Covid-19 and Women

According to the world economic forum report the pandemic has delayed gender parity by a generation.

Pandemic delays gender parity by a generation: World Economic Forum

Having lost jobs at a higher rate than men, a range of studies have shown that the covid 19 pandemic had a more severe impact on women than men. Women had to take on much more of the extra childcare burden when schools closed.

With the goal of gender parity moving further away. The effects will be felt in long term according to the Global Gender Gap Report published by the world economic forum.

In their previous report which it published round December 2019, right before the pandemic hit, they found that gender parity would be reached within next 100 years. But this year’s report shows the world is not on track to close the gender gap for another 135.6 years.

“Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity,” the WEF said in a statement.

The forum annual report tracks disparities between the genders across four areas: education, health, economics prowess and political power in 156 countries.

Workplace equality in 267 years

On the brighter side we can see that women have been closing gap in areas such as health and education. The most complex area where it has been most difficult for women is inequality in workplace. Inequality in the workplace — which has long appeared to be the stickiest area to fix — is still not expected to be erased for another 267.6 years.

And the pandemic has not helped.

A study by the UN’s International Labour Organization showed that women were most likely to lose jobs in times of crisis because of their disproportionate representation in sectors directly affected by lockdowns, pointed the WEF.

Other surveys have shown that women were carrying a greater share of the burden of increased housework and childcare during lockdowns, contributing to higher stress and lower productivity levels.

In another front men were hired back faster than women as work places opened, according to LinkedIn data referenced in the report.

“The pandemic has fundamentally impacted gender equality in both the workplace and the home, rolling back years of progress,” WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi said in the statement.

“If we want a dynamic future economy, it is vital for women to be represented in the jobs of tomorrow,” she said, stressing that “this is the moment to embed gender parity by design into the recovery.”

Political gender gap growing

It was in the political sphere that the march towards gender parity did the biggest about-face, with several large-population countries seeing the political gender gap widen, the WEF study found.

Only a quarter of parliamentary seats are held by women worldwide and only 22.6 percent of ministerial positions.

The political gender gap will not close for another 145.5 years if it continues in the same trajectory, the report found.

That marks a 50-percent hike from the estimated 95 years in the 2020 report, WEF pointed out.

Progress across the categories varies greatly in different countries and regions.

The report pointed out that while Western European countries could close their overall gender gap in 52.1 years, countries in the Middle East and North Africa will take nearly 142.4 years to do so.

Overall, the Nordic countries once again dominated the top of the table: the gap between men and women was narrowest in Iceland, for the 12th year running, followed by Finland and Norway. New Zealand took fourth place, ahead of Sweden.

Cryptocurrency and India

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently asserted that the cryptocurrency bill is before the Union Cabinet and it is likely to take decision soon.

The bill was supposed to be presented in the parliament during monsoon session but did not happen due to varying circumstances. The bill proposed that all private crypto currencies except any and every digital currency issued by the state. But crypto experts are hoping for the best.

Edul Patel, CEO & Co-founder of crypto trading platform Mudrex, says, “We could expect an accommodative and progressive stance by the government towards cryptocurrencies. The government is expected to evaluate all possible aspects. All these events transpire to positive expectations from the cryptocurrency bill.”

In its report an inter-ministerial panel on cryptocurrency under secretary (economic affairs) had studies issues around virtual currencies and proposed specific actions.

Looking at the growing opportunities in this space, Siddharth Menon, COO of cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, says calibrated regulations that encourage the industry and safeguard consumers will help the ecosystem grow. “We don’t know the details but we expect it to be positive. Once we have more details, we will comment. Else it will be purely speculative,” Menon adds.

Looking at the growing opportunities in this space, Siddharth Menon, COO of cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, says calibrated regulations that encourage the industry and safeguard consumers will help the ecosystem grow. “We don’t know the details but we expect it to be positive. Once we have more details, we will comment. Else it will be purely speculative,” Menon adds.

Some experts say India cannot be as a laggard when the world is rapidly moving ahead with blockchain technology. This has led to reports that crypto as an asset class might be allowed in India but the government will not accept it as legal tender as yet.

Crypto enthusiasts are betting on analyst views that say there might not be a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies. Menon is among those who does not think a blanket ban is possible. The government has understood crypto assets are not a threat to national currency. “Also, this is a new and growing global fintech industry. India cannot stay behind,” he adds.

Banning cryptocurrency would severely affect a lot of people in India as there are several startups revolving around cryptocurrencies and more than 15 million people invest in crypto in India.

ZyCoV-D : India’s first and the world’s first DNA based covid vaccine

The Drug Controller General of India on 20th August gave approval to  Zydus Cadilla for Emergency Use Authorization for its covid vaccine ZyCoV-D, touted to be the world’s first and India’s first covid 19 vaccine which based on DNA and can be administered to all humans above 12 years of age.

The world’s first plasmid covid vaccine India’s second indigenous vaccine after Covaxin had earlier received recommendation by the Subjects Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) which cleared a major hurdle in the vaccines’s emergency use.

Safety and efficacy

In the adaptive PhaseI/II clinical trials the ZyCoV—D demonstrated a robust immunogenicity and tolerance and safety profile said Zydus. The interim analysis of the symptomatic RT-PCR cases showed that ZyCoV-d had an efficacy of 66.6 percent for the three doses (2mg per dose).

No severe cases of Covid or deaths due to covid were found due to Covid-19 after the second dose was successfully administered said Zydus. After successfully administering the third dose no moderate case of covid-19 was observed in the covid arm implicating an efficacy of 100 percent in moderate cases.

If a rash appear after administering the vaccine then it s called a covid arm. More than 28000 volunteers volunteered to have phase -III trials conducted on them in more than 50clinical sites scattered across the country that too during the peak of the second wave of covid-19 in India which reassures the vaccine’s effectiveness against the new Delta variant – the new and the most dangerous strain of covid-19. Another big breakthrough of the company is that ZyCoV-D is safe for children that belong in the age group of 12-18 years. 

Needle-less vaccine

Another breakthrough of this vaccine is that it is needle-less and is transferres via an applicator called PharmaJet to ensure painless intradermal vaccine delivery. PharmaJet was also developed in India and in a record time.

Capacity

Zydus said it can produce 10-15 million doses of ZyCoV-D per month. The company said it can produce 3-5 crore vaccines by December. The capacity numbers suggest that Covishield and, to some extent, Covaxin will remain as the major workhorses for the government’s vaccination drive for some more time.

Evaluating two-dose regimen

Zydus said it has also submitted data for a two-dose regimen for ZyCoV-D, using a 3 mg dose per visit and the immunogenicity results had been found to be equivalent to the current three-dose regimen. The company said this would help in reducing the full-course duration of vaccination while maintaining a high safety profile in the future.

Children & adolescents

Zydus has submitted applications for EUA for children in the 12-18 year age group.

Novel approach

Zydus Cadilla has taken a novel approach for its potential COVID-19 vaccine. Called plasmid DNA, the vaccine consists of genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, which instruct human cells to make the SARS-CoV2 antigen, eliciting an immune response.

The company says that this approach is easily replicable and scalable, requiring just Biosafety Level (BSL)-1. The vaccine can be stored at 2-8 degrees temperature, making it conducive for Indian cold-chain conditions. The vaccine is delivered through the intradermal route (between the layers of the skin), which makes its administration much easier. DNA vaccines are also theoretically easy to redesign quickly against a mutating virus.

Challenges

Firstly, the platform is novel. Not a single human vaccine using this platform has been approved anywhere in the world. The other big challenge is that the vaccine has to be administered in three doses – the first dose, and the other doses after 28 and 56 days. Being a three-dose vaccine adds an additional layer of distribution and administration complexity, possibly raising the cost of the vaccine. While the company has promised to ensure that the vaccine is affordable, it has also sought approval for a two-dose vaccine.

 

Inflation and its impact on different asset class.

Consumer or producers or policymakers or central banks have one characteristic feature common in them – They are all affected by inflation which is a critical and cyclical macro indicator. With repsect to change in different time periods the capital markets also have to be adjusted to the far reaching implications of inflation. Almost everything is affected by inflation even something as basic as investment returns. Putting forward the theory of real returns which is nominal return less inflation is important for all investors to succeed in real life.

For example, we can look for ourselves how inflation is a silent money killer – for normal savings bank account return of 4% the customer is actually making a loss if we factor in the 12 month inflation value of 6%.
With that understanding now in place, let us look at how inflation impacts multiple asset classes.

Fixed Income
Inflation having an inverse relationship with interest rates impacts fixed income investments the most. With each point increase in inflation each investor alson wants to increase their return on investment so that they could beat inflation. Investors will usually shift to high yielding products than current ,ower yielding ones as interest rates on debt instruments are fixed over term. Debt investments dut to their characteristic fixed rates tend to lose the most in a rising inflation environment.In such kind of situations, the central bank usually takes actions around monetary policy and systemic liquidityto manage interest rates or yield or debt products but fundamentals catch up ultimately. In such cases people look for Infaltion Prtected Securities – a bond that adjusts yield to inflation and floating rate bonds.

Equity
The case of inflation surrounding equities is a little volatile and could shift depending upon the level of inflation, nature – transient or persistent, the external macro environment, corporate sector exposure, balance sheet structure and pricing power. An inflation rate of around 2-6% is generally considered good for equities while a rate of 10-14% is considered extremely high and bad for equities. Corporates in such cases increase the price of the final product in accordance with the rate of inflation due to the rising prices of raw materials and at last the consumer has to suffer the wrath of inflation while the companies  maintains its tradebook. This generally leads to a better revenue for the company and the reults are reflected in the stock price of the company But if the demand is suppressed due to weaker consumer sentiments, high unemployment, sector disruption or any other reason, then corporates would find it difficult to pass on the raw material price rise to final product price hikes. This will again be reflected in the stock prices of the companies.

Commodities
The real, physical assets that act a hedge against inflation act and their prices define current inflation levels are called commodities. Inflation levels are indicated by their prices. Inflation is a weighted index of prices of different goods and services – raw materials (wholesale inflation) and final products (consumer inflation) – combined in a basket. Different government agencies determine the ratio of theses items in the basket. Naturally, commodities (metals, agricultural produce) tend to do extremely well in a scenario of rising inflation.

Gold
The same relationship will hold true for gold as well because at the end of the a commodity after all. For countries like India gold is a preffered choice of investment in times of inflation as it acts as a hedgeGnd hence it is also called a ‘premium store of value’. Unsuprisingly this is not always the case as and when central bank take inflationary measures and raise the interest rates, gold becomes the lesser option for investors. The reason people tend to prefer gold over other assets is due to its various underlying characteristics such as return generating ability over a oeriod of time which has been tried and tested and a significantly low correlation among other asset class in both expansionary and recession periods.Investors also look at gold as an ‘alternative currency’ or ‘currency of last resort’ especially in countries where local currency is  is losing value.

Real Estate
Inflation has a direct relation with property prices which tend to increase with rise in inflation rates as landlords and home-owners demand higher rent or home prices to offset high consumption costs. In such cases real state also becomes an asset with positively high correlation with inflation. Investors in such cases invest in exchange traded funds for real estate which give better return in this class rather than owning something physical such as real pieces of land or industrial property.

India Inc. back to pre-pandemic levels?

After the second wave India Inc. should be expecting a faster than expected recovery as the economic news coming out is encouraging. The pace of business resumption crossed a milestone in mid-august, tracked by Nomura India Business, rising above 100 – the pre-pandemic level for the first time since the covid struck last year. Although the news is encouraging we won’t be seeing swifter than expected rebound in jobs.

Pandemic affect on jobs?
There is an absence of timely jobs data due to which getting the exact scenario of the employment situation in India is difficult. But from an outside look one can give an analysis that workers in India have suffered an uneven hit because of covid.  

The covid 19 pandemic’s impact was disproportionate in jobs market just as it was on growth. The drastic shift to work-from-home depended upon sector-to-sector where shifting to wfh was easier in IT, software and finance related jobs it was difficult in more contact-intensive jobs and nigh impossible in jobs such as manufacturing, construction, restaurant etc.
Starting from informal sector the most adversely affected people are self-employed and daily wage workers and have been hit worst. Moving on to the the sector which employs the most the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) have been hit harder than big firms. Such kind of impact is called a K-shaped impact.
The slack in the labor market is often used to measure unemployment in the labor market. This is measured by the Centre for Monitoring Indian economy (CMIE). The rate which stood at 8% mid-August which was a slight bit higher than pre-pandemic level of 7.8% in February 2020. Although this may as well be an understatement .

A decrease of 6 million workers was seen, data reveals as total employment was 406 mn back in February 2020 which is currently down to 399.4 mn in July 2021.Data is much more saddening when we talk number of workers who dropped out of workforce a staggering 10.9 mn and are no longer actively seeking work and those who had jobs had to take wage cuts, work less hours or are on indefinite leave. Disguised unemployment has also risen with mostly migrant workers returning back to their villages and working on their farms.

Future of jobs in India.

One can take a breath of fresh air as data suggests that the imoact of second wave has declines and the economy has rebounded. As the rate of vaccination is progressing and people have started to adapt the most affected contact-intensive sectors such as resteraunts, construction etc.

Job market recovery will have to be a slow and a gradual process due to two underlying reasons.Vaccinating majority of population is going to take a lot of time and will not happen atleast till end of 2021 and second as when the market recovers the firms would want to analyse the strength of demand before hiring and starting full scale production .

Obviously the pace at which different sectors come back will differ drastically and will depend upon worker-to-worker. The formal sector will have an advantage in this case as it is expected to bounce back faster than the informal sector. Starting with formal sectors the sectors with great demand will bounce back faster such as IT, software and pharma whereas more traditional sectors such as infrastructure, hospitality, real estate, media and entertainment may be slower to recover.
As with informal sector workers, it will take much longer than anticipated due to worker hesitancy of leaving homes due to the whole migrant worker fiasco and although this may subside over time the small industry that shut down aren’t likely to open up making such kind of  jobs gone forever.

Long term affect

Looking beyond the here and now, the pandemic may leave behind other long-lasting effects, while presenting both challenges and opportunities.
For example, the pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing trend towards digitization and e-commerce. Video conferencing is now widely accepted. Telemedicine, delivery and fintech are a few examples of sectors that have witnessed fast-paced growth during the pandemic. Supply chain relocations as firms adopt a China plus one strategy have opened up a new vista of opportunities for India to integrate into global value chains and to create new manufacturing jobs.
In contrast, business travel will likely decrease in a post-pandemic world. Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (MICE) type of tourism will likely decline. Demand for commercial office space may be lower. Automation may reduce employment intensity of manufacturing, hurting low-skilled workers. The pandemic has resulted in more market concentration, as big firms become even bigger, while small firms are squeezed, which could hurt job creation.

In contrast, business travel will likely decrease in a post-pandemic world. Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (MICE) type of tourism will likely decline. Demand for commercial office space may be lower. Automation may reduce employment intensity of manufacturing, hurting low-skilled workers. The pandemic has resulted in more market concentration, as big firms become even bigger, while small firms are squeezed, which could hurt job creation.

Required policy toolkit
These longer-term shifts will require an active policy response. Workers will need both reskilling and upskilling. We need an ecosystem for MSMEs to thrive. This includes less regulatory compliance costs, lower funding costs and ability to scale. More jobs will need to be created in the infrastructure and construction sectors. An ecosystem for startups to gainfully employ India’s youth is needed. Many other such new sectors that can create jobs have to be explored.

In short, reversing the pandemic hit to jobs is only a first step. The real jobs challenge still lies ahead.

Yadadri Temple – More expensive than Ram Mandir

The centuries-old temple on Yadagirigutta, renamed now as Yadadri, was initially confined to just 2,500 square yards of area. Currently, the temple complex encompasses over 14.5 acres.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s dream was to build a magnificent temple in the state that matches Tirumala, India’s richest temple in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, and it is now a realty.

The ancient cave shrine of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy on the picturesque hills of Yadagirigutta, about 70-km away from Hyderabad, is getting ready for inauguration with a complete makeover at cost of nearly ₹1,000 crore.

Hundreds of workers have sweated day and night to make this mission successful and gave final touches to the magnificient 1000 year old temple. Not single brick has been used while constructing the temple. The temple was built entirely using ‘Krishnasila’ or black granite. They were brought from Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh. Civil engineers and civic officials have raced against the time to complete the necessary civic infrastructure to provide all amenities for the pilgrims.

The temple has more than 100 ‘Yali Pillars’ — as prominently seen in South India’s temples. According to Hindu mythology, Yali is a creature which is part lion, part elephant and part horse. It is sculpted on the pillars.A sprawling 14.5-acre temple complex consists of seven temple domes, including a 100-foot main dome. Chief Architect of the Temple (Sthapathy Advisor) Velu Anandachari said the special mortar and granite would maintain temperature inside the temple according to the seasons. In summers the temple would be cool, in winters warm.Architects said aloe vera was primarily used as an adhesive in the mortar mix, and the inknut would ward off insects — drawn because of the jaggery.At least 3,000 tonnes of mortar were used for the temple. The mix was set aside for a month before being applied. This gave a better finish, architects said.

Similarly, works on pushkarni (tank where devotees take a holy dip before having darshan), Kalyana Katta (tonsuring hall), circular road and queue lines, prasadam complex, works on various other developmental works in the pilgrim town including provision of tourist facilities comprising cottages, multilevel parking and housing for the temple priests in a total area of 1,400 acres have been completed have been completed by March end and temple has been inaugurated in May.

The total cost of the Yadadri project is around ₹1,800 crore

The centuries-old temple on Yadagirigutta, renamed now as Yadadri, was originally confined to just 2,500 square yards of area. Now, the temple complex is spread over 14.5 acres. The main hillock where the cave temple is located and eight other hills and lush green forests adjacent to it are being developed into a beautiful temple town.

The temple has been redeveloped according to the ancient Agama shastra (scriptures dealing with construction of temples) and other Vedic scriptures and is going to be the center of pilgrimage in Telangana.

Can we really ignore climate change now?

When talking about climate change one would think that the end of the world would be enough to get us scared. We have always been an exceedingly risk-averse species—which is also one of the reasons we survived as a species. If there are lions on one part of the savannah, we go to another. If crocodiles keep coming out of the river, we fish somewhere else. So why is it that when it comes to take action to prevent the loss of life on the entire planet we don’t do anything at all.

This behaviour is on display again, in the wake of an announcement by United Nations Inter-governmental panel on climate change, that a catastrophe is near—and the distant future of an Earth ravaged by floods, droughts, wildfires, earthquakes and cyclones isn’t far anymore, but as close as mere 12 years away. According to the report if we don’t act fast the temperatures are expected to rise by a staggering 1.5 C above the average pre-industrial era – and has been touted as a tipping point for a calamity. Hearing this there has been a wide uproar amongst the members of the public and people have started to take action against climate change, big oil companies have started to commit to prevent climate change and….we wish all of it were true. As always the public reaction towards the climate change has been – meh.

Why are we like this? Research published over the decaes have shown us that we are masters at miscalculating risk – over prepare for things that are low in imminent danger and ignoring things that are. Climate change represents everything that is wrong with our thinking towards the planet and calls of environmental scientists and policy makers to wake people from the perils we are going to face are getting ignored. For starters, it lacks the absolutely critical component—the “me” component. “Nobody wakes up in the morning and looks at the longterm climate forecast,” says David Ropeik, an international consultant on risk perception and communication, formerly with the Harvard School of Public Health. “They ask what the weather is today, where I live, and how it’s going to affect me.”

That’s sensible as far as it goes. One of the main reasons behind this is the way humans think- immediate concerns will always trump eventual concerns. Even if try to think about climate change, we will not be able to see changes right away – not in a day, in a week, in a month or even a year. Change comes gradually and if one thing that past has shown us, is that humans lack one thing called as ‘patience’. Also to change the things in the future we would need to sacrifice a lot in the present which most countries aren’t willing to do so.

Advancements in technologies have become so fast that our comfort levels have risen dramatically and today comfort has become a paramount wall between us and a greener Earth. Paul Slovic, Psychologist – University of Oregon said, “When it comes to acting on problems, the lure of our current comforts and conveniences will often cause us to act contrary to our values. If we think the consequences are far in the future, we tend to discount the risk. People just aren’t going to inconvenience themselves unless they’re forced to.”

Indeed, even when the risk is not far in the future—when, say, a hurricane is cannonballing toward the coast and the government orders an evacuation—plenty of people still don’t budge. Here, what’s known as the optimism bias is at work. Other people may need to make tracks, but your storm windows are top-of-the-line or your house is on slightly higher ground, so why get off the couch? If we find it so easy to talk ourselves out of acting in the face of a storm that’s just days away, a disaster that’s many years away doesn’t stand a chance.

We establish that kind of distance from risk not just temporally but geographically and culturally. If you live in an inland region, well, the floods are going to inundate the suckers on the coast, not you. If you live on the coast, it’s the south coast that’s going to get hit and you live north. And developed nations like the U.S. are typically going to be able to deal with climate instability better than developing ones, which allows us to conclude that while disasters happen elsewhere they don’t happen here.

“The question is often, ‘Do I feel vulnerable?’” says Slovic. “For the most part we don’t and that shapes our behavior.”

Even when we do try to personalize things, we have a hard time doing it. We can picture what it would be like to get eaten by a shark, Ropeik says, or die in a mass shooting or an airplane crash. That leads us to over-prepare for those risks—arming teachers, avoiding the beach, driving instead of flying even though driving is manifestly more dangerous.

“But if you ask even the most devout climate change believers how they think it’s going to affect them, they often can’t quite describe it,” he says. If it’s hard to picture, it’s easy to ignore.

Finally, there’s a sense of futility—the inefficacy factor, as risk experts put it. Climate change is a huge problem—arguably the biggest of all problems—and that makes individual action seem awfully pointless. “We reason that we can curtail things we want to do—like driving or flying,” says Slovic, “but if other people aren’t going to do it, it’s not going to make any difference.”

Of course, every great human enterprise has called on people not to do things they want to do or to do things they don’t—paying taxes, volunteering for military service, tolerating rationing in time of war. None of it is fun, none of it is easy, but all of it has helped ensure the success of the larger human project and the survival of the next generations. If we can’t bestir ourselves now, in the face of yet another alarming report from the climate change scientists, we’re going to owe those generations an explanation—and an apology.

Key takeaways from PM Modi’s Independence Day speech

Celebrating India’s 75th Independence day, Prime Minister Modi addressed the nation from the iconic Red Fort saying about the achievements of the country and also laid out plans for India at 100 i.e for the next 25 years.

For Farmers:

Emphasising on food security the Prime Minister said that it is high time agricultural sector starts using scientific research and methods for increasing food production and thus increasing food security in India. Also on the topic he said it is high time that the country must increase collective power of small farmers and make them nation’s pride.

The Prime Minister said: “It is time we apply scientific research and suggestions in our agriculture sector. We need to reap all its benefits. It will not just provide food security to the nation, but will also increase food produce.”

New e-commerce platform

Talking about a new e-commerce platform the Prime Minister said that the government will develop an all new e-commerce platform specifically for the products made by rural women self-help groups. Praising women self-help groups, Modi said there are more than eight crore rural women in the villages who associate themselves with these self-help groups.

The new platform will provide for these women as they produce various kinds of products and it will fecilitate for their products to get a big market in India and abroad.

Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayaas

Giving a new slogan on Independence Day the Prime Minister said “‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayaas’ is very important for the achievement of all our goals.”

“There comes a time in the development journey of every country, when that country redefines itself, moves forward with new resolutions. Today that time has come in India’s development journey…Starting from here, the journey of the next 25 years is the ‘Amrit’ of the creation of a new India. The fulfillment of our resolves in this ‘Amrit Kaal’ will take us till 100 years of independence,” said the Prime Minister.

Fortifies rice to the poor by 2024

In a bid address the problem of malnutrition in the country the Prime Minister on Sunday announced that the rice distributed to the poor will be fortified with the help of various schemes such as Mid-day Meal. “Malnutrition and lack of micro-nutrients are affecting the growth of poor children. Looking at this, it has been decided to fortify the rice given to the poor via different government schemes,” he said.

‘Gati Shakti’- New Infrastructure Plan

Launching a new National Infrastructure Plan, PM Modi launched a program called ‘Gati Shakti’ which is focused boosting infrastructure in India, providing jobs and boosting the economy as well as exports. The budget for this will be about Rs 100 trillion ($1.35 Trillion).

Hand-holding of deprived communities necessary, reservation being ensured

Ensuring reservation for Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes, Other Backward Classes and General Category poor necessary said the Prime Minister and emphasised that hand holding if the communities is necessary

“We have to bridge the gap between lives in villages and cities,” he said.

Connecting Northeast

In his speech the Prime Minister on sunday said a new history of connectivity is being written in the northeast, while announcing that the work to connect the state capitals in the region with rail services will be completed soon.

During his speech, he said multiple parts of the country — whether its East, Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh including the entire Himalayan region, the coastal belt or the tribal region — will become a big base for India’s development in the future.

On Scientists

Applauding the fantastic work done by our scientists PM Modi said on Sunday it is the result of the strength of our industrialists and scientists, that today India does not need to depend on any other nation for COVID-19 vaccines.

Energy Independency Target – 2047

Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a target of becoming ‘energy independent’ by 2047 through a mix of electric mobility, gas-based economy, doping ethanol in petrol and making the country a hub for hydrogen production. Delivering his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he said India spends over ₹12 lakh crore on energy imports every year.

“For India to progress, for Atmanirbhar Bharat, energy independence is the call of the hour,” he said. “India has to take a pledge that it will be energy independent by the year we celebrate 100th year of Independence.

Sainik schools now open for girls also

In a historic move Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced that all Sainik Schools in the country will now be open for girls also. At present, 33 Sainik schools are operating in the country. During his speech, the Prime Minister said that two-and-a-half years ago, the maiden experiment of admitting girls in Sainik schools was carried out in Mizoram.”Now, the government has decided that all the Sainik schools in the country will also be open for the daughters of the country,” he said.

Unicorn Startups – A goal or a mere status

Every founder while founding a startup has a dream in his mind that one day they think will be achieved. Most founders see this happen when their startups achieve the acclaimed unicorn status. What is a unicorn status you ask , well any startup whose valuation crosses the $1 billion mark is given unicorn status. But is just being a unicorn sufficient for a company to survive? Let’s find out.

By unicorn one is simply referring to the valuation of the company and nothing else – not the revenue , not the profits just the valuation. There are several instances where an extremely high loss making company can be a unicorn and profit making company is not but that’s just how it works. Now, don’t forget that these valuations don’t mean that your company is failure proof; a unicorn has just as high chance of failure than a non-unicorn company. Hence the question – is it a mere status?

Well we can’t just differentiate it as black and white, we have to look between the colors here. Let us start with an example – a case of a well funded startup which became a unicorn quickly and a bootstrapped startup.

Quibi a streaming startup founded in August 2018 by renowned Hollywood producers Jeffery Katzenberg and Meg Whitman as a platform to launch short-form content for mobile services. One of the fastest startups to become a unicorn, Quibi quickly generated a funding of $1.75 Billion and launched its streaming service by April 2020. Do you know what is the situation of Quibi right now – DEFUNCT. Yes, one of the fastest startups to become unicorn is now defunct and was shutdown within six months of its launch.

Now let’s talk about another startup, this time an Indian bootstrapped startup { bootstrapped – run by founders own money without any external funding} called Zerodha. Zerodha a stock broking company which was launched in 2010 by the then unknowns Nikhil and Nithin Kamath provided stock-broking services online anywhere in India. Situation of Zerodha you ask right now – It is one the most successful Indian startups and the most used stock-broker in India as of now with more than 5+ million users as of 2020. Although launched in 2010 Zerodha only became a unicorn in June 2020 with a self-assessed valuation of over $1 Billion.

The lesson from the above story – being a unicorn doesn’t guarantee success. If you have the right product and the right mindset you can bootstrap your way to success and if you don’t have the right idea you can receive all the funding in the world but still won’t be able to make it.

Day Trading – How tough can it be?

When an outsider looks at the stocks and sees how different stocks move each day one would initially assess that making money through day trading should be easy , after all you have to do is follow the momentum – but is it really that easy? Let’s find out.

Day trading if done judiciously and with discipline can give a significant amount of income maybe even replace your job but if done carelessly can turn into a nightmare. Sometimes even professional traders get beaten by the market so for newcomers it is extremely hard to stay in the market because of one golden rule in the market – everyone loses money – there is not a single trader/investor who hasn’t lost money in the market. Many people who think that can make a quick buck in the market end up losing most of their money and end up leaving the market and professional traders profit most from these kind of traders.

When trading in the market there are some extremely important rules everyone needs to follow if they want to make money i.e. target and stop-loss. Trading without target and stop-loss is like driving a vehicle without brakes , an accident just waiting to happen. Target is the target price you want the stock to reach before exiting whether it is shorting or going long and stop-loss is the price at which you would exit the trade if you the stock has performed reverse of your expectations , either way both exit points should be clearly identified and practiced with discipline. What most traders who suffer loss do is let there losers run and give themselves a bigger loss or exit a winning too early again giving them a loss. Discipline in such cases is one of the trademarks of a good trader.

Now we talk about the strategy. A strategy is what one uses to execute his/her trade. By merely looking at the charts one cannot assume about the direction the stock will go in thus the requirement of a solid backtested strategy which would work in all kinds of market. Developing a strategy is one of the hardest tasks while dealing with the matters of day-trading – one that creating it is extremely difficult and sometimes even a good backtested strategy can fail.

Next thing is practice. They say when you start trading that the first five years are just trial and error. The real trading starts after five years when you are finally trained in the ways of trading , when you have seen and made every profit and loss . After such time it is crucial that one always remains humble about their strategies and keep back-testing them time and again so it gives you an edge in the market.

Lastly the non-technical part of trading – keep your emotions out of the room while trading. Greed and fear in such cases can lead to extreme losses and keep you away from making a good trade.

What does billionaire space race tells us?

Richard Branson on July 11 , Jeff Bezos today , what do these 15 minutes trip to space tell us? Is it the of start space tourism which is anticipated to be worth more than $100 Billion?

The world’s richest are making rockets and flying on it to space for 10-15 minutes to establish global dominance in space tourism and making a live example out of themselves to further boost their companies position in the race – Virgin Galactic , Blue Origin to name a few. This can be marked as the start of space tourism with recent data suggesting that over 39% of the world rich would take a space flight and spend over $250,000 for a trip to space.

But this space race has one major problem – CLIMATE IMPACT. Let’s be serious , we all know that carbon emission nowadays are breaking records and major climate change impacts can be in various parts of the world which can be anything from heat wave in Canada killing more than 500 people or the floods in Germany displacing entire towns – you name it! Just as the world is trying to find ways to curb the emissions – literally finding any area that can be utilized to fight climate change do we really need rockets which produce more carbon-dioxide per capita than any other thing and/or product there is.

Look , I am not saying space travel is bad , it is literally one of the first thing most of us as kids imagine doing in the future and we should reach for the stars but let’s be realistic and face the reality – Earth is not getting better with average global temperatures rising , ice-sheets melting , oceans on fire due to oil leaks so it is about time global companies came up and started taking responsibilities for their actions and act in a manner that good for not just the society but also for the planet as well.

Wealthy showing off their wealth just to go 100 kilometers above the surface of the Earth is really the last thing we need right now if we are talking about saving the planet. It is anticipated that Virgin Galactic is planning more than 400 space flights each year , each of those flights will produce , more than 4-5 times nitrogen oxides than the largest thermal powerplant in UK – Drax and more than 50-100 CO2 emissions than an average long-haul flight. Multiply that with 400 and you will get yearly data for these emissions which needless to say is a lot , and that’s just one company. We already have three companies fighting for space tourism industry , 300-400 flights each year by all the companies , one can only imagine the impact on the climate and that too just for one year. Imagine 10 years of continuous flights – where would it lead us?

In the end I can only say that either we need find an alternate mode of fuel for these rockets – nuclear maybe or we need to ponder upon and think about our future course of action and where would it lead us and this planet as a whole.

Rise of Investors in India

Ok ,I know what you’ll say – a country of 1.38 billion people and less than 4 percent of the population have brokerage accounts a significant portion of that don’t actively invest but can it be that it is a starting of growth of investor population in India? Well recent data suggests says so.

India’s top stock brokers such as Zerodha and Upstox have seen a tremendous growth in demat account openings with total account numbers rising from 1.6 Million pre-lockdown to more than 6 Million and the numbers are on the rise as we speak.

Both discount brokers (private brokers) as well as full-fledged brokers have seen a rise in demat account openings with data showing that millennials are ahead of all with the highest share of accounts. This is an extremely reassuring news that more youngsters have given financial learning a priority and many are eager to secure financial freedom.

India’s technological boom ,rise in number of internet users and motivated mindset have all the credit for this. When we look at data for all the states the state with most brokerage accounts in Maharashtra – which is topping the chart for many years now with more than 1.49 crore accounts with Gujarat coming in second which has more than 85 lakh accounts and Uttar Pradesh coming in third with more than 52 lakh accounts followed by Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh with more than 42 lakh and 25 lakh accounts respectively. Again when we look at the bottom of the list we have Lakshadweep with a meagre 480 accounts followed by Mizoram with 5900 accounts and Andaman & Nicobar Islands with 9700 accounts.

The covid-19 pandemic was the tipping point for this with major rise in account opening seen after the lockdown and the trend has not settled since.

But there are shades of grey in this as well as a greater share of these accounts are dormant and don’t trade or invest. Many in the wish for gaining profits quickly end up losing money and get disheartened and don’t try again. This has also led to the rise of dormant accounts. This indicates that financial literacy has not kept up with the pace of incoming individuals in this field and has resulted in fear ,uncertainty ,doubt.

Which prompts us to ask another question – Will this lead to a downfall in the number of people who invest in stock market? Well ,the answer is NO. Financial literacy has started to pick up amongst youngsters. Daily we can see a large number of Instagram accounts ,YouTube channels and websites spreading knowledge about stock market – granted not all of them are legit but those who really are have a good follower base and are constantly expanding day-by-day.

This will lead to a rise in informed and learned trader/investor who has practical knowledge about the market and is not afraid to take decision but is also cautious while doing it.

All in all one can say that road ahead for stock market investors in India looks bullish.

Future of EV in India

With the advent of Ola Electric scooter which has garnered over 1 lakh registrations in just one day ,makes us ponder upon of the most important questions – Has the change from fossil fuels to electric vehicles begun in India or is it just a fluke?

EV or electric vehicles are gaining popularity and market share everyday. Companies such as Tesla are now one of the largest automobile companies in the world. The west has started to shift to EV at a faster pace with some European countries having highest per capita EVs. But has the time come for India too? Granted EVs have their own set of problems which can be anything from range to charge time but with petrol prices touching Rs 110/L one can easily forgo the charge time.

EV industry is looking towards a brighter future in India as many Indian companies such as Tata Motors have launched their own vehicles and have received amazing sales. The global giant Tesla will soon be arriving in India as well with its most popular Model 3. But are only cars enough? India needs to do more. What India can triumph at is the electric two-wheeler industry as two-wheelers are still one the most popular means of travel in India and one of the major contributors to air pollution in our country.

India being one the most polluted countries need to change its outlook and start taking matters of vehicle pollution seriously. With 2/3rd of air pollution being done by two-wheelers , a shift in EVs can bring this down dramatically. This is when companies like Ather Energy ,Ola Electric ,Bajaj and TVS are coming into play with each company producing its own two-wheeler EV with Ola receiving more than 1 lakh registrations for its EV.

EV infrastructure- Infrastructure is one the most important aspects when we talk about growth of EVs as charging stations are not a common thing in India but are crucial to EVs. Without them one can say goodbye to long distance travels as EVs need to be charged before their battery runs out and you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. We are making progress in this arena with govt. giving various incentives for charging stations and we are seeing emergence of various networks such as Ola Hypercharging stations for its two-wheeler market.

Last but not the least EVs are still very expensive even after being in the market for so many years. Just for instance the cheapest Tesla car , the Model 3 is expected to be priced around Rs 60 lakhs in India making it still unaffordable for most people. Same thing can be said about the two-wheelers with EVs being about twice as expensive as their gas counterparts.

But there is always a silver-lining that despite huge prices EVs are picking up in India , slowly but constantly and with more and more competition we can surely say that EVs have a bright future and we are on the right path.