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Public Sector Undertakings have never really been spoken of as profitable or efficient ventures. What they are known for is size—great lumbering leviathans that provide employment to tens of thousands. They also pay the government crores of rupees as dividend. Every year. In 2015-16, the government made Rs 30,616.2 crore as dividends from PSUs. Indian Oil, consistently ranked No. 1 on the Fortune India 500, comes in at No. 3 when ranked on profitability—and keeping the private sector out. But they do make a profit, and a sizeable one at that. Take a look at India’s 50 most profitable PSUs on page 82. In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a character doomed to make accurate prophecies which nobody believed. Since 2013, deputy editor Ashish Gupta has been playing that role, warning that banks will be brought down by indiscriminate lending. Not too many people believed him when he first wrote about this. Today, when nine of the 11 companies that have fallen off the PSU 50 are banks, he has been proved right. Reason enough for him to get back to prophesying more gloomy days before things turn better for banks. That’s on page 90. We spoke to Ikea’s design bosses and managers to understand if India is ready for DIY. The short answer is yes, but go to page 46 for the fascinating long version. It’s a truly mixed bag this issue, as chief sub-editor and tech junkie Sumil Sudhakaran explores one of the foremost artificial intelligence companies in India, Mad Street Den and its retail AI offering, Vue.ai. It’s cutting-edge work and the fledgling company is up against stiff competition from the likes of Google and Microsoft. More from this on page 110

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