Adios 2012, Bonjour 2013!


As you read the farewell note to 2012, you are now not only joyful but thankful as well considering we managed to survive the Mayan prophecy. And today, more than ever, we are all ready to leap forward into 2013.

But that’s how life is; things are least likely to happen when they’re most expected.

Well, this is that time of the year again when the whole world takes a dip into the inglorious world of boozing and betting. Pubs and discs are overflowing with advanced bookings. A-la-carte or the buffet, all is going full. We are all set to hit the dance floors and bang our heads to our favourite numbers. 31st December, a day which has globally gained popularity over the years on an exponential scale, is celebrated as yet another, but the only truly secular festival.

The tempos are all high, the grudges all down
In the midst of jeu d’esprit, goes all the frown!

We always look forward to new opportunities and new beginnings with great hope and anxiety, but we shall not forget the power of the past that instills in us the wisdom and the strength to move ahead. So before we welcome the New Year, let us take a quick glance over what made 2012 so “happening” despite the economic gloom that took over the globe.

Polity Poultry

With the IAC (India Against Corruption) campaign being kick started by Anna Hazare in 2011, things became murkier and took a toll on the government. With so many scams such as the Commonwealth Games’10, the Coal scam and the 2G scam lined up in queue, with looming shadows of the Adarsh society scam and the Tatras scam, the blame game and pin pointing couldn’t stop.

As a consequence, the government cancelled 122 licenses issued by A Raja during the sale of the 2G spectrum, the effect of which would be felt in January 2013 when services are stopped.

A lot has been discussed and debated on the coal scam including policy issues, environmental clearance and even the factitious existence of plants, yet no substantial measures have been taken, putting India at the risk of having a shortage of coal and thus a requirement to import it. Also, not to mention that Suresh Kalmadi and A Raja are both on bail as of now.

Moreover, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal split apart; Kejriwal went ahead and formed his own party AAP (Aam Aadmi Party).  On the other hand, in state assembly elections, the INC won in Manipur and Uttarakhand, the Samajwadi Party bagged Uttar Pradesh; Shiromani Akali Dal (BJP combined) won in Punjab. BJP also got it right in Goa. And the latest news being that Narendra Modi was re-elected as the Chief Minister of Gujarat for the third consecutive term, and Virbhadra Singh (Congress) was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Pranab Mukhejee became India’s 13th President after winning against BJP backed P. Sangma. While the political stage is always action packed, Maharashtra saw a loss of action as it lost Shiv Sena “Tiger” Bal Thackeray. Vilasrao Deshmukh, ex CM, Maharashtra was another person who expired this year and so did I. K Gujral, India’s ex PM who gave us code of conduct for maintaining healthy relations with immediate neighbors.

Economic Exposure

In today’s 21st century, a politics sans economic understanding is like application without knowledge of the basics. With the world so economically intertwined and dependent, it becomes important for a nation to take the right steps to stay afloat. While the whole world is bullish about India as a market to invest in, the whole issue about FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in retail turned out to be a complete disaster as it disseminated a lot of uncertainty among other countries about doing business in India. Though the FDI in retail bill has been passed with 100 percent stake in single brand retail and up to 51 percent stake in multi brand retail, there are still many things that need to be set right.

The best thing about the policies and indian politics is that the faces change faster than them. C Rangarajan replaced Kaushik Basu as Chief Economic Advisor to the government of India as the later assumed the role of Chief Economist at World Bank.

The protests over Kundakulam Nuclear power plants in Tamil Nadu have obstructed the operations thereby raising questions of safety standards and the producer’s role in an incident of calamity.

The Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd. (SSTL) deal is another that hasn’t fetched positive responses on doing business in India. Such events act as deterrents in the global market scenario at a time when the world actually wants to take advantage of the strong Indian market capacity.

Corporate Talk

“Dunkin Donuts” and “Starbucks” made an entry into the Indian market. India, currently, is at such an impasse that there are more number of bills that need to be passed than the number of sessions that have been held.

For the time being the “Companies Bill” has been passed that directs corporate houses to spend a fixed percentage of their profit on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, defying of which will lead to penalties and action. While Reliance Industries has urged the government to hike the price of LNG from KG-D6 basin, the government has objected saying that that no change will occur before 2014.

Two other drastic events that gripped the last year were that Kingfisher Airlines was grounded as a result of poor financial conditions and the GMR-Maldives deal fell through. The biggest problem that the corporate world is facing today is the political interference in decision making, and that is what eventually leads to losses.

But to look on the bright side, there are eight Indian corporate honchos that have made it to the Top 100 CEOs of world according to the Harvard Business Review that includes, Y. Deveshwar (7th, ITC), late Subhir Raha (13th ONGC) followed by Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries), A M Naik (L&T), BHEL’s A K Puri, Airtel’s Sunil Mittal and Naveen Jindal of Jindal Steel.

And finally, the year ended with bidding adieu to Mr. Ratan Tata , Chairman of Tata Sons, who stepped down after 21 years, handing over his legacy to Mr. Cyrus Mistry.

Sporty Affairs

Well, what do you know, all’s not hunky dory here as well!

The International Olympic committee (IOC) banned the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) from participating in any summer or winter Olympic events. However Indian sports persons can participate under the IOC flag.

With cricket hogging the lime light as usual, it goes unnoticed that India has won both the Men’s and Women’s Kabaddi World Cup in Punjab.

But coming to cricket, first “The Wall” fell declaring quits from the international cricket scene and then Very Very Special” our dear Laxman retired. And towards the end of the year, the world literally ended when The God himself announced his retirement from ODI cricket. Hail you Sachin! 2012 was a BIG blow to Indian cricket indeed. You all will be missed!

Entertainment Buzz

The only corner that shone bright and kept us all too happy for the time being was cinema. With six movies earning 100 crore profits and one making a profit of 200 crores, Bollywood is doing dhamaal. Not only in numbers but in ideas too, B-town saw a revolution and appreciation for movies that were new in ideas and presentation. Kahaani, Paan Singh Tomar, Vicky Donor, Gangs of Wasseypur, Shanghai, Ishaqzaade, Barfi, English Vinglish and Talaash were all a treat to watch. They sold something new and set a new benchmark.

International Stage

Barack Obama won the second term as the President of the United States of America, thereby proving that people are intelligent enough to take the reforms positively.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 60 years of her accession to the throne of England. And the London Olympics got over successfully on 12 August with participation of over 10,000 athletes from over 204 National Olympic Committees and India winning 2 silver and 4 bronze medals.

The European Union bagged the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 for keeping the situation under control despite all the adversities.

Facebook’s IPO and Instagram buyout unlikely turned out to be flop show. Apple’s iphone5 has entered the market and Samsung is giving tough competition with its aggressive marketing and frequent new product launch.

Shinzo Abe took the office as Prime Minister of Japan.

Park Jae-sang, popularly known as “Psy”, took the world by storm when his video ‘Oppa Gangnam Style’ became a rage and till date has crossed 1 billion views on Youtube.

Lessons Learnt

  • There are a lot of policies that exist and it is high time to implement them effectively.
  • There is a dire need of constructive politics which works towards the welfare of the people rather than playing vote bank politics.
  • There has been enough of blame game and rescue work, it is time for the judiciary to take a tough stand.
  •  There is too much of clutter and logjam regarding a clear understanding of business, so if we want out country to touch a double digit growth rate and turn it into hub of economic activities, it is important that we set our business norms straight.
  •  With optimal control over the businesses, let the corporate world take independent decisions. Let the markets work.
  •  India, right now needs a strong revamping of sports facilities and independent functioning of the sports organisations. We no doubt love cricket but there are other sports too.
  •  One day, everyone has to leave, so we should respect art, culture and artists in all light.
  •  For if we want ourselves to be part of bigger picture and international stage, we need to bring in reforms at a faster pace and market ourselves better.

All said and done, it is time we forge ahead towards a BETTER INDIA. We today are living in a digital world where we connect to each other in a fraction of seconds from miles apart.

By the tick of “likes” we can start a movement and end a government. We are living at that point in time, where one needs to brand oneself properly. India has a lot of things in its kitty, but it needs to brand itself in the right picture.  The social milieu is of angst and frustration, yet things can be changed. 2012 despite being a slow year got the best out of us. We are ready for yet another year to prove our mettle.

So, people get ready to see some big changes happening this year. With the world’s top positions seeing face changes, scenarios would change. The ball will get rolling for the 2014 game. AADHAAR is all set to be launched in phases; for financial inclusion or as a part of game plan, we do not know.  But the youth is all energetic. There is nationalist feeling all around. Cameras are rolling. The world has its eyes glued on us.

So are your resolutions made?

Are you ready?

Are you excited?

The countdown begins… the track….10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2, one! Bring it on!

Karanvir Gupta

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