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.

After Mass Layoffs, Facebook Offers Immigration Help To H-1B Visa Holders

As large-scale layoffs begin at Facebook’s parent company Meta, employees on work visas such as H-1Bs are now faced with uncertainty over their immigration status, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging “this is especially difficult if you’re here on a visa” and offering support to those impacted.

Meta announced that it is laying off 11,000 employees or 13 per cent of its workforce, with Zuckerberg describing it as “some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history.” US-based technology companies hire a large amount of H-1B workers, the majority of whom come from countries such as India.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

“I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13 per cent and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1,” Zuckerberg said in a letter to employees.

“I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry to those impacted,” he said.

Acknowledging that “there is no good way to do a layoff”, Zuckerberg said the company hopes to get all the relevant information to those impacted as quickly as possible and then do whatever it can to support them through this.

Among the measures being put in place by the company in the US to help those impacted by the layoffs is “immigration support”.

“I know this is especially difficult if you’re here on a visa. There’s a notice period before termination and some visa grace periods, which means everyone will have time to make plans and work through their immigration status. We have dedicated immigration specialists to help guide you based on what you and your family need,” he said.

H-1B visa holders can stay and work in the US for a period of three years, extended by another three years.

They are then required to leave the country unless their employee sponsors them for permanent residency, known as the Green Card, the backlog for which runs into decades. If H-1B visa holders lose their jobs, they only have a “grace period” of 60 days to find an employee willing to sponsor their H-1B, failing which they will be required to leave the US.

A Washington-based reporter Patrick Thibodeau wrote on Twitter Monday that “Facebook layoffs may hit H-1B workers hard. Facebook is classified as H-1B “dependent,” meaning 15 per cent or more of its workforce is on the visa. When visa holders lose their job, they may have to leave the US if they don’t quickly find a new employer sponsor.” Other support measures announced by Meta include severance pay for 16 weeks of base pay plus two additional weeks for every year of service, with no cap; coverage of healthcare cost for people and their families for six months and three months of career support with an external vendor, including early access to unpublished job leads.

He said outside the US, support will be similar, and the company will follow up soon with separate processes that take into account local employment laws.

In his explanation of how the company got to the point where it had to undertake such drastic cost-cutting measures, Zuckerberg said the world rapidly moved online at the start of the Covid pandemic and the surge of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth.

“Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended. I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments. Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected,” he said.

Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused Meta’s revenue to be much lower than he had expected. “I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that,” he said.

Zuckerberg said in the new environment, the company needs to become more capital efficient.

“We’ve shifted more of our resources onto a smaller number of high-priority growth areas – like our AI (Artificial Intelligence) discovery engine, our ads and business platforms, and our long-term vision for the metaverse.

“We’ve cut costs across our business, including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint. We’re restructuring teams to increase our efficiency. But these measures alone won’t bring our expenses in line with our revenue growth, so I’ve also made the hard decision to let people go,” he said.

TCS To Create 1,200 New Jobs In US Amid Layoff Season

Amid the layoff season, tech major TCS on Thursday announced plans to create 1,200 new jobs in the US by the end of 2024.

The Indian company will create these jobs in the state of Illinois, along with accelerating its STEM outreach efforts in local schools to cover 25 per cent more students and teachers.

“I am thrilled that TCS will be expanding their footprint in the Land of Lincoln – with over a thousand jobs being added over the next two years,” said Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

“With their STEM Education Initiatives, the next generation of Illinoisans will be prepared for the innovative jobs of the future – jobs that will transform our state into the premier tech hub in the nation,” he added.

More than 3,000 Illinoisans currently work for TCS – including 1,100 who were hired within the last five years.

Naperville is home to one of the 30 TCS facilities in the US where TCS employees help digitally transform and grow businesses that are cornerstones of the Illinois economy, such as United Airlines and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Suresh Muthuswami, Chairman of North America, TCS, said that the expansion in Illinois is driven by companies “that use these obstacles as an opportunity to transform themselves and capture growth. They are investing to overcome today’s challenges and become more resilient for tomorrow”.

“TCS is attracting the brightest talent in cloud computing, AI, cybersecurity and other technologies to help them become future-ready enterprises,” he added.

TCS has been present in the US for more than 50 years.

Nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies partner with TCS to digitally transform and grow their businesses.

The company has hired 512 graduates of Illinois colleges and universities over the past five years, and it is the second largest recruiter of IT services talent in the country.

Stock Market Rally After Inflation Report Shows High Prices May Ease

Stocks surged in their biggest rally in two years last week, after a better-than-expected inflation report showed that the galloping price increases that consumers have endured all year are beginning to slow.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1200 points, or more than 3.7%, over the course of the day to close at 33,715.37, the highest since the middle of August. The Nasdaq soared more than 7% and the S&P 500 more than 5%.

Consumer prices in October were 7.7% higher than a year ago, according to the Labor Department. That’s a slower pace of inflation than September’s 8.2% rate. It’s also the smallest year-on-year increase in prices since January.

And the price hikes between September and October were significantly smaller than forecasters had expected.

Wall Street greeted the report as as a sign that the Federal Reserve may ease up on the gas in its current drive to contain inflation.

The Fed has been raising interest rates aggressively in an effort to tamp down demand and bring prices under control. After ordering jumbo rate hikes of 0.75 percentage points at each of its last four meetings, the Fed is widely expected to adopt a smaller increase of 0.5 points when policymakers next meet in December.

Wall Street analysts said that Thursday’s inflation reading will give the central bank good reason to go with a smaller hike.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, annual inflation was 6.3% in October — down from 6.6% the month before.

Housing costs accounted for nearly half the monthly price increase, but rents showed their smallest increase in five months. Food costs rose at the slowest pace in 10 months. Gasoline prices rose 4% in October but remain well below their peak price in early summer.

“Today’s report shows that we are making progress on bringing inflation down,” President Biden said in a statement. “It will take time to get inflation back to normal levels – and we could see setbacks along the way – but we will keep at it and help families with the cost of living.”

While prices still rose a swift 7.7 percent over the past 12 months, the annual inflation rate was less than the 7.9 percent expected by economists and lower than the 8.2 percent rate seen in September. The 0.4 percent monthly increase in the consumer price index was also less than the 0.6 percent increase that economists had projected.

Inflation is still near levels not seen since the 1980s and hindering American households. Prices that have already shot up are continuing to rise for food, shelter and other basic needs, pinching the economy along the way.

But the October decline in inflation brought some relief to those struggling to get by.

Used car prices

One of the first pockets of the economy hit by the inflation surge is finally seeing prices come down.

“The run-up in prices for used cars is now unwinding as supply of cars is recovering and demand is hit hard by higher interest rates,” wrote Preston Caldwell, head of U.S. economics for Morningstar Research Services, in a Thursday analysis.

Prices for used cars and trucks fell 2.4 percent in October alone, marking the fourth straight month of declines. While prices are still far above pre-pandemic levels, Americans searching for a used car or truck may finally see relief after months of shortages and supply chain snarls.

Used car and truck prices soared throughout much of 2020 and 2021 as supply chain issues and shortages hindered automobile manufacturing around the world. But supply chains made progress in recovery, making it easier for buyers to trade in older cars for new ones.

Cheaper household supplies

Prices for a wide range of basic household goods fell in October as consumers spent more time bargain-hunting and less money on items once in higher demand.

Picture : WAMU

Household supplies and furnishings fell 0.2 percent in October broadly, with prices for appliances, dishware, furniture and bedding falling sharply. Many of these goods were popular among locked-down American households during the depths of the pandemic and limited by supply chain dysfunction, which boosted their prices.

“Retail promotions are a huge opportunity in inflation. Maybe it’s adjusting your promotions, eliminating profit-draining promotions altogether, or addressing lumpy inventory issues,” said Matt Pavich, senior director at consulting firm Revionics.

“Retailers are looking at all of their options right now to correct issues earlier in the supply chain,” he continued. “Pricing is the fastest lever to do this.”

Clothing and accessories

Prices for apparel dropped 0.7 percent in October after rising 4.1 percent over the past year. The biggest drops came in prices for jewelry, infant and toddler clothes, women’s outerwear and men’s formalwear.

The decline in apparel prices comes before a holiday shopping season that will be closely watched by economists for signs of fading consumer power.

The National Retail Federation expects spending from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 could total as much as $960 billion, which would shatter records. Sales rose 13.5 percent between 2020 and 2021, but the group expects that pace of growth to slow after a booming year for the sector.

Household gas

Households with heating or cooking gas may have caught a break in October as prices for utility gas service plunged 4.6 percent. It was one of the few parts of the energy sector to see prices drop in October, a month when fuel oil prices shot up nearly 20 percent and gasoline prices rose 4 percent.

High prices for oil and gas have been one of the major forces behind the inflationary surge. While prices were destined to rise from 2020 levels — when global lockdowns curtailed energy usage — the war in Ukraine has fueled intense volatility in energy markets.

“We expect some easing in pipeline pressures and rather large negative base-year effects inside the energy complex that will bring down both headline and core inflation through the middle of next year,” wrote Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at audit and tax firm RSM, in a Thursday analysis.

A slower increase in food prices

Food prices are still on the rise, due largely to the war in Ukraine limiting the global supply of wheat and fertilizer. Prices for food are up 10.9 percent on the year, and groceries alone are up 12.4 percent since last October.

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The October inflation report showed that while prices are still increasing, they are moving up at a slower rate — the first step toward a plateau.

Prices for food rose 0.6 percent in October, down from increases of 0.8 percent in August and September and three straight months of increases of at least 1 percent from May to July.

Monthly inflation in groceries also fell from 0.7 percent in September to 0.4 percent in October.

IRS Announces New Tax Brackets And Standard Deduction For 2023

Inflations isn’t fun, but it could help lower your taxes in 2023. The IRS has announced the new 2023 tax brackets and the new standard deduction.

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced its inflation adjustments to the standard deduction and federal income tax brackets for 2023. Knowing these numbers can allow you to make some smart tax-planning moves before the year’s end. If you expect to be in a low bracket next year, you may want to try and delay some income to next year. On the other hand, if you expect to be in a high tax bracket in 2023, you may want to delay some tax deductions until next year.

New Standard Deduction For 2023

There is some good news for taxpayers regarding inflation; in 2023, the standard deductions will increase. For married couples filing jointly, the new standard deduction for 2023 will be $27,700. This is a jump of $1,800 from the 2022 standard deduction.

The 2023 standard deduction for single taxpayers and married filing separately will be $13,850. This is a jump of $900 from the 2022 standard deduction.

You may be wondering what is the standard deduction and what does it mean? The standard deduction is the number of tax deductions you can subtract from your income before you begin to owe taxes. For example, if you were a single filer and made $13,850 in 2023, you could take the standard deduction and not owe any federal income taxes. You may still owe payroll taxes and state taxes.

For taxpayers 65 or older, you can add $1,500 to your standard deduction for 2023 if you are married. This increases to $1,850 if you are unmarried or a surviving spouse (age 65 or older in 2023).

Changes To the Federal Tax Rates For 2023

The income that fits in each tax bracket for 2023 is the only change. Put more plainly; the federal marginal tax rates will remain the same in 2023. This is unless some new legislation was to change tax rates or brackets further. Each tax bracket has been adjusted for 2023 to account for inflation.

High inflation has led the IRS to increase the federal income tax brackets. This increase in tax bracket could help lower your 2023 taxes.

2023 Tax Brackets for Single Filers

37%: incomes higher than $578,125

35%: incomes over $231,250

32%: incomes over $182,100

24%: incomes over $95,375

22%: incomes over $44,725

12%: incomes over $11,000

10%: incomes of $11,000 or less

2023 Tax Brackets for Married Couples Filing Jointly

37%: incomes higher than $693,750

35%: incomes over $462,500

32%: incomes over $364,200

24%: incomes over $190,750

22%: incomes over $89,450

12%: incomes over $22,000

10%: incomes of $22,000 or less

The marriage penalty for federal income taxes doesn’t kick in until you reach the 37% tax bracket. If you are itemizing your tax deductions, there are other limitations to tax breaks you can benefit from, as well as more examples of the marriage penalty in the tax code. For example, the $10,000 SALT cap is the same whether you are single or married.

The higher your income, the more valuable proactive tax planning guidance can be. As a Los Angeles Financial Advisor, California residents can face a combined state and federal income tax rate beyond 50% on income that falls into the highest tax brackets. The tax burden can be tough on business owners who must pay both sides of the Social Security payroll taxes. Work with your tax pro and Certified Financial Planner™ to ensure you optimize your retirement plans and minimize taxes along the way.

Indian Economy Shows Great Resilience Post Covid; Marches Strongly Towards 2047 Goal

India has one of the most promising economies globally. India has surpassed Britain to become the world’s fifth largest economy. The manufacturing MSME- start-up ecosystem has boosted the economy and created new job opportunities.

As a result of these efforts, the Indian economy has recovered from the negative effects of Covid, and the country is on its way to becoming the world’s third and $5 trillion economy.

The good news is that the eight key industries that drive the country’s economy — coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement, and electricity — have grown by 4.5 per cent.

This simply means that the Indian economy has returned to normalcy and is progressing.

India has the big goal of becoming developed and self-reliant by 2047, when the country attains its 100th independence day.

The Indian economy has recovered from the pandemic and is back on track. In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, GDP increased by 13.5 per cent (April-June).

At constant prices, the country’s GDP was Rs 32.46 lakh crore in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021-22, while it grew by 13.5 per cent to Rs 36.85 lakh crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

Simultaneously, the common index of eight core industries, which contribute significantly to the country’s economy, has increased by 4.5 per cent since July 2021.

The final growth rate of the eight core industries was revised to 9.5 per cent in April 2022, up from 8.4 per cent previously.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the economy are bearing fruit.

These latest figures show that the Indian economy has recovered from the pandemic’s negative effects.

The country is now rapidly moving towards becoming self-reliant.

Picture : Prescious Kashmir

India has surpassed Germany to become the world’s fourth largest automobile market. In 2021, India sold 37.6 lakh vehicles, while Germany sold 29.7 lakh vehicles. August is the fifth month in a row that more than 3 lakh cars have been sold in India.

In the global market, Indian products are now emerging as the first choice. India is the world’s leading exporter of electronics, petroleum, and engineering goods.

Exports of these products increased by 17 per cent this year compared to the same period in 2021 (April-August).

The Indian government recognised an important fact when Covid first appeared — the economic impact of this epidemic differed from the effect of the previous epidemic because the Covid epidemic was designed to have a negative impact on demand.

As a result, there was concern that the pandemic would have long-term economic consequences for the country.

However, the government’s tight machinery was in place to ensure that such a situation did not last long.

As a result, a number of reform initiatives were launched. Labour reforms, agricultural reforms, changing the definition of a micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise, and implementing the production-linked incentive scheme were among them.

These reforms attempted to formalise the country’s economy to a large extent.

The identification of shell units, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the goods and services tax were all critical steps in bringing the economy under a set of rules and regulations.

The benefit of this was that there was an attempt to shape the economy in terms of shape, type, and behavior. Simultaneously, a focus on job creating industries was sought.

The government had a clear vision that the country needed to address not only the immediate challenges but also ensure the recovery of economy and infrastructure development, both of which are critical to achieving the objectives.

The new generation of the country is now taking the risk of innovation, learning from mistakes, and getting involved with new energy.

Employment in MSMEs has increased by 116 per cent as compared to 2019-20.

It is the charisma of the growing youth power that drives the small scale industry, that is, India’s MSME and start-up ecosystem is growing at the fastest rate in the world. (IANS)

$2.04 Billion Powerball Jackpot Ticket Was Sold In California

A lone winning ticket for the record $2.04 billion Powerball lottery jackpot was sold in Altadena, California, lottery officials said Tuesday, making the lucky ticket holder the winner of the largest lottery prize ever, media reports stated.

The ticket was sold at a Joe’s Service Center, the California Lottery said on Twitter. Results posted to similarly said there was one winner who matched all six numbers in California – the odds of which were 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

The winning numbers, which were announced Tuesday morning after Monday night’s drawing was delayed, were 10-33-41-47-56 and the Powerball was 10, according to the association.

The odds of winning the jackpot in Monday’s draw are one in 292.2 million, according to Powerball. The premier lottery game has had no winner in more than three months after 40 consecutive drawings.

Here is what you need to know about the lottery and its big prize.

The previous world-record jackpot was set in 2016, when $1.59bn was split between three Powerball players.

“Like the rest of America, and the world, I think we’re all eager to find out when this historic jackpot will eventually be won,” Drew Svitko, the chair of the Powerball Product Group, said in a statement.

While no-one claimed Saturday’s winning prize, there were 16 tickets matching the five main numbers to win $1m each. Another ticket – drawn in Kentucky – won $2m , while 219 tickets across the US won $50,000 and 51 won $150,000.

Only one other Powerball jackpot reached 41 consecutive drawings. The 2021 drawing ended with a nearly $700m winner in California.

Picture: CBS

How do you play Powerball?

Powerball tickets cost $2 to buy, and a winner has the option to choose a lump sum payment, which is currently estimated at $929. Winners can also choose to receive the full amount in an annuity paid over 29 years, but almost all winners opt for the upfront cash option.

The game, which began in 1992, is played in 45 of the 50 US states, the capital city of Washington, and in the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

A ticket must match all six numbers drawn to score the jackpot. If multiple winners select the same combination of numbers in the draw, they will equally share the jackpot.

The winnings are subject to federal taxes of between 24% and 37%, and, in most cases, state taxes. Only 10 states do not have state taxes. In several locations – such as New York City – the winnings are also subject to municipal taxes.

According to BBC, the jackpot was last won on August 3rd, when the owner of the winning ticket opted for a lump sum payment of $206.9m. In July, a “Mega Millions” ticket sold in Illinois won $1.34bn.

Players have to be at least 18 years old, but some states have set the age limit at 21. Some states also allow winners to remain anonymous.

Why is there such a big jackpot?

This record-breaking jackpot is being attributed in part to changes the lottery made in 2015. To boost sales, it made smaller prizes easier to win – but the jackpot harder.

It tweaked the game, notably including having players choose five numbers from one to 69 instead of from one to 59 under the previous rules.

Players also select the Powerball – their sixth number – from one to 26, instead of the previous one to 35 .

That increased the odds for the grand prize from one in 175.2 million to the current 1 in 292.2 million.

It’s not the first time to lottery the game rules were adjusted – it has made regular changes in its 30-year history, and recently added the Monday night draw.

Can Powerball be played outside the US?

Powerball tickets can be purchased from abroad online. Participants do not need to be US citizens nor residents.

Winnings, however, need to be claimed in the state to which a ticket belongs.

For US residents, this means that those living in states that don’t participate in the Powerball would need to travel to buy a ticket and claim winnings.

Similar rules are in place for other lottery games.

In 2015, a 37-year old Iraqi man from Baghdad won a $6.4m (£5.5m) “Megabucks” jackpot in Oregon after purchasing the ticket through a Malta-based website.

Lottery winners have also been reported in a number of other countries, including Australia and El Salvador.

Who owns Powerball?

Powerball is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), a US non-profit comprised of 38 state lotteries from across the US, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It was formed in 1987 and launched its first game – Lotto America – the following year.

The organisation provides a number of services to its constituent members, such as game development, central accounting and the actual conduct of lottery drawings.

Money from tickets sales goes both towards the prize money and the rest to the government-run state lotteries that participate in Powerball, as well as to retailer commissions.

According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, US lottery sales totalled over $91bn in the 2019 fiscal year.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds To Import 25kg Gold Under The India-UAE Agreement (CEPA)

Malabar Gold and Diamonds has become the first jeweller in India to import gold under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE.

Availing one per cent duty reduction under the bilateral trade agreement, the Kozhikode-headquartered jewelry retail chain with a robust presence in India and in West Asia has set the ball rolling by importing 25 kg gold through ICICI Bank.

The import makes the jewelry retail chain the first beneficiary of the partnership agreement both in jewelry exports and imports.

MP Ahammed, Chairman, Malabar Group, said “The import will boost our `Make in India, Market to the World’ mission, which aims to drive demand for Indian jewelry across global markets banking on its unique craftsmanship. We’ll utilize the imported gold to enhance our domestic jewelry production capacity and generate employment, thus making India a global hub for jewelry sourcing and OEM manufacturing.”

In May, the company became one of the first beneficiaries of India-UAE CEPA when it received permission to export jewelry from India to the UAE with tax concessions. Under the agreement, the UAE Government has waived the five per cent import duty into the UAE.

Under the agreement, the UAE government has waived the 5% import duty into the UAE. MP Ahammed, Chairman, of Malabar Group, hopes to “utilize the imported gold to enhance [their] domestic jewelry production capacity and generate employment, thus making India a global hub for jewelry sourcing and OEM manufacturing.” This import makes Malabar Gold and Diamonds the first beneficiary of the partnership agreement both in jewelry exports and imports.

10 Richest People Who Ever Lived

The likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Gautam Adani may be worth billions, but their riches pale in comparison to the entrepreneurs, emperors and rulers of days past

Russia’s Catherine the Great and Joseph Stalin sat atop trillions, Mali’s Mansa Musa had insane amounts of gold, and Genghis Khan founded the world’s biggest empire – so who’s. 

Forbes estimates the serial tech entrepreneur’s fortune at be about US$220 billion, thanks to his portfolio of companies including electric car manufacturer Tesla, rocket producer SpaceX and tunnelling project The Boring Company.

Yet, despite his astonishing net worth, the 51-year-old’s billions don’t even come close to the wealth of the richest people in history – proportionally speaking.. Yup, that means Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Indian tycoons Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani also don’t make the cut.

It is however important to note that the further we go back in time, the harder it is to put an accurate or fair figure on how relatively rich an individual was as, well, times were much different back then. Wealth was based on gold, land, salt and power – and not all academics agree on the valuations. But we’ve done our best stocktaking, and according to several sources, and the work of a number of historians, these are richest people to ever walk the earth – after factoring in inflation and the worth of commodities in the day – in 2022 dollars.

  1. John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937)

Estimated net worth today: US$340 billion

According to numerous sources including Celebrity Net Worth, John D. Rockefeller built up a fortune that would be worth around US$340 billion in today’s money.

The American business magnate and philanthropist established the Standard Oil Company in 1870, which controlled 90 per cent of US refineries and pipelines by the early 1880s, according to the website History. While the New Yorker faced controversy for monopolising of the industry, Rockefeller also played a big part in giving back to the community, donating about US$500 million to educational, religious and scientific causes through the Rockefeller Foundation.

  1. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)

Estimated net worth today: US$372 billion states that this Scottish-born industrialist stacked up the equivalent of around US$372 billion by leading the expansion of the American steel industry in the 19th and early 20th century.

He eventually sold his Carnegie Steel company in 1901 to JP Morgan for US$480 million (in the currency of the day). Carnegie also donated 90 per cent of his earnings to philanthropic causes by the time of his death in 1919.

  1. Catherine the Great (1729-1796)

Estimated net worth today: US$1.5 trillion

The Russian monarch inherited and controlled a vast network of land, wealth and political power, after assuming the throne in 1762 – investments worth 5 per cent of Russian GDP, or the equivalent of US$1.5 trillion today, according to Luxuo.

  1. Augustus Caesar (63BC-14AD)

Estimated net worth today: US$4.6 trillion

the founder of the Roman empire needs no introduction as one of the greatest and most famous rulers in history.

Augustus Caesar’s empire produced around 25 to 30 per cent of the world’s global output, and around a fifth of that was his own personal wealth, according to Luxuo. That means he would have been worth around US$4.6 trillion today.

  1. Joseph Stalin (1878-1953)

Estimated net worth today: US$7.5 trillion says that it’s virtually impossible to separate Stalin’s wealth from the wealth of the Soviet Union, with economists claiming that his complete control of the USSR makes him one of the richest people to ever live.

Data from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that in 1950, the USSR made up about 9.5 per cent of the global economic output (about US$7.5 trillion in today’s money).

Though Stalin didn’t technically “own” the money, he did have the power to “control the wealth of the country”, points out George O. Liber, a professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

  1. Empress Wu (624-705)

Estimated net worth today: US$16 trillion

he first and only female emperor of China was intelligent, politically savvy – and famous for being ruthless when it came to bumping off her opponents. She ruled the country when the economy of China accounted for around 23 per cent of global GDP, which would be around US$16 trillion today. Despite her sometimes controversial methods of wielding power, she nevertheless built up the country’s wealth by trading tea and silk on the Silk Road, and oversaw the expansion of Imperial China into central Asia. Some call her the richest woman ever.

Genghis Khan, John D. Rockefeller, Mansa Musa, Empress Wu and Catherine the Great all had immense wealth. Photos: Handout; Shutterstock; @Dr_TheHistories/Twitter; Mary Evans Picture Library; @catherinee_thee_greatt/Instagram

  1. Akbar I (1542-1605)

Estimated net worth today: US$21 trillion

Akbar I lived far more extravagantly than European leaders with equivalent wealth at the time. 

Abu’l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar, popularly known as Akbar the Great, was the third emperor to rule the Mughal empire.

Thanks to his ability to extract wealth from the population, claims that he ruled over an empire valued at 25 per cent of the global GDP. Comparable to the wealth of Elizabethan England at the time, the extravagance of Akbar I’s lifestyle nevertheless easily “surpassed that of the European society”, according to economic historian Angus Maddison.

  1. Emperor Shenzong (1048-1085)

Estimated net worth today: US$30 trillion

The sixth emperor of China’s Song dynasty ruled over an immensely economically powerful empire worth 25 to 30 per cent of the world’s GDP at the time, according to Historians claim that the kingdom was light-years ahead of European governments when it came to effective tax collection, and its technological innovations and centralised form of governance also added to their wealth.

  1. Genghis Khan (1162-1227)

Estimated net worth today: US$120 trillion

It is believed that Genghis Khan was so powerful, and his Mongol empire so wide-reaching, that his DNA can be found in as many as 16 million men today, according to a 2003 scientific report.

And, having created the largest empire of all time – which covered most of China and Central Asia during his lifetime, and stretched as far as Poland and Vietnam afterward – The Richest estimates that he would have been worth about US$120 trillion in today’s money.

It is believed that Genghis Khan was so powerful, and his Mongol empire so wide-reaching, that his DNA can be found in as many as 16 million men today, according to a 2003 scientific report.

And, having created the largest empire of all time – which covered most of China and Central Asia during his lifetime, and stretched as far as Poland and Vietnam afterward – The Richest estimates that he would have been worth about US$120 trillion in today’s money.

  1. Mansa Musa (1280-1337)

Estimated net worth … “Incomprehensible”

Mansa Musa is considered the richest man to have ever lived, according to historians.

Coming in strong at No 1 is a name that you may not even recognize. Mansa Musa was the ruler of the Mali empire, which was immensely rich in land, salt and gold. Historians estimate the Mali Empire was at one point the largest gold producer in the world, meaning its ruler was in possession of “incomprehensible wealth”. While Celebrity Net Worth has estimated his wealth to have been the equivalent of around US$400 billion, historians believe it’s virtually impossible to come to a conclusion on the real number.

The African ruler was famous for making the most extravagant pilgrimage to Mecca of all time, with the BBC reporting that the king left Mali with about 60,000 men, from royal officials to camel drivers and slaves. He spent so much gold in Cairo during his three month stay there that he destabilized the local economy, affecting the price of gold in the region for the next 10 years!

Today’s Richest

Right now, Elon Musk is by far the richest person on earth. Tesla boss Elon Musk’s immense fortune pales into insignificance compared to the richest people in history. 

Forbes estimates the serial tech entrepreneur’s fortune at be about US$220 billion, thanks to his portfolio of companies including electric car manufacturer Tesla, rocket producer SpaceX and tunnelling project The Boring Company.

Yet, despite his astonishing net worth, the 51-year-old’s billions don’t even come close to the wealth of the richest people in history – proportionally speaking.. Yup, that means Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Indian tycoons Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani also don’t make the cut.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is currently the second richest person on the planet – but not necessarily the second richest of all time. Photo: AP

It is however important to note that the further we go back in time, the harder it is to put an accurate or fair figure on how relatively rich an individual was as, well, times were much different back then. Wealth was based on gold, land, salt and power – and not all academics agree on the valuations.

But we’ve done our best stocktaking, and according to several sources, and the work of a number of historians, these are richest people to ever walk the earth – after factoring in inflation and the worth of commodities in the day – in 2022 dollars. (Courtesy: Forbes)

Picture: Life Byond Post

Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra To Invest $100 Billion, Creating 50,000 Jobs In NY

Indian American Sanjay Mehrotra, the CEO of Micron Technology has promised to invest $100 billion over the next 20 years which will be instrumental in the creation of thousands of jobs in New York.

In his LinkedIn post, Mehrotra said that he met President Joe Biden on October 28 and showcased Micron’s future plans and the creation of the largest semiconductor fabrication facility in Clay, New York.

Kanpur-born Indian-origin Mehrotra said in a LinkedIn post that he met US President Joe Biden, and showcased the future plans of his company and the creation of the largest semiconductor fabrication facility in the history of the US. 

Picture: Business Today

“Today, I was humbled to meet with President Biden, introduce him to some of the Micron team, and showcase Micron’s plans for our future megafab in Clay, New York. This $100B investment over the next two decades will create the largest semiconductor fabrication facility in the history of the United States,” he said in the post. 

Mehrotra said in the post that their company will create 50,000 jobs in New York and will partner with local colleges, universities and community organisation to build the workforce. He said that they aim to make New York the hub of leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing. 

he fabs, part of Micron’s manufacturing network, will create memory chips that can be used in the most demanding applications worldwide. “Clay, New York will be able to say with pride that they are home to some of the most advanced semiconductor facilities anywhere in the world. We are proud to drive a vision for high-tech manufacturing leadership here in America,” he said. 

Picture: Business Today

The company further stated in a release that it will invest $250 million in the Green CHIPS Community Investment Fund, with an additional $100 million invested from New York, with $150 million from local, other state and national partners. “To secure US leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, cultivate American innovation and ensure economic and national security, it is imperative we come together to build and transform a workforce for the future. Our commitments through the Community Investment Framework represent the first foundational steps toward Central New York’s transformation,” said Mehrotra on President Biden’s visit. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that the project’s $500 million community fund will sustain the region in the long term with investments in workforce, housing, and infrastructure. 

Micron Technology is a Nasdaq-listed company that focuses on innovative memory and storage solutions. 

Micron’s founder Sanjay Mehrotra was born in Kanpur, and completed his schooling from Delhi’s Sardar Patel Vidyalaya. He moved to the US at the age of 18, transferring from BITS Pilani to University of California, Berkeley. He earned his BA and MA degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of California. Mehrotra then enrolled in Stanford University for an executive business degree. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Boise State University. Mehrotra also holds around 70 patents.

Chinese Yuan Becomes World’s Fifth Most Traded Currency, Survey Finds

The Chinese currency, yuan leaped over the Australian, Canadian and Swiss currencies to become the fifth most traded currency in the world, according to the Bank for International Settlements’ Triennial Central Bank Survey.

The Chinese yuan has become the world’s fifth most traded currency, jumping from eighth place three years ago, according to a Bank for International Settlements (BIS) report, as the renminbi continues to gain international traction amid heightened geopolitical tensions.

The Chinese currency was involved in 7% of all trades in 2022, compared with 4% three years ago, Basel-based BIS said in a report on Thursday. Meanwhile, total daily trades rose 14% to $7.5 trillion. 

The dollar maintained its decade-long place as the world’s most traded currency, accounting for one side of 88% of all transactions. The euro, yen and pound also held their spots in the top four.

According to Bloomberg News, the yuan is becoming a more important global currency as China takes steps to open its financial markets. This is reflected in an increase in yuan cross-border settlements as well as a higher share of yuan among global FX reserves.

Bloomberg says the increase in cross-border yuan settlements, as well as the higher share among global foreign exchange reserves, is due to Beijing’s moves to open up its financial markets.

The BIS survey covered more than 1,200 banks and other intermediaries worldwide. Russia, which accounted for less than 1% of the global total in 2019, was excluded this year, while Dubai was included for the first time.

The Forgotten 3 Billion People

By, Wolfgang FenglerHomi Kharas, and Juan Caballero

In his 1969 poem “The Poor,” Roberto Sosa writes “The poor are many /and so/ –impossible to forget.” At that time, over half of the global population lived in extreme poverty ( less than $1.90 per day per person). The World Bank estimates that around 8.5 percent of the world’s population (685 million people) could be extremely poor by the end of 2022, and that poverty is now declining at a very slow rate of only 2 percent a year.

Meanwhile, the rich—defined by World Data Lab as those in households spending more than $120 per day per person (2017 purchasing power parity)—numbering about 250 million worldwide, capture the most media attention. Oxfam’s “Inequality Kills” report shows that the richest 10 people made $810 billion between March 2020 and November 2021, and that the richest 1 percent are responsible for the same level of carbon emissions as the poorest 3.1 billion people.

In between the rich and poor, lives the middle class ($12-120 per day), numbering some 3.6 billion people. The 2022 OECD Economic Survey of the United States, described a “hollowing out” of the middle class. Their economic analysis has called on governments to help the struggling middle class for several years, and the attention given to inflation, taxes, trade, and energy policy all aims at generating a process of globalization that delivers greater prosperity to the middle class.

However, there are only 4.6 billion people in these three groups out of the 8 billion people on the planet. There are 3.4 billion people who are seemingly forgotten, not extremely poor, not part of the middle class, and not rich. Who are they?

The missing group is perhaps best described as the “vulnerable.” They are not poor enough to feature prominently in the poverty and inequality discourse, yet they have been seriously affected by the recessions caused by COVID-19, and by food and fuel shortages and price increases. Academics have long argued that the most vulnerable groups may not coincide with the poorest groups. For example, Whelan and Maitre look at the experience of Irish households and find that just over one-third of their vulnerable cluster is drawn from the poor, while two-thirds are drawn from the non-poor. They conclude that “poverty and economic vulnerability are obviously related but are still distinct.”

We look at vulnerability in terms of the risk of being pushed back into poverty and the risk of having expectations of entry into the middle class dashed. Both have significant welfare and behavior consequences.

Clearly, the risk of falling back into poverty, usually due to an economic, health, or conflict shock, depends upon a household’s distance from the extreme poverty line. The most vulnerable to this risk are those spending $2-5 per day per person. There are 1.3 billion people in this segment. The bulk of the 85 million people who may have fallen into poverty in 2020 came from this group.

At the other end of the spectrum is a group spending $8-12 per day per person. This group would have had reasonable prospects of joining the middle class in a few years. In normal times, over 100 million people move out of this group into the middle class. This has slowed to 90 million this year and a further loss of 5 million is expected in 2023, meaning that for tens of millions of people, the hope for entry into the middle class has been derailed.

In between, the group spending $5-8 is subject to both kinds of risk, although to a lesser extent. The chance of falling into poverty is smaller, and the prospects for advancing into the middle class are also smaller, so it is a more stable category. Nevertheless, it is a group where income volatility is high—a spell of unemployment, a poor crop, or a family health crisis can create proportionally large income losses. On the other side of the coin, a family member gaining meaningful employment, migrating and sending home remittances, or enjoying a good harvest can propel a family toward the middle class. Both the risk of something bad happening and something good not happening can affect these households significantly.

Figure 1. Global population living in different spending groups

Source: World Data Pro, World Data Lab 2022

Figure 1 shows how the vulnerable are distributed among these spending categories today and in 2030 based on current projections of growth and distribution. The figure shows that the vulnerable are evenly spread across the three categories we have identified. It also shows that there is not likely to be a significant reduction in the size of this group in the next few years.

Given the size of the vulnerable group, governments would do well to pay more attention to them. Targeting social assistance based on spending/income levels is only likely to exclude a substantial portion of the vulnerable group. Additional metrics, based on country-by-country risk characteristics, are needed to build a more resilient population.

This recommendation is particularly important for Asian countries. There, great inroads have been made in reducing the absolute number of extremely poor people, so the vulnerable group is less likely to overlap with those in poverty. At the same time, Asian countries are witnessing severe climate-related shocks, so the vulnerability of many households has increased. By contrast, in Africa, levels of extreme poverty remain high, and the overlap between the vulnerable and the poor is larger. Then, targeting based on poverty, as is commonplace in many social assistance programs, will also assist in building resilience against vulnerability.

Although Asian countries have reduced poverty considerably, most people are still vulnerable. In fact, more than half of the Asian population is still poor or vulnerable. It will take another two to three years for Asia to cross the point where the majority of its population is middle-class or rich.

We need to pay more attention to the forgotten 3 billion. They are vulnerable on many dimensions, and their hopes and aspirations are in danger of destruction in today’s slow-growth and volatile economies. Identifying vulnerabilities is more complex than simply adjusting income poverty lines, although it should be one component. But the three-plus billion vulnerable people are many, and so—they should be impossible to forget. (Courtesy: Brookings Instituite)

World Economy Battered By High Inflation And Stalling Growth

By, Eswar Prasad & Aryan Khanna

The post-COVID recovery has run out of steam and the global economy is stalling, with many countries already in or on the brink of outright recession amid heightened uncertainty and rising risks. The October 2022 update of the Brookings-Financial Times TIGER indexes shows that growth momentum, as well as financial market and confidence indicators, have deteriorated markedly around the world in recent months.

A series of self-inflicted wounds, ranging from China’s zero-COVID policy to the United Kingdom’s fiscal recklessness, piled on top of persistent supply chain disruptions and the protracted war in Ukraine, have severely constricted space for policy maneuver. High and persistent inflation worldwide, and the actions by central banks to rein it in, are depressing economic activity, dampening household and business confidence, and roiling financial markets.

Major advanced economies such as the eurozone, Japan, and the United Kingdom have been dented by various adverse external shocks, often compounded by sluggish and tepid policy responses, throwing their growth trajectories off kilter. Many developed markets are now facing the combination of steep currency depreciations (relative to the U.S. dollar), rising government bond yields, strained public finances, and tightening policy constraints that have long characterized periods of economic and financial stress in emerging market economies.

The U.S. economy is rife with conflicting signals. Consumer demand remains strong and employment has continued to grow at a reasonably healthy pace. At the same time, GDP growth is anemic while inflation remains high by any measure, leaving the Federal Reserve with little choice but to hike rates further despite the tightening of financial conditions resulting from the stronger dollar and falling values of financial assets.

Energy supply disruptions are fueling inflation and constraining growth in European economies, with prospects of energy shortages in the winter damaging private sector confidence. Emblematic of the stresses on the U.K. economy, the plunge in the pound sterling’s value reflects a combination of these adverse external circumstances, the ongoing fallout from Brexit, and undisciplined fiscal policies. Many European countries face added concerns about populist policies that could increase the risks to fiscal and financial stability.

Japan is the sole major advanced economy that has the luxury of keeping monetary policy loose as inflation remains contained. This could help maintain stable albeit low growth, with the yen’s rapid depreciation not having any appreciable negative effects thus far.

Emerging market economies are facing similar challenges as their advanced economy counterparts, including high inflation and depreciating currencies, but have generally better growth prospects. Still, weak demand worldwide and tighter financial conditions will increase pressure on developing economies with current account deficits. Barring a few exceptions such as Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela, where rampant economic mismanagement has precipitated currency collapses, emerging markets at large do not seem at imminent risk of balance of payments crises, however.

China is facing a raft of problems resulting from the government’s rigid adherence to a zero-COVID strategy, a faltering real estate sector, and financial system stresses boiling over. Inflation remains under control, though the renminbi’s depreciation relative to the dollar has limited the People’s Bank of China’s ability to cut interest rates. The government and the PBOC have invoked a number of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures, but these have had limited traction in boosting private consumption and investment. Export growth, meanwhile, is likely to be restrained by weak global demand. (Courtesy: Eswar Prasad and Aryan Khanna (Cornell), The Brookings Institution, October 2022)

Movie Star Anna May Wong To Be First Asian American Featured On US Currency

Movie star Anna May Wong, who broke into Hollywood during the silent film era, will become the first Asian American to appear on US currency, a century after she landed her first leading role. Wong’s image, with her trademark blunt bangs and pencil-thin eyebrows, will feature on the back of new quarters from October 24th, 2022.

The design is the fifth to emerge from the American Women Quarters Program, which highlights pioneering women in their respective fields. The other four quarters, all put into production this year, feature poet and activist Maya Angelou; the first American woman in space, Sally Ride; Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller; and suffragist Nina Otero-Warren. The latter two were, along with Wong, selected with input from the public.

“These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” the US Mint’s acting director, Alison Doone, said in a statement to CNN last year, when the list was revealed.

Considered the movie industry’s first Chinese American star, Wong overcame widespread discrimination to carve out a four-decade career in film, theater and radio. She acted alongside icons including Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford and Laurence Olivier and appeared on stage in London and New York.

Born in Los Angeles, she began acting at 14 and took a lead role in “The Toll of the Sea” three years later, in 1922. She went on to appear in dozens of movies but faced deeply entrenched racism in Hollywood, where she struggled to break from stereotypical roles.

She moved to Europe in the 1920s, but later returned to the US to make hits including “Shanghai Express,” the 1932 adventure-romance movie that gave Wong one of her best-known roles — it starred Dietrich as a notorious courtesan who takes a three-day rail journey through China during the Chinese Civil War and is held hostage on board, with Wong playing a fellow first-class passenger.

Throughout her life, Wong advocated for greater representation of Asian American actors in Hollywood. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, the year before she died aged 56.

Her keen sense of style also made her a fashion icon, with Wong often mixing traditional Chinese gowns and flapper-era styles with eccentric touches. A biopic of the actor’s life, which will see her portrayed by “Crazy Rich Asians” star Gemma Chan, is currently in production.

“Many prominent actors from the 1920s and 1930s saw their name framed by lightbulbs on movie theater marquees, so I thought it made sense to feature Anna May Wong in this way,” said the coin’s designer, Emily Damstra, in a press release.

“Along with the hard work, determination, and skill Anna May Wong brought to the profession of acting, I think it was her face and expressive gestures that really captivated movie audiences, so I included these elements next to her name.”

The American Women Quarters program will choose five different women each year to be featured on the coin’s reverse side through 2025. Next year’s confirmed designs will spotlight pilot Bessie Coleman, composer Edith Kanakaʻole, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, journalist and activist Jovita Idar and ballerina Maria Tallchief. (The Hill)

New IRS Rules Mean Your Paycheck Could Be Bigger Next Year

Inflation may be pushing prices up, but it also may help push up your take-home pay starting next year.

Thanks to inflation adjustments to 2023 federal income tax brackets and other provisions announced by the Internal Revenue Service this week, more of your 2023 wages may be subject to lower tax rates than they were this year, and you may be able to deduct higher amounts of income.

“It is very likely that you would see more in your paycheck starting in January [due to the IRS inflation adjustments, which] tend to result in lower withholding for a given level of income,” said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.

Since the changes don’t apply until 2023, they won’t have any affect on your 2022 tax return that you must file by mid-April of next year.

Here are some of the big changes the IRS is making:

Income tax brackets

  • There are seven different federal income tax rates at which earned income is taxed: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. And the range of income subject to each of those rates is called a tax bracket.
  • The more you earn, the higher your “top” rate – that’s the rate at which your last dollar is taxed.
  • The IRS inflation adjustments amount to a roughly 7% increase in each bracket.
  • Starting next year, here are the amounts of income that will apply to each rate:
  • 10% applies to the first $11,000 of income for single filers ($22,000 for married couples filing jointly).
  • 12% applies to income over $11,000 ($22,000 for joint filers)
  • 22% applies to income over $44,725 ($89,450 for joint filers)
  • 24% applies to incomes over $95,375 ($190,750 for joint filers)
  • 32% applies to incomes over $182,100 ($364,200 for joint filers)
  • 37% applies to incomes over $578,125 ($693,750 for joint filers)

Standard deduction

The standard deduction, which most filers claim, will go up by $900 to $13,850 for single people and by $1,800 to $27,700 for married couples filing jointly.

The standard deduction is the dollar amount that those who don’t itemize deductions can subtract from their adjustable gross income before federal income tax is applied.

Healthcare Flexible Spending Account contribution limits

Next year, you will be allowed to contribute up to $3,050 to a flexible spending account, which can cover some out-of-pocket healthcare costs not covered by health insurance. That money is deductible so it will reduce the amount of tax taken out of your paycheck. If your employer’s plan also allows you to carry over unused portions of your FSA amount, the maximum carryover permitted will be $610, $40 higher than this year’s maximum.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) enables low-income workers to keep more of their paycheck. However, they will not get paid the money until they file their 2023 taxes in early 2024.

The IRS raised the maximum amounts one can claim for the EITC by about 7%.

For example, a qualifying taxpayer with three or more qualifying children could get an EITC of up to $7,430 in 2023, up from $6,935 this year.

Microsoft Lays Off Nearly 1,000 Employees

Tech giant Microsoft has laid off nearly 1,000 employees across multiple divisions of the company, media reports said.

According to Axios, the move is yet another example of large tech companies cutting jobs after earlier moving to slow or freeze hiring as the broader economy cools.

The tech giant declined to say how many jobs had been cut, but a source said the layoffs numbered under 1,000, as per the report.

“Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly. We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead,” Microsoft was quoted as saying in a statement.

The cuts occurred across a variety of levels, teams, and parts of the world.

Multiple laid-off workers turned to Twitter and Blind, among other online forums, to share that their job had been cut.

The report noted that nearly all the major tech firms have slowed headcount growth, with many freezing all but essential hires.

Meta, which had already frozen hiring, plans to cut budgets in most divisions, with layoffs expected.

Meanwhile, in the past few months, the tech giant has laid off nearly 2,000 employees globally.

Other tech companies that have either laid off employees or slowed hiring in the current economic downturn include Google, Meta, Oracle, Twitter, Nvidia, Snap, Uber, Spotify, Intel and Salesforce, among others. (IANS)

India Cancels Foreign Contribution Regulation Act License Of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

India’s Union Home Ministry has cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), a non-governmental organisation headed by Sonia Gandhi, for allegedly violating the foreign funding law.

The foundation will no longer be allowed to receive foreign funds.

According to sources, the FCRA license of the foundation has been cancelled due to violation of foreign funding rules. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had also constituted a committee in 2020 to probe this. This decision has been taken on the basis of the report by the same inquiry committee.

The trustees of the organization include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and MPs Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

According to sources, the RGF came under the scanner in July, 2020. The MHA then constituted an inter-ministerial committee headed by an Enforcement Directorate (ED) officer to investigate NGOs, including the RGF, linked to the Gandhi family. The foundation was accused of tampering with income tax returns, including suspected FCRA violations.

The RGF was established in 1991. For many years, this foundation worked on important issues regarding health, science and technology, women, children and education, etc.

In 2020, BJP President J.P. Nadda also alleged that the foundation took such funds from China, “which were not in the interest of the country”. (IANS)

Loan Forgiveness Application Available For Students Now

The Department of Education launched a beta test version of its student loan relief website on Friday with an application that borrowers can fill out ahead of the site’s official launch later this month.

Since August, when President Biden announced that he would fulfill his campaign promise to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt, borrowers have been waiting diligently to hear the next steps. While the application—which was originally supposed to open in early October—is not fully functional, the Department of Education is welcoming applicants to submit their applications on the beta test site.

The beta site’s application will be available “on and off” over the next few weeks, according to the Education Department. The department chose to launch its beta version early so their technical team can work to detect and remedy any issues that might come up

How does the beta application process go?

The federal agency said that there’s no advantage to completing the application before its official launch because it won’t be processed until then, but if a borrower fills out the application during the beta period, they won’t have to worry about filling it out again later. 

The application process takes about 5 minutes, and it’s available in English and Spanish. Applicants also don’t need to log in or provide any documents, according to the department. About 95% of federal student loan borrowers are eligible for relief.

The Education Department’s technical team will be responding to potential issues in real-time, and although the application itself won’t change, the team may make changes to the website if faced with any glitches. 

The beta version of the site will have scheduled pauses for the team to observe its progress and refine any errors, so the department is encouraging applicants to check back later if the site is down when they try to visit it. The department’s website crashed in August on the day of the student loan relief announcement, so the department is likely testing the site thoroughly to avoid a repeat.

How quickly are borrowers expected to receive relief?

The Biden administration initially said that the debt relief application would become available in early October, but in a legal filing on Friday, the Department of Education announced that it won’t be available before Oct. 23. From that point, the application will be available until Dec. 31, 2023.

​​The application asks borrowers to submit their Social Security numbers and to corroborate that they meet the income caps for the program, which are limited to a salary less than $125,000, or under $250,000 for married couples, in 2020 or 2021. Borrowers are eligible to cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt and Pell Grant recipients are eligible for up to $20,000 of relief.

The Federal Student Aid office will confirm applicants’ eligibility, and reach out to applicants if more information is needed. Applicants’ loan service providers will be responsible for contacting them once their relief has been processed.

Borrowers can expect to see their relief granted within four to six weeks after filling out the application, according to Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona. With looming legal action challenging the student loan relief program and an imminent renewal of student loan payments beginning in January, experts have encouraged borrowers to fill out the application as soon as possible.

US And India Need To Collaborate On A Higher Scale: AIMA Chief Shrinivas Dempo

Shrinivas Dempo is not one to mince words. The president of the All India Management Association (AIMA) – the country’s apex non-profit, non-lobbying body for management professionals with over 38,000 members – is not optimistic about the current geopolitical and economic situation, even as he is hopeful about the future.

“These are extremely difficult times,” he told indica in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the 5th US-India Conference jointly hosted by AIMA and Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, on October 11. “We are facing all sorts of crises – climate, energy, interest rates, foreign exchange. But when there are challenges there are also opportunities.”

The 1969-born Dempo, who hails from the state of Goa in western India, is the chairman of the Dempo Group of Companies – a diversified conglomerate with interests in industries such as calcined petroleum coke, shipbuilding, food processing, real estate and newspaper publishing. The company also owns a popular football club.

The theme for this year’s conference was ‘US-India Partnership: A New Paradigm in a Changed World’. In his speech, Dempo acknowledged the issues faced by the world and not just India. “We believe in the strength of people,” he said, “and together we (the US and India) can achieve.”

He told indica, “With so much uncertainty, thought leaders will have to come up more ideas for our economies to collaborate. India is one of the world’s most promising nations. Our demographic dividend, our younger population is our greatest strength.”

He added that the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the China-Taiwan geopolitical tensions give an opportunity for India and the US to collaborate on a higher scale. “India in the east and US in the west will play a major role in sorting out the issues.”

He said collaboration is better than competition, and for that to happen, he proposed a summit where industry and academia from the two countries can come together.

Dempo said the AIMA is not like other business associations, “nor are we an advocacy organization,” but added that AIMA talks about adapting better management practices. “AIMA not only addresses corporate leaders but we also manage students that are our future corporate leaders. The idea of hosting the summit is to collaborate with education institutes and work on a common theme.”

Apart from hosting the US-India Conference, the AIMA delegation visited Silicon Valley tech companies to see innovation first hand and perhaps take back some lessons for Indian industry.

The delegation has people from manufacturing, transportation and logistics sectors. “The dialog can evolve into specific business opportunities,” Dempo said. “When things are bad, it is the best time to get things at a good price.”

He said India’s current growth rate (7% annually) can sustain for at least 30 more years and “while we cannot compare with the US, we will probably make India the best destination for investment.”

He opined that the Indian government needs to pay greater attention to the tourism sector. “Tourism potential remains largely untapped, even though we have made great progress. The past need not be an indicator, but we need to focus on heritage tourism, nature tourism, ecological tourism, and much more. Infrastructure needs to be set up on a much larger scale… more hotels, better facilities.”

He said in his speech that India’s industrialization and digitization has improved leaps and bounds, but “we still have a long way to go. “Indian youth today have an unprecedented opportunity to be entrepreneurs. I know the US has traditionally done well in this area and so we need greater collaboration in this field. Prime Minister Modi is bullish on Make in India and Start-up India.”

Dempo has a personal connection with America. He is a graduate of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and serves as a trustee at the university.

In 2011, he made a $3 million gift to endow a professorship at Tepper called the Vasantrao Dempo Reflective Chair, to support teaching and research on India-relevant issues. There are two simultaneous reflective chair professors – one in the US and the other in India. Prof Sudhir Kekre was appointed the first such professor in 2017.

HM Nerurkar, chairman of TRL Krosaki Refractories Limited has one-line advice for new-age entrepreneurs – Silicon Valley is where you get cutting-edge tech and this is where you can learn the most.

Nerurkar was a keynote speaker at the 5th US-India Conference jointly organized by the All India Management Association and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, on October 11. In an exclusive interview with indica, Nerurkar said that despite several agencies lowering India’s GDP growth forecast for 2023, “It is quite pessimistic and I believe it will be around 7 percent.”

He said this is possible because India is still not an export-led economy, and India cannot suffer thanks to its domestic consumption. “I think we will still manage to retain the 7 percent GDP growth target.”

Nerurkar, who has spent more than half his professional career with the Tata group, still serves on its board. He is also an advisor to several multi-billion-dollar conglomerates such as the Adani group.

The soft-spoken Nerurkar earned a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP). He joined Tata Steel in 1972 and rose to becoming its managing director in charge of India and South East Asia operations.

He commented on the Deloitte report that stated that India is a more challenging business destination compared to countries such as China and Vietnam. “There is some truth (in the report). Our rank is still not where it should be on ease of doing business. There are issues and the government is trying to address them.”

He added that India still lacks the infrastructure needed to become a fast-growing exporting nation. “If you improve the operational efficiency and improve the export infrastructure, we can become a bigger export house.”

He is an optimist, though. “I think India will not allow any opportunity to slip away at this juncture. For example, Adani group is trying to be number one. That kind of ambition and that kind of leadership was not something you have dreamt of 10 years back.” He said this is the right time for India to grab US investors, given the tension between China and the US.

In his short speech at the conference, Nerurkar spoke about his ideas on the metaverse. “All of us in business and in government have to ensure that the younger generation gets training or the skill development that is appropriate for the jobs that are coming up.” (IndicaNews)

India Slips To 107 Out 121 In Global Hunger Index

In the 2022 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 107th out of the 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores. India was ranked 101st in the 2021 ranking.

With a score of 29.1, India has a level of hunger that is serious. It was 28.2 in 2014. The higher the score, the worse is the situation, according to the methodology. There are five levels of hunger severity, according to this methodology. Scores of ≤ 9.9 are Low; 10.0–19.9 are Moderate; 20.0–34.9 are Serious; 35.0–49.9 are Alarming; and ≥ 50.0 are Extremely Alarming. 

At 19.3 per cent, according to the latest data, India has the highest child wasting rate of all countries covered in the GHI. This rate is higher than it was in 1998-1999, when it was 17.1 per cent. Child wasting is the share of children under the age of five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition.

Nepal is ranked higher at 81, Bangladesh at 84 and even Pakistan at 99. India is ranked below African countries like Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Rwanda.

The Global Hunger Index is a peer-reviewed annual report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. The aim of the GHI is to trigger action to reduce hunger around the world.

According to the data analysts, since 2000, India has made substantial progress, but there are still areas of concern, particularly regarding child nutrition.

India’s GHI score has decreased from a 2000 GHI score of 38.8 points, considered alarming, to a 2022 GHI score of 29.1, considered serious. India’s proportion of undernourished in the population is considered to be at a medium level, and its under-five child mortality rate is considered low.

While child stunting has seen a significant decrease — from 54.2 per cent in 1998-1999 to 35.5 per cent in 2019-2021 — it is still considered very high.

Each country’s GHI score is calculated based on a formula that combines four indicators that together capture the multidimensional nature of hunger:
Undernourishment: the share of the population with insufficient caloric intake.
Child stunting: the share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
Child wasting: the share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition.
Child mortality: the share of children who die before their fifth birthday, partly reflecting the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments.

Hunger is usually understood to refer to the distress associated with a lack of sufficient calories. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines food deprivation, or undernourishment, as the habitual consumption of too few calories to provide the minimum dietary energy an individual requires to live a healthy and productive life, given that person’s sex, age, stature, and physical activity level.

Undernutrition goes beyond calories and signifies deficiencies in any or all of the following: energy, protein, and/ or essential vitamins and minerals. Undernutrition is the result of inadequate intake of food in terms of either quantity or quality, poor utilization of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination of these immediate causes. These, in turn, result from a range of underlying factors, including household food insecurity; inadequate maternal health or childcare practices; or inadequate access to health services, safe water, and sanitation.

Malnutrition refers more broadly to both undernutrition (problems caused by deficiencies) and overnutrition (problems caused by unbalanced diets that involve consuming too many calories in relation to requirements, with or without low intake of micronutrient-rich foods). Overnutrition, resulting in overweight, obesity, and noncommunicable diseases, is increasingly common throughout the world, with implications for human health, government expenditures, and food systems development. While overnutrition is an important concern, the GHI focuses specifically on issues relating to undernutrition. (IndicaNews)

India Has Potential To Attract US $475 Billion FDIS In 5 Years

A majority of MNCs believe that the Indian economy will perform significantly in the next three to five years, a report by EY-CII titled ‘Vision – Developed India: Opportunities and Expectations of MNCs” revealed. This projection is in the light of 71 per cent of multi-national companies (MNCs) considering India for global expansion. The report stated that the country has the potential to attract US$475 billion worth foreign direct investment (FDI) in the next five years with its sharp focus on reforms and economic growth.

According to reports, even as the pandemic and geopolitical conflict resulted in investor uncertainty, India has the potential to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows of $475 billion in the next five years due to the focus on reforms and economic growth, according to a report by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and EY.

The report noted that FDI in India has seen a consistent rise in the last decade, with FY 2021-22 receiving FDI inflow of $84.8 billion despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical developments on investment sentiment.

“India is seen as an emerging manufacturing hub in global value chains, as a growing consumer market and as a hub for ongoing digital transformation. In addition, in a rapidly changing geopolitical environment, India’s large and stable democracy and consistent reform measures are recognized by the MNCs (multinational company),” the report said.

The report titled ‘Vision—Developed India: Opportunities and Expectations of MNCs’, added that 71% of MNCs working in India consider the country an important destination for their global expansion. The optimism is driven by both short-term as well as long-term prospects.

“A majority of MNCs feel that the Indian economy will perform significantly better in 3-5 years backed by 96% of respondents being positive about overall India’s potential,” the report said.

Connecticut Is the 3rd Most Expensive State to Retire

If you’re planning on retiring in Connecticut, you better start saving yesterday, according to a new report.

Great schools, beautiful shoreline, classic architecture, deep woods, fabulous arts — but you better enjoy all Connecticut has to offer while you’re young. That’s the take-away from a new report that names the Nutmeg State the 3rd most expensive, and 8th worst overall, in which to retire. 

Personal finance website Bankrate ranked each state from the perspective of what matters most to a prospective retiree. The most heavily weighted category was affordability, at 40 percent, followed by well-being (20%), culture and diversity (15%), weather (15%) and crime (10%).

Of course, there’s more than a little subjectivity involved in selecting your final nesting place. Sunbelt states topped Bankrate’s list for retiree nirvana, but what if you burn easily and prefer skiing to snorkeling? And a state’s affordability drops way low for retirees if the home in which they live is already bought and paid for. But let’s all just play along…

Connecticut’s tied for 4th with Vermont in the crime category, and is ranked 8th overall for retiree “well-being,” but takes a beating in the data when it comes to affordability. The state ranks No. 48, right behind affluent enclaves Hawaii and California.

The New England winters didn’t work in Connecticut’s favor either; the state ranked No. 39 when it came to weather, a dip mitigated somewhat by its No. 14 ranking in culture and diversity.

Connecticut’s overall score of 23 tied that of Hawaii and Washington. 

The best state for retirees, according to BankRate, and your own intuition, is Florida. The Sunshine State not only scored high for its weather (No. 5), but was ranked first in culture and diversity, and 18th in affordability.

86% Of Global CEOs Expect Recession In 2023: KPMG Survey

Top global CEOs expect the recession to be mild and shorter, according to a survey by KPMG. As per KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook, 86 per cent of CEOs surveyed believe a recession over the next 12 months will happen, but 58 per cent feel it will be mild. The risk of recession has risen in the last few months as central banks across the world are hiking interest rates to contain super-hot inflation caused by a combination of factors such as the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   

A survey of more than 1,300 chief executive officers (CEOs) at the world’s largest businesses reveals that over the next year, 86% of these global leaders anticipate a recession to hit.

However, 58% of these leaders expect the recession to be mild and short. Fourteen percent of senior executives identify a recession among the most pressing concerns today — up slightly from early 2022 (9%), while pandemic fatigue tops the list (15%), said the survey — the KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook.

These leaders were asked about their strategies and outlook during the survey. Over the next year, more than 8 out of 10 (86%) global CEOs anticipate a recession to hit, with 71% predicting it will impact company earnings by up to 10 per cent, said the survey.

Most of the top executives are of the opinion that the recession will make the post-pandemic recovery difficult. As per the survey, 73 per cent of CEOs believe the recession will upend anticipated growth over the next three years, and 75 per cent also believe a recession will make post-pandemic recovery harder. 

“71 percent of CEOs predict a recession will impact company earnings by up to 10 per cent over the next 12 months,” the survey stated.

A strong majority of senior executives believe that a recession will disrupt anticipated growth (73%). However, three-quarters (76%) have already taken precautionary steps ahead of a looming recession, it added.

Despite those concerns, senior executives also feel markedly more confident about the resilience of the economy over the next six months (73%) than they did in February (60 per cent), when KPMG surveyed 500 CEOs for its CEO Outlook Pulse survey.

Further, 71% of leaders are confident about the global economy’s growth prospects over the next three years (up from 60% in early 2022) and nearly 9 in 10 (85%) are confident about their organization’s growth over the next three years.

“Tested by enormous challenges in quick succession — a global pandemic, inflationary pressures and geopolitical tensions — it’s encouraging that CEOs, surveyed in our 2022 CEO Outlook, were confident in their companies’ resilience and relatively optimistic in their own growth prospects,” said Bill Thomas, global chairman and CEO, KPMG.

US In Record $31 Trillion Debt

(AP) — The nation’s gross national debt has surpassed $31 trillion, according to a U.S. Treasury report released Tuesday that logs America’s daily finances.

Edging closer to the statutory ceiling of roughly $31.4 trillion — an artificial cap Congress placed on the U.S. government’s ability to borrow — the debt numbers hit an already tenuous economy facing high inflation, rising interest rates and a strong U.S. dollar.

And while President Joe Biden has touted his administration’s deficit reduction efforts this year and recently signed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which attempts to tame 40-year high price increases caused by a variety of economic factors, economists say the latest debt numbers are a cause for concern.

Owen Zidar, a Princeton economist, said rising interest rates will exacerbate the nation’s growing debt issues and make the debt itself more costly. The Federal Reserve has raised rates several times this year in an effort to combat inflation.

Zidar said the debt “should encourage us to consider some tax policies that almost passed through the legislative process but didn’t get enough support,” like imposing higher taxes on the wealthy and closing the carried interest loophole, which allows money managers to treat their income as capital gains.

“I think the point here is if you weren’t worried before about the debt before, you should be — and if you were worried before, you should be even more worried,” Zidar said.

The Congressional Budget Office earlier this year released a report on America’s debt load, warning in its 30-year outlook that, if unaddressed, the debt will soon spiral upward to new highs that could ultimately imperil the U.S. economy.

In its August Mid-Session Review, the administration forecasted that this year’s budget deficit will be nearly $400 billion lower than it estimated back in March, due in part to stronger than expected revenues, reduced spending, and an economy that has recovered all the jobs lost during the multi-year pandemic.

In full, this year’s deficit will decline by $1.7 trillion, representing the single largest decline in the federal deficit in American history, the Office of Management and Budget said in August.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said in an emailed statement Tuesday, “This is a new record no one should be proud of.”

“In the past 18 months, we’ve witnessed inflation rise to a 40-year high, interest rates climbing in part to combat this inflation, and several budget-busting pieces of legislation and executive actions,” MacGuineas said. “We are addicted to debt.”

A representative from the Treasury Department was not immediately available for comment.

Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University, said “it took this nation 200 years to pile up its first trillion dollars in national debt, and since the pandemic we have been adding at the rate of 1 trillion nearly every quarter.”

Predicting high inflation for the “foreseeable future,” he said, “when you increase government spending and money supply, you will pay the price later.”

Rupee Plunges To All-Time Low Against Dollar

The Indian Rupee pared most of its initial losses and settled 4 paise lower at a fresh lifetime low of ₹82.34 (provisional) against the U.S. dollar on Monday, October 10, 2022, weighed down by as risk-averse sentiment among investors.

Indian rupee on Friday last week fell sharply to its all-time low of 82.33 against the dollar owing to a rise in US bond yields and firming up of crude oil prices. Rupee had closed at 81.89 on Thursday.

It was trading at 82.30 against the dollar in the morning after opening at 82.19 a dollar. Later, it touched an all-time low of 82.33 against the dollar.

The all-time low plunge in the rupee has come a day after the World Bank had on Thursday cut India’s growth forecast for this financial year by a full percentage point amid rising inflation and adverse geo-political conditions. (IANS)

The US dollar has surged this year. The world’s largest wealth manager explains why that dizzying rally isn’t done yet.

Meanwhile market watchers say, the surging US dollar has yet to peak. That’s according to UBS, which thinks the Federal Reserve is unlikely to start cutting interest rates any time soon, keeping the dollar rising against rival currencies globally. 

The greenback has already flown up 16.7% this year, bolstered by Fed rate hikes and weaknesses among major counterparts. But hopes of a pivot in the Fed’s policy pumped the brakes on its rise recently, with the US dollar index, which measures the buck against a basket of six currencies, retreating on the speculation fueled by a fall in US job openings and a lower-than-expected rate increase in Australia.

However, UBS’s analysts, led by CIO Mark Haefele, said in a note to clients this week that it’s too early to call a peak in both Fed hawkishness and the US dollar. 

“The number of job openings in the US remains much higher than those unemployed, while the latest core personal consumption expenditure price index showed that inflation is still elevated,” the note read. 

“Fed officials including Chair Jerome Powell have stressed that the central bank’s job is not yet done.” 

Against a backdrop of global uncertainty amid the war in Ukraine, the pressure weighing on the euro is likely to prop up the dollar in the near future, UBS says. 

Multinationals See India As Global Manufacturing Base: CITI Investment Bank Boss

After the consumer banking exit, Citigroup which is focused on servicing large local corporates, multinationals, financial institutions, emerging and mid-sized corporate clients in India says that multinationals are starting to see India as a global manufacturing base, which will positively impact small- and mid-sized businesses.

In an exclusive interview to ANI, Citigroup’s Global Co-Head of Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory, Manolo Falco said that there is tremendous opportunity to support India’s capital and advisory needs.

Here is the transcript of an email interview of Manolo Falco to ANI:

Q: India is the 5th largest economy of the world. What does it mean to you? What reforms/measures pushed India to make in top 5 economies?
Falco: Fiscal prudence and discipline, development of physical infrastructure, ease of doing business, thriving start-up ecosystem, and the build out of India’s digital and financial infrastructure (UPI is recognized as amongst the best in the world), underpin the country’s growth. Recent Government policies on logistics, hydrogen, spectrum, EV, will support further growth, self-reliance, and efficiency. Multinationals are starting to see India as a global manufacturing base, which will positively impact small- and mid-sized businesses. For us at Citi, there is tremendous opportunity to support India’s capital and advisory needs. What I hear from our clients is that they want to grow more. What I hear from investors is they want to find meaningful opportunities to take part in.

Q: What are your plans for India after the consumer banking exit?
Falco: Citi will be focused on servicing large local corporates, multinationals, financial institutions, and emerging and mid-sized corporate clients. Through our universal banking proposition, we help clients with long-term financing, our global footprint, cash management, and protection against rate increases and volatility. We will double down on this strategy. I believe banking models such as what we’ve created will be extremely valuable in helping clients navigate through the uncertainty we see in today’s world. In India, within my business, we have advised clients on episodic business, including capital raising and M&A, worth ~$500 billion over two decades. We will continue to capitalize on our deep global relationships. There is also opportunity to support capital needs of mid and emerging corporates, who bank with our commercial banking business. Our investment bankers will be tasked with identifying these leaders of the future. Our focus and business strategy meant we were on every tech IPO last year.

Q: Indian stock markets are facing the heat of a higher interest rate environment globally. What is your medium-to-long term view on the Indian stock market?
Falco: While I don’t expect recovery too soon given the high interest rate environment, inflation, and volatility in commodities, we may be closer to a recovery given the work by central banks. India would be at the forefront of that as the economy is performing well. So we expect markets to do well, on a relative basis. Over the last two years, including 2022YTD which was a tough year, India will be a relative outperformer, up 22% 2021-2022 YTD and -2% 2022 YTD. India trades at a very healthy premium to its global EM peers. The country has witnessed high interest rates in the not-so-distant past and yet finds opportunities for continual growth. Recent green shoots and the revival of foreign inflows have resulted in a pickup in secondary market deal activity, albeit in narrow execution windows.


Q: What is your view on India’s Primary market. When do you see a revival?
Falco: India has a strong Primary Market and ranks amongst top 5-7 in capital formation globally across years. India’s primary capital markets positioning was further strengthened as it hosted multiple jumbo, $1 billion+ IPOs in the tech space, allowing India’s tech champions to list in their home market, rather than other large financial markets. India’s primary markets attract best-in-class global investors and Sovereign Wealth Funds; in addition, there is a captive pool of domestic capital. We are bullish the ability of India’s primary markets to finance its long-term equity story. Even short term, India did not close its door to primary capital activity. In a tough year, there was the completion of LIC’s jumbo IPO and the second-largest tech IPO for Delhivery. August and September were very active months in the block and follow-on market, raising over $3 billion. Away from India, Citi, as a JGC, recently concluded the Euro 9.4bn IPO for Porsche, which is the second-largest IPO this year. The success of the IPO speaks to our global distribution, which is also available to our Indian clients.


Q: Given the global turmoil, like Ukraine-Russia war, Inflation in US-UK and European countries, what kind of capital demand within India can we anticipate?
Falco: India Inc. has raised a total of $20 billion and $13 billion in the private and listed equity capital markets spaces respectively so far this year. There is a healthy bid for the market though it is very price elastic – so pricing, not volume, has meant the cost of capital has fundamentally changed, which is an ongoing issue in the market. Given the continued tension in IPO markets and narrow windows in secondaries, listed equities could see $5-6 billion in activity through the last three months of 2022. The private markets remain relatively insulated and can see another $6-7 billion worth of volumes over the same time frame. We believe issuance activity should slowly recover as issuers and investors adjust to the new normal.
In terms of debt capital, we expect strong demand from Indian issuers in next 12-18 months, which is expected to result in sizeable debt issuance in 2023. Given the Indian growth story, investor interest remains high for Indian issuances. For Citi, India remains one of the most important Asia Pacific markets with huge interest from global investors.


Q: With MNCs looking at a China + 1 strategy, what are the investment opportunities in India for them? Are inbound M&As an opportunity?
Falco: India is a huge opportunity – it is a sizeable economy with huge growth potential as well as diverse opportunities and a Government who is really focused on the right solutions for the country. I see huge potential in India for continued high growth and the country represents a massive opportunity for both local and international clients. I expect inbound investments in Infrastructure to bring efficient long-term capital. I think we need to be more aggressive in bringing opportunities to local companies, such as in clean energy, chemicals, renewables, technology and services. My focus will be to ensure we have talented global bankers with deep sector knowledge to help clients navigate the India opportunity. (

UAE To Attract Skilled Professionals With New Visa Rules

The United Arab Emirates has rolled out new visa rules, with the objective of attracting more skilled professionals to the country, as it seeks to bounce back from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and generate economic growth. Included among the changes are longer 60-day tourist visas allowing long-term residency for professional workers and easier access to the UAE’s 10-year Golden Visa scheme. The latter refers to visas that are offered to gifted students, exceptionally skilled foreign workers, and people with public investments of at least 10 million dirhams (about $2.7m) who can live in the country without the need for a national sponsor, subject to renewal every 10 years.

The United Arab Emirates has rolled out new visa rules, with the objective of attracting more skilled professionals to the country, as it seeks to bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and generate economic growth.

The visa rules are aimed at “improving the quality of life and making the experience of living, working and investing in the UAE a pleasant and happy one,” local outlet Gulf News reported Major General Sultan Yusef al-Nuaimi, the director general of residency and foreigners affairs, as saying.

The schemes were rolled out on Monday, and have been described by local media as the biggest shake-up in the country’s immigration and residency policy in years.

Included among the changes are longer 60-day tourist visas allowing long-term residency for professional workers and easier access to the UAE’s 10-year Golden Visa scheme.

The latter refers to visas that are offered to gifted students, exceptionally skilled foreign workers, and people with public investments of at least 10 million dirhams (about $2.7m) who can live in the country without the need for a national sponsor, subject to renewal every 10 years. Additionally, the recipients, who can either apply online or be nominated by Emirati government bodies, can own 100 percent of their businesses located on the mainland.

Under the new rules, parents are now allowed to sponsor their children until they are 25 years old, up from the previous age of 18.

A five-year, flexible multi-entry tourist visa was also introduced that allows travellers to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days in a row.

Furthermore, the job exploration visa, which allows professionals to find employment within the country, does not require an Emirati sponsor or host.

Candidates for the Green Visa – which include freelancers, self-employed people, skilled workers and investors – can now sponsor themselves without having to rely on a UAE national or employer to do so. They can also sponsor first-degree relatives for the duration of their residency, and are allowed a grace period of up to six months if their residence permit is cancelled or expires.

S&P 500 Down 20% This Year, Retirement Savings Sink Impacting Millions

Despite stock market gains in the last couple of days, some investors are clearly tired of seeing losses in their retirement accounts this year. New data from Alight Solutions shows last month the vast majority of daily trades in 401(k) plans went from equities to fixed income.

“Almost every time Wall Street has a major dip, we see people taking their money out of stocks and moving it into bonds,” said Rob Austin, head of research for Alight Solutions, which measures the daily trading activity of more than 2 million 401(k) investors, with about $200 billion in assets.

Austin noted the movement was more pronounced in September than in August and July. “It was not surprising that it coincided at the time that the market fell,” he said.

Investors are seeking safety

Investors sought safety mostly in stable value funds, with 80% of traded assets put there in September, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index. Money market funds garnered 15% of inflows, while bond funds got about 2% of assets.

Meanwhile, 50% of money that was traded came out target date funds, which are designed to invest more conservatively as you get older. And more than a third of outflows came out of large-cap U.S. equity and mid-cap U.S. equity funds.

Many stick with a 60/40 stocks, bonds split

The traditional portfolio of 60% stocks and 40% bonds has lost about 20% of its value year to date, but most investment advisors recommend sticking with a balanced strategy. With bond yields improving, that mix looks better than it has in years, some say.

Financial advisors also caution against switching strategies when the markets are in turmoil. Trying to time the market can mean investors lock in losses and miss out on the upside.

“If you wake up in the morning and decide to cash out and capture losses, it’s either too late or a bad decision,” said certified financial planner Jon Ulin with Ulin & Co. Wealth Management in Boca Raton, Florida. “Cash does not provide much in the way of a dividend and will not help to make up for 8% losses to inflation over time in as much as a diversified portfolio.” 

The 60/40 split can be a good starting point for moderate-risk investors who don’t need to pull the money for 10 years or more.  Some advisors say what we saw this year with stocks and bonds both declining at the same time could be an anomaly.

“Provided that inflation is under control, we expect that bonds will revert to their historical role of both a safe asset and one that provides relatively safe income,” said Arthur J.W. Ebersole of Ebersole Financial in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts.

Cash is an option for the risk averse

For investors who really can’t stomach the risk, cash may not be a bad placeholder for now. But the risk adverse should know it is difficult to generate the returns they will need to retire with a 3% return.  

“It’s really easy for my teammates [and I], or our industry, to say, ‘Well, don’t worry, just take the long-term approach and everything over the long-term will be fine,’” said Jason Ray, CEO of Zenith Wealth Partners in Philadelphia.

Ray suggests investors break down their portfolios to see the returns in different asset classes. He recommends adding dividend-paying stocks as a value play and suggests younger investors with a longer time horizon add alternative investments, including investing in early stage startup companies and real estate.  (

UN Warns Of A Global Recession

By, Tobias Burns 

The United Nations warned of a global recession Monday amid efforts by regulators in the world’s most advanced economies — like the U.S. and Europe — to stanch sky-high inflation.  

The international body called on central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve “to revert course and avoid the temptation to try to bring down prices by relying on ever higher interest rates.” 

The Fed is raising interest rates to try and slow the economy and bring down inflation, which is near 40-year-highs following global economic shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, rates have increased from around 0 percent to between 3 and 3.25 percent. 

But a growing number of voices, now including a major U.N. economic body, are calling for an about-face from monetary authorities. They argue that lower inflation targets are not worth the pain of continuing hikes in interest rates, which are projected to hit 4.6 percent next year, according to a median estimate from the Fed. 

The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) urged central banks in a report released Monday to change course, describing any upcoming recessions as “policy-induced” and a matter of “political will.” 

“The real problem facing policy makers is not an inflation crisis caused by too much money chasing too few goods, but a distributional crisis with too many firms paying too high dividends, too many people struggling from paycheck to paycheck and too many governments surviving from bond payment to bond payment,” Richard Kozul-Wright, director of UNCTAD’s globalization division, said in a statement. 

Monday’s UNCTAD report disparaged comparisons to the last period of high inflation in the global economy, saying that today’s economic conditions are inherently different from those in the 1970s and that drawing parallels between them was tantamount to “sifting through the economic entrails of a bygone era.” 

Specifically, the report said that wage-price spirals, whereby higher wages lead to higher prices and vice versa, are not a relevant force in today’s global price dynamics. 

“Despite the absence of the wage-price spirals that characterized [the 1970s], policymakers appear to be hoping that a short sharp monetary shock – along the lines, if not of the same magnitude, as that pursued by the United States Federal Reserve (the Fed) under Paul Vol[c]ker – will be sufficient to anchor inflationary expectations without triggering recession,” the UNCTAD report said.  

“Sifting through the economic entrails of a bygone era is unlikely, however, to provide the forward guidance needed for a softer landing given the deep structural and behavioral changes that have taken place in many economies, particularly those related to financialization, market concentration and labor’s bargaining power,” the report said. 

Some U.S. commentators have made similar observations, downplaying the wage-price spirals that drove inflation 40 years ago and emphasizing the globalized nature of today’s economy. 

“There’s a huge Greek chorus out there that believes that inflation could result in a wage-price spiral,” Westwood Capital managing partner Dan Alpert said in an interview. “But that ignores the supply side and ignores the enormous differences between the supply picture in the 1970s, when we did have a wage-price spiral, and today. Today we have an enormous volume of exogenous supply and goods — goods that are coming from all over the world.” 

The Fed has acknowledged that mutual reinforcement of higher wages and higher prices is not at play in the domestic economy, noting in the minutes of its July meeting “the apparent absence of a wage-price spiral.” 

But Fed chair Jerome Powell has often linked the two concepts in speeches and public statements. During a September press conference, he said that members of the Fed’s interest rate-setting committee “expect supply and demand conditions in the labor market to come into better balance over time, easing the upward pressure on wages and prices.” 

Asked how long Americans should be prepared to feel economic pain resulting from interest rate hikes, Powell responded, “How long? I mean it really depends on how long it takes for wages and more than that, prices, to come down for inflation to come down.” 

More broadly, Powell has argued that the pain of recession and economic slowdown is the lesser of two evils, the greater being consistently higher prices for U.S. consumers. 

“While higher interest rates, slower growth, and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses. These are the unfortunate costs of reducing inflation. But a failure to restore price stability would mean far greater pain,” Powell said in August. 

Republicans have taken a hawkish stance against inflation, arguing that wage-price spirals are still a risk for the U.S. economy as it faces recession. 

“Certainly we have a pretty dangerous wage-price spiral. No country wants to be in it, and we’re deeply in it. We have stagflation, just the traditional definition of it,” House Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said on the CNBC television network on Monday. 

“What worries me is I’m not sure the Fed knows what the unemployment rate needs to be to decelerate inflation. Therefore, I don’t think they know what the economic growth should be slowed to achieve that. I’m just worried that they’re winging it here,” he said. 

Despite differences on the risk posed by inflation, some Republicans and U.N. economists agree that the previous period of extra-loose monetary policy over the last decade was excessive. 

“We had a real easy money policy for too long and asset prices got inflated, got a little overdone, and now as we’re normalizing interest rates, it’s going to tend to take some of the wind out,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said in an interview. 

U.N. economists said much of the same thing in a statement released with Monday’s report. 

“In a decade of ultra-low interest rates, central banks consistently fell short of inflation targets and failed to generate healthier economic growth,” UNCTAD wrote. (UN warns of a global recession as countries race to lower inflation  | The Hill)

Elon Musk Likely To Strike Deal For $54.20 Per Share To Acquire Twitter

Musk and Twitter are reported to have agreed to enter the courtroom this month, with Twitter seeking an order directing Musk to close the deal at $54.20 per share.

Elon Musk is proposing to buy Twitter Inc. for the original offer price of $54.20 a share, potentially avoiding a courtroom fight over one of the most contentious acquisitions in recent history. Musk made the proposal in a letter to Twitter, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information. Shares in Twitter climbed as much as 18% on the news, and is now halted. Representatives for Musk and for San Francisco-based Twitter didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Musk’s proposal to match the original deal terms means Twitter is facing a future under the leadership of a mercurial billionaire who has spent months publicly criticizing its management and questioning its value. It also means that his claims — about how many of Twitter’s users are bots, for instance — are not likely to be scrutinized in a courtroom.

Musk had been trying for months to back out of his contract to acquire Twitter, signed in April. Musk began showing signs of buyer’s remorse shortly after the deal was announced, alleging that Twitter had misled him about the size of its user base and the prevalence of automated accounts known as bots.

Musk formally quit the accord in July and Twitter sued him in Delaware Chancery Court to force him to go forward with the purchase. A trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 17. In the weeks-long run-up to that showdown, lawyers for both sides have fired cannonades of subpoenas at each other aimed at teasing out testimony and evidence.

Musk’s side needed to demonstrate that Twitter violated the terms of the deal. Twitter alleged that Musk used the bots issue as a pretext for backing out a deal he no longer found economically sound.

Musk’s legal team was getting the sense that the case was not going well, as Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick sided repeatedly with Twitter in pre-trial rulings, according to one person familiar. Even with the late emergence of a Twitter whistleblower who alleged executives weren’t forthcoming on security and bot issues, there were concerns Musk’s side would not be able to prove a material adverse effect, the legal standard required to exit the contract.

Twitter shareholders voted Sept. 13 to accept the buyout offer as Musk submitted it. The company said at the time that 98.6% of the votes cast were in favor of the deal. Musk, Twitter’s largest shareholder, didn’t vote at all, according to two people familiar with his decision. Musk owned almost 10% of Twitter — more than 73 million shares — when he agreed to acquire the company.

Musk was scheduled to answer questions about the deal in Austin, Texas on Oct. 6-7, according to a court filing Tuesday. Twitter Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal was scheduled to sit down for his deposition Monday.

Pound Plunges Against Dollar

By, Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka

UK markets were in focus as the pound crashed to an all-time low and bond yields surged to the highest in more than a decade, sparking talk of emergency action by the Bank of England on Monday, September 26th. The market mayhem unleashed by the government’s fiscal plan on Friday went into overdrive after the government pledged further tax cuts.

The Bank of England sought to reassure financial markets after the British pound touched an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, but its entreaty fell flat for investors concerned about a sweeping package of tax cuts that further jolted a faltering economy that the government’s plan was meant to prop up.

The central bank said it was “closely monitoring” the markets and would not hesitate to boost interest rates to curb inflation. Its statement came after the pound plunged as low as $1.0373, the lowest since the decimalization of the currency in 1971, on concerns that tax cuts announced Friday by Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng would swell government debt and fuel further inflation as the United Kingdom teeters toward recession.

The bank, which raised rates Thursday, said it would fully assess the government’s tax and spending commitments before it meets next in November and “will not hesitate to change interest rates by as much as needed to return inflation to the 2% target sustainably in the medium term.”

Also Monday, the U.K. Treasury said it would set out a medium-term fiscal plan on Nov. 23, alongside an economic forecast by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

The statements did little to ease misgivings about the government’s economic policies, with the pound dropping from $1.0857 to $1.0664 after they were issued. The pound had rallied from the record low earlier in the day on expectations that the central bank might take action to stabilize the currency.

The weakening pound piles pressure on the new Conservative government, which has gambled that it can slash taxes to spur economic growth while at the same time borrowing billions of pounds to help consumers and businesses struggling with soaring energy costs. Many economists say it’s more likely to fuel already high inflation, push down the pound and drive up the cost of U.K. government borrowing — a potential perfect storm of economic headwinds.

Kwarteng has been criticized for failing to release any independent analysis of the plans when he announced the U.K.’s biggest tax cuts in 50 years.

The government plans to cut 45 billion pounds ($49 billion) in taxes at the same time as it spends more than 60 billion pounds to cap energy prices that are driving a cost-of-living crisis.

Kwarteng and Prime Minister Liz Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson as prime minister on Sept. 6, are betting that lower taxes and reduced bureaucracy eventually will generate enough additional tax revenue to cover government spending. Economists suggest it is unlikely the gamble will pay off.

Opposition Labour Party economy spokeswoman Rachel Reeves accused the government of “a return to trickle-down economics, an idea that has been tried, has been tested and has failed.”

“They are not gambling with their money — they are gambling with yours,” she told an audience at the party’s annual conference Monday.

The new and untested Truss also faces pressure from a nervous Conservative Party, which faces an election within two years.

Some Conservatives have welcomed the tax-cutting moves as a return to free-market values after years of state intervention in the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. But others worry it is unconservative for the government to rack up huge debts that taxpayers will eventually have to pay.

Monday’s turbulence follows a 3% fall in the pound Friday, the biggest one-day drop against the U.S. dollar since Johnson announced Britain’s first COVID-19 lockdown on March 18, 2020. Before that, the pound lost more than 10% of its value immediately after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 before rebounding.

The sense of a government losing control led some to compare current events with Sept. 16, 1992 — “Black Wednesday” — when a collapsing pound against the backdrop of high inflation forced the U.K. to crash out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which was meant to stabilize exchange rates. It took the U.K. years to recover from the economic shock.

Kwarteng insisted the government was acting responsibly — and said there were more tax cuts to come.

“We’ve only been here 19 days. I want to see, over the next year, people retain more of their income because I believe that it is the British people that are going to drive this economy,” he told the BBC.

As it is cutting taxes, the government plans to cap electricity and natural gas prices for homes and businesses to help cushion price rises that have been triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine and have sent inflation to a near 40-year high of 9.9%.

This program will cost 60 billion pounds, and the government will borrow to finance it, Kwarteng said Friday.

He said Sunday that it was the right policy because the government needed to help consumers squeezed by the unprecedented pressures caused by the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.

Britain can afford the cost because its debt as a percentage of gross domestic product is the second lowest among the Group of Seven large industrial economies, Kwarteng said. He said the government would announce a “medium-term fiscal plan” for reducing the nation’s debt in the coming months.

Rupee Nosedives As Dollar Continues To Gain

A hattrick of record low: The rupee plunged 54 paise to provisionally close at a new all-time low of 81.63 against the US dollar on Monday. It had ended at its lowest ever on both Thursday and Friday, making Monday’s deeper plunge the third successive record low levels in three sessions.

There’s panic: It has been created by the dollar index, which has witnessed strong buying as a strong hedge against interest rate hikes and inflation cycle. The downtrend may continue for the rupee until positive triggers are not witnessed from the inflation forefront, experts feel.

The main story: The dollar has become profitable as the US Fed is hiking rates to tame inflationary trends in its market. The dollar rally reflects the ‘flight-to-safety’ approach by investors. As a result the Asian markets have become riskier and are experiencing crisis-level stress again. Two most significant Asian currencies — the yen and the yuan — have been falling under the dollar’s assault. The US is hawkish, the Asians are dovish.

RBI has a job to do: Its monetary policy committee (MPC) is meeting this week and is expected to hike rates by 50 basis points. Market experts feel this could provide some respite to the rupee but it still may lie in the 80.50-81.50 range.

Pressure on forex: RBI has been holding the rupee for quite some time through rate hikes and by selling dollars from its foreign exchange reserves. But this meant that India’s foreign exchange reserves fell below $550 billion for the first time in nearly two years last week, which marked the seventh successive week of forex decline.

And shares? The 30-share BSE index tanked 953.70 points to settle at 57,145, recovering after plummeting 1,061 points during the day. The NSE Nifty fell 311.05 points to close at 17,016. In the last four sessions, the Sensex has lost about 2,575 points and the market capitalisation of the BSE-listed companies reduced by over Rs 13.3 lakh crore.  (Times Of India)

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan To Cost $400 Billion

President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers will cost the government about $400 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate released Monday.

The CBO’s evaluation of the administration’s policy said the price tag is “a result of the action canceling up to $10,000 of debt issued on or before June 30, 2022.”

The estimate applies to the plan Biden announced last month to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 and $20,000 for borrowers who received Pell Grants.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said 43 million borrowers shared $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt as of June 30. Under Biden’s plan, about $430 billion of that debt will be wiped out, the reporting shows.

The CBO also estimated the costs for the Biden administration’s recent renewal of the moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest accrual, which had been set to lapse at the end of August. The extension, which punts the deadline to the end of the year, was projected to cost $20 billion in the new report. 

As of the end of June, 43 million borrowers held $1.6 trillion in federal student loans and about $430 billion of that debt will be canceled, the CBO estimated. The White House, borrowing language from the CBO analysis, responded by focusing on the agency’s own assessment that its $400 billion estimate was “highly uncertain.”

“CBO called its own estimate ‘highly uncertain.’ We agree,'” the White House said in a memo. “By law, the federal budget computes the complete cost of student loan relief over the lifetime of the loans, and then records that cost in the year the loans are modified,” the memo continued. “But that’s not how this program will affect the bottom line in reality. The cost to the government is not the long-term score, but rather, the annual lost receipts.”

Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan To Cost $400 Billion

President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers will cost the government about $400 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate released Monday.

The CBO’s evaluation of the administration’s policy said the price tag is “a result of the action canceling up to $10,000 of debt issued on or before June 30, 2022.”

The estimate applies to the plan Biden announced last month to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 and $20,000 for borrowers who received Pell Grants.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said 43 million borrowers shared $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt as of June 30. Under Biden’s plan, about $430 billion of that debt will be wiped out, the reporting shows.

The CBO also estimated the costs for the Biden administration’s recent renewal of the moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest accrual, which had been set to lapse at the end of August. The extension, which punts the deadline to the end of the year, was projected to cost $20 billion in the new report.

As of the end of June, 43 million borrowers held $1.6 trillion in federal student loans and about $430 billion of that debt will be canceled, the CBO estimated. The White House, borrowing language from the CBO analysis, responded by focusing on the agency’s own assessment that its $400 billion estimate was “highly uncertain.”

“CBO called its own estimate ‘highly uncertain.’ We agree,'” the White House said in a memo. “By law, the federal budget computes the complete cost of student loan relief over the lifetime of the loans, and then records that cost in the year the loans are modified,” the memo continued. “But that’s not how this program will affect the bottom line in reality. The cost to the government is not the long-term score, but rather, the annual lost receipts.”

Rupee Nosedives As Dollar Continues To Gain

A hattrick of record low: The rupee plunged 54 paise to provisionally close at a new all-time low of 81.63 against the US dollar on Monday. It had ended at its lowest ever on both Thursday and Friday, making Monday’s deeper plunge the third successive record low levels in three sessions.

There’s panic: It has been created by the dollar index, which has witnessed strong buying as a strong hedge against interest rate hikes and inflation cycle. The downtrend may continue for the rupee until positive triggers are not witnessed from the inflation forefront, experts feel.

The main story: The dollar has become profitable as the US Fed is hiking rates to tame inflationary trends in its market. The dollar rally reflects the ‘flight-to-safety’ approach by investors. As a result the Asian markets have become riskier and are experiencing crisis-level stress again. Two most significant Asian currencies — the yen and the yuan — have been falling under the dollar’s assault. The US is hawkish, the Asians are dovish.

RBI has a job to do: Its monetary policy committee (MPC) is meeting this week and is expected to hike rates by 50 basis points. Market experts feel this could provide some respite to the rupee but it still may lie in the 80.50-81.50 range.

Pressure on forex: RBI has been holding the rupee for quite some time through rate hikes and by selling dollars from its foreign exchange reserves. But this meant that India’s foreign exchange reserves fell below $550 billion for the first time in nearly two years last week, which marked the seventh successive week of forex decline.

And shares? The 30-share BSE index tanked 953.70 points to settle at 57,145, recovering after plummeting 1,061 points during the day. The NSE Nifty fell 311.05 points to close at 17,016. In the last four sessions, the Sensex has lost about 2,575 points and the market capitalisation of the BSE-listed companies reduced by over Rs 13.3 lakh crore.  (Times Of India)

Pound Plunges Against Dollar

UK markets were in focus as the pound crashed to an all-time low and bond yields surged to the highest in more than a decade, sparking talk of emergency action by the Bank of England on Monday, September 26th. The market mayhem unleashed by the government’s fiscal plan on Friday went into overdrive after the government pledged further tax cuts.

The Bank of England sought to reassure financial markets after the British pound touched an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, but its entreaty fell flat for investors concerned about a sweeping package of tax cuts that further jolted a faltering economy that the government’s plan was meant to prop up.

The central bank said it was “closely monitoring” the markets and would not hesitate to boost interest rates to curb inflation. Its statement came after the pound plunged as low as $1.0373, the lowest since the decimalization of the currency in 1971, on concerns that tax cuts announced Friday by Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng would swell government debt and fuel further inflation as the United Kingdom teeters toward recession.

The bank, which raised rates Thursday, said it would fully assess the government’s tax and spending commitments before it meets next in November and “will not hesitate to change interest rates by as much as needed to return inflation to the 2% target sustainably in the medium term.”

Also Monday, the U.K. Treasury said it would set out a medium-term fiscal plan on Nov. 23, alongside an economic forecast by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

The statements did little to ease misgivings about the government’s economic policies, with the pound dropping from $1.0857 to $1.0664 after they were issued. The pound had rallied from the record low earlier in the day on expectations that the central bank might take action to stabilize the currency.

The weakening pound piles pressure on the new Conservative government, which has gambled that it can slash taxes to spur economic growth while at the same time borrowing billions of pounds to help consumers and businesses struggling with soaring energy costs. Many economists say it’s more likely to fuel already high inflation, push down the pound and drive up the cost of U.K. government borrowing — a potential perfect storm of economic headwinds.

Kwarteng has been criticized for failing to release any independent analysis of the plans when he announced the U.K.’s biggest tax cuts in 50 years.

The government plans to cut 45 billion pounds ($49 billion) in taxes at the same time as it spends more than 60 billion pounds to cap energy prices that are driving a cost-of-living crisis.

Kwarteng and Prime Minister Liz Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson as prime minister on Sept. 6, are betting that lower taxes and reduced bureaucracy eventually will generate enough additional tax revenue to cover government spending. Economists suggest it is unlikely the gamble will pay off.

Opposition Labour Party economy spokeswoman Rachel Reeves accused the government of “a return to trickle-down economics, an idea that has been tried, has been tested and has failed.”

“They are not gambling with their money — they are gambling with yours,” she told an audience at the party’s annual conference Monday.

The new and untested Truss also faces pressure from a nervous Conservative Party, which faces an election within two years.

Some Conservatives have welcomed the tax-cutting moves as a return to free-market values after years of state intervention in the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. But others worry it is unconservative for the government to rack up huge debts that taxpayers will eventually have to pay.

Monday’s turbulence follows a 3% fall in the pound Friday, the biggest one-day drop against the U.S. dollar since Johnson announced Britain’s first COVID-19 lockdown on March 18, 2020. Before that, the pound lost more than 10% of its value immediately after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 before rebounding.

The sense of a government losing control led some to compare current events with Sept. 16, 1992 — “Black Wednesday” — when a collapsing pound against the backdrop of high inflation forced the U.K. to crash out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which was meant to stabilize exchange rates. It took the U.K. years to recover from the economic shock.

Kwarteng insisted the government was acting responsibly — and said there were more tax cuts to come.

“We’ve only been here 19 days. I want to see, over the next year, people retain more of their income because I believe that it is the British people that are going to drive this economy,” he told the BBC.

As it is cutting taxes, the government plans to cap electricity and natural gas prices for homes and businesses to help cushion price rises that have been triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine and have sent inflation to a near 40-year high of 9.9%.

This program will cost 60 billion pounds, and the government will borrow to finance it, Kwarteng said Friday.

He said Sunday that it was the right policy because the government needed to help consumers squeezed by the unprecedented pressures caused by the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.

Britain can afford the cost because its debt as a percentage of gross domestic product is the second lowest among the Group of Seven large industrial economies, Kwarteng said. He said the government would announce a “medium-term fiscal plan” for reducing the nation’s debt in the coming months.

People Are Trying To Flee The Empire State For Warmer Destinations. Here’s Why.

New York has lost more residents than any other state, a new report by moveBuddha, a company that calculates moving cost, said.  New York, maybe the people don’t quite love you anymore.

According to a new report by moveBuddha, a site where people can calculate their moving costs, New York lost more residents than any other state between April 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.

Over that period, the state lost 319,020 people. New York state’s population as of 2020 was 20.2 million, according to the Census Bureau.

The report also used data collected from users looking for moving options on moveBuddha’s website between January 1, 2022 and August 5, 2022.  There were around 282,000 queries during this period.

New York is the fourth most-searched state to move out of this year, the company added. That’s behind New Jersey, California, and Illinois.

People are leaving for reasons that include unemployment or underemployment, skyrocketing rents, high cost of living, and high taxes, as compared to other states, moveBuddha said in the study.

People also appear to be leaving the Empire State for warmer pastures. New York to Los Angeles was the most popular search on moveBuddha. About 20% of New Yorkers looking to move were planning to head to Florida, followed by California, and Texas.

Of course, some parts of New York City are still hot. Rising rents and increasing pressure for workers to be in the office is driving demand for apartments in the city.

There’s also evidence that some people who left New York City earlier in the pandemic are coming back. And some are ready to spend on real estate. ‘Out of towners’ returning to New York (many of whom are actually returning former residents) have an average maximum housing budget of $1.3 million, while locals have budgeted an average maximum of $998, 011 for a home purchase, a recent Redfin report found.

But moveBuddha says that neighborhoods in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn all have more folks looking to leave, rather than move in, this year.

The report also found that four of the top 10 counties that saw a population decline between the same time period are in New York City: New York County (i.e. Manhattan), Kings County (i.e. Brooklyn), Bronx County, and Queens County.

Based on users searching on the moveBuddha site, the number of moves-out outnumbered the number of moves-in Jamaica, N.Y., Bronx, N.Y. and Staten Island, N.Y. the fastest.

In other words, for every 100 people moving out of Jamaica, only 27 people moved in. In the Bronx, that number was 36, and in Staten Island, 27.

The most popular city of origin for people moving to New York was San Francisco, moveBuddha added.

Nonetheless, there have been some gains for the Empire State: moveBuddha saw a lot more people moving in than out into Webster, N.Y., Ithaca, N.Y., and Fairport, N.Y.

The typical home price in Webster and in Fairport, or otherwise together known as Rochester, N.Y., was around $218,000, according to Zillow’s Home Value Index. Home values are up 11.2% from the previous year.

In Ithaca, a college town, the typical home is roughly $302,000, according to Zillow. Homes have grown in value by 21.3% from last year.

Got thoughts on the housing market? Write to MarketWatch reporter Aarthi Swaminathan at [email protected]

American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association National Conference To Be Held In New Jersey

The American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association (ATEA) will host CATEALYZE 2022, the National Entrepreneurs Conference at the newly re-designed Bell Works, in Holmdel, N.J., Saturday, September 17, 2022. The Patel Foundation, an initiative of the Patel Family office, will be the title sponsor of CATEALYZE 2022, a press release from ATEA said.

“The conference is structured to deliver empowering sessions, enriching conversations, elevating opportunities, and engaging moments for the attendees who will be startup founders, aspiring entrepreneurs, and business professionals,” organizers said, adding that the agenda will include experts from industries that are seeing renewed and new interest in investments including fintech, supply chain, digital health, and sustainability.

“To be prepared for the future, one must understand the opportunities that will drive it,” Ram Nagappan, co-founder of ATEA is quoted saying in the press release. “The experts at the helm of the CATEALYZE 2022 have scanned the horizon to evaluate how today’s market, product, funding, and networking opportunities can transform your current ideas into the businesses of the future,” he added.

Keynote speakers:

Francisco D’Souza, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Recognize

Sowmyanarayan Sampath, Chief Executive Officer at Verizon Business

Additional speakers:

Lakshmi Narayanan, Managing Partner, Patel Family Officer

Ravi Koganti, Chief Information Officer, Capital Health (US)

Ajay S. Mookerjee, Exec Chair, Warburg Pincus LLC

Balaji Krishnamurthy, Global Head, Enterprise Technology, Bloomberg

Navneet Kathuria, Chief Medical Officer – Regional, Lumeris

Vineet Gulati, CEO, Harmony Health

Gayathri Rajan, Chief Product Officer, DriveWealth

Eash Sundaram, Venture Capital & Digital ExecutiveTailwind Capital

Chandra Subramanian, Head of Retail & Manufacturing Vertical, ORS GROUP

Prabhu Palani, Chief Investment Officer, City of San Jose Retirement System

Sowmya Gottipati, Head of Global Supply Chain Technology at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Roopesh Das, SVP Digital Acceleration, Wallenius Wilhelmsen

Kwanzaa Hall, former U.S. Congressman representing District 5


Suresh U. Kumar, Vice Chairman, Monroe Township Economic Development Advisory Board

Karishma Vanjani, Markets Reporter, Barron’s

Siva Nadarajah, Co-Founder, JOGO Health

Chandra Subramanian, Head of Retail & Manufacturing Vertical, ORS GROUP

Hiral Desai, Head of Marketing, DriveWealth

“The Patel Family is honored to be an integral part of this groundbreaking event which brings together the best and brightest within the Indian American community,” said Dipika Patel, chairwoman of the Patel Family Office and Patel Foundation. “The vision of ATEA and this event aligns perfectly with our foundation’s core values – to support and encourage the spark of excellence within us all.”

The Patel Family Office is a privately held, 3rd Generation organization focused on UK retail, US hospitality, global real estate and other financial sectors since the late 1970’s.

The American Tamil Entrepreneur Association (ATEA) is a business-focused non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the vision of creating and providing a platform for networking, exchanging business ideas, seeking mentorship and investments, making connections, and creating an atmosphere for entrepreneurial thinking among NRIs and Americans of Tamil origin.

The conference planning is led by Venkatesh Sadagopan and Krishna Chari, who are the organization’s New Jersey Chairs. Event tracks are planned by Ponnarasi Raj and Karthik Sundaram and supported by marketing experts Priya Kartik and Karthik Rangarajan and Annamalai Sambanthan, the key member of the treasury. The program’s media and public relations lead is Suji Iyer.

Bezos Loses Title of World’s Second Richest Man to Indian Billionaire

Gautam Adani, the Indian tycoon who has climbed the wealth rankings at breakneck speed this year, surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world’s second-richest person. Jeff Bezos has lost the title of second richest man in the world behind Elon Musk, electric-vehicle leader Tesla’s  (TSLA)  chief executive.

The founder and executive chairman of tech and online-retail giant Amazon  (AMZN)   dropped to No. 3, on Sept. 16 at around 10:38 a.m in New York, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

At that time, Bezos had a fortune estimated at $145.8 billion compared with $146.9 billion for the Indian tycoon Gautam Adani who ended the day with a fortune of $147 billion, thus consolidating his second place won in the morning. Bezos has risen a bit and is also worth roughly $147 billion. The day started with Adani at No. 3 and Bezos at No. 2.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, just $1 billion had separated Bezos from Gautam Adani, the Indian billionaire and chairman of Adani Group, an industrial conglomerate.

Bezos’ fortune was then valued at $150 billion in this ranking, while Adani’s was estimated at $149 billion.

Since the immense fortune of the two men rests mainly in the shares each holds in his respective company, the safe bet was that Adani would overtake Bezos by the end of the day.

The current volatility in the markets — due to fears about the health of the economy in the face of an aggressive rate hike by the Federal Reserve to fight inflation — is particularly weighing on technology groups like Amazon.

Amazon stock is down around 26% since January. This translates into a drop in Bezos’s fortune, which has shrunk by $45.5 billion this year.

Adani’s Meteoric Rise

Conversely, Adani is experiencing a meteoric rise. His fortune has increased by $70.3 billion since January.

His countryman, Mukesh Ambani, ranked tenth richest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $88.7 billion, was the other top 10 billionaire to have seen his fortune increase (+$1.02 billion) this year until Sept.15. But the following day, Ambani, who is chairman and managing director of the Reliance Industries conglomerate, lost of his gains. He’s now down by $1.3 billion.

At the beginning of the year, Adani became the richest person in Asia, ahead of Ambani. Adani first overtook India’s Mukesh Ambani as the richest Asian person in February, became a centibillionaire in April and surpassed Bill Gates and France’s Bernard Arnault in the past two months. It’s the first time someone from Asia has featured this highly in the top echelons of the wealth index, which has been dominated by US tech entrepreneurs.

Adani, 60, dropped out of college to try his luck in Mumbai’s diamond industry in the early 1980s before turning to coal and ports. His conglomerate has since expanded into everything from airports to data centers, cement, media and green energy, focusing on areas that Prime Minister Narendra Modi deems crucial to meeting India’s long-term economic goals. The nation’s largest private-sector port and airport operators, city-gas distributor and coal miner are all part of Adani’s empire, which also aims to become the world’s largest renewable-energy producer. Last year, it pledged to invest $70 billion in green power, a pivot that has been criticized by some as greenwashing given that so much of the group’s revenue still comes from fossil fuels.

The push into renewables and infrastructure has earned Adani investments from firms including Warburg Pincus and TotalEnergies SE, helping boost his companies’ shares and his personal fortune. This year, he added about $70 billion to his wealth — more than anyone else — while many have seen losses.

World Could Face Recession Next Year: World Bank Report

The world could face a recession next year amid simultaneous tightening of monetary policy by central banks around the world, the World Bank has said in a new report that called for boosting production and removing supply bottlenecks to ease inflation. Several indicators of global recessions are already “flashing signs”, the report said. The global economy is now in its steepest slowdown following a post-recession recovery since 1970, it added.

Global interest rate hikes by central banks could reach 4%, double that in 2021, just to keep core inflation — which strips out volatile items such as food and fuel — at 5% levels, the bank said.

From the US to Europe and India, countries are aggressively raising lending rates, which aim to curb the supply of cheap money and thereby help bring down inflation. But such monetary tightening has costs. It dampens investment, costs jobs, and suppresses growth, a trade-off faced by most nations, including India.

“Global growth is slowing sharply, with further slowing likely as more countries fall into recession. My deep concern is that these trends will persist, with long-lasting consequences that are devastating for people in emerging market and developing economies,” World Bank president David Malpass said in a statement after the report was released on Thursday.

The world is facing record inflation due to factors including the Ukraine war that has dwindled food supplies, knock-on effects of the pandemic on supply chains, poor demand in China due to its persistent Covid lockdowns, and extreme weather that has upended forecasts of agricultural output.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a third repo rate hike to 5.40% in August, up 50 basis points. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. The RBI maintained its inflation estimate at 6.7% for 2022-23 while forecasting real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth at 7.2%.

U.S. – India Business Council Announces India Ideas Summit 2022

The U.S.-India Business Council India (USIBC) announced today that its flagship event, India Ideas Summit, will be held on September 7, 2022 at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi.

Speaking on the Summit, Atul Keshap, President, USIBC said, “It gives me immense pleasure to announce the India Ideas Summit in New Delhi this year. We are really excited to return to the in-person format. India is the sixth largest economy in the world and is a key economic and strategic player in the region and the world. Our Summit will serve as the platform to hold captivating discussions on the immense opportunities for enhanced engagement with India.”

This year’s summit will see participation from top government speakers such as Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance, Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy, Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Affairs, and many more.

The topics and themes of discussion at the 47th India Ideas Summit will include:

– Indo-Pacific- Strengthening the U.S.-India partnership in the context of the Indo-Pacific and a dynamic, competitive strategic environment.

– Future of Energy- Driving U.S.-India cooperation to achieve energy security and seek pathways for climate-sensitive development.

– Digital Economy- Leveraging U.S.-India tech convergence for a healthier digital economy.

– Social Development- Demonstrating how multinational corporations can promote social progress and gender equality in the U.S.-India corridor.

To register for the event, please book from here

This Story has been provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content in this article. (ANI/BusinessWire India)

Repel The Recession With These 5 Tips

It doesn’t hurt your bottom line to take a step back and self-evaluate. Learn how you’ll be able to repel the recession with these 5 tips.

While the professional pundits debate when or if an economic recession is imminent, it may be a good idea to ensure you’re prepared, nonetheless. It doesn’t hurt your bottom line to take a step back and self-evaluate. Learn how you’ll be able to repel the recession with these 5 tips.

Live Your Life Within Your Means

Many of you may already live your everyday lives with this money-management strategy and if you do, then you’re ahead of the curve. But let’s be honest, we all know people who do not live within their means. Saying ‘no’ when deciding on an unneeded purchase is a skill that sometimes needs to be learned.

It’s important to carefully weigh all decisions about money, especially if a recession is looming. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking the recession may not last long. The more conscious you are about spending habits, the more you can avoid going into debt with credit cards and loans. It’s better to save now and put off making big purchases, then to build up your debt and struggle to get out from under it later in life. Speaking of saving…

Look For Ways to Save

It’s always a good idea to audit your own finances. Most people are aware of their paycheck, but they are often fuzzy about the money that leaves their account. Re-evaluate your monthly subscriptions. Do you need every single streaming service? How often do you make coffee runs to your local café? It might be time to brew a cup from home.

Divide your monthly expenses into wants and needs. Make sure you’re not overpaying for those wants. Cut down on the trips to the restaurants. If you had any planned vacations or renovations, it might be in your best interest to postpone. Perhaps we learned all those money-saving tricks during the 2020 quarantine for a reason. It might be time to revisit those lessons.

Have an Emergency Fund

You may call it a rainy-day fund. If so, the skies are getting cloudy. If you haven’t already put money aside in a secured FDIC account for emergencies, it may be time to start. In the event of a lost job or your forced to take a pay cut, you want the flexibility to cover expenses while you engage in a plan of action. This fund is designed for necessary expenses. Be diligent with how you use the money. Again, you don’t know how long a potential recession could last.

Obtain Additional Income

A smart tactic — and one that’s been popularized in recent years — is finding other streams of revenue outside of your job. We live in a gig economy and the skills you’ve honed at your current employer may prove valuable in a consulting capacity. You could replace any lost income from a job loss or salary reduction by uncovering potential freelancing opportunities in your specialty. It doesn’t hurt to add more skills to your resume. The more you know how to do, the more attractive you become to your current or future employer.

Anticipate the Worst

No one expects to lose their job, but don’t be unprepared if it happens. It would be appropriate for you to consider your options in the event of the unthinkable. Update your resume. Update your LinkedIn profile. All those professional relationships you developed, both online and in-person, could become leads to new positions. Prepare for the worst, expect the best.


Araku Valley Coffee-infused Chocolate Launched at Consulate General of India New York

Araku Valley Coffee-infused Chocolate at the Consulate General of India, New York on September 8th, 2022 at the Indian Consulate in New York. Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, India’s Consul General in New York, Mr. Vikas Khanna, world renowned Indian Master Chef, and investment banker-turned-entrepreneur couple Mr. Kushal Choksi and Ms. Alak Vasa, Co-founders of Elements Truffles launched the ayurveda inspired Chocolates infused with Araku Valley Coffee, an ODOP item from the Alluri Sitharama Raju district of Andhra Pradesh in India.

 One District One Product (ODOP) initiative of the Government of India aims to promote local niche products from districts across India and explore new markets for them, position them on the world stage and, thus, support local economy and cater to the world.

Famous Vegan Chef and TV host Ms. Priyanka Naik and CEO of Winked! Ms Ruchika Lal joined about 100 members from the industry, food sector, media, chambers of commerce, and the Indian American community. Consul General spoke of the Consulate’s efforts in promoting Indian coffee and other ODOP items in the United States and urged everyone to share Araku Valley’s unique story with their friends and business associates in America.  He also thanked the Coffee Board of India for its support.

For over a hundred years, tribal farmers have been cultivating coffee in the picturesque Araku Valley. The coffee is pure arabica with a unique aromatic profile combining smoothness, balance, and roundness. This special flavor of chocolate curated by Elements Truffles as part of ODOP promotion and to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

This new flavor of chocolate is expected to contribute to popularizing Araku Valley coffee in the United States and beyond and help generate revenue and support employment to tribal farmers of a Araku Valley.

The Consulate General of India in New York has been promoting ODOP items in the north-eastern United States. Some of the traditional products, from aspirational districts of India, such as saffron and pashmina shawl from J&K, blue pottery from Rajasthan, woodwork from Uttar Pradesh, Temi Tea and organic turmeric from Sikkim, Araku Valley Coffee from Andhra Pradesh, and millet pasta and buttermilk from Gujarat have been showcased in New York and around on the occasions of International Day of Yoga, Independence Day celebrations, among others.

Laxman Narasimhan Is New CEO Of Starbucks

Coffee giant Starbucks has named Laxman Narasimhan as its new Chief Executive Officer. The 55 year old will join the long list of Indian-origin leaders of major corporations such as Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and IBM’s Arvind Krishna.

Narasimhan will join Starbucks as incoming ceo on October 1, 2022 after relocating from London to the Seattle area and will work closely with Howard Schultz, interim ceo, before assuming the ceo role and joining the Board on April 1, 2023.

Narasimhan brings nearly 30 years of experience leading and advising global consumer-facing brands. Known for his considerable operational expertise, he has a proven track record in developing purpose-led brands. Building on companies’ histories, he has succeeded in rallying talent to deliver on future ambitions by driving consumer-centric and digital innovations. Most recently, he served as chief executive officer of Reckitt, a FTSE-12 listed multinational consumer health, hygiene and nutrition company, where he led the company through a major strategic transformation and a return to sustainable growth.

“Laxman is an inspiring leader. His deep, hands-on experience driving strategic transformations at global consumer-facing businesses makes him the ideal choice to accelerate Starbucks growth and capture the opportunities ahead of us. His understanding of our culture and values, coupled with his expertise as a brand builder, innovation champion, and operational leader will be true differentiators as we position Starbucks for the next 50 years, generating value for all our stakeholders. On behalf of the entire Board, I am thrilled to welcome Laxman as Starbucks next ceo,” said Mellody Hobson, Independent Starbucks Board of Directors chair.

During the transition period, Narasimhan will be fully immersed in the company, spending time with Schultz and the management team, partners and customers and gaining in-depth exposure to the brand, company culture, and Reinvention plan. This will initially include Starbucks store immersions, visiting manufacturing plants and coffee farms, connecting with partners around the globe as well as Starbucks long term business partners.

Schultz will remain in the role of interim ceo during this transition period, following which he will continue as a member of the Starbucks Board of Directors. He will remain closely involved with the company’s Reinvention and act as an ongoing advisor to Narasimhan.

“When I learned about Laxman’s desire to relocate, it became apparent that he is the right leader to take Starbucks into its next chapter. He is uniquely positioned to shape this work and lead the company forward with his partner-centered approach and demonstrated track record of building capabilities and driving growth in both mature and emerging markets. As I have had the opportunity to get to know him, it has become clear that he shares our passion of investing in humanity and in our commitment to our partners, customers, and communities. The perspectives he brings will be a strong asset as we build on our heritage in this new era of greater well-being. I greatly look forward to our partnership over the coming months and years,” said Schultz.

“Starbucks commitment to uplift humanity through connection and compassion has long distinguished the company, building an unrivaled, globally admired brand that has transformed the way we connect over coffee. I am humbled to be joining this iconic company at such a pivotal time, as the Reinvention and investments in the partner and customer experiences position us to meet the changing demands we face today and set us up for an even stronger future,” said Narasimhan. “I look forward to working closely with Howard, the Board, and the entire leadership team – and to listening and learning from Starbucks partners – as we collectively build on this work to lead the company into its next chapter of growth and impact.”

Previously, Narasimhan held various leadership roles at PepsiCo, including as global chief commercial officer, where he was responsible for the company’s long-term strategy and digital capabilities. He also served as ceo of the company’s Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations, and previously as the ceo of PepsiCo Latin America, and the cfo of PepsiCo Americas Foods. Prior to PepsiCo, Narasimhan was a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on its consumer, retail and technology practices in the U.S., Asia and India and led the firm’s thinking on the future of retail.

Narasimhan is also a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, served as a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Build Back Better Council, and is a member of Verizon’s Board of Directors. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, University of Pune, India. He has an MA in German and International Studies from The Lauder Institute at The University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.

Cyrus Mistry, Former Tata Sons Chairman Dies In Car Accident

Cyrus Mistry, the Indian scion of one of the country’s most prominent empires, died in a road accident on a highway near Mumbai on Sunday, September 5th, 2022, while travelling to Mumbai.

Mistry, 54, was one of two people who died when the car they were traveling in hit a barrier between two lanes, according to Shrikant Shinde, a Maharashtra police official.

Mistry and his companions were travelling in a Mercedes car through the Palghar district of Maharashtra when the accident happened on Sunday afternoon, police said.

The vehicle is said to have hit a divider in the road, while crossing a bridge over a river, and Mistry subsequently died at the crash scene.

Two other people in the vehicle were injured and taken to hospital, he added. Autopsies would be carried out on the two deceased at a hospital in Mumbai, said Pradeep Dhodhi, a Palghar district medical official in the state of Maharashtra, where the accident took place.

Mistry was best known as the former chairman of Tata Sons, the massive Indian conglomerate that owned Jaguar, Land Rover and the Taj hotels.

The Irish-Indian businessman made headlines in 2011 when he was announced as Tata’s chosen successor, and became the first person not directly related to the Tata family to head the company bearing their name.

Mistry’s family was a major stakeholder in the Mumbai-based conglomerate, which runs top-tier companies across several sectors. In 2016, Mistry was replaced in a sudden corporate shakeup that led former Chairman Ratan Tata to come out of retirement to lead the firm on a temporary basis. The company operates in more than 100 countries – offering products including salt, steel and software – and had a revenue of $130bn (£110bn) last year.

“I am deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely demise of Mr. Cyrus Mistry,” Tata Sons Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said in a statement shared with CNN Business on Monday.

“He had a passion for life and it is really tragic that he passed away at such a young age. My deepest condolences and prayers for his family in these difficult times.”

Other business and government leaders also reacted with shock over the weekend, taking to social media to express their condolences.

“The untimely demise of Shri Cyrus Mistry is shocking. He was a promising business leader who believed in India’s economic prowess,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. “His passing away is a big loss to the world of commerce and industry.”

The crash brought into focus the country’s high number of road accidents, with government data showing that these claimed 150,000 lives in 2021 – an average of 18 per hour.

McKinsey CEO, Bob Sternfels Calls It India’s Century

McKinsey & Co CEO Bob Sternfels has said, it will not just be India’s decade, but India’s century, with all key components in place – a big working inhabitants, multinational corporations reimagining world provide chains, and a rustic leapfrogging at digital scale-to obtain one thing particular not only for the Indian financial system, however probably for the world.

“Many individuals have stated that it is India’s decade. I truly assume it is India’s century once we have a look at a few of the uncooked components right here. India is the longer term expertise manufacturing unit for the world. By 2047, India would have 20 per cent of the world’s working inhabitants,” Sternfels said in an interview with Economic Times.

According to him, India would be the world’s future expertise manufacturing unit as it should have 20 per cent of the globe’s working inhabitants by 2047. “India has leapfrogged on the digital scale. All these are the uncooked supplies to do one thing particular for not solely the Indian financial system however probably for the world,” he added.

McKinsey plans a “disproportionate commitment” to India and that’s why its global board will be coming to the country in December.  The firm has 5,000 people in India, a number he wants to double to 10,000.

Sternfels also spoke about the current scandals which have hit McKinsey, the state of the worldwide financial system, inflation woes and deglobalisation.

Reacting to a question regarding what the CEOs are telling concerning the state of their corporations, Sternfels said, “One of many issues that I did over the previous 12 months was get out and speak to purchasers, and I’ve talked to over 500 of our CEOs within the final 12 months.

“CEOs now wish to play offence and protection on the similar time. So defensive measures… shore up the steadiness sheet, enhance effectivity, and make sure the firm can face up to shocks. They’re additionally saying, my steadiness sheet is more healthy than it was in both of these downturns. And I wish to truly take two or three large strategic bets in order that I can come out on prime,” he added.

Mukesh Ambani Plans Next-Gen Leadership At Reliance Industries

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of RIL, laid emphasis on Next-Gen leadership roles while he will continue to provide hands-on leadership. The 45th annual general meeting of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has set the stage for Next-Gen leadership.

Akash and Isha Ambani have assumed leadership roles in Jio and Retail, respectively, while Anant has joined New Energy business. They are part of a young team of leaders and professionals mentored by senior leaders, Mukesh Ambani outlined.

Mukesh Ambani will continue to provide hands-on leadership and along with existing leaders and Board of Directors, will work towards making Reliance more robust, resilient and truly future-ready.

Strengthening institutional underpinning for Reliance by enriching Reliance’s leadership capital and institutional culture along with a robust governance system to ensure accountability at all levels was another emphasis area at the AGM.

Creating robust architecture for tomorrow’s Reliance to ensure that it remains a united, well-integrated and secure institution even as it develops existing businesses and adds new growth engines, Ambani outlined.

V.K. Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, said, “A highlight of the AGM was Mukesh Ambani’s emphasis on succession planning. He concluded his address by seeking everyone’s blessings for the Gen Next taking over the reins confidently.

“With Akash heading Jio, Isha heading Retail and Anant heading Energy, the plans are clearly spelt out. Mukesh Ambani’s promise to double the value of the company by 2027 is reassuring. His commitment to India and faith in the India growth story remains as strong as ever.” (IANS)

Hostile Takeover Bid On India’s Oldest Private TV Operation By Asia’s Richest Billionaire

When Asia’s richest man and that too an Indian with undisguisedly close ties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to boot, makes a predatory takeover move on one of the country’s most high-profile news channels, it is a matter of great interest and concern.

The richest Indian in question is Gautam Adani, with the latest net worth of $137.5 billion, and the media company he is making a hostile move on is New Delhi Television or NDTV, the country’s first private television news operation founded in 1988 by the husband-and-wife team of Radhika and Prannoy Roy.

Adani, who has been close to Prime Minister Modi since the latter’s days as both their home state Gujarat’s Chief Minister, has turbocharged his business empire in the last eight years. Since Modi’s rise as prime minister in 2014 Adani’s wealth of $2.8 billion has multiplied close to 50 times. The takeover of NDTV barely two years before India’s next general elections in 2024 is seen by many as part a strategy to overwhelmingly dominate the media discourse in favor of the prime minister.

Jairam Ramesh, a prominent spokesperson of the opposition Congress Party, tweeted, “The news of a deeply over-leveraged company owned by the PM’s ‘khaas dost’ (special friend) making a hostile takeover bid of a well-known TV news network is nothing but the concentration of economic and political power, and a brazen move to control and stifle any semblance of an independent media.”

Notwithstanding its many weak moments over the years, NDTV has attempted to remain an independent media voice at a time when a vast majority of TV networks have just truckled into the often outrageous demands of the ruling dispensation.

Adani’s AMG Media Networks (AMNL), acquired Vishvapradhan Commercial for 1.14 billion rupees ($14.3 million). That gave the company a 29.2% stake in NDTV, according to a regulatory filing. Adani has said he intends to buy another 26% for 4.93 billion rupees, offering shareholders 294 rupees a share.

Sanjay Pugalia, CEO of AMG Media, was quoted as saying in a statement, “This acquisition is a significant milestone”  that will “pave the path of new age media across platforms.” AMG Media was founded in March and in less than six months it has made the biggest media takeover move in India.

That the Adani move was a hostile one became immediately clear yesterday after the Roys issued a statement that said it “was executed without any input from, conversation with, or consent of the NDTV founders.”

However, what jumps out in the statement is the following:

“VCPL has exercised its rights based on a loan agreement it entered with NDTV founders Radhika and Prannoy Roy in 2009-10.”

On its part, VCPL feels justified to do so because it has the rights to convert warrants of RRPR Holding Private Limited (RRPRH), the company owned by the Roys. At the heart of the hostile takeover is a reportedly interest-free loan amounting to 4.03 billion rupees dating back to 2009-10. That loan originally came from a company associated with Adani’s rival billionaire Mukesh Ambani, also a close ally of the prime minister.

VCPL came on the scene in 2012 when it acquired a 29.18 percent stake in the company that owns NDTV with the provision of converting the warrants into nearly complete ownership of RRPR. A decade hence Adani seems set to complete the takeover irrespective of the Roys’ protests. He has offered another 4.9 billion rupees to acquire an additional 26 percent stake in the media company making him the majority stakeholder.

Beyond the complex ownership restructuring necessitated by the 2009-10 loan there are larger issues of media independence at play. Of course, in a sense, the interest-free loan from some 12 years ago from an entity which had originally nothing to do with Adani, has come back to bite the Roys and NDTV in their behind.

While it is legitimate to debate what the NDTV takeover will do to the already disastrous media scene in India, it is equally important to remember that a great deal of money—4.03 billion to be precise—is behind the debacle for the Roys. Once people discover these complex facts, the Roys protestations related to media independence may lose much of its validity. The fact that an independent media company chose to take an interest-free loan from an entity they probably knew may not be eventually friendly towards them is problematic.

One can speculate that since at the time when the Roys took the loan, India was very much under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who was broadly hands-off with media control and management unlike the current government, the turn of events may not have been obvious to them. The Roys may have felt it was a safe bet to build their enterprise under a benign gaze of a government generally amiable to the media.

That they let the loan be unpaid for so long as to mutate into a predatory takeover holds a lesson for the tiny sliver of independent Indian media. (Courtesy: Indica News)

Thousands Of Yellow Cab Owner-Drivers To See Debt Relief They Won After 45-Day Camp Out And 15-Day Hunger Strike

(New York, NY) Thousands of yellow cab medallion owner-drivers will finally begin to see the debt relief they won after NYTWA members held a 45-day camp out and 15-day hunger strike last November, as City Hall announced today that the program to provide a city-backed guarantee on restructured loans will be operational starting September 19th.

Under the program, loans that are reduced by medallion lenders to no more than $200,000 will receive a $30,000 grant and the remaining balance will be guaranteed by the city in case of default.

The average debt is currently $550,000 with average monthly payments at $3,000. Under the final program, the new loan term for thousands will be $170,000 payable at $1,234 per month.

The final program reflects an increase in interest agreed upon in November 2021 from 5% to 7.3% as rates have gone up due to inflation; and a longer term of 25 years from 20 years to help drivers offset some of that cost.

The loan will be secured by a city-backed guarantee, relieving thousands of drivers from the fear of losing their homes or thousands of dollars in case of default.

Marblegate Assets, the largest holder of loans, is ready to begin restructurings on September 19th – bringing immediate relief to the largest segment of owner-driver borrowers.

The City’s program is for all lenders and all eligible medallion owners (medallion owners who do not own more than 5 medallions.) Other lenders representing hundreds more loans are expected to also participate.

NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said: “We are finally at the starting line of a new life for thousands of drivers and our families. The city-backed guarantee is a ground-breaking program that will save and change lives. We are thankful to City Hall, the TLC, the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Law Department, and to Marblegate for burning the midnight oil to set up this historic program to address the crisis of debt across the industry. As we collectively work to end this crisis and hit re-start, we look forward to working with all lenders. I congratulate all of our union members who chose to organize, and not despair, and won back their lives. Against the darkness of a crushing debt, their courage remained the light, and today, the triumph is fully theirs.”


Since City Hall agreed to a city-backed guarantee in November 2021, the Adams administration’s TLC, Office of Management and Budget and Law Department have been working to make the program operational. The City negotiated program terms and documents with Marblegate Assets, the largest medallion loan holder, and NYTWA.

NYTWA members voted unanimously to give their sign-off at the end of negotiations.

The new terms for drivers means:

  • No personal guarantee in case of default
  • No Confession of Judgment; COJ are pre-signed documents by the borrower accepting responsibility in case of default and waving their right to a hearing. Lenders would be empowered to skip the court process including a trial to receive a judgment that could then be collected on immediately; including going after people’s homes as the COJ would be combined with a personal guarantee.
  • No balloon payments; Balloon payments meant that the lender could demand the full balance on a loan at the end of a balloon which would typically be every 3 or 5 years. Owner-drivers would be forced to agree to any new terms, including high interest rates, the lender would demand at the end of the balloon.
  • No pre-payment penalty in case a borrower wants to pay off the loan earlier


Click here to see our statement on November 3, 2021 when the agreement was first reached

Zee5 Inks Partnership With Iconic US-Based Indian Franchise Patel Brothers

ZEE5 Global,  the world’s largest platform for South Asian content, today announced its partnership with the Patel Brothers, a US-based Indian Grocery chain, to facilitate connecting with diaspora audiences on the occasion of the 75th year of Independence.

The Patel Brothers store on Oak Tree Road Edison, New Jersey, was inaugurated by popular Bollywood actor Sonali Bendre. Sonali, who recently made her comeback and successful debut on ZEE5 Global with The Broken News, spoke about the partnership and how this will benefit the Indians in the US.

ZEE5 Global also hosted a contest at the store where the participants had to answer questions related to the platform and Patel Brothers. The winners were given an opportunity to shop grocery items worth $200 for free with none other than Sonali as a part of the ‘Shop with the Stars’ contest. The platform also distributed its branded shopping bags to the customers.

Zee5 hosted a “Shopping with the Stars” contest at the newly opened Patel Brothers store in Edison, New Jersey.

Leading South Asian content provider, Zee5 global recently announced its partnership with America’s oldest and most popular Indian grocery store chain, Patel Brothers, in a move to connect with South Asian diaspora audiences.

The collaboration was announced by Bollywood star Sonali Bendre at a press event after she inaugurated the new Patel Brothers store on Oak Tree Road, Edison, New Jersey.

Commenting on the partnership, actor Sonali Bendre said, “I’m very happy to be here to kick off this partnership between two deeply rooted South Asian brands, The Patel Brothers and ZEE5 Global.  As the leading South Asian streaming service, ZEE5 Global has stepped out of screens and is making an effort to bring together the diaspora audiences across the US through multiple community initiatives. Together with the Patel Brothers who are America’s oldest, largest and best-loved Indian chain in the US, we can expect many wonderful initiatives and experiences from this partnership.”

Speaking of the collaboration with Patel Brothers, Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, said, “We’ve seen exponential growth in the U.S. in our first year of launch, and we are happy to have been able to delight our audiences here with our rich content library. There’s no better way now to cement our leadership position in this market than with this partnership with the Patel Brothers, another iconic and much-loved South Asian brand, and we look forward to a long, wonderful relationship with them”

Kaushik Bhai Patel from Patel brothers said, “We’re always looking for ways to cater to the needs of NRIs and South Asians in the U.S. hungry for their home culture. We are very happy to partner with ZEE5 Global that shares this ethos.”

Launched on June 22 in the US, 2021, ZEE5 Global is the only dedicated streaming platform in the country for South Asian content. Home to the biggest blockbusters, latest originals and web series across languages and genres, the platform offers an unparalleled 200,000 hours of content with 100+ hours of new content added daily.  ZEE5 Global further houses one of the biggest South Indian content libraries with hits like RRR, Valimai, Bangarraju etc., much loved TV shows across languages and more.

Two gold nuggets worth $350,000 found in Australia

Two gold nuggets worth around $350,000 (£190,000; US$250,000) have been discovered by a pair of diggers in southern Australia. Brent Shannon and Ethan West found the nuggets near goldmining town Tarnagulla in Victoria state.

Their lucky find was shown on TV show Aussie Gold Hunters, which aired on Thursday. The men dug up the ground and used metal detectors to detect gold in the area.

“These are definitely one of the most significant finds,” Ethan West said, according to CNN. “To have two large chunks in one day is quite amazing.”

They found the nuggets, which have a combined weight of 3.5kg (7.7lb), in a number of hours with the help of Mr West’s father, according to the Discovery Channel which airs the program.

The show, which is also broadcast in the UK, follows teams of gold prospectors who dig in goldfields in remote parts of Australia.

“I reckoned we were in for a chance,” Mr Shannon told Australian TV show Sunrise. “It was in a bit of virgin ground, which means it’s untouched and hasn’t been mined.”

West said that during four years of mining for gold, he is picked up “probably thousands” of pieces. The Discovery Channel also said collectors could pay up to 30% more for the nuggets than their estimated value.

In 2019 an Australian man unearthed a 1.4kg (49oz) gold nugget worth an estimated A$100,000 (£54,000; $69,000) using a metal detector.

Gold mining in Australia began in the 1850s, and remains a significant industry in the country.

The town of Tarnagulla itself was founded during the Victoria Gold Rush and became very wealthy for a period of time when keen prospectors moved there to make their fortune, according to a local website.

Apple Reaches $2 Trillion, Punctuating Big Tech’s Grip

It took Apple 42 years to reach $1 trillion in value. It took it just two more years to get to $2 trillion. Even more stunning: All of Apple’s second $1 trillion came in the past 21 weeks, while the global economy shrank faster than ever before in the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Apple became the first U.S. company to hit a $2 trillion valuation when its shares climbed 1.4 percent to $468.65 in midday trading, though they later declined and ended the day flat. It was another milestone for the maker of iPhones, Mac computers and Apple Watches, cementing its title as the world’s most valuable public company and punctuating how the pandemic has been a bonanza for the tech giants.

As recently as mid-March, Apple’s value was under $1 trillion after the stock market plunged over fears of the coronavirus. On March 23, the stock market’s nadir this year, the Federal Reserve announced aggressive new measures to calm investors. Since then, the stock market — and particularly the stocks of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — has largely soared, with the S&P 500 hitting a new high on Tuesday.

Investors have poured billions of dollars into the tech behemoths, betting that their immense size and power would serve as refuges from the pandemic-induced recession. Together, those five companies’ value has swelled by almost $3 trillion since March 23, nearly the same growth as the S&P 500’s next 50 most valuable companies combined, including Berkshire Hathaway, Walmart and Disney, according to S&P Global, the market analytics firm. Apple’s valuation alone rose by about $6.8 billion a day, more than the value of American Airlines.

“It’s become the new flight to safety,” Aswath Damodaran, a New York University finance professor who studies the stock market, said of investors flocking to Big Tech. Companies that are rich, flexible and digital are benefiting in the pandemic — and that describes the tech Goliaths, he said, adding, “This crisis has strengthened what was already a strong hand.”


The stock market share of five tech companies hasn’t been seen from a single industry in at least 70 years. Apple’s rapid rise to $2 trillion is particularly astonishing because the company has not done much new in the past two years. It has simply built one of the tech industry’s most effective moneymakers, which has such a firm grip over how people communicate, entertain themselves and shop that it no longer relies on groundbreaking inventions to keep the business humming.

Apple first reached $1 trillion in August 2018, after decades of innovation. The company, founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, churned out world-changing products like the Macintosh computer, the iPod, the App Store and the iPhone.

Since then, it has mostly tweaked past creations, selling gadgets with names like the Apple Watch Series 5, the AirPods Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It has also pushed into services such as streaming music, streaming movies and TV programs, and providing news, selling subscriptions for them.

Under its chief executive, Tim Cook, Apple’s most important innovation in recent years has arguably been its nearly unrivaled ability to generate profits. Mr. Cook has built a sophisticated global supply chain to produce billions of devices — most assembled in China — and leaned into a product line designed to lock customers into its ecosystem so they buy new gadgets every few years and pay monthly fees to use Apple’s suite of digital services.

Apple has also grown despite its size by extracting more money from the companies that run businesses on iPhone apps, drawing accusations that its 30 percent cut of some app revenues is unfair.

The Silicon Valley company’s business has been only further entrenched by the pandemic, which has forced people to work, learn and socialize virtually. From April through June, even as Apple shuttered many of its retail stores because of the virus, it posted $11.25 billion in profits, up 12 percent from a year earlier. It increased its sales of every product and in every part of the world.

“Our products and services are very relevant to our customers’ lives and, in some cases, even more during the pandemic than ever before,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, said in an interview last month.

Still, Mr. Maestri disputed that the pandemic had been good for business. Apple would have made billions of dollars more without it, he said.

India Ranks Seventh In Digital Currency Ownership Worldwide: UN

The United Nations announced that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented rise in According to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), around 7.3 percent of Indians owned some form of digital currency in 2021. This highlights that over the last couple of years, digital assets have surged to popularity among the Indian populace amounting to over 100 million crypto holders.

Cryptocurrency use worldwide has risen, with India moving up to the seventh-highest position in terms of ownership. The UN noted that 7.3 percent of Indians possessed assets in the form of digital currency as of 2021. According to data from 2021, developing nations made up 15 of the top 20 economies in terms of the percentage of the total population that owns cryptocurrency. The statistics for other nations were also provided by UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development).

The report also states that 15 of the top 20 nations in terms of digital currency ownership were developing countries, with India ranking 7th, one position behind the US. Pakistan also made it to the list coming in 15th while the UK and Australia occupied the 13th and 20th positions respectively. Topping the list was Ukraine, with 12.7 percent of its population holding crypto assets.

As per the UNCTAD report, the crypto ecosystem ballooned by over 2,300 percent between September 2019 and June 2021. However, Indian investors have grown sceptical of these digital assets, with regulatory bodies coming down hard on cryptocurrencies.

While buying and selling crypto assets is not illegal, profits from the same are being treated as winnings from gambling, and the income from the transfer of virtual assets is being taxed at 30 percent. On top of this, there is also one percent TDS deduction on all transactions.

Earlier this year, crypto exchanges in the country were also forced to halt UPI payments due to uncertainty from regulatory bodies. This made it harder to acquire digital assets. Such uncertainties are also driving crypto firms to set up bases elsewhere, with several projects looking to countries like Dubai as a hub for digital asset operations.

India Top Country Of Origin For Immigrant Founders Of US Unicorns

Over half of America’s start-ups (319 out of 582 or 55 per cent) valued at $1 billion or more have been founded by immigrants. As the country of origin for immigrant founders in the US, Indians top the charts with 66 companies. Israelis followed suit with the second highest number of billion-dollar companies at 54.

A study published by the National Foundation for American Policy on Tuesday, 26 July, has found that “India, with 66 companies, is the leading country of origin for the immigrant founders of US billion-dollar companies.” India, at 66, is followed by Israel, whose immigrants have founded 54 unicorns.

And Israel is followed by “the United Kingdom (27), Canada (22), China (21), France (18), Germany (15), Russia (11), Ukraine (10), Iran (8), Australia (7), Romania (6), Italy (6), Poland (6), Nigeria (6), South Korea (5), New Zealand (5), Pakistan (5) Argentina (5), Brazil (5), Spain (4), Portugal (4), Denmark (4) and several other countries.”

Only companies that are startups valued at $1 billion or more are included in the list. The report also identified 10 founders who founded two or more unicorns. These included Elon Musk, Mohit Aron, Jyoti Bansal, Ashutosh Garg, Ajeet Singh, Al Goldstein, Noubar Afeyan, Ignacio Martinez, Ion Stoica and Sebastian Thrun. Four of the 10 founders were born in India before immigrating to the US.

As per this report, the collective value of the unicorns founded by immigrants stood at $1.2 trillion. This is more than the companies listed on major stock markets like Brazil Stock Exchange ($925 billion); Madrid Stock Exchange ($727 billion); Singapore Exchange ($679 billion); Indonesia Exchange ($620 billion); Stock Exchange of Thailand ($613 billion); Moscow Exchange ($579 billion); Italian Stock Exchange ($507 billion); and Mexican Stock Exchange ($498 billion).

Interestingly, immigrant-founded American companies like SpaceX ($125 billion), Stripe ($95 billion), Instacart ($39 billion), Databricks ($38 billion), Epic Games ($31.5 billion), Miro ($17.5 billion) and Discord ($15 billion) have the highest valuations.

Billionaires Grow, India Shrinks: Triumph Of Crony Capitalism

Around two months ago, India’s fastest growing businessman remarked that if India became a USD 30-trillion-economy by 2050, no one would go to bed on an empty stomach.

While speaking at a conclave, Gautam Adani said, “We are around 10,000 days away from the year 2050. Over this period, I anticipate we’ll add about USD 25 trillion to our economy. This translates to an addition of USD 2.5 billion to the GDP every day. I also anticipate that over this period, we’ll have eradicated all forms of poverty.”

He anticipated that the stock markets would add about USD 40 trillion in market capitalisation, which translated to an addition of USD 4 billion every day until 2050. “Uplifting the lives of 1.4 billion may feel like a marathon in the short run, but it’s a sprint in the long run,” concluded Adani.

Well, those who attended the conclave would have actually felt that the person, who is now a frontrunner for the richest person in the world, also thinks of the poor. We can only wish that India’s growth story could also lead to the growth of each and every fellow citizen. However, it all seems to be a figment of the imagination!

Incidentally, the industrialist, who runs a slew of businesses from airports to ports to power generation to distribution to cement manufacturing to infrastructure development, has added USD 49 billion to his wealth in 2021! The figure is much higher than the world’s two richest persons – Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – at that time. Jeff Bezos has moved to the third position recently.

In fact, during 2020 when the entire world came to a standstill due to the pandemic, Adani’s wealth grew at a much higher speed than the coronavirus! Immediately before the onset of the pandemic, he bought a lavish bungalow at one of the posh localities of the national capital. Unlike Ambani’s Antilia, not much has been written about his bungalow. However, the land size is much bigger than that of Ambani, if reports are to be believed.

In the month of February, Adani overtook Ambani to become Asia’s richest person. His net worth stood at USD 88.5 billion at that time. In a matter of five months, it stands at USD 115.5 billion! Be that as it may, his growth rate is certainly exponential!

Of late, Forbes has placed him at the fourth place in the list of world’s richest people. Incidentally, he just crossed Bill Gates, who has been donating his wealth to charity and who wishes to be kicked off this list.

Let us see how India’s economy fared during the last two years. The continuous lockdown in the year 2020 followed by the second wave in a few months from the unlock phase, had jolted the Indian economy. Despite this, we are termed as the fastest growing country. However, there is a caveat to this statement.

The combined fiscal deficit of the Centre and the states is more than 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. It only means that the government had to print more money to keep the machinery called the Indian economy going. It is an established fact that growth at the cost of fiscal consolidation is not a good practice.

We saw a similar trend in the pre-liberalisation period. In fact, India has registered a growth rate of 5.3 percent in the 1980s. However, high fiscal deficit had brought the country on the verge of bankruptcy. High fiscal deficit increases the current account deficit leading to inflation and exhaustion of foreign reserves.

During 2020-21, the Centre had a fiscal deficit of 9.6 percent, understandably to combat the emergency posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The economic slowdown had impacted the revenue. The government had no option but to print more money. The deficit was reduced to 6.9 percent in 2021-22. The finance minister has projected it to be at 6.4 percent, which is at a higher end.

Of late, a lot is being talked about global recession in view of the Russia-Ukraine war. Experts in our country have been maintaining a stand that the Indian economy is strong enough to bear this jolt. At least the economic facts do not validate such statements.

One, foreign investors have been exiting the Indian market. Resultantly, the current value of the Rupee has gone down considerably. The exchange value of the dollar has touched Rs. 80. Generally, recession is tackled by printing more money, which means higher fiscal deficit. In the current scenario, where fiscal deficit is already high, it will be suicidal to increase it to the levels of the covid year.

A government which believes in populism will find it tempting to print more money for political reasons, a move which may not gel well with the foreign investors. The rupee may further plunge, giving way to inflation, making people at the bottom of the pyramid more vulnerable.

While people like Adani may continue to make wealth, the poor will become poorer day by day. The last few years beginning with demonetisation, imposition of GST, the sudden economic closure due to the pandemic, have affected the poor badly. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has triggered retail inflation. Items of daily use have become expensive. Fuel prices have touched new heights.

On the top of it, the government’s decision to levy taxes on essential items will only make their life miserable. If one looks at the latest unemployment data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), it has shot up to 7.8 percent in June, with a loss of 13 million jobs, mainly in the agriculture sector. Not only this, 2.5 million people lost jobs amongst the salaried employees.

The government reduced the demand for armed personnel of late by announcing a new scheme. The job opportunities in the private equity-funded market have also started reducing. The situation is all-the-more worrying. High inflation coupled with reducing income levels, will only add more people to below the poverty line, increasing the pressure on government-funded schemes like the national food security act (NFSA), NREGA etc.

This only means more fiscal deficit, malnutrition, impacting the lives of children, women and the elderly. The youth who is left with no avenues to earn a livelihood, is more likely to contribute to social evils like drug addiction, crime etc. Uneducated, unskilled, unemployable youth will only add on to the economic burden. Unlike Japan, India will not be able to leverage this period when the young population is higher than ageing ones.

A report from the international food policy research (IFPRI) published a few days ago should set the alarm bells ringing. The institute has estimated that India’s food production is likely to reduce by 16 percent due to climate change. We have already witnessed the plunge in wheat production this year forcing us to stop exports. The quantity of wheat being distributed through the public distribution systems under schemes like NFSA have also been reduced. At many places, wheat has been completely replaced by rice and other cereals.

In view of the current circumstances, the IFPRI has also estimated that the number of people at risk for hunger is expected to increase by 23 percent. In fact, 73.9 million people are expected to be at risk in 2030. The report says that if the effect of climate change is factored in, the number is likely to increase to 90.6 million people in India coupled with reduction in food production. Globally, the production may increase considerably by 2050 but unfortunately people affected by hunger are expected to increase by 500 million people!

One can easily imagine how defective government policies, where the rich are favoured at the cost of the poor, will make the poor poorer year on year. It is because of this reason that India’s growth story has not been able to transform the lives of the marginalised and the underserved.

When it comes to the poor, the government looks at them from the lens of potential voters not as growth catalysts. The likes of Nirav Modi, Vijaya Mallya etc. enjoy the clout to exploit the system to their favour while the common man struggles to get a loan approved for setting up his enterprise.

As far as Adani’s statement is concerned, it certainly speaks about a world that seems to be Utopian. We can only imagine a world where no one sleeps with an empty stomach. It can only happen if the government does a serious introspection, introduces taxes to regulate the unquestioned growth of a few and invests the money for the benefit of the poor, something on the lines of Thomas Pikkety’s world as presented in his book “Capitalism in 21st Century”.

As of now “Sabka saath, Sabka vikas, Sabka vishwas” is a mere slogan, aimed at winning votes of the people not their hearts. We are set to see the rise of Adanis and Ambanis but not of the poor, who will remain trapped in the inter-generational cycle of poverty.

Laxmi, The Leading South Asian Food Brand Celebrates 50 Years Of Bringing ‘Home’ To You !

For many cultures and its people, the primary language of love is food. Mostly all immigrant families ensure their roots remain firm is by filling their dinner tables with dishes that represent their home countries Cooking ethnic foods allows them to experience a sense of comfort and belonging which is then passed down to generations keeping traditions alive !

For over 50 years  Laxmi has done just this – enabled millions of South Asian families stay connected to their roots by providing them quality ingredients to help them cook their traditional dishes and experience home away from home.

Established in 1970 in Jackson Heights, NY by G.L. Soni and his brother K.L. Soni, the impetus for their business venture , House of Spices was Mrs. Shobhna Soni who was tired of eating yogurt and potatoes as a new bride in a new country. This gave these entrepreneurs the idea to start a business that would bring Indian ingredients like daal and spices to the USA and allow the diaspora here to enjoy the taste of home. But it didn’t stop with dals and spices – their business soon expanded to include flours, rice, oil, ghee, juices and many other traditional ingredients essential for South Asian cooking. Their success was unstoppable, and the House of Spices’ flagship brand ‘Laxmi’ became a household name in no time.

As their family expanded so did their business and along with their children, the founders nurtured a growing line of products with a vast distribution network all over North America. Time flew and the torch was passed on to Neil and Amrapali Soni. They recognized the hard work and passion that built the business and decided to enhance the Laxmi brand by giving it a new look.

These exciting brand building efforts led to a logo update and the signing of Bollywood Superstar Shilpa Shetty as its brand ambassador. Ms. Shetty, who is known for her holistic approach to diet, nutrition, and fitness was the perfect choice to represent the renewed look for Laxmi, priming it for a perfect 50thth birthday celebration. The innovation continues with a new product lines that have been recently introduced on shelves throughout North America. Laxmi has now forayed into the convenience food category with a frozen range of products that includes vegetables, Samosas, Naan’s and many more items to be added to the roster in the following months.

According to Neil and Amrapali Soni, this journey to 50 would not have been possible without the support of the South Asian community. The family has never lost sight of this unwavering support and offer their utmost gratitude to the community for their loyalty over 5 decades. Many ingredients make this company special, but the one that got them to the top has consistently been their passion for providing quality products to their customers. The Soni family’s vision for their business continues to put quality at the forefront of everything they do and carry on the tradition of excellence.

To mark this legacy milestone ,Laxmi is currently Celebrating #50YearsOfLaxmi campaign. When asked about the campaign Suhasinee Patil ,VP Marketing shared that as Laxmi turns 50 we wanted to honor our consumers and our community by inviting them to share stories about their journey in US. We truly believe our success and the community success go hand in hand. Thus the next time you eat something that reminds you of someone, don’t just remember them, reach out to them.  And when you do, we would love to hear about your food memories. …

For more information on the contest and exciting prizes, please visit and share your stories by submitting a video and using hashtags to participate: #LaxmiYadoonKiRecipe; #50YearsOfLaxmi; #ReachOutWithLaxmi

India, UAE and France Hold 1st Ever Trilateral Cooperation Meet

In their efforts to enhance collaboration in areas of mutual collaboration, India, the UAE and France held their first trilateral meet to explore potential cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Potential points of cooperation that were discussed include maritime security, disaster relief, blue economy and regional connectivity, food and energy security and more.

The Indian side of the talk was led by Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (Europe West) and Shri Vipul, Joint Secretary (Gulf), MEA. This was the second meeting of its kind involving both India and the UAE, who are also part of I2 U2 (India-Israel-United States of America-UAE).

“A trilateral meeting of the ‘Focal Points’ of India, France and the United Arab Emirates was held today,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The resolve of the three countries to boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific under the trilateral framework comes amid increasing global concern over China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the region.

“The three sides exchanged perspectives on the Indo-Pacific region and explored the potential areas of trilateral cooperation, including maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, blue economy, regional connectivity, cooperation in multilateral fora, energy and food security, innovation and startups, supply chain resilience and cultural and people-to-people cooperation,” the MEA said.

“They also discussed the next steps to be taken for furthering trilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region,” it said in a statement.

US House Panel Advances Prior Authorization Relief Bill For Seniors

Newswise — The House Ways and Means Committee has voted unanimously to advance the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022 (H.R. 8487), positioning the bill for passage in Congress possibly this fall. The bill would reform prior authorization under the Medicare Advantage program to help ensure America’s seniors get the care they need when they need it.

Support for this commonsense legislation is overwhelming. The bill has more than 330 cosponsors in the House and Senate, and has been endorsed by more 500 organizations, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and more 30 additional ophthalmic subspecialty and state societies.

recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General underscored the need for reform, finding that Medicare Advantage plans have denied prior authorization requests that met Medicare coverage rules.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ami Bera, MD, (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD, (R-IN). If enacted, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act would streamline and standardize prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, providing much-needed oversight and transparency while protecting beneficiaries from unnecessary care delays and denials. The legislation would improve prior authorization in MA plans by:

Establishing an electronic prior authorization (ePA) program;

Standardizing and streamlining the prior authorization process for routinely approved services, including establishing a list of services eligible for real-time prior authorization decisions;

Ensuring prior authorization requests are reviewed by qualified medical personnel; and

Increasing transparency around MA prior authorization requirements and their use.

This bill has been years in the making. The Academy is a founding member of the Regulatory Relief Coalition, a group of sixteen national physician specialty and two allied organizations advocating for a reduction in Medicare program regulatory burdens to protect patients’ timely access to care and allow physicians to spend more time with their patients. We thank the bill’s sponsors, as well as the chair and ranking member of House Ways and Means Committee, Reps. Richie Neal (D-MA) and Kevin Brady (R-TX).

“We believe this bill will help remove some of the unnecessary red tape that overburdens our healthcare system and prevents us from providing the care America’s seniors need when they need it,” said David Glasser, MD, the Academy’s secretary for Federal Affairs. “We’re confident that when this bill comes to the House floor, Congress will agree with these commonsense reforms.”

How To Understand Mixed Signals From US Economy

(AP) — The U.S. economy is caught in an awkward, painful place. A confusing one, too. Growth appears to be sputtering, home sales are tumbling and economists warn of a potential recession ahead. But consumers are still spending, businesses keep posting profits and the economy keeps adding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month.

In the midst of it all, prices have accelerated to four-decade highs, and the Federal Reserve is desperately trying to douse the inflationary flames with higher interest rates. That’s making borrowing more expensive for households and businesses.

The Fed hopes to pull off the triple axel of central banking: Slow the economy just enough to curb inflation without causing a recession. Many economists doubt the Fed can manage that feat, a so-called soft landing.

Surging inflation is most often a side effect of a red-hot economy, not the current tepid pace of growth. Today’s economic moment conjures dark memories of the 1970s, when scorching inflation co-existed, in a kind of toxic brew, with slow growth. It hatched an ugly new term: stagflation.

The United States isn’t there yet. Though growth appears to be faltering, the job market still looks quite strong. And consumers, whose spending accounts for nearly 70% of economic output, are still spending, though at a slower pace.

So the Fed and economic forecasters are stuck in uncharted territory. They have no experience analyzing the economic damage from a global pandemic. The results so far have been humbling. They failed to anticipate the economy’s blazing recovery from the 2020 recession — or the raging inflation it unleashed.

Even after inflation accelerated in spring of last year, Fed Chair Jerome Powell and many other forecasters downplayed the price surge as merely a “transitory” consequence of supply bottlenecks that would fade soon. It didn’t.

Now the central bank is playing catch-up. It’s raised its benchmark short-term interest rate three times since March. Last month, the Fed increased its rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, its biggest hike since 1994. The Fed’s policymaking committee is expected to announce another three-quarter-point hike Wednesday.

Economists now worry that the Fed, having underestimated inflation, will overreact and drive rates ever higher, imperiling the economy. They caution the Fed against tightening credit too aggressively.

“We don’t think a sledgehammer is necessary,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said this week.

Here’s a look at the economic vital signs that are sending frustratingly mixed signals to policymakers, businesses and forecasters:


As measured by the nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of output — the economy has looked positively sickly so far this year. And steadily higher borrowing rates, engineered by the Fed, threaten to make things worse.

“Recession is likely,” said Vincent Reinhart, a former Fed economist who is now chief economist at Dreyfus and Mellon.

After growing at a 37-year high 5.7% last year, the economy shrank at a 1.6% annual pace from January through March. For the April-June quarter, forecasters surveyed by the data firm FactSet estimate that growth equaled a scant 0.95% annual rate from April through June. (The government will issue its first estimate of April-June growth on Thursday.)

Some economists foresee another economic contraction for the second quarter. If that happened, it would further escalate recession fears. One informal definition of recession is two straight quarters of declining GDP. Yet that definition isn’t the one that counts.

The most widely accepted authority is the National Bureau of Economic Research, whose Business Cycle Dating Committee assesses a wide range of factors before declaring the death of an economic expansion and the birth of a recession. It defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and that lasts more than a few months.”

In any case, the economic drop in the January-March quarter looked worse than it actually was. It was caused by factors that don’t mirror the economy’s underlying health: A widening trade deficit, reflecting consumers’ robust appetite for imports, shaved 3.2 percentage points off first-quarter growth. A post-holiday-season drop in company inventories subtracted an additional 0.4 percentage point.

Consumer spending, measured at a modest 1.8% annual rate from January through March, is still growing. Americans are losing confidence, though: Their assessment of economic conditions six months from now has reached its lowest point since 2013 in June, according to the Conference Board, a research group.


What’s agitating consumers is no secret: They’re reeling from painful prices at gasoline stations, grocery stores and auto dealerships.

The Labor Department’s consumer price index skyrocketed 9.1% in June from a year earlier, a pace not seen since 1981. The price of gasoline has jumped 61% over the past year, airfares 34%, eggs 33%.

And despite widespread pay raises, prices are surging faster than wages. In June, average hourly earnings slid 3.6% from a year earlier adjusting for inflation, the 15th straight monthly drop from a year earlier.

And on Monday, Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, lowered its profit outlook, saying that higher gas and food prices were forcing shoppers to spend less on many discretionary items, like new clothing.

The price spikes have been ignited by a combination of brisk consumer demand and global shortages of factory parts, food, energy and labor. And so the Fed is now aggressively raising rates.

“There is a risk of overdoing it,” warned Ellen Gaske, an economist at PGIM Fixed Income. “Because inflation is so bad right now, they are focused on the here and now of each monthly CPI report. The latest one showed no letup.’’

Despite inflation, rate hikes and declining consumer confidence, one thing has remained solid: The job market, the most crucial pillar of the economy. Employers added a record 6.7 million jobs last year. And so far this year, they’re adding an average of 457,000 more each month.

The unemployment rate, at 3.6% for four straight months, is near a half-century low. Employers have posted at least 11 million job openings for six consecutive months. The government says there are two job openings, on average, for every unemployed American, the highest such ratio on record.

Job security and the opportunity to advance to better positions are providing the confidence and financial wherewithal for Americans to spend and keep the job machine churning. (Courtesy: Associated Press)

Slowdown In Home Prices Broke Record In June

Annual home price growth dropped by nearly 2 percentage points in June, the largest single-month slowdown on record, according to new research.

Black Knight, a real estate software and analytics company that has been tracking the metric since the early 1970s, found that annual home price growth fell from
19.3 percent in May to 17.3 percent in June as the Federal Reserve continued hiking interest rates to cool off demand.

  • Existing home sales have fallen for five consecutive months as record prices and those higher interest rates drive more Americans out of the market. Black Knight’s analysis found that seasonally adjusted home sales were down by more than 21 percent since the start of the year.
  • Slowing sales have led to recent inventory increases, according to Black Knight, but nationally, the United States still faces a shortage of 716,000 home listings. The company estimates it would take more than a year for inventory levels to fully normalize even with record increases.

“While this was the sharpest cooling on record nationally, we’d need six more months of this kind of deceleration for price growth to return to long-run averages,” said Ben Graboske, the president of Black Knight’s data and analytics division. (The Hill)

When Will The Indian Rupee Stop Falling?

The Indian Rupee breached the psychological 80-mark for the first time against the US dollar on Tuesday, July 18th, declining to 80.06 per Dollar. The Reserve Bank of India intervened in the currency market to help the Rupee steady after hitting seven straight intraday record lows. A recovery in domestic shares also favored the Indian currency.

According analysts, a wobbly global macroeconomic environment marked by a spell of monetary tightening unleashed, firstly, by the Federal Reserve and being mimicked in earnest by the major central bank governors across the globe has led to an exodus of hot money from developing economies to the “safe haven” of the Dollar. The scenario is compounded further by record-breaking crude oil prices, which balloon India’s imports, diminish the cumulative value of India’s exports and widen our trade deficit.

It is a regular demand-supply market. Currently, there is a greater demand for Dollars than there is for the Rupee. Two factors have pushed demand — India’s current account deficit has sharply widened particularly after Russia invaded Ukraine, and investment in the Indian economy has fallen due to heavy flight of funds in recent months.

Depreciation of the Rupee makes imported items — including petrol and mobile phones — and gives India’s export a competitive edge. But India is a net importer. For those eyeing a trip abroad, earlier budgets on food, boarding, and transportation will now fall short – leaving one with the option to either expand their budgets or opt for countries where the rupee commands a stronger position compared to their domestic currencies.

The dollar has been appreciating against all currencies including the Euro. Market watchers, in fact, say that the Rupee has fared better compared to other currencies including the Euro.

In FY’22, as per the provisional figures released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s current account deficit widened to $38.7 billion from a surplus of $23.9 billion in the previous FY. 

A widening current account deficit indicates that Indians have been converting more of their rupees into dollars to complete trade and investment transactions consequently spiking up the demand for dollars. It doesn’t help that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have been dumping Indian equities after a strong bullish spell, and making a beeline for US treasury notes and bonds.

The RBI has intervened by selling Dollars to check the Rupee’s slide. Else, the free market would have seen a further weaker Rupee. The current exchange market scenarios suggest that the rupee’s fall may continue for a few more months, breaching even the 82-mark. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took a dig at the Rupee’s slide saying a “strong government” is “giving us a weaker Rupee”.

US Dollar Gains Are Boon To Americans Traveling Abroad

The surging value of the U.S. dollar in recent weeks is a boon to the American traveler, who will get more bang for their buck overseas despite surging inflation at home.  

But a strong American currency could limit international visitors to the U.S., where tourism firms are still licking their wounds from the height of the pandemic.  

The dollar recently hit parity with the euro for the first time in two decades, making trips to Europe 10 to 15 percent less expensive for Americans than at the same time last year.  

The dollar is also soaring in destinations like Thailand, India and South Korea — countries with ample tourism interest from Americans and relatively weaker economic growth than the U.S. 

“With the rising cost of travel, the strong U.S. dollar is a net positive amidst all the disruption in the industry,” said Erika Richter, vice president of communications at the American Society of Travel Advisors.  Richter noted that Americans are spending 11 percent more on travel compared to 2019. 

The idea of a strong dollar might seem like a farce to Americans after annual inflation hit 9.1 percent in June and the price of gas and food rose far faster. But the dollar has still become more valuable abroad even as it yields less in goods and services at home. 

Demand for the U.S. dollar in other countries has skyrocketed amid concerns about a global recession caused by high inflation, the war in Ukraine and lingering COVID-19 supply shocks.  

While the U.S. is not immune from those threats, the economy has held up far stronger than other nations, making its currency more valuable abroad. The dollar is also used as the world’s reserve currency, meaning foreign individuals and companies will often boost their holdings and conduct transactions in dollars to protect themselves from financial shocks. 

The strength of the U.S. economy has allowed the Federal Reserve to boost interest rates at a much faster pace. That makes the U.S. dollar more expensive to acquire — and more valuable in other countries. 

“A stronger dollar benefits American households directly if they want to travel to Europe, as the relative cost of everything is cheaper. It also makes imports cheaper for American households and businesses,” explained Angel Talavera, head of European economics at Oxford Economics. 

Half of American travelers say high prices kept them from traveling in June, up 8 percentage points from the previous month, according to a recent survey from Destination Analysts. 

But favorable exchange rates blunt the impact of inflation, which has risen at similar rates to the U.S. in Europe. Expedia data found that searches for summer trips to popular European destinations such as Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Amsterdam and Dublin rose by double digits last week. Copenhagen, Athens and Madrid saw similar increases in lodging interest, according to 

“The U.S. has never really developed its tourism infrastructure the way Europe has, so a lot of our inventory sold out months ago,” said Leslie Overton, an advisor at travel firm Fora. “While I’m not saying either is cheap, Europe might be considered more competitive than some of the higher end product here in the U.S. right now.” 

One dollar buys roughly 15 percent more than it did one year ago in the 19 European countries that use the euro. The dollar is trading at its highest ever level against India’s rupee and Thailand’s baht. The Mexican peso and Canadian dollar have remained mostly flat.  

But currency fluctuations won’t help much with soaring airfares. While domestic airfare is 13 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels, international flights are 22 percent pricier, according to data from travel firm Hopper. 

Those traveling to parts of Europe face a heightened risk of delays or cancellations.  London’s Heathrow Airport on Wednesday asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets after staffing shortages forced the airport to delay roughly half of its flights this month. The Netherlands’ largest airport is similarly making large cuts to its flight schedules, driving up prices.  

Conversely, the strength of the dollar will make trips to the U.S. far more expensive for many international travelers, potentially weakening the U.S. tourism industry as it aims to claw back some of the millions of jobs lost during the pandemic.  

A stronger U.S. dollar also boosts pressure on global economies to raise their own interest rates to keep up, a force that raises the risk of a severe global recession that could bounce back to the U.S. in dangerous ways. 

The U.S. welcomed 22.1 million inbound travelers in 2021 — down 79 percent from 2019 — amid COVID-19 travel restrictions that lasted throughout most of the year, according to the International Trade Administration. The agency found that the lack of tourism in the U.S. in the first year of the pandemic accounted for 56 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product decline.

UN Report Says, Women In Healthcare Paid 24% Less Than Men

Although women represent 67 per cent of workers in the healthcare sector globally, they are paid 24 per cent less than their male counterparts, according to the first-ever global sectoral gender pay gap report co-developed by the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organization.

The report documents a raw gender pay gap of roughly 20 percentage points which jumps to 24 percentage points when factors such as age, education and working time are taken into account.

It noted that Covid-19 shone a light on the critical importance of health and care workers, who were applauded and celebrated. But the pandemic also laid bare the extent of inequalities, notably the gender pay gap, that workers in this highly feminized sector have been facing for decades.

While much of this gap is unexplained, the UN agencies said it is perhaps due to discrimination towards women. The report also revealed that wages in health and care tend to be lower overall when compared with other sectors, which is consistent with the finding that wages often are lower in areas where women are predominant.

“The health and care sector has endured low pay in general, stubbornly large gender pay gaps, and very demanding working conditions. The Covid-19 pandemic clearly exposed this situation while also demonstrating how vital the sector and its workers are in keeping families, societies and economies going,” said Manuela Tomei, Director of Conditions of Work and Equality Department at the ILO, in a statement.

The report also found a wide variation in gender pay gaps in different countries, indicating that these gaps are not inevitable and that more can be done to close the divide.

Within countries, gender pay gaps tend to be wider in higher pay categories, where men are over-represented, while women are over-represented in the lower pay categories.

Mothers working in the health and care sector also appear to suffer additional penalties, with gender pay gaps significantly increasing during a woman’s reproductive years and persisting throughout the rest of her working life.

A more equitable sharing of family duties between men and women could lead to women making different job choices, according to the report.

Tomei expressed hope that the report will spark dialogue and policy action as there will be no inclusive, resilient and sustainable post-pandemic recovery without a stronger health and care sector.

“We cannot have better-quality health and care services without better and fairer working conditions, including fairer wages, for health and care workers, the majority of whom are women,” she said. (IANS)

The Million Missing Workers Could Solve America’s Labor Shortages

By Dany Bahar And Pedro Casas-Alatriste

The recent tragedy of the death of over 50 migrants in an abandoned overheated truck in Texas forces us to reevaluate whether there is a better way for the United States—and there must be—to deal with the immigrants trying to reach the country.  

This reevaluation includes not only adopting a more humanitarian approach to border policies, but also challenging preconceived ideas about these immigrants, which will allow us to embrace them as they are: much-needed workers that can complement the American workforce. 

A ‘help wanted’ sign is posted in front of restaurant on February 4, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. – The United States added an unexpectedly robust 467,000 jobs in January, according to Labor Department data released today that also significantly raised employment increases for November and December. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Our argument is simple; the U.S. workforce is aging and cannot meet the economy’s capacity. Yet, for nearly 20 years, U.S. authorities have deported over 1 million immigrants originally from Central America’s Northern Triangle to their home countries through Mexico. But these potential workers are essential to the U.S. right now: Historically immigrants have been young and have joined the workforce in occupations that very few Americans are able or willing to fill today.  

The need to fill these occupations is evident from the market forces that continue to attract immigrants from Mexico and Central America, despite the incredible and increasing difficulties they face crossing the border. On the Mexican side, the use of “coyotes” (people smugglers) has gone up by 30 percent⁠—from about 45 percent in the second half of 2020 to nearly 60 percent in the last quarter of 2020⁠—as measured by surveys of returned Mexican migrants

According to these surveys, coyotes charged sums close to $6,000 per person smuggled in 2019, though that cost is reported to have gone down in 2020, presumably because of the slowdown in crossing caused by COVID-19. Nevertheless, the mere existence of this illicit market on the border is, arguably, a result of the dramatic increase in U.S. efforts—and resources—to stop this migration. In May 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection registered 240,000 encounters that month, up nearly 70 percent from May 2019, putting fiscal year 2022 on track to hit a record number of border encounters in recent history.  

Despite the conditions at the border, a deep dive into the data speaks for itself on the need for the U.S. to drastically redesign its migration policy with respect to Mexico and Central America and to put forward legal pathways for immigrants to enter and work in the United States instead of trying to apprehend them at the border.  

Let’s first look at the current American reality. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 11.2 million job openings (May 2022). In the construction industry, there were an estimated 434,000 job openings (May 2022), yet there were just 389,000 unemployed in that same industry (June 2022). In other words, there is a shortage of almost 50,000 workers. In retail trade, the gap is even wider. With 1.14 million job openings and 720,000 unemployed, there is a labor supply deficit of 420,000 people. If that’s still not surprising enough: The number of unemployed people in the accommodation and food services industry is 565,000, while the number of job openings totaled 1.4 million. Even if every worker in that industry were employed, there would still be 835,000 job openings.

From a broader perspective, in just 12 years, adults 65 and older will outnumber children under 18 for the first time in the history of the United States. And shortly after, by 2040, projections suggest the country will have 2.1 workers per Social Security beneficiary. According to these calculations, the system needs at least 2.8 workers per Social Security beneficiary to maintain its economic feasibility.

Let’s now add into the equation some stylized facts about the 1 million workers that the U.S. has deported back to Central America since 2009. The data comes from representative surveys carried out by Colegio de la Frontera, a Mexican research institution that surveys deportees from the U.S. in Mexico’s south border on their way back to their home countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.  

The vast majority of these deportees are men and have a high school diploma or less, according to the most recent data from 2019. They are also overwhelmingly young—with nearly 90 percent of them between the ages 15 to 39 and 65 percent being between the ages 15 to 29. Compare this to all other migrants in the U.S. who have a median age of 46 years.  

Among the deportees that gathered some work experience in the U.S. during their stay (the ones who stayed for longer, naturally), they worked in a very diverse set of occupations that, ironically, have remarkable overlap with the occupations in high demand right now in the U.S. For instance, about 60 percent were in the construction industry, about 20 percent worked in services (such as the food industry), nearly 10 percent worked in industry, and 8 percent were technicians and administrative staff.

Migrants on the U.S. southern border are able and capable of filling labor gaps in the American economy if they are given the chance, particularly in fundamental occupations like the ones we document above. Moreover, perhaps with some skills training, they could fill other in-demand occupations, too.

American politicians and policymakers must act to transform the energy and resources poured into keeping these immigrants away into creating enough legal pathways for these migrants to join the American labor force without further delay. These migrants are already paying enormous costs, endangering their lives, and taking massive risks to come to America, which is a testament to their need and determination.

If the United States wants to grow and compete in the global economy, immigration—including that from the Northern Triangle—is part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Wishing To Be Off Billionaires List, Bill Gates Donates $20 Billion To Foundation

That’s Bill Gates’ estimated net worth, making him the world’s fourth-richest person — but he doesn’t intend to rank that high forever. On Wednesday, the Microsoft co-founder said he wants to “move down and eventually off of the list of the world’s richest people” because he feels “obligated to return his resources to society.” 

On the same day, Gates moved $20 billion of his wealth into the endowment of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest philanthropies in the world. The foundation plans to increase its payouts from nearly $6 billion to $9 billion each year by 2026. 

Bill Gates is moving $20 billion of his wealth into the endowment of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is ramping up its spending in the face of global challenges, including the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, media reports said. 

The foundation, one of the world’s largest philanthropies, plans to increase its payouts by 50 per cent over pre-pandemic levels, from nearly $6 billion to $9 billion each year by 2026. The foundation is primarily focused on charitable giving that’s aimed at improving global health, gender equality and education, among other issues, CNN reported.

The Microsoft co-founder and his ex-wife, Melinda French Gates, have both pledged to donate the vast majority of their wealth to the foundation they established together 20 years ago, as well as to other philanthropic endeavours.

The couple announced their divorce in May 2021, saying they would work together as co-chairs under a two-year trial period. At the end of that trial, French Gates has the option to resign and receive a payout from her former husband, who would remain in charge of the foundation.

With an estimated net worth of around $ 114 billion, Bill Gates is currently the world’s fourth-richest person, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, with most of his wealth tied to Microsoft shares.

But he doesn’t intend to rank that high forever. “I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world’s richest people,” Gates wrote in a blog.

“I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for improving lives. I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too,” he said, CNN reported. (IANS)

Consulate India In New York Organizes Roadshow On One-District-One-Product

The Consulate General of India in New York, in partnership with the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and Invest India, held a Roadshow on One-District-One-Product (ODOP) on July 12th, 2022. The show was attended by stakeholders from the food, hospitality, textiles and relevant business sectors.  

Consul General Shri Randhir Jaiwal gave the opening remarks, talking about the importance of the ODOP initiative and detailing the uniqueness of the products. From Araku coffee, with its distinctive texture, flavour and aroma, to the SIMFED turmeric from the organic state of Sikkim, he talked about the individuality and exclusivity of the items at display.

Joint Secretary from DPIIT, Ms. Manmeet Nanda familiarised the audience with the ODOP initiative and its vision. She elaborated that the whole idea of the initiative is to showcase unique products from different district of India, and that this stems from the mandate of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, focusing on a resilient India that is recognized as a brand globally. Expanding on the same, she talked about the vision of promoting sustainable trade along with creating a direct market link between the makers and buyers of these unique products. 

Explaining the progress that the initiative has made thus far, Ms. Nanda highlighted that more than 700 products with a unique quality and a large export potential have been identified till date. Each product tells a story – a story of creation, craftsmanship, tradition, custom, and people. Today, India’s unique products have ties all over the world. Farmers in Jammu and Kashmir sell walnuts to distant countries like Europe, and international brands sell Indian Pashmina stoles.

Representatives of Invest India took forward the discourse and emphasized the four pillars of the ODOP initiative – ecommerce, marketing, licensing, and selling and trade.

Different products from different parts of the country were showcased, ranging from cardamom tea, millet pasta, saffron, ginger flakes and more. From the north, the range extended from walnut wood carvings to Basohli paintings. From the state of Rajasthan, items of blue pottery were displayed. From the North-East, the variety consisted of coffee, jewellery, and special silks such as Eri Silk and some non-violent silk products. The non-violent silk items are so called as their production does not involve harming of silk worms.

Members of the diaspora were urged to promote products from their districts and adopt the vision of the ODOP scheme.  They were urged to promote ODOP products through gift giving, socially as well as officially.  Earlier, the Consulate had organized a display of ODOP products at Times Square during International Day of Yoga celebrations on 21 June 2022.

Does Immigration Help Developing Countries?

Many talented brains from developing nations like India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have been immigrating to economically progressive and highly developed nations for many years.

They migrate in search of a good quality of life, world-class education for their children, and social security perks, including disability and maternity benefits, unemployment allowance, employment insurance, and other attractive benefits.

This is primarily why many choose to become permanent residents of developed nations such as Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. But the youth and skilled professionals who have moved to these nations have also brought in foreign remittances and a good deal of foreign exchange that helps boost the economy and development of a country that is still wanting and in its development stage.

Contributing back home

Many immigrants with well-paying jobs in these overseas nations help their relatives, parents, and near and dear ones by sending them money for assistance. Even students who study in developed nations return home with great knowledge and expertise. They even impart their expertise and aid in medicine, engineering, technology, and other professions.

Immigrants in other nations make it up to their home nations by keeping the foreign remittances flowing. Many of these remittances help ease the constraints of credit in rural areas. It helps accelerate human capital with improved health and educational facilities besides a good lifestyle. Many immigrants who return to their nations build hotels, hospitals, schools, and places of public worship or institution.

In many cases, they make significant donations to charities, which greatly help uplift the poor and marginal areas back in their home countries. Because of their contribution, many needy and underprivileged people find a vehicle and means to make their dreams come true. Immigration has been an excellent life-changer for many people who cannot find adequate help, but through the financial assistance from these immigrants, they find a way to live the life they deserve. (IANS)

US Inflation Hits 40-Year-High, At 9.1% In June

U.S. inflation surged to a new four-decade high in June because of rising prices for gas, food and rent, squeezing household budgets and pressuring the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively — trends that raise the risk of a recession.

The government’s consumer price index soared 9.1% over the past year, the biggest yearly increase since 1981, with nearly half of the increase due to higher energy costs. 

Lower-income and Black and Hispanic American have been hit especially hard, since a disproportionate share of their income goes toward essentials such as transportation, housing and food. But with the cost of many goods and services rising faster than average incomes, a vast majority of Americans are feeling the pinch in their daily routines.

For 72-year-old Marcia Freeman, who is retired and lives off of a pension, there is no escape from rising expenses.

“Everything goes up, including cheaper items like store brands,” said Freeman, who visited a food bank near Atlanta this week to try and gain control of her grocery costs. Grocery prices have jumped 12% in the past year, the steepest climb since 1979.

Accelerating inflation is a vexing problem for the Federal Reserve, too. The Fed is already engaged in the fastest series of interest rate hikes in three decades, which it hopes will cool inflation by tamping down borrowing and spending by consumers and businesses.

The U.S. economy shrank in the first three months of the year, and many analysts believe the trend continued in the second quarter.

“The Fed’s rate hikes are doing what they are supposed to do, which is kill off demand,” said Megan Greene, global chief economist at the Kroll Institute. “The trick is if they kill off too much and we get a recession.” 

The likelihood of larger rate hikes this year pushed stock indexes lower in afternoon trading. The central bank is expected to raise its key short-term rate later this month by a hefty three-quarters of a point, as it did last month.

As consumers’ confidence in the economy declines, so have President Joe Biden’s approval ratings, posing a major political threat to Democrats in the November congressional elections. Forty percent of adults said in a June AP-NORC poll that they thought tackling inflation should be a top government priority this year, up from just 14% who said so in December.

After years of low prices, a swift rebound from the 2020 pandemic recession — combined with supply-chain snags — ignited inflation.

Consumers unleashed a wave of pent-up spending, spurred by vast federal aid, ultra-low borrowing costs and savings they had built up while hunkering down. As home-bound Americans spent heavily on furniture, appliances and exercise equipment, factories and shipping companies struggled to keep up and prices for goods soared. Russia’s war against Ukraine further magnified energy and food prices.

In recent months, as COVID fears have receded, consumer spending has gradually shifted away from goods and toward services. Yet rather than pulling down inflation by reducing goods prices, the cost of furniture, cars, and other items has kept rising, while restaurant costs, rents and other services are also getting more expensive.

The year-over-year leap in consumer prices last month followed an 8.6% annual jump in May. From May to June, prices rose 1.3%, following a 1% increase from April to May.

Fuelled by increase in the prices of oil, shelter and food, the inflation rate in the US rose to 9.1 per cent in June. The inflation rate rise was the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 1981.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics said: “Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 9.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.”

“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.3 per cent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 1.0 per cent in May,” it said.

According to the Bureau, the increase was broad-based, with the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food being the largest contributors.

The energy index rose 7.5 per cent over the month and contributed nearly half of the all items increase, with the gasoline index rising 11.2 per cent and the other major component indexes also rising.

The food index rose 1.0 percent in June, as did the food at home index.

The all items – less food and energy – index rose 5.9 per cent over the last 12 months. The energy index rose 41.6 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1980.

The food index increased 10.4 per cent for the 12-months ending June, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 1981. (IANS)

280,000 Green Cards Up For Grabs Before September Deadline

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is racing against time to issue 280,000 green cards before the fiscal year ends on September 30.

While closures and limited operations at US embassies and consular offices through the pandemic led to high numbers of available employment-based green cards, as of mid-June 2022, USCIS and the US Department of State (DOS) have used significantly more visas than at the same point in FY 2021. USCIS alone using more than twice as many visas on a weekly basis than it was at this point in FY 2021.

Through May 31, 2022, the two agencies have combined to use 149,733 employment-based immigrant visas. “We remain committed to taking every viable policy and procedural action to maximize our use of all available visas by the end of the fiscal year,” the USCIS said in a statement.

Data from the US visa office shows that the US government had 66,781 unused employment-based green cards in the 2021 fiscal year, even as 1.4 million immigrants are queued up for it. A majority of these are Indians, who have been stuck in the green card backlog for years.

“We remain committed to taking every viable policy and procedural action to maximize our use of all available visas by the end of the fiscal year,” the USCIS said in a statement.

Data from the US visa office shows that the US government had 66,781 unused employment-based green cards in the 2021 fiscal year, even as 1.4 million immigrants are queued up for it. A majority of these are Indians, who have been stuck in the green card backlog for years.

USCIS eventually issued 180,000 green cards last year—more than a typical year but still falling short of the total available. The processing time for employer sponsored green cards crossed the three-year wait time in 2022.

Oil Prices Likely To Tumble By Year End, Even If Economies Avoid A Recession

Goldman Sachs reckons crude oil prices are going to $140 in the coming months. JPMorgan said they could even surge to $380 in a worst-case scenario. UBS reckons they’ll hit $130 in September.

But Citi is bucking the trend. The investment bank’s strategists predict oil will fall sharply by the end of the year, from prices of around $100 a barrel on Friday.

Francesco Martoccia, the bank’s head of European commodities strategy, warned in note to clients Tuesday that oil prices could even slump to $65 a barrel by December, if a nasty recession hits.

The same day, oil prices tumbled, with US benchmark WTI crude dropping below $100, as investors worried that central banks’ interest-rate hikes would trigger sharp slowdowns in economic growth. “The timing was exquisite,” Martoccia told Insider this week.

Yet Martoccia and his colleagues expect oil to drop even if there’s no drastic slowdown. Their so-called base case is that the price of global benchmark Brent crude tumbles to $85 a barrel by the end of the year — that’s around 18% lower than Friday’s price of $104.

At the heart of Citi’s contrarian view is its expectation that Russia will keep exporting and producing crude, even as the US and its allies batter the country with sanctions.

Many analysts expect Russian energy exports to fall sharply by the end of the year as the European Union gradually bans purchases from the country. The G7 is also exploring how to cap Russian oil prices — which could cause exports to drop further.

The logic is simple. Unable to sell its oil, Russia will shut down production. Buyers will then be competing for the remaining global supplies, driving up oil prices.

But Citi takes a different view. Its strategists believe India and China will ramp up purchases, keeping Russian oil pumping and alleviating the pressure on the market. “We actually don’t see a supply crunch in the making,” Martoccia said.

Crude oil exports to European countries in the OECD will drop from 2.5 million barrels a day in the first quarter of the year to 970,000 in the fourth, Citi predicts.

Yet it thinks China will step up its imports from 1.4 million to 2.3 million barrels a day, and India from 110,000 to 950,000 a day. Other developing economies will lift their purchases slightly, meaning Russia will be exporting more crude by the end of the year than at the start.

“I’m skeptical that the governments wouldn’t listen to their own energy needs, because we have seen already protests and riots around the world because of the increase in food prices and energy prices,” Martoccia said.

The other key ingredient in oil prices is demand. Citi thinks the world’s appetite for oil is going to slow over the coming months as the global economy cools.

Martoccia said Europe in particular is likely to cut back on its energy consumption. Many economists expect the eurozone to fall into a recession as a result of soaring inflation driven by rocketing natural gas prices. Germany has already started to dim its streetlights to save energy.

“When you look at the gas demand, for instance, from the industrial complex in Italy, or even the orders of one of the biggest industrial facilities, it’s going down,” he said. “And eventually you have to see spillover effects elsewhere.”

Oil-price prediction is a difficult game. Many analysts say the opposite to Citi, arguing Russian production will fall, and a Chinese economic recovery and the return of global tourism will boost demand.

Citi is hedging its bets. It thinks there’s a 30% chance oil jumps back up to around $120 by the end of the year. “This year, it’s very difficult to have a high conviction,” Martoccia said.

Top Billionaires Lose $1.4 Trillion In Worst Half Of Year 2022

With policy makers now raising interest rates to combat elevated inflation, some of the highest-flying shares — and the billionaires who own them — are losing their combined wealth due to economic factors that has impacted global economies around the world. 

Elon Musk’s fortune plunged almost $62 billion. Jeff Bezos saw his wealth tumble by about $63 billion. Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth was slashed by more than half.

All told, the world’s 500 richest people lost $1.4 trillion in the first half of 2022, a dizzying decline that marks the steepest six-month drop ever for the global billionaire class.

It’s a sharp departure from the previous two years, when the fortunes of the ultra-rich swelled as governments and central banks unleashed unprecedented stimulus measures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, juicing the value of everything from tech companies to cryptocurrencies.

With policy makers now raising interest rates to combat elevated inflation, some of the highest-flying shares — and the billionaires who own them — are losing altitude fast. Tesla Inc. had its worst quarter ever in the three months through June, while Inc. plummeted by the most since the dot-com bubble burst.

Though the losses are piling up for the world’s richest people, it only represents a modest move toward narrowing wealth inequality. Musk, Tesla’s co-founder, still has the biggest fortune on the planet, at $208.5 billion, while Amazon’s Bezos is second with a $129.6 billion net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Bernard Arnault, France’s richest person, ranks third with a $128.7 billion fortune, followed by Bill Gates with $114.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg index. They’re the only four that are worth more than $100 billion — at the start of the year, 10 people worldwide exceeded that amount, including Zuckerberg, who is now 17th on the wealth list with $60 billion.

Changpeng Zhao, the crypto pioneer who debuted on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in January with an estimated fortune of $96 billion, has seen his wealth tumble by almost $80 billion this year amid the turmoil in digital assets.

Still, the billionaire class has amassed so much wealth in recent years that not only can the vast majority withstand the worst first half since 1970 for the S&P 500 Index, but they’re likely looking for bargains, said Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management.

“Often their mindset is a bit more contrarian,” Perkin said. “A lot of our clients look for opportunities when there’s trouble in the streets.” That held true in the first half of the year in some of the most distressed corners of the global financial markets.

Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s wealthiest man with a $35.2 billion fortune, acquired Societe Generale SA’s entire position in Rosbank PJSC earlier this year amid the fallout from Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. He also bought out sanctioned Russian mogul Oleg Tinkov’s stake in a digital bank for a fraction of what it was once worth.

Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive officer of crypto exchange FTX, bought a 7.6% stake in Robinhood Markets Inc. in early May after the app-based brokerage’s share price tumbled 77% from its hotly anticipated initial public offering last July. The 30-year-old billionaire has also been acting as a lender of last resort for some troubled crypto companies.

The most high-profile buyout of all belonged to Musk, who reached a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc. He offered to pay $54.20 a share; the social-media company’s stock traded at $37.44 at 10:25 a.m. in New York. The world’s richest man said in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait last month that there are “a few unresolved matters” before the transaction can be completed. “There’s a limit to what I can say publicly,” he said. “It is somewhat of a sensitive matter.”

How Much Health Insurers Pay For Almost Everything Is About To Go Public

Consumers, employers and just about everyone else interested in health care prices will soon get an unprecedented look at what insurers pay for care, perhaps helping answer a question that has long dogged those who buy insurance: Are we getting the best deal we can?

Starting July 1, health insurers and self-insured employers must post on websites just about every price they’ve negotiated with providers for health care services, item by item. About the only exclusion is the prices paid for prescription drugs, except those administered in hospitals or doctors’ offices.

The federally required data release could affect future prices or even how employers contract for health care. Many will see for the first time how well their insurers are doing compared with others.

The new rules are far broader than those that went into effect last year requiring hospitals to post their negotiated rates for the public to see. Now insurers must post the amounts paid for “every physician in network, every hospital, every surgery center, every nursing facility,” said Jeffrey Leibach, a partner at the consulting firm Guidehouse.

“When you start doing the math, you’re talking trillions of records,” he said. The fines the federal government could impose for noncompliance are also heftier than the penalties that hospitals face.

Federal officials learned from the hospital experience and gave insurers more direction on what was expected, said Leibach. Insurers or self-insured employers could be fined as much as $100 a day for each violation and each affected enrollee if they fail to provide the data. “Get your calculator out: All of a sudden you are in the millions pretty fast,” Leibach said.

Determined consumers, especially those with high-deductible health plans, may try to dig in right away and use the data to try comparing what they will have to pay at different hospitals, clinics, or doctor offices for specific services.

But each database’s enormous size may mean that most people “will find it very hard to use the data in a nuanced way,” said Katherine Baicker, dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

At least at first, Entrepreneurs are expected to quickly translate the information into more user-friendly formats so it can be incorporated into new or existing services that estimate costs for patients. And starting Jan. 1, the rules require insurers to provide online tools that will help people get upfront cost estimates for about 500 so-called “shoppable” services, meaning medical care they can schedule ahead of time.

Once those things happen, “you’ll at least have the options in front of you,” said Chris Severn, CEO of Turquoise Health, an online company that has posted price information made available under the rules for hospitals, although many hospitals have yet to comply.

With the addition of the insurers’ data, sites like his will be able to drill down further into cost variation from one place to another or among insurers.

“If you’re going to get an X-ray, you will be able to see that you can do it for $250 at this hospital, $75 at the imaging center down the road, or your specialist can do it in office for $25,” he said.

Everyone will know everyone else’s business: for example, how much insurers Aetna and Humana pay the same surgery center for a knee replacement. The requirements stem from the Affordable Care Act and a 2019 executive order by then-President Donald Trump.

“These plans are supposed to be acting on behalf of employers in negotiating good rates, and the little insight we have on that shows it has not happened,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Purchaser Business Group on Health, an affiliation of employers who offer job-based health benefits to workers. “I do believe the dynamics are going to change.”

Other observers are more circumspect.

“Maybe at best this will reduce the wide variance of prices out there,” said Zack Cooper, director of health policy at the Yale University Institution for Social and Policy Studies. “But it won’t be unleashing a consumer revolution.”

Still, the biggest value of the July data release may well be to shed light on how successful insurers have been at negotiating prices. It comes on the heels of research that has shown tremendous variation in what is paid for health care. A recent study by the Rand Corp., for example, shows that employers that offer job-based insurance plans paid, on average, 224% more than Medicare for the same services.

Tens of thousands of employers who buy insurance coverage for their workers will get this more-complete pricing picture — and may not like what they see.

“What we’re learning from the hospital data is that insurers are really bad at negotiating,” said Gerard Anderson, a professor in the department of health policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, citing research that found that negotiated rates for hospital care can be higher than what the facilities accept from patients who are not using insurance and are paying cash.

That could add to the frustration that Mitchell and others say employers have with the current health insurance system. More might try to contract with providers directly, only using insurance companies for claims processing. Other employers may bring their insurers back to the bargaining table.

“For the first time, an employer will be able to go to an insurance company and say, ‘You have not negotiated a good-enough deal, and we know that because we can see the same provider has negotiated a better deal with another company,'” said James Gelfand, president of the ERISA Industry Committee, a trade group of self-insured employers.

If that happens, he added, “patients will be able to save money.” That’s not necessarily a given, however.

Because this kind of public release of pricing data hasn’t been tried widely in health care before, how it will affect future spending remains uncertain. If insurers are pushed back to the bargaining table or providers see where they stand relative to their peers, prices could drop. However, some providers could raise their prices if they see they are charging less than their peers.

“Downward pressure may not be a given,” said Kelley Schultz, vice president of commercial policy for AHIP, the industry’s trade lobby.

Baicker, of the University of Chicago, said that even after the data is out, rates will continue to be heavily influenced by local conditions, such as the size of an insurer or employer — providers often give bigger discounts, for example, to the insurers or self-insured employers that can send them the most patients. The number of hospitals in a region also matters — if an area has only one, for instance, that usually means the facility can demand higher rates.

Another unknown: Will insurers meet the deadline and provide usable data?

Schultz, at AHIP, said the industry is well on the way, partly because the original deadline was extended by six months. She expects insurers to do better than the hospital industry. “We saw a lot of hospitals that just decided not to post files or make them difficult to find,” she said.

So far, more than 300 noncompliant hospitals have received warning letters from the government. But they could face $300-a-day fines for failing to comply, which is less than what insurers potentially face, although the federal government has recently upped the ante to up to $5,500 a day for the largest facilities.

Even after the pricing data is public, “I don’t think things will change overnight,” said Leibach. “Patients are still going to make care decisions based on their doctors and referrals, a lot of reasons other than price.”

(This story was produced by The Hill in partnership with Kaiser Health News. KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. It is an editorially independent operating program of Kaiser Family Foundation).

Dow Tumbles 876 Points And Stocks Enter Bear Market On Worries Of Drastic Rate Hikes

US stocks have plunged into a bear market as Wall Street investors grew increasingly nervous about the prospect of even harsher medicine from the Fed to take the sting out of inflation.

The Dow (INDU) sank 876 points or 2.8%. The Nasdaq was down by 4.7% and has tumbled more than 10% in the past two trading sessions.

The broader S&P 500 fell 3.9%. That index is now more than 20% below its all-time high set in January, putting stocks in a bear-market.

Recession fears mounted after Friday’s miserable Consumer Price Index report showed US inflation was significantly higher than economists had expected last month. That could make the Federal Reserve’s inflation-control efforts more difficult.

After raising rates by a half point in May — an action the Fed hadn’t taken since 2000 — Chair Jerome Powell pledged more of the same until the central bank was satisfied that inflation was under control. At that point, the Fed would resume standard quarter-point hikes, he said.

But after May’s hotter-than-expected inflation report, Wall Street is increasingly calling for tougher action from the Fed to keep prices under control. Jefferies joined Barclays on Monday in predicting that the Federal Reserve would hike rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, an action the Fed hasn’t taken since 1994.

“After holding their breath for nearly a week awaiting the US CPI report for May, investors exhaled in exasperation as inflation came in hotter than expected,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, said in a note to clients Monday morning.

Stovall said the risk of larger hikes dragged the markets lower Monday.

Investors fear two outcomes, neither of them good: Higher rates mean bigger borrowing costs for businesses, which can eat into their bottom lines. And overly zealous action from the Fed could unintentionally plunge the US economy into a recession, especially if businesses start laying off workers and the red-hot housing market crumbles.

There’s no sign that the job and housing markets are in danger of collapse, although both are cooling off somewhat.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Sunday, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said a US recession remains possible. But Bernanke said he had faith that Powell and the Fed could achieve a so-called soft landing, the elusive outcome in which the central bank can cool the economy down to get inflation under control without slowing it down so much that it enters a recession.

“Economists are very bad at predicting recessions, but I think the Fed has a decent chance — a reasonable chance — of achieving what Powell calls a soft-ish landing, either no recession or a very mild recession to bring inflation down,” Bernanke said.

Analysts appeared to move beyond a “buy the dip” mentality on Monday, signaling that they don’t see markets recovering quickly.

“Valuations aren’t much cheaper given rising interest rates and a weaker earnings outlook, in our view,” wrote strategists at BlackRock in a Monday notes. “A higher path of policy rates justifies lower equity prices. Plus, margin pressures are a risk to earnings.”

BlackRock will remain neutral on stocks for the next six- to 12-months, the strategists said.

Bears and bulls

The S&P 500 closed in a bear market, so the bull run that started on March 23, 2020 has come to an end. But, because of the tricky way these things are measured, the bear market technically began on January 3, when the S&P 500 hit its all-time high.

That means the latest bull market lasted just over 21 months — the shortest on record, according to Howard Silverblatt, S&P Dow Jones Indices senior index analyst. Over the past century, bull markets have lasted an average of about 60 months.

The shortest bull market followed the shortest bear market, one that lasted just over a month — from February 19 to March 23, 2020. Bear markets historically last an average of 19 months, according to Silverblatt.

Stocks briefly fell into a bear market on May 20, although a late-day rally rescued the market from closing below that threshold for the first time since the early days of the pandemic.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has been in a bear market for some time and is now more than 32% below its all-time high set in November 2021. The Dow is still some way from a bear market. It has fallen about 16% from the all-time high it reached on the last day of 2021.

Gasoline Price Exceeds $5 Per Gallon In Most States

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline spiked 39 cents over the past three weeks to $5.10 per gallon, media reports here suggested. The average price at the pump is $1.97 higher than it was one year ago.

Nationwide, the highest average price for regular-grade gas is in the San Francisco Bay Area, at $6.55 per gallon. The lowest average is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at $4.43 per gallon. According to the survey, the average price of diesel rose 20 cents over three weeks, to $5.86 a gallon.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the price jump comes amid higher crude oil costs and tight gasoline supplies.

Skyrocketing gas prices and the high inflation rate, which is 40 year high, are a glaring problem for the White House with no clear, immediate solution, presenting a major political challenge for Biden and Democrats going into the midterms. The Labor Department’s consumer price index rose 1 percent last month alone and 8.6 percent in the 12-month stretch ending in May.

Eighty-five percent of voters said they think inflation is a very serious or somewhat serious problem, according to an Economist-YouGov poll from earlier this month. In the same poll, 44 percent of respondents said Biden has “a lot” of responsibility for the inflation rate and 31 percent said he has “some.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CBS News this week that Americans should brace for a rough summer, with a top energy agency predicting fuel prices may not come down to less than $4 per gallon until the fall or winter.

“There will be some relief on the horizon, but during the summer driving season, it is going to be rough, no doubt about it, because we have such a demand and supply mismatch on the global market for oil,” Granholm said.

The president and his administration have pointed to steps they’ve taken in recent months to try to pump the brakes on rising gas prices.

Biden has ordered the release of millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to boost supply, pushed for nations in the Middle East to boost production, lifted restrictions on the sale of fuel with higher ethanol content, and promoted renewable energy sources such as electric vehicles and solar power.

But the reality, as even some Biden administration officials acknowledge, is the president has little sway over day-to-day gas prices, which are often at the mercy of global supply chains and have been impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“This is, in large part, caused by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s aggression,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on CNN this week. “Since Putin moved troops to the border of Ukraine, gas prices have gone up over $1.40 a gallon, and the president is asking for Congress and others for potential ideas. But, as you say, the reality is that there isn’t very much more to be done.”

Republican strategist Doug Heye argued the Biden administration has had a lackluster response to inflation that has contributed to the hit his approval rating has taken and the low marks he has received on the economy.

“There seems to be, on some of these issues, just a shrugging of the shoulders, and that’s why you see, overwhelmingly, Biden’s handling of the economy is unpopular,” he said. “Obviously what’s happened in Ukraine has caused a spike, and there’s nothing wrong with talking about that, but that seems to be the entire explanation when inflation has gone up every month that Biden has been president.”

Biden has stressed that he is sympathetic to the impact of high inflation on American families. “I understand Americans are anxious, and they’re anxious for good reason,” he said in remarks at the Port of Los Angeles. “Make no mistake about it: I understand inflation is a real challenge to American families,” he added. “Today’s inflation report confirmed what Americans already know: Putin’s price hike is hitting America hard. Gas prices at the pump, energy and food prices account for half of the monthly price increases since May.”

He called on Congress to pass legislation to cut shipping costs and the costs of energy bills and prescription drugs as well as tax reform so big corporations pay more. Part of the challenge for the White House, however, is that many Americans don’t realize Biden doesn’t control gas prices, said Matt Bennett, a strategist with centrist think tank Third Way.

“I think he needs to get caught trying to do everything possible. Haul the CEOs of the oil companies in to the White House and demand that they tell him exactly what they need to get production up in the short term,” Bennett said.

The White House said it was shifting gears toward a monthlong campaign in June to talk up the economy and to show the White House is prioritizing inflation while pushing the positives it has delivered on the economy.Biden reiterated that the U.S. is dealing with inflation from a position of strength, touting again the low unemployment rate.

Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright argued that the president’s focus on the positives of the economy will resonate with voters in the midterm elections this fall. “From a messaging standpoint, I think [Democrats] have to demonstrate district by district, race by race, what efforts we have done to save the economy,” Seawright said. “Make sure we tell the story and not let the story be told about us.”

Warren Buffet Warns Of A 50% Fall In Stock Market Buffet Told Investors That They Should Be Prepared For A 50 Per Cent Fall In The Shares

Veteran investor Warren Buffett has tremendous experience in the stock market that makes everyone trust his forecasts. Not only this, he has earned a lot of wealth from the stock market. Now amidst the ongoing volatility in the stock market, he has asked to be prepared for a fall of up to 50 per cent in the shares.

Warren Buffett has shared a video on Instagram. In this video he is giving advice to the investors investing in the stock market. He told investors that they should be prepared for a 50 per cent fall in the shares. This video has been shared on Instagram with the handle Warret Buffet Videos.

He said that when Berkshire’s stock fell, there was nothing wrong with the company. He said that the mind of the investor should be right. Otherwise, your life will be spent in buying and selling shares at the wrong time and you will continue to cry for loss. Investors take decisions on the advice of others when prices fluctuate.

They say that if you cannot keep investing in a stock for a long time, then you should not buy it. He says that just as you keep the farm with you for a long period, in the same way you need to be financially and psychologically prepared to hold the shares. Buffett had also said during an interview that you should invest in only those companies, which he understands. They should expect that the company’s shares will give good returns in the long run.

Warren Buffett takes the help of three rules to buy shares. He says that the first rule is that the company should have a good income on the amount invested in the business. Second, the management of the company should be in the hands of honest and skilled managers. Third the company’s share price should be correct.

APPLE Leads Among Top 100 Global Firms’ Whose Market Value Reaches $31.7 Trillion

The market capitalization of the top 100 companies globally increased from $10.3 trillion to $31.7 trillion, an increase of 48 per cent, from March 2020 till March 2021, a new report said on Sunday.

Apple topped the list with $2.85 trillion in market cap, followed by Saudi Aramco, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon, according to the data provided by London-based accounting company PwC.

Apple regained its crown as the world’s largest company by market capitalisation with a valuation 6 per cent and 13 per cent ahead of Saudi Aramco and Microsoft, respectively.

Reliance Industries (at 58th position) and Tata Consultancy Services (69th spot) were the only two companies from India in the global list.

There were no direct entrants to the ‘Global Top 100’ companies via IPO despite a buoyant IPO market.

“The threshold to enter the list is now $129 billion, potentially creating a barrier to future entrants via IPO,” the report noted.

Samsung Electronics Co was the world’s 22nd-largest company in terms of market capitalization, down seven notches from a year earlier.

The tech giant was the only South Korean company on the list with a market value of $342 billion, as of March.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. came in 10th, with its market cap reaching $541 billion, up by one notch from a year earlier.

Amazon’s market capitalisation increased by 61 per cent in the year to March 2021, supported by the growing “stay-at-home economy” seen throughout 2020 and into 2021, although Amazon did not move up from fourth position.

Elon Musk-run Tesla’s market capitalisation increased from $96 billion in March 2020 to $641 billion in March 2021, an astonishing 565 per cent increase and a clear outlier in the top 10 risers.

All regions and component countries experienced a relative increase in market capitalisation of the companies listed in the ‘Global Top 100’.

In-line with expectations, the United States continues to dominate the ‘Global Top 100’ list in terms of market capitalization and number of companies, with 59 companies accounting for 65 per cent of total market capitalization, the data showed.

Technology continues to be the largest sector in terms of market capitalisation ($10.5 trillion).

Global Top 100 Technology companies saw a 71% increase as compared to their value as at March 2020, in-line with the wider industry index performance.

“As a point of comparison, in the private company domain, half of the Top 100 unicorns valued at $1 billion and above (at 31 March 2021) were from the US, broadly in line with the ‘Global Top 100′ of public companies,” the report noted.

The value of the top 100 unicorns grew by 30 per cent to $1.1 trillion in the year to March 2021, behind the public companies’ market capitalisation increase in the same period (49 per cent).

Elon Musk’s Twitter Deal Likely To Fail

With Elon Musk issuing his most direct threat yet to walk away from his purchase of Twitter (TWTR) on June 6th, openly accusing the social media company of breaching the merger agreement by not providing the data he has requested on spam and fake accounts, the proposed deal is likely to fail, reports here suggest.

In a letter to Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, Vijaya Gadde, Musk alleged that Twitter is “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” as outlined by the deal.  “This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement,” an attorney representing Musk wrote to the company.

Musk’s letter speculated that Twitter may be “withholding the requested data due to concern for what Mr. Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover.”

Meanwhile, Twitter Inc said on Friday last week that the waiting period under the HSR Act for Elon Musk’s $44-billion acquisition of the social media firm has expired. Completion of the deal is now subject to remaining customary closing conditions, including approval by Twitter stockholders and the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals, Twitter said.

The HSR Act, or the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, requires parties to report large transactions to both the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division for review.

Musk has demanded that Twitter turn over information about its testing methodologies to support its claims that bots and fake accounts constitute less than 5% of the platform’s active user base, a figure the company has consistently stated for years in boilerplate public disclosures. Musk has also called for doing his own independent assessment based on Twitter data.

Shares of Twitter fell 5% in early trading Monday. Even before the latest development, Twitter stock was trading well below Musk’s takeover offer of $54.20 per share, likely indicating investor skepticism about the deal going through.

Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, has stood by his company’s longtime spam metric. In a statement Monday, the company said: “Twitter has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement.” The company also said it intends to “close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”

Musk has alleged that the true number of spam accounts is likely much more, potentially as high as 90%. Musk has previously said the acquisition “cannot move forward” until the company provides “proof” of its spam metric.

Some Wall Street analysts have said this pushback may be a case of buyer’s remorse and an effort to pressure Twitter into negotiating a lower price for the $44 billion deal. There have been questions from the start about how Musk would finance the acquisition. Social media stocks have also taken a hit in recent weeks amid broader market jitters.

The letter also claimed Twitter had sought to restrict access to the information by interpreting the merger agreement narrowly, such that providing the information would fall outside the scope of Twitter’s contractual requirements. But the letter charged that even by Twitter’s narrowed definitions, it still has an obligation to furnish the information.

In a separate securities filing, Twitter previously disclosed that Musk had waived a due diligence clause in the deal that could have made it easier for him to back out of the agreement; without it, Musk could face a tougher climb, and the prospect of litigation. In making the agreement to buy Twitter, Musk has made spam bots on the platform a central issue. He has vowed to defeat them or “die trying,” even as he has described Twitter as being vital to “the future of civilization.”

The Buzzy New Drinking Trend: Alcohol-Free Booze

Non-alcoholic alternatives to booze have been around for a while. But recently, the sector has been booming.  For a long time “you had ‘near beer,’ which was kind of a joke,” said Duane Stanford, editor of Beverage Digest. “People would be discreet about drinking them. And now that’s completely changed.”

The non-alcoholic trend started to pick up a year or two before the pandemic, with no-alcohol bars catering to the so-called “sober curious” popping up in some cities, and has continued to grow at a rapid clip.

In recent years, major alcohol companies including Heineken, AB InBev and Molson Coors have started offering more zero alcohol options. Smaller brands, such as Athletic Brewing, which makes non-alcoholic craft beer, and Seedlip, which makes booze-free liquor alternatives, have also arrived on the scene.

A non-alcoholic martini. Seedlip “started to gain momentum a few years ago and continues to today,” said Lizzy Freier, director of menu research and insights at food service consulting firm Technomic.

Mentions of Seedlip on drink menus has grown 100% year-over-year, Freier said, adding that “we’re now starting to see some new alcohol-free spirits show up on the market, especially in independent restaurants.”

Non-alcoholic booze alternatives are still a tiny market compared to regular alcoholic beverages. But while alcohol sales slip, sales of their alcohol-free counterparts are soaring.

In the year ending May 14, US retail sales of non-alcoholic spirits grew 116% to $4.5 million, according to NielsenIQ. Alcoholic spirit sales slipped about 1% to just under $21 billion.

In that same period, non-alcoholic beer jumped 21% to $316 million and non-alcoholic wine rose 20% to $50 million. Traditional beer sales fell 4% to about $46 billion, and sales of alcoholic wine declined 6% to nearly $20 billion.

Stanford sees it this way: As interest in non-alcoholic alternatives rises, there’s a greater imperative for brands to deliver better products as more of them launch.

“There is a real market force now to go and create those solutions and to really work at it,” he said. “There’s money to be made. So people are figuring it out.”

But, Stanford added, “I do wonder what the natural ceiling is for these products, because you don’t have the functionality of alcohol.” In other words, how many people really want booze without the buzz?

Going out, but drinking less

Demand for non-alcoholic alternatives has been largely driven by younger consumers who want to drink less but aren’t interested in abstaining from alcohol altogether, Stanford said.

“They’re not necessarily teetotaling. In fact, most of them aren’t,” he said. “They do drink alcohol, but they’re just trying to moderate.”

A non-alcoholic beer or cocktail might appeal to consumers who, for example, are observing Dry January. Or maybe they want to stay out late with friends, but keep drinking to a minimum. Perhaps they have to drive home, or are trying to avoid a hangover. Or they are aware of alcohol’s negative health effects, and want to consume less in general.

Those drinkers could always reach for a seltzer or a soda, of course. But non-alcoholic beverage makers are positioning their products as more sophisticated and flavorful. And, with colorful cans and festive packaging, they’re designed to help non-drinkers blend in.

“The biggest market play we’re seeing is this emphasized idea that customers can still gather, celebrate and enjoy a good drink while still abstaining from alcohol, whether that be for lifestyle choices or personal reasons,” Freier said.

Erin Flavin, seated facing the table, started researching non-alcoholic alternatives to booz when she quit drinking.

Erin Flavin found herself imbibing more than she wanted to during the pandemic. So in October 2020, she decided to quit drinking. Sick of seltzer, she explored other options.

“I started out with teas,” she said. She discovered Rishi Tea & Botanicals, which makes a line of “sparkling botanicals” drinks. They come in flavors like grapefruit quince, dandelion ginger and elderberry maqui, made with red wine grape skins.

“I was drinking that a lot, in a beautiful glass, and still having my little ritual at the end of the night,” she said. “That really helped.” Last year, she started selling some non-alcoholic drinks at her Minneapolis hair studio, Honeycomb Salon. She plans to open a non-alcoholic liquor store soon.

While some, like Flavin, took stock of their drinking habits during the pandemic, others had been thinking about alcohol alternatives for years.

Non-alcoholic beers get crafty

For Ben Jordan, it was challenging to find something flavorful but non-alcoholic to drink when he’d go to get-togethers while at graduate school, about a decade ago.

“I was wanting to drink beer at parties and in social environments, but didn’t want the effects of ethanol,” he told CNN Business. At the time, the non-alcoholic beer options were “pretty bad,” he said.

So he set out to find a solution, eventually co-founding ABV Technology, which sells and rents machines that remove alcohol from beer to craft breweries, enabling them to get in on the trend. ABV Technology also offers its products to distilleries and wineries. The company was incorporated in 2017, and Jordan is its CEO.

One surprising incentive for craft brewers deciding whether to invest in non-alcoholic beers? The hard seltzer craze.

Once ABV Technology’s machines remove alcohol from beer, that booze can then be used for hard seltzers. For a brewer, that affords the option of turning alcoholic beer into two products: non-alcoholic beer and trendy hard seltzer.

Ben Jordan, CEO of ABV Technology, Jordan predicts that in the United States, non-alcoholic beer could end up making up a fifth of the total US beer market.  “Things look very positive for the non-alcoholic beer industry right now,” he said.

But there are challenges ahead, especially as consumers cope with soaring inflation. Non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits don’t come cheap.

Bottles of non-alcoholic spirits are priced in the $20 to $30-range on Amazon. And a can of non-alcoholic beer costs about the same, if not more, than the same sized-can of regular beer, Jordan said.

A sliver of the population may be willing to pay that amount for that alternative, Stanford said.

“Upwardly mobile, young consumers who want these kinds of products for specific lifestyle reasons — as long as you’re offering them quality and something that they actually want to hold and be seen with, they will pay those prices,” he said.

But getting money-conscious skeptics on board? “The challenge is, you’re gonna have to convince them that the quality is there,” Stanford said, “that they’re going to look cool drinking it, and they’re going to want to be seen with it.”

Noida To Have India’s Largest Airport

Tata Projects will construct the Noida International Airport in Greater Noida. Yamuna International Airport Private Limited is a 100% subsidiary of Swiss developer Zurich Airport International AG and has been incorporated as a Special Purpose Vehicle to develop Noida Airport

Tata Group’s infrastructure and construction arm, Tata Projects, has bagged the contract to construct the upcoming Noida International Airport at Greater Noida’s Jewar, in Uttar Pradesh.

As part of the contract, Tata Projects will construct the terminal, runway, airside infrastructure, roads, utilities, landside facilities and other ancillary buildings at the airport, Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL) said in a statement today.

Yamuna International Airport Private Limited is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Swiss developer Zurich Airport International AG and has been incorporated as a Special Purpose Vehicle to develop Noida International Airport.

In 2019, Zurich Airport International AG won the bid to develop the airport. The Uttar Pradesh government signed the concession agreement with Yamuna International Airport Private Limited on October 7, 2020, to commence the development of the Noida International Airport.

Noida International Airport will be India’s largest airport once constructed fully.

The greenfield facility, spread in 1,334 hectares, will have a single-runway operation in the first phase with a capacity to handle 12-million passengers per annum at an investment of ₹ 5,700 crore.

“YIAPL has selected Tata Projects Ltd to undertake the Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of Noida International Airport. The company has been selected from three shortlisted teams with demonstrated experience in the design, procurement, and construction of large infrastructure projects,” the statement said.

The new airport is expected to be functional by 2024, as per the developer. With the closure of the EPC contract, the first phase of the airport is on track to be delivered within three years of the commencement of the concession period, YIAPL said.

“We are pleased to partner with Tata Projects for EPC work at Noida International Airport. With the award of this contract, our project enters the next phase, which will witness a rapid increase in the pace of construction activities on site,” said Christoph Schnellmann, Chief Executive Officer, Yamuna International Airport Private Limited.

The company, together with Tata Projects, is working to deliver a passenger terminal, runway, and other airport infrastructure with a capacity of 12 million passengers annually, by 2024, he said.

“Tata Projects will work closely with Yamuna International Airport Private Limited to deliver the airport on time. We will deploy the latest technologies in its construction, while meeting the highest standards of quality, safety, and sustainability,” said Vinayak Pai, CEO and MD-designate at Tata Projects Ltd.

Comments Tata Projects’ other major projects include the New Parliament Building, Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, and metro rail lines across various cities, as per the statement.

AAPI’s 40th Convention To Feature Prominent CEOs From Around World

The Healthcare industry in the United States and around the world is rapidly changing, leading to many describing the healthcare environment as dynamic, complex, and highly uncertain. The manner in which the health care environment is perceived and characterized is important for several reasons. Higher-performing health care providers and organizations are those that are, among other characteristics, able to understand and manage uncertainty and ambiguity in their environments.

With a view to helping AAPI members better understand the recent trends in the delivery of healthcare to millions across the nation, the forthcoming 40th annual convention, organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) from June 23rd to 25th, 2022 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX is planning a high power CEO Forum, featuring experts and leaders in the healthcare industry, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI announced.

Conceived and developed by Dr. Joseph M. Chalil and Mr. Bob Miglani, and building on the successful experiences of the past several years of the popular CEO Forum at the 40th edition of AAPI’s annual Convention, to be attended by world renowned healthcare leaders will address: “The Future of Healthcare: Technology, Transformation and Beyond.”

“Continuing on the successful experiences of the past several years of the prestigious CEO Forums, AAPI is pleased to announce the HealthCare CEO Forum, which will focus and deliberate on two extremely important challenges of Global contemporary relevance, and harness the vast reservoir of intellect and experience in this group to help provide solutions and direction,” Dr. Miglani said.

“Thought leaders from Healthcare, Pharmaceutical and Technological Companies will discuss ways to ensure that lower cost and effective medicines with the highest quality in an ever changing world utilizing the latest technologies,” said Dr. Chalil.

Featured speakers at the Forum are; Rebecca Seidel, President, Cardiac Ablation Solutions- Medtronic; Samuel Conaway, President, Worldwide Sales of Boston scientific; Robert Mattacchione, Chairman, CEO of Novo Integrated Sciences; Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu- Feltes, CEO, Softhread inc.; Dr. Prem Reddy, CEO, Prime Health Care; and, Dr. Juby Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Sanofi; Dr. Monika Kapur, CEO University Medical Associates

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI will provide introductory remarks to this exclusive Forum, which will be moderated by Dr. Joseph M. Chalil and Mr. Bob Miglani, who have ensured the continuity of this Forum, which is now a signature event at the Convention.

“With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI would like to make a positive meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India,” Dr. Ravi Kolli-President-Elect of AAPI says.

“The CEO Forum will focus on the changing trends in the healthcare sector and how they impact the providers, hospitals and corporations as well as the patients,” said Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT. “The Forum will also offer insights into managing efficiently the growing costs in the delivery of healthcare services.”

“The 2022 AAPI Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly offers the participants at the convention a rare platform to interact with and listen to leading physicians, healthcare professionals, academicians, scientists, and leaders of the hospitals, technology , medical device and pharmaceutical companies,” said Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI.

“The annual convention this year is being hosted by local chapter, Texas India- American Physicians’ s Society, San Antonio. The annual convention offers extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” said Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair, AAPI Convention & Past President of AAPI.  “A pool of dedicated AAPI leaders are working hard to make the Convention a unique event for all the participants,” he added.

“AAPI has made its presence felt across the nation, through its many roles it plays and the several noble causes and programs its supports both here in the US and in India, and is now set to take this largest ethnic group of physicians in the United States to the next level of continued growth and stability,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said.

“From being an ethnic organization, committed to the cause of ethnic Indian American physicians and many noble causes that we advocate for, AAPI’s role has come to be recognized as vital among AAPI members, the larger Indian American community, and among Lawmakers,” said Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI.

Representing the interests of the over 120,000 physicians of Indian origin, leaders of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, for 40 years, AAPI Convention provides a platform for medical education programs and symposia with world renowned physicians on the cutting edge technology in medicine.

Dr. Gotimukula pointed out: “Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the years to come. We look forward to welcoming you in San Antonio!”  For more details, and sponsorship and exhibits opportunities, please visit:   and

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