Saturday, July 25, 2015

Quick notes: Steel debt, Diamond trade...

  • Indian steel industry and the banks' gamble: The Indian steel industry has $50 billion in debt, 10 times what the steelmakers earned in the last financial year. The more steel India produces at uncompetitive prices, the bigger the eventual hit to lenders, particularly state-owned banks. So it is in their own interest to cut off life support to producers, eliminating superfluous capacity.

  • Indian steel, then and now: The famous iron pillar of Qutab Minar in Delhi made centuries ago by our traditional lohars still stands proudly without rusting or corroding. The steel being produced by our modern degree-holders is of such poor standard that even the not too quality-conscious Railway Ministry has alleged that tracks made of SAIL steel crack up and corrode within months of installation, causing numerous rail accidents.

    Temples and houses made by our traditional sthapathis have withstood the ravages of centuries. Even as ruins, they look aesthetic and grand. The housing colonies designed and constructed by our modern degree-holding architects look like eyesores from the day they are built and start falling apart before they are occupied.

    If we take away the disadvantages that ignorance of English brings with it, our traditional technologists -- ironsmiths, weavers, carpenters, sthapathis and other metallurgists -- would fare much better in gaining entrance to scientific and engineering institutions as well as in the world of manufacturing.

  • Hedge Fund Intern: A 'monkey' could be a junior banker at a place like Goldman Sachs

  • How Indian families took over the Antwerp diamond trade from orthodox Jews: Indians have come to control almost three-quarters of Antwerp’s diamond industry. Antwerp’s Indian diamantaires are almost without exception Jains and tend to import personal cooks from India. Many wouldn’t even tolerate a non-vegetarian in the kitchen.

  • Pope Francis’s environmental message falls on deaf ears: Australia to earn $1.5bn a year from China cattle exports

  • The joy of less car traffic: Stockholm will ban cars for one day this fall.

  • Language and Minority: "While living in a different State, it is only appropriate for the linguistic minority to learn the regional language. The resistance to learn the regional language will lead to alienation from the mainstream of life resulting in linguistic fragmentation within the State, which is an anathema to national integration. The learning of different language will definitely bridge the cultural barriers and will positively contribute to the cultural integration of the country".

  • "Inspired" by film, Delhi serial rapist killed 40 kids: Ravinder has told the police his inspiration came from “Maa”, a Hindi film released in 1992, in which an actor was shown raping and murdering children.

  • Real Voice Lesson 1: Tune Your Voice Now


SS said...

Your consistent tirade against English is truly hilarious. You think if we do not insist on English medium education, somehow all the steel makers will become geniuses and produce super high grade quality steel? No, the problem is that most of the steel produced by SAIL and even say TATA are made using outdated technology. The "engineers" employed by the steelmakers often are the bottom of the barrel. The smartest ones join IIT, NIT, VJTI etc. and push off to the U.S. The next tier ones join software firms. The last 25% join SAIL and TATA steel and hence the awesome quality.

Oh BTW, there are enough Tamil, Kannada and English medium students in India. I have not seen any budding Kalidasas or Aryabhattas among them.

Unfortunately, our ancestors did not write any of their insights and advanced knowledge such as the rust resistant iron pillar has been lost.

non-carborundum said...

This is the dilemma facing the govt's "Make in India". There seems to be no real reason for banks to prop up India's steel sector, much of whose expansions ironically happened because of a spurt in demand from China in the early 2000s.

Surely this applies to other manufacturing sectors as well. Maybe we are better off buying from China in the short term to spur growth in infrastructure rather than imposing trade barriers and protecting well entrenched Indian crony capitalists who have in any case siphoned out all the money.