Aconcerned prime minister Narendra Modi is working on fixing what is completely broke. Modi has begun a Kashmir outreach by meeting eminent Kashmiris who are clued in to the ground realities in the Valley. After four years of innumerable flip-flops in which the alienated youth of Kashmir virtually revolted against the failed experiment of the ‘agenda for alliance’ between the Hindu Right of India and the Kashmiri Right of J&K, the plug was pulled on the coalition that set the Valley back by many years.
Given the relative calm in the dollar/rupee situation between 2014 and 2017, the current rupee depreciation feels painfully sharp. Yet, we are not in an uncontrolled dollar/rupee free-fall, irrespective of what news headlines might suggest. Unlike 2013, RBI still has ample currency reserves to be in control – for now.
The infrastructure sector is one of the key foundations for the growth of the Indian economy. Time-bound completion of infrastructure projects is crucial for India’s overall progress and development. Unfortunately, there are several issues afflicting the sector, which have led to sluggish growth of the sector and discouraged investment. Coupled with sector-specific issues, another impediment, which has hitherto been affecting the growth of the infrastructure sector, is the ease of doing business and enforceability of contracts.
In a world where transactions are increasingly being done online, the government of India has visibly pushed for digital or online transactions to become the norm. But there is also a recognition that the traditional norms of how business is conducted and regulated cannot be applied and indeed, needs to be significantly revised to apply to companies with only a virtual presence in India.
Most political parties have started preparing for the 2019 general election. Telangana has gone one step further and has dissolved the assembly to facilitate elections. I would like to stress that the manifestos of parties for the 2019 election should contain a commitment for moving from food security to nutrition security. The Food Security Act of 2013 already makes a commitment in this regard. To those in charge of preparing poll manifestos, I would like to explain how to achieve the transition from food to nutrition security.
Oil has been on a recovery mode since it tumbled to a low of $27.10 a barrel in mid-January 2016. Expectations of upbeat global demand and concerns over supply lifted oil prices and now it is trading firm, with the ICE Brent futures trading within $70-$80 a barrel range since April. The commodity stayed largely insulated and continued edging higher even after worries about the trade standoff between the US and China gripped the market. In domestic market, it is hovering near its four-year highs on gains in the overseas market along with weak domestic currency.
The Indian rupee has depreciated to 72 per dollar and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is kind of holding on here. Indian 10-year bond yield has reached 8.10 per cent, signifying a possible rate hike in coming months. Question is what next for the dollar-rupee tango. Lets look at primary factors that are at play for the dollar/rupee movement.
Data is the new oil, but the truth is, it’s crude, unrefined and though available in plenty it is hard to find. Data is only valuable once it has been processed. Data powers the information economy in the same way that oil fuelled the industrial economy. Data promises a plethora of new uses – expansion of business in the required direction, diagnosis of diseases, traffic patterns, etc. Mega-trends such as big data, smart cities, internet of things (IoT) and rapid development of mobile technologies are driving the utilisation of personal data.
You wake up; groggily pick up your phone and swipe through countless emails, calls and app notifications. You get out of bed, get ready for work and with a few quick swipes on your screen, a cab arrives at your doorstep. While you are at work, a few more screen swipes and a vacuum cleaner cleans your home before you get back. Get home, and there’s no need to cook because your trusty phone can also have food delivered right to your doorstep.
The diplomatic tug of war in the Maldives seems to be going in favour of China as it looks to have gained a stronghold on President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom through the ‘debt trap diplomacy’, with the inauguration of Beijing-funded Sinamale Bridge, which India chose to boycott. It is a flagship Chinese infrastructure project linking capital Male with the airport island. Also known as the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, it has been built with a $72 million loan besides $116 million grant by China.