Neem for Dandruff: A Natural Remedy to Get Rid of It


If you have a very dry scalp, more often than not, you may have found yourself in an embarrassing situation where the collar of your shirt is covered with white flaky substances! Dandruff is not restricted to the scalp alone, even the skin on the face and the body is prone to dandruff. It is but natural to assume that dandruff is caused due to dryness. In opposition to this notion, research suggests that dandruff is actually due to cells of the skin that have a very short life, they grow and die with great rapidity.

A fungus known as Malassezia is responsible for dandruff. Certain weather conditions do facilitate the growth of dandruff, most commonly the winter season. It has the tendency to being stubborn and coming back again and again despite proper treatment. Contrary to popular belief, one effective way to get rid of dandruff is to shampoo daily, this prevents the growth of the cells that have a shortlife. An after effect of untreated dandruff is hair loss. Thus, it is best to catch the issue on time and follow a due course of treatment.

Nothing can be more convenient than using neem for dandruff, available almost everywhere and can also be easily grown at home! The properties possessed by the neem leaves are used to treat multiple skin and hair issues. It contains blood purifying as well as anti microbial elements. It is effectively known to be an antifungal and antiviral, in addition to being anti inflammatory. Here’s how to use neem in order to get rid of dandruff and get beautiful, shiny hair.

1. Chew the leaves: According to beauty experts, the easiest way to get rid of dandruff is to chew the neem leaves every morning. However, you may need some convincing for that as neem leaves taste a bit bitter. Mix them with honey and have or make a decoction by boiling neem leaves and drink the strained water.

2. Neem oil: Neem can be used in the form of an oil. This oil can be easily created at home by adding few neem leaves to coconut oil and bringing it to a boil and finally adding a few drops of lemon to it. Rub this oil gently on your scalp, leave it on overnight and then wash off in the morning.


3. Neem and curd: A combination of neem and curd is the ideal way to curb dandruff. Make a paste of neem leaves, add it to a bowl of curd and apply all over your scalp. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. The anti-fungal properties of neem in combination with the soothing and cool effect of curd does wonders in fighting dandruff.

4. Neem hair mask: A homemade neem back is the easiest remedy for dandruff. All you have to do is take some neem leaves, grind them in the mixer and add a tablespoon of honey to it. Once it becomes a thick paste, put it all over the scalp like a hair mask and allow it to stay for 20 minutes. Wash it when it is suitably dry and watch the wonders it does to your scalp.
(Hair Growth: 7 Natural Tips to Make Your Hair Grow Faster)


5. Neem as a hair conditioner: Take a few neem leaves and boil them, allow them to cool down. After shampooing your hair, rinse the hair with this mixture of neem and see the miracle. According to Ayurveda, the plethora of medicinal properties exhibited by neem are used for all hair ailments and show drastic effects upon regular use.

Now, there’s no reason to let dandruff dishearten you. Use these simple home remedies that work like magic.


How to Drink Wine, a Beginner’s Guide

It was a one-hour conversation with Steven Spurrier that completely altered my relationship with wine. For years, I was fighting hard not be a wine snob – the type you run into at wine clubs across India, who often makes wine so complicated and difficult to understand. It’s why many people end up opting for some other spirit, refusing to be drawn into discussions that often take away the pleasure of sipping a great glass of wine. I’ve always felt that wine should not be intimating and a snob drink; it was comforting that Steven Spurrier, one of the world’s best known wine experts shares the same philosophy.

Spurrier was instrumental in organising ‘The Judgement of Paris’ in 1976 an event that broke the hegemony of French wines. He assembled eleven of the finest wine tasters in France and asked them to rank a selection of wines. He did not reveal the identity of the wines nor did the aficionados realise that among the French wines were some emerging Californian wines. A 1973 Chardonnay from the Chateau Montelena, in California’s Napa Valley emerged the winner among the Whites. Another Wine from a brand new winery in California – The Stag’s Leap Cellar took top honours in the Red Wine Category with a 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon. The event was immortalised in Bottle Shock, where Alan Rickman played Steven Spurrier. It also unleased the potential of the New world wines from regions like California. It’s places like California and Australia where I’ve always felt more relaxed with a glass of wine. Places where wine newbies are not ‘judged’.

wine generic

If you’re just about to begin your discovery of wine, you might find these tips quite handy:

Wine producing regions: France, Germany and Italy generally represent the ‘Old World’ wines. Terroir or the unique characteristics of the soil and climate have often played a big part on the identity of these wines. Over the last five decades, several wine regions from California, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa produce high quality wine. Maharashtra (Nashik, Baramati) and Karnataka (Nandi Hills near Bengaluru) are India’s wine production hubs with mild winters and warm, dry summers; ideal for grape production.

Read the label: New world wines have simplified wine labels. Old world wines in the past would typically only list the region, the wine aficionado would automatically know the wine grape based on the region. New World wines keep it simple with the grape varietal, region, wine producer and the vintage (the year the wine was bottled). As a wine ages it improves the depth and character (also adds a mystique) of the wine. However the general thumb rule is red white gets better with age but younger white wines are better.

The glasses: wine glasses vary depending on the type of wine. Generally Red wine glasses tend to have a lager bowl and are taller to allow the flavours and aromas to emerge. There are broadly six types of wine glasses for full bodied and light bodied red wines, white wines, sparkling wine, rose and fortified or sweet wine.

wine 620

The grapes: begin your incredible journey by understanding the six grape varieties and their key characteristics: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These six major wine grape varieties make up about 80% of all wines made around the world. The key difference between wine tasting and drinking is paying attention.

How to serve and store wine: it’s equally common to find wine with bottle caps (instead of corks). It’s best to store your wines sideways (and not standing; especially wine bottles with a cork) in a cool place before the bottles are opened. Don’t keep an opened bottle of wine longer than a week in your refrigerator. Red wine is usually served at 12 to 18 degrees centigrade (Room temperature in some parts of the wold!), white wine at 8 to 12 degrees while sparkling and dessert wines are usually served at 5 to 7 degrees centigrade.

How to experience a glass of wine: even if you’re not a connoisseur it’s possible to enjoy wine with a few basic steps. First ensure you are not in a room full of other aromas and sounds that could distract you. As you pour the wine into a glass observe the colours (hold it to a light source) as you tilt it. Swirl the wine – easier to do when your glass is one thirds full. This action churns the liquid as it travels allowing it to draw oxygen from the air and intensify the smell. Sniff the wine – don’t bury your nose in the glass, just take short sniffs that allow you to take in the aromas. Sip the wine, don’t gulp it down and experience the flavours.


Wine Pairing: we’ve all heard about the basics from how salads and seafood work best with crisp white wines to how meat dishes work with complex red wines. Some wine experts overcomplicate wine pairing with the six basic flavour profiles – sweet, salt, fat, acidic, alcohol and bitter. It’s easier to keep it simple and look at whether you want flavours that are complimentary or contradictory. Ultimately I think it’s down to your personal choice; like Steven Spurrier told me – “I don’t think food should dictate what kind of Wine you drink. I believe in Drinking Wine for ‘Mood’ and not Food”.


Content & SEO Teams Together – Focused on a Customer-First Strategy


For half of the world, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about search engines, its algorithms, rankings, off-page and all other technical terms. While fighting the battle of enhancing the ranking in SERPs (Search Engine Result Page), often one thing is neglected or considered as last option. That last option is Content. Now the question arises, what’s the role of content in SEO & why it is neglected or considered as last option.

First thing first, what’s the role of content in SEO? Let’s make it simple and think from a user’s mind. Whenever a user search anything over web, the basic intent of the user is to get information or answer about their query. Surely, no one would like any images or any ads while searching for information about any disease or on any other topic. From SEO perspective, the information or answer, the user is looking for is content. And if the user will not get the right content for its search query then it’s obvious that user will be disappointed and bounce to some other option. So, with this the role and importance of content is very clear.

Now, why it is neglected or considered as last option. Again, the answer is very simple. If one listen from the mouth of a content person, the whole scene will seem a hate story. But in reality, the hidden love affair of content and SEO is very deep and old.Content & SEO Teams Together - Focused on a Customer-First Strategy

Till now, content and SEO is considered two different worlds in whole world as well as in the industry. And when it comes to lining-up these two different worlds for any business, it seems like bringing two enemies together. Another major reason why content is neglected when it comes to lining up with SEO is restriction or guideline of brands and businesses for content. The strict policy, guidelines, approval and the whole process of content creation and approval makes the thought of content a headache for any SEO team. Yes, we agree that content generation is not a joke and serious job involving various checks but this shouldn’t become a reason to avoid it. After all, content is what user is looking for and consuming every day, every minute and every second in its search.

So, the moral of the story is SEO and content should always be best friends and work together like perfect life partners. Both department’s strategy should be consumer first strategy. By consumer-first strategy we mean that the primary focus should be consumer, their behavior, search intent and what they want. What really matter is what consumer wants and whether they are getting relevant result for whatever they are looking for.


Mars Surface ‘More Uninhabitable’ Than Thought: Study



  • Salt minerals present on the Red Planet kill bacteria
  • Compounds known as perchlorates killed cultures of Bacillus subtilis
  • Compound can also be activated by UV light, without heat

Hopes of finding life on Mars, at least on the surface, were dealt a blow Thursday by a study revealing that salt minerals present on the Red Planet kill bacteria.

In lab tests on Earth, the compounds known as perchlorates killed cultures of the bacteria Bacillus subtilis, a basic life form, a research duo from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy reported.

Perchlorates, stable at room temperature, become active at high heat. Mars is very cold.

In the new study, Jennifer Wadsworth and Charles Cockell showed the compound can also be activated by UV light, without heat, in conditions mimicking those on the martian surface.

It killed bacteria within minutes, said the team, implying the planet was “more uninhabitable than previously thought.”Mars Surface 'More Uninhabitable' Than Thought: Study

“If we want to find life on Mars, we have to take this into consideration and look at trying to find sub-surface life that wouldn’t be exposed to these conditions,” Wadsworth told AFP.

Perchlorates are natural and man-made on Earth, but are more abundant on Mars where they were first recorded by NASA’s Phoenix Lander in 2008.

The fact that perchlorates killed B. subtilis in the presence of UV radiation did not necessarily mean that all other life forms would similarly die, said Wadsworth. Further tests would have to be done to confirm this.

Perchlorates have previously been spotted in lines, thought to be brine streaks, on the surface of Mars.

Their presence was presented as evidence by scientists in 2015 of liquid water on the Red Planet.

But the new study said brine seeps, “although they represent local regions of water availability, could be deleterious to cells” if they contain perchlorates.

The findings do contain some good news.

They mean that organic contaminants left on Mars by robotic exploration, of which B. subtilis is a common one, are unlikely to survive long.

It is widely accepted that the Red Planet once hosted plentiful water in liquid form, and still has water today, albeit frozen in ice underground.

Liquid water is a prerequisite for life as we know it.


Buy Eicher Motors, Indiabulls Real Estate, Vedanta, JBF Industries; sell Tata Comm: Mitessh Thakkar

Mitessh Thakkar of is of the view that one can buy Eicher Motors, Indiabulls Real Estate, Vedanta and JBF Industries and sell Tata Communications.

Mitessh Thakkar of told CNBC-TV18, “I have more of buy calls because the stock specific basis still remains positive. I have a buy on Eicher Motors which managed to get past the earlier swing highs. Buy with a stop loss at Rs 25,320 and look for target of Rs 26,350 or thereabouts.” 

“The second one is Indiabulls Real Estate. You couldn’t have missed the midcap realty stocks yesterday, I think there is very strong price and volume action across the board. Indiabulls Real Estate now can now be bought with a stop loss at Rs 84 for target of Rs 95,” he said.

“The other two buys are in Vedanta which made a fresh swing high beyond the early highs of Rs 270-271. It is a buy with a stop loss below Rs 269.50 for target of Rs 285.” 

“JBF Industries from the midcap pack looks good, a good price and volume action, buy with a stop loss at Rs 265 for target of Rs 290.”Image result for Buy Eicher Motors, Indiabulls Real Estate, Vedanta, JBF Industries; sell Tata Comm: Mitessh Thakkar

“I have a solitary sell call on Tata Communications, where I would sell with a stop loss at Rs 731.50 and look for target of around Rs 680.”

“I think Reliance Infra is showing a good pattern on the intraday charts. So, that is a buy with a stop loss at Rs 564 and look for targets of Rs 595 to about Rs 598.”

“Jindal Steel & Power is a good buy at current level, keep a stop loss below Rs 120 and look for target of around Rs 129.”


FCC to vote to reform $45 billion business data market

The Republican head of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed easing regulatory requirements in the $45 billion business data services market, a win for companies like AT&T Inc, CenturyLink Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and others.

The proposal is a blow to companies like Sprint Corp and others that claim prices for business data are too high and backed a plan under President Barack Obama that would have cut prices but was never approved.

Small businesses, schools, libraries and others rely on business data services, or special-access lines, to transmit large amounts of data quickly, for instance connecting banks to ATM machines or gasoline pump credit card readers. Wireless carriers rely on them for the backhaul of mobile traffic. Reuters reported details of the proposal Wednesday.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a blog post the commission will vote April 20 to reform the rule that telecommunications experts say would deregulate the market in most of the country but would retain regulations in some places.

“Where this competition exists, we will relax unnecessary regulation, thereby creating greater incentives for the private sector to invest in next-generation networks. But where competition is still lacking, we’ll preserve regulations necessary to prevent anti-competitive price increases,” Pai said.

Consumer groups Public Knowledge and Consumer Federation of America called Pai’s proposal a “bonanza” for big telecommunications companies that “will drain consumer pocketbooks of tens of billions of dollars per year.”Ajit Pai, Chairman of U.S Federal Communications Commission, delivers his keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Under President Barack Obama, then FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in April 2016 proposed a sweeping reform plan for business data services that aimed to reduce prices paid.

Wheeler had proposed maintaining and lowering lower price caps using legacy data systems with a one-time 11 percent reduction in prices phased in over three years.

Sprint, which backed Wheeler’s proposal, told the FCC in a March 22 letter that “thousands of large and small businesses across the country are paying far too much for broadband because of inadequate competition.”

Sprint argued “a small handful of companies are overcharging the very investors and employers that are critical to our economic growth and are using anticompetitive tactics to ensure that these businesses never have access to competitive alternatives.”

AT&T argued Wheeler’s plan was “little more than a wealth transfer to companies that have chosen not to invest in last mile fiber infrastructure.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


India, Malaysia set to sign 15 business pacts today

New Delhi: India and Malaysia are expected to sign around 15 business-to-business pacts on Monday aiming to deepen commercial linkages between Asia’s third-largest economy and its third-largest trading partner in the fast growing ASEAN or Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic grouping.

The pacts are to be signed in the presence of visiting Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in New Delhi. According to Indian officials, the total projects being considered by the two sides could amount to about $5 billion.

This is Razak’s third visit to India since taking office as prime minister in 2009. The Malaysian prime minister started his five-day India visit on Thursday in Chennai. On Sunday, the Malaysian prime minister visited Rajasthan, where Malaysian companies are engaged in road and other infrastructure projects estimated to be worth over $1 billion dollars.

In New Delhi on Saturday, talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi focussed on scaling up economic ties further in areas like infrastructure and building of smart cities, besides food security. This comes at a time when the US has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam that was stitched together by the US and aimed to ensure decreased dependency of these countries on trade with Asian giant China.Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: PTI

“All regional states are recalibrating their regional policies at a time when there is significant uncertainty about China’s future profile and American commitments to the region. Malaysia is no exception and is looking to New Delhi to play a larger regional role,” said Harsh V. Pant, professor of International Relations, Department of Defence Studies, at London’s King’s College, in an email.

Also noteworthy were India’s remarks on the South China Sea, large parts of which are claimed by China brushing aside protests from many Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia.

“Prime Minister Najib and I are also conscious of our role and responsibility in promoting economic prosperity, freedom of navigation, and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, especially its Oceans,” Modi said after talks with Razak in New Delhi.

“India has been steadily making stronger statements on South China Sea. It can’t do much to change the maritime balance of power in the short term in the South China Sea waters. So it is making a normative argument about freedom of navigation so as to bolster its credibility amongst the regional powers,” Pant said.

Explaining the importance of Malaysia to India as a bilateral partner and as a key member of ASEAN, Pant said: “A multicultural Malaysia is a significant player in ASEAN at a time when some members are coming under Chinese sway. Indian diaspora is important in the country as well. India’s influence in the region can only increase if it builds strong bilateral ties with regional states.”

Malaysia is currently India’s third-largest trading partner in ASEAN after Singapore and Indonesia. Bilateral trade between Malaysia and India was at $12.8 billion in 2015-16 with the trade balance in favour of Malaysia. Both “prime ministers have expressed their aspiration to see this trade increase to $15 billion in the immediate future”, a statement from the India-Malaysia CEOs’ Forum that met in New Delhi on Saturday said.

“In terms of investment, there has been significant growth… The total investments from Malaysia stood at around $7 billion or more as against total investments of around $2.5 billion from the Indian side,” the statement said.

Malaysian companies have completed 53 highway and road projects in India worth $2.84 billion. In addition, there are seven projects valued at $ 0.34 billion that are still under construction. At present, there are around 120 Indian companies, including 61 Indian joint ventures, seven Indian public sector undertakings and 60 Indian IT companies operating in or from Malaysia.

Another reason for India to look at closer ties with Malaysia is the fact that it is seen as a moderate Muslim nation. Many in the government and the Indian strategic community agree that bilateral ties under former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammed, who was in power from 1981 to 2003, were far from satisfactory—mainly due to a perceived tilt towards India’s arch rival Pakistan. It was only after Razak—son of Malaysia’s second prime minister Abdul Razak and nephew of the third prime minister Hussein Onn—took over that relations seemingly turned the corner.

“Malaysia has been relatively successful in keeping radicalization under control though the threat is growing by the day. India and Malaysia can learn a lot from each other and also send a message out to the world as two states with significant Muslim population,” Pant added.


This startup is an online real estate marketplace –

India is growing at a very fast pace and this inturn has lead to the unprecedented growth of our cities and towns. With more and more job opportunities being created people move into certain designated hubs for these developments. While everyone is busy building India and their careers, one thing that is common for all is that at the end of a hard and rewarding day everyone wants to come back to a home that they can call their own. It is this very thought that has led to the tremendous growth of real estate business in the country in the past one decade. One startup that understands this fact and is working at making the task easy for all stakeholders is is an online Real Estate Marketplace. It provides a simpler way to search for Residential and Commercial projects & properties across India. They have four stake holders namely Owner, Seller, Agent & Developer. Founded in 2013, has become a leading real estate portal. Users on can post their residential & commercial property to Buy, Sell and Rent in Indian property Market. They are catering to the needs of 24 cities in India’s Property Market, namely Ahmedabad, Bahadurgarh, Bangalore, Bhiwadi, Chennai, Dharuhera, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Meerut, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Neemrana, New Delhi, Noida, Panipat, Pune, Sohna, Sonipat, Indore, Jaipur and Lucknow.

Founded by Pankaj Agarwal and Prashant Agarwal Zricks is based out of Gurgaon. Pankaj completed his bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi and went on to acquire his master’s degree in International Business from Leeds University Business School in UK. Prashant holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from IILM Institute for Higher Education in Gurgaon. From there, he went on to study in the University of Sheffield in UK where he acquired his master’s degree in International Management. Zricks, a self-funded bootstrapped start-up which has listed more than 4700+ projects by 2700+ developers with more than 1500 properties by 1900+ agents, and 5000+ walkthroughs till date. The company presently aims to cater more cities by offering value-added technology for easy real-estate market business. Zricks aims at expanding to tier 2 cities of India in near future and also aims at getting maximum agents and buyers on

The idea to develop an extensive online portal with exhaustive listings emerged out of scouring the internet for a portal that offers end-to-end realty solutions for a client. The problems that the founders faced during their exhausting online searches helped them develop a service that covers all the bases. Zricks came about to cater to the needs and requirements of all stakeholders with intensive investment into market research. Essentially a marketplace, Zricks acts as a platform for meeting and transacting between various stakeholders. Simultaneously their services are directed towards minimizing the amount of effort it takes to find a dream home or the perfect office space and make the most profitable investment.


Business to consumer will remain one of the fastest-growing segments


BNP Paribas Asset Management India Pvt. Ltd’s track record, post Anand Shah’s joining the fund house in 2011 has been good. But, the calendar year of 2016 exposed chinks in stock picking strategy. Shah, as the fund house’s chief investment officer (now he is also the deputy chief executive officer and oversees the fund management as well as sales), has always liked investing in shares of consumer-facing companies. But last year, demonetisation and the entry of Reliance Jio in the telecom space adversely impacted his portfolios. His holdings in the telecom sector proved very costly. Will he be able to recover from this fall? Mint spoke to Shah to find out his future strategy. Edited excerpts:

Earlier this year, you had said that demonetisation had impacted your fund house’s equity schemes’ portfolios. It has been around four months since demonetisation. What’s your further assessment?

Re-monetisation appears to be now happening. Money is coming in. The economy that was largely cash-led has suffered, but things there as well are slowly resuming back to normal. So, four-wheelers never really got impacted. But two-wheelers, which largely dealt in cash, were impacted. Multiplexes, which largely dealt with credit cards and online bookings didn’t suffer as much, but single screen theatres where people book tickets largely by cash, suffered. Formal economies didn’t get impacted. The informal economy got adversely impacted.

But things are getting back to normal now. Most of our equity schemes have recovered their losses more or less.

You have always liked businesses that face the consumer. After the demonetisation impact, no matter how temporary an impact it has appeared to have had on the various industries, have you changed your likings about the sort of sectors you invest in?Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

The B2C businesses has created wealth for investors for decades. They also have more entry barriers and so it is not easy to take away a retail consumer in a hurry. There are valid reasons to invest in B2C companies. Further, the other two segments (business to business or B2B and business to government or B2G) have made a comeback.

In the B2B space, the metals sector is back as the Chinese economy has normalized and there’s hope of an economic recovery in the US. We have exposure to this segment.

In the B2G segment, the government’s spending is up. There are businesses that will benefit from government spending.

A bulk of our portfolios will remain in B2C businesses because comfortable demographics will ensure that it will remain one of the fastest growing segments in the market. On top of it, before demonetisation, we were looking at these companies to do well on the back of a good monsoon last year as well as the pay commission. Both these factors are not going away in a hurry. So, to us, this (demonetisation) is temporary, the B2C segment will only bounce back with a vengeance.

Your schemes’ performance went down big time in the calendar year 2016. Was their exposure to telecom sector the only reason or were there other reasons?

Two things happened together. The good part of the portfolio, business to consumer (B2C) segment companies, which gave me 600-700 bps outperformance for the last 8 years was dealt a blow (demonetisation), which is a once in a century phenomenon. One basis point is one-hundreth of a percentage point. I believe we won’t see another demonetisation for next one century at least. So while the fall in share prices of our holdings in the telecom sector stocks could have been absorbed by the otherwise resilient B2C companies, even the latter got impacted by demonetisation.

When you were buying more shares of Bharti Airtel Ltd throughout 2015-16, did you not see Reliance Jio’s impending impact? There was a lot of buzz around—and expectation from—the telecom company. Something big was expected by most of us.

We were prepared for a 50% lower pricing in data. We were not prepared for free handouts. Nobody anticipated. We have seen in the past that competition exists where the likes of Telenor and Tata Telecom enter the markets offering 30-50% discounts in tariffs and plans. And slowly and gradually, new entrants capture market share. That’s how B2C companies work. They capture market share, but they don’t capture it overnight.

For example, despite some banks like Kotak Bank and Yes Bank offering (close to) 6% interest on savings bank rate, we don’t see people leaving their banks and queuing up outside these banks. The B2B segment is price sensitive; price doesn’t generally matter in the B2C segment.

But Reliance Jio’s strategy and entry was extremely disruptive. It destroyed the sector’s health.

What is your outlook on the telecom sector now and where do you go from here as far your schemes’ exposure to this sector is concerned?

We have already sold our holdings in Idea Cellular much earlier than when Jio came, as that’s where we suffered large underperformance. Bharti Airtel has not performed badly for us, actually.

The telecom sector now is in a complete flux where balance sheets have grown because companies now have to deliver a 4G network in 2017 and 2018, as opposed to 2020. They had to prepone their capital expenditure, be it spectrum purchase or electronic capex. Typically, there is a 10-year cycle for every technology cycle. So, if 3G came in 2010, 4G was expected in around 2020. So now telecom companies have expanded their balance sheets, but their revenues have shrunk due to stiff competition. This combination reduces Return on Capital Employed and Return on Equity, as an industry, to abysmally low levels.

Consolidation has just begun, which is good. We still have more firms than many developed nations. Abroad, there are 2-3 firms, so we will see another year of pain, before another round of consolidation happens.

Analysts have pushed back earnings visibility further. What do you think?

We do have earnings problem at Nifty level but that’s not true for quite a few companies. Despite pockets of volatility in the past 3-4 years, we haven’t had problems of earnings growth for the companies in our portfolios.

If you look at financial year (FY) 2015, the first half (up to September 2014) was profitable, we didn’t have growth issues. We had a de-growth on year-on-year earnings between September 2014 and March 2015. Most of the de-growth came from commodity producers. Earnings didn’t collapse for everybody in the second half of FY2015. And thus, if you look at entire FY15, half of the Nifty companies’ earnings grew at 15% average, and half of Nifty companies’ earnings fell by 15%. And the same story continued in first half of FY16 because year-on-year, the commodity prices were lower. While lower commodity prices were great for macro economy, it had some negative impact on the earnings of the commodity producers.

In the second half of FY16, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced asset quality review of banks’ lending portfolios. Since companies had to recognize their bad assets more stringently, their earnings, led by those of the corporate banks, fell. Those banks that had lent to metal companies suffered further as commodity prices had fallen. And in the second half of 2016, crude oil prices fell from 50$ a barrel to 30$ a barrel and steel prices further went down. So commodity producers and corporate banks dragged down Nifty earning growth in FY16. The country as a whole wasn’t messed up. Some pockets suffered. We had decent growth in earnings for our underlying companies in FY2015 and FY2016.

FY2017 was looking fine with good monsoons (after 2 years) and spending boost due to implementation of pay commission for government employees. But then, in the second half came demonetization, and that has put new doubts on earnings visibility on most of the companies.

Coming back to present times, and looking at expectations for FY2018, we believe that our economy is doing well. Growth is coming back. To a lesser extent than we would like, but I think the government and RBI are doing the right things. Lower interest rates, lower inflation, investments on infrastructure—everything is moving in the right direction. It’s the harder way of economy recovery; wherein we are spending money on roads, railways which doesn’t give us GDP growth rate immediately.

But, I believe these are the right things to do for sustainable economic growth as well sustainable earnings recovery. We believe more than half of the index companies are already benefiting from these activities and it’s not that all the segments of the market are doing badly. There are plenty of opportunities to do stock picking.

Last year apart, your overall long term performance has been good. Yet, BNP Paribas Asset Management India Ltd’s overall assets under management hasn’t grown as much, as opposed to the industry.

Till December 2015, BNP Paribas Asset Management India Ltd was one of the fastest growing asset management companies in the Indian mutual funds industry. Our distribution strength lies in global markets. So globally, we are one of the seven largest offshore funds in the world that invest in India. Our Indian arm is profitable making it one of the very few fund houses in our size bracket to be profitable.

We have to now stabilize our performance, which is happening already. We have strengthened our tie-ups with distributors and last but not the least, we are putting in place our fixed income pie. We are making investments wherever needed.

UK inflation rate remains at 2.3%


UK inflation held steady last month, as rising prices for food and clothing were offset by lower air fares.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index remained at 2.3%.

The main downward effect on inflation last month came from air fares, which was due to the timing of Easter.

However, the ONS data showed food prices in March were 1.2% higher than last year, the biggest annual rise in three years.

Spending squeeze

Inflation has been accelerating in recent months, partly as a result of the fall in the pound after the Brexit vote, which has raised import prices.

Although the inflation rate remained unchanged from February, it remains above the Bank of England’s target of 2% and is the highest since September 2013.

“Inflation may be steady, but it’s still currently outpacing wages and interest rates, which spells trouble for households and cash savers,” said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The inflationary squeeze that’s coming is going to mean consumers have to spend more at the check-outs and petrol pumps, and that reduces their capacity to fund discretionary spending.”

Earlier on Monday, a survey by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG suggested consumers were reining back spending in the face of rising food prices.Aeroplane

Total spending on non-food items fell by 0.8% in the January-to-March period, the survey found, which was the weakest three-month performance for nearly six years.

The ONS figures showed that the cost of air fares fell by nearly 4% in March from the month before. However, last year, when Easter Sunday fell on 27 March, air fares had jumped by more than 20% amid higher demand.

With Easter Sunday falling on 16 April this year, economists are expecting inflation to pick up this month.

As well as air fares, fuel also had a downward impact on inflation in March, as the prices paid by motorists at the pump fell slightly.

The biggest upward impact on inflation came from food and non-alcoholic drinks, where prices rose by 0.4% in March from the month before, compared with a 0.6% fall a year earlier.

Factory prices

The ONS’s new preferred inflation measure of CPIH, which contains a measure of housing costs, also remained unchanged at 2.3% in March.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation fell to 3.1% last month, from 3.2% in February.

ONS deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow said: “Food, drink and clothing prices all rose in March.

“However, this is offset by air fares, which fell slightly but last year rose substantially thanks to the timing of Easter.

“The costs of raw materials and the price of manufactured goods leaving factories were both little changed, as falling fuel prices helped stem further rises.”

Data from the ONS showed the annual rate of producer price inflation fell back slightly in March.

The prices of goods leaving the factory gate were up 3.6% from a year earlier, compared with a rate of 3.7% in February.

The prices paid by companies for materials and energy rose at an annual pace of 17.9%, down from February’s rate of 19.4%.

“Today’s producer prices release suggests that the impact of the weaker pound on manufacturers’ input costs may have peaked,” said Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club.

“However, there is still some way to go until these pressures have fully passed along the supply chain to consumers, so the headline measures of inflation are likely to climb further over the coming months.

“It is looking increasingly likely that the CPI measure will breach the 3% barrier during the summer.”