Elitism Has Now Nowhere to Hide!!

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Shabab Khan| Delhi | Special Edition | Friday, Dec 12, 2015


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“. . . Odd-Even Rotation is, though not a successful formula we can, yet, give it a try. Just make sure traffic police do not encash even oddities. . . ”

I am very proud of the Indian elite. We may largely fail at everything else, but we are world-beaters in terms of self-pitying outrage.

First: a word about the “elite”. You, sir or madam, are a member of the elite. Please do not call yourself middle class. By no logical, ethical or mathematical principle can the top few percentiles of a country in terms of income call itself middle class. If you still try and do so, you are being dishonest.

Yes, if the Delhi government’s odd-even car regulation affects you, then you’re certainly a member of the elite. Only 10-11 per cent of Delhi, the richest state in India, drives to work in a car or van, according to the 2011 Census. Let’s just put that out there.

Second, on the facts: first, Delhi has the worst air in the world. We know this, as also the fact that poor air quality spikes in wintertime.

Second, in spite of rampant disinformation that number plate-based road rationing “has not worked anywhere”, pretty much everywhere it has been tried as a temporary measure has shown a 17-20 per cent drop in pollution.

Third, in spite of more rampant disinformation that cars don’t really count towards pollution in Delhi, most reliable independent studies show they do – between 50 and 80 per cent.

And yet Delhi’s elite is terrified at the prospect of having a spot of car trouble for a fortnight just in order to live a little longer thanks to cleaner air. It is outrageous to ask us to live for seven days like the other 90 per cent of our fellow-citizens! Outrageous to suggest we walk or take a cycle-rickshaw to a crowded metro station, like the real middle class! Tyrannical to make us pay a few hundred rupees for a taxi during a public health emergency!

Only the Indian elite would rather not breathe than be ordinary.

What deep cultural neuroses underline this panic at dealing with regular people’s realities? I can’t help thinking that our cultural attitude to public transport mirrors our attitude to public spaces, and arises from the same space. An odd characteristic of India is the startling contrast between its particularly pure private and domestic spaces – and its completely uncared-for public spaces.

Why is this? Perhaps because we have one of the most fragmented societies in the world, and always have half; solidarity, under these circumstances, is particularly difficult to build. And a certain degree of solidarity is essential for anything “public” to be effective – public goods, public spaces, public transport, public discourse.

In this case, we have a particularly amusing problem. The elite can secede from dug-up pavement, from sewage in drinking water, from litter-strewn public parks, from inadequate policing. But it cannot secede from murderous air.

Or can it? Certainly, one truly extraordinary statement of our cultural biases is that most people seem more willing to pay thousands of rupees for air purifiers for every room than to deal with road rationing for a few weeks. If the electricity goes off, no worries! The diesel gen-set will kick in, spewing more fumes into the air. This is my right; and it is a problem only for those with neither air purifiers nor electricity.

Some have claimed that it isn’t fair to talk about elitism in this context. After all, the concerns being expressed are just the same as anyone would have about commuting – the safety, the crowds, the difficulty. This is, in many ways, the most puzzling argument yet. It seems almost painfully clear that expecting money and status would insulate you from the problems that everyone else faces is the very definition of elitism.

Cultural biases blind you to data. It means that nobody is interested in the undeniable facts that I laid out above – that road rationing has been shown to work, that car commuters are a tiny upper crust, that cars are undeniably responsible for Delhi pollution. Similarly, cultural biases against solidarity means that nobody was interested in the undeniable fact that far more people benefited from a working bus rapid transit system than were hurt. Studies of commuters at the time showed that between 80 to 90 per cent of them approved of the BRT corridor; but the noise that the 10 per cent creates is too loud and privileged for the others to be heard.

There are other debates, too, where cultural biases against solidarity blind us to facts or logic; for example, the idea that a “creamy layer” of reserved-quota applicants take coveted college seats away from general-class applicants. When economists examined the question rigorously, they found quota applicants offered seats in the engineering entrance exam they studied had, in fact, family incomes much lower – 60 per cent of – the family income of those general-category students who would otherwise have been admitted. Creamy indeed.

Nor is this blindness a Delhi problem. It’s an India problem. Of the world’s 20 most polluted towns, 13 are in India. And most of the others are in Pakistan and Bangladesh, a moving reminder of our common cultural characteristics.

But this doesn’t matter. Our ñwhiny “middle class” would rather have sewage in their water, cancer in their air and death on their roads than ever accept that they share the earth they walk on with other, lesser breeds of human.


Twitter: @khantastix
Instagram: @iamshababkhan
toiskvns@gmail.com



(Author is an Export Entrepreneur, Journalist, and Social Activist)
Twitter: @Khantastix

NAIL POLISH Manufacturing: Start Up

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. . .women whoever she is use cosmetics, and painting their nails is a good business. . .


— Shabab Khan


Nail polish making business is a million dollar industry in cosmetic products. Nail polish is a lacquer kind of product that is used to decorate and to protect human fingernails or toenails. The demand of nailpolish is growing rapidly particularly in urban areas owing to several factors such as greater purchasing power because of higher income, desire to look better and more attractive etc.

A person having knowledge about the trend of beauty and fashion industry can initiate this venture with moderate start up capital.

Training For Nail Polish Making: This is almost first necessary step to start nail polish making business. If your educational subject is chemistry it will give you extra support to learn the process and formula. You can have some online tutorials and classes to get proper knowledge.

Nail Polish Making Business Plan: Write a detail plan of your nail polish making business. Determine the startup capital, return, what type of nail polish you are going to make, whom you will offer your product, objectives and goals of your nail polish making business.

It is always advisable to a specific project report in hand before get into the production.

Compliance For Nail Polish Making: Check the legal formalities of nail polish making with an attorney. In India, you will need to obtain license under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. You need to submit an application in Form 31 along with a license fee of Rupees 2500 and an inspection fee of Rupees 1000. You will also need to obtain Trade License from local authority and need to apply for sales tax.

Sourcing For Nail Polish Making: As per your desired nail polish type you will need to procure the raw materials. The main ingredients that you will need have, are Plasticizers, dies and pigments, solvents, adhesive polymers, resins, thickening agents, ultraviolet stabilizers and the container for packing.

There are various type of nail polish is available like Shimmer, Glitter, Frost, Luster, creme, Matte etc. determine your raw material sourcing according to the type of nail polish you want to make. Initially go for some sample production.

Experiment with colours: Check the recent trend of nail polish in the market. Colours are most important deciding factor of getting success in nail polish making business.

Promote Your Nail Polish Making Business: Initially you can tap your local market. Cosmetic retailers, beauty stores, salon owners, beauticians will be your customer for nail polish. You can contact retail brands to have a tie up as nail polish supplier. To establish your nail polish brand in the market it is important to have an intensive dealer network also. Online presence is important to make a brand successful. Create a website with product detail and price. You can go for an eCommerce site also where from people can buy your product online.



(Author is an Export Entrepreneur, Journalist, and Social Activist

Gold as Investment?

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GOLD: India’s Obsession

Last couple of years have been challenging for gold as an asset class. After peaking in 2013, prices have corrected to the tune of 20-30%. Indian gold prices had been fallen close to the Rs. 25,000 per 10 grams mark but have since recovered to trade the Rs 26000-27000 zone for some time now.

Many have been losing interest gold as prices seem to be going nowhere. Also, with the magnitude of price decline, many have been disappointed.

With 12 years of positive returns in dollar terms since the year 2001 and about 15 years in Indian Rupee terms since the year 1998, a round of losses seemed around the corner in 2013 as no asset can keep moving up in a straight line! There are bound to be years of correction and consolidation.

In my humble opinion all those complaining haven’t understood gold at all.

It’s sensible to buy gold, dedicate around a 10 to 20% portfolio allocation to it and hope it goes down in price! Sounds strange doesn’t it, however, a careful analysis does make it sound very logical.

Gold generally has a low to negative correlation with most of the other asset classes over the long run. Therefore, when gold prices are not doing well, it is likely that the other major allocations of your portfolio (the remaining 80-90%) may be doing better than gold. On the other hand it might bring respite during the bad times when the other assets are not doing well thus proving to be a good portfolio diversification tool for your portfolio.

In most cases investors are often misguided by the recent performance of any asset class. This is evidently proved in equities. Before the rally in equities that started in May 2014, it looked like a highly disappointing investment but now seems to be an important investment option to almost everyone. This is also true in case of gold. In the year 2011 in dollar and 2013 in INR terms it was one of the favourite asset classes for many.

Investors then viewed gold as a good asset class to own looking at its 3-5 year history. However the rationale for owning gold assets, in any given period remains simple: global deterioration of sovereign credit and a growing need to debase currencies by central bank in order to meet future obligations, whether it’s, in the U.S., Europe or Japan.

We are in a phase of experimental central banking, which I believe is going to end badly due to the dislocations of capital it has caused through prolonged periods of negative rates.

Some of the tail risks facing the global economy may have diminished, but many structural problems remain.

There still exist serious imbalances and problems in many countries, including excessive private and/or public debt, the unsustainable divergence between record corporate profits and steadily declining wages, rising inequality, and mispricing of asset markets at best.

Investors would do well to remember that gold is a time-tested store of wealth and a valuable tool against the numerous downside risks that still persist in the global arena.

If concerns surrounding monetization gains momentum, this could trigger another broad based loss of risk appetite, investors then would no doubt, want to increase their gold holdings. An allocation to gold in such uncertain times is important.

We reiterate that the main reason to own gold is just the sheer fact that it is a good portfolio diversification tool and thereby helping you to reduce overall portfolio risk in the turbulent financial times that we live in.

Data Source: Bloomberg

Shabab Khan
(Author is an Export Entrepreneur.)



© This article is a piece of author opinion based on his knowledge, market trends, experience and does not guarantee the secure investment. Readers discretion is adviced.