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Turning crisis into opportunity

September 18, 2008

Turning crisis into opportunity

The current economic slowdown is a stern reminder that India is no longer insulated from the rest of the world. (BT cover, Managing the slowdown, October 5). Reading your in-depth analysis brought about a clearer understanding of how leading Indian companies are pursuing new growth engines in times of stress. In fact, even in today’s troubled times, these companies can continue to grow and gain marketshare through strategic acquisitions, when valuations are at a historical low.

Srinivasan Umashankar, through e-mail

Downturn: How to cope

Your cover story Managing the slowdown (BT, October 5) is timely, but not enough. The downturn, it appears, will last a while and we need updates on what to do to manage in these troubled times. Also, apart from the sectors you have covered, we need to know what will happen across a broad range of industries— from our exports to our blue chips. How will it impact our jobs? Maybe, you should bring in more columns from experts who can throw light on this issue.

V. Seshadri, through e-mail

In need of land reforms

The corporate sector will have a huge problem on its hand if India does not reform its policy on land acquisition. (BT cover, Stuck, September 21). Setting up any kind of infrastructure—SEZs, power plants, highways, airports, dams, factories and other big projects— requires large tracts of land. But inevitably, these projects and their promoters get bogged down in the face of India’s archaic land laws. That needs to change. The compensation for land that’s acquired needs to be arrived at through negotiations and not through government fiat and arbitrary pricefixing. To avoid hard feelings and strife later on, local self-governing bodies should be involved in the process. Similarly, compensation must be speedy if it is to be considered fair. Possibly, the best solution is to make those losing their land stakeholders in the development projects. This will blunt criticism of landowners being “ousted”.

Muneesh Pant, through e-mail

Losing the plot

Plotting trouble and Singed by Singur (BT, October 5) is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in West Bengal, which is unfortunate, to say the least. And Mamata Banerjee’s strategies are anything but productive. She has, pardon the pun, lost the plot completely. If she thinks that her ongoing agitation can galvanise the hinterland, she is grossly mistaken. The Left may lose the panchayat elections but, ultimately, only the people of Singur will suffer due to Ratan Tata’s walkout. To gain political mileage, she is holding the entire state to ransom. Your survey also reveals that a majority of people want the Tatas to stay—even Singur farmers see the benefit of the Tatas staying back. But who will make Ms Banerjee understand that there is no point in her brinkmanship. If the Tatas are forced to shift to another state like Uttaranchal—which is ready to welcome them with open arms—it can have a domino effect on other companies, which might start reconsidering their investment plans in West Bengal.

Bal Govind, through e-mail

Dell looks to India

Your feature on Dell (BT, Dell’s designs, October 5), delves deep into the IT giant’s plans in India. Quite obviously, Dell looks at India as much more than just a low-cost destination for MNCs. Over the years, India has become one of the major markets for IT hardware manufacturing companies. So, Dell’s focus on India is evident from the way the company is targeting the India market where it is aspiring to become #1 in computer hardware. To this effect, Dell has lately been showing renewed assertiveness in spotting market needs and turning them into profitable opportunities. The launch of its high-end laptops and its recent tie-up with Tata’s electronic retail chain show its pragmatic approach to marketing and its seriousness about doing business in India.

B. Rajsekaran, through e-mail

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