Archive for April 4th, 2018

Mahindra and Mahindra to assist in making Sri Lanka’s first indigenous car

April 4, 2018

This is interesting bit of news from the island country. Its citizens will see its first indigenous car in 2019.

From India’s perspective, this is important as Mahindra is a partner in the joint venture. In a way it is doing what Suzuki did to Maruti more than three decades ago:

 Towards the end of 2019, automobile loving Sri Lankans will see something they have been longing to see – a locally manufactured “Sri Lankan” car vying for road space with international brands. Sri Lanka’s Ideal Motors has teamed up with India’s automobile behemoth the US$ 19 billion Mahindra and Mahindra (M and M), to make a range of vehicles ,starting with a small car, at a plant in Kalutara district south of Colombo.

This will be the second Sri Lankan attempt to make a car in the country, the first being the late business magnate Upali Wjewardene’s UMC Mazda and Upali Fiat in the 1970s.  But there is a vital difference between Upali’s cars and what Ideal Motors wants to do. While the earlier plants were assembly units putting together imported parts brought down in a completely knocked down condition, the Ideal Motors’ car will be an indigenous one up to at least 35% eventually.

The LKR 3 billion (US$ 19.2 million) Joint Venture, in which Ideal Motors will have a 65% stake and M and M the rest of the 35%, will also involve technology transfer and training to personnel. “The Vendors Park will have units from the Mahindra and Mahindra stable of auto parts manufacturers in India as well as locally owned units. The local units will work under the supervision of M and M experts to ensure international standards,” Welgam

“The idea is to give a boost to industrialization in Sri Lanka and train its entrepreneurs and employees to work at the higher reaches of automobile technology,” the Chairman of Ideal Motors said.

The cars and other vehicles made in the Sri Lankan plant will be exported, as Sri Lanka is too small a market to absorb the entire production. And one of the first markets to be serviced will be the Indian one next door, Welgama said.

Describing the venture in cricketing terms, Aravinda de Silva, the cricketer turned Vice Chairman of Ideal Motors, said that if the JV succeeds, it will be a game changer in Sri Lankan economic history, akin to the Sri Lankan cricket team’s lifting the World Cup in 1996.

Nice bit of history being created..

 

 

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Do political parties matter for ethnic violence? The Congress and Hindu-Muslim riots in India

April 4, 2018

Interesting and fairly controversial research by three researchers -Gareth Nellis , Steven Rosenzweig and Michael Weaver.

The Congress Party in India makes the claim that it appeals to a wider multi-ethnic populace and tries to prevent the religious riots. What does the evidence show?

We find that in places where Congress narrowly wins in these closely fought races, Hindu-Muslim riots are much less likely to occur – and lead to fewer casualties – than in places where they narrowly lose. The effects are large. In fact, our analysis suggests that had Congress lost all close elections in our dataset, India would have experienced 11% more Hindu-Muslim riots (1,114 instead of 998) and 46%  more riot casualties (43,000 instead of 30,000) over the four decades we investigate.
Why did Congress incumbency have this effect? We find tentative evidence that electoral incentives hold the key.

(more…)

Why is blue the colour of Dalit resistance?

April 4, 2018

Ashwaq Masoodi tries to answer a question have always wanted to ask: Why is blue the colour of Dalit resistance?

In his Mint article:

The idea behind it was that blue is the colour of sky—a representation of non-discrimination, that under the sky everyone is believed to be equal. There are many theories around this, but there is no settled history on why blue became the colour of Dalit resistance,” Says Raosaheb Kasbe, a former professor of political science at the Savitribai Phule Pune University, and a scholar on Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar and the Dalit movement. According to a paper, Fabric-Rendered Identity: A Study of Dalit Representation in Pa. Ranjith’sAttakathi, Madras and Kabali, published in Artha-Journal of Social Sciences in 2017, “Ambedkar is known to have introduced the blue Mahar’s Flag as his party flag for the Independent Labour Party. It is representative of identifying with Dalit consciousness that is non-discriminatory. It also appeals to the masses as in the blue-collar workers”.

Statues of Ambedkar wearing a three-piece blue suit and holding the Indian Constitution are seen in many villages and towns across the country. The suit as well as the colour blue hold a symbolic meaning for the Dalits because historically, upper-caste oppression, as a Mint Lounge story published in April last year stated, “found expression in sartorial superiority”.

Beena Pallical, national coordinator of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights says Ambedkar’s blue suit is one of the main reasons Dalits adopted the blue flag. But the colour that needs to be discussed more, she says, is the saffron colour of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party: “What is happening now is that one colour is washing off all the colours – the colours of secularism, the colours of unity in diversity, the colours of communal harmony.”

While Dalits have used blue to signify empowerment, there have been instances when the same colour has been used to discriminate against them and socially exclude them.

In 1995, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra enforced a policy to dress Dalit children in blue uniforms—to mark them out from other children, according to the book Civil Society, Public Sphere and Citizenship: Dialogues and Perceptions edited by Rajeev Bhargava, Helmut Reifeld.

Hmm..

Safeguarding public interests in the platform economy

April 4, 2018

Koen Frenken, Arnoud van Waes, Magda Smink and Rinie van Est in this piece:

Reviewing the role of Central Bank Board in New Zealand (applies to other central banks)

April 4, 2018

Michael Reddel’s Croasking Cassandra blog is not just the goto blog on NZ economy but one can draw lessons generally as well.

In this post, he questions the role of Board of central bank of New Zealand:

The Board has not done, and is not doing, a good job.  It is set up by Parliament to serve our interests –  public, Parliament, and Minister –  but constantly seems to see itself mostly as a servant, and defender, of Bank management.  Those are two quite different roles.  The so-called Charter adds a little more to the list of concerns, and the reasons why the government, as part of the current review, should more seriously consider far-reaching structural change, reconfiguring the role of the Board and the way that public-funded review and assessment functions are undertaken.  The current model isn’t working, at least for anyone other than Bank management.

These issues of governance are much bigger and important questions than the monetary and banking rules we remain obsessed with. A central banjk may be following the most modern methods of economics but if the governance is not right, then all things eventually stand to naught over a period of time.

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