Cover Story

  • The Indian stock market is sneezing because the US has caught a cold. Otherwise, especially at the current prices, D-Street still offers perhaps the best high-growth bet.
  • Jobs are being lost in some sectors, but a variety of others is creating new ones, besides which salaries are rising handsomely.
  • A stronger rupee is hurting exports and it may hurt some more. But total exports may still rise by 25-30 per cent this year.
  • Rising inflation will hurt some consumers for sure, but consumption per se is growing, thanks to the wider affluence a strong economy is creating.
May 04, 2008
Editors note From the editor

From the editor

With clear signs of a US Economy-led global slowdown and an unprecedented rise in commodity, including food grain, prices all round, how bad are things going to be for the Indian economy? Predictions by most analysts point to a slower GDP growth. Inflation (7.41 per cent at the end of March) is causing concern.
BT More An automatic choice?

An automatic choice?

Automotic boxes have evolved over the years and at times now, offer even better fuel efficiency than manual gearboxes on the same cars. I am all for automatics in the high density traffic situations where the relief from constantly changing gears is most welcome.

A share of the pie

Not everyone can afford a private jet. So, why not buy a timeshare and fly the aircraft of your choice every time you need to fly?

The Jet setters'club

They own some of the best private jets you can imagine. Here’s a look at the biggest names of India Inc. and their private fleets.

Wings of desire

Late last year, when Mukesh Ambani, the richest resident Indian, bought his wife Nita an Airbus A-319 corporate jet, the world sat up and took notice. At Rs 225 crore, the price tag of this “gift” had everyone gulping. A few months down the line as we sat down to finalise the cover package for this fortnight’s BT More, we realised that dozens of corporate honchos do, in fact, own private jets in India—and their numbers are growing.

A home in the skies

Ceri Rocca, vehicle interior stylist and consultant with Design Q, the well-known UK-based aerospace designing firm, tells you how to make the interiors of an aircraft resemble a home or a luxury hotel suite.

Choppers anyone?

Making too many short trips on work? A helicopter is what you need. Here’s a look at some of the best models you can buy.

The lure of the green jacket

The Augusta National Golf Club is a surreal world. Enter the premises from one of the half dozen gates, and you step into a picture-perfect setting where everything works with clockwork precision.

A gourmet's delight

The next time you think exotic food, go Greek.

The bad boys

Gangsters have always fascinated us. There’s something about the “glamour” and the guts associated with criminals that keep us riveted. We take a look at three new DVDs on gangsters, real and fictional.

Dark temptations

There are chocolates and there are chocolates. Find out where you get the best chocolates in India and also who makes them.

The cup that cheers

Chill out over a cup of your favourite Darjeeling or flavoured ice tea at one of these swanky new tea bars.

As Irish as it gets

Taste the finest Irish whiskey. But first know a little bit more about them.

Whe(a)tting the appetite

Summer is just the right time to sit at the club bar and sip a chilled bottle of wheat beer.

Memories of another day

This fortnight, we bring you two books written in very different styles and in different eras but which deal with ancient cities and talk about a time gone by.

Flying high

Quite simply, these are the best executive jets money can buy.

A wine for your Maharaja Mac

The traditional all-time favourite accompaniment to a pizza is a Chianti Classico, an uncomplicated red wine from Tuscany, Italy, whose acidity cuts through the cooked cheese.

Beijing beckons

In a few months from now, there will be a million tourists in Beijing watching the Olympic Games. Beat the rush and head to this ancient city now.

The ultimate sound

The Wilson Benesch act speakers are worth every bit of their Rs 9,30,000 price tag.

The perfect wardrobe

Gucci is stepping up its presence in India. Find out what’s on offer.

The great Indian rock

Indian rock bands are still evolving. Here we feature four of the best.

Buy yourself a microlight

Feel like flying? Go right ahead.

Fashionably yours

Some of the world’s favourite brands are here this summer with new stores and new launches. Choose your own style.
Current A laptop, and more techies

A laptop, and more techies

HCL Infosystems and Microsoft expand tie-up.

Kingfisher's flight path

Vijay Mallya’s bird is all set to fly abroad, with some delay.

Creative karma of Craig Davis

JWT’s creative boss wants ads to engage, not interrupt.

Going with the wind

The Tatas have spent $23 billion on 125 buyouts since 2002.

From Khanna to Roshan

Godrej’s Cinthol gets a new emissary.

Godrej's new colours

It is makeover time for the 110-year-old Godrej brand. The famous Godrej logo, which is actually founder Ardeshir Godrej’s signature, will now look different.

Osian's canvas

An art/auction house that’s worth over Rs 800 crore.

Sole-searching times

Reebok India’s unique model could be an eye opener globally.

Hyderabad hurrah

DuPont is banking heavily on its India knowledge centre.

Boom time at BEML

The PSU is flooded with orders from Metro Rail projects.

Capacity glut?

Hero Honda ramps up output in a falling market.

The ageing of ISB

Its one-year programme is attracting a larger number of older students. Blame it on its quick pay-back.

A bitter pill

Will Orchid’s Raghavendra Rao keep or lose his drug company?
Editorial Act decisively

Act decisively

Take this little test. Ask yourself a simple question: what is my ethnic identity? Now, ask five other people from different backgrounds and social groups the same question.

Dollar diplomacy

Diplomacy is nothing but war by other means. This principle, first propounded in the Mahabharata, gained popular acceptance across the world after it was incorporated in Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli’s “realist” political treatise, The Prince.

Cautious, but optimistic

Caution is back in boardroom discussions in corporate India. There is still optimism, but irrational exuberance—a phrase popularised by Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve—has, for all practical purposes, gone out of the picture.
Letters Feedback from the readers

Feedback from the readers

The cover story on India’s Most Innovative Companies is very encouraging for those who are investing in innovation. Indian
Trends The BT 50 index

The BT 50 index

Driven primarily by rising population and increasing middle class income, drug sales in India are projcted to grow at 8 per cent, much higher than most other large markets, says a news report.

To be precise

“India, which always used last year’s fashion to dress itself up, is becoming the knowledge centre of the world”

Numbers of note

100,000 per cent: The inflation rate in Zimbabwe, which makes its currency virtually worthless. Four out of five Zimbabweans are unemployed


Officially, the Finance Ministry mandarins are busy as a bee firefighting inflation. But despite the public posturing, privately, officials are a worried lot.

Economy watch

As the US subprime crisis spooked the world’s equity markets, gold, a traditional safe haven asset, moved sharply up and touched an alltime high of $1,038 (Rs 41,520) on March 17 this year, but has corrected since then. This makes gold more afforadble for people, especially in this part of the world.

Notebook sales sizzle

Despite the talk of a slowdown in the economy, PC sales in the country continued to rise on the back of a strong growth in the notebook market and a buoyant household sector.

What goes up...

SBI Chairman O.P. Bhatt may talk about wanting to increase lending rates, but his bank was among the first to cut home loan rates by 50 basis points last month. It isn’t the only one. Several banks have done so over the last few weeks.

Buybacks back in vogue

The crash in stock prices has prompted several companies like Reliance Energy (REL), Patni Computers, Gujarat Flurochemicals, Great Offshore, Madras Cements and JB Chemicals to buy back their shares from the market in order to prop up their sagging prices, boost investor confidence and increase the underlying valuations of their stocks.

"More Indian MNCs than Chinese"

Robin Bew, Editorial Director, The Economist Intelligence Unit, recently visited India to announce its on-ground operations here. He met Business Today’s Deepti Khanna Bose to discuss EIU’s plans.

Instant tip

The fortnight’s burning question. Is the Indo-US Nuclear Deal as good as dead?

This grass is greener

IIT graduates are choosing career options in India over job offers abroad—either as entrepreneurs or in sectors far removed from their skill sets, such as finance and consulting.
Reporters Diary A stitch in time

A stitch in time

Tirupur’s textile industry is slowly, but surely, leaving its knotty past behind, discovers Rahul Sachitanand.
In This Issue Slowdown — It may hurt, but not kill

Slowdown — It may hurt, but not kill

These are extraordinary times, not just for India but the whole world. At no time before in world history has inflation and economic downturn combined to create a “caught-between-ice-and-fire” situation. In India, rising inflation coupled with a moderating economy does signal a cyclical slowdown, but the country’s long-term growth story is still intact. An analysis by BT's Shalini S. Dagar.

AICTE - time to revamp

The statutory body, which is supposed to regulate higher education in the country, is a sclerotic, bureaucratic organisation that is, instead, vitiating the atmosphere of technical education in India. In the past, it has been often accused of approving institutions with questionable credentials even as some of India's premier institutes have found it difficult to gain recognition. Rishi Joshi reports.

How the world measures inflation

India is the only major country in the world that measures its inflation rate according to the Wholesale Price Index; most others do it on the basis of the Consumer Price Index. Here we take a look at how this important statistics is calculated worldwide.

Sanmar's big bang

The Chennai-based Sanmar Group will soon be among the top 10 foundries in the world (top three in the case of steel casting capacity) and ranked 20th in terms of global PVC capacity (second in India after Reliance Industries). By 2010-11, its revenues are expected to touch Rs 7,000 crore, with 45 per cent of it coming from outside India. BT's N. Madhavan says that the transformation has indeed been rapid.

Licence to bank

NBFCs are aspiring to become one-stop shops for all financial services, and, in the process, coming into direct competition with scheduled commercial sector banks, especially in the private sector. Large NBFCs, such as Reliance Capital and Indiabulls, are giving banks a run for their money in many of their traditional segments. BT's Anand Adhikari reports.
Event Calling all young entrepreneurs

Calling all young entrepreneurs

Announcing the launch of the TiE-Canaan Entrepreneurial Challenge 2008.

"The opportunity is huge, but there is no incentive"

A Business Today-Technopak roundtable on ‘Opportunities and Investments in the Healthcare Industry’ throws up some ground-breaking solutions on how to help the sector thrive.
Jobs Build a concrete career

Build a concrete career

Thanks to the resurgence in the infrastructure sector, the demand for construction managers is on the rise.

Mixed signals

Retail and telecom perk up, while IT, ITES and manufacturing slacken, reveals the seventh quarterly BT-TeamLease Employment Outlook Survey.
Leadership Spotlight Aiming for the top

Aiming for the top

Shyam S. Bhartia is pursuing his MNC dreams with a vengeance. Last week, the Chairman & Managing Director of the Rs 1,610-crore Jubilant Organosys snapped up Canada’s Draxis Health for $225 million (Rs 900 crore) to bolster his group’s presence in the lucrative North America region.
Money Play time for big boys

Play time for big boys

The fear that short selling by institutional investors may tank an already depressed market may not come true after all.

Banking on pensions

Choosing a retirement product to suit one’s requirements is important. Insurance companies have launched pension plans that work like ULIPs. How do these work?

"Crises come and go"

Among the largest Europe based asset managers, AXA Investment Managers manages $830 billion or Rs 33.2 lakh crore (December 2007) in assets. AXA Investment Managers Global CEO Dominique Carrel-Billiard was in the country recently even as its domestic joint venture, Bharati AXA Asset Management, received SEBI’s nod to roll out mutual fund products for the Indian market. In a conversation with Mahesh Nayak, Carrel-Billiard spells out his plans for India, the effect of the subprime crisis, and lots more.

A safe haven

FMCG stocks have not succumbed to the subprime storm and many still make attractive investments.

In your interest

If you are looking to invest in bank FDs, check out one-year deposits.
People On a high

On a high

Mudra Group’s Bobby Pawar; ArcelorMittal’s Malay Mukherjee; Venkatramani Sumantran, Executive Vice Chairman, Hinduja Automotive; Dileep Choksi, former Vice Chairman, Deloitte Haskins & Sells; Pradeep Guha, CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises; and Sam Ghosh, CEO, Reliance Capital.
Printed Circuit Social networks go niche

Social networks go niche

While some magazines in India “discovered” Facebook in 2008, social networks have moved on. For one, the niche social network has emerged as a potent force.

New kid on the laptop block

Laptops are a dime a dozen, but this HP machine is rather good.
Special How they were hunted down

How they were hunted down

Put four hotshot headhunters in a room and what do you have—either a recipe for name-dropping and name-calling; or a magic list of the country’s 25 hottest young executives.

India's hottest young executives

Business Today’s league of extraordinary managers—25 young guns, aged 40 or under, who are blazing a trail up the corporate ladder.
Top Mind Looking for a hotspot? Ask your phone

Looking for a hotspot? Ask your phone

It’s a system that will allow users to instantly “tag” their images with location information on their Global Position System (GPS) receivers if GPS data is available.

Soon, high speed trains in India

The Indian Railways has floated a global tender for conducting a pre-feasibility study on building a high-speed rail corridor connecting Delhi and Amritsar via Chandigarh.
Policy Watch Tax break for IT companies

Tax break for IT companies

With the Software Technology Park Of India (STPI) Scheme likely to be phased out next year, the government could extend tax holidays to IT companies under the industrial park scheme.

Roadmap for number portability

Mobile number portability (MNP), which allows consumers to change their service providers and still retain their old mobile numbers, may become a reality by June 2009.

Thrust on market reforms

The government is pushing ahead with key capital market reforms. On top of its agenda is a proposal to peg the minimum public float at 25 percent for all companies.
News Maker Raghupati Singhania

Raghupati Singhania

There’s a new leader in the Indian tyre market. Raghupati Singhania, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, JK Tyres, recently acquired Tornel, a Mexican tyre maker with an installed capacity of 6.6 million tyres, for Rs 270 crore.
Noted India gets high on FDI

India gets high on FDI

The Indian Economy may be showing signs of slowing down but foreign investors still seem to be sold on the country’s growth story.

Just wondering ...

What happened to the New Companies Act that was scheduled to be introduced in the Budget session of Parliament by Union Minister for Corporate Affairs Prem Chand Gupta?


Appointed: Ganesh Natarajan, Deputy Chairman & Managing Director, Zensar Technologies, as Chairman of NASSCOM for the year 2008-09. Pramod Bhasin, President & CEO, Genpact, has been elected Vice Chairman of NASSCOM for the current year.
Treadmill Eat healthy to stay healthy

Eat healthy to stay healthy

Good eating habits are necessary for you to be at your best. Avoiding these unhealthy habits will keep you in better shape.

Will you ever get a six-pack?

I did a quick analysis of the e-mails i get from readers. It was quick because I don’t get hundreds of e-mails! Poor jokes apart, this is what my analysis showed. At least 80 per cent of the queries that readers send me each fortnight is: “How do I get rid of my belly flab?”
Features BHEL's problems of plenty

BHEL's problems of plenty

The inability of the Navratna PSU to meet delivery deadlines on power generation equipment is one of the primary reasons for the country's power defecit. However, K.R. Balasubramanyam tells us that BHEL may still prove the sceptics wrong.   BHEL bags Rs 18 bn contract from NTPCBHEL unit in Hyderabad registers profit
Back of the Book The merchants of nectar

The merchants of nectar

Bee-keeping continues to be largely an unorganised activity in India and most farmers take it up on a small scale as a way of supplementing their incomes. However, the hardworking farmers in Punjab have found an equally diligent partner in honeybees and are making a buzzing business out of bee-keeping. Kapil Bajaj writes about the spirited bee-keepers in the state. 
Book How to save the earth

How to save the earth

Inspired solutions for some of the world’s most intractable problems.