotra and Max. H. Bazerman disagree with this view.

As the Guv saw it

Alan Greenspan looks back on his life and times.
Reporters Diary Raising its game

Raising its game

China is in the fast forward mode ahead of Beijing Olympics 2008 and Shanghai World Expo 2010.
Jobs Carrots with Strings

Carrots with Strings

India Inc. is tweaking its equity-linked incentives. The aim: To make them work both for the critical talent as well as themselves.

Help, Tarun!

One is entitled for a student pilot licence after 10+2. You can then join a flight school. There are many flight schools recognised by DGCA.
Trends Numbers of note

Numbers of note

Do you know how many people are employed in tourism sector? Or how much IIM-C is investing to remodel its campus? Read on...

Bite sees spectre of a slowdown

Last fortnight, when the Board of India Today Economists (BITE) met for a brainstorming session on the Indian economy and its general direction, there was broad consensus that a slowdown seemed to be developing, though the board members were divided on the nomenclature— a definitive slowdown or an anticipated soft-landing? But regardless of the language, the Board expected economic growth to moderate to 8.5 per cent from 9.4 per cent.

Net4 launches .Asia domain name

Call it a logical progression if you will. After successfully launching the .in domain name in 2005, Net4, India’s leading IP communications service provider, has tied-up with DotAsia Organisation to launch the first Asia-based generic top-level domain .asia.

Slowing down?

Even as overseas funds continue to rush into India, Indians themselves are wondering what is happening to the economy?

Instan TIP

The fortnight’s burning question.

"AIM is ideal for small cap firms"

AIM is an ideal platform for small cap companies and offers them a wider investor base and greater liquidity.

Marketers go long on cricket derivates

Relief is at hand for those advertisers who want to be part of cricket, but find participation difficult due to the stiff rates charged for live action.

What exactly are these ads saying?

Are advertisements, in today's time, creating a balance between what they should be communicating and what they actually communicate?

"India is among our 4 top markets"

BBC has been broadcasting news in India for decades but this is the first time that a Director-General of BBC is visiting India.

Low-cost airlines are all hiking fares

Gone are the days of cheap air travel in India. After the recent spike in ticket prices of low-cost airlines by 8-10 per cent, a lot of people who until recently flew by these carriers are now finding it cheaper to travel by train.

Local search maybe getting too hot

On a hot day 18 months ago, serial technology entrepreneur Kiran Konduri found himself in Delhi looking for the contact details of Cotton World, a specialty garment retailer.

Intel India Readies for Round 2

It has been a tough couple of years for Intel in India. The integrated chipmaker has been rocked by withdrawn R&D projects.

Global PE biggies setting up shop in India

Thanks to the economic boom and the rising consumer market in India, the action in the private equity space is increasing by the day.

Are interest rates headed downwards?

Last fortnight, many banks, among them the largest private and public sector banks—ICICI Bank and State Bank of India—cut interest rates on auto, home and other loans for new borrowers up to the end of the month.

Investing abroad a click away

ICICI Direct’s recent tie-up with Penson Financial Services of US for launching overseas trading on its platform has resulted in a flurry of activity among the broking houses.

M&A wave to stay buoyant

It’s now confirmed. India’s appetite for global expansion is not a short-term phenomenon and the trend is expected to gather force over the next five years.

TV viewing to get more expensive

Get ready to pay more for another staple of your daily life: TV viewing. If a recent TRAI proposal is implemented, Conditional Access System (CAS) users in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata could soon end up paying 4 per cent or more for their monthly subscriptions.

Lose your nosy neighbours

Here’s another carrot that real estate developers are using to entice buyers— several realtors, especially in Bangalore, are offering no-neighbour apartments to attract big-spending customers to their properties.

India's oil economy

By holding on to oil prices, the government is only deferring the shock.

Polls and the Sensex

Conventional wisdom says the stock markets hate political uncertainty and that investors become nervous beforegeneral elections.

Top of mind: click it, print it

What is it? Snapfish (available at is a site promoted by HP that allows users to store and take prints of their digital photos.

Forget PCs, use SMS to search

What is it? Searching for the number of a restaurant, but can’t find it? You can now query your search on SMS and send it to 54664 (5GOOG) and get results from Google’s recently-launched local search in India.

Economy watch

Soaring coal prices will impact industry, especially those dependent on coal-fired power.

Own a jet,and the runway too

Private jet owners in India might be allowed their own airport and runways. The government is working on a policy that will make it possible soon.

New deal for land oustees

Acquisition of land for developing large new projects might now come with a different flavour, offering greater flexibility to the developer as well as the land oustee.

FDI overhaul soon

The government plans to quickly open up the services segment of the aviation business. As part of the FDI policy review, it plans to allow 100 per cent FDI in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business, where companies like Boeing and Airbus have shown keen interest.


It’s rewarding to be a climatologist these days, especially if you are as passionate about nature as Rajendra Kumar Pachauri.

"To be precise"

“We see it (Facebook) as a project and as a community where people are actually having fun with each other, rather than paying to have fun or thinking that someone is running this as a professional enterprise”
Noted Noted


Forayed: Into organised retail, the Mahindra Group’s fullyowned subsidiary, Mahindra Intertrade, under the brand name Mahindra Retail. It will roll out a chain of multi-format lifestyle stores across the country within the next year and operate in the premium lifestyle segment, selling international and private labels.
Current Mahindra's toy story

Mahindra's toy story

Yet another corporate powerhouse has decided to mark its footprint on the Indian retail scene. The $4.5-billion auto major, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), has decided to enter the Indian retail space.

Debt, be not proud

The biggest and the most credible domestic rating agency in India, CRISIL—owned by Standard & Poor’s—has sounded alarm bells for India Inc. CRISIL’s new-found concerns are two-fold.

Opium for the masses

The festive season offers unlikely opportunities to the most unlikely of advertisers to paint the town red. Let’s start with the recently-concluded Ganesh festival in Mumbai, which is an opportune time for brands like Manikchand Oxyrich.

Kiss and make up

The last time Mukesh and Anil Ambani negotiated across the table was in 2005, when their mother Kokila Ben oversaw the split of the Reliance empire between the two estranged brothers. Now, once again they are being forced to come to the negotiating table.

Crashing the party

It’s clearly the dark horse in the stable of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group. When Mukesh and Anil Ambani arrived at a settlement to carve out the family’s assets two years ago, one company not on the radar was Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd (RIIL).

Gucci comes to town

The best location for a luxury brand isn’t a five-star hotel, but a site cheek-by-jowl with it. That is what Italian fashion label Gucci concluded when launching its first India store.

Long road ahead

It started as a marketing tie up and, last fortnight, graduated to a co-production joint venture. Tata Motors will now manufacture Italian car major Fiat’s premium range—comprising the Grande Punto and the Linea—at its Ranjangaon (near Pune) facility.

Convergys: Beyond India

What’s the future of the BPO industry in India? Not too bright, if you ask Jean-Herve Jenn, President (International), Convergys Corporation.

Airtel's next 50 million

Manoj Kohli is pretty sure which road he needs to walk down to get his company Bharti Airtel’s next 50 million cellular phone customers. “The road to the next 50 million customers would largely be through the villages of India,” he says.

Win some, lose some

On a tight two-day scheduled trip to India soon after he’s taken charge as Managing Director of the joint venture ESPN Star Sports (ESS) in Asia, Manu Sawhney’s in for a jolt.

Buddha gets to smile

Arcelor-Mittal and POSCO may have chosen its neighbouring states (Orissa and Jharkhand, respectively), but West Bengal has managed to become the #3 state for steel investment in the country.

Once bitten, never shy

A fledgling economy attracts power sector investments like none other. Global power equipment major, GE Energy, now plans to set up a wind turbine manufacturing facility in the country, besides step up sourcing of power equipment components.

The devil strikes

For over a year now, the only significant buzz emanating from the House of Onida has been that of gnawing differences between the promoters, with at least two of them reportedly actively thinking of getting out of the company by selling their stakes.

A city in your pocket

The timing couldn’t have been better. Three years ago Paprika Media, a publishing firm kick-started by Smiti Ruia (daughter of Shashi Ruia of the Essar Group), tied up with the Tony Elliot-owned magazine title Time Out to launch a Mumbai edition.

New prescription

After capturing a huge chunk of the outsourced financial services market, traditional IT services companies are now gunning for the healthcare and pharmaceuticals segment—the largest industry in the US and the second-largest outsourcer after financial services.

Ayurvedic boost?

It’s attempting to kill two birds with one stone. Dabur India, the Rs 2,234-crore consumer goods major, is foraying into the malted foods drink (MFD) segment, a Rs 1,500 crore pie.

Clinical game plan

India is critical to our future, says Robert R Ruffolo, 57, President, Wyeth Research & Development. That may sound like just another feel-good sound byte from a visiting foreign honcho, but Ruffolo and Wyeth have good reasons for banking on India.

Content matters

India is the biggest media market in the world, after China, declared Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, last fortnight. Dasmunsi rattled off an impressive array of statistics to bolster his case.

The text thing

The tipping point could have come in August, when the number of Indians with mobile phones crossed 200 million. Perhaps that was the critical mass that would have convinced transaction-led services companies to go beyond the internet and tap the mobile platform.

IBM's damp squib

This is one controversy that died even before it started. Last year, IBM had filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for ‘outsourcing of services.’

Man Friday

In January 2007, Business Today ran a story on Jai Corp, a company owned by Anand Jain and family, and its role in the implementation of Mukesh Ambani’s special economic zones (SEZs). Since then the Jai Corp stock has surged nearly 650 per cent.
Money The easy way to go global

The easy way to go global

For Indian investors with global investment appetite, there are options now. If you are inclined towards mutual funds, then there are those, but if you are someone who wants to make direct investments, then there are emerging options for that as well.

For a higher cover

ULIPS are growing in popularity as they are more profitable for insurance companies. New insurance schemes are being launched regularly.

Life at new highs

There’s no telling where the Sensex will be by the time this article hits the stands—given the multiple 1,000 point jumps the indices have demonstrated of late. Stock market forecasting at the best of times has been tricky business.

A cover for accidents

When V. Jayaprakash, 44, was driving down to work on his two-wheeler, somebody suddenly cut across the road, forcing him to brake hard. But in avoiding the person, Jayaprakash’s vehicle skidded and he fell and broke his nose.

The best sector funds

If you doubt whether thematic or sector funds really do well, take a look at the top 10 funds in the market. Eight of the top 10 funds over the last year have been either sector or thematic funds.
Editorial Reddy's Dilemma

Reddy's Dilemma

Indian bankers seem to be taking a cue from US Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke who slashed the short-term US rate for the first time in four years by 50 basis points to 4.75 per cent in September.

A fatal mistake

Is it time to write an epitaph for the INDO-US nuclear deal? Going by the pronouncements of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, it does seem so.

Stock Market 101

When anyone signs up for a class on finance, the first thing they are taught is this: the price of any asset is equal to the cash flow it generates periodically, discounted to factor in the prevailing rate of interest.
Policy Watch P-Watch Column

P-Watch Column

The why, what and how-to of policy making.