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Is Consumer India on the Brink of a Lifestyle Revolution?

Discover the intricate world of consumer India in Lilliput Land by Rama Bijapurkar. Explore the aspirations and attitudes towards credit that shape consumer India’s behavior and learn through the many valuable insights for businesses navigating this dynamic market amidst India’s digital revolution.

Let the Mega Consumption story begin!



Lilliput Land
Lilliput Land || Rama Bijapurkar


A lot has been written about this in media stories and books, and ‘the changing Indian consumer’ is a favourite conference topic. However, given the structure story of the many Indias, all these anecdotes and observations of how different parts of the elephant behave need to be distilled into a holistic view of the nature of the beast. This chapter looks at key shapers of behaviour—aspiration, dignity, Indian identity, brand orientation, the phenomenon of monster consumers, how to understand and navigate heterogeneity of the market for strategy development, and how to read change in the confusing way in which Consumer India changes. Shapers of Consumer India’s Consumption Behaviour A macro-consumer view of the people of India Consumer India, as the previous chapter on structure has demonstrated, is a fragmented and complex hydra-headed monster, based on just its economy, demographics and living conditions. Add to that a layer of different social and cultural factors aff ecting diff erent parts of Consumer India (including community, region, politics and language), and diff erent levels of exposure to diff erent worlds outside, it gets even more complex. Requests asking me to speak on the topic of ‘Indian Consumer Behaviour’ or ‘Changing Consumer Behaviour in India’ terrify me. How does one capture the enormity of behaviour variations in Consumer India? No matter what one could say, the opposite would also be true in some audience members’ recent experience! Therefore, for reasons of both prudence and competence, this chapter will not attempt the near-impossible task of chronicling diff erent kinds of consumer behaviour and diff erent patterns of consumption.


The focus of this chapter will instead be on understanding the lives, mind spaces and attitudes that shape the behaviour of the people who comprise Consumer India. This is useful because consumption and brands do not live in the narrow confines of a market space but exist as a part of the larger canvas of  people’s lives. Serving a consumer base without understanding what makes it tick does not make for winning businesses, sound market strategies or creating brands that deeply resonate with consumers.


This chapter has three sections:
1. Shapers of Consumer India’s consumption behaviour: A few important themes that are common and relevant to all income groups.
2. Structure and drivers of heterogeneity in Consumer India and how to think about consumer segmentation.
3. How India changes and reading change in Consumer India.


As everywhere in this book, this chapter will also examine many of the commonly held hypotheses and theories about Consumer India to test their validity and change, nuance or caveat them as the case may require.


Section I:

Shapers of Consumer India’s Consumption Behaviour This section identifies and explores a few important themes that are common across all of Consumer India and shape the consumption behaviour of all income groups. A Tectonic Shift from Acceptance to Aspiration, Facilitated by Credit.


Aspirational India is a tectonic shift from the pre-liberalization days when we would often hear consumers of lower-income groups tell us in focus groups, ‘This is not for me, this is for the badey log (big people).’ Now, there is a strong statement of, ‘I want to have something like that, be it products or experiences.’ A car is obviously not affordable, but a bike and a taxi for special family outings is. Now, having what celebrities have has become easy with social media. Copies of actress Alia Bhatt’s mehendi pattern and cheap knock-offs of her wedding dress are available. Influencers and beauticians of every social class tell you how to use make-up like celebrities do and style yourself at a price point that you can afford. As ad man Santosh Desai puts it, the big shift is that ‘life is not a condition to be endured but a product to be experienced’. Aspiration-led living is the opposite of the way it used to be. The attitude and mindset shift is from ‘this is what I have and how do I manage best within it’ to ‘this is what I want, so how do I manage to get it’. We see this resulting in choices which can best be described as ‘stretch for more, do not settle for less’. Borrow and buy the higher category car or two-wheeler or buy a second-hand one rather than settle for the easily affordable small car, even if it means waiting a bit, buying a pre-owned vehicle or taking a loan.


Credit or borrowing for consumption once considered a very dangerous thing, is now acceptable and ‘normal’ to Consumer India. Amazon and consumer durables stores and travel sites helpfully ask you, at the time of checking out, if you want to pay by EMI, that is, equated monthly instalments of credit. Credit is also morally purified. Its cultural label has changed from indebtedness, which can lead to ruin, to being the working capital for life and the helping hand that everybody needs to reach their goals. Financial services companies have been exploiting this attitude shift leading to the regulators and the courts coming down hard and framing laws to curb irresponsible lending that leads to imprudent borrowing, and strong-arm tactics for recovery that lead to customer stress and even suicides. An example of this is what happened to the microfinance industry in 2010 leading to a new law in 2011 that banned MFIs from approaching the doorstep of their customers, lengthened the loan collection cycles and told lenders that they had to get government approval to give a second loan to the same lender. The Reserve Bank of India, India’s banking regulator has issued a charter of customer rights for banks and non-banking financial services companies (NBFC) that includes the ‘right to suitability’, where ‘only products and services that are appropriate to the understanding and financial conditions of the customers may be offered to them.’ It is a caveat venditor (let the seller beware) as far as enforcing this right is concerned.


Get your copy of Lilliput Land by Rama Bijapurkar wherever books are sold.

Investonomy: Your ultimate guide to investing in the stock market

“A good beginning is half the journey.”- Pranjal Kamra

Investonomy by Pranjal Kamra
Investonomy||Pranjal Kamra


You’ve heard of the stock market before, and you might even have thought of investing in it. But something has always stopped you, an itch that has always held you back. According to the National Stock Exchange (NSE), there are 1.2 crore active investors in India, a country of 138 crore people, as of 2021. This means that the Indian stock market is severely untapped. Investing, contrary to popular belief, is more than just a numbers game. In fact, investing gives you more insight into human behaviour than any other field. Investonomy is your ultimate guide to investing in the Indian stock market and helping your wealth-creation journey through equity investment!



Leveraging experience

When it comes to investing, be it in the stock market or otherwise, investors who have been in the game for a long time have the upper hand. Essentially, experience is of paramount importance in the investing world. However, Investonomy can help you bridge this time gap and invest like a pro from day one. Through meaningful insights, it not only explains modern value investing principles but also unveils certain secrets of the stock market. This is something that usually takes years of experience to uncover. Through Investonomy, you can reach your personal wealth goals with ease , regardless of whether or not you’ve invested before!

Understanding popular strategies

Smart investing is crucial to make it big in the stock market. While there are a plethora of investment strategies available for you to choose from, it isn’t as simple as it seems. Understanding popular investment strategies and choosing the most suitable one for your investment goals is a hefty task. Investonomy explains these strategies in detail and helps you make the right pick, effortlessly. Time is money, and with Investonomy, you will be able to chart your investment plan to boost your wealth creation journey!

Decoding the psychology behind investing

The stock market is more than numbers, and smart investing often involves understanding the psychology behind how and why people invest.  Stock market investment is for anyone who has the willingness and patience to learn the art of investing. Unlike in science, there is no fixed formula in stock investment to make profits, nor can you control the key factors to get your desired outcome. Stock market investment is an art that needs to be learnt with experience and knowledge. Hence, you need a comprehensive guide like Investonomy, to help you navigate the complexities of the stock market and help you get the best returns in the long run.

Investonomy is a roadmap to convert your love–hate relationship with the stock market into an unshakeable bond. Get your copy and start your investment journey today!

Mass Entrepreneurship as a Solution to the Jobs Problem

Since 2012, the number of youth entrants into the labour force has increased at an accelerating pace, while the number of jobs created has decreased. This situation might become graver between 2020 and 2030 as the labour force swells further. Reviving Jobs, the third volume in the Rethinking India series, edited by Santosh Mehrotra, offers suggestions on how India can make the best use of the remaining period of its demographic dividend-any failure to do so will cause millions to suffer in poverty for decades to come.

In this excerpt, Sandhya Thukaram and Madan Padaki talk about mass entrepreneurship as a solution to the jobs problem.

India is a land of radical and substantive change. At any point of time, a revolution is underway. These revolutions are silent and not always evident, but nevertheless on the cusp of influencing change. This constant change affects people on a scale that is unimaginable elsewhere. There is a massive change silently transforming our economy, and this may well set the national discourse around growth and employment for decades to come. This is coupled with the extreme unemployment of our times, and these factors work in tandem and apart. But their interaction, and how we respond to it, can be significant to our economy’s future.

The major change is a demographic one, which all countries have gone through or will go through. India’s massive young population is one of the largest in the world—a double-edged sword which can be channelled to be India’s singular strength. It provides India and its businesses with a large supply of labour. It also means that there are a large number of consumers willing to buy the goods and services that generate income for these very businesses. This is good for the economy; the aggregate supply as well as demand can be high, creating a virtuous cycle that causes growth, employment and better lives for all.

However, simple macroeconomics tells us that an extremely high supply can mean there is an excess of the resource at hand, and very often that excess is simply discarded or devalued to a lower price. Millions now live in unemployment after being discarded by the economy, and millions more subsist through jobs that pay much less than they reasonably should.

But if one looks at it from a broader economic perspective, it doesn’t make sense. Labour is unique in the sense that it can create its own demand. By virtue of having to simply exist, the youth of this country have to consume goods and services. This consumption should boost demand in an economy, creating jobs that employ these same youth.

But amidst the worst unemployment we have seen in decades, this line of thinking is clearly wrong. We have the people, we have the demand, we have the labour, so why are there no jobs?

There are a few explanations. One is bad timing. Due to the NPA crisis, private investment in the economy is falling as firms are afraid to lend and individuals are afraid to borrow. Moreover, demonetization created a cash crunch that severely affected consumption and exports. The government is also in a mood for slow reform and no big projects with massive budgets have been laid that could have stimulated growth. Unlike the bull market of the 2000s, there is no supportive global environment that can boost growth. Had only one of these occurred, the other factors would have probably balanced it out. However, these did occur at the same time, and this hit growth and employment hard, causing high joblessness.

There is probably some truth to this explanation. These conditions could very likely have made the jobs crisis of recent times worse. But it is probable that the explanation is more structural than it being just the result of recent misfortune.

Jobs are not provided by big employers. The world’s largest private employer, Walmart, employs only 2.3 million people, and this number drops fast when you look at the next biggest employer. The next largest private employer, Foxconn, employs just a little more than 8,00,000, a third of Walmart’s figure.These numbers are massive. However, they are minuscule compared to the total workforce of a country (or the world, as these companies operate in several countries). Even if we gave all the jobs across the world at Walmart only to Indian youngsters, it would employ less than 1 per cent of them. So where will all the jobs come from?

To answer this, we refer to the words of Nobel Prize–winning economist Edmund Phelps, who wrote, ‘Most innovation (and job-creation) wasn’t driven by a few isolated visionaries like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs; rather, it was driven by millions of people empowered to think of, develop, and market innumerable new products and processes, and improvements to existing ones (in their local communities).This line captures the essence of mass entrepreneurship as a solution to the jobs problem.

Let us take a closer look at what Phelps is saying. He says that big companies and lone individuals did not and simply cannot provide the volume of employment any economy requires; even the largest of companies are minuscule compared to an economy. Instead, employment at that scale has to be provided by many, many small entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are nowhere near the size of large companies like Walmart, but instead employ only a handful of people. This number is usually above five and below twenty. These small entrepreneurs perform basic tasks in a local economy—a barber, a grocer, a pub owner.

This scenario, reproduced across hundreds of communities, creates the millions of jobs and growth that propel an economy. These are the people and businesses that have to provide employment for an economy. And that is the core of mass entrepreneurship.

You can read more about this in Reviving Jobs: An Agenda for Growth, which you can order here.

Get Up to Date with Nepal’s Economic Situation

Unleashing the Vajra sets the context to understand the key issues that drive Nepal’s economy. The author examines the other key sectors—the private sector and the development sector—closely to understand the different distortions that exist in the society, from cartel behaviour to rent-seeking. The book also deals with the emergence of the global Nepali, and the dichotomy as Nepal itself continues to be inward-looking.

Below are few facts, which reflect Nepal’s economic situation currently, taking into account its economic history as well:

Influence of the caste system 

The Nepali economic system, until the abolition of the caste-system, revolved around the Hindu philosophy and way of life. So in such a society the discourse around development and the role of development partners popularly known as donors becomes very complicated.

Third World Country 

After the Second World War, Nepal, along with the least developed of the former colonies—those lacking in industrialization, capitalist institutions and democratic governance—became eligible for foreign aid as members of the ‘Third World’. The first aid package Nepal received was part of the US-led Marshall Plan.

Lack of Foreign Aid Policy

Exhibiting an attitude of dependence, Nepal did not bother to have a comprehensive foreign aid policy until 2002. The lack of a national body directing and coordinating aid was a considerable drawback—not only did it compromise the sovereignty of the nation, it often directly challenged the will and intentions of the government.


The interest and accounting of remittances has become even more important as the total remittance crossed the billion-dollar mark in 2005. In 1993, the remittance to GDP was just 1.5 per cent, as recorded in the World Bank report. It swelled to 28.31 per cent in 2018.

The Non Resident Nepali Act

The Non-resident Nepali Act, promulgated in 2009 means that NRNs, who are not citizens of Nepal, could purchase land, acquire assets and invest in Nepal, and also have dual citizenship in the case of certain countries.

Impact on real estate

Houses are often rented from people who are close to the renting agency’s staff, while vehicles are rented from influential individuals at rates higher than the going market rate. These provide nice commissioning counters for development agency staff workers and a secondary source of income for well-placed and high-ranking officials.

Nepal has historically been at its most prosperous when it has leveraged this geographical position. Today, this opportunity emerges again-and in order to take advantage of the growth of India and China, Nepal needs to hitch its wagon to the fast-moving engines to its north and south. For a deep-dive into Nepal’s past, present and future pick your copy of the book today!

How can Nepal Become an ‘Asian Tiger’?

By 2040, it is projected that China will be the largest economy in the world, followed by India. The two put together will have nearly a third of the world’s population and GDP. Now, there exists an opportunity for Nepal to unleash its potential and return to the time when it had the advantage of being in between two prospering neighbours. In ‘Unleashing the Vajra’, author Sujeev Shukya tries to understand the past in order to learn how to get the future right—Nepal now has just two decades to relive its glorious past.

The listicle below brings to the forefront a few quick facts to show that Nepal has the potential to regain its past glory and make a mark.

Strategic Location 

By 2050, it is estimated that, the Shanghai–Mumbai axis will continue to dominate the agenda of future markets, economic development and global economic thought leadership. Nepal falls right in the middle of all this.

Population Boon 

Nepal is geographically small, but Nepalis tend to forget that they are also the forty-eighth most populated country in the world with a population that is nearly one and a half times that of Australia, and only a few millions less than that of Canada.


An annual tourist volume of more than 30 million Chinese travelling to the Tibet Autonomous Region every year can also be a potential lucrative market for Nepal.


Nepal needs to look at how it will deliver the same vision of prosperity to its people by 2050 with equal emphasis on capital, asset utilization, parameters of human development, and of course, happiness.

Economy and Growth

For Nepal to graduate to a middle-income country by 2030, when the country’s population will be around 36 million, it needs to be a $100 billion economy with a per capita income of $2500. This would require an investment of about $7–8 billion each year.

New Model 

Nepal is the prospective bridge between India and China, two countries that will be controlling 35 percent of global GDP in 2050. This is the time for Nepal to emerge with a new economic growth model rather than being a yam between two boulders.

Sujeev Shakya argues that it is imperative to understand history and learn from it to shape events for a better future. Unleashing the Vajra outlines the factors that will determine Nepal’s destiny in the years to come.

Meet Rajesh Srivastava, who Insists Happy Employees Make Happy and Loyal Customers.

Here’s a fact: Treating your customers well is no longer enough. The new rule is: employees too, have to be treated as well, if not better, than the customers. Happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers tend to be loyal.

And here’s one more: You don’t need to spend money in advertising to create awareness about your product any longer. The new rule is: invest in making your product so good that it does its own marketing. New Age companies, Amazon and Flipkart, Uber and Ola, and Netflix, among others, are dismantling the old rules of business and installing new rules in their place.

Rajesh Srivastava’s new book, The New Rules of Business unfolds the mysteries of these new ways of doing business which most companies try to keep under wraps.

He says, “The rules of business have well and truly changed. The New Rules of Business will introduce you to new thoughts, ideas, tools, techniques, and frameworks which will help you come up with impactful answers to business challenges.”

But first, let’s meet the author!

Rajesh Srivastava is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Bangalore, and has over three decades of corporate and academic experience.


At United Spirits (now Diageo India), he played a significant role in creating some of India’s most recognized, beloved and enduring alcohol brands that include McDowell’s Signature, Royal Challenge, Bagpiper and Blue Riband Duet.


He later became the president of J.K. Helen Curtis Ltd, where he re-energized the company and the deodorant category by relaunching Park Avenue deodorant as a perfume. Today, ‘perfume’ has become a generic benefit for the deodorant category.


Since 2008, he has directed his focus towards teaching and conducting corporate workshops. As an educator, he has taught at IIM Indore and S.P. Jain School of Global Management.


As a corporate trainer, he has worked with prestigious companies like Siemens India, Mercedes-Benz Research Centre and Rehance Industries, amongst others.


Throughout his career, his writings have appeared in various publication, including Outlook, the Telegraph, Mid-Day, Business Standard and Mint.


He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Shaily, and their son, Kautuk. This is his first book.

Compellingly written with several anecdotes, The New Rules of Business is a gripping book full of incredible insights. Get your copy now!



Could reforms bolster India’s financial fault lines?

Upendra Kumar Sinha has contributed significantly to shaping India’s capital markets in multiple roles, including as chairman of UTI Mutual Fund and head of the Capital Markets division in the Ministry of Finance. Credited with the revival of the mutual funds industry and bringing in reforms to protect the rights of investors, Sinha has spent decades leading the financial front of the country towards growth and stability. In Going Public, he shares the landmarks on the journey of a nation striving for economic progress and prosperity.

Read on to know about  four reforms that shaped India’s financial landscape:


The UTI[Unit Trust of India] Act and the changing role of the government –

Even though the government had no shareholding or operational control in UTI, it was still perceived to be a government institution on account of its association with IDBI, its tax exemption schemes and other contributing factors vis-a-vis the UTI Act, 1963. The already limited role of the government was curtailed further when, in 1997, the practice of having government nominees in the trustee board of UTI was discontinued on the rationale that UTI should be run by a board of experts.

‘Thus, when the crisis developed in 2001, it came to light that the government had no mechanism for timely and first-hand knowledge. In fact, it was the stand of the government that UTI had kept it in the dark. On this, the JPC[Joint Parliamentary Committee] lamented that the government did nothing to emerge from the darkness. After the crisis, Yashwant Sinha reversed the decision over government nominees…’


Amendment to the SEBI[Securities and Exchange Board of India] Act in 2002

The SEBI Act, 1992 allowed the organization to demand records or information from only a limited set of entities but its powers were restricted when it came to prohibiting and investigating misconduct. A game-changing move that strengthened the position of both SEBI and investors was made in the form of the 2002 amendment in the SEBI Act which increased the power of SEBI to deal with misconduct or fraud and led to a crackdown on notorious entities.

‘SEBI could then designate one of its officers as an investigation authority who could not only demand the production of records from  “any person associated with the securities market in any manner” but also keep such documents in its custody upto six months. In case of reasonable suspicion that documents may be destroyed, SEBI was also authorized to conduct search and seizure after getting approval from a court.’


 Allowing reforms to allow debt to be raised from the market

In order to reduce dependence on banks it is essential to create alternative sources of funds. One way of facilitating growth is making reforms to allow debt to be raised from the market. SEBI, the RBI and the government have been continuously trying to make provisions for the same by simplifying procedures and bringing in uniformity and transparency.

‘Rules regarding credit rating agencies were made stronger and uniformity was implemented in the rating symbols. At the same time, rules about debenture trusts were tightened. Since credit rating agencies and debenture trustees are also supervised by SEBI, better coordination amongst different players in the chain could be established. The government also helped by allowing pension funds to invest in corporate bonds.’


Front Cover of Going Public
Going Public | U.K. Sinha


Entrepreneurship with Alternative investment funds (AIFs)

Across the world, a popular method of raising funds for start-ups and new generation companies is Alternative investment funds (AIFs). This unique class of investors raise money from different sources and invest in new and promising private companies based on a prediction of future growth potential. To promote this method of funding, SEBI formulated an AIF Regulation in 2012 and saw positive results.

 ‘In 2016, AIFs invested more than $16 billion in different companies. In 2018–19, the total funds invested were close to $32 billion. Now, even corporates and rich individuals are setting up funds to invest in start-ups. Many of them are also mentoring the assisted companies, besides making financial investments.’




‘It is not unique to India that changes in the laws governing stock exchanges and share market have been enacted only after major incidents of misconduct have taken place, and not preemptively or when these problems were still much smaller and more manageable,’ writes Sinha. However, scams and deficiencies that challenged India’s financial systems led to reforms that strengthened the economy.



Standing By One’s Principles- An Excerpt from ‘Excellence Has No Borders’

Have you ever hit a point so low where hope was your only option? Dr B.S. Ajaikumar did too. He lost twenty million dollars and he almost lost his son. He hit a point where he stopped feeling that life was worth living but what brought him back was his zeal to never give up. His innate tendency to test the limits of his mental endurance. His tenacity for his principles. His family. Himself.

Meet Dr. Ajai Kumar in Excellence Has No Borders


As a young adult, I was not immune to these social upheavals. With my tendency to stand up for the underdog, my internal volcano seemed to bubble up at the slightest hint of injustice. At St John’s, I was known to be an unapologetic leftist who stood for values. I was just over sixteen years old, the youngest in my class. I do understand that sixteen years was very young to get into medical college. Fortunately, I was able to get several double promotions in my primary and middle school due to new educational rules. I used to sit in the second bench and was very nervous, since it was my first year at university. All the other students in my class were adults, street-smart and hostel boarders.


One incident that transpired among the hallowed portals of St John’s changed things considerably. The physics teacher had a bit of an accent and used to pronounce ‘cc’ (cubic centimetres) as ‘sheeshee’. One day, unable to control myself, I ended up covering my mouth and laughing. Face contorted with anger, the lecturer strode up to me.


‘Take your books and get out!’


I sat there in silence, without moving.


‘I said take your books and get out,’ he repeated.


Finally I found my voice. ‘I’ve done nothing wrong. When I’m not guilty, I won’t go out.’


Anger turning to mortification, the lecturer blurted, ‘I will report you to the Father, who is the head of the department of physics!’


‘Please do.’ I felt strangely calm.


I was reported to the head of the department and summoned by the Father. This was a matter of principle for me. I was ready to stand up for it. 


I told the principal, ‘Father, I will not leave the classroom when I’ve done nothing wrong.’


I was able to hold my ground, and no action was taken against me. My older classmates began to treat me with respect after this incident. It crystallized for me the importance of standing like a rock by one’s principles. Coupled with my internal volcano of tenacity and my hunger for challenges, this gave my emerging personality multiple dimensions. I would no longer stand with my head bowed when injustice slapped me in the face. I would not take indignities lying down. I would not shy away from taking someone on when they threw down the gauntlet to me. In the coming years, it would be one or more of this triad of personality traits that would come to the fore when it came to life decisions or whenever I found myself at a crossroads.

Dr. Ajaikumar has always stood for what he believes in and has had a tactful, problem solving approach to every hurdle that has stood between him and his goals. His book reflects the strength he’s had to gather to face every hurdle that has been thrown at him.

Read more about him and his experiences in his book, Excellence Has No Borders.

Why You Need to Read About the New Rules of Business

As the business-world becomes increasingly dynamic, innovative, and experimental – the benchmarks for brand-building are changing. Playing by a set rulebook is no longer enough. There are new (and higher) expectations now, and with them come new rules of doing business.

From learning to prioritize employees’ well-being to investing in products that can do their own marketing – the market today has gradually dismantled the old rules and installed new ones in their place.

Author Rajesh Srivastava has brought together over three decades of his corporate and academic experience and the result is his debut book, The New Rules of Business, to present compelling anecdotes and insights about new age companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Uber to explore how and why they have made it big in the market.

In an age of entrepreneurship, this book is a must-read for people across careers and professions. We list down some of the reasons that make this such a relevant read today.

To Keep Up with New Age Companies

New age companies, Uber and Ola, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hot Star, Amazon and Flipkart are dismantling the old rules of business and installing new rules in their place.
It is the age of innovative entrepreneurship, and to be able to take any step forward in the business-world, it is imperative to keep up with the names disrupting and revolutionizing the industries today.

This book presents compellingly-written anecdotes and case-based insights, which makes it highly accessible and readable even for layreaders.


To Identify Irrelevant ‘Old’ Rules

What triggered the collapse of Nokia? Not a competitor from the handset industry. It was iPhone introduced by Apple, which was from a different industry.

The market is no longer following the ‘old’ rules, as seen in the case of Nokia. New age competitors are indirect, invisible & from cross industry.

If you continue to operate your business using ‘old’ rules, then it would be equivalent to using rotatory phones in an era of smart phones, you run the risk of a Nokia-like fate.


To Arm Yourself with Newly Minted Rules to Take on the World!

In our careers – entrepreneurial or otherwise – we are constantly faced with business challenges. Most of us search for the answers in the areas ‘lit’ by our current level of knowledge.

But more often than not, the solution may very well lie outside of it.

This book will introduce you to the newly minted rules of business. Armed with them, you can feel inspired and confident to take on business challenges and come up with trumps and out-of-the-box solutions.


The Rules are Relevant for All – Veterans and Beginners

All the points above make it evident that new and upcoming entrepreneurs can benefit a lot by making themselves aware of new rules and challenges of the market today. But, what about veterans and experienced businesspeople? What new tools, techniques and frameworks can this book teach me?

This book is a must-read for veterans and beginners alike – simply because the rules of business have well and truly changed. And even though the challenges might be by and large the same, the solutions for satisfactorily resolving them have changed.

This book will introduce you to new thoughts, ideas, tools, techniques, and frameworks which will help you come up with impactful answers to business challenges.

Creativity, knowledge, and out-of-the-box thinking have become crucial factors for potential and prospective customers today. Just being a brand is not enough, you have to be a ‘cool’ brand to make customers truly happy. The New Rules of Business presents relevant insights into all these facets.

Deemed Public Issue or Doomed Investment? An Extract From ‘Going Public’

Upendra Kumar Sinha has contributed significantly to shaping India’s capital markets. He has been the guiding force behind reforms to protect the rights of investors and make stock exchanges more secure. Under his leadership, SEBI successfully fought a long legal battle with Sahara, and led the crackdown on other institutions which conducted unauthorized deposit collections.

Reiterating the importance of joint efforts of the government and regulatory bodies, Sinha in Going Public writes, ‘When there is a crisis or the financial stability is at stake, the government and the regulators have to mutually reinforce each other.’

Read on for a glimpse of how companies lure investors-

In spite of clear legal provisions, many companies have deliberately resorted to raising funds from hundreds of thousands of members of the public by taking recourse to the private placement route even though it was restricted for issue made to less than fifty subscribers. The maximum number of subscribers in a private placement has now been enhanced to 200 under the Companies Act, 2013. The main intention of companies that violate this rule has been to mislead investors and avoid stricter public scrutiny. Subscribers are denied full information about the true financial condition of the company and its actual business. They are not aware how much money is being raised, how many subscribers there are, the duration of the issue, or the corporate purpose for it. In addition, there is often a strong push from agents and salesmen. Investors are often duped into making these investments without any idea about the risk factors, or the remedy or guarantee available to them in case of refund or redemption.

In most cases, the preferred instrument is debt instead of equity. Generally, debentures or bonds (both terms are used interchangeably) are issued as these contain provisions of an assured rate of interest. People find these assurances very attractive. The rates of interest offered are very high so that these debentures can be easily sold. Several complications can be built into these instruments. A debenture can be convertible into equity, either partially or fully. The conversion into equity shares can take place at the option of the investor, compulsorily after a period or be linked to an event in future, such as the share prices of the company crossing a certain band. But, instead of highlighting these complications, agents push the instrument on the strength of the high rate of interest being offered.

Although many companies have taken recourse to it, the Sahara case is the biggest example in the country of a deemed public issuance. The surprising fact, however, is that neither SEBI nor any other government agency such as the RBI or MCA raised any red flag about such a large amount of money being raised from the public in utter violation of the law. Had Sahara Prime City Ltd (a group company) not decided to list on the stock exchange and thereby be forced to make disclosures to SEBI regarding its group entities such as Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL), the matter would never have come to light. It is also significant that the process of issuing these optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) started around the same time as the RBI placed severe restrictions on the working of Sahara India Financial Corporation Ltd (SIFCL), a non-banking finance company of the group. SIFCL had been asked by the RBI not to raise any fresh deposits from the public and to close all existing deposits and reduce its public liability to nil in a given time frame. It is no coincidence that around the same time, these new instruments were issued by two companies of the Sahara group.

According to their own admission, the net amount raised by the two companies was more than Rs 24,000 crore from more than three crore investors.


Upendra Kumar Sinha is known to have been the longest-serving chief of SEBI. He also served as the chairman and managing director of UTI Mutual Fund and was head of the Capital Markets division in the Ministry of Finance. In his candid and historically important memoir Going Public, Sinha reminisces on his journey through India’s changing financial landscape.

To know more, read Going Public!

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