Saturday, October 3, 2009


Leverage in the general sense means influence of power i.e. utilising the existing resources to attain something else. Leverage in terms of financial analysis is the influence which an independent financial variable has over a dependent or related variable. When leverage is measured between two financial variables it explains how the dependent variable responds to a particular change in the independent variable. Algebraically, the leverage may be defined as:

Measures of Leverage: To better understand the importance of leverage in financial analysis, it is imperative to understand the three measures of leverage.
1. Operating Leverage
2. Financial Leverage
3. Combined or Total Leverage
1. Operating Leverage: Operating leverage examines the effect of change in the quantity produced on the EBIT (Earnings before Interest and Taxes) of a firm. It refers to the use of fixed costs in the operation of the firm. If the firm has fixed costs, it would have operating leverage and the percentage change in the operating profit would be more for a given change in the costs. Operating profit of a highly leveraged firm would increase at a faster rate for any given increase in sales and it would suffer more loss than an unleveraged firm if the sales fall.
Operating leverage is measured in terms of Degree of Operating Leverage, (DOL) which is defined as the ratio of percentage change in EBIT to percentage change in output.

Where EBIT = Q(S-V)-F; S is selling price per unit; V is variable cost per unit; F is fixed cost per unit and Q is the quantity produced.
The DOL can also be computed as:

Applications of Operating Leverage:
1. DOL helps in determining the behaviour of EBIT when the level of output is changed. A higher DOL indicates that even small fluctuations in the output will significantly affect the level of operating income.
2. DOL measures the business risk associated with a firm. A higher DOL implies greater uncertainty or variability in the firm’s EBIT and hence greater business risks.
3. A firm can plan its production based upon the effect of producing a particular level of output on the DOL.

Determining Behaviour of EBIT: DOL helps in ascertaining change in operating income for a given change in output (quantity produced and sold). A large DOL indicates that small fluctuations in the level of output will produce large fluctuations in the level of operating income.
a) Measurement of Business Risk: Business risk refers to the uncertainty or variability of the firm’s EBIT. So, everything else being equal, a higher DOL means higher business risk and vice versa.
b) Production Planning: DOL is also important in production planning. For e.g., the firm may have the opportunity to change its cost structure by introducing labour – saving machinery, thereby reducing variable labour overhead while increasing the fixed cost. Such a situation will increase DOL.
2. Financial Leverage: Financial Leverage measures the effect of the change in EBIT of the company on its EPS.
Financial leverage is measured in terms of Degree of Financial Leverage, which is computed as:

Q is the quantity produced; S is the selling price per unit,
V is the variable cost per unit,
F is the fixed cost,
I represent the interest payments,
Dp is the preference dividend paid and T is the corporate tax rate.
DFL can also be computed as:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Iterative Enhancement model

The iterative enhancement life cycle model removes the limitations of the waterfall model and tries to combine the benefits of both prototyping and the waterfall model. The basic idea is that the software should be developed in increments, where each increment adds some functional capability to the system until the full system is implemented. At each step extensions and design modifications can be made. An advantage of this approach is that it can result in better testing, since testing each increment is likely to be easier than testing entire system like in the waterfall model. Furthermore, as in prototyping, the increment provides feedback to the client, which is useful for determining the final requirements of the system.
In the first step of iterative enhancement model, a simple initial implementation is done for a subset of the overall problem. This subset is the one that contains some of the key aspects of the problem which are easy to understand and implement, and which form a useful and usable system. A project control list is created which contains, in an order, all the tasks that must be performed to obtain the final implementation. This project control list gives an idea of how far the project is at any given step from the final system.

Each step consists of removing the next step from the list. Designing the implementation for the selected task, coding and testing the implementation, and performing an analysis of the partial system obtained after this step and updating the list as a result of the analysis. These three phases are called the design phase, implementation phase and analysis phase. The process is iterated until the project control list is empty, at the time the final implementation of the system will be available. The process involved in iterative enhancement model is shown in the figure below.
The project control list guides the iteration steps and keeps track of all tasks that must be done. The tasks in the list can include redesign of defective components found during analysis. Each entry in that list is a task that should be performed in one step of the iterative enhancement process, and should be simple enough to be completely understood. Selecting tasks in this manner will minimize the chances of errors and reduce the redesign work.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Links Between Parents and Schools

It is imperative for modern-age parents to constantly bear in mind that their responsibility for their child's education does not end merely with getting him/her admitted in a reputed schools and paying his/her fees on time. Nor does it end with attending parent- teacher meetings and checking progress reports. Rather it involves all this and more.

With students

Parents can help in the multifarious activities and functions going on in the school all round the year, in more ways than one. For instance, they could share information with students, teachers or a class about general health, information about an upcoming career, or a hobby. Moreover you could disseminate personalised information to the students about a place or country you visited or lived in. Interact with students to induce the importance of human/social values in them. Try tutoring one or a small group of students in reading, developing skills, coach students taking part in an academic competition, quiz, debate, decalamtion etc. Similarly you could coach an athletic or sports team for a particular game, which you were good/proficient in.

This list is virtually endless. You could perform any or all of the following: Demonstrate art/dance/music/cooking from a particular area /country or culture to students. This will enhance their knowledge about the world. Try sharing a particular expertise with the school's faculty, e.g. use of computers, dealing with disruptive students. Help students plan and build an outdoor garden, rockery, cacti collection or a similar project to beautify the outside of the school.

These days, high school students undergo a lot of stress and strain, tensions and emotional turmoil, in their everyday lives and more particularly during their final examinations. This is where you, as a concerned and sympathetic parent, could step in and help the students in relieving stress.

With other parents

Share your views with other parents about the quality of education in the school. Give other parents some tips for develop their parenting skills. Help conduct a class for parents where they can learn methods of being stronger and better parents. If you do possess some literary skills you could produce some written articles /materials for parents on ways they can be more effective parents. Even otherwise, try to write, publish, and distribute a list of parenting tips. Whenever you get an opportunity, serve on an advisory or decision-making committee, serve as an officer in the school's PTA. Help design a parent or student survey for the school. Ensure that such surveys get conducted in an effective manner.

How can I contribute my time towards the welfare
of my children' s school?

* Help and organise study tours for the students to business organisations, industries, corporate houses production centres and similar places where the students can gather information and learn about various activities.
* Help set up an internship or apprenticeship for a student at your business, organization, or agency.
* Host a one-day 'shadow study' for a few small group of senior students about career prospects in business world or corporate organization.
* Go on a local field trip with a teacher and a group of students.
* Alternatively go on an extended cross-country field trip with a teacher & students.
* Contact a particular local business houses and organization regarding possible cooperation.

Is it possible to do some PR work for my child's school?

Yes, you could try out some or all of the means, underlined below:

* Contact a particular local business or organization regarding possible cooperation.
* Write a letter to the government officials about the school.
* Write a letter to school board members about the school, suggesting some improvements and developments
* Go to another school to provide information about this school.
* Help translate information regarding the school into a language other than English or vice -versa.
* Help translate at a parent-teacher conference for people who don't speak English well and/or vice-versa.
* Write an article about the school's activities and salient features and get it published in one or more reputed periodicals.
* Help arrange for a political leader (mayor/MLA/MP/Governor, city council/ state representative) to visit the school to preside over a function or event.

Can I financially contribute to the development of the school where my ward studies?

Outlined below are some simple methods in which you could do this:

* Help to finalise a proposal to the local or governing body that would bring new resources to the school.
* Donate materials to the school.
* Arrange for a business establishment or an industrial to donate useful materials and utility items to the school.
* Organise a fundraiser for the school, from time to time

Crisis in Higher Secondary

In recent years, great changes have taken place in the field of education. Not only have these changes influenced the techniques and methodologies of imparting education, but also challenged in certain ways, the very purpose and objectives of higher education.

On the one hand we find a technological revolution taking place. On the other hand we cannot ignore the maladies of higher education where the whole process has become warped and disoriented, and a number of unemployable young men and women are being produced year after year.

Over the years, a number of National Committees have recommended educational reforms to promote national consciousness and character building. Three decades later, the field of higher education still remains warped and dysfunctional. Various causes have been highlighted for this operational fatigue - massive expansion in the number of colleges and universities, lack of professionalism in the management of higher education, inadequate funding, political interference and a general indiscipline. The list does not stop here. Out of this, two major maladies have emerged namely, the reluctance to act and the failure to count costs.

While it is recommended that at least 6 % of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) must be spent on education, putting this into practice is seldom the case. Given that there is uncertainty in the course of action and a greater uncertainty in its success, there is a tendency to lapse into inaction. It is habitual now to preach more than to practice what is preached.

In order to carry out a programme of action successfully, everyone involved must be united in accepting the objectives , understanding the goals that have been set, and striving towards its fulfillment. The result should be measured by the contribution of the group to the overall objective. In the absence of such a unity, the implementation of the programme is most likely to fail. Little wonder then that the recommendations on higher education seldom progress beyond the written stage, for those involved do not share the same objectives. If an educational scheme is important for nation building, everyone involved in its implementation must consent- if necessary, by compulsion. Complex missions in the field of agriculture and Space have triumphed in the past. Therefore, this kind of approach can be adopted successfully. The time is ripe for the launching of autonomous colleges, the establishment of which has been discussed many times in the past. These colleges will not only uplift the standard of education but will also shoulder the enormous burden of conducting examinations, hitherto being the sole responsibility of universities. Investing in the improvement of the present day colleges is the urgent need of the hour. Till date, the UGC has granted autonomous status to only 60 colleges - a very small number indeed considering that there are more than 7000 colleges spread out all over the country.

Education is becoming far too expensive to be supported by public funds alone. Delay in release of funds by the State Governments is a constant source of anxiety. Under these circumstances, Universities have no choice but to resort to diverting funds from development grants. The need is therefore felt to take a closer look at the financing of higher education and the possible areas of improving efficiency. Some measures that can be adopted are suggested -

  • Financing higher educational institutions should be the responsibility of the Government.
  • There is an urgent need to expand the opportunities for higher education since secondary school education does not equip the student to meet the vast and varied job requirement.
  • At least 30% of the cost of higher education must be met by the student.
  • As other costs go up, there must be an annual increase in fee structure as is being done by universities and colleges in Maharashtra.
  • A rational fee structure which is supportive to both students as well as universities can be established.


In a rapidly changing global economy, Universities must learn to cope up with emerging challenges, choose appropriate technology and make best use of new opportunities as they unfold. This calls for a new vision, new approaches to the traditional methods of teaching, creating more dynamic curriculum, raising resources and creative planning.

Higher education prepares leaders for various walks of life with Universities functioning as the focal centres. The quality of university education has a direct bearing on the economic prosperity of a country and the ideological climate that is required for a better quality of life is created by these universities. The role of universities is now more diverse - social transformation, nation building, scientific development and development of human resource.

As we enter the new millennium, we must admit that higher education is indeed in a state of turmoil. Over the last several years, there has been a phenomenal increase in the enrolment of students, with the population increasing from 2, 50,000 to over 60 lakhs in 1996. By the turn of the century we can easily account for 9000 colleges, eight million students and over 4,50,000 teachers.

Uneven and unbalanced expansion has resulted in a growing mismatch between the supply and demand in the labour market. The decline in the quality of teaching, poor infrastructure, high drop-out rates does not keep up with the changing needs of the society. The skills and areas of specialisation of graduates does not reflect the real needs of the productive sectors.

Given the serious challenges being faced by universities, there is an urgent need for better and more effective management of our higher educational institutions. The need of the hour is to change the management pattern allowing for greater flexibility, dynamism and the ability to respond to the fast changing needs of a developing society.

Onam Festival

A festival immersed in myths, folklore and traditions Onam is an occasion for Keralities to celebrate plenitude and togetherness. The ten-day Onam celebrations begin on the Atham asterism of the Malayalam month Chingam (August-September). Onam the harvest festival of Kerala which tells almost all the cultural and ritual activities practised during the Onam days.

During these days children prepare floral designs called Pookkalam in front of their houses to welcome Onathappan (an affectionate term of address for Maveli or King Mahabali). Thiruvonam, the tenth day, is the most auspicious. On this day all members of the family gather together, usually at the ancestral home for Sadya - the traditional lunch served on plantain leaves.

Disclaimer : In Kerala, some of the festival dates are decided in accordance with the Malayalam Calendar. Local practices also influence the dates of some traditional, customary and auspicious events. Being the case, the dates appearing in this section are approximate, which the users need to confirm with the local authorities

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quick Gun Murugan - a Tollywood movie review

Quick Gun Murugan a film acted by Telugu Comedy king Dr Rajendra Prasad is now at high alert throughout the world.

Film: Quick Gun Murugun (Comedy)
Cast: Dr Rajendra Prasad, Rambha, Nasser, Raju Sundaram, Vinay Pathak.
Director: Shashanka Ghosh
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Critic's Rating:
Readers' rating :

Review this movie:

And SRK's Yanna rascala in Om Shanti Om and MS Dhoni's Mind It act for a cola company show his memory endures.

Now QGM arrives on the big screen in a familiar green shirt that only Govinda would have dared to wear, with tight orange trousers that could suffocate a stray bug, a flashing pink scarf, a leopard spotted jacket, white boots and a whiter cowboy hat barking the opening line, "The earth is my bed. The sky is my ceiling. The whole world is my native place," in accented English that smells as much of fresh sambar as of an old-fashioned open heartedness.

Over the next hour and half, QGM fires bullets through the frizzy hair of a rowdy named Gunpowder. He survives hoodlums flying from one tree to another (as in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) hurling coconuts like grenades. And he finally battles Rice Plate Reddy, the mean and vicious villain who hates vegetarian dosa and dreams of selling the world's most popular non-vegetarian dosa in his food chain, McDosa. He is assisted by Mango Dolly (Rambha) --- one look at her and you can guess how she got that name -- the moll who flaunts a golden wig with her golden heart. In between, there are memorable lines such as, "If you are lightning, I am 250 volt current."

Does that sound like a rip-roaring entertainer? The problem with QGM is that it is not half as good on celluloid as it sounds as an idea. To make a smooth transition from a TV filler to a full-length feature, QGM needed more than mere attitude. But it ends up feeling like a spoof of a spoof.

The movie, though, has its moments. The action scenes occasionally raise a chuckle. In the climax, Murugan even grabs a bullet fired at him in his mouth. Some of the gags work. And Rajendra Prasad gets the protagonist's part right. His exchanges with Rambha offer the most endearing and hilarious moments of the film. When Dolly confesses having failed to win a beauty contest, he says, "It is not IAS. You can try again."

You cannot blame director Shashanka Ghosh and writer Rajesh Devraj for not trying something different. They are bang on with the movie's looks. Too bad, the team fails to create its soul.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jindal Cotex IPO to hits capital market

Textile company Jindal Cotex which is coming with over 1.12 crore equity shares will open its initial public offer from 27th August 2009.

The company is coming with 1.24 crore shares for public subscription with price band for the issue at Rs 70-75.

The Ludhiana-based company, at the upper price band expects to garner Rs 93.40 crore, while at the lower price band it hopes to raise Rs 87.17 crore.

Up to 50 per cent of the issue would be allocated to Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs).

The fund for the forthcoming issue would be used mainly to enter technical textile space through investment in wholly-owned subsidiaries -- Jindal Medicot and Jindal speciality Textiles.

Jindal Cotex is engaged in manufacturing acrylic and polyester yarns, including polyester viscose, polyester cotton, and combed and carded yarns, used in the making of apparels, suiting and knitted fabrics.