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JUNE 3, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
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Trillion-Dollar Club
India has joined the elite club of 12 countries with GDPs in excess of a trillion dollars. The country's GDP crossed the trillion-dollar mark for the first time when the rupee appreciated to below Rs 41 against the greenback. According to a report by Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse, India's stock market capitalisation has risen to $944 billion (Rs 39,64,800 crore), which is also closing in on the trillion-dollar mark. An analysis of the Indian economy.

Minding The Monsoon
The India Meteorological Department's prediction that the total rainfall in the coming monsoon season is likely to be 95 per cent of the long-period average, with an error margin of 5 per cent, is good news for agriculture. But experts say there's a need to revamp monsoon prediction so that the region-wise and timing of rainfall patterns can be forecast much earlier. A look at the credibility of monsoon models and their impact on agriculture.
More Net Specials

Business Today,  May 20, 2007

Star Quest

While he may no longer be the heir apparent to the News Corp. empire, Lachlan Murdoch, 35, is determined to be a force to reckon with in Indian media. Known for his varied interests, from a philosophy degree to being a tattoo buff, Murdoch means business this time round. Murdoch junior was on the mission "to grow into a significant force in the Indian media landscape". To this end, his Australian company Illyria has tied up with Percept Holdings for a joint venture, Percept Talent Management. Murdoch is mum on the investments involved, but he has set ambitious targets from the word go, hoping to rake in revenues of Rs 100 crore in the first year itself. Murdoch junior is surely on familiar turf though; it may well turn out to be his test by fire.

On a Song

Prasoon Joshi has his task cut out as the Asia representative on the McCann Worldgroup Global Creative Collective. In his new role, Joshi, 37, wants to make more Indian creative minds within his company globally recognised. "It's a great honour that global boards have started inducting Indians," says an elated Joshi. The 13-member board has been formed to tap creative talent within the group. Joshi, Executive Chairman, McCann Erickson India, is also responsible for all McCann creatives from the South-East Asian region as regional creative director, South and South-East Asia. Renowned for his versatility as a celebrated adman and award-winning film lyricist, Joshi has just one dictum for the many roles he dons: "Fundamental human emotions are the same all over the world, only expressions are different."

Remedial Pursuit

A. Vellayan is an unhappy man. The Murugappa group touched a record turnover of $2 billion (Rs 8,200 crore) for the last fiscal, but Vellayan, 54, group Vice Chairman is still miffed. What's troubling him is a slew of unfriendly government policies for sugar and fertiliser industries. The only silver lining is the exchange rates that have helped him double the turnover last fiscal from 2003-04. Vellayan's lament is that the growth in turnover and profits has failed to maintain the pristine average of the last four years. To tide over the crisis, Vellayan reels off his demand-list-cut purchase tax, allow export of molasses and ethanol, and introduce sugar export subsidies. While Tamil Nadu is yet to respond favourably, it is reasonable to assume that with Vellayan reposing his faith in sugar, fertilisers, and financial services, this prescription might just be the panacea.

Game Plan

He has just shrugged off his executive responsibilities after taking over as Chairman-Emeritus of Exide Industries but Satya Brata Ganguly is already game for more. After working with Exide for over two decades, Ganguly is now the helmsman at two crisis-ridden organisations. His passion for soccer has landed him the role of the president of the Indian Football Association, the oldest soccer association in the country. It is with the same fervour that he is determined to turn around the fortunes of the Academy of Fine Arts, one of the oldest and finest art societies in India. Ganguly, 64, who has worked with Dunlop and Exide in his professional career spanning over 44 years, has no worries on account of his new task. "Soccer has been my passion all along. The spirit of team game is the most important thing I've learnt from soccer and I've tried to apply and adopt that throughout my professional career," he says. Not surprisingly, a zealous Ganguly hopes to replicate the same in soccer and art.

Just Sniffing Around

When flying winemaker Michel Rolland, 60, first visited the winery of Grover Vineyards 10 years ago, he was less than impressed with his first sip. He is still not raising a toast to Indian wine, but readily admits that things have changed for the better. He owns a 42-hectare vineyard in Bordeaux in France where his family has been producing wine for four generations. "Indian companies have made some good wines and they've become quite popular in fancy European restaurants, but with just one million hectolitres sold (compared to around 20 million in France), there is a long way to go," says Rolland. His advice to winemakers: Grow great grapes to make good wine. There's nothing worse than using table grapes for making wine, he says. Rolland would know that for a fact. He is an accomplished winemaker who flies into many countries and helps nearly 100 wineries improve their wines.

Season's Flavour

Six years after a traumatic abduction experience, Khadim's director Partha Roy Burman seems to have found some food for the soul in his new business. The 49-year-old footwear baron has turned restaurateur and hopes to get off on the right foot after a long hiatus from business. "Food and food processing business offers tremendous opportunity to grow and I would love to explore all possibilities," says Roy Burman. Savour his new offering: A restaurant chain Nola and a take-away food chain, aptly called On-the-Run, floated under a new company Kantian Food & Hospitality India. In a hurry to expand his reach, Roy Burman has set sights on overseas markets and is relying heavily on his retail experience. And experience he has aplenty-Roy Burman is the man behind the countrywide presence of the Khadim's brand.