The Darwinian “survival of the fittest” principle has guided the society throughout the human history and the industrial and post industrial man also continues with this spirit. The idea of “Survival of the fittest” springs from “struggle for existence” and leads to what we call “competition”, which more often than not, is expressed through a “killer’s instinct.” Life boils down to a heartless “race”, where everybody is focused on his or her self interest with absolute disregard for others’ interest and plight. See the unnecessary and insane honking on the Indian roads by the car owners or even auto rickshaw drivers, breaking the red lights and violating traffic rules, often brazenly cornering the cycle riders or people walking on foot, you won’t need to understand the meaning of utter selfishness with brazen disregard of what happens to others! It is not confined to roads; it has seeped into other arenas of life as well. There is no exaggeration in the statement when we just look around- the way politicians mobilize votes, the way business mobilizes funds, the way goons dominate our neighbourhood and even the way intellectuals and media spread and scrutinize information and take sides. Everybody is just guided by “killer’s interest”, success at any cost with total disregard for the concern of others. That is the “animal instinct” that has gone wild.

School children die in India because somebody who is driving their van is busy on mobile while driving, not listening at all to the cries of children to stop while crossing an unmanned railway gate. Speeding cars driven by underage children of the rich people every now and then trampling people on the road has become so frequent (India claims to take life of largest number of lives on road.  A legislature in one of the states of India rapes a minor seeking job and his men and allegedly police kill her father when he tried to complain. It becomes uglier when rapists brutally kill the rape victim as happened in Kathua, Surat or Lukhnow. In a posh school in Delhi a small child is brutally killed in the washroom. The times are so uncertain— boss in your office, a teacher in a university or a school, doctors in hospital, your domestic help or your cab driver and even your friends can turn a predator. The lowest of the dirt can be seen in a father raping his daughter or a spiritual Guru doing the same to his devotees. Where is the bottom line? Predators all around, life has become so uncertain with cheating, deceit, indifference, brazen and unscrupulous selfishness or even frustration to compete out others in the race!    The western societies have also their fair share of “selfishness” and “frustration” driven violence, cheating and heartbreaks! Success at any cost, no matter what, and success with the most mundane meaning!

We are made to understand that what matters is “success” at any cost and success is defined in a very stereo typed style- a fat cheque as salary, a fat bank balance, a big house, a big car and affording costly consumer goods, not just for our own satisfaction but also to evoke envy and inferiority complex among the so called ordinary or common man around. The brazen display of power and wealth is interpreted as success, those who love and care are the weakest people, those who stand against it are fools or not talented. Killer’s instinct and focus on self interest is the only aspiration of everybody right from a politician to a man in the street. Positive thinking is always understood in terms of mundane success- think big, never say die, inflict pain on self and others, but succeed any way. Success has become an all pervading disease, even if it is acquired by cheating, bloodshed and violence, breaking a thousand hearts and demolishing all civilized norms and conventions! Retaining higher position in the university propels a Vice Chancellor to say that patriotism can be best promoted by displaying tanks in the university premises! Success at any cost!   Where is the bottom line and who is to be blamed? Here everybody’s hands are blood stained—we have all become predators!

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics rightly said, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.” But this needs to be seen critically. Although self interest is the propelling force behind all our activities, animal instincts should not be allowed to go berserk in a civilized human society. This is why we have rules, conventions and laws. They are necessary. But more important is that we respect these provisions. Our instincts are natural. But the natural instincts should not control our activities, rather we should control them. The extension of self interest is greed and natural instincts may be negative such as anger. Hypocrisy is ingrained in civilized societies. “ If a cat does something, we call it instinct; if we do the same thing, for the same reason, we call it intelligence. Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit.”

The best thing to learn today is not to quit the search for success. It is to stand for values in whatever we do, success would come as a natural corollary. That’s why Albert Einstein said, “”Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”Mahatma Gandhi rightly said that the quality of success depends on the means adopted for it. We should not be blind in the pursuit in self interest. Success without heart and soul for others is eventually empty. In fact the caution of Franklin D. Roosevelt in this regard is worth remembering, “Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection. If we indulge too much in self interest, we lose sight of what happens to others around us. If we care for others, self interest does not lead to brazenness and indifference. In a cultured society guilt and criminality needs to be condemned and innocent people need to be helped not only by law but the social controls as well. Social controls happen because of our attitude of live and let live and help our fellow human beings.

Adam Smith in this regard had a lot to say. He said, “The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.”

 “Competition” and “killer’s instincts” should not be taken as weapons to succeed without caution. The apparent meaning of these words may be a dangerous thing to adopt. Although some people would like to follow the dictum that “in love and war” everything is fair, it is not so. Killer’s instinct means that we have an intense passion to continue in the pursuit of our goals despite odds. It does not mean being unethical. Germaine Grear rightly says, “Developing the muscles of the soul demands no competitive spirit, no killer instinct, although it may erect pain barriers that the spiritual athlete must crash through.” Even for the sports arena killer’s instinct needs to be interpreted with caution. Richard Lerner points out, “Whether hunting is right or wrong, a spiritual experience, or an outlet for the killer instinct, one thing it is not is a sport.” That’s it!

We need to reconsider the meaning of success, competition and killer’s instinct. Or else we would only rejoice our existence as predators in our pretty hells called success in our language. Success is empty without love, care and service to humanity. If we do so life would much better! How much time humanity would take to choose a right meaning of success depends on our ability to learn and grow. Education seems to be the only ladder. But this needs an open mind and courage to choose the good path, even if the current success Gurus say the contrary.

Nothing can be better guide to steer our education system to a right path to make a responsible and moral citizenry than what Abraham Lincoln suggests.  Abraham Lincoln in a letter to the teacher to his son wrote:

“So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him – but gently, if you can.

Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend.

He will have to know that all men are not just, that all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero, that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader.

Teach him if you can that 10 cents earned is of far more value than a dollar found.

 In school, teacher, it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. Teach him to learn how to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when he does win.

Teach him to be gentle with people, tough with tough people. Steer him away from envy if you can and teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

Teach him if you can – how to laugh when he is sad, teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success. Teach him to scoff at cynics.

Teach him if you can the wonders of books, but also give time to ponder the extreme mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hill.

Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if every one tell him they are wrong.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is doing it. Teach him to listen to every one, but teach him also to filters all that he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him to sell his talents and brains to the highest bidder but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul.

Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patient to be brave. Teach him to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.

This is the order, teacher but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.”

The post Living in uncertain times with predators with killer’s instincts appeared first on Civil Services Strategist.

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Fitch, one of the top three credit rating agencies of the world  has kept (27 April 2018) India’s sovereign rating unchanged at BBB-, the lowest investment grade for the 12th year with stable outlook. Despite giving a stable outlook, it has praised the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India, expressing hope that the new tax will drive the mid-term growth once the teething troubles are resolved. The agency said that the main reason of keeping credit rating at BBB- is India’s weak fiscal balances. It is same credit rating for the 12th year for India by Fitch.

It forecast India’s GDP growth to rebound to 7.3% in FY19 and 7.5% in FY20, as a “temporary drag will fade” caused by demonetisation and the GST in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Fitch said that India’s five-year average real GDP growth of 7.1% is the highest in the APAC region and among ‘BBB’ range peers. However, it pointed out that India’s Per capita GDP is the lowest among its ‘BBB’ range peers.

Fitch said that if the government reduces its debt over the medium term and achieves higher sustained investment and growth rates without the creation of macro imbalances, it would make a strong case for an upgrade in rating. It said that government debt amounted to 69% of GDP in FY18 (while ‘BBB’ median is 41% of GDP), while fiscal slippage of 0.3% of GDP in both FY18 and FY19 relative to the government’s own budget targets of last year, implies a government deficit of 7.1% of the GDP as against ‘BBB’ median: 2.1%.

The rating agency appreciated the Indian government’s measure to tackle NPAs as reflected by government’s decision to announce Rs 2.11 lakh crore for bank recapitalization. However, in the wake of recent fraud at Punjab National Bank, it warned that more capitalization may be needed. It also added that most of the capital injection is likely to be absorbed by losses associated with NPL (non-performing loans) resolution rather than rather than to fund new lending.

It may be recalled that nearly after 14 years another credit rating agency Moody’s had earlier upgraded India’s credit rating to Baa2 from the lowest investment grade of Baa3. However, both Fitch and S&P keep the rating unchanged.

What is credit Rating?

A credit rating is an assessment of the creditworthiness of a borrower in general terms or with respect to a particular debt or financial obligation. A credit rating can be assigned to any entity that seeks to borrow money — an individual, corporation, state or provincial authority, or sovereign government.

A sovereign credit rating is the credit rating of a sovereign entity, such as a national government. The sovereign credit rating indicates the risk level of the investing environment of a country and is used by investors when looking to invest in particular jurisdictions, and also takes into account political risk. A rating expresses the likelihood that the rated party will go into default within a given time horizon. In general, a time horizon of one year or under is considered short term and anything above that is considered long term.

Credit rating is also done in case of a corporation’s financial instruments i.e. debt security such as a bond or a debenture, but also the corporations itself. Thus these institutions also rate corporate units, banks and their debt instruments.

Four most relied credit rating agencies of world

The four relied international credit rating institutions are Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service, and Fitch Ratings and DBRS (Dominion Bond Rating Service). They are the only four ratings agencies that are recognized by the European Central Bank (ECB) for determining collateral requirements for banks to borrow from the central bank. These are only four rating agencies which have received ECAI recognition from the European Central Bank (ECB). That designation indicates CRAs whose ratings can be used by the ECB to determine collateral requirements for borrowing from the ECB.  In recent years, DBRS’s sovereign ratings on European nations, including Portugal, Ireland and Italy, were used by the ECB for such purposes. The ECB uses a first, best rule among the four agencies that have the designated ECAI status, which means that it takes the highest rating among the four agencies – S&P, Moody’s, Fitch and DBRS – to determine haircuts and collateral requirements for borrowing. Ratings in Europe have been under close scrutiny, particularly the highest ratings given to countries like Spain, Ireland and Italy; because they affect how much banks can borrow against sovereign debt they hold.

The symbols used for credit Rating

While Moody’s, S&P and Fitch Ratings control approximately 95% of the credit ratings business, they are not the only rating agencies. DBRS’s long-term ratings scale is somewhat similar to Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings with the words high and low replacing the + and −. It goes as follows, from excellent to poor: AAA, AA (high), AA, AA (low), A (high), A, A (low), BBB (high), BBB, BBB (low), BB (high), BB, BB (low), B (high), B, B (low), CCC (high), CCC, CCC (low), CC (high), CC, CC (low), C (high), C, C (low) and D. The short-term ratings often map to long-term ratings though there is room for exceptions at the high or low side of each equivalent.

The post Fitch keeps India rating at BBB- for 12th year appeared first on Civil Services Strategist.

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A credit rating agency (CRA) is a company that rates debtors on the basis of their ability to pay back their interests and loan amount on time and the probability of them defaulting. These agencies may also analyse the creditworthiness of debt issuers and provide credit ratings to only organisations and not individuals consumers. The assessed entities may be companies, special purpose entities, state governments, local governmental bodies, non-profit organisations and even countries. Individual customers are rated by specialised agencies known as credit bureaus that provide a credit score to every customer based on his/her financial history.

Credit rating agencies in India do not have a distant past. They came into existence in the second half of the 1980s. As of now, there are six credit rating agencies registered under SEBI namely, CRISIL, ICRA, CARE, SMERA, Fitch India and Brickwork Ratings. Ratings provided by these agencies determine the nature and integrals of the loan. Higher the credit rating, lower is the rate of interest offered to the organisation.

Let us discuss about some of the credit rating agencies in India:
CRISIL

CRISIL stands for Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited and it was the first credit rating agency set up in India in 1987. Today, CRISIL has become a global analytical company that rates companies, researches the markets and provides risk and policy advisory services to its clients. At the time of incorporation, the agency was promoted by ICICI Limited, UTI and many such financial institutions. The agency started operations in 1988.

CRISIL is headquartered in Mumbai. CRISIL provides independent opinion and efficient solutions by performing data analysis and research. It has a strong track record of growth and innovation. CRISIL has expanded its business operation to USA, UK, Poland, Argentina, Hong Kong, China and Singapore apart from India. The majority shareholder of CRISIL is Standard & Poor’s, one of the biggest credit rating agencies of the world.

CRISIL works with various governments and policy-makers in India and other developing nations to enhance and improve the infrastructure and meet the demands of the region. The agency has rated around 5180 SMEs in India and has issued in excess of 10,000 SME ratings overall. CRISIL commands revenue of Rs 1,110 Crores with a net income of Rs 298 Crores and an operating income of Rs 320 Crores.
CARE

Credit Analysis and Research limited was established in 1993 and since then it has gone on to become India’s second largest credit rating agency. It was promoted by Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), Unit Trust of India (UTI) Bank, Canara Bank and other financial institutions. CARE has its headquarters in Mumbai and regional offices in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. CARE has the primary function to perform rating of debt instruments, credit analysis rating, loan rating, corporate governance rating, claims-paying ability of insurance companies, etc. It also grades construction entities and courses undertaken by maritime training institutions. Ratings provided by CARE include financial institutions, state governments and municipal bodies, public utilities and special purpose vehicles.

The Information and Advisory Service Department of CARE prepares credit rating and reports on requests from business partners, banks and other financial entities. It also conducts sector-based studies and provides necessary advisories for valuation, financial restructuring and credit appraisal systems. CARE conducts an extensive research and rates SMEs based on their financial health. These ratings are provided under 8 levels where CARE SME 1 signifies excellent financial health with negligible risks and CARE SME 8 rank signifies lowest credit quality with highest credit risk.
ICRA

Originally named as Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency, the organisation was set up in 1991. It was a joint venture of Moody’s and Indian financial and banking service organisations. It was renamed to ICRA Limited and was listed in the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange in April 2007. ICRA, which is an independent professional corporate investment information and credit rating and advisory agency, is headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana.

ICRA assigns corporate governance rating, performance ratings, grading and provides ranking to mutual funds, hospitals and construction and real estate companies. The agency generates revenue of Rs 2.28 Billion. ICRA has a major focus on the MSME sector. To cater to its clients, the dedicated team of professionals have developed a linear scale for the concerned sector. It helps the agency to benchmark peers quite easily. ICRA ratings are used to analyse the credit risk in India. It does not cater to the international companies and organisations.

 

SMERA

Small and Medium Enterprises Rating Agency of India is one such agency that functions exclusively for the sector it was formed for, i.e. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. This agency was founded in 2005 by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), Dun and Bradstreet Information Services India Private Limited (D&B) and various public, private sector and other MNC banks of India.  The agency has its headquarters in Mumbai. SMERA has been registered with SEBI as a credit rating agency and accredited by Reserve Bank of India in 2012. It is an external credit assessment institution (ECAI). SMERA rates bank loans under Base II guidelines. Grading of various instruments like IPO, bonds, commercial papers, NCDs, fixed deposits, security receipts, etc. is done by SMERA which can be used by all banks for capital adequacy requirements calculation as authorised by the RBI.

SMERA pioneered SME rating in India and till date it has rated more than 38,000 enterprises. Financial institutions highly consider SMERA ratings before approving or lending funds.

ONICRA

ONICRA Credit Rating Agency is the private rating agency established by Sonu Mirchandani under ONIDA Finance. It is headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana. The agency provides credit ratings, conducts risk assessment and provides analytical solutions to individuals, corporates and MSMEs. The solutions offered by the agency helps organisations take informed decisions about lending funds to individuals, MSMEs and other organisations. After its establishment in 1993, the agency has gained expertise in assessing micro, small and medium enterprises. It is one of the seven agencies licensed by the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) for the rating of SMEs. Onicra provides grading services as well. Its grading services include education grading, healthcare grading, solar energy grading and APMC grading. Onicra has signed MoUs with 16 banks and NBFCs in India to provide interest rate concession to up to 1% to top MSME units. It performs a wide range of tasks such as accounting, finance, analytics, customer relations and back-end management. More than 2500 SMEs have been rated by Onicra in the past two and a half decades.
FITCH India

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) is a credit rating agency that provides time-bound, accurate and prompt credit opinions. It is 100% owned subsidiary of the Fitch Group. Ind-Ra covers corporate issuers, financial institutions, banks, insurance companies, urban local bodies, structured finance and project finance. Fitch‘s Ind-Ra is headquartered in Mumbai and has branch offices in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Ind-Ra is recognised by Securities and Exchange Board of India, National Housing Bank and the Reserve Bank of India. Fitch is a major financial information service provider and rating agency having its operations in more than 30 countries across the globe. It checks credit capacity of global leaders in all industries.

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Union Public Service Commission on Friday evening released the final result of Civil Services Exam 2017 . Anudeep Durishetty of Hyderabad topped the list. Anu Kumari and Sachin Gupta got second and third place respectively.

Click here to view complete list.