Dubai National Insurance names A. R. Srinivasan as CEO

Dubai National Insurance (DNI), a prominent player in the insurance sector of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has unveiled its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), A. R. Srinivasan, a distinguished chartered accountant hailing from India. This strategic appointment marks a significant development for the company and reflects DNI’s commitment to enhancing its leadership.

Before taking the reins at DNI Insurance, Srinivasan played a pivotal role in establishing the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) subsidiary of MNK Re Limited, a distinguished Lloyd’s Broker with its roots in London. With nearly three decades of experience in senior management roles across the Middle East, Srinivasan possesses a nuanced understanding of the insurance landscape in the region. His extensive insurance career has spanned several countries, including India, Oman, Dubai, and Bahrain, where he held leadership positions such as CEO of DAR Al TAKAFUL in Dubai, CEO of Arabia Falcon in Oman, and Al Ahlia Insurance Oman.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, the Chairman of DNI, expressed his enthusiasm about the appointment, stating, “The entire team at DNI Insurance is excited about the new chapter under Srinivasan’s leadership. His depth of knowledge, strategic vision, and proven ability to drive transformation align seamlessly with the company’s commitment to excellence and innovation.” This appointment signifies DNI’s dedication to maintaining a trajectory of excellence in the insurance sector.

Al Habtoor further added, “Under Srinivasan’s guidance, DNI Insurance is poised to reinforce its position as a pioneer in the insurance sector, delivering innovative solutions and outstanding service to clients while achieving new heights of prosperity.” This sentiment underscores the company’s aspirations to not only maintain its current standing but also to innovate and expand its offerings under Srinivasan’s leadership.

Srinivasan himself shared his perspective on the new role, expressing his honor at being selected as CEO of DNI. He conveyed his eagerness to leverage his extensive experience and expertise to drive transformative growth, establish enduring partnerships, and deliver unmatched value to both clients and stakeholders. In his words, “Together, we will navigate the evolving landscape and chart a course towards continued success.”

Furthermore, Srinivasan expressed gratitude towards Mr. Al Habtoor and the board for entrusting him with this pivotal role and exhibiting confidence in his capabilities to steer the company. He eagerly anticipates working closely with the board, the team, and business partners to realize DNI’s ambitious goals.

Dubai National Insurance has appointed A. R. Srinivasan as its new CEO, ushering in a fresh era of leadership for the company. Srinivasan’s extensive experience and strategic acumen position him as a formidable leader to drive DNI’s growth, innovation, and commitment to excellence in the insurance sector. The company’s Chairman, Khalaf Al Habtoor, and Srinivasan himself expressed their enthusiasm for this new chapter, highlighting the company’s dedication to delivering superior service and achieving new heights under Srinivasan’s guidance. This appointment signifies a significant step forward for DNI Insurance as it seeks to solidify its position as an industry pioneer.

China’s Real Estate Crisis

In the wake of Evergrande’s Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing in New York City, another major player in China’s real estate sector, Country Garden, is now facing a similar fate. Renowned as China’s leading real estate developer based on sales, Country Garden’s financial struggles are spotlighting the country’s escalating debt crisis. Experts predict that without intervention, the company may default on its bond payments, exacerbating the ongoing turmoil in China’s real estate market.

According to a report by Caixin Global, a prominent Chinese business news agency, Country Garden is on the brink of defaulting on its bond payments scheduled for next month. This dire situation necessitates either the support of a rescuing entity or an extension of the grace period. The company is grappling with three bonds, collectively valued at 7.3 billion renminbi (approximately $1 billion), set to mature or with put options commencing in September. The urgency of the matter is highlighted by a payment due imminently, coinciding with the end of the grace period for a missed payment in early August.

Picture: Wall Street Survivor

Major global asset managers, including BlackRock, Allianz, Fidelity, and Ashmore Group, have invested substantial sums in Country Garden bonds. These investments underscore the interconnectivity of global financial markets and the potential ripple effects of the company’s struggles. BlackRock alone holds around $358.5 million worth of Country Garden bonds, while Allianz’s holdings amounted to $301 million as of June. The involvement of these financial giants raises concerns about potential financial losses and repercussions.

Country Garden’s stock is a component of the iShares MSCI Core Emerging Markets exchange-traded fund (EMG), further interlinking its fortunes with broader market dynamics. The company’s chairwoman, Yang Huiyan, was previously recognized as China’s wealthiest woman, with her family’s net worth estimated at $4.4 billion.

The predicament Country Garden finds itself in is reminiscent of its failure to fulfill a $22.5 million interest payment on dollar-denominated bonds on August 7. Despite these struggles, Beijing’s reluctance to provide financial support is evident, as reported by Reuters. However, the trajectory of these events remains uncertain, as the Chinese government may be compelled to intervene if more real estate firms face distress, impacting China’s economic stability.

Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Chief Economist for Natixis, highlighted the unexpected nature of Country Garden’s predicament, given its comparatively lower leverage compared to Evergrande. She stressed that sustainable growth in the real estate sector hinges on continual increases in housing prices, cautioning that even a robust company like Country Garden could falter without such growth.

Pushan Dutt, an economics professor at INSEAD business school, suggested that a Chinese government bailout for Country Garden is probable, considering the company’s significance within the nation’s real estate sector. The sector constitutes about 30% of China’s gross domestic product (GDP), making its stability crucial for the country’s overall economic health. However, the potential for such bailouts presents a challenge for President Xi Jinping, who remains wary of excessively pumping money into the economy.

China’s deliberate efforts to attract Western bond funds and open its market to foreign investors have contributed to the intertwining of global financial interests. Western asset managers have been active purchasers of Chinese government and private bonds, offering investment-grade alternatives to their lower-yielding Western counterparts. Yet, the risks associated with investing in China’s real estate market were acknowledged for years, with concerns raised about a potential “China hard landing.”

Amid the uncertainty, the role of the US government and the potential support for investors remains questionable. China’s increasing economic risks have prompted Congress to scrutinize China investments, with discussions on capital restrictions taking center stage. While investors seek possible stimulus and rate cuts, the Chinese government’s actions will depend on its assessment of the nation’s economic resilience and the extent of potential economic distress.

As both Evergrande and Country Garden face tumultuous times, the outcomes of these crises will likely have far-reaching implications. Despite the tumult, some experts remain optimistic about China’s ability to recover, anticipating an increase in consumer confidence as debt-related issues are resolved.

Chinese Exporters Use Currency Swaps To Hedge Against Falling Yuan

Chinese exporters have adopted a sophisticated currency swap strategy to avoid converting their dollar earnings into yuan due to concerns about potential losses in the weakening local currency, as revealed by official data and discussions with industry insiders.

China’s state-owned banks are involved in some of these swap transactions, allowing exporters to convert their dollar earnings into yuan through contractual agreements, indicating a level of comfort from the country’s currency regulator. This practice persists even as authorities attempt to alleviate the mounting pressure on the yuan in the spot markets.

Ding, a Shanghai-based businessman dealing in electronics and toys, is among those exporters who are holding onto their dollar earnings, hesitating to convert them into yuan. The recent depreciation of the yuan, which has hit nine-month lows, has raised concerns among exporters like Ding. He expressed this apprehension, saying, “The key concern is that the price of the dollar keeps going up.”

The yuan has experienced a depreciation of over 5% against the U.S. dollar so far this year, with a 2% drop recorded in just the past month. This decline is exacerbated by foreign capital fleeing from China’s weakening economy.

Picture: South China Morning Post

These swaps enable exporters to deposit their dollars with banks and receive yuan in return, but with a contractual agreement that will eventually reverse the transaction, returning their dollars. However, despite the impact of these swaps on the supply of dollars in the spot yuan markets, analysts believe that Chinese monetary authorities cannot compel exporters to convert their dollars.

In July alone, Chinese companies engaged in a record $31.5 billion worth of dollar-yuan swaps with commercial banks in the onshore forwards market. This year, the total figure stands at $157 billion, according to data from China’s currency regulator.

Initially, Ding had plans to convert his dollar holdings when the yuan weakened beyond 7 yuan per dollar, a threshold the local currency had breached only three times since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. However, his decision shifted as expectations grew regarding the Federal Reserve’s intent to maintain higher U.S. interest rates for an extended period and the continued weakness of the yuan, which is seeing its yields decline as China adopts a more lenient monetary policy to support its struggling economy.

“The growing monetary policy divergence is the key reason behind the trend,” explained Gary Ng, Senior Economist for Asia Pacific at Natixis. “As it is unlikely to see any fundamental change in the short run, the gravity of yield differentials will drag the yuan and prompt exporters to bet on the dollar.”

The increasing gap between rising U.S. yields and Chinese rates has reversed rates in the currency forwards market. This means that exporters have no incentive to lock in a forward rate to sell their dollars, with the one-year yuan being quoted at 7.02 per dollar, compared to a spot rate of 7.29.

Traders have noted that the State Administration of Foreign Exchange allows sell-buy dollar-yuan swaps as long as companies use their own funds. When exporters swap higher-yielding dollars for the cheaper yuan, even for a short period of three months, they acquire the local currency for business needs and also earn an annualized 3.5% on the swap deal.

Becky Liu, Head of China Macro Strategy at Standard Chartered Bank, elaborated, “By trading FX swaps, exporters can postpone their settlements while meeting their yuan demand.”

An alternative option, albeit less lucrative, is for exporters to deposit their dollars at 2.8% interest and use these deposits as collateral for yuan loans, resulting in net gains of approximately 2%.

Despite Chinese lenders reducing their dollar deposit rates twice this year to discourage hoarding and encourage exporters to convert dollars into yuan, more exporters are turning to swaps. Even China Merchants Bank, which is partially state-owned, promotes the use of swaps. The bank stated, “If companies want to retain their dollar deposits, they can sign up for foreign exchange swap products to increase the returns on dollar deposits.”

Meanwhile, China’s central bank has intensified its efforts to support the yuan by consistently setting stronger-than-expected yuan mid-point benchmarks over several months. It has also urged domestic banks to reduce their overseas investments.

In contrast, exporters’ swaps provide state banks with a reservoir of dollars to utilize in their yuan operations. This includes engaging in swaps to acquire dollars from the onshore forwards market and selling them in the spot market to curb rapid declines in the yuan’s value.

Hindenburg 2.0 Accuses Adani Group Of Manipulating Finances

At a time when the Supreme Court is hearing the Adani Group-Hindenburg case, the business conglomerate was on Thursday hit by fresh allegations that it used family associates to secretly invest hundreds of millions of dollars through “opaque” Mauritius-based investment funds to fuel the spectacular rise in group stocks.

 Citing a review of files from tax havens and internal Adani Group emails, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) said two individual investors with “longtime business ties” to the Adani family used such offshore structures to buy and sell Adani shares between 2013 and 2018 — a period during which the ports-to-energy conglomerate saw meteoric rise to become India’s largest and most powerful businesses.

OCCRP is a non-profit global network of investigative journalists funded by Hungarian-American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros.

Picture : Eligibility

 OCCRP said Nasser Ali Shaban Ahli from the UAE and Chang Chung-Ling from Taiwan spent years trading Adani group stock worth hundreds of millions of dollars through two Mauritius-based funds that were overseen by a Dubai-based company run by a known employee of Vinod Adani.

 Market regulator SEBI had been handed evidence in early 2014 of alleged suspicious stock market activity by the Adani Group, OCCRP said citing a letter.

U K Sinha, who was then heading SEBI, is now a director and chairperson of an Adani-owned news channel.

The fresh broadside, which comes months after US short-selling firm Hindenburg Research published an explosive report in January that accused Adani Group of running the “largest con in corporate history”, sent all 10 listed Adani stocks down.

 Shares of nine out of 10 Adani group companies closed in the red on Thursday, taking a combined hit of Rs 35,708 crore in market valuation after the OCCRP report. More here

 On the OCCRP allegations, the Group on Thursday termed them as “recycled allegations” and called them “yet another concerted bid by (George) Soros-funded interests supported by a section of the foreign media to revive the meritless Hindenburg report”.

 Opposition parties, which stalled proceedings in Parliament for nearly one full session when the Hindenburg allegations first came out, were quick to latch on to the OCCRP to attack the government and Adani Group.

Maintaining that India’s reputation is at stake ahead of the G20 Summit, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asked why PM Modi was silent on the allegations and demanded a probe by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC).

Dr. Joseph M. Chalil Chosen To Accompany Canada Trade Mission To India

Novo Integrated Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVOS) (the “Company” or “Novo”), has announced that Dr. Joseph Chalil, MD, MBA, FACHE, Novo’s Chief Medical Officer, will represent Novo and Acenzia as a member of the Team Canada Trade Mission to India slated for October 2023, led by the Honorable Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development. 

Dr. Chalil, the Publisher of The Universal News network ( will repersent Acenzia, a nutraceutical manufacturer and a Canadian subsidiary of Novo, at the Trade Mission to India. 

For Acenzia, being selected to be a member of this Canada-India Trade Mission is an honor and validates Acenzia’s dedication to introducing its high-quality evidenced-based dietary, nutraceutical, and food products to a rapidly growing consumer base. 

The Canada-India Trade Mission, scheduled to visit Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad, India from October 8-14, 2023, is an important component of Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy to deepen bilateral trade and to further expand the economic partnership between Canada and India, while also recognizing the critical importance of the Indo-Pacific region for Canada’s prosperity. 

The Indo-Pacific region encompasses 40 economies, over 4 billion people, and $47.19 trillion in economic activity, and it represents over one-third of all global economic activity. As India and the Indo-Pacific burgeoning middle class expands, so does the demand for access to high-quality healthcare related services, devices, information, and products.

Robert Mattacchione, Novo’s CEO and Chairman of the Board, stated, “It is both an honor and significant opportunity for our company to have been selected to participate as an invited member of the Team Canada Trade Mission to India. We are excited to showcase the potential of our company and begin the process of nurturing the opportunities and the relationships this initiative will bring to light.”

Acenzia’s 36,000 square foot facility is located in Windsor Ontario Canada and includes Class 100 pharmaceutical grade cleanrooms and certified laboratories from which Acenzia creates and manufactures evidenced-based dietary, nutraceutical, and food products that can be validated through personalized diagnostics. Acenzia is dedicated to the creation of innovative therapeutics and diagnostics that enables individualized health optimization.

Dr. Chalil is an author and the Chief Strategy Officer of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of Novo Integrated Sciences, a Nasdaq-listed company that runs hundreds of clinics in North America. He is also the President of Clinical Consultants International. He serves as the chairman of the health system advisory board, a professor at the college of business, and a member of the NSU MD executive leadership council at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

His book, “Beyond the Covid-19 pandemic: Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare, was an Amazon Best Seller. In addition, he is the author of several scientific and research papers in international publications and the publisher of “The Universal News Network.”

Acenzia, founded in 2015, is licensed by multiple international government agencies including Health Canada, the U.S. FDA, and the European Union for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for over-the-counter and dietary supplement manufacturing. In addition, Acenzia maintains multiple third-party licenses including from the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF) for meeting the required public health standards for manufacturing food, nutrition, and supplements. For more information, please visit

Novo Integrated Sciences, Inc. is pioneering a holistic approach to patient-first health and wellness through a multidisciplinary healthcare ecosystem of services and product innovation. Novo offers an essential and differentiated solution to deliver, or intend to deliver, these services and products through the integration of medical technology, advanced therapeutics, and rehabilitative science.

The Company’s decentralized healthcare business model is centered on three primary pillars to best support the transformation of non-catastrophic healthcare delivery to patients and consumers:

  • First Pillar: Service Networks. Deliver multidisciplinary primary care services through (i) an affiliate network of clinic facilities, (ii) small and micro footprint sized clinic facilities primarily located within the footprint of box-store commercial enterprises, (iii) clinic facilities operated through a franchise relationship with the Company, and (iv) corporate operated clinic facilities.
  • Second Pillar: Technology. Develop, deploy, and integrate sophisticated interconnected technology, interfacing the patient to the healthcare practitioner thus expanding the reach and availability of the Company’s services, beyond the traditional clinic location, to geographic areas not readily providing advanced, peripheral based healthcare services, including the patient’s home.
  • Third Pillar: Products. Develop and distribute effective, personalized health and wellness product solutions allowing for the customization of patient preventative care remedies and ultimately a healthier population. The Company’s science-first approach to product innovation further emphasizes our mandate to create and provide over-the-counter preventative and maintenance care solutions.

Innovation through science combined with the integration of sophisticated, secure technology assures Novo Integrated Sciences of continued cutting-edge advancement in patient-first platforms. 

For more information concerning Novo Integrated Sciences, please visit

K. T. Rama Rao, Minister from Telangana Inaugurates “Start-Up India & USA, Fostering Cross-International Entrepreneurship”

In a landmark proclamation, Governor JB Pritzker officially declared August 25, 2023, as “Redberri T-Hub Innovation Center Day in the State of Illinois”. This proclamation celebrates the partnership between the Redberri Earth Foundation, a renowned Illinois non-profit organization Founded by Indian Philanthropist & Civic Leader Deepak Kant Vyas promoting social and economic entrepreneurship for over 30 years, and T-Hub, the world’s largest innovation ecosystem campus. The collaboration has led to the establishment of the Redberri T-Hub Innovation Center Foundation in Chicagoland, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at fostering startup ecosystems in the United States.

Illinois Senate President Don Hormon Honored Redberri Earth Foundation in Senate Proclamation, Senator Laura Murphy, Dy. Leader Illinois Senate issued a Proclamation in honor of the Redberri Innovation Center. Illinois Deputy Governor Christie George and Illinois Secretary of Commerce Kristin Richards had a productive meeting with a visiting delegation led by Hon. K T Rama Rao – Visionary leader, Minister of IT & Technology who inspired creation of REdberri Thub Innovation Center to support Indian Start-up companies soft landing in USA, Technology breakthrough with collaboration of academic institutions and corporate world.

 This endeavor has been made possible through the generous endowment from the Deepak Kany Vyas Family. The Redberri T-Hub Innovation Center Foundation marks a significant milestone in the efforts to cultivate entrepreneurship and innovation on a global scale. This partnership exemplifies the importance of collaboration between private, non-profit, and governmental entities to promote vibrant start-up & innovation ecosystem. drive economic growth and technological advancement.

 Redberri Innovation Center is the vision of Founder & Chairman Deepak Kant Vyas to create lasting legacy in Chicagoland through generous endowment from Deepak Kant Vyas family. 57,000 square feet state of art Redberri Innovation center one the largest Innovation ecosystem in the North America to provide vibrant start-upo & innovation collaboration, Market readiness and platform for enabling start-up companies to pitch their company to Venture Fund & Private Equity companies  in a thriving growth environment will soon feature:

Idea to Productization Council: This will support startups to incubate ideas into commercially acceptable product launch – First of its kind project supported by over 18 Academic Institutions in USA & India.

Fashion & Design Incubator: Fashion Industry is fastest growing sector worldwide, Launching Fashion & Design Incubator will support upcoming designer with access to Fashion Ramp, with democratization of the fashion Show many design & fashion startups will benefit from successful launch of their designs

The inaugural event of the Redberri T-Hub Innovation Center hosted a delegation of government leaders from Telangana, India, led by K.T Rama Rao, the Minister of Technology and Industry, to acknowledge and celebrate the launch of this transformative initiative. The Innovation Center is poised to strengthen the bond between Illinois and the State of Telangana, leveraging the shared innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and fostering international relationships that will drive progress in both regions.

 Illinois and Telangana boast some of the fastest-growing innovation ecosystems in the world, promoting a vibrant startup culture that transcends borders. The Redberri T-Hub Innovation Center will provide a platform for over 100  startups to invest in Illinois, resulting in the planned creation of more than 1830 jobs within the Chicagoland area in the next 24 months. This infusion of entrepreneurial energy will not only contribute to economic development but also further and establish Illinois as a hub for innovation and technology.

 Governor JB Pritzker’s proclamation is a testament to the state’s commitment to nurturing innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration on a global scale. The Redberri T-Hub Innovation Center Day serves as a reminder of the potential that arises when visionary organizations and government entities join forces to foster growth and drive positive change.

Illinois Senator Sue Rezin, State Representative Mark Walker, Senator Laura Murphy were represented by her Chief of Staff, City of Sandwich Administrator, Matt Kellogg, Chairman Kendall County Board and many Civic leaders and Business Leaders attended the event along with our partners World Business Chicago & Illinois department of commerce.

Redberri Earth Foundation and Redberri T-Hub Innovation Center Foundation is part of Redberri Earth Foundation,  Illinois-based non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting social and economic entrepreneurship. Committed to fostering innovation and sustainable solutions, the foundations actively collaborate with partners from around the world to drive positive change.

 About T-Hub

T-Hub is the world’s largest innovation ecosystem that provides resources and support to startups, corporations, and governments. With a mission to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship, T-Hub connects various stakeholders to create a thriving ecosystem that fuels technological advancements and economic growth.

Indian Americans on Forbes’ 50 Over 50 List

Several persons of Indian heritage have been featured on Forbes’ 50 Ver 50 List for 2023, released last week. S. Mona Sinha: From Corporate Success to Advocating Women’s Rights, Makes Forbes 50 Over 50 List

Friend of Indiaspora, S. Mona Sinha has secured a spot on the Forbes 50 Over 50 List for her impactful work. At 57, Sinha leads Equality Now as the global executive director, leveraging her experience from companies like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Unilever to drive the NGO’s mission for women’s and girls’ rights worldwide. Her achievements include reforming rape laws in Latin America and the Caribbean and child marriage laws in Africa and the Middle East, along with her contributions to various organizations and boards dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her journey from volunteering at Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Kolkata, India, to her current influential role reflects her dedication to humanitarian efforts.

Nikki Haley

  • In February of 2023, Nikki Haley announced her intent to become the Republican party’s candidate for U.S. president.
  • Two days after her announcement, former CNN host Don Lemon ignited an online firestorm after implying Haley, a woman in her 50s, wasn’t “in her prime.” Haley reclaimed “in my prime” as a campaign trail rallying cry.
  • The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley became the first Indian American to serve in a presidential cabinet when she was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2017.
  • She served as governor of South Carolina from 2010 to 2014. Of the 117 governors in South Carolina’s history, she is the only woman and only person of color to have led the state.
  • Haley grew up in South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

About Her:

  • In February of 2023, Nikki Haley announced her intent to become the Republican party’s candidate for U.S. president.
  • Two days after her announcement, former CNN host Don Lemon ignited an online firestorm after implying Haley, a woman in her 50s, wasn’t “in her prime.” Haley reclaimed “in my prime” as a campaign trail rallying cry.
  • The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley became the first Indian American to serve in a presidential cabinet when she was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2017.
  • She served as governor of South Carolina from 2010 to 2014. Of the 117 governors in South Carolina’s history, she is the only woman and only person of color to have led the state.
  • Haley grew up in South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Sarita Mohanty

  • In 2021, at 50, Sarita Mohanty became the second CEO and president of The SCAN Foundation, a California-based healthcare nonprofit focused on improving care for older adults through policy, impact investing and grantmaking.
  • Mohanty came to the foundation from Kaiser Permanente, where she served as vice president of care coordination for Medicaid and vulnerable populations.
  • At Kaiser, she led the development of Thrive Local, a referral network of health systems, government agencies and community groups that provide social services, including housing, food and utilities.
  • She completed medical school at Boston University and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She holds an M.P.H. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from UCLA.

About Her:

  • In 2021, at 50, Sarita Mohanty became the second CEO and president of The SCAN Foundation, a California-based healthcare nonprofit focused on improving care for older adults through policy, impact investing and grantmaking.
  • Mohanty came to the foundation from Kaiser Permanente, where she served as vice president of care coordination for Medicaid and vulnerable populations.
  • At Kaiser, she led the development of Thrive Local, a referral network of health systems, government agencies and community groups that provide social services, including housing, food and utilities.
  • She completed medical school at Boston University and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She holds an M.P.H. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from UCLA.

Alka Joshi

  • In 2020, at 62, Alka Joshi published her debut novel, The Henna Artist. She began writing the book in 2010, but the ten years of work paid off: It became a global phenomenon, hitting the New York Times bestseller list and translated into 29 languages.
  • Within a year and a half of publication, Netflix announced it would develop The Henna Artist into a television series starring Frida Pinto.
  • Joshi published two more books in 2021 and 2023, and has a contract with Harper Collins to produce two more by 2025.
  • Four decades after immigrating to the US, Joshi says her passion to inform the world about India through historical fiction took root in her 50s, when she traveled back to her birth country with her mother.

About Her:

  • The Henna Artist was inspired by Joshi’s mother, who had an arranged marriage at 18. Joshi wrote a protagonist who lived in an alternate reality—one where a woman like her mom could live independently.
  • In 2020, at 62, Alka Joshi published her debut novel, The Henna Artist. She began writing the book in 2010, but the ten years of work paid off: It became a global phenomenon, hitting the New York Times bestseller list and translated into 29 languages.
  • Within a year and a half of publication, Netflix announced it would develop The Henna Artist into a television series starring Frida Pinto.
  • Joshi published two more books in 2021 and 2023, and has a contract with Harper Collins to produce two more by 2025.
  • Four decades after immigrating to the US, Joshi says her passion to inform the world about India through historical fiction took root in her 50s, when she traveled back to her birth country with her mother.
  • The Henna Artist was inspired by Joshi’s mother, who had an arranged marriage at 18. Joshi wrote a protagonist who lived in an alternate reality—one where a woman like her mom could live independently.

Vaibhav Taneja Named New CFO of Tesla as Previous CFO Steps Down

Indian-origin executive Vaibhav Taneja has been appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Tesla, succeeding Zachary Kirkhorn, who announced his departure. Taneja, who already held the position of Chief Accounting Officer at the electric car giant, is taking on this added responsibility. Kirkhorn’s departure after 13 years was marked as a phase of “tremendous expansion and growth,” with Taneja set to lead Tesla’s financial strategies in this new chapter.

Tesla Inc. has a long history of promoting talent from within. Outside hires don’t last for very long in the carmaker’s scrappy, hard-charging culture, and it takes a certain stamina to work for Elon Musk.

Tesla’s new chief financial officer, Vaibhav Taneja, already has a hefty gig serving as the company’s chief accounting officer. Tesla watchers were surprised to hear Monday that he was replacing Zach Kirkhorn, a 13-year Tesla veteran who abruptly stepped down from the CFO post.

While Kirkhorn has been a calm, steady presence and regularly spoke at length with investors, even playing the role of Musk’s surrogate the time he skipped Tesla’s earnings presentation, Taneja is less well-known. He worked for Tesla’s accounting firm and later at SolarCity, a troubled company many investors wish the EV maker hadn’t acquired. He has spoken briefly on just one Tesla earnings call, back in early 2019.

The change comes at a critical time for Tesla. The company is building a new factory in Mexico and preparing to bring its Cybertruck pickup to the market as it fends off rivals in the increasingly crowded EV market. Tesla has been cutting prices across its lineup to maintain its position atop the electric-car industry, and profitability has taken a hit.

Taneja started his career in New Delhi. He graduated in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Delhi University, according to his LinkedIn profile. He then spent almost 17 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Tesla’s longtime accounting firm.

He joined SolarCity in 2016 and became corporate controller. Tesla soon thereafter acquired the solar panel installer. The automaker’s shareholders later sued Musk and Tesla’s board, accusing them of hiding SolarCity’s financial woes.

Taneja became Tesla’s corporate controller in May 2018 and was named chief accounting officer in March 2019. His predecessor, Dave Morton, had been hired away from Seagate Technology but resigned after less than a month.

Unusual Arrangement

Greg Selker, a managing director at executive search firm Stanton Chase, said that the general trend in corporate America is to hire business-oriented CFOs with a lot of operational experience. Taneja came up through the auditing ranks at PwC and his two concurrent titles at Tesla are an unusual arrangement.

“A CAO is responsible for all of the financial reporting – Taneja is really an accountant’s accountant,” Selker said in a phone interview. “Typically, a CFO has a broader business background.”

Taneja may have been instrumental to Tesla’s early inroads in India. He’s one of the four directors at Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Ltd., which was established in 2021 in the southern city of Bengaluru, according to the the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Tesla doesn’t sell any EVs in India yet.

He owned about 105,000 shares of the company as of July 7, a stake that is currently valued at about $26 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Musk, the richest person in the world, oversees six companies: Tesla, SpaceX, X (formerly known as Twitter), Boring Co., Neuralink and xAI, his most recent venture. Musk’s many interests and the competing demands for his time have long raised concerns about whether Tesla is too dependent on a single individual.

The EV maker has just four executive officers: Musk, Drew Baglino, the senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering; Tom Zhu, senior vice president of automotive; and now Taneja.

Who is Vaibhav Taneja, the new CFO of Tesla?

Taneja has served as Tesla’s CAO since March 2019 and as the Corporate Controller since May 2018. He served as the Assistant Corporate Controller between February 2017 and May 2018, and from March 2016, served in various finance and accounting roles at SolarCity Corporation, a US-based solar panel developer acquired by Tesla in 2016. Before that, Taneja was employed at PricewaterhouseCoopers in both India and the US between July 1999 and March 2016, the company filing said.

India and UAE Initiate Local Currency Trade, Impact on US Dollar

In a significant move, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have officially commenced trading in their respective local currencies, marking a departure from the traditional reliance on the U.S. dollar for international transactions.

The Indian government made an announcement on Monday, revealing that Indian Oil Corp., a major petroleum refiner in the country, had used the Indian rupee to purchase one million barrels of oil from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, instead of using the U.S. dollar as the standard transaction currency. This landmark transaction underscores the growing trend towards local currency trade arrangements.

This development follows another noteworthy transaction involving the sale of 25 kilograms of gold from a UAE-based gold exporter to an Indian buyer for approximately 128.4 million rupees (equivalent to $1.54 million), as reported by Reuters. These two transactions serve as prime examples of the increasing shift towards conducting trade using local currencies.

The implications of this trend for the role of the U.S. dollar on the global stage are worth exploring. As these nations forge ahead with local currency trade agreements, questions arise about the potential impact on the U.S. dollar’s status as the dominant international currency.

Picture : Tribune India

India’s central bank laid the groundwork for this shift by introducing a new framework aimed at settling global trade using the rupee. This framework materialized last month when India, a significant oil importer and consumer on the global stage, entered into two agreements with the UAE. The primary objective of these agreements is to streamline cross-border transactions and payments by conducting trade in their respective local currencies. This move is anticipated to reduce transaction costs and eliminate the need for dollar conversions. In addition to local currency trade, both countries have also committed to establishing a real-time payment link, further simplifying cross-border money transfers. The Reserve Bank of India elucidated that these agreements will facilitate “seamless cross-border transactions and payments, and foster greater economic cooperation.”

While India and the UAE are at the forefront of this local currency trade trend, they are not alone in their efforts to reduce reliance on the U.S. dollar. Several influential countries worldwide, including China and Russia, have been exploring avenues to diminish the dollar’s prominence due to concerns over aggressive U.S. sanctions and foreign policy maneuvers. This global trend, often referred to as “de-dollarization,” has gained momentum, raising discussions about the future dominance of the U.S. dollar in international trade.

Janet Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, sought to address these concerns by emphasizing that no currency currently possesses the capacity to replace the U.S. dollar. Yellen’s assertion followed an 8% decrease in the dollar’s share of global reserves in the previous year. In response to this trend, central banks around the world have been diversifying their reserves, transitioning away from the dollar and towards other assets such as gold.

India and the UAE have embarked on a path of local currency trade, signaling a shift away from the traditional reliance on the U.S. dollar in international transactions. This move, driven by the desire to streamline cross-border trade and payments, highlights a broader trend of “de-dollarization” observed in various countries, including China and Russia. While these developments raise questions about the future status of the U.S. dollar, experts, including Janet Yellen, maintain that no currency currently possesses the necessary attributes to fully replace the greenback. As central banks diversify their reserves in response to this evolving landscape, the dynamics of global trade and finance continue to undergo transformation.

Mob Rampage At Nordstrom Store In Los Angeles In Day Light

In a startling video, a brazen crowd of around 30 individuals rampaged through a Nordstrom department store in Los Angeles. The audacious robbery unfolded on a Saturday when a sizable group of roughly 30 people infiltrated the Nordstrom outlet situated within the Topanga Mall in Woodland Hills. The culprits swiftly seized a selection of clothing and handbags before making their escape.

A captured video footage depicting the incident from inside the store revealed the group, dressed in dark attire, assaulting security personnel with bear spray. This aggressive act enabled them to forcibly enter the establishment, causing destruction to displays as they swiftly snatched valuable items. The trespassers then promptly fled the premises.

Picture : CBS News

The Los Angeles Police Department disclosed that the robbery transpired at approximately 4 p.m. The loot predominantly consisted of handbags and garments, amounting to a limited number of items. The store’s official statement was shared via its Twitter account, indicating that approximately 25 purses, 15 dresses, and 24 perfume bottles were purloined, resulting in an estimated loss exceeding $200 million.

LAPD emphasized their commitment to addressing the incident, stating, “To those who live in the area and patronize the Topanga Mall, it is a loss of feeling safe. The LAPD will exhaust all efforts to bring those responsible into custody and seek criminal prosecution.”

The robbery has generated fear and unease among the local populace, prompting concerns about safety and the enforcement of the law. Expressions of distress surfaced on social media platforms. One Twitter user exclaimed, “California Has Fallen… Mass Mob Smash & Grab Robbery in Full Daylight Results in $30K Worth of Stolen Merchandise at Nordstrom in Los Angeles.”

Another commentator voiced apprehensions about the broader consequences, writing, “Another shoplifting bonanza at a Nordstrom outside of Los Angeles. This is not sustainable. The state of California is going to collapse. It is only a matter of time.”

Addressing the grave issue, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement condemning the incident, stating, “What transpired at the Nordstrom in the Topanga Mall today is utterly unacceptable. Those responsible for this and similar acts in neighboring areas must be held accountable. The Los Angeles Police Department remains committed not only to identifying the perpetrators behind this incident but also to preventing such assaults on retailers from reoccurring in the future.”

It appears that store robberies have become an unsettling “routine” in the city under Democratic administration, as this occurrence marks the second incident within a fortnight. On August 8, a comparable robbery unfolded at a Yves Saint Laurent store situated at the Americana in Glendale.

Despite apparent parallels between the two incidents, law enforcement has not yet confirmed any direct link between the Yves Saint Laurent robbery and the Nordstrom robbery.

India To Host World Coffee Conference In September

India is gearing up to host its first-ever World Coffee Conference (WCC), marking the fifth edition of this significant event promoted by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO). Scheduled to take place in Bengaluru from September 25 to September 28, the conference serves as a platform for fostering cooperation and promoting coffee trade among coffee-producing and consuming nations, with ICO being the primary intergovernmental organization dedicated to this cause.

At a preview ceremony in Bengaluru, the Coffee Board of India’s CEO and Secretary, K G Jagadeesha, revealed exciting news regarding the event’s brand ambassador. Renowned tennis player Rohan Bopanna will be taking on this role, adding further prestige to the conference. The ICO, in partnership with the Coffee Board of India, has taken the initiative to organize this remarkable event.

Picture : IndiaItaly

One of the primary objectives of WCC 2023 is to provide significant benefits to coffee farmers in India. Mr. Jagadeesha emphasized this by stating, “WCC (2023) is being organized for the first time in Asia and it is set to bring immense benefits to coffee farmers in India.” The global stage that the event offers will enable the promotion of Indian coffees, opening up new opportunities and markets for the farmers in the country.

The central theme of the conference is “Sustainability through Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture.” This important topic will be addressed through various conferences, exhibitions, skill-building workshops, a forum for CEOs and global leaders, as well as a growers’ conclave, making the event comprehensive and engaging for participants.

WCC 2023 is expected to draw representatives from more than 80 countries, including producers, curers, roasters, exporters, policy makers, and researchers. The diverse participation from various nations emphasizes the global significance of the coffee industry and highlights the importance of collaboration and cooperation in this sector.

The conference has previously been held in four different countries: England in 2001, Brazil in 2005, Guatemala in 2010, and Ethiopia in 2016. With India hosting the event this time, it not only solidifies the country’s position in the global coffee trade but also showcases the nation’s commitment to the coffee industry’s growth and development.

India’s upcoming hosting of the World Coffee Conference 2023 presents an excellent opportunity for the nation’s coffee farmers to showcase their products on the global stage. The event’s central theme of “Sustainability through Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture” reflects the industry’s growing focus on responsible and sustainable practices. With participants from over 80 countries expected to attend, the conference promises to be a platform for cooperation and collaboration among coffee-producing and consuming nations, further elevating the significance of the coffee industry in the global market. As the event unfolds in Bengaluru, the world will witness the potential and growth of India’s coffee trade, fostering new opportunities and markets for the country’s coffee farmers.

Indian Companies Can Now Apply For Overseas Listing: Finance Minister

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today that Indian companies can now go in for direct listing on foreign exchanges as well as on the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) bourse in Ahmedabad.

The approval, which came after three years of announcement as part of the Covid relief package, will enable domestic companies to access foreign funds by listing their shares on various exchanges overseas.

A proposal regarding this was first floated as part of the liquidity package announced during the pandemic in May 2020.

Picture : Rise of Indian Americans 2

“A direct listing of securities by domestic companies will now be permissible in foreign jurisdictions. I’m also pleased to announce that the government has taken a decision to enable direct listing of listed and unlisted companies on the IFSC exchange. So, this is a major step forward. This will facilitate access to global capital and better valuation,” Ms Sitharmanan said.

The minister was speaking at an event to launch AMC Repo Clearing and a corporate debt market development fund to help deepen the corporate bond market.

Further, she called for a regulatory impact assessment so that regulated entities in particular and the markets in general can better understand the fallout of their decisions.

She also asked financial market regulators to focus on the quality, proportionality and the effectiveness of their decisions so that companies find further ease in doing their business.

Urging large municipal bodies to tap the debt market for their funding needs, Sitharaman said the government has been and will continue to incentivise cities to improve their credit ratings so that they get better pricing for their bonds.

Amazon, Google Wooed By India For $750 Million Cricket Rights

India’s cricket governing body is trying to lure global giants and Alphabet to bid in a media rights auction of its team’s games amid waning interest from firms who had recently competed fiercely for the wildly successful Indian Premier League.

The proposed starting date of the auction process for the media rights of the so-called bilateral series, played by the Indian team against other countries, for the next five years got postponed by at least two weeks as the Board of Control for Cricket in India reaches out to more firms to drum up interest in the property, according to people familiar with the matter.

Picture : Economic Times

The lukewarm response by media firms ahead of the auction highlights the struggle to make money amid weak advertising revenues, with the shorter-format IPL being the top cricket property garnering higher viewership over the years. BCCI invited bids for the media rights on Wednesday and gave firms time up to Aug. 25 to buy the bid documents, the governing body said on its website.

The sale process is running two weeks behind a timeline suggested by its adviser, Ernst & Young, under which auctions would have been completed by August end, they said, asking not to be named as the information is not public. EY expects the sale of rights to 102 matches to raise at least $750 million, almost the same price for what it was sold five years back, the people said.

In contrast, the rights to IPL, which was auctioned last year, had surged almost threefold from the previous offering. The IPL remains one of the world’s most popular sporting contests and is still garnering the most eyeballs among cricket events.

BCCI raised record amounts of money by selling media rights for the IPL through an auction as Viacom, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and Walt Disney Co. outbid rivals, including Sony. However, Ambani’s JioCinema put the 2023 edition of IPL online for free and Disney struggled to make profits due to weak advertisement revenues.

Viacom 18 will aggressively bid for the digital media rights to the bilateral series, while Disney undergoing a round of cost reduction globally, might take a cautious stance, the people said.

Representatives for BCCI, Disney and EY declined to comment. Spokespersons Viacom 18, Amazon and Alphabet didn’t respond to emails seeking comments.

Star India, a Disney unit since 2019, had bought rights for the bilateral series in the five years from 2018 for 61 billion rupees ($741 million) and has clocked losses of about 10 billion rupees from the asset, the people said. A decision on breaking up the media rights into digital and linear this time around and conducting an e-auction is yet to be taken, they said.

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda Honored with Excellence in Medicine Award By TANA

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, a past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has been conferred with Excellence in medicine Award by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) during the 23rd annual conference held in Philadephia, PA on July 8th, 2023.

Dr. Jonnalagadda was chosen for the prestigious award by TANA for his contributions in the field of Medicine and for his great leadership of,AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US, especially during the Pandemic.

In response to receiving the award, Dr. Jonnalagadda, said, “ I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Telugu Association of North America for selecting me for the prestigious award. In recognizing me, the TANA has recognized all the medical professionals who have been in the forefront fighting Covid, including those who have laid their lives at the services of treating patients infected with the deadly virus. This award will strengthen the medical fraternity to recommit our efforts, skills and talents for the greater good of humanity.”

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda had served as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and has worked hard to “make AAPI stronger, more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power.”

AAPI is the largest Medical Organization in the United States, representing the interests of the over 120,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US for the past 41 years. “AAPI must be responsive to its members, supportive of the leadership and a true advocate for our mission,” he said.

Dr. Jonnalagadda was born in a family of Physicians. His dad was a Professor at a Medical College in India and his mother was a Teacher. He and his siblings aspired to be physicians and dedicate their lives for the greater good of humanity. “I am committed to serving the community and help the needy. That gives me the greatest satisfaction in life,” he said modesty.  Ambitious and wanting to achieve greater things in life, Dr. Jonnalagadda has numerous achievements in life. He currently serves as the President of the Medical Staff at the Hospital. And now, “being elected as the President of AAPI is greatest achievement of my life,”

As the President of AAPI, the dynamic physician from the state of Andhra Pradesh, helped to “develop a committee to work with children of AAPI members who are interested in medical school, to educate on choosing a school and gaining acceptance; Develop a committee to work with medical residents who are potential AAPI members, to educate on contract negotiation, patient communication, and practice management; Develop a committee to work with AAPI medical students, and to provide proctorship to improve their selection of medical residencies.”

A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage 2007-2008, and was the past Chair of Board of Trustees, GAPI. He was the Chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG Section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).

In response to the pandemic, Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda helped AAPI raise $5.4 million in three months to send 3,000 oxygen concentrators, 100 ventilators, and 100 pieces of high-flow oxygen equipment to India. AAPI connected with the American Heart Association, UNICEF and Intel for charity programs, and the NY Times rated AAPI as the second best charitable organization in the nation.

AAPI was able to provide tele-health platforms and a community outreach program through ZTV which educated millions of viewers. AAPI donated 5000 blankets during Thanksgiving and held luncheons for National Nurses Week in over 50 hospitals in the United States as well as, for the first time, locations in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, and the Caribbean. AAPI provided 30 credit hours of CME virtually and started the first ever purely scientific journal, JAPI. AAPI successfully initiated a clinical observer ship program to young physicians.

Under his leadership, AAPI raised funds to provide 1,000 Water Purification Plants in several towns and villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.  Also, it was during his Presidency, for the first time ever, AAPI held annual elections to national offices via electronic ballots.

Dr. Jonnalagadda and his team, under stressful Covid times, organized the annual Convention in a record three months’ time, both successful and profitable. As the president, he was interviewed by CNN, Voice of America, and the Washington Post, as well as Republic TV and NDTV in India. He was recognized by the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) with the Excellence in Leadership Award 2020 and the government of India presented him with the Pravasi Bharatiya  Samman Award in 2021.

In 2022, he was conferred with a Gold Medal By the Indian Red Cross Society during the 5th annual General Meeting held in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Jonnnalgadda was conferred with the award for his contributions by Shree Biswabhusan Harichandan, the Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh.  In 2020, Dr. Jonnalagadda was given Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indo-American Press Club.

His vision for AAPI has been to increase the awareness of APPI globally and help its voice heard in the corridors of power.  “I would like to see us lobby the US Congress and create an AAPI PAC and advocate for an increase in the number of available Residency Positions and Green Cards to Indian American Physicians so as to help alleviate the shortage of Doctors in the United States.”

India Pavilion at the Texworld Apparel and Home Textile Sourcing Show in New York

Ambassador of India to the United States, Shri Taranjit Singh Sandhu inaugurated the India Pavilion at the Texworld Apparel and Home Textile Sourcing Show in New York last week.

There are over two dozen Indian companies from the apparel, fabric and home textile sectors participating in the Texworld fair being held over three days from 18-20 July 2023.

India’s participation in the Texworld fair is being anchored by the Handloom Export Promotion Council and the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL).

After the inauguration, Amb. Sandhu interacted with Indian companies and visited their stalls.  He encouraged them to push hard to enhance India’s textile exports to the US and, in this regard, noted that the Commercial Wing at the Embassy and Consulates stand ready to offer all possible support.

He further added that the world-class textile products from India already have a large presence in the US, but there was potential to do more, especially in areas of sustainable textiles and organic products.  India’s textile exports to the US in 2022-23 stood at US$  10.4 billion, roughly accounting for 9-10% of the US textile imports.

Majority of the Indian textile companies participating in the fair are from two main clusters in India – Panipat in Haryana and Karur in Tamil Nadu.  There are several new-age products made of Bhagalpuri silk, bamboo, jute and 3D prints on display at the fair.

The Top Economies in the World(1980-2075)

As per a new report from Goldman Sachs, the equilibrium of worldwide financial power is projected to move decisively in the next few decades.

In the realistic above, we’ve made a knock diagram that gives a verifiable and prescient outline of the world’s best 15 economies at a few achievements: 1980, 2000, 2022, and Goldman Sachs projections for 2050 and 2075.

Projections and Features for 2050

Rank Country Real GDP in 2050 (USD trillions)
1  China $41.9
2  US $37.2
3  India $22.2
4  Indonesia $6.3
5  Germany $6.2
6  Japan $6.0
7  UK $5.2
8  Brazil $4.9
9  France $4.6
10  Russia $4.5
11  Mexico $4.2
12  Egypt $3.5
13  Saudi Arabia $3.5
14  Canada $3.4
15  Nigeria $3.4

The accompanying table shows the extended top economies on the planet for 2050. All figures address genuine Gross domestic product projections, in light of 2021 USD.

A significant subject of the beyond a very long while has been China and India’s inconceivable development. For example, somewhere in the range of 2000 and 2022, India bounced eight spots to turn into the fifth biggest economy, outperforming the UK and France.

By 2050, Goldman Sachs accepts that the heaviness of worldwide Gross domestic product will move significantly more towards Asia. While this is somewhat because of Asia beating past figures, it is additionally because of BRICS countries failing to meet expectations.

Prominently, Indonesia will turn into the fourth greatest economy by 2050, outperforming Brazil and Russia as the biggest developing business sector. Indonesia is the world’s biggest archipelagic state, and right now has the fourth biggest populace at 277 million.

The Top Economies On the planet in 2075

The accompanying table incorporates the fundamental numbers for 2075. Yet again figures address genuine Gross domestic product projections, in light of 2021 USD.

Rank Country Real GDP in 2075 (USD trillions)
1  China $57.0
2  India $52.5
3  US $51.5
4  Indonesia $13.7
5  Nigeria $13.1
6  Pakistan $12.3
7  Egypt $10.4
8  Brazil $8.7
9  Germany $8.1
10  UK $7.6
11  Mexico $7.6
12  Japan $7.5
13  Russia $6.9
14  Philippines $6.6
15  France $6.5

Projecting further to 2075 uncovers a radically unique world request, with Nigeria, Pakistan, and Egypt breaking into the main 10. A significant thought in these evaluations is quick populace development, which ought to bring about a huge workforce across each of the three countries.

In the mean time, European economies will keep on slipping further down the rankings. Germany, which was once the world’s third biggest economy, will sit at 10th behind Brazil.

It ought to likewise be noticed that China, India, and the U.S. are supposed to have comparative GDPs at this point, recommending fairly equivalent monetary power. Accordingly, how these countries decide to draw in with each other is probably going to shape the worldwide scene in manners that have sweeping ramifications.

4 Indian American Women In 2023 Forbes List

Four Indian Americans featured in Forbes’ annual list of America’s 100 most successful businesswomen. Jayshree Ullal, Neerja Sethi, Neha Narkhede, and Indra Nooyi were named to the list of entrepreneurs, executives, and entertainers with a cumulative wealth of $124 billion.

Jayshree Ullal (62)

CEO and President of computer networking firm Arista Networks, Ullal has been ranked 15th on the list. The ranking is highest among Indian-origin business leaders. Arista Networks, a publicly-traded company, recorded revenue of nearly $4.4 billion in 2022. According to Forbes, Ullal owns about 2.4% of Arista’s stock. She is also on the board of directors of Snowflake, a cloud computing company that went public in September 2020. An electrical engineering graduate from San Francisco State University, she also holds an engineering management degree.

Neerja Sethi (68)

Neerja Sethi has been ranked 25th on the list with a net worth of USD 990 million. Sethi and her husband Bharat Desai, co-founded the the IT consulting and outsourcing firm Syntel in 1980. The duo started the business with an initial investment of just $2,000. French IT firm Atos SE bought Syntel in 2018 for $3.4 billion, and Sethi got an estimated $510 million for her stake. An MBA graduate from Delhi University completed her Master of Science from Oakland University.

Neha Narkhede (38)

Narkhede, co-founder and former Chief Technology Officer of cloud company Confluent is ranked 50th on the list. Her net worth is USD 520 million. Narkhede is a software engineer-turned-entrepreneur. She helped develop the open-source messaging system Apache Kafka to help LinkedIn’s massive influx of data. In 2014, she along with two LinkedIn colleagues found Confluent, which helps organisations process large amounts of data on Apache Kafka. In March 2023, Narkhede announced her new company, a fraud detection firm Oscilar. As per Forbes, the USD 586 million (2022 revenues) company went public in June 2021 at a USD 9.1 billion valuation; she owns around 6 percent.

Indira Nooyi (67)

Indira Nooyi is PepsiCo’s former chairperson and CEO. She has been ranked 77th on the Forbes 2023 list. She retired in 2019 after being associated with the beverage company for almost 24 years. Nooyi has a net worth of USD 350 million. Her wealth stalks from stock she was granted while working at PepsiCo. Nooyi was one of corporate America’s few female CEOs in 2006.

Modi and Business Leaders Forge Alliance for Technological Advancement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his optimism for a prosperous future as he met with business leaders from India and the United States at the White House, highlighting the collaboration between Indian talent and American technological advancement. During the India-U.S. Hi-Tech Handshake Event, PM Modi emphasized the promising outcomes of the meeting, stating, “This morning (meeting) is only among a few friends but has brought with it the guarantee of a bright future,” with President Joe Biden acknowledging his remarks.

PM Modi seized the opportunity to align President Biden’s vision and capabilities with India’s aspirations and possibilities, expressing gratitude for the U.S. leader’s presence at the meeting. Describing the development as “honhaar, shandaar, dhardaar” in Hindi, he emphasized its potential to pave the way for a new future. The timing of the meeting is crucial as both countries aim to deepen their ties in the high-tech sector.

Reiterating the significance of the collaboration between Indian talent and U.S. technological advancement, Prime Minister Modi stressed the diverse representation of business leaders from various sectors, ranging from agriculture to space. Notable participants included Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google; Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI; Lisa Su, CEO of AMD; and NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, among others. The Indian business delegation comprised prominent figures such as Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries; Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group; Nikhil Kamath, co-founder of Zerodha and True Beacon; and Vrinda Kapoor, co-founder of 3rdiTech.

President Biden emphasized that their partnership would contribute to a free, secure, and prosperous future for future generations. He stated, “Our cooperation matters, not just for our people but quite frankly to the whole world, as our partnership is about more than the next breakthrough or the next deal as big as they may be.” The President underscored the importance of collaboration in addressing climate change, exploring the universe, alleviating poverty, preventing pandemics, and providing real opportunities for citizens.

PM Modi’s four-day state visit to the U.S. has been hailed as historic and groundbreaking by Indian officials, marking a significant breakthrough in India’s pursuit of critical cooperation in cutting-edge technologies, including technology transfer and joint research. The meeting between the Indian and U.S. business leaders sets the stage for potential collaborations that could drive innovation, economic growth, and societal progress for both nations.

Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with business honchos from India and the United States signifies the fusion of Indian talent and American technological advancements, leading to a promising future. The engagement between the two countries’ leaders and business representatives paves the way for collaborative efforts in various sectors, addressing global challenges and exploring new opportunities for growth and development.

India’s IIT Graduates in High Demand Globally

A significant portion, one-third, of graduates from India’s esteemed engineering institutions, specifically the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), choose to move abroad. A substantial 65% of these highly-skilled individuals make up the migrants bound for the United States, as revealed in a working paper (pdf) by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

A striking statistic shows that 90% of the top performers in the annual joint entrance examination for IITs and other renowned engineering colleges have migrated. Furthermore, 36% of the top 1,000 scorers have followed suit, according to the paper released this month.

Many IIT graduates have become leading executives and CEOs in the US. The majority of these immigrants initially move to the US as students and later join the workforce. The NBER paper discovered that “83% of such immigrants pursue a Master’s degree or a doctorate.”

The report highlights the role of elite universities in shaping migration outcomes, stating, “…through a combination of signaling and network effects, elite universities in source countries play a key role in shaping migration outcomes, both in terms of the overall propensity and the particular migration destination.”

There are 23 IITs spread across India, with acceptance rates at many of these prestigious institutions being lower than those of Ivy League colleges. This is especially true for the most sought-after IITs at Kharagpur, Mumbai, Kanpur, Chennai, and Delhi. In 2023 alone, a staggering 189,744 candidates registered for the JEE, competing for a mere 16,598 seats.

Highly skilled Indians are in high demand across global economies

The NBER report highlights the US graduate program as a crucial migration pathway to attract the “best and brightest.”

In a similar vein, the UK’s High Potential Individual visa route allows graduates from the top 50 non-UK universities, including the IITs, to live and work in the country for a minimum of two years. For those with doctoral qualifications, the work visa extends to at least three years.

The report also mentions that recent IIT graduates seeking to move abroad benefit from a network of accomplished alumni and faculty members already settled overseas. Some of these connections even grant access to specific programs where they hold sway over admissions or hiring decisions.

The intriguing example of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is worth noting

In 2012, this century-old institution, also India’s first central university, was granted IIT status. Interestingly, this elevation took place without any alterations to the staff, curriculum, or admission system at the Varanasi-based institute in Uttar Pradesh.

The NBER report examined 1,956 BHU students who graduated with BTech, BPharm, MTech, or integrated dual degrees between 2005 and 2015. The study found a remarkable 540% increase in migration probability among graduates following the IIT status designation.

The report observed that “…the quality of education/human capital acquired by the students in the cohorts before and after the change remained constant, while only the name of the university on the degree received differed.”

Google Addresses AI Job Loss Concerns with New Courses and Entrepreneur Programs

As an early innovator in artificial intelligence, Google has been striving to keep up with competitors like Microsoft and OpenAI, who have gained ground with advancements such as ChatGPT. Recognizing the need for individuals to develop skills for future job opportunities, Google is taking action to address this pressing issue.

The tech giant has officially introduced its new generative AI learning path, consisting of ten courses aimed at helping the average person gain a deeper understanding of AI and machine learning, particularly as these technologies begin to replace jobs. For investors, it’s always encouraging when prominent Big Tech companies adopt a long-term vision regarding AI.

Google’s new generative AI learning course was announced through a blog post, revealing that seven free courses were initially launched, with three more added to the platform recently. These courses cover topics such as the distinction between AI and machine learning, an introduction to Google’s Vertex AI training platform, and the ethical considerations surrounding responsible AI development.

The course serves as a starting point for users to grasp generative AI, its role within the broader AI landscape, and where to find additional learning resources to help them transition into AI-centric careers. Some may argue that this initiative is merely a strategy to attract potential AI enthusiasts to Google’s training system, ultimately leading them to use Google software for building their own AI and machine learning models and solidifying Google’s position in the AI race.

However, creating AI models requires expertise. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 36% growth rate in data scientist roles over the next decade. As such, these new courses are not only practical but also crucial for companies like Google, which will undoubtedly require a vast number of AI-focused data scientists in the future.

AI’s impact on the future of work has generated excitement, with major companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Nvidia investing billions in AI technologies. However, there is a pressing concern: the potential job losses resulting from AI automation. A recent Goldman Sachs survey estimates that up to 300 million jobs could be lost, with two-thirds of existing roles experiencing a reduction in workload due to AI. On the bright side, AI is expected to contribute $7 trillion to the global economy in the next decade, and 60% of today’s jobs didn’t exist in 1940.

A more optimistic Microsoft survey involving 30,000 workers and business leaders worldwide revealed that 70% of respondents would delegate specific tasks to AI. Business leaders were twice as focused on using AI to boost productivity rather than reducing headcount. Nevertheless, companies like IBM and BT are planning to cut thousands of jobs in favor of AI.

Google’s recent AI initiatives go beyond new courses. The company launched the Google for Startups Growth program in Europe, a three-month course for European AI entrepreneurs focusing on health and wellbeing. Since OpenAI’s ChatGPT debut, Google has been working on its own Bard version for users. The tech giant also announced significant changes to its search function, where it holds approximately 85% market share.

Google, Meta, and TikTok have faced criticism regarding AI-generated content labeling after the European Commission warned about the rapid spread of misinformation. Additionally, AI safety has become a significant concern, as evidenced by Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, one of AI’s founding figures, leaving Google to raise awareness on the subject. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai addressed these concerns in a recent Financial Times op-ed, stating, “AI is too important not to regulate, and too important not to regulate well.”

Alphabet’s share price has increased nearly 17% in the past month and over 41% since the beginning of the year. Google’s cloud computing division experienced a 28% YoY revenue growth last quarter. By focusing on upskilling future data scientists and empowering entrepreneurs to develop AI companies, Google is considering the bigger picture, leveraging its dominant search engine market share.

In summary, Google aims to bridge the knowledge gap in AI with new courses and tools, helping the company find skilled engineers and scientists for future AI projects. The stock price outpacing Microsoft may indicate that Google has regained an advantage. These learning courses form part of a strategy that increases reliance on Google’s AI products, attracting investors’ attention as they recognize the shift.

Student Loan Repayments Set to Resume with Potential Debt Forgiveness, New Repayment Plan, and Loan Servicer Changes

Following a hiatus of over three years, federal student loan payments are set to resume in the coming months. The recent debt ceiling agreement, signed into law by President Joe Biden, includes a clause that effectively ends the suspension of federal student loan repayments and may make it more difficult for the U.S. Department of Education to prolong the pause. Consequently, around 40 million Americans carrying education debt can expect their next payment due in September.

During the pandemic, the Biden administration has been actively revamping the federal student loan system. As borrowers return to repayment, they may encounter several modifications either already implemented or in the pipeline. Here are three notable changes:

Potential lower payments due to forgiveness

In August, President Biden introduced a groundbreaking proposal to eliminate $10,000 in student debt for tens of millions of Americans, or up to $20,000 for those who received a Pell Grant during their college years. However, legal challenges led to the closure of the application portal within a month.

The Supreme Court is currently reviewing two lawsuits against the plan, with a ruling expected by the end of the month. If approved, around 14 million individuals, or one-third of federal student loan borrowers, would have their entire balances forgiven, according to higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

These borrowers “likely won’t have to make a student loan payment again,” he said. For those with remaining balances, the Education Department plans to “re-amortize” their debts, recalculating monthly payments based on the reduced amount and remaining repayment timeline.

A new income-driven repayment option

The Biden administration is developing a more affordable repayment plan for student loan borrowers. This new program, called the Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan, would require borrowers to contribute 5% of their discretionary income toward undergraduate loans, instead of the current 10%.

According to Kantrowitz, this revamped plan could significantly reduce monthly payments for many borrowers. The payment plan is expected to become available by July 2024, but it may be implemented earlier if circumstances permit.

A new servicer handling loans

During the pandemic, several prominent federal student loan servicers, including Navient, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (also known as FedLoan), and Granite State, announced they would no longer manage these loans. Consequently, around 16 million borrowers will likely have a different company handling their loans when payments resume.

Kantrowitz warned that “whenever there is a change of loan servicer, there can be problems transferring borrower data.” Borrowers should be prepared for potential glitches and will receive multiple notices about the change in lender, according to Scott Buchanan, executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance. If a payment is mistakenly sent to the old servicer, it should be forwarded to the new one.

Saudi Arabia to Slash Oil Production by 1 Million Barrels per Day

Saudi Arabia has revealed its plan to reduce oil production by 1 million barrels per day starting in July, with the intention of promoting “stability and balance” in the global oil market. Despite not basing production decisions on crude oil prices, this action is widely perceived as an effort to bolster oil prices amid worldwide economic instability and potential declines in international demand.

The announcement followed an OPEC+ meeting in Vienna, although Saudi Arabia’s additional production cuts are being implemented independently. The country has stated that these reductions will persist for at least one month and may be prolonged.

OPEC+ nations also consented to extend the oil production cuts initially declared in April until the end of 2024. This decision will decrease the volume of crude oil they contribute to the global market by over 1 million barrels per day. Notably, OPEC+ countries account for approximately 40% of the world’s crude oil production.

Several African nations and Russia had been urged to diminish production, while the United Arab Emirates plans to augment its crude output. Worldwide oil production currently hovers around 100 million barrels per day.

According to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy, the nation will now produce 9 million barrels of crude oil daily, a reduction of 1.5 million barrels per day compared to earlier this year. These cuts coincide with the end of Memorial Day in the United States and the beginning of the bustling summer travel season, during which crude oil prices typically impact gasoline costs.

In the previous summer, President Biden visited Saudi Arabia—a nation he once labeled a “pariah” state—to request increased oil production from its leaders. Contrarily, OPEC+ members announced a 2 million barrels per day cut in October, which the White House deemed “shortsighted.”

To counteract rising gas prices, the Biden administration has been tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve since last year, releasing millions of barrels of oil.

Economic Growth, Rising Manufacturing and Exports Propel Nation Towards Top Global Economy Rankings

In the past decade, India has experienced 10 transformative changes that are now driving the nation towards doubling per capita income, export market share, increasing manufacturing’s share, enhancing corporate profits, and significantly improving other economic health indicators, according to Morgan Stanley. Their recent report, ‘How India has Transformed in Less than a Decade,’ credits policy changes such as Direct Benefit Transfers (DBTs), supply-side policy reforms, and adjustments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for bringing about overwhelmingly positive shifts in India’s macroeconomic situation, global standing, and local stock markets.

Ridham Desai, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley India, refuted the widespread belief that India has underperformed: “We run into significant skepticism about India, particularly with overseas investors, who say that India has not delivered its potential… and that equity valuations are too rich.” Desai added that this perspective “ignores the significant changes that have taken place in India, especially since 2014.” The report highlights ten crucial changes with extensive implications for both the economy and the market to support his argument.

The ten changes highlighted by Morgan Stanley are:

  1. Supply-side Policy Reforms
  2. Formalisation of the Economy
  3. Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act
  4. Digitalizing Social Transfers
  5. Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code
  6. Flexible Inflation Targeting
  7. Focus on FDI
  8. India’s 401(k) Moment
  9. Government Support for Corporate Profits
  10. MNC Sentiment at Multi-year High

The consequences of these changes on the economy

The main effect of these transformations is the consistent growth of manufacturing and capital expenditure as a percentage of GDP. Morgan Stanley forecasts that each will increase by 5 percentage points. Furthermore, India’s export market share is predicted to reach 4.5% by 2031, nearly doubling from 2021 levels, while per capita income is anticipated to reach $5,200 in the next ten years. “This will have major implications for change in the consumption basket, with a boost to discretionary consumption,” the report stated, adding, “We expect India’s real growth to average 6.5% in the next 10 years, making India the third-largest economy at nearly $8 trillion by 2031, up from fifth-largest currently.”

This structural shift will impact saving-investment dynamics, strengthening the nation’s external balance sheet and consequently narrowing the current account deficit (CAD). Domestic profits could potentially double, which, although explaining high equity valuations, will result in “a major rise in investments, a moderation in the CAD, and an increase in credit to GDP to support the coming profit growth.”

“Indian companies will likely witness a major increase in their profits share to GDP. Triggered by supply-side reforms by the government, we expect a major rise in investments coupled with a moderation in the current account deficit and an increase in credit to GDP to support this rise,” said Morgan Stanley.

Implications on the stock markets

Upon realizing these consequences, there will likely be a reduced correlation with oil prices and the US recession. This could also prompt a revaluation in domestic stock market valuations. “This reflects persistent domestic demand for stocks and higher growth for longer. India is trading at a premium to long-term history, albeit well off highs and in line with recent history,” the report noted. Additionally, the report observed that India’s beta to emerging markets has decreased to 0.6, a result of enhanced macro stability and a reduction in reliance on global capital market flows to finance the CAD.

Wendy Cutler On The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Meeting

The U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) concluded its meeting on Saturday, with trade ministers from the 14 participating countries agreeing on a deal to coordinate supply chains.

Wendy Cutler, Vice President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, offers the commentary below on the outcomes of the IPEF meeting.

“The 14 IPEF members should be commended for making progress on three pillars of their work, and achieving “substantial conclusion” of  their supply chain work. Reaching agreement among 14 countries, with different levels of development, different priorities and different needs is no small feat. That said, it’s still an open question whether meaningful outcomes can be achieved by the November target date of completion. The challenge of achieving high standards while securing the buy-in of all participants already seems to be impacting the talks, as evidenced by the largely process-oriented announcement on supply chains.  Once released, the final text of the supply chain agreement may shed more light on whether substantive commitments were agreed upon.

“The announcement on the Trade Pillar suggests that while work has ‘advanced,’ the negotiations still face significant hurdles. This is not surprising, given the topics included and lack of offers of market access to allow for traditional trade-offs. Of note, is that work on technical assistance and economic cooperation is singled out as an area where “substantial progress” has been made. Hopefully, this will pave the way for more progress on the tough issues of digital, labor and the environment.

“The Clean Economy Pillar statement language suggests that while IPEF members agree on the importance of the transition to a sustainable economy, there is no meeting of the minds on how IPEF can contribute in concrete terms. The announcement notes that many ideas and proposals are being discussed, but is vague on where the work may be headed in concrete terms.

“On the Supply Chain Pillar,  Ministers announced the ‘substantial conclusion’ of negotiations. Given the importance of supply chain resiliency to individual, regional and the global economy, the IPEF supply chain outcomes are welcome, albeit modest and largely process- oriented.

“The statement lays out nine important objectives of the agreement, including promoting a collective understanding of supply chain risks, minimizing disruptions, and ensuring the availability of skilled works in critical sectors. But these goals, many of which mirror the initial negotiating mandate of this pillar, do not  appear to be translated into rules, commitments or initiatives.   

“Rather, the announcement focuses on three new bodies to help flesh out and operationalize the objectives, including a Council, a crisis response mechanism, and a labor advisory board. In essence, the IPEF members have established a framework within a framework to address supply chain concerns, with much of the substantive work yet to be discussed and agreed upon.  Curiously, the new bodies are ‘contemplated,’ and apparently not yet agreed upon, suggesting that there were some last-minute hitches in even setting up this structure.

“Finally, the Fair Economy pillar points to ‘good progress’ on negotiation of the text on anticorruption and tax matters. Based on this characterization, this pillar’s work is likely to be the next candidate for an early harvest agreement.”

USIBC Plans 2023 India Ideas Summit In Washington

The summit will explore the U.S.-India economic partnership across sectors.
The United States India Business Council (USIBC) announced that its 2023 India Ideas Summit will be held on June 12-13, 2023 on the sidelines of its 48th Annual General Meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington D.C.
In a statement, USIBC shared the summit themed ‘Trust, Resilience, and Growth’ – will focus on how these three organizing principles underpin the U.S.-India economic partnership across sectors. “As the Summit is the flagship event of USIBC, and the premier convention of government, industry, and thought leaders in the U.S.-India Corridor, USIBC’s annual India Ideas Summit has become an institution,”it said.
This year’s summit carries an additional significance as it will take place about ten days in advance of PM Modi’s state visit to the US scheduled to begin from June 22, 2023, in an effort to strengthen bilateral relations.
Every year, the bilateral trade council hosts conversations that explore important technological developments, chart an agenda for the trade relationship, and highlight how India-US commercial ties serve shared strategic and economic interests.\
Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization in the U.S.-India corridor, composed of more than 200 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. The Council aims to create an inclusive bilateral trade environment between India and the United States by serving as the voice of industry, linking governments to businesses, and supporting long-term commercial partnerships that will nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship, create jobs, and successfully contribute to the global economy.

India Emerges As Top Alternative To China For MNCs

IMA India recently disclosed through its 2023 Global Operations Benchmarking survey that nearly 80 percent of global CEOs choose India as their top destination over China.

The 2023 Global operations benchmarking survey, conducted by IMA India, showed the country as an emerging destination for MNCs. A poll of 100 CEOs who largely represent international B2B-focused companies stated that India is the top destination that multinational enterprises are looking for as an alternative to China.

As per the study, 88 per cent of CEOs who surveyed companies with a presence in India, chose India as their top option over China due to its growing geopolitical aggressiveness, dubious trade and commercial practices, and rising labour prices.

“In the last five years, foreign MNCs have increased their on-ground presence in India, partly as a result of diversification away from China. In particular, the IT & ITES companies are ramping up the share of their global workforce that is based in India,” said Suraj Saigal, Research Director, IMA India.

In the last three years, over 70 per cent of the companies, according to a study based on the poll, have seen significant changes in their business strategy based on-the-ground operations in China. Comparatively speaking, the industrial sector exhibits a more pronounced pullback than the services sector. The percentage of people making adjustments has declined in 41 per cent of cases, while 56 per cent have cut down on investments and sourced less from China.

While a handful of enterprises have quit the industry, 6 per cent have reduced their market participation. In addition, taking into consideration recent changes in commercial and geopolitical tactics, the study looked at how corporations are recognising and seizing India’s business possibilities.

India’s predicted worldwide workforce share climbed from 22.4 per cent to 24.9 per cent between FY18 and FY23 in mean percentage terms, while its revenue share increased from 14.8 per cent to 15.8 per cent. These numbers show India’s gradual rise in the world scene throughout this time.

However, even those that choose India listed infrastructure, legal restrictions, and skill-related problems as major obstacles. The study determined that the worldwide trend away from multilateral commerce towards bilateral trade connections was the cause for the rising popularity of friend-shoring. The emergence of ‘deglobalization,’ protectionism, and nationalism has forced governments to cooperate with nations with which they already have cordial bilateral connections rather than depending on international or regional trade accords.

Biden Signs Debt Ceiling Bill, Averting Government Shut Down

President Joe Biden on Saturday, June 3rd signed the debt ceiling bill, a capstone to months of negotiations that pushed the U.S. to the brink of default. Biden signed H.R. 3746, the “Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023,” two days before Monday’s default deadline, on which the U.S. would run out of cash to pay its bills, according to a White House release.

Biden thanked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “for their partnership.” Biden tweeted: “I just signed into law a bipartisan budget agreement that prevents a first-ever default while reducing the deficit, safeguarding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and fulfilling our scared obligation to our veterans. Now, we continue the work of building the strongest economy in the world.”

The House of Representatives and the Senate passed the legislation this week after Biden and House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement following tense negotiations.

The Treasury Department had warned it would be unable to pay all its bills on Monday if Congress had failed to act by then.

Biden, who had experienced the 2011 debt limit crisis, refused to make any concessions for what he considered Congress’s basic duty. However, McCarthy, encouraged by conservatives seeking significant changes to federal spending, was determined to use the nation’s borrowing power as leverage, even if it risked pushing the U.S. towards default.

The ensuing events demonstrated how two influential figures in Washington, both of whom believe in the importance of personal connections despite not having a strong relationship themselves, managed to prevent an unprecedented default that could have seriously damaged the economy and carried unpredictable political repercussions.

However, the standoff was primarily provoked by Republicans who believed that threatening the debt limit was necessary to curb federal spending. Despite a decisive 314-117 House vote and a 63-36 Senate vote, this episode has put McCarthy’s speakership to the test and challenged his capacity to control his party’s rebellious far-right faction.


McCarthy now feels empowered and remains undaunted. Reflecting on his election as speaker after the House passed the debt limit package, he mentioned his arduous journey to secure the gavel in January. He stated, “Every question you gave me (was), what could we survive, what could we even do? I told you then, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

This narrative of the prolonged process through which Washington resolved the debt limit crisis is based on interviews with legislators, senior White House officials, and high-ranking congressional aides, some of whom requested anonymity to disclose private negotiation details.

Key to overcoming the obstacles were Biden and McCarthy’s five negotiators, who brought policy expertise to the table and received full support from their leaders. Republicans particularly appreciated the involvement of presidential counselor Steve Ricchetti, who speaks on behalf of Biden like no one else, and Shalanda Young, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget, who gained invaluable experience as a respected senior congressional aide overseeing the intricate annual appropriations process.

Young and Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, one of McCarthy’s negotiators, developed such a close rapport that they phoned each other every morning during their respective day care drop-offs. Additionally, Young and the other GOP negotiator, Rep. Garret Graves, playfully debated who had the better gumbo recipe while discussing the debt limit during a White House celebration for the national champion Louisiana State University women’s basketball team.

The five negotiators – Graves, McHenry, Ricchetti, Young, and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell – convened daily in an elegant office on the Capitol’s first floor, adorned with frescoes by 19th-century muralist Constantino Brumidi. In these meetings, they focused intently on priorities and non-negotiables to determine how they could reach an agreement.


By May 19, the negotiations were becoming shaky. Republicans grew impatient as the White House seemed unwilling to compromise on reducing federal spending, which was a non-negotiable demand for the GOP.

During a morning meeting that Friday, White House officials urged McHenry and Graves to present a formal proposal. However, the frustrated Republicans opted to go public instead. They informed reporters that the talks had temporarily halted. As he hurried through the Capitol, Graves said, “We decided to press pause because it’s just not productive.” He later explained that he and McHenry were tired of playing games.

Tensions didn’t subside. When negotiations resumed that night, McHenry and Graves presented a new proposal that not only revived numerous rejected provisions from the GOP’s debt limit bill but also incorporated the House Republicans’ border-security bill. A White House official labeled the proposal “regressive.”

The White House expressed its own frustrations as the discussions seemed to be faltering, starting with a lengthy statement from communications director Ben LaBolt and followed by Biden’s comments at a press conference in Hiroshima, Japan, where he was attending a summit of leading democracies. The president stated, “Now it’s time for the other side to move their extreme positions. Because much of what they’ve already proposed is simply, quite frankly, unacceptable.”


Despite the escalating public rhetoric, there were indications that the talks were improving. Biden called McCarthy from Air Force One as he left Japan, and the speaker appeared more hopeful than he had been in days. Fueled by coffee, gummy worms, and burritos, negotiators worked exhausting hours, primarily at the Capitol but once at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where they enjoyed Call Your Mother bagel sandwiches provided by White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients.

One session lasted until 2:30 a.m., and Graves showed reporters an app tracking his sleep, revealing an average of three hours per night during the final stretch. McCarthy sent lawmakers home over Memorial Day weekend, which McHenry believed was helpful. He said, “The tone of the White House negotiators became much more serious and much more grounded in the realities they were going to have to accept.”


On May 27, Biden and McCarthy announced a deal in principle and began the task of convincing others. The night before the vote, McCarthy assembled House Republicans in the Capitol’s basement, provided pizza, and explained the bill while challenging Freedom Caucus members to use the same aggressive language they had employed at an earlier news conference. By the meeting’s end, it was evident that McCarthy had quelled the rebellion.

Meanwhile, the White House had its work cut out for them in appeasing rank-and-file Democrats. Biden and McCarthy displayed contrasting styles throughout the negotiations, with the speaker discussing the debt limit talks openly and frequently, while the president remained quiet, wary of jeopardizing the deal before it was finalized.

Biden had been privately addressing his party’s concerns even as the agreement was being finalized. After the Congressional Progressive Caucus criticized the few known details, particularly regarding stricter requirements for federal safety-net programs, Rep. Pramila Jayapal received a call from Biden. He assured her that his negotiators were working diligently to minimize the Republican-drafted changes to food stamp and cash assistance programs.

In a statement after the vote, Biden expressed gratitude and relief, saying, “This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise. Neither side got everything it wanted. That’s the responsibility of governing.”

Age, Education, and Gender Impact on Average Salaries in the U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’1 research on American earnings reveals that the median salary in the United States peaks within the 45 to 54 age range. A deeper analysis of the average salary by age in the U.S. uncovers some interesting insights.

Key Findings on Average Salary by Age in the U.S.:

  • Median American earnings reach their highest point in the 45 to 54 age range.
  • The most significant salary increase from one age group to another is between 20 to 24 and 25 to 34, indicating that this is when most individuals experience major career advancements.
  • Younger earners in the 16 to 19 age group typically earn 49.92% less than older workers.

The data underscores the notable salary growth for workers transitioning from the 20 to 24 to the 25 to 34 age group. This substantial increase in earnings suggests that the most significant career progressions usually take place during this time, supported by factors such as skill development, education, and work experience.

Furthermore, a considerable wage gap exists between younger earners in the 16 to 19 age group and their older counterparts. On average, these young workers earn 49.92% less, which can be attributed to factors like limited work experience, a smaller skill set, and entry-level positions. This information is crucial for policymakers, educators, and employers, as it emphasizes the importance of skill development and work experience in closing the income gap. As younger individuals grow, develop their skills, and gain work experience, their earning potential will significantly improve, driving overall salary growth throughout their careers.

Noteworthy Observations on Average Salary by Age and State:

  • New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland are the states with the largest income jumps from one age range to the next.
  • New Hampshire is the state where young people have the highest average income, with a salary of $52,926.
  • New Jersey is the state with the largest pay gap between younger and older workers.’s2 comprehensive research reveals intriguing regional disparities regarding income progression across age groups in the United States. The states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland exhibit the most substantial income jumps between age ranges, indicating unique economic dynamics in these areas and suggesting that professionals in these states may experience more significant salary increases throughout their careers.

New Hampshire stands out as the state where young people have the highest average income, boasting an impressive salary of $52,926. This data highlights the favorable economic conditions for young professionals in New Hampshire, making it an ideal destination for ambitious individuals seeking to maximize their early career earnings.

On the other hand, New Jersey showcases the largest pay gap between younger and older workers, emphasizing the importance of understanding regional differences when evaluating career prospects and income potential across the United States.

Key Points on Average Salary by Age and Educational Level:

  • The median salary for individuals older than 25 with a bachelor’s degree is 76.24% higher than for those older than 25 with a high school diploma.
  • The median salary for people older than 25 with an advanced degree is 70.64% higher than for those older than 25 with a bachelor’s degree, and 143.54% higher than those with an associate degree.

The National Center for Education Statistics3 offers compelling data demonstrating the impact of education level on earning potential. People aged 25 and above with a bachelor’s degree earn a median salary that is 76.24% higher than those with only a high school diploma, emphasizing the value of pursuing higher education and its long-term benefits for career growth and financial stability.

Data shows that individuals over 25 with an advanced degree have a median salary that is 70.64% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree and a remarkable 143.54% more than those with an associate degree. These findings underscore the profound effect of advanced education on salary prospects and the potential rewards of investing in graduate or professional degrees.

Average Salary by Age and Gender:

  • The most substantial gender pay gap is observed in the 45 to 54 age group.
  • The smallest gender pay gap is present in the 16 to 19 age group.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics^1 highlights a notable disparity in wages between genders, particularly in the 45 to 54 age group. In this age range, the male median annual wage amounts to $72,228, while the female median annual wage is considerably lower at $57,096. This translates to a wage discrepancy of $15,132 or a 26.5% difference favoring males.

Conversely, the gender pay gap is significantly smaller in the 16 to 19 age group, with the median annual wage for males standing at $32,188 and females at $31,096. This results in a difference of $1,092 or a mere 3.5% wage disparity in favor of males.

The information gleaned from these statistics emphasizes that the gender pay gap is not uniform across age groups. Instead, it widens as individuals progress in their careers and attain higher income levels. This trend suggests a complex interplay of factors, such as career choices, professional growth, and work-life balance, may disproportionately impact women during their mid-career stages.

Retaining Top Talent, Boosting Economic Growth, and Strengthen America’s Global Standing

The wave of job losses that have struck the tech industry since the beginning of the year has forced tens of thousands of H1-B Visa holders to scramble to find new employment within 60 days or risk deportation. For those who acted quickly, the deadline has come and gone. Fortunately, the majority of them were successful.

At Revelio Labs, where we collect publicly accessible workforce data to analyze labor trends, we discovered that over 90% of laid-off H1-B visa holders managed to secure new jobs that met the program’s strict requirements. Interestingly, compared to native workers, immigrants found jobs 10 days quicker, primarily because they were more willing to relocate for new opportunities. However, their flexibility is limited, as visa holders can only accept positions directly related to their specialized training.

Indeed, our research showed that while 67% of non-immigrant workers changed roles after being laid off, only 49% of visa holders did the same. So, how did so many manage to find positions in their specialty despite Big Tech’s drastic cost-cutting measures? The answer lies in market demand.

Tech jobs remain widely available outside of tech companies. Consequently, the stars aligned for laid-off tech workers on H1-B visas, as numerous other doors were open. The H1-B Visa program functions best when it enables participants to adapt seamlessly to market demand, but it is not inherently responsive to market needs. Revelio Labs’ data reveals that 78% of Fortune 500 companies currently have critical roles unfilled for six months or more – a situation that could be improved with greater flexibility in the H1-B visa program and better collaboration between public and private sectors to direct qualified talent where it is most needed.

Despite ongoing layoffs, labor shortages persist. Revelio Labs found that over 43.4% of companies had more than 50 technical positions they were unable to fill in the past year, accounting for 68.8% of approved H-1B visa holders in 2021.

Our visa allocation system, which could otherwise provide a dependable talent pipeline to fill open roles and attract the best candidates globally, is hindered by restrictions that limit visa holders’ mobility in a market that demands flexibility. A truly market-sensitive visa allocation system would enable companies to obtain the staff they need, ultimately stabilizing the workforce, reducing talent shortage costs, and bridging skills gaps – projected to result in a loss of up to $162 billion by 2030.

One of the most criticized and harmful aspects of the H1-B visa process is the annual cap of 65,000 visas (plus an additional 20,000 for U.S. graduate degree holders), which has remained unchanged since the program’s inception over two decades ago. In 2023 alone, this meant that over 483,000 applicants were rejected despite millions of job openings.

This isn’t the first time demand has exceeded this limited supply. Between 2008 and 2020, the cap was reached within the first five business days of opening the application on several instances. Last year, visa registrations increased by 56.8%.

To address the millions of vacant roles, we need adaptable, market-sensitive visa policies to regulate foreign labor flow rather than arbitrary and outdated federal restrictions.

Local municipalities are best suited to determine the number of foreign workers they can accommodate. Companies spend $5,000 to $10,000 more to hire H1-B visa holders than U.S. citizens. Instead of investing time and resources in a federal system that may or may not meet a company or community’s talent needs, companies could pay municipalities where their foreign worker resides and receive a guaranteed visa in return. This arrangement would benefit both companies and municipalities.

Chicago provides a glimpse of what might happen if municipalities were empowered to manage foreign worker hiring. The city recently initiated a coordinated effort between 35 firms willing to hire H1-B visa holders and a nonprofit organization to create a specialized job listing website advertising these jobs as H1-B visa sponsorships. This public-private partnership aims to fill over 400,000 open positions by tapping into the pool of tech sector workers laid off while on a visa. It’s an excellent starting point and a model that would be even more scalable and sustainable if the revenue from companies covering visa application costs went back to the city rather than the federal government.

The recent headlines about massive layoffs in Silicon Valley have left thousands of H-1B visa holders in a precarious position, with only 60 days to secure new opportunities before facing potential deportation. The upheaval caused by such instability is immense, and if we don’t find improved ways to support and retain foreign talent, we risk losing these skilled workers to their home countries or to other nations with more welcoming immigration policies, such as Canada, New Zealand, or Switzerland. This loss of talent will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for both our local communities and America’s standing in the global economy.

While we’ve made significant progress in addressing discriminatory hiring practices based on race, religion, or gender, our current visa system still allows geographical factors to unfairly hinder even the most qualified candidates. If we were to prioritize market forces and merit over a lottery system when deciding which foreign laborers to welcome, we’d likely see a decrease in job vacancies and an increase in contributions from top talent worldwide to our workforce and communities.

Failing to hire and retain exceptional non-native talent gives our international competitors an advantage that was once America’s greatest strength. Although the complexities of U.S. immigration policy require numerous reforms to better serve our economic interests, the stakes are too high to continue hindering our own progress. Addressing this issue will enable companies to acquire the talent they need, promote city growth, and ultimately create a more efficient and equitable workforce.

Top Battery Stocks Set to Thrive as Global EV Demand Skyrockets and Lithium Prices Rebound

Leading battery stocks are set to stand out as the demand for electric vehicles surges. The International Energy Agency predicts that one in every five cars globally will be electric this year, significantly impacting EV battery demand.

In fact, Fortune Business Insights estimates that the global EV battery market could expand from $37.9 billion in 2021 to nearly $98.9 billion by 2029, benefiting these three battery stocks.

Albemarle (ALB)

A prime investment opportunity in the electric vehicle battery boom lies in lithium stocks, such as Albemarle (NYSE:ALB). Firstly, the company announced a $1.3 billion investment in a new lithium hydroxide plant in South Carolina to address battery demand. Secondly, the facility is expected to generate around 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium, with the capacity to double production.

Thirdly, this output could facilitate the manufacturing of 2.4 million electric vehicles annually. Adding to the potential growth, lithium prices are recovering. Citigroup analysts even suggest that the downturn in lithium prices may have ended, with an anticipated increase of up to 40% by year-end.

Furthermore, Albemarle has now partnered with Ford, providing battery-grade lithium hydroxide for the automaker’s EVs. Under the agreement, Albemarle will supply over 100,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide to power roughly 3 million future Ford EV batteries. The five-year supply contract commences in 2026 and runs through 2030.

Solid Power

Although the chart might not look promising, Solid Power (NASDAQ:SLDP) should not be dismissed. Needham analysts recently reinstated their buy rating for the stock with a $5 price target, referring to SLDP as a “well-funded call option.” Solid Power is also working to strengthen its partnership with BMW (OTCMKTS:BMWYY) through a joint development agreement, which contributed to the company’s $3.8 million revenue in Q1 2023, an increase of $1.6 million YoY.

Moreover, the company has two significant milestones this year: anticipated improvements in key cell performance metrics and the expected delivery of EV cells to partners by late 2023.

Amplify Lithium & Battery Technology ETF (BATT)

With a 0.59% expense ratio, the Amplify Lithium & Battery Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:BATT) offers investors access to international companies involved in lithium battery technology.

As lithium prices recover, the BATT ETF is also gaining momentum. In fact, with the aggressive increase in lithium prices, the BATT ETF has risen from a recent low of $11.60 to $12.59 per share. Moving forward, it would be ideal for the BATT ETF to retest the $14 per share mark.

Meta Layoffs Leave H1B Visa Holders Scrambling for New Jobs or Facing Deportation

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has recently announced a second round of mass layoffs, affecting thousands of its employees. Among those most greatly affected are employees working in the US on an H1B visa, who are left with limited time to find alternative employment in the country, otherwise they face deportation.

Kushal Naidu, a program manager at Meta working in Texas, took to LinkedIn to request help in finding a new job which could sponsor his H1B visa. He stated that he had been impacted by the company’s latest round of layoffs and was actively seeking new opportunities in program management, data engineering and data analytics. “I am in the US on a work visa (H1B) and therefore, I need to find a job soon,” Naidu added in his LinkedIn post.

Another employee impacted by the layoffs is Sneha Agarwal, a data specialist who had been with Meta for three years. She also took to LinkedIn to request help in finding new data science & analytics/Analytics Program Manager roles with a company that is willing to sponsor her work visa.

Meta’s latest round of layoffs followed a hiring spree that saw the company expand its workforce since 2020. The cuts brought the company’s headcount back to its mid-2021 levels. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the bulk of the layoffs would take place in three moments over several months, largely finishing in May, with some smaller rounds potentially continuing after that.

The layoffs have left many employees in a difficult position, particularly those on work visas who are now scrambling to find new employment in the US before their visas expire. The uncertainty and instability of the job market has only added to the challenges they face.

Despite the difficulties faced by those impacted by the layoffs, many are turning to their network on LinkedIn in hopes of finding new employment. LinkedIn has a feature that allows job seekers to highlight their H1B visa status, increasing their chances of finding an employer willing to sponsor their visa.

The impact of Meta’s layoffs highlights the challenges faced by foreign workers in the US job market. The H1B visa program has long been criticized for its limitations and complexities, which can leave workers vulnerable to exploitation and uncertainty. The current situation only exacerbates these challenges, leaving many workers anxious about their future in the country. As companies like Meta continue to scale back their workforce, it remains to be seen how the job market will adapt to accommodate those impacted by the layoffs.

High-Income Earners Struggle with Pay check-to-Pay check

Despite a slight easing in inflation, a considerable number of consumers continue to feel the pinch. The proportion of adults who feel financially stretched remained nearly constant at 61% as of April, as per a recent LendingClub report.

Interestingly, the report reveals that high-income earners are experiencing increased pressure. Among those with six-figure incomes, 49% now live paycheck to paycheck, up from 42% last year. On the other hand, individuals earning less than $100,000 saw either a steady percentage or a decline in those living paycheck to paycheck during the same period.

Your financial status might be influenced by where you reside

Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s Financial Health Officer, explains that “a $100,000 income may not stretch that far” depending on your location. A separate study by SmartAsset examined how far a six-figure salary stretches in the 25 largest cities in the United States. In New York City, for instance, $100,000 is equivalent to just $35,791 after accounting for taxes and the high cost of living.

In contrast, a $100,000 salary goes much further in Memphis, equating to approximately $86,444 thanks to a lower cost of living and no state income tax. LendingClub found that 69% of city dwellers live paycheck to paycheck, which is 25% more than their suburban counterparts. Nayar highlights, “where you live appears to be almost equally important in factoring whether a consumer is living paycheck to paycheck.”

Rising mortgage rates, home prices, and rents in many cities across the country contribute to these financial challenges, as evidenced by the latest data from rental listings site As of the previous month, 29 of the 50 most populous U.S. cities registered year-over-year rent increases.

Jon Leckie, a researcher for, notes that compared to two years ago, rents have surged by over 16%—equivalent to a $275 hike in monthly rent bills. He adds, “That kind of growth over such a short period of time is going to put a lot of pressure on pocket books.”

Escaping the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle

It can be challenging, especially for high earners and city dwellers who often fall victim to “lifestyle creep,” according to Carolyn McClanahan, CFP and founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.

As people’s incomes increase, their spending habits tend to follow suit, particularly when it comes to dining out, using food delivery services like DoorDash, and subscribing to additional services. McClanahan warns that it’s easy to “fall into the trap of too much convenience spending.”

To overcome this cycle, McClanahan, who is also a member of CNBC’s Advisor Council, recommends evaluating convenience spending and identifying areas that don’t bring value. She advises, “the first thing to do is look at convenience spending and figure out ways to cut the spending that is not bringing them value.” Redirect the money saved from cutting unnecessary expenses towards building an emergency fund.

Once you’ve accumulated three to six months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund, shift your focus to saving for other financial goals.

Report Reveals Staggering Disparity Among Global Top 1%: Monaco Tops the List, India Ranks 22nd

Many people associate wealth with owning a luxurious home, an extravagant car, and other valuable possessions. However, the top one per cent of the world’s wealthiest individuals possess far more than most can fathom.

Global real estate consulting firm Knight Frank recently published its updated Wealth Report, which discloses the amount of wealth required to become part of the elite one per cent in various countries. Monaco leads the pack, where entering the top tier necessitates a net worth of at least eight figures. According to Knight Frank’s findings, the starting point for Monaco’s wealthiest one per cent is $12.4 million.

Wondering about India? The country ranks 22nd on the list of 25 nations featured in the wealth report, with a minimum requirement of $175,000 (Rs 1.44 crore) to join the top one per cent. India places higher than South Africa, the Philippines, and Kenya.

Knight Frank’s 2022 report highlights that the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in India grew by 11 per cent, driven by thriving equity markets and a digital revolution. Among Asian countries, Singapore boasts the highest entry threshold, with $3.5 million needed to join the top one per cent, slightly ahead of Hong Kong’s $3.4 million.

Forbes’ 2023 list of billionaires includes 169 Indians, up from 166 the previous year. Mukesh Ambani retains his title as the richest person in both India and Asia, despite an eight per cent decrease in his wealth over the past year.

Knight Frank’s findings emphasize how the pandemic and rising living expenses have exacerbated the divide between affluent and impoverished nations. The entry-level for Monaco’s wealthiest is over 200 times greater than the $57,000 required to be part of the top one percent in the Philippines, which ranks among the lowest in Knight Frank’s study.

Swiggy CEO Says, Food Delivery Business Has Turned Profitable

Swiggy CEO Sriharsha Majety has said that their food delivery business has turned profitable (as of March 2023), after factoring in all corporate costs, excluding employee stock option costs.

Without sharing any numbers, Majety said that this is a milestone for food delivery globally, as Swiggy has become one of the very few global food delivery platforms to achieve profitability in less than nine years since its inception.

“Our teams are more in sync than ever with restaurant partners to improve their experience with Swiggy and create mutual wins. As a result, our restaurant net promoter score (NPS) has improved by over 100 per cent in the past 8 quarters,” he mentioned.

Last year, Swiggy acquired Dineout for around $120 million in an all-stock deal.

Today, “it is the leader in the dining out category with more than 21,000 restaurant partners across 34 cities”, said the CEO.

The CEO also said that the are excited about the trajectory of quick commerce business, Instamart.

“We’ve also made strong progress on the profitability of this business and we’re on track to hit contribution neutrality for this 3-year-old business in the next few weeks,” Majety informed.

According to market research firm RedSeer, the quick commerce domain is anticipated to touch $5.5 billion by 2025.

Swiggy’s losses doubled to Rs 3,629 crore in FY22 compared to Rs 1,617 crore in the last fiscal year.

Its revenue grew 2.2 times to Rs 5,705 crore during FY22 as opposed to Rs 2,547 crore in FY21, according to its annual financial statement with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). (IANS)

IRS To Launch Free Online Tax-Filing System

The IRS has revealed plans to initiate a trial of a complimentary, direct online tax-filing system for the 2024 tax season. This decision is based on significant taxpayer interest and a relatively low cost associated with the system.

In their eagerly awaited report, the IRS disclosed that they have developed a prototype system which will be introduced through a pilot program. The program will involve a limited number of taxpayers and offer restricted functionality, enabling the Treasury Department to assess how users engage with the system, according to IRS and Treasury officials.

Laurel Blatchford, who leads the Treasury Department’s office responsible for implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, stated, “Dozens of other countries have provided free tax-filing options to their citizens, and American taxpayers who want to file their taxes for free online should have an acceptable option.”

The Inflation Reduction Act increased IRS funding by $80 billion and mandated the agency to evaluate the feasibility of a direct tax-filing system. If implemented, this program could potentially allow taxpayers to prepare and submit their taxes without relying on popular tax preparation companies, which have invested millions to oppose similar proposals in the past.

IRS considers revamping tax filing process

The IRS has identified a strong demand for a complimentary tax-filing service, now referred to as “Direct File.” Laurel Blatchford mentioned, “Seventy percent of the public is interested in a free option deployed by the IRS, so we think there will be excitement there.” The Treasury Department’s decision to proceed with the pilot program was influenced by evident taxpayer interest.

An IRS-conducted survey revealed that 72 percent of taxpayers expressed high or moderate interest in using the direct file service. Additionally, 68 percent of those who prepare their returns stated they would be highly or moderately likely to switch to the IRS’s free online tool.

Significant impact with minimal expected cost

The report estimates the direct file system’s cost to be only a small portion of the $80 billion budget increase the IRS obtained through the Inflation Reduction Act, most of which is designated for enhanced enforcement capabilities. The report found that “Annual costs of Direct File may range from $64 million (assuming 5 million users and a narrow scope of covered tax situations) to $249 million (assuming 25 million users and a broad scope of covered tax situations).”

Funding for this initiative will be sourced from the IRS’s technology and products budget, as well as its customer support budget. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel also suggested that systems modernization funds allocated in the Inflation Reduction Act could be utilized to strengthen the system.

Understanding Direct File

The report suggests that taxpayers’ confidence in using the IRS system stems from the fact that the IRS already has access to their personal information. However, Danny Werfel, the IRS Commissioner, stated that the direct file prototype would not likely utilize pre-populated forms to further automate interactions with government software, explaining, “Given that it will be limited in scope, we do not expect pre-population or predetermining tax obligations to be part of it.”

This implies that the prototype software will likely adopt a question-and-answer format, similar to many commercial software options, as indicated by the IRS’s recent strategic operating plan for its expanded budget.

Direct File eligibility

Tuesday’s report outlines various scenarios that the Direct File system could accommodate, ranging from basic wage income taxed with the standard deduction to more complex situations involving state returns. Werfel mentioned that the pilot program would further determine the specific taxpayer cases that could utilize the system.

With nearly 90% of all filers using the standard deduction and wages and salaries being taxed at 99% compliance, the Direct File system might handle the majority of common tax situations. This has led to recommendations for a direct file option from the Government Accountability Office, the National Taxpayer Advocate, and numerous tax experts over the years.

Since the early 2000s, the IRS’s Free File program, an agreement between the IRS and a group of private tax preparation companies, has offered free commercial software to lower-income individuals. However, only a small percentage of eligible taxpayers have used it, resulting in accusations of deceit and a $141 million settlement paid by TurboTax maker Intuit to taxpayers across nine states.

Lawmakers’ opinions on IRS e-filing

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Werfel this week, encouraging the adoption of an e-filing program and stating, “The IRS established the free e-filing program in 2003, but it did so in partnership with major tax preparation software companies that frequently mislead taxpayers into paying for their services.”

Werfel recently asserted that his agency has the legal authority to proceed with the report’s conclusions, despite opposition from Senate Finance Committee Republicans. He also mentioned being open to other legal interpretations if questions about authority arise.

Both Republican and Democratic administrations have supported the idea of more direct tax filing methods in the past. Kitty Richards, former director of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, highlighted proposals from Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush for voluntary return-free systems and an easy, no-cost online filing option, respectively. However, she noted that the tax preparation industry recognized the threat a free government tax preparation and filing process would pose to their profits.

Global Economies Seek to Break Free from US Dollar Dominance

Nations worldwide are embarking on an irreversible course to break away from the US dollar, according to seasoned investment expert Matthew Piepenburg. In a recent interview at the Deutsche Goldmesse conference with the Soar Financially YouTube channel, Piepenburg, partner at emerging markets-focused Matterhorn Asset Management, claims that major economies are now evidently trying to distance themselves from dollar dominance.

He asserts that the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes are driving countries like China and Russia to adopt settlement systems that don’t depend on the USD. In addition to China and Russia, both members of the BRICS coalition, Piepenburg reveals that 41 other nations are following suit, possibly concerned about how the US has treated Russia during its conflict with Ukraine.

Piepenburg explains, “So when that dollar gets higher, because Powell is raising the rates, that becomes more onerous and painful for the rest of the world and they begin to break ranks.” He further adds, “Asia in general, China and Russia in particular are very big rank-breaking nations. And, of course, they’re bringing 41 other countries alongside to have trade settlements outside the US dollar.”

The BRICS group, representing the economically-aligned nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is considering launching a global currency that does not rely on the US dollar. Several nations reportedly want to participate, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain, Indonesia, two unnamed East African countries, and one from West Africa.

While Piepenburg doesn’t foresee the yuan or any other currency replacing the dollar as the world reserve currency in the near future, he does identify a “clear trend” of countries worldwide bypassing the dollar as the primary, trusted medium of trade. He concludes, “The clear trend of breaking ranks with the US dollar as a trusted, reliable, dependable trade currency and payment system is now I think irrevocable.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises against using sugar substitutes for weight loss, as new guidelines reveal that non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) do not provide long-term benefits in reducing body fat for adults or children. Francesco Branca, director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, stated, “Replacing free sugars with non-sugar sweeteners does not help people control their weight long-term.” The guidance applies to everyone except those with preexisting diabetes.

While the review identified potential undesirable effects from long-term sugar substitute use, such as a mildly increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, Branca clarified that the recommendation doesn’t comment on the safety of consumption. He added, “What this guideline says is that if we’re looking for reduction of obesity, weight control or risk of noncommunicable diseases, that is unfortunately something science been unable to demonstrate.”

The Deadline Looms For Debt Ceiling

The US federal government is on the brink of being unable to make debt payments, and it’s up to Congress to vote on raising the nation’s borrowing cap, also known as the debt limit. However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Biden are currently at odds over Republican demands to link the debt limit to spending caps and other policy requirements. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has cautioned that the country could exhaust its borrowing authority by June 1, leaving little time for negotiators to reach a consensus.

In a recent meeting with McCarthy, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Biden aimed to find a way forward. Although they didn’t reach an agreement, staff-level discussions continue in an attempt to avert default.

Debt ceiling

You might have some questions about the debt ceiling and the ongoing debate. The debt ceiling, or debt limit, is a restriction on the amount of debt the federal government can accumulate. As Jason Furman, a former economic advisor to President Obama and current economics professor at Harvard, explains, “It used to be that every time you did a Treasury auction where you borrowed, Congress would pass a new law just for that one auction.” However, in 1917, during World War I, Congress opted for a more streamlined approach, allowing the government to borrow up to a specified amount before needing to request an increase. Since 1960, Congress has raised or suspended the debt limit 78 times, according to the Treasury Department.

How do experts know when the government has really run out of funds?

Picture : NBC

Experts determine when the government is nearing its funding limit by examining expected tax revenue, the timing of those payments arriving in Treasury accounts, and scheduled debt payments. This analysis helps establish a timeframe, referred to as an X-Date, when the debt authority might be depleted.

Nonetheless, the Treasury Department has several options, known as extraordinary measures, to prevent default. These measures involve reallocating investments and using accounting techniques to redistribute funds. The federal government technically reached the debt limit in January, but these extraordinary measures have maintained payment flows since then. While experts cannot pinpoint an exact date for when funds will be exhausted, they can estimate a general range, which currently falls between early June and potentially as late as July or August.

Why is there a fight over it?

Debt has generally been viewed unfavorably in American politics, and lawmakers often hesitate to be seen as endorsing more federal borrowing or spending. Additionally, they tend to attach unrelated priorities to must-pass legislation, making the debt limit a prime target for political disputes.

As Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, explains, “Everybody uses [bills to increase] the debt ceiling for their favorite policies.” The real issue arises when discussions about defaulting become more serious. Historically, votes to raise the debt limit were relatively uneventful; however, the situation changed in 2011 when the US came dangerously close to default.

Mark Zandi, an analyst at Moody’s Analytics, notes that while there have been previous political battles over the debt, none were as risky or significant as the 2011 conflict. At that time, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama were in a standoff over spending. Republicans demanded deep spending cuts and caps on future spending growth, while Obama insisted on raising the debt limit without any extraneous policies – a clean increase.

Ultimately, Congress reached an agreement to increase the debt limit along with caps on future spending, but not before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the nation’s debt for the first time in history. Today’s situation bears a striking resemblance to the 2011 political struggle, raising serious concerns about the possibility of a default.

What could happen if it’s not raised?

If the debt ceiling is not raised, the Treasury Department would be unable to fulfill its due payments, resulting in a default. This would occur regardless of the type or size of the missed payment.

Some Republicans have proposed a system called payment prioritization, in which certain debts are selected for repayment. However, this would require Congress to pass new legislation, which is politically improbable. Moreover, most experts believe that implementing such a system could be practically unfeasible, and it is not currently being considered as a serious solution.

Has the U.S. ever failed to make these debt payments?

No, the U.S. has never failed to make its debt payments. This reliability is a significant reason why the federal government can easily sell Treasury bonds to investors worldwide and why the U.S. dollar is one of the most trusted currencies.

As MacGuineas points out, “Treasuries are the debt vehicle that are most trusted in the entire world, even if there is an economic crisis that originated in the U.S., people come and buy treasuries because they trust them.” If that trust is jeopardized due to a default or missed interest payment, the U.S. would likely struggle to regain its previous status as the world’s most trusted debtor.

Would capping or cutting spending now resolve the problem?

No, capping or cutting spending now would not resolve the problem, as the debt limit pertains to money already spent due to laws previously passed by Congress. Furman emphasizes that “this borrowing isn’t some unilateral thing that President Biden wants to do… It is in order to accomplish what Congress told him to accomplish.”

Some of the current debt accumulation even results from laws enacted under former presidents, such as Donald Trump. Spending caps and other changes proposed by House Republicans are separate policies designed to address future debt accumulation rather than the immediate need to raise the debt limit.

What else could be affected by a default?

The possibility of a U.S. default may result in a domino effect of negative outcomes across the worldwide financial landscape. The nation’s credit rating could suffer long-term damage, diminishing the value of U.S. treasuries and making it a less attractive investment destination. MacGuineas expressed deep concern, stating, “I am truly concerned there is an actual chance of default and that is so dangerous and such a sign that the U.S. is not able to govern itself in a way that is functioning.”

Zandi cautioned that the fallout might extend beyond merely investment and borrowing rates. He advised, “Don’t worry about your stock portfolio, worry about your job,” emphasizing the potential loss of employment and increased unemployment rates. He added, “This will certainly push us and, you know, it’s going to be about layoffs. Stock portfolios will be the least of people’s worries.”

Furman compared the potential crisis to the 2008 financial meltdown caused by Lehman Brothers Bank’s collapse, suggesting it could be even more severe. “It could be worse than Lehman Brothers, where everyone basically demands their money back because they don’t believe the collateral anymore,” he explained. “And you have the equivalent of a run on the global financial system.”

Is default the same thing as a shutdown?

Default and shutdown are not the same thing. A government shutdown transpires when Congress does not pass annual spending bills before the fiscal year concludes on September 30. Although these two matters may be connected at times, this is because legislators have, on occasion, deliberately synchronized the debt limit extension with the end of the fiscal year to prompt more comprehensive spending debates in conjunction with debt authorization.

Are there other ways this problem could be fixed, aside from just increasing the debt limit?

Apart from merely raising the debt limit, there are alternative solutions to address the issue, as the existing process is widely considered ineffective. MacGuineas from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget believes that while Congress should reassess debt and spending priorities, the current debt limit mechanism fails to compel them to make decisions. She stated, “The debt ceiling is a terrible way to try to impose fiscal responsibility,” describing it as a “dumb approach.”

Instead, MacGuineas proposes a system where the debt limit is increased in line with the passage of legislation by Congress. Some economists have even suggested eliminating the debt limit entirely.

Other less conventional ideas involve minting a $1 trillion platinum coin to cover the debt or elevating the limit to such an extent that subsequent debates would be postponed for years or even decades.

India Phases Out ₹2,000 Notes, Sets September 30 Deadline for Exchange

New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced its decision to phase out ₹ 2,000 notes and has set a deadline of September 30 for people to exchange or deposit them in their bank accounts. Starting May 23, the RBI’s 19 regional offices and other banks will accept ₹ 2,000 notes in exchange for lower denomination currency. It is important to note that these notes will continue to be considered legal tender, as stated by the RBI.

The RBI has instructed all banks to cease issuing ₹ 2,000 notes with immediate effect.

The introduction of the ₹ 2,000 note took place in November 2016 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden demonetization move, which rendered high-value ₹ 1,000 and ₹ 500 notes invalid overnight.

The RBI explained its decision, stating, “The purpose of introducing ₹ 2,000 banknotes was fulfilled once banknotes of other denominations became sufficiently available. Consequently, the printing of ₹ 2,000 banknotes was discontinued in 2018-19.”

To ensure convenience and minimize disruption to regular banking operations, the RBI has allowed the exchange of ₹ 2,000 notes for lower denomination notes, up to a limit of ₹ 20,000 at a time, at any bank beginning May 23, 2023. This facility will be available until September 30, allowing individuals to either exchange or deposit their ₹ 2,000 notes.

Sources informed NDTV that the RBI might extend the deadline beyond September 30 if necessary. However, even after the current deadline, ₹ 2,000 notes will remain valid as legal tender.

The RBI highlighted that approximately 89% of ₹ 2,000 denomination banknotes were issued before March 2017 and are reaching the end of their expected lifespan of four to five years. The total value of these notes in circulation decreased from ₹ 6.73 lakh crore at its peak on March 31, 2018 (comprising 37.3% of the currency in circulation) to ₹ 3.62 lakh crore, representing only 10.8% of the currency in circulation as of March 31, 2023.

The central bank emphasized that the ₹ 2,000 note is not commonly used for transactions. Similar measures were taken by the RBI in 2013-2014 when certain notes were phased out of circulation.

How America Sustains High Deficits Without Economic Collapse

The United States has consistently maintained a high trade deficit for decades, raising questions about how the country manages to avoid economic repercussions that typically accompany such imbalances. This article delves into the factors that enable the US to sustain these high deficits without experiencing financial collapse.

Picture : The Blance

One of the primary reasons the US can maintain high trade deficits is the dominance of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Central banks across the globe hold their foreign exchange reserves in dollars, contributing to the currency’s stability and demand. This status allows the US to run persistent trade deficits without causing a depreciation in its currency value.

Another factor that enables the US to support high trade deficits is the inflow of foreign investments. International investors view the US as a safe haven for their capital due to the country’s strong and stable economy. These investments help finance the trade deficit by providing an influx of foreign funds, which offsets the negative effects of the deficit on the US economy.

The US economy is driven primarily by domestic consumption, which accounts for approximately 70% of its GDP. This strong demand for goods and services helps offset the trade deficit by creating a robust market for imports. As a result, the US can continue importing goods from other countries without significantly harming its own industries.

The US is a global leader in innovation and technological advancements, which contribute to the country’s overall economic strength. These innovations attract foreign investments and facilitate the export of high-value goods and services, such as software, pharmaceutical products, and aerospace technology. This, in turn, helps to mitigate the impact of the trade deficit on the US economy.

The US government’s fiscal policies also play a role in managing the trade deficit. By implementing policies that promote economic growth, the government can stimulate demand for goods and services. Additionally, the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policies influence interest rates and the money supply, which can impact the trade deficit indirectly.

Despite maintaining a high trade deficit, the United States has managed to avoid the economic pitfalls often associated with such imbalances. Factors such as the US dollar’s status as a global reserve currency, foreign investment, strong domestic demand, innovation, and government fiscal policies all contribute to the country’s ability to sustain these deficits. However, it is essential to continue monitoring the trade deficit and its potential long-term impacts on the US economy.

Turbotax Customers Can Claim $141M Settlement Money

(AP) — Millions of Americans who qualified for free tax services — but were instead deceived into paying TurboTax for their returns — will soon get settlement checks in the mail.

In a settlement last year, TurboTax’s owner Intuit Inc. was ordered to pay $141 million to some 4.4 million people across the country. Those impacted were low-income consumers eligible for free, federally-supported tax services — but paid TurboTax to file their federal returns across the 2016, 2017 and 2018 tax years due to “predatory and deceptive marketing,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia signed the May 2022 settlement, which was led by James.

Consumers eligible for restitution payments do not need to file a claim, the New York Attorney’s General Office said Thursday. They will be notified by an email from Rust Consulting, the settlement fund administrator, and receive a check automatically.

Checks will be mailed starting next week, and continue through the month of May. The amount paid to each eligible consumer ranges from $29 to $85 — depending on the number of tax years they qualify for.

“TurboTax’s predatory and deceptive marketing cheated millions of low-income Americans who were trying to fulfill their legal duties to file their taxes,” James said in a Thursday statement. “Today we are righting that wrong and putting money back into the pockets of hardworking taxpayers who should have never paid to file their taxes.”

At the time of the May 2022 settlement, James said her investigation into Intuit was sparked by a 2019 ProPublica report that found the company was using deceptive tactics to steer low-income tax filers away from the free, federal services they qualified for — and toward its own commercial products instead.

Under the terms of last year’s settlement, Intuit Inc. agreed to suspend TurboTax’s “free, free, free” ad campaign. According to documents obtained by ProPublica, Intuit executives were aware of the impact of advertising free services that were actually not free for everyone.

“The website lists Free, Free, Free and the customers are assuming their return will be free,” an internal company PowerPoint presentation said, per ProPublica. “Customers are getting upset.”

When contacted by The Associated Press on Friday, Inuit pointed to the company’s May 2022 statement following the settlement agreement.

“Intuit is pleased to have reached a resolution with the state attorneys general that will ensure the company can return our focus to providing vital services to American taxpayers today and in the future,” Kerry McLean, Intuit’s executive vice president and general counsel, said at the time.

Biden Administration Warns About Growing Risks Of Medical Loans And Medical Credit Cards

The Biden administration has issued a warning to Americans concerning the financial risks associated with medical credit cards and other loans for medical bills. In a recent report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimated that Americans paid $1 billion in deferred interest on medical credit cards and other medical financing between 2018 and 2020. The agency found that interest payments can increase medical bills by almost 25 percent, which can deepen patients’ debts and threaten their financial security.

CFPB’s Director, Rohit Chopra, stated that “lending outfits are designing costly loan products to peddle to patients looking to make ends meet on their medical bills. These new forms of medical debt can create financial ruin for individuals who get sick.” Nationally, KFF Health News found that approximately 100 million people, including 41 percent of adults, have healthcare debt. This large scale problem is feeding a multibillion-dollar patient financing business, with private equity and big banks looking to capitalize on the situation when patients and their families are unable to pay for care. The profit margins in the patient financing industry top 29 percent, according to research firm IBISWorld, which is seven times what is considered a solid hospital profit margin.

One of the most prominent financing options is credit cards like CareCredit offered by Synchrony Bank which is often marketed in physician and dentist waiting rooms to help pay off medical bills. These cards typically offer a promotional period where patients pay no interest, but if the patient missed a payment or could not pay off the loan during the promotional period, they could face interest rates that rise as high as 27 percent, according to the CFPB. Patients are also increasingly drawn into loans administered by financing companies such as AccessOne.

These loans, which often replace no-interest instalment plans that hospitals once commonly offered, can add hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest to the debts patients owe. Hospital and finance industry officials insist that they take care to educate patients about the risks of taking out loans with interest rates. However, federal regulators have found that many patients remain confused about the terms of the loans.

According to the CFPB, the risks are particularly high for lower-income borrowers and those with poor credit. About a quarter of people with a low credit score who signed up for a deferred-interest medical loan were unable to pay it off before interest rates jumped. By contrast, just 10% of borrowers with excellent credit failed to avoid the high interest rates. Regulators found that many patients remained confused about the terms of the loans and that patients often didn’t fully understand the products’ terms and found themselves in crippling financing arrangements.

Despite this, the new CFPB report does not recommend new sanctions against lenders. The study cautioned that the system still traps many patients in damaging financing arrangements. It also stated that “consumers complain that these products offer confusion and hardship rather than benefit, as claimed by the companies offering these products.” The report concluded that “many people would be better off without these products.”

The growth of patient financing products pose risks to low-income patients. Patients should be offered financial assistance to pay large medical bills, but instead, they are funnelled into credit cards, debt consolidations or personal loans that pile interest on top of medical bills they cannot afford.

An investigation conducted by KFF Health News with NPR explored the scale and impact of the nation’s medical debt crisis. They found that 41% of adults have some form of healthcare debt. In the patient financing industry, profit margins are over 29%, which is nearly 7x higher than what is considered to be a solid hospital profit margin. A UNC Health public records analysis found that after AccessOne began administering payment plans for the system’s patients, the percentage of people paying interest on their bills increased from 9% to 46%.

According to the CFPB, “Patients appear not to fully understand the terms of the products and sometimes end up with credit they’re unable to afford.” Federal regulators warned that patient financing products pose another risk to low-income patients. They should be offered financial assistance with large medical bills, but instead, they are being routed into credit cards or loans that pile interest on top of medical bills they cannot afford.

Medical credit cards and other loans for medical bills can deepen patients’ debts and threaten their financial security. The number of people with healthcare debts is increasing, and many patients remain confused about the terms of the loans. Profit margins in the patient financing industry are high, and patients are often funnelled into credit cards rather than offered financial assistance with large medical bills. This can lead to confusion and financial ruin for those who get sick. The report concluded that “many people would be better off without these products.”

Is Recession Imminent?

As fears of a looming recession rise, David Rosenberg, president of Rosenberg Research and former chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch, suggests that a recession might be imminent. Despite recent GDP figures showing growth, Rosenberg forewarns that the leading indicators hint that a recession could start as early as this quarter.

With inflation on the rise, Americans are struggling with wages that cannot keep up with the increasing cost of living. Should a recession occur, it could cause worse financial difficulties for many. Rosenberg explains a recession as a “haircut to national income” that is comparable to “the whole country taking a pay cut.” The effects of a recession will not only impact individuals but could also spell trouble for the stock market.

The outbreak of the pandemic, coupled with variations, broke the world’s economy, and a recession was just one of many repercussions. Even as the world struggled to recover from the pandemic’s impact, the United States Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates in early 2022. This move caused fears among investors as rates influence the economy and the stock market. Although the GDP figures indicate an expanding economy, Rosenberg warns that a recession might be closer than anticipated.

An economic recession could lead to increased unemployment, lower wages, and volatile stock markets, further exacerbating the gap between the rich and the poor. Therefore, policymakers must put measures to prevent such economic shockwaves, as a recession has far-reaching impacts on the nation’s livelihood and global economies.

Bear Market

According to David Rosenberg, he believes that he is bearish on equities as he’s not confident that all recessions are fully priced in, given the current valuations. He asserts that investing in investment-grade corporate bonds could be a plausible route to take due to the attractive yields on offer with debt offering priority over equity in a company’s capital structure. Among other opportunities, private credit investments have also emerged which offer a higher yield for investors who are looking to diversify their portfolios, but aren’t satisfied with most conventional savings accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs).

The S&P 500 took a bad hit in 2022, plunging 19.4%, and although it has experienced some revival in 2023 with a 9% uptick year-to-date, Rosenberg doesn’t believe this will be long-lived. On account of valuation, he highlights that there is a pressing concern regarding the 19 forward multiple. In his view, this will only result in a 5.3% earnings yield, whereas, he could “pick up 5.4% in single-A triple-B corporate credit” to “wind up in a better part of the capital structure”.

While bondholders will be given the first bite of the cherry, David Reilly, Chief Investment Officer at Nuveen’s Global Private Markets Group, highlights that these investors will often come with other expenses. The cost of investing in corporate credit to access these desirable yields could potentially see investors being forced to invest in leveraged loans or more higher-risk credit. Regardless of the obstacles, it is evident that there is a lot of funds in this space, given the record low-interest rates and a thirst for yield.

Furthermore, while commercial real estate has been enjoying high rewards too, there is significant debate concerning its future given flexible working now being the norm over an office-based environment. Consequently, alternative forms of profitable investments continue to shine and could serve as an alternative means for investors to access the exposures they desire.

From Weak Hands To Strong Hands

David Rosenberg has predicted that the S&P 500 will see a drop of around 23% due to a forthcoming recession in the US economy. His prediction, which is based on an assumption of a “classic 20% hit to earnings” and multiples falling to 15 or 16, puts the target price at 3,200. While the prospect of a significant downturn is not generally good news for investors, Rosenberg believes that those who have “dry powder and liquidity” will have an opportunity to purchase assets at better prices. This is because during a recession, assets tend to fall from weaker hands to stronger ones. The cleansing effect of the recession on the market means that it could be a good time to invest, providing the investor has the necessary liquidity. Rosenberg’s portfolio is currently underweight in equities, with the lowest weighting since 2007. Instead of stock investments, he has turned to bonds, gold, and alternative investments as uncorrelated supports to GDP.

Individuals looking to prepare for an economic downturn can invest in alternative assets, such as real estate. With as little as $100, those without extensive investment portfolios can diversify their holdings and potentially gain consistent income. Several assets offered today are well suited to taking advantage of trends in real estate, including real estate investment trusts, which provide periodic income and portfolio diversification. Investors can also turn to private real estate funds that invest in various types of property, such as commercial or residential, to further diversify their portfolio. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit can even take part in crowdfunding campaigns, which give access to small, high-yielding, long-term projects.

Despite the fears of market downturns, many investors are still seeing opportunities for growth and expansion. The current market conditions do not predict immediate economic disaster, and the ability to protect wealth and diversify through alternative assets offers investors a resilient portfolio. As we continue further into the 21st century, alternative asset classes will become an increasingly important component of investment portfolios.

Warnings Of Potential Cash Shortage By June 1st, If Debt Ceiling Not Raised

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has issued a warning that the United States could run out of cash by 1 June if Congress fails to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. The country reaching the debt ceiling means the government would be unable to borrow any further money. On Monday, Yellen urged Congress to act quickly to address the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. In response, President Joe Biden has called a meeting of congressional leaders to discuss the issue on May 9th.

The debt ceiling has been raised, extended, or revised 78 times since 1960. However, in this instance, House Republicans are demanding drastic spending cuts and a reversal of some aspects of President Biden’s agenda, including his student loan forgiveness program and green energy tax credits, in exchange for votes to raise the debt ceiling. This has resulted in objections from Democrats in the Senate and from President Biden himself, who stated last week that the issue is “not negotiable.”

The president is coming under increasing pressure from business groups, including the US Chamber of Congress, to discuss Republican proposals. A default, which would be the first in US history, could disrupt global financial markets and damage trust in the US as a global business partner. Experts have warned that it could also lead to a recession and rising unemployment. It would also mean that the US would be unable to borrow money to pay the salaries of government employees and military personnel, social security checks, or other obligations such as defense contractor payments.

In addition, even weather forecasts could be impacted, as many rely on data from the federally-funded National Weather Service. In a letter to members of Congress, Yellen stated that “We have learned from past debt limit impasses that waiting until the last minute to suspend or increase the debt limit can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States.”

Yellen added that it is impossible to know for sure when exactly the US will run out of cash. Her announcement came on the same day as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that there is a “significantly greater risk that the Treasury will run out of funds in early June.” The CBO report said that “The projected exhaustion date remains uncertain, however, because the timing and amount of revenue collections and outlays over the coming weeks are difficult to predict.”

The Treasury plans to increase borrowing through the end of the quarter ending in June, totalling about $726 billion – about $449 billion more than projected earlier this year. Officials have said that this is partly due to lower-than-expected income tax receipts, higher government spending, and a beginning-of-quarter cash balance that was lower than anticipated.

In a joint statement, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said that the US “does not have the luxury of waiting until June 1 to come together, pass a clean bill to avoid a default and prevent catastrophic consequences for our economy and millions of American families.” The statement also accused Republicans of attempting to impose their “radical agenda” on America.

On the Republican side, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused President Biden of “refusing to do his job” and “threatening to bumble our nation into its first-ever default.” He further stated that “The clock is ticking… The Senate and the President need to get to work — and soon.”

In another letter sent to members of Congress in January, Yellen stated that the Treasury Department had begun “extraordinary measures” to avoid a government default. It is important to resolve this issue as soon as possible to avoid negative consequences for the US economy and its citizens.

Ajay Banga Confirmed as New World Bank President: An In-Depth Look into the Future of the Global Development Lender

Ajay Banga has been appointed as the next president of The World Bank, as the development lender faces increasing pressure to reshape its role in order to better address climate change. Mr. Banga is due to take over from David Malpass on June 2, for a five-year term, and has been tasked with leading the bank through a difficult period for the world economy, characterized by slowing global growth and high interest rates in many major economies. Mr. Banga will also be required to play a leading role in driving forward the lender’s evolution plans, which aim to allow it a $50bn lending boost over the next decade, helping it to address global challenges like climate change.

The appointment of Mr. Banga is significant not only because he will be leading The World Bank through a challenging period, but also because the appointment comes at a time when there have been growing calls from emerging and developing economies for the US to relinquish its grip on the presidency of the lender. As a US citizen himself, Mr. Banga’s appointment has been met with a mixture of anticipation and skepticism, with many voices in the developing world demanding that the appointment does not dilute the bank’s focus on the pressing economic development needs of developing economies.

One of Mr. Banga’s key priorities, according to a statement from the bank, will be to work with the private sector to help tackle financing for global problems. “There is not enough money without the private sector,” he said, adding that the World Bank should set up a system that could share risk or mobilize private funds to achieve its goals.

In recent years, there has been growing concern about the ability of low-income countries to cope with the double shock of higher borrowing costs and a decline in demand for their exports due to the tough economic conditions prevailing in many developed economies. The IMF’s chief Kristalina Georgieva warned last month that this situation could fuel poverty and hunger, and called for urgent action to address it. It is hoped that Mr. Banga’s experience in bringing together governments, the private sector and non-profits to deliver on ambitious goals will help The World Bank to meet this challenge.

Mr. Banga himself has acknowledged the difficult conditions facing the global economy, but has expressed his confidence that The World Bank will be able to rise to the challenge. “These are all tools in the toolkit and I’m going to try and figure it out,” he said.

One of the most pressing challenges facing The World Bank is the need to address climate change, conflict and the pandemic, which the bank estimates will require developing countries to find $2.4tn every year for the next seven years. Plans to reform the bank have been broadly welcomed, but there is concern that new objectives could relegate the pressing economic development needs of member countries. “We want to make sure that the development agenda is not diluted in the climate agenda,” said Abdoul Salam Bello, a member of The World Bank’s executive board representing 23 African countries.

Despite these concerns, many experts believe that Mr. Banga’s appointment marks a turning point for The World Bank, and that his leadership will be instrumental in helping the lender to take a more decisive approach to the global challenges facing it. The appointment of Mr. Banga is just one step along the way for The World Bank, but it is an important one, and if he can navigate the many challenges facing the lender, he could leave behind a lasting legacy.

GOP-Led Congress Passes “Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023”

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 as the debt ceiling debate continues in the nation’s capital. House speaker Kevin McCarthy introduced the legislation on April 19, which would “limit federal spending, save taxpayer dollars,” and “grow the economy.”

The legislation passed 217-215. Four Republicans voted against the bill, which did not get a single vote from a Democrat.

The vote allows the US to raise the nation’s debt limit for one year and limit federal spending growth to 1% annually. The plan, titled the “Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023,” would increase the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, or until March 31, 2024, whichever comes first.

McCarthy also plans to repeal key parts of Democrats’ signature legislative package and President Biden’s college student debt cancellation program. The GOP bill would also remove $80 billion that Democrats approved last year to improve the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). However, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the measure would increase the deficit.

McCarthy said on the House floor that limiting government spending would reduce inflation and restore fiscal discipline in Washington. He added that if Washington wants to spend more, it will have to find savings elsewhere, as every household in America does. McCarthy noted that Medicare and Social Security would not be impacted by the cuts. The framework also includes work requirements for adults without dependents enrolled in federal assistance programs.

According to a press release, the legislation would specifically:

  • “End the Era of Reckless Washington Spending
  • “Reclaim Unspent COVID Funds
  • “Defund Biden’s IRS Army
  • “Repeal ‘Green New Deal’ Tax Credits
  • “Prohibit [President Joe] Biden’s Student Loan Giveaway to the Wealthy
  • “Strengthen the Workforce and Reduce Childhood Poverty
  • “Prevent Executive Overreach and Restore Article I
  • “Lower Energy Costs and Utilities”

The plan also includes “a responsible debt limit increase.”

However, Democrats remain critical of any efforts to link debt ceiling negotiations to legislation that would require work requirements for those on assistance programs. David Scott, the House Agriculture Committee ranking member, said that holding food assistance hostage for those who depend on it in exchange for increasing the debt limit is a nonstarter.

The US hit its current debt limit of $31 trillion in January. The Treasury Department is employing what it refers to as extraordinary measures to essentially act as a band-aid for several months. Those measures are set to run out in early summer. Should Congress fail to raise the debt limit by then, there would be an unprecedented debt default, something that would throw worldwide financial markets into dire straits and likely lead to a recession.

In a speech, McCarthy blasted the president for not meeting with him to negotiate. The pair last met in February and remain at odds over how to address the debt limit. Biden has repeatedly said he wants to sign a clean debt limit bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also said that efforts to address spending cuts “belong in the discussion about budget, not as a precondition for avoiding default.”

The proposal is likely to face opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Passing the bill would require bipartisan support, which may be difficult given the current political climate. Nonetheless, McCarthy remains optimistic that the proposal will succeed.

“Limited government spending will reduce inflation and restore fiscal discipline in Washington,” McCarthy said. “If Washington wants to spend more, it will have to come together and find savings elsewhere — just like every single household in America.”

“Our plan ensures adults without dependents earn a paycheck and learn new skills,” he said. “By restoring these commonsense measures, we can help more Americans earn a paycheck, learn new skills, reduce childhood poverty and rebuild the workforce.”

“By including these radical proposals as a lever in debt limit negotiations, Speaker McCarthy and his extreme Republican colleagues are ensuring their failure,” David Scott, D-Ga., House Agriculture Committee ranking member, said of McCarthy’s proposal for work requirements.

“President Biden has a choice: Come to the table and stop playing partisan political games, or cover his ears, refuse to negotiate and risk bumbling his way into the first default in our nation’s history,” McCarthy said.

Russia’s Richest Billionaires Added $152 Billion To Their Wealth in 2022

Russia’s richest individuals have seen their collective wealth increase by $152 billion over the past year, according to Forbes Russia. The billionaires on Forbes’ list increased to 110, up 22 from last year, and their total wealth has grown to $505 billion. However, the list would have been longer if it were not for five billionaires renouncing their Russian citizenship.

The Forbes’ report highlights that “last year’s rating results were also heavily influenced by predictions about the Russian economy, which led to apocalyptic projections”. Forbes said the total wealth of Russia’s billionaires had reached $606 billion in 2021, before the Ukrainian war.

Despite the war, which led to the West imposing severe sanctions on Russia’s economy, the country was able to sell oil, metals, and natural resources to global markets, particularly to China, India, and the Middle East. Last year, the price of Urals oil, the lifeblood of the Russian economy, averaged $76.09 per barrel, up from $69 in 2021, and fertilizer prices were high.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its growth forecast for Russia in 2023 to 0.7% from 0.3% earlier this month, but lowered its forecast for 2024 to 1.3% from 2.1%, citing labor shortages and the exodus of Western companies that could harm the country’s economy.

According to Forbes’ Russia list, Andrei Melnichenko, who has made a fortune in fertilizers, was the country’s richest man, with an estimated worth of $25.2 billion, more than double his estimated worth from last year. Vladimir Potanin, the president and biggest shareholder of Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and refined nickel, was ranked as the second wealthiest person in Russia with a fortune of $23.7 billion. Vladimir Lisin, who controls steelmaker NLMK and was ranked as Russia’s richest person last year, was placed third on the Forbes Russia list with a fortune of $22.1 billion.

Over the past year, several billionaires renounced their Russian citizenship, including DST Global founder Yuri Milner, Revolut founder Nikolay Storonsky, Freedom Finance founder Timur Turlov and JetBrains co-founders Sergei Dmitriev and Valentin Kipyatkov. The Forbes’ report suggests that Russian domestic demand has remained strong despite years of sanctions, as new billionaires have emerged from snacks, supermarkets, chemicals, building, and pharmaceuticals.

The billionaires on the Forbes’ list made their fortunes during the Soviet Union’s collapse, and a small group of tycoons known as the oligarchs convinced the Kremlin to hand over control of some of the world’s largest oil and metals companies. The privatization deals often catapulted the tycoons into the league of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Under Putin, original oligarchs, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky, were stripped of their assets, which eventually ended up under the control of state companies typically run by former spies.

Western sanctions are viewed as clumsy and even racist by many of Russia’s billionaires. Although sanctions have disrupted some industries, the country has diversified its exports and attracted investments from non-Western economies. Also, domestic demand has remained strong, with middle-class Russians weathering the economic downturn.

Russia’s billionaires have become more prominent in the nation’s politics, with some billionaires financing opposition parties, while others support Putin’s United Russia party. The Kremlin has vigorously resisted Western efforts to curb the influence of Russian billionaires, even as several have become subject to international investigations, raising suspicions of corruption and fraud.

The nation’s economic progress in recent years has prompted some observers to question whether Putin’s aggressive foreign policy and authoritarian rule are sustainable. The Kremlin has used the nation’s newfound wealth to promote its agenda abroad, including military interventions in Syria and the Middle East. However, Russia’s economic growth is now showing signs of stagnation. The nation’s GDP growth rate has been below 2% since 2013, and economists predict it will stay that way until structural reforms are undertaken.

In conclusion, Russia’s billionaires have seen a sharp increase in their collective wealth over the past year, driven by high commodities prices and their ability to diversify into non-Western economies. Despite years of sanctions and geopolitical tensions, their domestic businesses have remained buoyant. However, geopolitical risks and structural challenges could threaten the nation’s continued economic growth.

Warren Buffett Worried About Nuclear Threats And Pandemics

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, expressed that he is not worried about the success of his company, Berkshire Hathaway, despite current economic headwinds such as banking failures and rising interest rates. Speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” the 92-year-old said, “I never go to bed worried about Berkshire and how we’ll handle a thing.” He added that, at his age, he has other things to worry about, such as “the nuclear threat” and “a pandemic in the future.”

Berkshire Hathaway, under Buffett’s leadership since 1965, has become one of the world’s largest companies with a market capitalization above $707 billion. Its portfolio of investments includes Geico, Dairy Queen, Duracell, and Fruit of the Loom. Buffett’s history of optimism is well-documented, with data scientists identifying a surplus of positivity in his annual letters to shareholders.

Buffett’s investment strategy is to choose investments he believes in, regardless of their current price, and take advantage of stock drops to buy more of companies he trusts. During a volatile market period in 2016, he advised investors not to watch the market closely when stocks are down. He is known to be supremely self-confident, with “99 and a fraction percent” of his net worth invested in Berkshire, along with several family members.

When confronted with scary issues that are outside of his control, such as nuclear war or future pandemics, Buffett attempts to reduce his stress by focusing on situations and tasks that he can actually solve himself. “I worry about things nobody else worries about, but I can’t solve them all,” he said. “But anything that can be solved, I should be thinking about that.”

Regarding Berkshire’s future, Buffett has already selected the company’s next CEO, Greg Abel, who has stated that he does not plan to diverge from Buffett’s successful formula. Buffett trusts the leaders of Berkshire’s portfolio companies to make the right business decisions and expects Abel to do the same. “I am not giving [Abel] some envelope that tells him what to do next,” but Berkshire Hathaway is “so damn lucky” to have Abel taking the reins, Buffett said.

In conclusion, Warren Buffett’s optimism and confidence have helped him build and sustain one of the world’s largest companies. Despite economic headwinds, he remains unworried about the future of Berkshire Hathaway and instead focuses on things he can control. With a trusted successor in place, Buffett is confident that the company’s success will continue long after he steps down.

NITI Aayog Vice Chair Suman Bery Leads Discussion On Indian Economy In New York

The Indian Consulate in New York held a Round Table on India’s economy on April 20, 2023, which was led by India’s Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog Suman Bery, who is on a visit to the United States.

The Round Table was entitled, Indian Growth Story: Speed, Scale, and Opportunities, and it was attended by high-profile guests from the business sector such as Deepak Raj, managing director of private investment firm Raj Associates and Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media.

Caption: Vice Chairman of India’s NITI Aayog Suman Bery, speaking at the Round Table on India’s economy held April 20, 2022, at the Indian Consulate in New York. PHOTO: Indian Consulate.

“It was a pleasure participating in the roundtable discussion on the Indian Growth Story: Speed, Scale and Opportunities at the Consulate General of India, New York (@IndiainNewYork) last evening,” Bery, an economist who took over at NITI last year in May, tweeted after the meeting.

The event was attended by approximately 50 corporate leaders from various sectors such as IT, technology, finance, healthcare, high-level executives, and policymakers.

Picture : The Hindu

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, asking a question at the April 20, 2023, Round Table on India’s economy with Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Suman Bery, held at the Indian Consulate in New York. Also seen are other high profile participants, as well as India’s Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph, right. PHOTO: Indian Consulate

Among the subjects discussed were the markers of India’s economic growth making it one of the world’s fastest-growing economies; elements of India’s energy transition, New Delhi’s Free Trade Agreements which give a strong push to Indian trade, India’s G20 leadership, women’s empowerment, etc.

Businessman from New Jersey Deepak Raj, addressing India’s NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Suman Bery (not in picture) at the April 20, 2023, Round Table on India’s economy, held at the Indian Consulate in New York. PHOTO: Indian Consulat

The International Monetary Fund estimates India’s growth projections at 5.9 percent in 2023, and 6.3 percent in 2024, compared to the much lower World Output at 2.8 percent in and 3.0 percent, Bery noted accompanied by a visual table.

India has signed 13 Free Trade Agreements and 6 preferential pants so far with its trading partners for ensuring greater market access for domestic goods and promoting exports, Bery pointed out, with appropriated visual representations. The most recent FTAs signed are with Mauritius, UAE, and Australia.

More than 50 high- profile attendees were present at the April 20, 2023, Round Table on the Indian economy, held at the Indian Consulate in New York, with Vice Chair of India’s NITI Aayog Suman Bery. PHOTO: Indian Consulate

India is also actively engaged in FTA negotiations with countries like United Kingdom, European Union, and Canada.

India’s energy transition includes elements of – increasing electrification; higher penetration of cleaner fuels in energy mix; accelerated adoption of energy-efficient technologies; rising digitalization, among other efficiencies, Bery noted.

On the same day, April 20, Bery was the chief guest at a Student Roundtable and Lunch in Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs.

Before being appointed Vice Chair at NITI Aayog, Bery served in various capacities – Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi; a Global Fellow in the Asia Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington D.C.; and a non-resident fellow at Bruegel, an economic policy research institution in Brussels.

In 2012 until mid-2016, Bery was Shell’s Global Chief Economist, where he advised the board and management on global economic and political developments. He was also part of the senior leadership of Shell’s global scenarios group.

Prior to that, Bery served as Director-General of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, one of India’s leading socioeconomic research institutions.

Bery also served at various times as a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, of India’s Statistical Commission, and of the Reserve Bank of India’s Technical Advisory Committee on Monetary Policy.

He also worked at the World Bank, engaged in research on financial sector development and country policy and strategy, focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Do The Rich Pay Their ‘Fair Share’?

Tax Day has recently passed and according to a recent Pew Research poll, Americans’ frustration with the tax code has reached its highest point in recent years. The majority of Americans, 56%, say they pay “more than their fair share” of taxes, with the number having increased from 51% from 2019.

It is also no surprise that almost two-thirds of Americans believe that the wealthy do not pay enough taxes, with 61% supporting the idea of raising taxes on households earning over $400,000. However, the definition of what constitutes a “fair share” of taxes is subjective and many Americans may not understand how much of the tax burden the rich bear.

In 2020, the top 1% of taxpayers paid $722 billion in income taxes, which accounted for 42.3% of all income taxes paid – the highest percentage in modern history. In contrast, the bottom 90% of taxpayers paid $450 billion in income taxes, or just 26.3% of the total, representing their lowest percentage of the tax burden in decades. This means that the top 1% of taxpayers pay a far greater share of the nation’s tax burden than 142 million of their neighbors combined.

Picture : Federal Budget

The wealthy do not pay a larger amount solely because they earn the most money. In 2020, the top 1% of taxpayers earned 22% of all adjusted gross income, while their 42.3% share of income taxes is nearly twice their income share. The opposite is true for the bottom 90%, who earned more than half of the nation’s income but paid only 26.3% of the taxes, representing roughly half of their share of the nation’s income. This was not the case in 1980, where the tax burden was more evenly shared. The bottom 90% earned 68% of the nation’s income and paid 52% of the income taxes, while the top 1% earned 9.6% of the nation’s income and paid 17% of the income taxes.

One of the reasons for the progressive tax system in the United States is the massive expansion of social programs delivered through the tax code over the past three decades. Many of the most significant programs aimed at lower-income families and those with children, such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, are run through the IRS, which deliver roughly $180 billion in benefits each year, much of which is refundable. Since the mid-1990s, tax credits have multiplied, with credits for adoption, child care, senior care, college tuition, buying electric cars or solar panels, and buying health insurance, among other things. However, these responsibilities are beyond the capacity of a tax collection agency, making it difficult for the IRS to function.

Record numbers of taxpayers now pay no income taxes after claiming their credits and deductions, with 34% of tax filers paying no income taxes due to generous credits and deductions in the tax code. In 2019, 54 million tax filers, equal to 34%, paid no income taxes because of the tax code’s generous credits and deductions. In 1980, only 21% of tax filers paid no income taxes due to credits and deductions.

Despite politicians’ rhetoric about ensuring the fair share of taxes, the burden on top earners continues to climb. If the wealthy were indeed able to use loopholes to avoid paying taxes, many of them would need better accountants.

Tim Cook Impressed By Seeing Kids In India Learn Via Tech

Apple has always believed that education is the great equalizer for people and the tech giant will continue to expand education and skilling initiatives in India to connect more underprivileged kids to the mainstream, Apple CEO Tim Cook told IANS on Wednesday.

Returning to India after seven years to launch Apple’s first own-branded retail store here, Cook paid a visit to Sitaram Mill Compound municipal school in Lower Parel area in Mumbai where Apple has integrated iPads and Apple TVs into the classrooms.

The English medium BMC school is run by teachers and staff members who are part of The Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organisation. The school currently has 470 students and 55 alumni, and each class has up to 40 students.

Picture : BlzzBuzz

“Since the founding of the company, we’ve been very focused on education. It’s very deep in our DNA. The programs like this really make my heart sing because we can see our products live in a learning environment,” Cook told IANS.

The Akanksha Foundation now runs 26 junior kindergarten through Grade 10 schools in economically-deprived areas in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

Student selection is done by lottery to ensure equity, and in addition to the core academic subjects, Akanksha places a strong emphasis on Socio-emotional and Ethical Learning.

Apple has sponsored their work since 2015. In addition to financial support, the company also helped them integrate iPad and Apple TV into their classrooms and several of their teachers have achieved Apple Professional Learning Specialist designation.

“You can clearly see how the learning cycles are accelerating these kids and the engagement that they bring is simply great. This education program is something that really makes me happy and we would expand such programs in India to help more kids leverage our technologies,” Cook noted enthusiastically, as local Mumbai trains continue to pass by.

Mandira Purohit is the school leader and has been with The Akanksha Foundation for 17 years.

According to her, iPads are helping kids develop creative and reading skills in a natural way and Cook’s first-ever visit to the school instilled a lot of confidence in not only kids but the entire teaching staff.

“iPads have changed the way teaching and learning is imparted here. We are sharing a lot of software skills when kids are working in groups or collaborating on various subjects. Moreover, Cook’s reactions to the kids as he visited their classrooms was very inspiring for all of us,” she told IANS.

Cook also met Nirjala, an alumnus of the school who comes from a large family with six children that was heavily impacted financially by the pandemic.

Nirjala surprised her teachers by reaching the top 10 per cent of her class within two years. When she graduated two years ago, she was selected to be an alumni ambassador for her class, wherein she connects and coordinates engagement events for her classmates.

She represented Akanksha at a New York fundraiser hosted by Bollywood actor Boman Irani. “It became so easy for us to learn with iPad and Apple TV in the classroom apart from books. Apps like Book Creator and iMovie and a host of other animation apps on iPad opened a new world for us,” Nirjala told Cook.

According to Chitra Pandit, Head of Communications and Development, they have been fortunate to have this Apple partnership going on since 2015. “It has just grown from strength to strength. Next year. We’re going to have all our 26 schools with iPads and we can’t wait to see all our children learn in a better and effective way so that they can perform at higher levels like children from anywhere,” Pandit told IANS.

For Cook, visiting the Sitaram Mill Compound municipal school was a heartening experience and the company will expand such initiatives to more schools and children in the country.

New York Mayor At Indian American CEOs Roundtable

Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City addressed CEOs of leading Indian companies from diverse sectors such as banking, finance, pharmaceuticals, retail, diamond and IT at a CEO roundtable organized by the Consulate General of India in New York in partnership with the NYC Mayors Office for International Affairs on April 18th, 2023 at the New York Indian Consulate in New York.

CEOs participating in the roundtable included Suresh Muthuswamy, Chairman, North America, Tata Consultancy Services, Michael McCabe, Tata Sons Country Head – North America, Bhavani Parameshwara, Executive Director and President, Indievat Inc. (an ITC-owned company). Amneal Pharmaceuticals Co-CEO New York Branch Chintu Patel, Strides Pharma Chief Business Officer Shivprasad Naikoti, State Bank of India (SBI) New York Branch CEO Prashant Tripathi, Canara Bank CEO Jaya Rajappan, Empire State Titans Founder and Owner Hiren Kumar, Kushal Choksey, co-founder of Tattva Truffles, Gaurav Varma of USISFP, Anjan Lahiri of Naikenz, Chief Regional Manager Amit Malik from Bharat Electronics,  Akshay Chaturvedi Country Head-USA for ICICI Bank Ltd, Tejas Shah CEO of Kiran Jewels, Sandeep Shah of Sandeep Diamond and  Co-Founder of Recognize Franscisco D’Souza.

Picture : TheUNN

Mayor Eric Adams said, “It is very important that we understand the role of the Indian community in the city’s prosperity in three areas. One, I want to encourage them to participate in the political scene, which should be part of their business plan.”  Also, the Mayor suggested “making a bridge between school, high school kids and youth. With the company who has required skills our kids will need for the future. And lastly, it’s important that we give them the tools to help our kids intern and volunteer. We want to continue to expand and let them know that we are a partner in growing their business together,” Adams said.

Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York, said the mayor’s discussion and roundtable with CEOs of major Indian companies provide an opportunity to see “how we can strengthen our business engagement with New York City and India.” On India-US relationship, he said, it helps,  especially in economic ties in the startup, tech, finance, and energy sectors. Jaiswal highlighted that India is the world’s fastest growing major economy and the country is expanding digital public infrastructure at the fastest pace globally and the roundtable amplified this message.

Picture : TheUNN

Dilip Chauhan,  Deputy Commissioner for New York City Mayor Office for  International Affairs, highlighted the priority and importance the Mayor’s Office places on attracting international businesses and companies to base as well as expand in the city. Chauhan said the office is focused on increasing economic engagement with the international business community and outlined the incentives being offered to companies looking to expand their footprint in the city’s five boroughs – Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Chauhan stressed that the mayor’s message is “GET STUFF DONE” New York City is a City of YES. Chauhan manages the portfolio of trade, investment and innovation for the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Officials accompanying the mayor included Mira Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Operations, Andrew Kimball, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and Edward Mermelstein, New York City Commissioner for International Affairs.

Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff in the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Aisata Camara, Deputy Chief Counsel in the Office of the Mayor and Chief Counsel for City Hall Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner for Public Private Partnerships and Economic Development NYC Mayor In the Office of International Affairs Kristen Edgren Kaufman and senior official Rana Abbasova.

How Ajay Banga Could Reshape World Bank To Tackle Climate Change

World Bank shareholders are gathered in Washington this week for their annual spring meetings, while the global financial institution is poised for new leadership that could change how it approaches climate and other global crises. Business executive Ajay Banga is expected to be confirmed as the bank’s president in the coming weeks.

Richard T. Clark is a political scientist who studies policymaking at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Clark says Banga could push the World Bank to tackle climate change more aggressively in three ways, but that each approach carries risk.

Clark says:

“The World Bank is at an inflection point – Ajay Banga is slated to take over for current President David Malpass, who has been labeled a climate-skeptic by some observers. Banga, who was nominated by the United States, faces pressure to reorient the World Bank’s lending portfolio to tackle climate change more aggressively. He could do this in several ways, but each has its pitfalls.

“First, he could ask member states, who fund the organization, for additional resources, but Janet Yellen – the U.S. Treasury Secretary – said the U.S. would not back such a move. Given that the U.S. is the Bank’s largest shareholder, this makes a capital increase unlikely.

“A second option is for Banga to ease capital requirements by expanding the Bank’s lending portfolio without additional funds from member states, but this could put the Bank’s AAA credit rating at risk, especially given that many of the Bank’s debtors are experiencing debt crises of their own, limiting their ability to repay future debt.

“Third, Banga could reallocate funds traditionally offered to developing countries for poverty reduction and physical infrastructure towards climate and clean energy initiatives – for instance, lending to middle-income countries to help them transition away from coal. Unsurprisingly, the world’s poorest nations oppose such a move since it limits their ability to draw on the Fund’s resources to promote growth. More generally, developing nations have long been frustrated with the fact that the World Bank is governed primarily by rich Western countries who may put their own needs ahead of those of the developing world.”

Bullish On India, Tim Cook Unveils Apple Retail Stores In India

As Apple firms up its plans to put India on its global manufacturing and retail map, the company’s CEO Tim Cook will be in India next week to inaugurate Apple’s brick-and-mortar stores in Mumbai and Delhi.

Reliable sources told IANS that Cook will inaugurate Apple’s own branded retail stores — at Jio World Drive Mall in Mumbai and at Select CityWalk mall in Saket, Delhi — that will be the first for the tech giant which has doubled down on its India growth plans.

Apple set another all-time revenue record for the India market in the quarter that ended December 31, 2022.

In the analysts’ call after posting its quarterly results, Cook said, “India is a hugely exciting market for us and a major focus.

“We brought the online store there in 2020. We will soon bring Apple Retail there,” Cook had announced.

“I’m very bullish on India,” he added.

According to the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), Apple’s ‘Make in India’ smartphone now constitutes 50 per cent of total exports.

Reports surfaced earlier this year that Cook-led Apple will quickly shift some of its China manufacturing to India and Vietnam in the next 2-3 years.

India is likely to produce 45-50 per cent of Apple’s iPhones by 2027, at par with China, where 80-85 per cent of iPhones were produced in 2022, according to estimates.

India accounted for 10-15 per cent of iPhones’ overall production capacity at the end of 2022.

Apple became the first smartphone player in India to have exported $1 billion worth iPhones in the month of December.

It currently manufactures iPhones 12, 13, 14 and 14 Plus in the country.

As Apple gears up to throw open the gates of its first branded retail store in India this month, its physical stores have left an indelible impression on millions worldwide.

For millions of Indians, visiting an Apple Store in the country will be a delightful experience. Those who have a constant yearning to be ‘delighted’ at Apple Stores at world-famous tourist spots, India will soon be on the Apple’s retail global map. (IANS)

Tea Market – Most Consumed Beverage In The World

The factors that drive the tea market growth include health benefits associated with consuming tea and rise in fitness concerns among people in different regions. The additional facts that support the growth of the market include increase in café culture, rise in disposable income, change in tastes of people, and innovation of tea via introducing additional healthy ingredients. However, increase in cost of raw materials due to unpredictable weather, high cost of production, and increase in trend of coffee consumption are expected to hamper the growth of market during the forecast period. Rise in tea demand from health-conscious young population and frequent introduction of new flavors & variety are expected to provide numerous opportunities for expansion of the Tea market.

The global tea market was valued at $55,144 million in 2019, and is projected to reach $68,950 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 6.6% from 2020 to 2027.

The trend for specialty or organic tea such as green tea and herbal/fruit tea is witnessing an upsurge, whereas ordinary black tea market is stabilizing. Customers are more aware towards the health effects of their food, thus shifting towards organic products.

The green tea segment was the highest contributor to the market, with $16,362 million in 2019, and is estimated to reach $26,110 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 9.8% during the forecast period. China is one of the prominent regions in the market that accounted for a sizeable share of the total market in 2019.

Tea is one of the most popular beverages, usually made via brewing or boiling of dried Camellia Sinensis plant leaves. The two prominent types of tea include black tea, widely consumed in western nations, and green tea, common in Asian countries. Tea care & husbandry management comprises proper site selection and several carefully maintained steps, which include permanent source of water, proper shelter, free draining soil with pH ranging from 5 to 5.8, and stringent regulations towards the amount of pesticides applied on plantations. Presently, the commercial consumption of tea is increasing, thus bridging the gap between out-of-home tea and coffee consumption. China and India are the major tea producing countries consisting of key players in the global market.

Buy This Report (300 Pages PDF with Insights, Charts, Tables, and Figures) @

The report segments the global tea market on the basis of type, packaging, distribution channel application and region. Based on the type, the market is divided into green tea, black tea, oolong tea, fruit/herbal tea, and others. On the basis of packaging, it is fragmented into plastic containers, loose tea (packets & pouches), paperboards, aluminum tins, and tea bags. By distribution channel, it is categorized into supermarkets/hypermarkets, specialty stores, convenience stores, online stores, and others. Applications covered in the study include residential and commercial. Geographically, the market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

The key players profiled in the tea industry include Associated British Foods Plc., Barry’s Tea Limited, Hain Celestial Group, Inc, ITO EN, Ltd., Mcleod Russel India Limited, Nestle S.A., TaeTea, Tata Global Beverages, The Republic of Tea, Inc., And Unilever Group.

Allied Market Research (AMR) is a full-service market research and business-consulting wing of Allied Analytics LLP based in Portland, Oregon. Allied Market Research provides global enterprises as well as medium and small businesses with unmatched quality of “Market Research Reports” and “Business Intelligence Solutions.” AMR has a targeted view to provide business insights and consulting to assist its clients to make strategic business decisions and achieve sustainable growth in their respective market domain.

Pawan Kumar, the CEO of Allied Market Research, is leading the organization toward providing high-quality data and insights. We are in professional corporate relations with various companies and this helps us in digging out market data that helps us generate accurate research data tables and confirms utmost accuracy in our market forecasting. Each and every data presented in the reports published by us is extracted through primary interviews with top officials from leading companies of domain concerned. Our secondary data procurement methodology includes deep online and offline research and discussion with knowledgeable professionals and analysts in the industry.

The Rising Cyber Weapons Market Forecast, 2021-2031

Allied Market Research published a report, titled, “Cyber Weapons Market by Type (Defensive, Offensive), by Application (National Defense System, Public Utility, Automated Transportation system, Smart Power Grid, Industrial Control System, Financial System, Communication Network, Others), by End User (Government, BFSI, Corporate, Other): Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2031.” According to the report, the global cyber weapons market was valued at $9.2 billion in 2021 and is estimated to generate $23.7 billion by 2031, witnessing a CAGR of 10.1% from 2022 to 2031.

The use of cyber weapons has grown significantly as the U.S. attempts to develop new tools and capacities for national security and defence. The National Security Agency (NSA) and Cyber Command are at the center of the American government’s significant investments in the creation of cyberweapons. The development of cyber weapons has been fueled by both the rise in reliance on digital infrastructure and the threat of cyberattacks from other countries, criminal groups, and other entities. The U.S. government accessed crucial data from other countries using cyber weapons.

According to Interesting Engineering, in September 2022, the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) cyber-warfare unit used 41 different types of weapons to steal critical technology data from a Chinese space and aviation university. This data included the configuration of critical network equipment, network management information, and critical operational information. Specific information regarding their creation and use is not made available to the general public because the use of cyber weapons by the U.S. is highly classified. Also, it is evident that cyber weapons have grown in importance as a tool in the U.S. national security strategy, which has fueled the growth of the cyber weapons business in the country.

On the basis of application the global cyber weapons market, is segmented into national defense systems, public utility, automated transportation systems, smart power grid, industrial control systems, financial systems, communication networks, and others. The development of international trade and the improvement of living standards have been facilitated by transportation infrastructure. Communities all over the world are connecting more than ever because of huge advancements in the flow of people and things. Yet, the presence of various control systems and auxiliary systems is increasing the interconnection and complexity of transportation networks.

The use of communications and IT has increased the effectiveness and functionality of transportation networks, but it has also raised the possibility of vulnerabilities. Attacks using cyber weapons on transportation networks can take a variety of shapes and have a range of possibilities and outcomes. A popular attack method that overburdens the system and causes a denial-of-service (DoS) for the entire system is traffic redirection to the server. A different type of cyber weapon effect is the theft of personal information, which can result in the displacement of expensive and/or dangerous commodities like explosives, radioactive agents, chemical, and biological chemicals, which is problematic for the transportation industry. Terrorists might utilise these materials, if they were stolen, to make bombs and other deadly weapons. Automated transportation systems that integrate cyber weapons are used to prevent or respond to such incidents, which supports the market’s growth.

Luxury Jewelry Market Size Is Projected To Reach USD 95.8 Billion By 2030

The Global Luxury Jewelry Market is anticipated to grow at a 7.85% CAGR and is estimated to be worth USD 95.78 Billion by the end of 2030.

Luxury Jewelry is well-known for its sophisticated designs and utilization of the most precious and uncommon unrefined substances. The Luxury Jewelry Market is vigorous and quickly developing. It’s also exceptionally divided and determined by buyer conduct and style. In the nearing years, huge market development is normal, from increasing extra cash and amplifying buyer consumption of extravagant merchandise. Assimilating the luxury gems industry with diversion and allure businesses has set new open doors for the market.

One of the main points herding the Luxury Jewelry Market is boosting discretionary cash flow. When the population’s discretionary cash flow develops, so does their purchasing power, bringing about amplified interest and utilization of luxury gems. Also, the traditions embracing extravagant metals are necessary components driving the interest in extravagant adornment pieces.

Amplifying interest in men’s adornments addresses viable freedom for the development of the market over the figure time frame. Generally, ladies are more minded than men toward buying luxury gems. Be that as it may, this pattern is remodelling, inferable from expanding the focal point of men on self-grooming and graceful allure.

The Global Luxury Jewelry Market is segmented into five regions; North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Europe represented the biggest portion of the global industry on the lookout, followed by North America. These areas comprise created nations with high per capita pay, just as significant luxury brands, filling the market development. Also, the high female workforce interest rate in these countries is a significant factor that adds to the development of the market. Besides, the Asia- Pacific area is expected to have a high CAGR during the estimated time frame.

Asia Pacific dominated the market for luxury jewelry and was considered for the largest revenue share of 65.4% in 2021. China and India are the two largest markets for luxury jewelry in the region. The latest styles and the requirement for high-quality jewelry among top customers are two eloquent drivers driving the market for luxury jewelry in this region.

The region is anticipated to see an increase in the popularity of online distribution. The majority of luxury jewelry is bought for special occasions or events like marriages and engagements. Further, due to continuous restrictions on international travel and the augmentation of domestic duty-free zones in China, demand from younger customers as well as those who shop domestically is anticipated to climb.

The global Luxury Jewelry Market’s prominent key players are Buccellati Holding, Italia SPA, Chopard International SA, Mikimoto & Co. Ltd., Bulgari S.P.A., Graff Diamond Corporation, Companies Financiere Richmond S.A., Tiffany & Co., Societe Cartier, Harry Winston Inc., Guccio Gucci S.P.A., Chanel, LVMH Moet Hennessy, Signet Jewellers, Cartier International SNC, Rajesh Exports Ltd.

Johnson & Johnson To Pay $9 Billion To Settle Talc Claims

US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has proposed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits the company faces in North America over claims that its baby powder and other talc-based products cause cancer, the media reported.

The healthcare giant said it still believed the claims were “specious” but was hoping the new settlement offer would help conclude its legal battle, the BBC reported.

The figure marks a big boost over the $2 billion it had proposed previously. The new offer has significant support from people tied to the case, it said.

The company is facing more than 40,000 lawsuits from former customers who say using its talc-based baby powder caused cancer, including some who allege the product contained cancer-causing asbestos.

It stopped US sales of its talc-based baby powder in 2020, citing “misinformation” that had sapped demand for the product, applied to prevent nappy rash and for other cosmetic uses, including dry shampoo.

Last year, it announced plans to end sales globally. Before that decision, the company had sold the baby powder for almost 130 years. It continues to sell a version of the product that contains cornstarch.

The company has been trying to resolve the lawsuits in bankruptcy court since 2021, after creating a subsidiary responsible for the claims.

But its efforts ran into trouble after an earlier bankruptcy court ruling found the subsidiary was not in financial distress and could not use the bankruptcy system to resolve the lawsuits.

“The company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit,” said Erik Haas, worldwide vice president of litigation for Johnson & Johnson.

“Resolving this matter through the proposed reorganisation plan is both more equitable and more efficient, allows claimants to be compensated in a timely manner, and enables the company to remain focused on our commitment to profoundly and positively impact health for humanity.”

Johnson & Johnson said it had won a majority of the talc lawsuits against it. But it has been stuck with some significant losses, including one decision in which 22 women were awarded a judgement of more than $2 billion.

The company said it had commitments from about 60,000 current claimants to support the new settlement terms. (IANS)

5 Indian Americans Among 100 Most Influential Women In US Finance

Five Indian Americans are in Barron’s fourth annual list of the 100 Most Influential Women in US Finance for achieving positions of prominence in the financial-services industry and are helping to shape its future.

The list includes Anu Aiyengar of JP Morgan, Rupal J. Bhansali of Ariel Investments, Meena Lakdawala-Flynn of Goldman Sachs Group, Sonal Desai from Franklin Templeton and Savita Subramanian of BofA Securities.

Aiyengar is the global head of Mergers and Acquisitions at JP Morgan — a role she assumed in January after serving as co-head of the division since 2020. She offers clients equal measures of expertise and steadiness when navigating challenging markets.

According to Barron’s, she “has long credited her love of number crunching, legal contracts, and building client relationships for bringing her to the mergers-and-acquisitions sphere”.

Bhansali, 55, chief investment officer and portfolio manager of Ariel Investments’ global equity strategies, sees the current state of the market as a time when investors should reposition their portfolios, because what worked in the past is “unlikely to work in the next decade”.

She believes that managing money is what she was born to do, and is passionate about encouraging women to work in finance.

Desai, 58, became the first woman chief investment officer in Franklin Templeton’s history in 2018. She oversees $137 billion in assets. She joined the firm in 2009 after working for the International Monetary Fund, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, and Thames River Capital.

Lakdawala-Flynn, Co-Head, Global Private Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs Group, wears several hats, including co-chairing the global inclusion and diversity committee. She did an internship at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, working on the institutional equity sales desk.

According to Barron’s, her career in finance began soon after a sports injury. A zealous gymnast who at one point wanted to compete in the Olympics, Lakdawala-Flynn had to stay at George Washington University one summer to rehabilitate her knee.

Subramanian is head of US equity and quantitative strategy at Bank of America Securities. She is responsible for recommending US sector allocations for equities and determining forecasts for the S&P 500 and other major US indices, as well as developing and marketing the firm’s quantitative equity strategy to institutional and individual clients.

Barron’s is a leading source of financial news, providing in-depth analysis and commentary on stocks, investments and how markets are moving across the world.

Global Economy Heading For Weakest Period Of Growth Since 1990

The global economy is heading for the weakest period of growth since 1990 as higher interest rates set by the world’s top central banks drive up borrowing costs for households and businesses, the head of the International Monetary Fund has warned, a media outlet reported.

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, said that a sharp slowdown in the world economy last year after the aftershocks of the Covid pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine would continue in 2023, and risked persisting for the next five years, The Guardian reported.

In a curtain raiser speech before the fund’s spring meetings in Washington DC next week, she said that the global growth would remain about 3 per cent over the next five years – its lowest medium-term growth forecast since 1990.

“This makes it even harder to reduce poverty, heal the economic scars of the Covid crisis and provide new and better opportunities for all,” Georgieva said.

In a downbeat assessment as the world grapples with the worst inflation shock in decades, she said economic activity was slowing across advanced economies in particular. While there was some momentum from developing nations – including China and India – low-income countries were also suffering from higher borrowing costs and falling demand for their exports, the media outlet reported.

Ahead of the IMF publishing revised economic forecasts next week, Georgieva said global growth in 2022 had collapsed by almost half since the initial rebound from the Covid pandemic in 2021, sliding from 6.1 per cent to 3.4 per cent. With high inflation, rising borrowing costs and mounting geopolitical tensions, she said global growth was on track to drop below 3 per cent in 2023 and remain weak for years to come.

As many as 90 per cent of advanced economies would experience a decline in their growth rate this year, she warned, with activity in the US and the eurozone hit by higher interest rates, it added.

Comparing the challenge to “climbing one ‘great hill’ after another”, Georgieva said there were still more problems to overcome: “First was Covid, then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation and a cost of living crisis that hit everyone.”

“So far, we have proven to be resilient climbers. But the path ahead – and especially the path back to robust growth – is rough and foggy, and the ropes that hold us together may be weaker now than they were just a few years ago,” she was quoted as saying by the media outlet. (IANS)

India, China To Account For Half Of Global Economic Growth In 2023

The period of slower economic activity will be prolonged, with the next five years witnessing less than 3 per cent growth.

The IMF chief on Thursday said that the world economy is expected to grow at less than 3 per cent this year, with India and China expected to account for half of global growth in 2023.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva warned that a sharp slowdown in the world economy last year following the raging pandemic and Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine would continue this year.

The period of slower economic activity will be prolonged, with the next five years witnessing less than 3 per cent growth, “our lowest medium-term growth forecast since 1990, and well below the average of 3.8 per cent from the past two decades,” she said.

“Some momentum comes from emerging economies — Asia especially is a bright spot. India and China are expected to account for half of global growth in 2023. But others face a steeper climb,” she explained.

“After a strong recovery in 2021 came the severe shock of Russia’s war in Ukraine and its wide-ranging consequences — global growth in 2022 dropped by almost half, from 6.1 to 3.4 per cent,” Georgieva said.

Georgieva said slower growth would be a “severe blow,” making it even harder for low-income nations to catch up.

“Poverty and hunger could further increase, a dangerous trend that was started by the COVID crisis,” she explained.

Her comments come ahead of next week’s spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, where policy-makers will convene to discuss the global economy’s most pressing issues.

The annual gathering will take place as central banks around the world continue to raise interest rates to tame galloping inflation rates.

About 90 per cent of advanced economies are projected to see a decline in their growth rates this year, she said.

For low-income countries, higher borrowing costs come at a time of weakening demand for their exports, she said.

Georgieva added that while the global banking system had “come a long way” since the 2008 financial crisis, “concerns remain about vulnerabilities that may be hidden, not just at banks but also non-banks. “Now is not the time for complacency.”

New Leaders At World Bank And BRICS Bank Have Different Outlooks

US President Joe Biden announced that the United States had placed the nomination of Ajay Banga to be the next head of the World Bank, established in 1944. There will be no other official candidates for this job since—by convention—the US nominee is automatically selected for the post. This has been the case for the 13 previous presidents of the World Bank—the one exception was the acting president Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria, who held the post for two months in 2019. Georgieva is currently the managing director of the IMF.

In the official history of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), J. Keith Horsefield wrote that US authorities “considered that the Bank would have to be headed by a US citizen in order to win the confidence of the banking community, and that it would be impracticable to appoint US citizens to head both the Bank and the Fund.” By an undemocratic convention, therefore, the World Bank head was to be a US citizen and the head of the IMF was to be a European national . Therefore, Biden’s nomination of Banga guarantees his ascension to the post.

A month later, the New Development Bank’s Board of Governors—which includes representatives from Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa (the BRICS countries) as well as one person to represent Bangladesh, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates—elected Brazil’s former president Dilma Rousseff to head the NDB, popularly known as the BRICS Bank.

The BRICS Bank, which was first discussed in 2012, began to operate in 2016 when it issued its first green financial bonds. There have only been three managing directors of the BRICS Bank—the first from India (K.V. Kamath) and then the next two from Brazil (Marcos Prado Troyjo and now Rousseff to finish Troyjo’s term). The president of the BRICS Bank will be elected from its members, not from just one country.

Banga comes to the World Bank, whose office is in Washington, D.C., from the world of international corporations. He spent his entire career in these multinational corporations, from his early days in India at Nestlé to his later international career at Citigroup and Mastercard. Most recently, Banga was the head of the International Chamber of Commerce, an “executive” of multinational corporations that was founded in 1919 and is based in Paris, France.

As Banga says, during his time at Citigroup, he ran its microfinance division, and, during his time at Mastercard, he made various pledges regarding the environment. Nonetheless, he has no experience in the world of development finance and investment. He told the Financial Times that he would turn to the private sector for funds and ideas. His resume is not unlike that of most US appointees to head the World Bank.

The first president of the World Bank was Eugene Meyer, who built the chemical multinational Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation (later Honeywell) and who owned the Washington Post. He too had no direct experience working on eradicating poverty or building public infrastructure. It was through the World Bank that the United States pushed an agenda to privatize public institutions. Men such as Banga have been integral to the fulfillment of that agenda.

Dilma Rousseff, meanwhile, comes to the BRICS Bank with a different resume. Her political career began in the democratic fight against the 21-year military dictatorship (1964-1985) that was inflicted on Brazil by the United States and its allies. During Lula da Silva’s two terms as president (2003-2011), Dilma Rousseff was a cabinet minister and his chief of staff.

She took charge of the Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (Growth Acceleration Program) or PAC, which organized the anti-poverty work of the government. Because of her work in poverty eradication, Dilma became known popularly as the “mãe do PAC” (mother of PAC). A World Bank study from 2015 showed that Brazil had “succeeded in significantly reducing poverty in the last decade”; extreme poverty fell from 10 percent in 2001 to 4 percent in 2013. “[A]pproximately 25 million Brazilians escaped extreme or moderate poverty,” the report said.

This poverty reduction was not a result of privatization, but of two government schemes developed and established by Lula and Dilma: Bolsa Família (the family allowance scheme) and Brasil sem Misería (the Brazil Without Extreme Poverty plan, which helped families with employment and built infrastructure such as schools, running water, and sewer systems in low-income areas). Dilma Rousseff brings her experience in these programs, the benefits of which were reversed under her successors (Michel Temer and Jair Bolsonaro).

Banga, who comes from the international capital markets, will manage the World Bank’s net investment portfolio of $82.1 billion as of June 2022. There will be considerable attention to the work of the World Bank, whose power is leveraged by Washington’s authority and by its work with the International Monetary Fund’s debt-austerity lending practices.

In response to the debt-austerity practices of the IMF and the World Bank, the BRICS Health/Sciencecountries—when Dilma was president of Brazil (2011-2016)—set up institutions such as the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (as an alternative to the IMF with a $100 billion corpus) and the New Development Bank (as an alternative to the World Bank, with another $100 billion as its initial authorized capital).

These new institutions seek to provide development finance through a new development policy that does not enforce austerity on the poorer nations but is driven by the principle of poverty eradication. The BRICS Bank is a young institution compared to the World Bank, but it has considerable financial resources and will need to be innovative in providing assistance that does not lead to endemic debt. Whether the new BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance will be able to break with the IMF’s orthodoxy is yet to be seen.

De-Dollarization Gaining Momentum As Countries Seek Alternatives To Dollar

The U.S. dollar has dominated global trade and capital flows over many decades. However, many nations are looking for alternatives to the greenback to reduce their dependence on the United States.

This graphic catalogs the rise of the U.S. dollar as the dominant international reserve currency, and the recent efforts by various nations to de-dollarize and reduce their dependence on the U.S. financial system.

The global de-dollarization campaign is gaining momentum, as countries around the world seek alternatives to the hegemony of the US dollar.

The global de-dollarization campaign is gaining momentum, as countries around the world seek alternatives to the hegemony of the US dollar. China, Russia, Brazil, India, ASEAN nations, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are now using local currencies in trade.

The Dollar Dominance

The United States became, almost overnight, the leading financial power after World War I. The country entered the war only in 1917 and emerged far stronger than its European counterparts.

As a result, the dollar began to displace the pound sterling as the international reserve currency and the U.S. also became a significant recipient of wartime gold inflows.

The dollar then gained a greater role in 1944, when 44 countries signed the Bretton Woods Agreement, creating a collective international currency exchange regime pegged to the U.S. dollar which was, in turn, pegged to the price of gold.

Picture : Elements of visual capitalist

By the late 1960s, European and Japanese exports became more competitive with U.S. exports. There was a large supply of dollars around the world, making it difficult to back dollars with gold. President Nixon ceased the direct convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold in 1971. This ended both the gold standard and the limit on the amount of currency that could be printed.

Although it has remained the international reserve currency, the U.S. dollar has increasingly lost its purchasing power since then.

Russia and China’s Steps Towards De-Dollarization

Concerned about America’s dominance over the global financial system and the country’s ability to ‘weaponize’ it, other nations have been testing alternatives to reduce the dollar’s hegemony.

As the United States and other Western nations imposed economic sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow and the Chinese government have been teaming up to reduce reliance on the dollar and to establish cooperation between their financial systems.

Since the invasion in 2022, the ruble-yuan trade has increased eighty-fold. Russia and Iran are also working together to launch a cryptocurrency backed by gold, according to Russian news agency Vedmosti. In addition, central banks (especially Russia’s and China’s) have bought gold at the fastest pace since 1967 as countries move to diversify their reserves away from the dollar.

How Other Countries are Reducing Dollar Dependence

De-dollarization it’s a theme in other parts of the world as well. In recent months, Brazil and Argentina have discussed the creation of a common currency for the two largest economies in South America.

In a conference in Singapore in January, multiple former Southeast Asian officials spoke about de-dollarization efforts underway. The UAE and India are in talks to use Rupees to trade non-oil commodities in a shift away from the dollar, according to Reuters.

For the first time in 48 years, Saudi Arabia said that the oil-rich nation is open to trading in currencies besides the U.S. dollar. Despite these movements, few expect to see the end of the dollar’s global sovereign status anytime soon. Currently, central banks still hold about 60% of their foreign exchange reserves in dollars.

India Now Has Third Highest Number Of Billionaires In The World

India, which has the third-most billionaires, with 169, had a more mixed year. Indian billionaires as a group – worth $675 billion – are $75 billion poorer than in 2022, as per the Forbes World’s Billionaires List 2023.

As per the list, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is the richest India with a net worth of $63.4 billion. Ambani is the 9th richest in the world as per the list.

The Us still boasts the most billionaires, with 735 list members worth a collective $4.5 trillion. China (including Hong Kong and Macau) remains second, with 562 billionaires worth $2 trillion, followed by India, with 169 billionaires worth $675 billion.

Nearly half of all billionaires are poorer than they were a year ago, as per the Forbes World’s Billionaires List 2023.

Falling stocks, wounded unicorns, and rising interest rates translated into a down year for the world’s wealthiest people.

Globally, the list counted 2,640 ten-figure fortunes, down from 2,668 last year. Altogether, the planet’s billionaires are now worth $12.2 trillion, a drop of $500 billion from $12.7 trillion in March 2022.

Nearly half the list is poorer than a year ago, including Elon Musk, who falls from No. 1 to No. 2 after his pricey acquisition of Twitter helped sink Tesla shares.

Bernard Arnault, head of luxury goods giant LVMH, takes his place as the world’s richest person, marking the first time a citizen of France leads the ranking.

Despite a down year in the markets, rising inflation and war in Eastern Europe, more than 1,000 billionaires are actually richer than they were on Forbes’ 2022 list – some by tens of billions of dollars.

Luxury goods tycoon Arnault has had the best run. His net worth surged by $53 billion since last year, a bigger gain than anyone on the planet. Shares of his LVMH, which owns brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Tiffany & Co, rose by 18 per cent on the back of strong demand. Now worth $211 billion, Arnault has taken the top spot on the World’s Billionaires ranking. It’s his first time at No 1 – and the first time a citizen of France has led the list.

Michael Bloomberg is ranked 7th on the list with a net worth of $ 84.5 billion. (IANS)

Car Buying Is A Luxury Item

The average price for a new vehicle hit $49,500 at the end of last year, compared to $38,948 just three years earlier. Skyrocketing interest rates pushed the average monthly car payment on a five-year loan to $723 in March.

New vehicles priced under $25,000, a range that the average American might deem affordable, now account for less than 5 percent of all sales.

Customers who walk onto a dealer’s lot expecting such enticements as zero-APR financing and thousand-dollar rebates are in for a surprise: For the first time in recent memory, the automobile industry is a seller’s market.

“It is no longer a $25,000, $30,000 transaction. It is a $50,000, $60,000 transaction,” said Patrick Rosenberg, director of automotive finance intelligence at J.D. Power, the car-consumer company. “It is a greater financial commitment than it has ever been.”

The car-and-truck marketplace went haywire during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with much of the American economy. A global shortage in semiconductors, the chips that control everything from airbags to windshield wipers, seeded massive production delays. Toss in pandemic shutdowns and other supply-chain kinks, and the conveyor belt of new cars slowed to a crawl.

At that point, simple economics kicked in. Demand overwhelmed supply. The customer-friendly, let’s-make-a-deal milieu of the typical new-car dealership vanished as quickly as that new-car smell. It hasn’t returned.

Generations of automotive customers have come to expect deep discounts, four-figure rebates and zero-interest financing. In a new-car negotiation, the sticker price was a mere starting point. No longer.

“Most people don’t expect to pay sticker price. People are paying sticker price,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds, the automotive information-services company. “Vehicles are coming off the truck, and they’re being sold immediately.”

The semiconductor crisis has eased, the supply chain has loosened, and vehicle production has resumed. But most of the cars and trucks rolling off the assembly lines are luxury items.

Between December 2017 and December 2022, the share of all new auto sales priced above $60,000 more than tripled, from 8 percent to 25 percent, according to research by Cox Automotive.

In the same five years, the share of sales under $25,000, a standard cutoff for economy vehicles, shrank from 13 percent to 4 percent.

“The manufacturers have been steering the market toward more expensive products,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox. “All those bells and whistles, nav-screens, cruise control, all those fantastic and lifesaving technologies cost money.”

More than 90 vehicle models now fetch $60,000 or more, Cox reports. Meanwhile, in five years, the number of models priced under $25,000 has dwindled from 36 to 10.

U.S. automakers have walked away from economy-priced sedans because of thin profit margins and because consumers don’t seem to want them.

“Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Chevy Cavalier: There’s a long history of the Detroit three making passenger cars,” Chesbrough said. “But they decided, seven, eight years ago, that the margins just weren’t there for them.”

As a result, actual cars now make up only about one-fifth of the Detroit auto market, an industry dominated by high-priced pickups and SUVs.  (The Hill)

Bernard Arnault Tops Forbes’ Annual Billionaires List

Elon Musk has officially been dethroned from the top of Forbes’ annual “World’s Billionaire’s List.”  The Tesla and Twitter chief is now the second-richest billionaire, worth an estimated $180 billion, which is $39 billion less than the previous year. The top spot has been awarded to Bernard Arnault, the chairman of French luxury goods giant LVMH. His net worth increased more than $50 billion in the past year to $211 billion.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to Musk, whose position wobbled on the Forbes’ “Real-Time Billionaires” list, which is updated daily, for the past several months. He and Arnault often switch places.

However, Tuesday’s list tracks his wealth annually. Forbes explained that Musk’s wealth had fallen because his $44 billion Twitter purchase, funded by Tesla shares, scared investors and sent Tesla stock sinking sharply last year. Tesla gained much of those losses back this year but is still significantly lower than before Musk bought Twitter.

Picture : Bussiness Insider

Forbes said that “Musk has mostly tweeted himself out of the top spot on the ranks” because Tesla shares are down 50% since his Twitter takeover a year ago. SpaceX is a bright spot for the billionaire, the magazine notes, since its valuation has increased $13 billion to $140 billion over the past year.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos lost the most amount of money of any billionaire on the list ($57 billion), knocking him down from second position to third. The loss can be attributed to Amazon shares losing nearly 40% of their value last year.

As for Arnault, Forbes said the Frenchman had a “banner year” in 2022 because of record-high profits at the luxury conglomerate, which comprises Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Tiffany & Co. Shares of LVMH have climbed 25% over the past year and the patriarch has recently unveiled succession plans to his children.

Forbes said that the total number of billionaires on this year’s list fell to 2,640 (down from 2,668), marking the second-straight year of decline.

“It’s been another rare down year for the planet’s richest people,” said Chase Peterson-Withorn, Forbes senior editor of wealth, in a release. “Nearly half the list is poorer than they were 12 months ago, but a lucky few are billions — or even tens of billions — of dollars richer.”

More than 250 people who were on last year’s list didn’t appear on this year’s, including Kanye West, who lost his Adidas deal, and embattled FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who lost 94% of his wealth in one day.

AI Could Impact 300 Million Jobs

As artificial intelligence products like ChatGPT aim to become a part of our everyday lives and we learn more about how powerful they can be, there’s one thing on everyone’s mind: how AI could impact jobs.

“Significant disruption” could be on the horizon for the labor market, a new Goldman Sachs report dated Sunday said. The bank’s analysis of jobs in the U.S. and Europe shows that two-thirds of jobs could be automated at least to some degree.

In the U.S., “of those occupations which are exposed, most have a significant — but partial — share of their workload (25-50%) that can be replaced,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in the resarch paper.

Around the world, as many as 300 million jobs could be affected, the report says. Changes to labor markets are therefore likely – although historically, technological progress doesn’t just make jobs redundant, it also creates new ones.

The use of AI technology could also boost labor productivity growth and boost global GDP by as much as 7% over time, Goldman Sachs’ report noted.

The jobs most and least affected by A.I. automation

Certain jobs will be more impacted than others, the report explains. Jobs that require a lot of physical work are, for example, less likely to be significantly affected.

In the U.S., office and administrative support jobs have the highest proportion of tasks that could be automated with 46%, followed by 44% for legal work and 37% for tasks within architecture and engineering.

The life, physical and social sciences sector follows closely with 36%, and business and financial operations round out the top five with 35%.

On the other end of the scale, just 1% of tasks in the building and ground cleanings and maintenance sector are vulnerable to automation. Installation, maintenance, and repair work is the second least affected industry with 4% of work potentially being affected, and construction and extraction comes third from the bottom with 6%.

Data for Europe is slightly broader, but paints a similar picture with clerical support roles being most affected as 45% of their work could be automated, and just 4% of work in the crafts and related trades sector being vulnerable.

Overall, 24% of work in Europe could be automated — just below the 25% average in the U.S.

The countries most affected

These figures shift when looking at automation through AI on a global scale. “Our estimates intuitively suggest that fewer jobs in EMs [emerging markets] are exposed to automation than in DMs [developed markets], but that 18% of work globally could be automated by AI on an employment-weighted basis,” the Goldman Sachs report said.

According to the bank’s analysis, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Sweden and the U.S. are likely to be the top five most affected countries. Meanwhile, employees in mainland China, Nigeria, Vietnam, Kenya and, in last place, India, are the least likely to see their work being taken over by AI technology.

But while the data shows that AI will undoubtedly impact the labor market, it’s not yet clear how disruptive it will really be, the report concludes.

“The impact of AI will ultimately depend on its capability and adoption timeline,” it says, adding that two key factors will be how powerful AI technology really becomes and how much it is used in practice.

Vimal Kapur Appointed CEO Of Honeywell

US-based consumer tech conglomerate Honeywell has announced that Vimal Kapur, President and Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Darius Adamczyk as CEO on June 1.

Having graduated from the Thapar Institute of Engineering in Punjab’s Patiala as electronics engineer with a specialization in instrumentation, Kapur was also appointed to the company’s board of directors, effective March 13.

Adamczyk will continue to serve as Executive Chairman of Honeywell, said the company, adding that these moves ensure a seamless leadership transition and position Honeywell for continued outperformance versus peers.

“Kapur brings 34 years of deep knowledge about our businesses, end markets and customer needs. His ability to drive our key sustainability and digitalisation strategic initiatives, along with his advancement of our world class operating system – Honeywell Accelerator – throughout the organization, gives him an outstanding platform to drive continued outperformance for our shareowners,” said Adamczyk.

Kapur, 57, was named President and COO in July 2022, and has been leading the creation of new solutions to help customers drive their sustainability transformations and accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

As COO, Kapur has also overseen the continued integration of Honeywell Accelerator across the organization and furthering its adoption as an operational system for everything that Honeywell does.

Prior to his role as COO, he served as President and CEO of Performance Materials and Technologies (PMT), an $11 billion global leader in the development of high-performance products and solutions.

Kapur said that it has been a privilege to work in a variety of businesses and functions over his three decades with Honeywell. “Honeywell is playing a major role in making the world a better place, and I am both proud and humbled to take on the CEO role of this great company,” he said.

Prior to leading PMT, Kapur served as President and CEO of HBT, a $6 billion global leader in building technology offerings. Adamczyk, 57, was named COO in 2016, CEO in 2017 and Chairman and CEO in 2018, and has led Honeywell to significantly and consistently outperform peer companies. Under his leadership, Honeywell’s market capitalisation grew from $88 billion to $145 billion. (IANS)

Money Can Buy Happiness, Scientists Say

People get happy as they earn more, according to a new study which overturns the dominant thinking that money cannot buy happiness.

The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, shows that, on average, larger incomes are associated with ever-increasing levels of happiness.

Two prominent researchers, Daniel Kahneman from Princeton University and Matthew Killingsworth from the University of Pennsylvania, surveyed 33,391 adults aged between 18 and 65 who live in the US, are employed and report a household income of at least $10,000 a year.

For the least happy group, happiness rose with income until $100,000, then showed no further increase as income grew. For those in the middle range of emotional well-being, happiness increases linearly with income, and for the happiest group the association actually accelerates above $100,000.

“In the simplest terms, this suggests that for most people larger incomes are associated with greater happiness,” said lead author Killingsworth.

“The exception is people who are financially well-off but unhappy. For instance, if you’re rich and miserable, more money won’t help. For everyone else, more money was associated with higher happiness to somewhat varying degrees,” he added.

The researchers said that the study shows both a happy majority and an unhappy minority exist.

For the former, happiness keeps rising as more money comes in; the latter’s happiness improves as income rises but only up to a certain income threshold, after which it progresses no further.

These findings also have real-world implications, according to Killingsworth.

For one, they could inform thinking about tax rates or how to compensate employees. And, of course, they matter to individuals as they navigate career choices or weigh a larger income against other priorities in life, Killingsworth said.

However, he adds that for emotional well-being money isn’t all. “Money is just one of the many determinants of happiness,” he says. “Money is not the secret to happiness, but it can probably help a bit.”  (IANS)

Aramco, Saudi-Owned Oil Giant Sees Record Profit Of $161bn

Saudi oil giant Aramco has announced a record profit of $161.1bn (£134bn) for 2022, helped by soaring energy prices and bigger volumes. It represents a 46.5% rise for the state-owned company, compared with last year.

It is the latest energy firm to report record profits, after energy prices spiked following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

America’s ExxonMobil made $55.7bn, and Britain’s Shell reported $39.9bn. Aramco also declared a dividend of $19.5bn for the October to December quarter of 2022, to be paid in the first quarter of this year.

Most of that will go to the Saudi government, which owns nearly 95% of the shares in the company. Brent crude oil, the benchmark oil price, now trades at around $82 a barrel – though prices exceeded $120 a barrel last March, after Russia’s invasion, and June.

“Aramco rode the wave of high energy prices in 2022,” said Robert Mogielnicki of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. “It would have been difficult for Aramco not to perform strongly in 2022.”

In a statement on Sunday, Aramco said the company results were “underpinned by stronger crude oil prices, higher volumes sold and improved margins for refined products”.

Aramco’s president and CEO Amin Nasser said: “Given that we anticipate oil and gas will remain essential for the foreseeable future, the risks of underinvestment in our industry are real – including contributing to higher energy prices.”

To address those challenges, he said, the company would not only focus on expanding oil, gas and chemicals production – but also invest in new lower-carbon technologies.

Aramco – the world’s second-most valuable company only behind America’s Apple – is a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Responding to Aramco’s announcement, Amnesty International’s secretary general Agnès Callamard said: “It is shocking for a company to make a profit of more than $161bn in a single year through the sale of fossil fuel – the single largest driver of the climate crisis.”

She added: “It is all the more shocking because this surplus was amassed during a global cost-of-living crisis and aided by the increase in energy prices resulting from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in the oil cartel OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). The Gulf kingdom has been condemned for a range of human rights abuses: its involvement in the conflict in neighboring Yemen, the murder in 2018 of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, for jailing dissidents, and for the widespread use of capital punishment.

In a separate development on Sunday, Iran said its oil exports had reached their highest level since the re-imposition of US sanctions in 2018. Oil Minister Javad Owji said exports increased by 83 million barrels in 2022 compared with the previous 12 months. In Iran, a new year starts in March.

Analysts say the rise is due to greater shipments to Iranian allies China and Venezuela. Tehran’s export revenues took a significant hit after then-US President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal five years ago.

The US sanctions, coupled with economic mismanagement and corruption, have meant that the Iranian economy has not had any substantive growth in the past decade. And by some measures, it is still 4-8% smaller than it was back in 2010.

Biden’s $5 Trillion Tax Gambit Catches Congress By Surprise

President Biden went big in his $6.8 trillion annual budget proposal to Congress by calling for $5 trillion in tax increases over the next decade, more than what lawmakers expected after the president downplayed his tax agenda in earlier meetings.  It’s a risky move for the president as he heads into a tough reelection campaign in 2024.

Senate Democrats will have to defend 23 seats next year, including in Republican-leaning states such as Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, and Americans are concerned about inflation and the direction of the economy.

Republicans say Biden’s budget plan marks the return of tax-and-spend liberal politics; they warn higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy will hurt the economy.  Biden, however, thinks he can win the debate by pledging that he won’t raise taxes on anyone who earns less than $400,000 a year.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, called Biden’s ambitious tax plan “jaw-dropping.”

“This is exactly the wrong approach to solving our fiscal problems,” he said of the $5 trillion aggregate total of proposed tax hikes. “I think this sets a new record, by far.”

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, a group that advocates for lower taxes, said “in dollar terms, it’s the largest tax increase in American history.”

A surprise and a ‘negotiating position’

Many lawmakers were expecting Biden to propose between $2 trillion and $2.5 trillion in tax increases, based on what he said in his State of the Union address on Feb. 7 and on what media outlets reported in the days before the White House unveiled its budget plan.

The $5 trillion in new tax revenues is more than what the president called for last year, when Democrats controlled the House and Senate.

In October of 2021, when Biden was trying to nail down a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on the Build Back Better agenda, he proposed a more modest $2 trillion in tax increases.

The headline number even surprised some Democratic policy experts, though they agree the federal government needs to collect more revenue.

“I didn’t expect to see a number that big, but I’m not alarmed by it. I think it’s a negotiating position,” said Jim Kessler, the executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank.

Biden told lawmakers at his State of the Union address that his budget plan would lower the deficit by $2 trillion and that he would “pay for the ideas I’ve talked about tonight by making the wealthy and big corporations begin to pay their fair share.”

The president then surprised lawmakers with a budget proposal to cut $3 trillion from deficit over the next decade and to do it almost entirely by raising tax revenues.

Biden has called for a 25 percent tax on the nation’s wealthiest 0.01 percent of families. He has proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and the top marginal income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent. He wants to quadruple the 1 percent tax on stock buybacks. He has proposed taxing capital gains at 39.6 percent for people with income of more than $1 million.

Kessler noted that Biden’s budget doesn’t include significant spending cuts nor does it reform Social Security, despite Biden’s pledge during the 2020 election to reduce the program’s imbalance.  Kessler defended the president’s strategy of focusing instead on taxing wealthy individuals and corporations.

“The amount of unrealized wealth that people have at the top dwarfs anything that we’ve ever seen in the past,” he said.  “These are opening bids” ahead of the negotiations between Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to raise the debt limit.

Senate Republicans are trying to chip away at Biden’s argument that his tax policy will only hit wealthy individuals and companies. “It’s probably not good for the economy. Last time I checked, most tax increases on the business side are passed on to consumers, and I think we need to control spending more than adding $5 trillion in new taxes,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Norquist, the conservative anti-tax activist, warned that if enacted, raising the corporate tax rate would reverberate throughout the economy.  “The corporate income tax, 70 percent of that is paid by workers and lower wages,” he said.

He said raising the top marginal tax rate and capital gains tax rate would hit small businesses that file under subchapter S of the tax code. “When you raise the top individual rate, you’re raising taxes on millions of smaller businesses in the United States,” he said. “Their employees end up paying that because that’s money they don’t have in the business anymore.”

How does Biden compare to predecessors?

Norquist noted that Obama and Clinton both cut taxes during their administrations, citing Clinton’s role in cutting the capital gains rate and Obama’s role in making many of the Bush-era tax cuts permanent.  “Both of them ran a more moderate campaign. This guy is going Bernie Sanders,” he said of Biden, comparing him to the liberal independent senator from Vermont.

Biden’s budget is a significant departure from the approach then-President Obama took 12 years ago, when he also faced a standoff with a GOP-controlled House over the debt.

In his first year working with a House GOP majority, Obama in his fiscal 2012 budget proposed cutting the deficit by $1.1 trillion, of which he said two-thirds should come from spending cuts and one-third from tax increases.  Obama later ramped up his proposal in the fall of 2011 by floating a plan to cut the deficit by $3.6 trillion over a decade and raise taxes by $1.6 trillion during that span.

Concerning for some Democrats

Republican strategists say they’ll use Biden’s proposed tax increases as ammunition against Democratic incumbents up for reelection next year.  National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines (Mont.) said Biden’s budget provides “a contrast” ahead of the election.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who faces a tough re-election in a state that former President Trump with 57 percent of the vote, said he’s leery about trillions of dollars in new taxes.

Asked last week if he’s worried about how Montanans might react to Biden’s proposed tax increases, Tester replied: “For sure. I got to make sure that will work. I just got to see what he’s doing.”

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Manchin, who is up for reelection in another red state, has called on his fellow Democrats to focus more on how the federal budget has swelled from $3.8 trillion in 2013 to $6.7 trillion today.

“Can we just see if we can go back to normal? Where were we before COVID? What was our trajectory before that?” he asked in a CNN interview Thursday.   “How did it grow so quickly? How do we have so many things that are so necessary that weren’t before?” he said of the federal budget and debt.

The White House branded the House Freedom Caucus’ deficit plan as “tax breaks for the super wealthy and wasteful spending for special interests,” as the two sides continued to trade jabs amid an escalating debt ceiling battle.

“MAGA House Republicans are proposing, if spread evenly across affected discretionary programs, at least a 20 [percent] across the board cut,” White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt said in an initial analysis of the proposal.

LaBolt pointed to several typically Republican issue areas that would be impacted by such cuts, including law enforcement, border security, education and manufacturing.

“The one thing MAGA Republicans do want to protect are tax cuts for the super-wealthy,” he added. “This means that their plan, with all of the sacrifices they are asking of working-class Americans, will reduce the deficit by…$0.”

The Freedom Caucus on Friday unveiled its initial spending demands for a possible debt ceiling increase, as the potential for default looms this summer. The proposal would cap discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels for 10 years, resulting in a $131 billion cut from current levels. Defense spending would be maintained at current levels.

LaBolt claimed that the proposal would also defund police and make the border less secure, turning around two accusations that Republicans have frequently lobbed at the Biden administration.

Such spending cuts would, according to LaBolt’s analysis, eliminate funding for 400 state, local and tribal police officers and several thousand FBI agents and personnel and “deny the men and women of Customs and Border Protection the resources they need to secure our borders.”

He also criticized the Freedom Caucus’s calls to end President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan and to rescind unspent COVID-19 and Inflation Reduction Act funds, claiming they would increase prescription drug and energy costs and ship manufacturing jobs overseas.

The analysis also accused the group of hard-line conservatives of making plans that would actually increase the federal deficit by $114 billion, and allow “the wealthy and big corporations to continue to cheat on their taxes.” Biden’s $6.8 trillion budget released on Thursday included tax hikes on the wealthy.

LaBolt’s 20 percent number represents a slight adjustment from Biden’s claim on Friday that the plan would require a 25 percent cut in discretionary spending across the board.

“If what they say they mean, they’re going to keep the tax cuts from the last president … no additional taxes on the wealthy — matter of fact reducing taxes — and in addition to that, on top of that, they’re going to say we have to cut 25 percent of every program across the broad,” Biden said during remarks on the economy. “I don’t know what there’s much to negotiate on.”

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.) hit back at the president on Friday, accusing him of misrepresenting their proposal. “For him to mention things like firefighters, police officers and health care — obviously, either he didn’t watch the press conference, he can’t read, or someone is, you know, got their hand up his back and they’re speaking for him, because those are just abject lies,” Perry told The Hill. “It’s the same old, you know, smear-and-fear campaign by the Biden administration.” (Courtesy: CNN)

Ann Mukherjee Proves You Can Change Liquor Industry From Within

Liquor industry leader Ann Mukherjee makes bold moves to fulfill her passionate belief in return on responsibility. “It’s not enough to be responsible. You have to get a return on it,” says Mukherjee, the 57-year-old chairwoman and CEO of Pernod Ricard North America, the largest operation at the world’s second biggest producer of wine and spirits. It makes Absolut vodka, Malibu rum, Jameson Irish whiskey, and Beefeater gin, among others. “I experienced personal traumas caused by others’ irresponsible drinking. That’s why my responsibility is to lend my voice and humanize issues,” she says.

Mukherjee was born in India, and raised in the U.S. An intoxicated adolescent boy sexually assaulted her at age four. A drunk driver killed her mother when she was a teenager. She held marketing management roles at several consumer product makers before surprising friends and family by joining the booze business.

Now she’s the first woman, person of color, and industry outsider to lead Pernod Ricard’s North American unit, which excludes Mexico. Shortly after her December 2019 arrival at the company, Mukherjee launched an Absolut Vodka campaign targeting sexual consent, and painted “sex responsibly” on her fingernails.

Next up, she will expand a Dallas pilot project that combats binge drinking and impaired driving. The “Safe Night” program, which Pernod cosponsors, hopes to soon add another major U.S. city. “We want to take this nationwide,” she says. A self-proclaimed “acceleration queen,” Mukherjee says she also aims to speed Pernod Ricard’s U.S. growth “to try to make us number one in the world.”

TIME recently spoke with Mukherjee about her employer’s other efforts to prevent drunk driving, the appetizing outlook for ready-to-drink cocktails, “war gaming” product launches, and why she yearns to own a restaurant.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

How does return on responsibility improve returns for your investors? Do you avoid taking a public stance on certain controversial issues because your position might hurt Pernod Ricard?

Consumers have a higher standard around brands they trust. They expect those brands to be walking the talk. Return on responsibility is what consumers expect of us. It actually drives return on investment. Making it part of your DNA not only future-proofs your business, it also creates the loyalty you need.

We only go after those issues that drive value, our company values, and our purpose of conviviality. Conviviality is about unlocking this magic of human connections. When somebody gets promoted, you’re celebrating over two flutes of champagne. We stay away if [an issue] isn’t about unlocking that magic.

Employees have asked me to speak against gun violence, a very important issue, but not our mission. So I am not going to [do so].

Why should executives speak out about issues related to their business? After all, most Americans want companies to stay out of social and political issues, some surveys find.

Every company needs to define their value creation model. You’re giving people something to buy into [because] you are a brand standing for timeless values. If sustainability issues are not about how you create value, don’t talk about them. Taking on topics du jour is another form of greenwashing. [Saying] you care about sustainability “because we’re supposed to’’ is not good enough. At Pernod Ricard, we talk about sustainability because nothing we make happens without agriculture. We won’t have a business if we don’t care about our farmers [or] don’t understand water conservation.

The Dallas pilot project epitomizes your return on responsibility commitment by training restaurants and bars to assist customers who drink too much. Given your horrific experiences involving alcohol abusers, why didn’t you initially launch a nationwide campaign against drunk driving?

The project’s approach had never been done before so we wanted to pilot it to make sure we got the right model [before] we start rounding it out to every city. Nationally, we do other things around responsible drinking. You attack it through helping the hospitality industry, education, and legislation. We worked very hard with on a [relevant] piece of legislation in President Biden’s infrastructure package.

The package the president signed into law contains a provision that any car manufactured in the United States must soon be capable of preventing a drunk driver from operating the vehicle. I got pretty emotional the day that law got signed. I posted a picture of my mom to my family and told them how the provision will reduce drunk driving. It was a way to give her death some meaning.

The ready-to-drink cocktail market is flourishing. How much U.S. revenue might Pernod Ricard get from such cocktails five years from now?

I can’t give any forward-looking numbers, but it is a part of our growth equation. The U.S. market for ready-to-drink cocktails is expected to grow at a rapid pace. People looking for convenience [also] want brands and cocktails they know and trust. So Malibu making a ready-to-drink piña colada makes sense. Absolut making an espresso martini ready to drink makes sense.

It’s important enough for us that we are now investing capital behind it. We’ve installed [our first] ready-to-drink canning line in our Fort Smith, Ark., facility. That $22 million investment is expandable so as that business gets bigger, we have the ability to grow with it.

While chief marketing officer of Frito-Lay North America, you helped introduce biodegradable bags for its Sun Chips. But due to their loud crackling sounds, the bags got withdrawn. What key leadership lesson did that noisy flop teach you?

At that time, the company wanted to make bold statements. While [the bag] did not work, employees said, “Wow, we were willing to take a risk for what we believed in.” But [being] enamored by the technology clouded our better business judgment. Passion, if not done objectively, sometimes is not the smartest thing to do. I learned to have a war game plan ready to go if something goes wrong.

How do you use war gaming to lead Pernod Ricard North America effectively?

We war game to be ready. There could be possible problems involving innovation launches, new marketing campaigns or new technology. And even if it’s a success, what were the lessons learned?

A great example is Jameson Orange, the first real flavored whiskey launched under the Jameson franchise. It was probably the biggest [U.S.] innovation launch the industry saw last year. We war gamed everything. What did this teach us? You got to make sure your innovation is on the shelf before you do all that [promotional] display stuff. It was 100% against industry norms. We’re very excited about the results. We now launch innovation based on learnings around how consumers shop.

You often use nail polish to broadcast your views about hot topics. You painted Black Lives Matter or BLM on your fingernails after George Floyd’s murder in 2020. And you put a Ukrainian flag on your nails following Russia’s invasion last year. What message are you sending to your coworkers?

That it’s OK to be vulnerable. And it’s a way for me to use something illustratively to say, “I care. You matter.’’

You try to unleash gifts that colleagues don’t know they have, so they feel they can do the impossible. What impossible goal have you achieved?

Sitting in the chair I’m in today. I’ve been told, “You should be a homeless drug addict,’’ [because of] my story. I feel very privileged that people believe I can create positive change. Most people can achieve anything they want if they can get out of their own way. I try to get people out of their own way and give them inspiration and hope.

Not long ago, you said you were still trying to decide what you want to be when you grow up. Are you interested in becoming CEO of a publicly held company someday?

Why wouldn’t I be? That’s absolutely in the mix. I get [recruiter] calls. And what a training ground I’m in now! But I’m very happy where I am. I came [to Pernod Ricard] because I wanted to accomplish something from a business and responsibility perspective. Working for a company you believe in doesn’t come around every day.

I would [also] love to open my own restaurant and be the Stanley Tucci of India. Cooking is how I get rid of stress. I read cookbooks like novels. I love fusion cooking, bringing different cuisines together, and understanding culture through food. We [recently took] a three-week food extravaganza tour in Vietnam. I’ve got lots of dreams. Who knows what I’ll end up doing? (TIME.COM)

Indian Startups With Millions Of Dollars Stuck In Silicon Valley Bank Failure

Indian startups that have millions of dollars stuck with the troubled Silicon Valley Bank are waiting for business hours in the US to resume Monday and could withdraw all their money from the bank en masse. The only thing that could stop that is if the US government manages to find a buyer for the beleaguered bank, reports said.

Courtesy a maneuver of the US government on March 12th, businesses with accounts at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) will have full access to their deposits, unlike a previous measure where only an insured amount of $250,000 would have been immediately accessible. As of December 2022, SVB had $209 billion in total assets and about $175 billion in total deposits.

SVB collapsed Friday morning after a stunning 48 hours in which a bank run and a capital crisis led to the second-largest failure of a financial institution in US history. The chaos instigated by high interest rates led to an old-fashioned bank run on Thursday, in which depositors yanked $42 billion from SVB.

When the FDIC took control of the bank Friday, it said it would pay customers their insured deposits on Monday, which only covers up to $250,000. But there’s a lot of money – and influence – at stake. SVB provided financing for almost half of US venture-backed technology and health care companies. At the end of 2022, the bank said it had $151.5 billion in uninsured deposits, $137.6 billion of which was held by US depositors.

Though a lot of money may have come out during the bank run and customers could receive some uninsured funds as the government liquidates SVB, they are still unsure if they can recover all their cash.

Fearing a larger fall out from the bank collapse, the United States government mobilized immediately in response to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, working over the weekend to insure depositors who had more than $200 billion of venture capital and high-tech start-up money stored in the two banks.

But unlike the 2008 financial crisis, during which Congress passed new legislation in order to salvage the country’s largest banks, the current rescue plan is smaller in scale, pertains to only two banks, and isn’t additional taxpayer money — for now.

In order to make sure depositors can still withdraw funds from their accounts — the vast majority of which exceeded the $250,000 limit for standard insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — regulators say they’re pulling from a special fund maintained by the FDIC called the deposit insurance fund (DIF).

“For the two banks that were put into receivership, the FDIC will use funds from the deposit insurance fund to ensure that all of its depositors are made whole,” a Treasury official told reporters on Sunday night. “In that case the deposit insurance funded is bearing the risk. This is not funds from the taxpayer.”

Where the money comes from

The money in the DIF comes from insurance premiums that banks are required to pay into it as well as interest earned on funds invested in U.S. bonds and other securities and obligations.

This is why some observers have been saying that the term “bailout” shouldn’t be used in reference to the current government intervention — because it’s bank money plus interest that’s being used to insure depositors, and it’s only being administered by the federal government.

But standing behind the DIF is the “the full faith and credit of the United States government,” according to the FDIC, meaning that if the DIF runs out of money or encounters a problem, the Treasury could call on taxpayers as a next resort.

This is not an impossibility. The DIF had a $125 billion balance as of the last quarter of 2022 and SVB reported $212 billion in assets in the same quarter. Treasury officials sounded confident on Sunday night the money in the DIF would be more than enough to cover SVB’s deposits.

The Fed steps in for backup

To settle fears of a potential shortfall, the Federal Reserve announced an additional line of credit known as a Bank Term Funding Program, offering loans of up to one year to banks, credit unions, and other types of depository institutions. For collateral, the Fed will take U.S. bonds and mortgage-backed securities, and the line of credit will be backed up by $25 billion from the Treasury’s $38 billion Exchange Stabilization Fund.

“Both of these steps are likely to increase confidence among depositors, though they stop short of an FDIC guarantee of uninsured accounts as was implemented in 2008,” analysts for Goldman Sachs wrote in a Sunday note to investors.

“The Dodd-Frank Act limits the FDIC’s authority to provide guarantees by requiring congressional passage of a joint resolution of approval, which is only marginally easier than passing a new legislation. Given the actions announced today, we do not expect near-term actions in Congress to provide guarantees,” they wrote.

Even as the US government scrambles to find a buyer for the bank, SVB’s UK arm was sold to HSBC for £1, the Bank of England and the British government announced Monday morning. Sheila Bair, former chairperson of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – which took over the bank after it was shut down –told the US press that finding a buyer for SVB was “the best outcome.”

India impact

While the British arm of SVB has managed to find a buyer in the UK, that is unlikely to calm Indian startups since they primarily have deposited their money with the US-based SVB, which is headquartered in New York.

The fallout of SVB’s collapse could be far-reaching. Startups may be unable to pay employees in the coming days and venture capital firms may be unable to raise funds. The tech industry is the biggest customer of SVB with a large number of Indian startups, especially in the SaaS (software as a service) sector that services US clients, having accounts at the bank.

Additional loans

Instead of a total government bailout that would have required taxpayer money, the United States’ Federal Reserve announced that it would make available additional loans to eligible depository institutions to help assure that banks have the ability to meet the needs of all their depositors.

A new entity called the Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP) will be created and it will offer loans of up to one year in length to banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other eligible depository institutions. Those taking advantage of the facility will be asked to pledge high-quality collateral such as Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities.

While relatively unknown outside Silicon Valley, SVB was among the top 20 American commercial banks, with $209 billion in total assets at the end of last year, according to the FDIC. It’s the largest lender to fail since Washington Mutual collapsed in 2008.

Andhra Pradesh Inks Business Deals Worth US$ 159 Billion

The Andhra Pradesh Global Investment Summit (GIS) 2023 turned out to be a huge success, as 352 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), amounting to about US$ 159 billion were finalized, which will create approximately  6,03,223 jobs in the state. The summit was attended by domestic and international business leaders, who made massive investments especially in the green hydrogen energy sector.

Picture : TheUNN

Inaugurated by Union Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the event had the presence of India’s top business leaders including Reliance Industries chairman and MD, Mukesh Ambani, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, chairman Naveen Jindal, Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd CEO, Karan Adani, Dalmia Group managing director, Puneet Dalmia and others.

In his address at the GIS 2023, the CM said, “It is a proud moment to announce that the state has received 340 investment proposals with an investment of about Rs 13 lakh crore (US $159 billion) providing employment to almost six lakh people across 20 sectors.”

At the inauguration, Mukesh Ambani commended the state’s industrial development and its advantages and expressed confidence that the state would play a significant role in India’s growth story. “Reliance will create 50,000 new job opportunities in Andhra Pradesh and will promote sale of products made in the state through retail business,” he announced.

Naveen Jindal revealed that the firm will be setting up a 3 million tonne per annum steel plant in the state that will create jobs for over 10,000 people directly or indirectly.

According to Reddy, the state’s Energy Department received significant investment proposals especially in green hydrogen. The IT and ITES department managed to get 56 proposals, whereas the Tourism department got 117 proposals.

The two-day Global Investors Summit 2023 organized at the Andhra University Engineering College, Visakhapatnam concluded on March 4 with cultural performances by various dance groups.

$8.8 Bn Lost To Scams In 2022

The consumers in the US lost nearly $8.8 billion to scams in 2022, an increase of more than 30 per cent over the previous year, a new report has shown. According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers reported losing more money to investment scams — more than $3.8 billion — than any other category in 2022.

That amount more than doubles the amount reported lost in 2021.  Moreover, the report showed that imposter scams caused the second-highest loss amount — $2.6 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2021.

Prizes, sweepstakes, lotteries, investment-related scams, and business and job opportunities rounded out the top five fraud categories.  Nearly 2.4 million consumers reported fraudulent activity on their accounts last year, most commonly imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams, the report said.

Earlier this month, the FTC released a similar report, saying romance scammers received a hefty payout last year, involving 70,000 victims who lost a combined $1.3 billion.

The report showed that romance scammers often use dating apps to target people looking for love.  Nearly 40 per cent of people who lost money to a romance scam last year, said the contact started on social media, while 19 per cent said it started on a website or app.

Many people mentioned that the scammer then quickly moved the conversation to WhatsApp, Google Chat or Telegram. (IANS)

When Is The US Recession Expected?

(AP) — A majority of the nation’s business economists expect a U.S. recession to begin later this year than they had previously forecast, after a series of reports have pointed to a surprisingly resilient economy despite steadily higher interest rates.

Fifty-eight percent of 48 economists who responded to a survey by the National Association for Business Economics envision a recession sometime this year, the same proportion who said so in the NABE’s survey in December. But only a quarter think a recession will have begun by the end of March, only half the proportion who had thought so in December.

The findings, reflecting a survey of economists from businesses, trade associations and academia, were released Monday.

A third of the economists who responded to the survey now expect a recession to begin in the April-June quarter. One-fifth think it will start in the July-September quarter.

The delay in the economists’ expectations of when a downturn will begin follows a series of government reports that have pointed to a still-robust economy even after the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates eight times in a strenuous effort to slow growth and curb high inflation.

In January, employers added more than a half-million jobs, and the unemployment rate reached 3.4%, the lowest level since 1969.

And sales at retail stores and restaurants jumped 3% in January, the sharpest monthly gain in nearly two years. That suggested that consumers as a whole, who drive most of the economy’s growth, still feel financially healthy and willing to spend.

At the same time, several government releases also showed that inflation shot back up in January after weakening for several months, fanning fears that the Fed will raise its benchmark rate even higher than was previously expected. When the Fed lifts its key rate, it typically leads to more expensive mortgages, auto loans and credit card borrowing. Interest rates on business loans also rise.

Tighter credit can then weaken the economy and even cause a recession. Economic research released Friday found that the Fed has never managed to reduce inflation from the high levels it has recently reached without causing a recession.

India Slips To 43rd Rank In US Chamber Of Commerce’s Intellectual Property Rights Index

India has slipped to the 43rd spot in the US Chamber of Commerce’s latest International Intellectual Property Rights index.

India is ranked 43rd out of 55 countries for 2022. It was ranked 40th in the index in 2021.

The index was launched by the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Centre and is closely monitored by the Indian government.

The index has said in its finding that a torrent of proposals – both domestic and international – are threatening to erode intellectual property (IP) rights.

The annual international IP index evaluates the protection of IP rights in 55 of the world’s leading economies, together representing approximately 90 per cent of global GDP.

The report covers everything from patent and copyright laws to the ability to monetise IP assets and the ratification of international agreements.

By analyzing the IP landscape in global markets, the index aims to help nations navigate toward a brighter economic future marked by greater innovation, creativity, and competitiveness.

“As India’s size and economic influence grows on the world stage, India is ripe to become a leader for emerging markets seeking to transform their economy through IP-driven innovation,” said Patrick Kilbride, senior vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center, which publishes the annual report.

“India has taken steps to improve enforcement against copyright-infringing content and provides a best-in-class framework to promote better understanding and utilization of IP assets. However, address long-standing gaps in its IP framework will be critical to India’s ability to creating a new model for the region and India’s continued economic growth,” Kilbride said. (IANS)

G-20 Finance Ministers To Address Global Economic Concerns In Bengaluru

(AP) Top financial leaders from the Group of 20 leading economies are gathering in Bengaluru this week to tackle myriad challenges to global growth and stability, including stubbornly high inflation and surging debt.

India is hosting the G-20 financial conclave for the first time in 20 years. Later in the year it will convene its first summit of G-20 economies. The meetings offer the world’s second most populous country a chance to showcase its ascent as an economic power and its status as a champion of developing nations.

The gathering of finance ministers and central bank governors takes place just a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, setting off a cascade of shocks to the world economy, chief among them decades-high inflation. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is expected to address the global economic impacts of the war while at the G-20 meetings.

India is among the countries treading lightly between the Western nations and Russia, eager to claim more global sway but wary of becoming embroiled in antagonisms as its economy benefits from purchases of discounted Russian crude oil.

“India has a growing leadership role globally,” Information Minister Anurag Thakur, said Wednesday, reiterating Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stance that “today’s era is not of war. Dialogues and discussions are the only way forward.”

As host of more than 200 G-20 meetings in 28 cities leading up to the summit in November, Modi is expected to use that role to burnish India’s stature as a leader in fighting climate change and to act as a bridge between the interests of industrialized nations and developing ones.

₹ 305 Crore Of Jewelry Seized From Joyalukkas

The Enforcement Directorate has seized assets worth ₹ 305.84 crore of the popular jewellery chain Joyalukkas on Friday, days after five of the company’s premises were raided by the probe agency. The ED has accused the jewellery chain of violating provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

The case relates to a huge amount of cash transferred to Dubai from India through Hawala channels and subsequently invested in Joyalukkas Jewellery LLC, Dubai which is 100 per cent owned by Joy Alukkas Verghese. On Tuesday, the company had withdrawn its ₹ 2,300 crore initial public offering or IPO saying it needed more time to incorporate substantial changes to its financial results.

The attached assets include 33 immovable properties valued at ₹ 81.54 crore consisting of land and a residential building in Shobha City, Thrissur. Three bank accounts valued at ₹ 91.22 lakh, three fixed deposits amounting to ₹ 5.58 crore and Joyalukkas shares worth 217.81 crores have also been seized by the Enforcement Directorate.

The company had plans to refile its IPO documents “at the earliest, subject to market conditions,” Chief Executive Baby George told Reuters on Tuesday, without elaborating further.

Post a comment The jewellery retailer, which focuses mainly on Southern India, is the latest to delay or pull its IPO plans amid market volatility and stubbornly high inflation. The company operates showrooms across roughly 68 cities.

US Supreme Court Hears Case On Students Loan Forgiveness

(AP) — The United States Supreme Court won’t have far to look if it wants a personal take on the “crushing weight” of student debt that underlies the Biden administration’s college loan forgiveness plan. Justice Clarence Thomas was in his mid-40s and in his third year on the nation’s highest court when he paid off the last of his debt from his time at Yale Law School.

Thomas, the court’s longest-serving justice and staunchest conservative, has been skeptical of other Biden administration initiatives. And when the Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday involving President Joe Biden’s debt relief plan that would wipe away up to $20,000 in outstanding student loans, Thomas is not likely to be a vote in the administration’s favor.

But the justices’ own experiences can be relevant in how they approach a case, and alone among them, Thomas has written about the role student loans played in his financial struggles.

A fellow law school student even suggested Thomas declare bankruptcy after graduating “to get out from under the crushing weight of all my student loans,” the justice wrote in his best-selling 2007 memoir, “My Grandfather’s Son.” He rejected the idea.

It’s not clear that any of the other justices borrowed money to attend college or law school or have done so for their children’s educations. Some justices grew up in relative wealth. Others reported they had scholarships to pay their way to some of the country’s most expensive private institutions.

Picture : TheUNN

Of the seven justices on the court who are parents, four have signaled through their investments that they don’t want their own children to be saddled with onerous college debt, and have piled money into tax-free college savings accounts that might limit any need for loans.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch have the most on hand, at least $600,000 and at least $300,000, respectively, according to annual disclosure reports the justices filed in 2022. Each has two children.

Justices Amy Coney Barrett, who has seven children, and Ketanji Brown Jackson, who has two, also have invested money in college-savings accounts, in which any earnings or growth is tax free if spent on education. None of the justices would comment for this story, a court spokeswoman said.

Thomas wrote vividly about his past money woes in his up-from-poverty story, recounting how a bank once foreclosed on one of his loans because repayment and delinquency notices were sent to his grandparents’ house in Savannah, Georgia, instead of Thomas’ home at the time in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Thomas was able to take out another loan to repay the bank only because his mentor, John Danforth, then-Missouri attorney general and later a U.S. senator, vouched for him.

Thomas noted that he signed up for a tuition postponement program at Yale in which a group of students jointly paid for their outstanding loans according to their financial ability, with those earning the most paying the most.

At the time, Thomas’ first wife, Kathy, was pregnant. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I signed on the dotted line, and spent the next two decades paying off the money I borrowed during my last two years at Yale,” Thomas wrote.

When he was first nominated to be a federal judge in 1989, Thomas reported $10,000 in outstanding student loans, according to a news report at the time. The Biden administration has picked the same number as the amount of debt relief most borrowers would get under its plan.

Personal experience can shape the justices’ questions in the courtroom and affect their private conversations about a case, even if it doesn’t figure in the outcome.

“It is helpful to have people with life experiences that are varied just because it enriches the conversation,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor has said. Sotomayor, like Thomas, also grew up poor. She got a full scholarship to Princeton as an undergraduate, she has said, and went on to Yale for law school, as Thomas did.

Keeping people from avoiding the kinds of difficult choices Thomas faced is a key part of the administration’s argument for loan forgiveness. The administration says that without additional help, many borrowers will fall behind on their payments once a hold in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic three years ago is lifted, no later than this summer.

Under a plan announced in August but so far blocked by federal courts, $10,000 in federal loans would be canceled for people making less than $125,000 or for households with less than $250,000 in income. Recipients of Pell Grants, who tend to have fewer financial resources, would get an additional $10,000 in debt forgiven.

The White House says 26 million people already have applied and 16 million have been approved for relief. The program is estimated to cost $400 billion over the next three decades.

The legal fight could turn on any of several elements, including whether the Republican-led states and individuals suing over the plan have legal standing to go to court and whether Biden has the authority under federal law for so extensive a loan forgiveness program.

Nebraska and other states challenging the program argue that far from falling behind, 20 million borrowers would get a “windfall” because their entire student debt would be erased, Nebraska Attorney General Michael Hilgers wrote in the states’ main Supreme Court brief.

Which of those arguments resonate with the court may become clear on Tuesday.

When she was dean of Harvard Law School, Justice Elena Kagan showed her own concern about the high cost of law school, especially for students who were considering lower-paying jobs.

Kagan established a program that would allow students to attend their final year tuition-free if they agreed to a five-year commitment to work in the public sector. While that program no longer exists, Harvard offers grants to students for public service work.

At the time the program was created, Kagan said she wanted students to be able to go to work where they “can make the biggest difference, but that isn’t the case now.” Instead, she said: “They often go to work where they don’t want to work because of the debt burden.”

Adani Group Stocks Rout Continues; Adani Enterprises Crashes Over 10%

The rout in stocks of Adani group companies continued on Wednesday, as shares of all its firms fell tracking domestic equities. Adani Enterprises crashed 10.43 per cent, to close at Rs 1,404.85 on the BSE. ACC, meanwhile, tumbled 3.97 per cent, to Rs 1,755.20 on the Mumbai-based exchange.

Ambuja Cement fell 4.92 per cent, while Adani Power, Adani Transmission, and Adani Total Gas, were locked in 5 per cent lower circuit.

Investors continued to exit Adani firms as domestic markets fell sharply today. BSE Sensex crashed 928 points, or 1.53 per cent to 59,744.98. Nifty50 tumbled 272.40 points, to Science17,554.30.

The combined equity market value of Adani group’s 10 companies has slipped below $100 billion as firms have lost around Rs 11 lakh crore since the release of a report by US-based short seller Hindenburg Research on January 25. The report stated that the ports-to-power conglomerate was involved in “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme.”

Ajay Banga Nominated By Biden To Lead World Bank

President Joe Biden has nominated a former boss of Mastercard with decades of experience on Wall Street to lead the World Bank and oversee a shake-up at the development organization to shift its focus to the climate crisis.

Ajay Banga, an American citizen born in India, comes a week after David Malpass, a Donald Trump appointee, quit the role. The World Bank’s governing body is expected to make a decision in May, but the US is the Washington-based organisation’s largest shareholder and has traditionally been allowed to nominate without challenge its preferred candidate for the post.

Malpass, who is due to step down on 30 June, was nominated by Trump in February 2019 and took up the post officially that April. He is known to have lost the confidence of Biden’s head of the US Treasury, Janet Yellen, who with other shareholders wanted to expand the bank’s development remit to include the climate crisis and other global challenges.

Ajay Banga, former president and CEO of Mastercard and current vice chairman of the private equity firm General Atlantic, is Biden’s nomination as the next president of the World Bank.

Biden, in a statement Thursday, called Banga – a native of India and former chairman of the International Chamber of commerce – “uniquely equipped” to lead the World Bank, a global development institution that provides grants and loans to low-income countries to reduce poverty and spur development.

Biden touted Banga’s work leading global companies that brought investment to developing economies and his record of enlisting the public and private sectors to “tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change.”

The Biden administration is looking to recalibrate the focus of the World Bank to align with global efforts to reduce climate change.

Malpass, nominated by former President Donald Trump, still had a year remaining on his five-year term as president. Malpass came under fire when he said, “I’m not a scientist,” when asked at a New York Times event in September whether he accepts the overwhelming scientific evidence that the burning of fossil fuels has caused global temperatures to rise. Former Vice President Al Gore, who called Malpass a “climate denier,” was among several well-known climate activists to call for his resignation.

Banga was the top executive at Mastercard from 2010 to 2020. He has served as a co-chair of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Partnership for Central America, which has sought to bring private investment to the region.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen applauded Biden’s pick. She said Banga understands the World Bank’s goals to eliminate poverty and expand prosperity are “deeply intertwined with challenges like meeting ambitious goals for climate adaptation and emissions reduction, preparing for and preventing future pandemics, and mitigating the root causes and consequences of conflict and fragility.”

Banga still needs confirmation by the bank’s board to become president. It’s unclear whether there will be additional nominees from other nations.

Spirits Beat Brews In Consumption

(AP) — Producers of spirits have new bragging rights in the age-old whiskey vs. beer barroom debate. New figures show that spirits surpassed beer for U.S. market-share supremacy, based on supplier revenues, a spirit industry group announced Thursday.

The rise to the top for spirit-makers was fueled in part by the resurgent cocktail culture — including the growing popularity of ready-to-drink concoctions — as well as strong growth in the tequila and American whiskey segments, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said.

In 2022, spirits gained market share for the 13th straight year in the fiercely competitive U.S. beverage alcohol market, as its supplier sales reached 42.1%, the council said.

After years of steady growth, it marked the first time that spirit supplier revenues have surpassed beer — but just barely, the spirit industry group said. Beer holds a 41.9% market share, it said.

“Despite the tough economy, consumers continued to enjoy premium spirits and fine cocktails in 2022,” Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO Chris Swonger said.

Overall spirit supplier sales in the U.S. were up 5.1% in 2022 to a record $37.6 billion, the group said. Volumes rose 4.8% to 305 million 9-liter cases.

Seemingly unfazed, Brian Crawford, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, insisted that beer “remains America’s number one choice in beverage alcohol.”

“It’s interesting to hear liquor companies boast about making money hand-over-fist while simultaneously going state-to-state hunting for more tax carveouts from state legislatures,” Crawford said in a statement.

Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer’s Insights, a leading beer industry trade publication, said the beer industry saw unprecedented growth in the 1970s, growing at a pace of 4% annually. As recently as 2000, beer’s share in the alcohol market was 58%.

Over the past several decades, beer’s growth has essentially been flat. Meanwhile, spirits have flourished, especially over the past two decades.

“I think there’s just a long arc on these things,” Steinman said.

Steinman and

chief economist at the Brewers Association, a craft beer industry trade group, agreed there are several reasons for the shift to spirits.

“Some of it’s just the younger generation coming up, looking for a lot of variety,” Steinman said. “They sometimes like spirits. Cocktail culture is another thing.”

Watson cited data showing that liquor has become 20% cheaper relative to beer in recent decades. “Price is a particularly large part of the story,” he said.

Another factor is advertising and marketing. Watson pointed to the success of spirits in its outreach to women. Steinman said distilled spirits now advertise freely, something they didn’t do generations ago.

“They’ve increased their availability. They’ve increased their ability to advertise. They’ve had a lot of legislative and policy wins that have enabled growth for distilled spirits,” Steinman said. For spirit producers, reaching the market share milestone was worth toasting.

At Baltimore Spirits Company in Maryland, the head distiller and the manager of its cocktail bar said they are pleased with the rise in the consumption of spirits.

Eli Breitburg-Smith, head distiller and cofounder, said the distillery founders saw a space in the market to make rye whiskey as consumer demand was growing.

“We did see that it was going to be on the rise,” he said. “Now, I don’t know that we thought it would be overtaking beer or anything like that, but we felt like there was a good space in the market for new whiskey, original whiskey, and people that … were making a unique product.”

Gregory Mergner, the general manager of the distillery’s cocktail gallery, said he didn’t anticipate spirits rivaling or surpassing beer for market share.

“As ubiquitous as beer is. I don’t think anybody could have foreseen whiskey overtaking it,” he said. The spirit sector’s rise has coincided with a growing thirst for high-end, super-premium products.

That trend toward premiumization slowed overall in 2022. But it remained strong because of growth in the tequila/mezcal and American whiskey categories, the Distilled Spirits Council said.

More than 60% of the spirit sector’s total U.S. revenue last year came from sales of high-end and super-premium spirits, mostly led by tequila and American whiskey, said Christine LoCascio, the group’s chief of public policy and strategy. Those high-end products fetch the highest prices.

“While many consumers are feeling the pinch from inflation and reduced disposable income, they are still willing to purchase that special bottle of spirits choosing to sip a little luxury and drink better, not more,” LoCascio said.

Within the spirit sector, vodka maintained its as status the top revenue producer at $7.2 billion, though sales were flat in 2022, the group said.

In the tequila/mezcal category, sales rose 17.2%, or $886 million, totaling $6 billion, it said. Sales for American whiskey were up 10.5%, or $483 million, to reach $5.1 billion, it said. The American whiskey category includes bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey.

Brandy and cognac sales were down 12.3%, with revenues totaling $3.1 billion.

Premixed cocktails were the clear leader as the fastest-growing spirit category.

Sales for premixed cocktails, including ready-to-drink spirit products, surged by 35.8%, or $588 million, to reach $2.2 billion, the council said.

Meanwhile, spirit sales volumes in restaurants and bars — referred to as on-premise sales — continued to recover from pandemic-era shutdowns but they remained 5% lower than 2019 levels, the council said. Those sales represent about 20% of the U.S. market.

Off-premise sales volumes at liquor stores and other retail outlets remained steady in 2021 and 2022, after experiencing sharp gains during the pandemic restrictions in 2020, it said.

Meanwhile, there is a crossover strategy brewing in the alcohol market.

Steinman said that even the big players in the beer industry “are playing in all these different growth arenas, including spirits.”

Molson Coors changed its name in 2019, going from Molson Coors Brewing Co. to Molson Coors Beverage Co. Watson noted that the No. 2 canned ready-to-drink liquor product, Cutwater, is made by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

For beer producers, the reversal in market-share rankings is no reason to cry in their suds.

Watson cautioned that the market share trend could flip, calling it “likely at some point we’ll see beer grow again at the expense of other segments.”

Facing Economic Headwinds, AAHOA Members Urge Continued Support of Hotel Industry

Laura Lee Blake, President & CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), released the following statement in response to ongoing reports that economic headwinds could force more hotel owners into serious financial challenges, including bankruptcies – such as a recent filing by a leading Burger King Franchisee – and out-of-court restructurings this year:

“Our members have taken extraordinary steps over the past three years, and, in numerous cases, counted on pandemic relief aid to weather the worst of COVID-19. Many continue to operate on thin margins with smaller workforces. The tight labor market has made it difficult to hire.

“Hotels and other small businesses are the backbone of local economies, and AAHOA Members – the vast majority of whom are first- and second-generation immigrants – are resilient. However, staffing shortages, rising interest rates, and the possibility of a recession this year, even a mild one, are creating further strain on an industry that is still struggling to recover from a devastating pandemic.

Picture : Hospitality Net

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by TOMS King reminds us that small businesses, including restaurants and hotels, continue to suffer long-term impacts from COVID-19 and an overall uncertain economic environment with high inflation and labor shortages. As President Biden noted in his State of the Union speech this week, the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive with a record number of Americans starting small businesses. But the outlook for many of those businesses remains cloudy.

“AAHOA Members need certainty and continued federal assistance while these economic headwinds rage. While restaurateurs received grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, hoteliers have not seen the same support. Many need solutions to address, among other things, the pending payments due on COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) by waiving interest and/or deferring for another year.

“Additionally, the government should lift constraints on H2-B visas by expanding eligibility to include India so there are options available for addressing employers’ needs for additional seasonal workers. Finally, for all franchisees, the Federal Trade Commission should thoughtfully review the Franchise Rule, including extending the Rule beyond the presale disclosure to protect small-business owners’ investments. AAHOA Members also support the 12 Points of Fair Franchising to promote long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between Franchisors and Franchisees that will help sustain the franchise business model and grow the hospitality sector.”

AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the world, with Member-owned properties representing a significant part of the U.S. economy. AAHOA’s 20,000 members own 60% of the hotels in the United States and are responsible for 1.7% of the nation’s GDP. More than one million employees work at AAHOA member-owned hotels, earning $47 billion annually, and member-owned hotels support 4.2 million U.S. jobs across all sectors of the hospitality industry. AAHOA’s mission is to advance and protect the business interests of hotel owners through advocacy, industry leadership, professional development, member benefits, and community engagement.

Air India-Boeing Deal Will Create 1 Million Jobs In America

US President Joe Biden has hailed Air India’s decision to purchase 220 Boeing aircraft and hails it as a ‘historic agreement’. Releasing a statement of Joe Biden, the US said, “The United States can and will lead the world in manufacturing. I am proud to announce today the purchase of over 200 American-made aircraft through a historic agreement between Air India and Boeing.”

Aiming to upgrade its fleet and expand its operations, Tata-owned Air India on 14 February confirmed it will buy a total of 470 wide-body and narrow-body planes from Airbus and Boeing. On February 10th, reports stated that Air India signed agreements with Airbus SE and Boeing Co. for about 250 orders and commitments in total, made up of 210 of the A320 single-aisle family models and 40 A350s wide-bodies.

“The order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing 787s and 10 Boeing 777-9s wide-body aircraft, as well as 210 Airbus A320/321 Neos and 190 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft. The A350 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines, and the B777/787s by engines from GE Aerospace. All single-aisle aircraft will be powered by engines from CFM International,” Air India said in an official statement.

“This purchase will support over one million American jobs across 44 states, and many will not require a four-year college degree. This announcement also reflects the strength of the U.S.-India economic partnership,” the statement added.

Apart from this, Biden in his statement expressed hope to deepen partnership even further by continuing to confront shared global challenges and create a more secure and prosperous future for people.

On AI-Boeing deal, PM Modi held telephone conversation with the President of the US Joe Biden on February 14th and expressed satisfaction at the deepening of the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, which has resulted in robust growth in all domains.

Both the leaders welcomed the announcement of a landmark agreement between Air India and Boeing as a shining example of mutually beneficial cooperation that will help create new employment opportunities in both countries. PM Modi also invited Boeing and other US companies to make use of the opportunities arising due to the expanding civil aviation sector in India.

Air India said that the first of the new aircraft will enter service in late-2023, while the bulk are expected to arrive from mid-2025 onwards. Adding more, the AI said that it has already started taking delivery of 11 leased B777 and 25 A320 aircraft to accelerate its fleet and network expansion.

The first of the refitted aircraft – with an entirely new cabin, new seats and inflight entertainment system – will enter service in mid-2024, said AI.

With AI signing MoUs for 68 Trent XWB-97 engines, it has now become the biggest ever order for the Trent XWB-97, which exclusively powers the Airbus A350-1000. Also, AI’s order of 12 Trent XWB-84 engines – the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900 – is also being considered a huge order. Though no financial details of the order have been disclosed. This is the first time that an Indian airline has ordered the Trent XWB and the deal will make Air India the largest operator of the Trent XWB-97 in the world.

“Today’s announcement marks an exciting and truly remarkable occasion for Tata Group and Air India; the size and magnitude of this order reflects the level of their ambition for the future. I congratulate them on taking this bold step towards becoming one of the world’s greatest airlines and I would like to thank them for putting their trust in Rolls-Royce to power them on this journey,” Rolls-Royce plc’s CEO Tufan Erginbilgic said while sharing his thoughts.

Reacting on the deal, Tata Sons and AI’s Chairman N Chandrasekaran noted Air India is on a large transformation journey. He said, “Air India is on a large transformation journey across safety, customer service, technology, engineering, network and human resources. Modern, efficient fleet is a fundamental component of this transformation.”

“This order is an important step in realising Air India’s ambition, articulated in its Vihaan.AI transformation program, to offer a world class proposition serving global travellers with an Indian heart,” he said.

“These new aircraft will modernize the Airline’s fleet and onboard product and dramatically expand its global network . The growth enabled by this order will also provide unparalled career opportunities for Indian aviation professionals and catalyze accelerated development of the Indian aviation ecosystem,” he added.

The Adani Bubble Bursts

In December 2022, when the agitation of the fish workers at Vizhinjam in Kerala was at its peak, I wrote an open letter to Gautam Adani, head of the Adani Group, to include the cost of rehabilitation of those who lost their houses and were living in a miserable condition, in the project cost and win their confidence.

Let me quote from the letter published in this magazine, “If the rehabilitation of the fish workers would cost, say, Rs 50 crore or Rs 100 crore, please include it in the project cost. Nobody would object. If each displaced farmer gets a plot of land where he can build a permanent house, not far from the sea, he would be more than happy to withdraw the agitation”.

Around the same time, I heard a spokesman of the Adani Group claim that whatever they could do was done to mitigate the hardship of the people affected and nothing more could be done. He specifically mentioned the number of laptops distributed under the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.

When I heard him, I remembered the video of a mother standing before an open toilet to let her daughter have some privacy as she eased herself. Could the laptop have given her privacy? I concluded my letter requesting him to be generous to the poor fish workers of Vizhinjam.

Before that, I also warned him of what could happen. Let me quote the letter again: “The great Malayalam poet Poonthanam’s Jnanappana (The fountain of wisdom) written in the 16th century has these thought-provoking lines: “If God wishes, the people we see now or are with us now, may disappear or be dead in the next moment. Or, if He wishes, in a few days, a healthy man may be paraded to his funeral pyre.

“If God wishes, the king living in a palace today may lose everything and end up carrying a dirty bag on his shoulders and walk around homeless”. He reminds us about the fleeting nature of wealth.

Adani did not send a reply, let alone loosen his purse strings to settle the problem. Instead, with the help of the police, he allowed the agitation to be suppressed.

Not even two months have passed since I wrote that letter. At that time, Gautam Adani was the richest man in India, nay Asia. He was the third richest person in the world. He used to create wealth at the rate of Rs 1,612 crore per day to outpace Jeff Bezoz of Amazon.

During the last few days, Adani has lost billions of rupees. At the rate at which the value of the shares of Adani Enterprises and other Adani companies has been plummeting, one really wonders whether it is the beginning of the end of the Adani business saga. After all, it was a small boy David who felled the giant Goliath.

What pricked the bubble of Adani is a report published by Hindenburg Research, a small company in the US. When the report was released, the mainstream media in India did not think it merited detailed coverage. Adani, who believed that money could cover up his “sins”, produced multiple-page advertisements in major Indian newspapers to suggest that everything was hunky-dory with his companies.

Any sensible and sensitive person would have called off the Rs 20,000-crore Follow on Public Offer (FPO), given the doubts created in the public mind by the Hindenburg Research (HR). The strategy now in vogue in the political and business fields is to counter truth with greater and greater falsehood.

The voluminous rejoinder the Adani Group produced to counter the HR report was like the 5,000-page chargesheet filed against Siddiqui Kappan, which reminded me of Shakespeare’s famous line, “sound and fury signify nothing”. Adani was confident that with the support of the business empire he has created and with the help of those in power, he would be able to brazen out. That is why he persisted with the FPO.

The public relations team was at its best when it claimed that the FPO was oversubscribed. Yes, institutional investors did not disappoint him. But retail investors for whom half the FPO shares were earmarked did not show any interest. Only 11 percent of the earmarked shares were lifted by them. Nearly 50 percent of the shares earmarked for the employees also remained unsold. They knew the company better!

In other words, it was a flop show. And that is why the company was forced to declare that it would return the money of all those who invested in the FPO. It is a major setback to the whole Adani Group.

What the Hindenburg Research said was that Adani built his empire using all devious means. Let me explain it in simple terms. Suppose I buy an acre of land for Rs 1 lakh. After that, I spread the news that there are gold deposits in the land. Nobody can check the land as tight security is arranged. Then I decide to sell 60 cents of the land at Rs 1 lakh each. I get Rs 60 lakh which is 60 times my investment, while 40 cents of land still remain with me. I use Rs 60 lakh to rope in more investors and my asset doubles, triples and quadruples.

Adani became famous in 2014 when he made available his fully-fuelled helicopter at the service of Narendra Modi. Every day, the chopper would take off from Ahmedabad carrying Modi and his tiffin to one of the states where he would campaign that day. He would return home the same day.

It was in Adani’s aircraft that Modi came to Delhi to be sworn in as the Prime Minister of India. Adani accompanied Modi whenever he went on a foreign trip. Everybody who mattered in the country knew his close connections with the Prime Minister, which came to his help as he expanded his business network both within and without the country. Soon, he got mega projects like seaports and airports.

When the world’s largest consignment of drugs passed through his port in Gujarat, nobody blamed the owners of the port. It was also revealed that a similar consignment had already been cleared. Nobody knows who funded the import of such a large quantity of drugs. The point is that they remain at large.

Was Adani a great entrepreneur? Take the case of Steve Jobs, who founded Apple Incorporated. He developed a prototype of a computer and set up a company to manufacture it. Later, he added new products like iPhone, iPad, iPod to make his company the world’s most valuable. Similarly, Jeff Bezos found a new way of selling books. He also introduced a device called Kindle.

Soon, Bezos became an industrialist and acquired the skills to operate at a global level. Ford was America’s greatest-ever industrialist. He developed a car and began selling it to become the world’s greatest industrialist. In the case of Adani, nothing of the sort happened.

He did not even complete his college education and went to Mumbai. There, he became a trader, who would buy something for Rs 100 and sell it for Rs 400 to earn Rs 300. He realised that he was successful when he made his first Rs 1 lakh. Thereafter, there was nothing to stop him. He was essentially a trader, who stepped into the manufacturing sector. By then, he had learnt how to manipulate the share market.

Why single out Adani? I have read BM Birla’s biography where it is mentioned that when he turned 18, he was given a gift of Rs 1000 by his father GD Birla. He did not spend the money on clothes or other items. Instead, he used it for speculation and made another Rs 1000. In fact, almost all the Indian industrialists are not entrepreneurs but traders who cannot succeed except by bluffing the government.

What Hindenburg Research accused Adani of doing is what an American company Enron did. The American investigative and legal system acted swiftly without caring for the company and the persons involved. Before its bankruptcy in late 2001, it employed around 21,000 people and was one of the world’s leading electricity, natural gas, pulp and paper and communication companies with a claimed revenue of $111 billion in 2000. Fortune named Enron “America’s most innovative company” for six consecutive years.

It achieved infamy at the end of 2001 when it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained mostly by institutionalized, systematic and creatively planned accounting fraud. Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption. Kenneth Lay, its former chairman, died of a heart attack while he was on trial and Jeffrey Skilling, its chief operating officer, was given 24 years of imprisonment. It also led to the collapse of, a bigger firm than Enron.

The American government followed the principle, emanating from the Malayalam saying, that those who eat salt should drink water. In other words, the more severe the crime, the more severe the punishment.

Recently, India lost a great lawyer in the death of Shanti Bhushan, who was also a Union Minister. He wrote the Foreword for the book titled ‘Reliance, The Real Natwar’ by Arun K. Agrawal (Manas). Let me quote a few lines from the author’s Preface:

“The plain truth of the matter is that Reliance has become the largest company in India and its owner the richest man in the country the old-fashioned way: Financial engineering involving the conversion of debt into equity, the propping up of its own shares to public institutions, issuing shares of new companies at premium to the public and then merging the companies, allotting shares to the promoters to increase their stake, avoiding taxes, managing a company-friendly tax regime and, of course, the oil bonanza handed over to it by the government.

“Inevitably, in just 30 years, its turnover has grown from approximately Rs.100 crore to over Rs 1 lakh crore”. This book was published in 2008 but what it says about Reliance reads like a summary of the Hindenburg Research report about the Adani Group.

One cartoon that became viral on social media showed Adani approaching the State Bank of India for a loan to purchase the bank. When the Vizhinjam port in Kerala was successfully bid by Adani, many would have thought that he would pump in his own money. The fact of the matter is that no Indian businessman sinks his own money in any project. It is all public money that is sunk. But once the profits start flowing, the owners do not part with it.

Today, Reliance makes most of its money from petroleum. It is believed that all the wealth under the earth belongs to the people of India. Then, how did Reliance get the oil wells? It was the late Captain Satish Sharma who, as the Petroleum Minister, handed over the oil fields to receive pecuniary benefits, as found out by the CBI.

Most corporates in India believe in the theory, as propounded by Lord Byron in a poem, that everybody has a price. The poet concludes his poem in these words, “The most by ready cash — but all have prices, from crowns to kicks, according to their vices”.

Small wonder that a wisecrack said that if Gautam Adani knew that Hindenburg Research could hit him so hard, he would have offered a price and bought it like NDTV he bought, certainly not for the profit it made but to end a nuisance. Even now it is not too late for him to remember the seven deadly sins identified by Mahatma Gandhi — wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice and politics without principles.  (Courtesy: Indian Currents) [email protected]

Stocks Tumbles 20% After US Research Group Accuses Adani Group Of Stock Manipulation

Shares of Adani Enterprises plunged on Friday as a scathing report by a US-based short seller triggered a massive selloff in the conglomerate’s listed firms, casting doubts on the company’s record $2.45 billion secondary offering, reported news agency Reuters.

The selloff in Adani’s corporate empire accelerated on Friday, erasing more than $50 billion of market value in less than two sessions as Asia’s richest man struggles to contain the fallout, reported news agency Bloomberg.

Adani Group’s share prices of its seven listed companies nosedived last week, after Hindenburg Research stated that it assumed a short position, in particular securities of the conglomerate. In response, Adani Group dismissed the allegations as ‘baseless’, termed the report as ‘malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale,’ and is contemplating legal action against the American investor.

“If Adani is serious, it should also file suit in the U.S. where we operate. We have a long list of documents we would demand in a legal discovery process,” Hindenburg said while also asserting that it fully stands by its findings.

As per reports, Hindenburg Research said that the company hasn’t addressed a single substantive issue raised in the 32,000-word report. “At the conclusion of our report, we asked 88 straightforward questions that we believe give the company a chance to be transparent. Thus far, Adani has answered none of these questions,” the short seller has reportedly said.

The report alleges that the Indian group, headed by Asia’s richest man, Gautam Adani, had engaged in brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud. It contains details of the Adani family’s alleged shell companies in tax havens across Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, and the Caribbean, established for facilitating money laundering and tax evasion through siphoning money from the group’s listed entities.

Following the accusations, Adani Transmission shares crashed above 19 percent and Adani Gas tumbled 19.1 percent in their biggest downward trajectory since March 2020, while Adani Green Energy depreciated around 16 percent on the BSE during today’s early trading session. The share prices of Ambuja Cements, NDTV, and ACC, the Indian conglomerate’s recent acquisitions, also declined 7.71 percent, 4.98 percent, and 7.26 percent respectively, on Wednesday, according to reports.

The Adani Group announced on Jan 26, 2023, that it is considering taking legal action against Hindenburg Research for a report from January 23, 2023, that accused the Indian conglomerate of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme.”

Jatin Jalundhwala, legal head for Adani Group, said, “The maliciously mischievous, unresearched report published by Hindenburg Research on 24 Jan 2023 has adversely affected the Adani Group, our shareholders and investors.”

The report was released ahead of the Rs 20,000 crore follow-on public offer (FPO) by Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of the Adani Group. The FPO had raised Rs 5,984.9 crore from 33 anchor investors on Wednesday.

A foreign brokerage house has said that Indian banks have an exposure of Rs 81,200 crore to Adani Group, whose group debt is Rs 2 lakh crore (about $24 billion), according to media reports.

Analysts said the listed Adani firms lost more than Rs 3 lakh crore in market capitalisation on Friday and more than Rs 4.10 lakh crore since Wednesday.

The three companies recently acquired by the Adani group — Ambuja Cement, ACC and NDTV — also wilted. The tycoon has seen over $7 billion of his personal wealth wiped out since the start of the year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index which has yet to factor in last week’s meltdown.

India Continues As World’s Fastest-Growing Economy With 5.8% Growth Rate

United Nations– India will remain the fastest-growing major economy recording a growth of 5.8 per cent this year, while the rest of the world will grow by a paltry 1.9 per cent, the UN said on Thursday.

The UN’s World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report sliced off 0.2 per cent from the 6 per cent gross domestic product growth projection made last May without affecting India’s rank as the country faces headwinds from the global economy.

Overall, the report said: “Growth in India is expected to remain strong at 5.8 per cent, albeit slightly lower than the estimated 6.4 per cent in 2022, as higher interest rates and a global slowdown weigh on investment and exports.” Next year, the UN expects India’s economy to grow by 6.7 per cent.

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The WESP gave a positive picture of India’s jobs scene, noting that its “unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 6.4 per cent in India, as the economy added jobs both in urban and rural areas in 2022”. For the world, the WESP forecast is 1.9 per cent this year and rising to 2.7 per cent next year.

In New Delhi, India’s President Droupadi Murmu credited India’s economic performance to “its leadership. India has been among the fastest-growing major economies because of the timely and proactive interventions of the government. The ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, in particular, has evoked great response among the people at large,” Murmu said in her Republic Day speech.

China, which came in second, is projected to grow by 4.8 per cent this year and 4.5 next year, after a 3% growth in 2022. The US economy, which grew by 2.9% this year is projected to grow by 0.4% this year and 1.7 per cent the next.

For South Asia as a whole, the report said the region’s “economic outlook has significantly deteriorated due to high food and energy prices, monetary tightening and fiscal vulnerabilities” and it forecast a 4.8 percent growth year and 5.9 percent next year.

This was buoyed by India as the report said: “The prospects are more challenging for other economies in the region. Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka sought financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2022.”

Rashid attributed the Indian economy’s growth to three factors: falling unemployment that signals strong domestic demand; easing of inflation, and lower import bills.

He said that the “unemployment rate has come down significantly in the last four years” to 6.4 per cent and “that means the domestic demand has been pretty strong”.

The WESP said that this occurred because “the economy added jobs both in urban and rural areas in 2022”.

“The inflation pressure also has eased quite significantly,” Rashid said with the year-on-year inflation rate to be 5.5 per cent this year and 5 per cent next year.

“That means that the central bank would not have to be aggressive over monetary tightening,” he said.

India has also benefitted to from lower imports, especially energy import cost that has been lower than in previous years, he added.

“I think this is a sustainable growth rate for India, given India also has a significant number of people living in poverty. So this would be a great boost if India can sustain this growth rate in the near term,” Rashid said.

He also pointed to two risk factors for India’s economy mainly emanating from the global situation.

One is from higher interest rates that would raise the debt servicing cost which has exceeded 20 per cent of the budget, he said.

“That is a significantly high debt servicing cost and that would probably have some drag on the growth prospect,” he said.

The second risk is from global external demands falling.

If Europe and the US go into a very slow growth mode resulting in lower global exports, the world economy may suffer, Rashid said.

“But on the balance, we believe that Indian economy is on a strong footing given the strong domestic demand in the near term,” he said.

For South Asia as a whole, the report said the region’s “economic outlook has significantly deteriorated due to high food and energy prices, monetary tightening and fiscal vulnerabilities” and it forecast a 4.8 per cent growth year and 5.9 per cent next year.

This was buoyed by India as the report said, “The prospects are more challenging for other economies in the region. Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka sought financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2022.”

Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have gone to the International Monetary Fund for help. Rashid said, “We call for greater international support in this difficult time for countries, especially countries that are facing significant challenges with debt burden and again we call for more meaningful restructuring of debt.”

“It might be more prudent and may make more economic sense to re-profile the debt, reschedule the debt, (the) external debt burden,” he said. But he said that the assistance should not go into consumption, but into investment in “productive capacity (that) can be very important driver of both short-term recovery and long-term resilience”.

Tamil Nadu CM Stalin Launches Investment Portal For Tamil Diaspora

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin launched the Global Tamil Angels platform (, which would allow investors from the Global Tamil Diaspora to invest in the State’s start-ups on January. 9, 2023.

‌‌The Chief Minister launched the platform at the “Global Startup Investors Summit,” which was co-hosted by the Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission (TANSIM) and the FeTNA International Tamil Entrepreneur Network in Chennai.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin launched the Global Tamil Angels platform ( of Start-upTN, which will enable investors from the Global Tamil Diaspora to make investments in Tamil Nadu-based start-ups. Stalin launched the platform at the “Global Startup Investors Summit” jointly organized by Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission and FeTNA International Tamil Entrepreneur Network in Chennai on Monday.

The platform, besides connecting the Tamil Nadu-based start-ups with the global Tamil angel investors, will offer legal consultation for investing and help take products to the global markets. Stalin highlighted various initiatives taken by his government, including the ₹1,000-crore Green Climate Fund. He assured all support to the investors and hailed the initiative as first of its kind in the country.

At the event, a multi-crore American Tamil Fund by investors from the Tamil Nadu Diaspora in the U.S. to make investments in Tamil Nadu-based start-ups was announced. The investors presented an intent to invest $2 million (about ₹16.5 crore) by December 2023 to MSME Minister T.M. Anbarasan.

Minister for Information Technology T. Mano Thangaraj, Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan and MSME Secretary Arun Roy, FeTNA President Bala Swaminathan, Mission Director and CEO of StartupTN Sivarajah Ranathan were present.

Richest 1% Have Two-Thirds Of New Wealth Created In The Last Two Years

Over the last two years, the richest 1% of people have accumulated close to two-thirds of all new wealth created around the world, a new report from Oxfam says.

A total of $42 trillion in new wealth has been created since 2020, with $26 trillion, or 63%, of that being amassed by the top 1% of the ultra-rich, according to the report. The remaining 99% of the global population collected just $16 trillion of new wealth, the global poverty charity says.

“A billionaire gained roughly $1.7 million for every $1 of new global wealth earned by a person in the bottom 90 percent,” the report, released as the World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos, Switzerland, reads.

It suggests that the pace at which wealth is being created has sped up, as the world’s richest 1% amassed around half of all new wealth over the past 10 years.

Oxfam’s report analyzed data on global wealth creation from Credit Suisse, as well figures from the Forbes Billionaire’s List and the Forbes Real-Time Billionaire’s list to assess changes to the wealth of the ultra-rich.

The research contrasts this wealth creation with reports from the World Bank, which said in October 2022 that it would likely not meet its goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 as the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down efforts to combat poverty.

Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International, called for taxes to be increased for the ultra-rich, saying that this was a “strategic precondition to reducing inequality and resuscitating democracy.”

In the report’s press release, she also said changes to taxation policies would help tackle ongoing crises around the world.

“Taxing the super-rich and big corporations is the door out of today’s overlapping crises. It’s time we demolish the convenient myth that tax cuts for the richest result in their wealth somehow ‘trickling down’ to everyone else,” Bucher said.

Coinciding crises around the world that feed into each other and produce greater adversity together than they would separately are also referred to as a “polycrisis.” In recent weeks, researchers, economists and politicians have suggested that the world is currently facing such a crisis as pressures from the cost-of-living crisis, climate change, and other pressures are colliding

5% Of Indians Own More Than 60% Of The Country’s Wealth

Just 5% of Indians own more than 60% of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 50% possess only 3% of wealth, according to Oxfam India’s latest report ‘Survival of the Richest: The India story’, which will be released today at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

An appeal

Oxfam India, an NGO that works in the sectors of child education, women empowerment and addressing inequality, through this report, seeks to urge the Union finance minister to implement progressive tax measures, such as wealth tax, in the upcoming Union Budget, it said in a press statement.

India currently does not have any wealth tax – which essentially refers to tax levied on one’s entire property in all forms.

India used to have a system under which a tax was levied at 1% on the net wealth in excess of Rs 30 lakh under the Wealth Tax Act 1957 – which was abolished in 2015. The taxation system, however, was not progressive in nature, as it did not have any slabs to ensure that the percentage of tax increased with an increase in wealth beyond the flat mark of Rs 30 lakh.

India’s richest

The total number of billionaires in India increased from 102 in 2020 to 166 billionaires in 2022.

The report highlights that the combined wealth of India’s 100 richest has touched $660 billion (Rs 54.12 lakh crore) – an amount that could fund the entire Union Budget for more than 18 months.

“While the poor face severe hardships, the wealth of the top 10 richest in India stands at Rs 27.52 lakh crore ($335.7 billion) – an increase of around 32.8% compared to 2021,” the statement said.

The wealth of the top 10 richest can finance the Ministry of Health and Family welfare and Ministry of Ayush for more than 30 years, India’s Union education budget for 26 years, or can fund MGNREGA for 38 years, it said.

Factors That Could Determine How 2023 Shapes Up For Global Equity Markets

Optimists may point out that the rate-hiking peak is on the horizon, possibly in March, with money markets expecting the Fed to switch into rate-cutting mode by the end of 2023. A Bloomberg News survey found 71 per cent of top global investors expect equities to rise in 2023.

Vincent Mortier, chief investment officer at Amundi, Europe’s largest money manager, recommends defensive positioning for investors going into the New Year. He expects a bumpy ride in 2023 but reckons “a Fed pivot in the first part of the year could trigger interesting entry points”.

But after a year that blindsided the investment community’s best and brightest, many are bracing for further reversals. One risk is that inflation stays too high for policymakers’ comfort and rate cuts don’t materialise. A Bloomberg Economics model shows a 100 per cent probability of recession starting by August, yet it looks unlikely central banks will rush in with policy easing when faced with cracks in the economy, a strategy they deployed repeatedly in the past decade.

“Policymakers, at least in the US and Europe, now appear resigned to weaker economic growth in 2023,” Deutsche Bank Private Bank’s global chief investment officer Christian Nolting told clients in a note. Recessions might be short but “will not be painless”, he warned.

Big tech troubles

A big unknown is how tech mega-caps fare, following a 35 per cent slump for the Nasdaq 100 in 2022. Companies such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Tesla Inc. have shed some two-thirds of their value, while losses at Inc. and Netflix Inc. neared or exceeded 50 per cent.

Expensively-valued tech stocks do suffer more when interest rates rise. But other trends that supported tech’s advance in recent years may also go into reverse – economic recession risks hitting iPhone demand while a slump in online advertising could drag on Meta and Alphabet Inc.

In Bloomberg’s annual survey, only about half the respondents said they would buy the sector – selectively.

“Some of the tech names will come back as they have done a great job convincing customers to use them, like Amazon, but others will probably never reach that peak as people have moved on,” Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners, told Bloomberg Television.

Earnings recession

Previously resilient corporate profits are widely expected to crumble in 2023, as pressure builds on margins and consumer demand weakens.

“The final chapter to this bear market is all about the path of earnings estimates, which are far too high,” according to Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson, a Wall Street bear who predicts earnings of $180 per share in 2023 for the S&P 500, versus analysts’ expectations of $231.

The upcoming earnings recession may rival 2008, and markets are yet to price it in, he said.

China, a turning point

Beijing’s early-December decision to dismantle stringent Covid curbs seemed like a turning point for MSCI’s China Index, whose 24 per cent drop was a major contributor to global equity market losses in 2022.

Options boom

Technicals are increasingly driving day-to-day equity moves, with the S&P 500 witnessing below-average stock turnover in 2022, but explosive growth in very short-term options trading.

Professional traders and algorithmic-powered institutions have piled into such options, which were until recently dominated by small-time investors. That can make for bumpier markets, causing sudden volatility outbreaks such as the big intraday swing after October’s hot US inflation print.

Finally, with the S&P 500 failing to break out from its 2022 downtrend, short-term speculation remains skewed to the downside. But should the market turn, it will add fuel to the rebound.

India’s Billionaire Club Shrinks To 120, Gautam Adani Tops Rich List

In comparison, Ambani, who topped the list last year, has seen a 2.5 per cent decline in his family’s net worth to $101.75 billion from $104.4 billion a year ago

The year 2022 saw many lose the ‘billionaire’ tag, though some of the richest Indian promoters have become even richer. According to the report, the number of promoters with a net worth of over $1 billion has declined to 120 this year from an all-time high of 142 at the end of 2021.

Picture : Bussiness Standard

The billionaire promoters’ combined wealth is down 8.8 percent to around $685 billion ( ₹56.5 trillion) from $751.6 billion ( ₹56.62 trillion) a year ago, said the report, although it added that the fall in rupee terms is not significant owing to the currency depreciating against the US dollar.

Gautam Adani has been an outperformer in 2022, replacing Mukesh Ambani as India’s richest person. Adani’s net worth stands at $135.7 billion, up 69.6 percent from $80 billion last year, it said, citing Bloomberg data, that also highlights that he is also the richest person in Asia and third-richest in the world.

Meanwhile, Ambani has seen a 2.5 percent decline in his family’s net worth to $101.75 billion from $104.4 billion a year ago, added the report.

In fact, only three of the top 10 billionaires – Adani, Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma, and Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel – saw an increase in the net worth this year, as per the report.

Mittal’s gains can be attributed to a rise of Bharti Airtel, which benefited from tariff hikes announced by mobile services operators, clarity over regulatory issues, and a stable business environment, mentioned the report.

While, gains for Shanghvi were driven by factors like an improved performance of Sun Pharma, which benefited from a better show in its specialty business in North America and growth in its India formulations business, added BS.

Radhakishan Damani of Avenue Supermarts (DMart), who is India’s third-richest promoter, saw a 21 percent decline in the net worth at $23.8 billion in 2022.

Other promoters in the top 10 list include Shiv Nadar of HCL Technologies, Azim Premji of Wipro and Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

World Economy To Face More Pain In 2023 After A Gloomy Year

After the Covid-induced economic crisis of 2020, consumer prices began to rise in 2021 as countries emerged from lockdowns or other restrictions  This was supposed to be the comeback year for the world economy following the Covid pandemic.

Instead, 2022 was marked by a new war, record inflation and climate-linked disasters. It was a “polycrisis” year, a term popularized by historian Adam Tooze. Get ready for more gloom in 2023.

Picture : The Grocer

“The number of crises has increased since the start of the century,” said Roel Beetsma, professor of macroeconomics at the University of Amsterdam “Since World War Two we have never seen such a complicated situation,” he told AFP.

After the Covid-induced economic crisis of 2020, consumer prices began to rise in 2021 as countries emerged from lockdowns or other restrictions.

Central bankers insisted that high inflation would only be temporary as economies returned to normal. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February sent energy and food prices soaring.

Many countries are now grappling with cost-of-living crises because wages are not keeping up with inflation, forcing households to make difficult choices in their spending.

“Everything has become more expensive, from cream to wine and electricity,” said Nicole Eisermann from her stand at the Frankfurt Christmas market.

Central banks played catch-up. They started to raise interest rates this year in an effort to tame galloping inflation — at the risk of tipping countries into deep recessions, since higher borrowing costs mean slower economic activity. Inflation has finally started to slow down in the United States and the eurozone.

Careful spending

Consumer prices in the Group of 20 developed and emerging nations are expected to reach eight percent in the fourth quarter before falling to 5.5 percent next year, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD encourages governments to provide aid to bring relief to households.

In the 27-nation European Union, 674 billion euros ($704 billion) have been earmarked so far to shield consumers from high energy prices, according to the Bruegel think tank.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and the most dependent on Russia energy supplies, accounts for 264 billion euros of that total.

One in two Germans say they now only spend on essential items, according to a survey by EY consultancy.

“I am very careful but I have a lot of children and grandchildren,” said Guenther Blum, a shopper at the Frankfurt Christmas market.

Rising interest rates have also hurt consumers and businesses, though US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell signalled last week that the pace of hikes could ease “as soon as” December.

He warned, however, that policy will probably have to remain tight for some time to restore price stability.

For her part, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde sent a clear signal that the ECB would maintain its tightening policy, saying that eurozone inflation had yet to peak.

Economists expect Germany and another major eurozone economy, Italy, to fall into recession. Britain’s economy is already shrinking. Rating agency S&P Global foresees stagnation for the eurozone in 2023.

But the International Monetary Fund still expects the world economy to expand in 2023, with growth of 2.7 percent. The OECD is forecasting 2.2-percent growth.

The coronavirus pandemic, meanwhile, remains a wildcard for the global economy.

China’s zero-Covid policy restrained growth in the world’s second biggest economy, but the authorities have started to relax restrictions following nationwide protests.

Climate costs

But for Beetsma, the biggest crisis is climate change, which is “happening in slow motion”.

Natural and man-made catastrophes have caused $268 billion in economic losses so far in 2022, according to reinsurance giant Swiss Re. Hurricane Ian alone cost an estimated insured loss of $50-65 billion. Floods in Pakistan resulted in $30 billion in damage and economic loss this year.

Governments agreed at United Nations climate talks (COP27) in Egypt in November to create a fund to cover the losses suffered by vulnerable developing countries devastated by natural disasters.

But the COP27 summit ended without new commitments to phase out the use of fossil fuels, despite the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming.

“It is not an acute crisis but a very long-term crisis, protracted,” Beetsma said. “If we don’t do enough this will hit us in unprecedented scale.” (This story has not been edited by  staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

To Make It Modern And Friendly, Air India Orders 500 Jets

(Reuters) – Air India is close to placing landmark orders for as many as 500 jetliners worth tens of billions of dollars from both Airbus and Boeing as it carves out an ambitious renaissance under the Tata Group conglomerate, industry sources said on Sunday.

The orders include as many as 400 narrow-body jets and 100 or more wide-bodies, including dozens of Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s and 777s, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity as finishing touches are placed on the mammoth deal in coming days.

Such a deal could top $100 billion dollars at list prices, including any options, and rank among the biggest by a single airline in volume terms, overshadowing a combined order for 460 Airbus and Boeing jets from American Airlines over a decade ago. Even after significant expected discounts, the deal would be worth tens of billions of dollars and cap a volatile year for an industry whose jets are back in demand after the pandemic but which is facing mounting industrial and environmental pressures.

Airbus and Boeing declined to comment. Tata Group-owned Air India did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The potential order comes days after Tata announced the merger of Air India with Vistara, a joint-venture with Singapore Airlines, to create a bigger full-service carrier and strengthen its presence in domestic and international skies. That deal gives Tata a fleet of 218 aircraft, cementing Air India as the country’s largest international carrier and second largest in the domestic market after leader IndiGo Air India, with its maharajah mascot, was once known for its lavishly decorated planes and stellar service but its reputation declined in the mid-2000s as financial troubles mounted.

Founded by JRD Tata in 1932, Air India was nationalised in 1953. Tata regained control in January and has since been working to revive its reputation as a world-class airline. The planned order reflects a deliberate strategy to win back a solid share of traffic flows to and from India, which are currently dominated by foreign carriers such as Emirates.

Air India also wants to win a bigger share of regional international traffic and the domestic market, setting up a battle on both fronts with IndiGo. Delivered over at least a decade, the 500 jets would both replace and expand fleets in the world’s fastest-growing airline market, while contributing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of expanding the economy to $5 trillion.

But experts warn many hurdles stand in the way of Air India’s ambition to recover a strong global position, including frail domestic infrastructure, pilot shortages and the threat of tough competition with established Gulf and other carriers.

Prannoy, Radhika Roy Resign As RRPR Directors After Adani Acquires NDTV

New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV.NS) said late on Tuesday founders Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy had resigned as directors on the board of the promoter group vehicle RRPR Holding Private Ltd.

This comes hours after RRPR Holding, the promoter entity of NDTV, transferred 99.5% of its equity share capital to Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt. Ltd. (VCPL), which is owned by AMG Media Network Ltd. (AMNL), the media arm of the Adani group, taking the billionaire Gautam Adani-led conglomerate a step closer to taking over the media firm.

Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, founders and promoters of NDTV, resigned as directors on the board of RRPR Holdings Private Limited. RRPR, which was founded by the Roys and bears their initials in its name, was acquired by the Adani Group, along with the company’s 29.18 per cent stake in NDTV recently, media reports stated. 

NDTV, founded in 1988 and owned by husband-and-wife team Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, had previously said the takeover move “was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders”.

The promoter group vehicle, which owns 29.2% and is the largest shareholder of NDTV, approved the appointment of Sudipta Bhattacharya, Senthil Sinniah Chengalvarayan, Sanjay Pugalia as directors on its board, NDTV said in a regulatory filing.

Earlier this year, the Adani Group announced that it would indirectly take over control of 29.18% of NDTV in lieu of unpaid debt 

ew Delhi Television Ltd. (NDTV) on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, told the stock exchanges that it had been informed by promoter group entity RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd. that Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy had stepped down as directors. 

In a regulatory filing on Monday, NDTV said that RRPR had issued 99.5% shares to the Adani Group that would give the latter a 29.18% stake in the media firm. Adani is also conducting an open offer running up to December 5 for an additional 26% stake in NDTV.

NDTV’s promoters and their holding entity Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy Holding (RRPR) had taken an interest-free loan of a little more than ₹400 crore from Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt. Ltd. (VCPL), a firm indirectly controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, in separate tranches, in 2009 and 2010. According to the loan agreement, the Roys transferred a portion of their shares to RRPR such that RRPR in effect owned 29.18% of NDTV. 

As per reports, warrants were also issued to VCPL allowing the entity to acquire 99.9% of the equity in RRPR in case the loan was unpaid. Before the loan, the Roys owned a majority stake of about 55% in NDTV. Right now, Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy together hold about 32.26% of the company in their individual capacities. 

In August, AMG Media Networks, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Adani Group’s flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd. bought VCPL from its current owners for ₹113.74 crore and immediately exercised the warrants to acquire a 29.18% stake in NDTV and announced an open offer to buy an additional 26% stake.

Hate Speech A Major Concern After $ 44 Billion Acquisition Of Twitter By Musk

Problematic and hate content and formerly barred accounts have increased sharply in the short time since Elon Musk took over, researchers said, leading to serious troubles for Elon Musk and the popular Twitter platform. 

According to media reports, before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.

Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day. And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.

Picture : Montcalir State University

These findings — from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that study online platforms — provide the most comprehensive picture to date of how conversations on Twitter have changed since Musk acquired the company in late October. 

Twitter has always been a bit chaotic, but new owner and CEO Elon Musk is taking it to a whole new level. He’s been making dramatic changes since he bought the company for $44 billion on Oct. 27, including laying off half the staff while changing moderation policies and unbanning extremist accounts while trying to figure out who will be verified.

While many advertisers have expressed concerns about the new status of Twitter and it’s impact on the social media, even with threats to withhold advertisements on Twitter, the European Union commissioner Thierry Breton made the comments in a meeting with Musk last week has said that the social media site would have to address issues such as content moderation, disinformation and targeted adverts. 

The back-and-forth comes as the new law is set to go into effect. Approved by the European Union earlier this year, the Digital Services Act is seen as the biggest overhaul of rules governing online activity in decades, imposing new obligations on companies to prevent abuse of their platforms. 

Major companies are expected to be in compliance with the law some time next year. If firms are found to be violation, they face fines of up to 6% of global turnover – or a ban in the case of repeated serious breaches.

Ad sales account for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue. Apple was consistently one of the top advertisers on the social network with an annual ad spend well above $100 million. In recent weeks, half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers from General Mills Inc to luxury automaker Audi of America have announced they are suspending or have otherwise “seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter”.

Musk tweeted that he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and toured the iPhone maker’s headquarters. Musk has been criticizing Apple this week, alleging without offering evidence that the company censors voices, has a “secret 30% tax” on App Store purchases and threatened to withhold Twitter from the App store.

Elon Musk accused Apple Inc of threatening to block Twitter Inc from its app store without saying why in a series of tweets. He also said the iPhone maker had stopped advertising on the social media platform following a poll that asked users about whether the iPhone maker should “publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers”.

Musk complained about over a 30% fee Apple collects on transactions via its App Store — the sole gateway for applications to get onto its billion plus mobile devices. Musk called Apple’s fee on transactions through its App Store a “secret 30% tax”.

Musk alleged Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands. After taking over Twitter in October, Musk has cut around half of Twitter’s workforce, including many employees tasked with fighting disinformation. An unknown number of others have voluntarily quit. He has also reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump.

Musk complained that though Apple threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, it “won’t tell us why”. Both Apple and Google require social networking services on their app stores to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content. 

Since his takeover of Twitter last month, Musk has fired thousands of staff, reinstated formerly banned users such as Donald Trump and stopped enforcing other policies, such as rules aimed at stopping misleading information on coronavirus.

The moves have alarmed some civil rights groups, who have accused the billionaire of taking steps that will increase hate speech, misinformation and abuse. Some companies advertising on the platform have halted spending amid the concerns – a major blow to the company, which relies on such spending for most of its revenue.

 ‘Mild Recession’ In 2023 Predicted

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan has stated that he’s expecting a “mild recession” in 2023, sounding a more positive note about the state of the economy than many in the financial world have been broadcasting amid 40-year-high inflation, as per media reports here.

Doom speak about the possibility of a recession has been coming out of the financial sector since the summer when JP Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon said he saw a “hurricane” gathering on the economic horizon as the Federal Reserve began a program of quantitative tightening, sending equity markets into a freefall.

Contractions in gross domestic product (GDP) in both the first and second quarters of 2022 added weight to the warning, leading many Americans to believe that a recession had already begun. But economists cautioned that a strong job market and healthy levels of consumption were pushing in the opposite direction of a general downturn in the economy.

“Hurricane season is now closed,” Moynihan quipped on CNN Tuesday morning, referring to the actual Atlantic hurricane season but also not shying away from comparisons to Dimon’s remarks from earlier in the year.

“At the end of the day, the consumer has held in well,” he said. “The consumer has stayed reasonably strong because they’re employed.”

Recessions are designated retroactively by the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a think tank in Cambridge, Mass.

To make its recession calls, the committee looks at factors that include nonfarm payroll employment, personal consumption, wholesale and retail sales, industrial production and personal income.

While all these measurements play a role, the committee says that “there is no fixed rule about what measures contribute information to the process or how they are weighted in our decisions.”

While public sentiment about the economy can have a real effect on overall economic performance, economists say that it’s important to distinguish sentiment from underlying realities.

“Part of the disconnect for the general public or even a lot of economic journalists [is], a recession might be defined broadly as, you know, when some economic things are bad. Inflation is really bad now, for example. But economists tend to look more at questions of production, employment, real incomes. And on those measures, we’re not seeing the declines we would normally see in a recession yet,” Jeremy Horpedahl, an economist at the University of Central Arkansas, said in an interview.

Abraham Pannikottu-Led Firm To Develop Specialized Zero-Pressure Tires For The US Army

Kerala-born Abraham Pannikottu led American Engineering Group (AEG) has received funding from the US Department of Defense to develop and manufacture specialized zero pressure tires for the US Army.

The Ohio-based firm specialises in carbon fibre pressure zero tire technology, which ensures that the tires will continue running even after being shredded by roadside bombs or gunfire.

“…the first pressure “Zero” tire will be delivered in 2023. Bringing this military tire from concept to reality has been a long, two-decade journey for AEG,” said Pannikottu, a polymer researcher and businessman, who also serves as the firm’s CEO.

The development of this manufacturing technology replaces current run-flat inserts inside military tires for both manned and unmanned-autonomous vehicles, a company statement stated.

The 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill will spend $782 billion on national defense spending, which includes $5 million in developing next-generation technologies like the carbon fibre pressure zero tire technology.

The new technology tires dissipate heat and have the flexibility and strength to support the heavy military pick-up weight while providing a relatively smooth ride, it noted.

The US military vehicle tires are now equipped with run-flat inserts, but the defense department wants to upgrade them to a zero-pressure tire that is better at carrying heavier loads and can quickly move soldiers out of harm.

“Defense vehicle weight requirements are increased so much that the current tires cannot support the load and DOD (Department of Defense) wants to create a tire that extends the mobility of the vehicle as well as the survivability and maintainability. That is where AEG’s new zero pressure tire comes to the rescue,” said AEG President Thomas Abraham.

Based on phase-1 results, the new AEG Zero Pressure Tire withstood a minimum of 50mph speed for 300 miles after being hit with a high-velocity rifle several times.

According to the company’s engineers, the durability characteristics of this design will be studied further in phase-2 on four different tyre sizes from four different Department of Defense’s special operations vehicles.

Vistara To Merge With Air India

In a major consolidation in the Indian aviation space, Tata group has announced the merger of Vistara with Air India. Vistara started flying in January 2015. Tata group owns a 51% stake in Vistara, and the remaining 49% shareholding is with Singapore Airlines. Pursuant to the deal, Singapore Airlines will have 25.1% stake in the enlarged Air India group. The proposed deal is expected to be complete by March 2024, subject to regulatory approvals.

Vistara airlines will be merged with Tata-owned Air India by March 2024, the company announced last week. Singapore Airlines, which owns minority share in Vistara in its joint venture with Tata, will own around 25 per cent of the enlarged Air India, into which it’ll infuse over ₹ 2,000 crore.

The rearrangement will mean a larger fleet and more routes under the Air India brand as Tata Sons rebuilds a mega aviation wing of its empire. At present, 51 per cent share in Vistara is with Tata, while Singapore Airlines owns the remaining 49 per cent in the join venture set up in 2013.

Since Tata bought Air India for ₹ 18,000 crore as part of a government disinvestment around a year ago, the plan has been to merge all its aviation brands under that name.

For Vistara, the two owners “aim to complete the merger by March 2024, subject to regulatory approvals”, said a Singapore Airlines release. Tata also owns low-cost carriers Air India Express and AirAsia India, both of which will be merged under the Air India brand, too, by 2024.

This will take the fleet size to 218, putting togetaher Air India’s 113 with AirAsia India’s 28, Vistara’s 53, and Air India Express’s 24. It will then be India’s largest international carrier and second largest domestic carrier, Tata Sons said.

Reports have also said it is likely to order 300 narrow-body jets, one of the largest orders ever in aviation history, which would be delivered gradually. Air India’s chief executive officer had said that it aims to triple its fleet of 113 over the next five years.

This is a big step towards the Tatas rebuilding Air India, a company founded by the family-run group but later nationalised, only to come back to Tata Sons after losses piled up and the government decided it’s best to sell it off.

“As part of the transformation, Air India is focusing on growing both its network and fleet, revamping its customer proposition, enhancing safety, reliability, and on-time performance,” the company release quoted Tata Sons chairperson N Chandrasekaran as saying.

6CommentsGoh Choon Phong, the chief executive of Singapore Airlines, said, “Our collaboration to set up Vistara in 2013 resulted in a market-leading full-service carrier, which has won many global accolades in a short time. With this merger, we have an opportunity to deepen our relationship with Tata and participate directly in an exciting new growth phase in India’s aviation market.”

2 Indian Americans Recognized In Fortune’s 2022 Annual 40 Under 40 List

Two young Indian Americans, Kanav Kariya and Ankit Gupta are featured in Fortune’s annual 40 Under 40 list which “shines a spotlight on influential individuals shaping business in 2022.”

“The founders, executives, investors, and activists on this year’s list are creating and seizing opportunity,” says the US business magazine. “They’re empowering others. They’re exploring new treatments for diseases that affect millions. They’re connecting people.”

Kanav Kariya, who is listed in the Finance and Crypto category, is president of Jump Crypto, a startup incubator for crypto companies. He started out at the company in 2016 as an intern. Ankit Gupta, featured in the Health and Bioscience category, is the Founder and CEO of Bicycle Health, which aims to increase access to high-quality medical and behavioral healthcare for people with opioid use disorder. Bicycle health has treated 20,000 patients and raised $83 million in venture funding.

They’re building upon their successes as athletes and entertainers. They’re trailblazing in their industries,” Fortune wrote. “And they’re even building new ones.”

Kanav Kariya, 26, listed in the Finance and Crypto category is president of Jump Crypto, the rebranded, 170-person digital assets division of Jump Trading Group, a startup incubator for crypto companies.

Starting there as an intern “helping build the early trading platform for the group’s crypto efforts in 2016,” Kariya was handed over the reins of Jump Crypto last year. Since then, “he’s overseen billions in investments in the crypto space and helped position the company as a major player in Web3,” according to his company profile.

Kariya told Fortune that he wants Jump Crypto to be a “key infrastructure builder that is part of the furniture of the industry as it scales.” Fortune notes that Jump Crypto “is undeterred, and has invested in more than 100 crypto companies in a year.

Ankit Gupta,35, is founder and CEO of Bicycle Health which aims to increase access to high-quality, integrated medical and behavioral healthcare for people with opioid use disorder.

Starting out with a single clinic in Redwood City, California, in 2017, Bicycle Health launched its virtual care platform in 2020, which provides specialized telehealth services for opioid use disorder.

It has since expanded to 29 states, treated 20,000 patients, and raised $83 million in venture funding. Before Bicycle Health, Gupta was co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Pulse News.

He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science, and he earned his Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science from Stanford University, specializing in machine learning.

In his spare time, Gupta volunteers for his non-profit organization, Docs and Hackers, which aims to bridge the gap between the technology and healthcare fields.

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