Monthly Archives: February 2005

The Indian Budget for 05-06

The Union Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, unveiled the annual budget and the highlights have been tax reforms and focus on infrastructure of 7 major cities and increased rural focus.

NDTV has an interesting wrap.

One of the things the urban business crowd is going to hotly debate is the slapping of a 0.1% withdrawal tax if Rs. 10000 or more is withdrawn from banks/ATM in a single day. In effect, one gets taxed for withdrawing one’s money on which one has already paid tax!

More stories on the budget:

From, and Business Standard


Shel and Scoble put their first chapter online

Shel Israel and Robert Scoble are writing their book on corporate blogging, calling it “Blog or Die”.

They recently put out the draft of the first chapter on their blog and I posted this comment:

One has heard so much about change management , about technologies that will
change the way we work that maybe we need to take another argument…tell them
that blogging is a tool, but the change is really that one they need to make
from a centralized communication medium to a many to many conversation, that
open honest communication is too important a thing to leave to marketing and
corporate communication and PR groups
That is the real challenge for business…else they well embrace the tool but not the mindset and then they will blame the bloggers , for hyping this new tool

What do you think?

Frequent traveller scheme in Indian Railways

The Indian Railways is facing stiff competition from Deccan Air a budget airline, and therefore it’s borrowing a page from the marketing lessons of airlines.

Deccan Herald reports:

The Indian Railways (IR) is planning to launch a frequent traveller
scheme, a la frequent flyer scheme, to ensure that they are not lured by the
airlines. Also, like online bidding in airlines, IR may introduce the facility
in select popular trains on a pilot basis.The frequent train traveller (FTT)
scheme may become a reality any time after the February 26 railway budget to be
presented by Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav.
The IR, sources say, is desperate to prevent upper class passengers
from being lured by airlines, especially the budget carriers. It is the upper
class which is the money spinner for the IR and hence this segment, along with
freight loading, becomes crucial. Although only less than one per cent of train
passengers travel in AC classes, they generate about 25 per cent of the railway
revenue.Differential pricingThus, even if a fraction of AC passengers switch
over to airlines, it will hurts IR very badly. He is also likely to announce
online bidding on trains. He may also announce the names of the trains available
for such bidding. The Railway Minister is also likely to announce the
introduction of differential pricing on select trains, aimed at improving
occupancy rate in the Indian Railways.

It would be interesting to see how this scheme pans out in reality. In my personal view, frequent flyer schemes are not such a big success. Essentially you’re bribing someone to stick to your services. Railways, where people spend from their own pocket will not be able to bribe people specially if they can get cheaper faster travel in airlines like Air Deccan. I mean what would you rather have, fast travel from Bangalore to Delhi in 2 hours or a 24 hour Rajdhani train?

The railways would be better off marketing the journeys themselves as the destination (as the old cliche goes!) , specially in the case of scenic travels like Konkan railways, the toy trains at Darjeeling and Ooty, and a budget version of the exhorbitant Palace on Wheels.

You’re in marketing and don’t know what RSS is?

then Scoble thinks people like you and his Microsoft colleague should be fired !

I just love they way Scoble says it: directly !

Sorry, if you do a marketing site and you don’t have an RSS feed today you should be fired.
I’ll say it again. You should be fired if you do a marketing site without an RSS feed.
Saying that RSS is only for geeks today is like saying in 1998 that the Web was only for geeks.

And those folks who are still asking “What’s RSS?” here is where you might find some help. And for the right wing folks in India, I am not talking about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh !

What do Indians search for?

If you were in India, what would you search for? Inquiring minds from Mumbai to Bangalore wanted to know, so now there’s a new Google India Zeitgeist . Among the most searched-for queries in January: the tsunami of course, and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai.

The full list is:

1. tsunami
2. indian railways
3. sania mirza
4. trisha
5. aishwarya rai
6. anara gupta
7. ignou
8. bollywood
9. ndtv
10. australian open

How I wish “gautam” was one of them …because my other blog is number 3 for that query ;-))