FDI in Retail Sector in India

Departmental Store replaced the small ‘neighbourhood’ retail outlets that had traditionally specialised in different consumer-goods. And Malls outbid Departmental Stores by buying consumer-goods at wholesale (heavily discounted) prices directly from the manufacturers/ authorised distributors, and then selling the same at prices which are less than the cost-price of the small ‘next-door’ retailer.

FDI-funded-Malls (obviously larger, multi-Brand Malls) will aim at selling foreign branded ‘consumer durable goods’, packaged foods and beverages etc to the Indian ‘middle class’, often with the help of ‘consumer-loans’ extended by foreign banks this is a circuitous route to ‘dumping’.

Except for the attraction of a reputed Brand-name, these electronic or electric goods fail to provide any real long-term advantage to Indian consumers over indigenously manufactured goods prices of foreign goods are highly deceptive in that repair-costs (after the ‘Warranty period’ is over) are approximately 75-100% of the price of new equipment; and even during the Warranty period, the cost of transportation of these goods to the ‘authorised Service Centre’ is prohibitive (many a times, no such Centre exists in the State in which you are using this product, or even in India) moreso, these Malls cease to play any role of mediator after they have sold these goods to you (the Mall asks you to contact the Manufacturer directly). And even if you approach a Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, this ‘redressal authority’ fails to find any ‘Company-Representative’ in India upon whom to ‘serve’ its Notices nor can it find any ‘Company-Assets’ that it may attach in order to pay you any compensation at all.

The packaged food/ beverages use colourful and attractive-looking large packages that are, in fact, half-empty. Moreso, except for the foreign-made-stamp (a ‘style’ symbol or fad), the packaged items have no better nutritional value than what the raw indigenous ones have been giving you all these years except that some unscrupulous businessmen are adulterating the locally produced items.

How can then FDI-in-Retail lead to “growth” of Indian Economy?

The Central Government now claims that FDI will create 1 crore jobs, but fails to explain:-

How did the Government arrive at this figure?

How much ‘foreign’ Investment is expected into this Sector?

How many Malls will be opened?

What will be the size of each Mall in terms of, say, number of employees?

When the Government says that 30% of products sold in the Mall shall be purchased from the Indian Small-Scale-Sector, what does this figure refer to (i.e. the Unit of Measurement):

(i) value of goods stocked/ sold ?

(ii) number/ variety of products stocked/ sold?

iii) how will this number be calculated by clubbing the products under ‘generic’ heads, e.g. ‘cosmetics’ or ‘toiletries’ as single products each (or each type of cosmetics/ toiletries)?

How will the price of Indian farm-products, purchased by these Malls, determined will it be the Minimum-Support-Price already fixed for Government’s ‘Public Distribution System’, or will it be left to the ‘market forces’?

Who will determine and control the type and degree of ‘standardisation’ of these 30% products?

Who will bear the cost of ‘back-end’ improvement in these products?

There are many more such relevant questions that need be answered…

Every Welfare State, the World over, taxes the rich in order to finance schemes to empower the poor, but the UPA Government in India is indirectly taxing the hand-to-mouth lower-middle class and the modestly well-off upper middle class families by (i) removing subsidy from the LPG, (ii) allowing back-breaking price-rise in essential commodities, (iii) standing  as a mute witness to rampant corruption (including the siphoning off by many politicians and bureaucrats into their own pockets, the Funds that were allocated for providing free food-grains, primary health etc to those living ‘Below Poverty Line’. The revenue earned from withdrawing subsidies from the poor, is being spent on subsidising air-travel of rich business tycoons by giving ‘bail-out’ Grants to the sick Indian career [Indian (airlines)] that has been rendered sick, in the first place, by corrupt and incompetent ‘public servants’. UPA Government pays out huge largesse (as ‘bail-out Grants’) to this career!

Moreso, Govt waives off the loans of rich Zamindars (‘feudal lords’) loans taken for their ‘ostentatious consumption’, out of the aforesaid revenue; whereas those who are committing suicides all over India are not these rich farmers (who are also exempted from paying any Income-Tax on their ‘Farm Incomes’ out which some of them have purchased limousines costing crores of rupees) but the poor ‘ryots’ who are landless-labourers and till Zamindars’ lands on ‘batai’ (crop-sharing’ basis). It is these peasants who make all the investment on the land though they get no ‘loan’ from the Nationalised Banks because the Banks demand a ‘security-deposit’ whereas the ryots have no land to ‘pawn’.

It is the rich who are growing richer under the wrong policies followed by this Govt, and such persons as are earning ‘easy-money’ out of bribes/ cheating/ piracy etc whose billowing incomes are being touted as ‘National GDP Growth’ it is to meet the demands for luxuries by these noveau riches that is fanning the desire of foreign firms to invest in India. How will the masses gain from an investment that is not meant for them?

The Author can generate, within one year and out of a modest budget, for the poor masses of Indian Nation what has not been achieved over the past 65 years by lakhs of bureaucrats who spent (or amassed for their own coffers) thousands of crores of rupees of ‘public moneys’!

India: Poor Standards of Education make its 23% Engineering Graduates, 60% PGDBMs and 80% PhDs unemployable

Due to intense lobbying at the political and bureaucratic levels (both in the Executive and Legislative Organs of the State) by the vested interests that are thoroughly ‘corrupt’, there is further deterioration in the standards of education in India. Some of these corrupt politicians or business magnates throw out the window all the rules in respect of educational Institutes that are run by them because they themselves are Chairpersons or influential Members of the ‘Governing’ bodies of the Approving & Controlling Authorities (like AICTE etc).

As per International Surveys, about 23% of our Engineering Graduates are ‘unemployable’ due to their extremely poor standard of education the same is true for more than 60% of our PGDBMs (these courses do not need ‘affiliation’ with any University) and about 40% of our MBAs. Moreso, almost 80% of our so-called ‘Ph.Ds.’ have earned their degrees by hook or by crook (including flagrant plagiarism, and unreliable ‘field-research’ data, etc).

For example, let us look at the chronology of their attempts to dilute educational standards:-

1986.   Upon noticing several malpractices in the award of Fellowships (Scholarships) by individual Universities to those admitted to Ph.D. (as also in the Admissions to Ph.D. itself) out of the Grants made/ Funds allocated by the University Grants Commission (Respondent No.13 herein), the UGC introduced a standardised & centralised National-level Test called ‘National Education Test’ (JRF/SRF). And UGC also made the passing of this Test a pre-condition for appointment to the post of Lecturer in Colleges, Universities and Institutes of higher learning. It was so tough an Examination (like the CA/ CS/ A-o-Rs Exams) that only a few Candidates could pass this prestigious Test every year. For example, in the year 1986 only two Candidates passed it (including the Petitioner herein who has also been an Advocate-on-Record, and Examiner for the Institute of Company Secretaries of India as also a Peer-Reviewer for two prestigious International Journals published by Cambridge University and University of Malaysia, and is also a product of such prestigious Institutes as the Delhi School of Economics, Hindu College Delhi etc).

Therefore, certain vested interests lobbied with UGC to introduce just ‘NET’ (‘e’ for “eligibility to be appointed as Lecturer”, and not the previous “National Education Testing” that was meant solely for the award of JRF/ SRF) NET is much easier to qualify than NET (JRF/SRF) but still quite tough. And it was decided that the Toppers in NET (in terms of Quota set in each subject, e.g. ‘Management’) were granted JRF/SRF, and the rest were made merely ‘eligible’ to be appointed as Lecturers. Moreso, NET [which is of reduced/ relaxed quality as compared to the NET (JRF/SRF)] was made a substitute or alternative pre-condition for Admission to Ph.D. however, between the Candidates who had passed NET (JRF/SRF) and NET, the one who passed NET (JRF/SRF) ought to be given higher preference or weightage.

Upon finding that the number of Candidates who could pass the NET was still very small, the UGC was further pressurised by the vested interests to further relax the Conditions; so, UGC allowed the States also to conduct State-level Tests called ‘SLET’. And this SLET [which is of further reduced/ relaxed quality as compared to NET (JRF/SRF) and NET] was also added to the aforesaid alternative pre-condition for Admission to Ph.D.

Later on, the UGC further bowed down to the improper demand of the vested interests in Universities so much so, it made a complete U-Turn by absolutely lowering the Quality of Tests to mere ‘local’ Tests to be conducted by each University [this Test comprises of written Paper(s) and a Viva Voce/ Interview that can be easily manipulated at the local level, especially the Interview which has neither any objective criteria nor uniformity of questions asked nor any verifiable record of candidates’ actual performance and, hence, back to the status/ situation as prevailed in the pre-reforms era (pre-1986 era) when corruption/ nepotism was rampant in the Universities].

URGENT Socio-Legal Reforms in Justice Delivery System

With 66% of Indian population Living Below Poverty Line and the high Cost of Litigation (in terms of Court-Fees, Typing and Photocopying Charges, Oath Commissioners’ Fees, Lawyers’ Fees, Commutation Expenses, the Lost Wage-Days for Attending the Court in a matter which remains sub judice for several generations , etc)   coupled with the Common Law system of Adversarial Justice, does not ensure a level playing field for the masses. In the Civil Law countries, the Magistrate takes into consideration all the aspects of every case whether or not the weaker party’s Advocate has pleaded the same or not.

Under the Common Law (‘adversarial’ system) a Court does not really attempt to discover the Truth, it only weighs the arguments of the two Adversaries (represented by their Advocates) as supported by the ‘evidence’. And evidence is something that has been ‘proved’ by a particular man-made process whether or not it is, in fact, true.

To make matters worse, since the year 2005 there is a continuously rising incidence of exposed cases of corruption (leave alone nepotism) amongst officials of the judiciary. Not only the media has now started questioning the decisions of the Courts, but the man in the street has started throwing brick-bats on the judges even policemen are being shot, run over etc.

Supreme Court in India is opposed to the idea of having its Benches in any city other than Delhi. Moreso, the Supreme Court Rules mandate that only the Advocates-on-Record can file pleadings and appearances before it; further that such Advocates must have an Office within a radius of 16 KMs from the seat of Supreme Court.

However, the said Rules permit formation of a Company by an Advocate-on-Record with another Advocate(s), and also enable e-filing (including payment of Court Fees on-line); even the petitioners appearing in-person can avail of e-filing facility. Hence, the said Rules can be easily modified so as not to compel the litigants (Clients) – who are living or working in far off places (like Chennai, Guwahati, Ladakh etc.) to travel all the way to Delhi just to find and consult a Supreme Court Lawyer. Moreso, now the Lawyers have been permitted to host their Law-Firm’s website online.

Under the above proposal, one partner of an Advocates’ Firm may be allowed to have a camp-office in, say, Chennai — whereas the Company’s main Office shall remain situated within the aforesaid radius of 16 KMs of the Supreme Court premises; and service of Notices/Copies by the Court’s Registry or Opposite Counsels can be effected upon such Company’s main Office in Delhi — irrespective of the fact that the pleadings in that case were drafted by a Partner working out of Chennai and filed either through his/her Delhi-Office or via the aforesaid e-filing facility.

This reform will immensely help the lower middle-class and poor Litigants. Author’s proposal for dispensing with the statement of facts within the body of pleadings (in addition to their adumberation in the List of Dates & Events) by way of inclusion in the Affidavit a declaration about the List of Dates & Events being true, was also accepted — so were the proposals for a flag-car and escort-jeep for the CJI [proposal was sent through Mr Virk (DCP-Security) & Mr Kapoor (Registrar-Admin)], as also blanking off the view of Judges’ Entry/Exit Gates at Tilak Marg from the ventilator of Firemen’s room in the College of Arts.

How to Protect Your PC from Ransom Virus named ‘Cryptolocker’

For the past several years, Viruses have been a bane of Pranksters mainly to show off their knowledge of the inherent weaknesses in certain Operating Systems, especially the ‘Windows’.

However, a virus named ‘Cryptolocker’ is being used for the past couple of years by Criminals to extort a huge ransom from PC-Owners by threatening them with a heavy Data-loss (the estimated earnings from this crime are about $36,000 per diem). The modus operandi used by these criminals are as under:

a) Sending, as an attachment to an email, a file with double extension (e.g. ‘.pdf.exe’) which, however,  looks like an Adobe file (.pdf) rather than a .exe file;

b) Taking control of ‘File-Permissions’ by a pseudo-Owner named ‘Account Unknown’ this is done at the level of main folder for the PC User (e.g. Administrator, etc) and then these Permissions are applied to all its child-folders;

c) Disabling almost all files with ‘.exe’ extension (usually used by almost all the Software Applications) even your Anti-Virus software; however, your browser and certain basic Applications that keep your PC running are, by design, not disabled (otherwise, these Criminals will not be able to communicate with you via the Net);

d) Opening the ‘writable’ files in the background (without visually opening these on the Desktop) may be with some Visual Basic script, and then:

i) changing the file ‘headers’;

ii) inserting at the very beginning of the file a Code similar to the one below:

“! c r y p t e d !   E 5 7 7 A D 4 5 9 8 5 A 0 8 B 1 A 2 C 9 5 7 C 3 D 9 3 5 F 9 F 0” followed by symbols as in any Adobe/Image file etc;

iii) encrypting the contents of the file;

iv) changing the method for deleting certain types of files affected by the virus, viz. double-click.

Probably, your PC’s information is uploaded via Adobe Updater because Acrobat is the first casualty of this virus (you are asked to re-install this Application all over again) and the capability of your Anti-Virus Application to upload files to a ‘server’ is perhaps used by this Virus to upload the information about the Names of the PC’s Users, etc.

All the Partitions (Drives) on your hard-drive are affected by the Virus; moreso, though it mainly affects the ‘writable’ files in your Documents and Settings (Windows XP) folder, yet it is not uncommon to find that some of the ‘writable’ files in the ‘Program Files’ folder have also been affected, e.g. Adobe Acrobat and Nero.

Files generally affected by encryption are:

i) .txt, .doc, .xml, .php, .pdf, .js etc

ii) .swf, and other media files like .flv and .mov

iii) image files like .jpg, .png, etc

Note : The files that are not affected are: such files as were already open on your Desktop when Virus-attack occurred, certain media files (e.g. .mp3, .wav etc), web-files (i.e. .html, .htm, .mht), files that are password-protected, files created by certain software Applications like Serif PagePlus etc.

As a result, you are unable to open and read/view/play your files. The Code above contains a Key which is probably unique for each PC, and it is also stored on a ‘live’ (online) server somewhere which may or may not belong to these Criminals.

Finally, the end-result of the virus-attack is displayed on your PC in the form of a Ransom Note it asks you to pay certain Amount (usually $200, in bitcoin etc) in order to obtain the Key for decrypting your files (decrypting may also take a few hours). You are given a short time-limit within which to deposit the said Amount, and the Amount increases manifold if the said time has elapsed. Finally, you stand to lose your Data if you don’t pay unless you have used fail-safe method of regularly burning your important data on CDs/DVDs (backup storage) like I do.

How did the attack occur:

I am using Windows XP (SP3) and Avast Free Anti Virus. Suddenly, one day, I received a Message from my Avast Anti-Virus Application that it has attached a small Note to an uploaded file whereas I had never uploaded any file that day. This was probably the stage when Cryptolocker uploaded the User’s information (User’s Account Name under ‘Documents and Settings’) and also a cryptographic key to a server online.

When Cryptolocker was still encrypting my files (silently behind the scenes) I switched off my PC not knowing anything about the ongoing Viral Attack. As a result, the Ransom Note never appeared on my Desktop.

Upon reboot, the first indication that something was amiss was given by the missing Desktop Wallpaper. When I went to My Pictures folder I found that no preview of images in this folder was available; moreso, the ‘Display Properties’ window for the Desktop (for fixing the missing Wallpaper) had also crashed.  At this stage, I found that almost ALL ‘.exe’ files failed to open, including my Avast Free Anti-Virus.

When I double-clicked on some of the affected (encrypted) .js and .xml files, these files disappeared altogether.

The only hint of what was wrong was an Error Message about File Permissions when I opened the Properties window in ‘My Pictures’ folder => Security tab I found two new Account Unknown entries at the Top of the List of Owners, and these had inherited the Permissions from a higher level of folder than the one named My Pictures (i.e. from the main folder for current User under ‘My Documents and Settings). So, I first broke the chain of inheritance from parent folder, and then DELETED (one by one) the said two new Owner Accounts from the topmost folder upto ‘My Pictures’ (i.e. down to the child-folders).

To view a missing Security tab, open Folder Options in Control Panel: Click Start, and then click Control Panel. Click Appearance and Themes, and then click Folder Options. On the View tab, under Advanced settings, clear ‘Use simple file sharing [Recommended]’.

Since I was repeatedly getting an Error Message about Adobe, it was suspected that the external server connection was being established through Adobe. Hence, I DELETED Adobe Updater from the following Registry entry:

H_KEY_CURRENT_USER => Software => Microsoft => Windows => CurrentVersion => RunOnce

Thereafter I used the simple steps for restoring file association for ‘.exe’ files, and for previewing images, e.g.

i) regsvr32 %systemroot%\system32\shimgvw.dll

ii) Click Start, and then click Run. Type command.com , and then press Enter. (A DOS window opens.) Type the following:�
cd \windows�
Press Enter after typing each line above.�
Now type/copy regedit.exe regedit.com, and then press Enter.�
Type start regedit.com and then press Enter. �
Navigate to, and select the key:
In the right pane, double-click the (Default) value.�
Delete the current value data, and then type:�
%1 %*�
Tip: Type the characters: quote-percent-one-quote-space-percent-asterisk.�
Close Regedit utility.

Then I ran Kaspersky online Virus scan and, thereafter, my Avast Antivirus (both Quick Scan and Boot-time Scan).

Since I regularly backup my important Documents on CDs/DVDs, I restored the same on my PC from the backup storage.

Reinstalled Adobe Acrobat Application.

A few files had escaped encryption since I had switched off the PC.

The above Steps were made possible by the Search made by me on the Internet, i.e. by the contributions made by several PC-Users. However, there is URGENT need for further Research on:

i) how to prevent ‘uploading’ of your PC’s information (e.g. the User Names);

ii) how to prevent the opening of double-extension files.

Certain VBScript files can be harmful to your system (e.g. the ones that open your files, in the background, for writing). You can use the following steps to disable the execution of VBScript files:
1. Left-click My Computer.
2. Click the Tools menu.
3. Select the File Types tab.
4. Scroll and select the VBScript type.
5. Click the Delete button.
6. Select Yes to the confirmation.
7. Click OK.

Hope this helps PC-Users to protect themselves from Cryptolocker.

Institute of Softskills Development

In-Trust Foundation (Regd.)

In-Trust Foundation was registered on 26.9.1984, and is recognised by the Union of India. The Income-Tax Department has extended s.80G exemption to the donations made to it. This Foundation brings, under one umbrella, the five main religions which are practised by Indians. Its educational Institutes/Centres are being financed, under Bhagidari scheme, by small investors as well as a Financial Institution. In-Trust Foundation runs two B-Schools and a Journal.

MVD Global Business School (Lucknow)

Mahamaya-Vishnu-Dattatreya Global Business School and the Institute of Business Softskills are being established in Lucknow as Centres of Excellence for PGDBM (equivalent to MBA) programme and Business Softskills course. One of these Centres will be affiliated to a reputed University in Europe/Canada. Their parent body (In-Trust Foundation) is recognised by the Union of India; and the Income-Tax Department has extended s.80G exemption to the donations made to it. Our Academic Council comprises of eminent Indian and Foreign Academicians, Justices & Technocrats. These Institutes are being financed by individual investors and a Financial Institution.

PUL-SATOR (International Refereed Journal)

Vide Regulation dated 01.06.2009, the University Grants Commission has made it mandatory prior to the grant of any PhD degree that the Candidate must have published at least one Paper in a Refereed Journal before submitting his/her Thesis, but not many such journals have been made available in India — especially those that rule out affiliation-bias by using Blind Peer-Review method. Hence, at the exhortation of Academics-Administrators, Teachers, Students and other intellectuals the In-Trust Foundation is pleased to convert its journal into a Quarterly Refereed International Journal on Management subjects.

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