Financial Daily
from THE HINDU group of publications

Wednesday, June 27, 2001





Sowing more, reaping less
IT IS hardly surprising that some of the top fast-moving consumer goods companies are being stung by the slowdown in sales in the rural market. The fact is that gross rural incomes are not rising at the rate they used to. Worse, per capita incomes might actually be falling.

Meeting the Chinese threat
THE threat from Chinese products flooding Indian markets has received much media attention. It has been observed that Chinese imports are in the low tech, undifferentiated and value-for-money category. Industries that seem to be experiencing the competit ive heat include bicycles, locks, toys, textiles, umbrellas, dry battery cells and TVs.

IPR: `Intellect' unlimited
INTELLECTUAL property (IP) is a term used to describe intangible creations of the human intellect protected by law. In simple terms, IP is a product got after applying human intelligence that has commercial value. It is intangible and indivisible, in tha t an unlimited number of users can consume it without depleting it. Other intellectual property rights include copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. However great or powerful an individual, you need copyright, patent and trademark.

Agenda for Musharraf
THE JULY SUMMIT between the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Pakistani President, Gen Pervez Musharraf is not expected to produce any favourable result, especially vis-a-vis the Kashmir issue. This is because of the huge gap between the I ndian and Pakistani positions. But this does not mean the summit, as a whole, is doomed to failure. It could turn out to be useful if initiatives are taken to improve economic ties between the two countries which are far below their potential.

In memory of Arun Ghosh
WHEN economists are alive, they make news by their statements on contemporary economic affairs. When they pass away, it does not become news to be flashed in all newspapers. Economics may have permanence, but economists are transient. Keynes immortalised the finiteness of economists by his famous statement: ``In the long run we are all dead''. But he was also aware that economists' ideas absorbed from classrooms survive. His other famous statement was: ``Long run economics was for classrooms''. But econ omists conduct debates, outside the `cloistered pale' (to use the felicitious phrase of the title of a book by Arun Tikekar) of classrooms as well.

Weather and bourses
WHAT a dream world it would be if the players with stocks and shares can have an exact idea in advance of how those mysterious entities will behave over the short, medium and long terms as well as on any particular day with respect to any particular comp any! Of course, there are any number of exponents of the behaviour of bourses who keep handing out their predictions in their daily newsletters and on the Web sites which the groundlings swallow without question. Unfortunately, however, even in technolog ically advanced and financially well-anchored industrial countries, these predictions have invariably proved to be a big let down. They seem to fall in the domain of astrology rather than being the outcome of the use of reliable and sophisticated tools a nd techniques. In fact, your own common sense and intuition may be a better bet than the prognostications of highly paid strategists who, more often than not, despite all their years of experience of stock watching, lead you down the primrose path to you r ruin.

Toxic wastes as fertilisers -- Poisoning or nourishing?
``WASTELANDS: The threat of toxic fertilisers,'' released recently by the national and state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) of the United States, reveals that a total of 22 toxic metals, including arsenic and lead, were found in the common fertil isers used by farmers in the US. Fertiliser products become contaminated when manufacturers buy toxic wastes from industrial facilities to obtain low-cost plant nutrients such as zinc or iron.

Focus on plant-based R&D
IN THE hunt for molecules that will lead to the discovery of new drugs, the prime source for big drug corporates and researchers is herbs. Huge investments are being pumped into probing the `magical' properties of certain plants that are recorded in trad itional medicine and also in exploring their yet unknown characteristics.

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