Time’s up for HMT

The iconic watchmaker HMT will no more keep time for the nation.

During my school days, 10th standard examination time meant finally getting a wristwatch. The better if it was an HMT. Probably the first branded-conscious act of ours during those days!

HMT, like other PSUs in its hey days, prided itself with the growth of Bangalore and cutting-edge technology. HMT manufactured tractors, bearings, metal forming presses, die casting, plastic processing, and printing machines.  It also made watches!

HMT was the first among equals to launch automatic day-date watch, first Braille and quartz watches. Similarly, there were 105 such well-run PSUs in Karnataka in the past, now reduced to around 50. Some of them were well-known NGEF, Mysore Lamps, etc.

Karnataka was the first state among all states of the Union to understand, implement and execute revolutionary industrial concepts. It realized that if PSUs were prosperous, healthy and efficient vehicles then the Nation can surge ahead on the path of prosperity and self-reliant.

Unfortunately, political interference did several PSUs in and thereby incurring losses which led to many a shutdown. Will the next one be Karnataka Soaps or MSIL?

Now let me salvage that HMT watch which my dad gave for my 10th Board exam.

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Mars Touchdown, well almost!

In abut two days’ time, India’s ambitious satellite Mangalyaan will finally settle down in the Mars orbit after almost a year of leaving Earth. Only a handful of select countries have ventured this far. I doff my hat to ISRO scientists who have made this journey a proud moment for India – it’s maiden tryst with neighbouring planet. This comes close on the heels of successful Moon mission Chandrayaan.

Keeping Mangalyaan company will be NASA’s MAVEN. While it took NASA one year to plan its MAVEN mission. ISRO did it in 6 months time. The launch dates were just about 10 days apart for both projects. Just two days separated Mars orbit injection exercise. MAVEN’s budget cost is $671 million, Mangalyaan‘s is $ 71 million. Of course, the difference in the capabilities of both missions should be taken into account.

Making use of ingenuous sling-shot approach, India has succeeded in sending the orbiter to Mars at Rs. 450 crore, which is 10 times less than the cost of the NASA mission, which prompted PM Modi to remark that this mission could be compared to production cost of the Hollywood film Gravity.

The aim of ISRO is to find evidence of life on Mars and to position itself as a budget player in the global space arena. A humbling effort indeed by ISRO!

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3 more SUVs from M&M

Launching of 3 more SUVs by M&M is welcome news. India’s SUV segment will now hot up with entries by M&M. The S101 is likely to give a run to Ecosport, Duster and other upcoming models. It will be interest how this segment will pan out. Let’s wait and see.

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