Why we are obsessed with money

What a way to exist!

For most of us, practically the whole day all we are thinking is about money and more specifically how to have more money!

As if money was the only thing in life. Unfortunately for most of us, circumstances just do not permit any other thought!

We are running behind money most of the time which is almost akin to have become obsessed with money. Everything that we are doing in life is centred around money.

Unfortunately, this is because we need money for anything and everything that we do. There’s nothing wrong and what are you doing, however the problem is that over time, it becomes a compulsive habit to keep earning more.

That’s where the danger is. The problem is that there is a point where from we chase money as an addiction, we chase money because we like to do so. If we did not chase money we would not know what to chase now because we get out identity from money and the amount of money we have.

Another thing is that right from childhood we are always taught and our minds are conditioned that everything that we are doing is going to be for the sake of earning money.

There is no one who told you that money is just a means, and then there is something greater in life to achieve. Some examples are legacy; building something, charity; to giving something / helping someone, passion; pursuing something and living; simply to enjoy life and your money

We have got addicted to this and how!

There are three reasons for this:

First, we are what we do. It is the human behaviour. I know I should exercise and I don’t. I know I should eat healthy and I don’t. I know I should spend time with my kids and I don’t. I know that, yes, money isn’t going to make me happy and I still keep trying to make money.

We live by the laws of inertia, in a pattern which is hard to break. But we have to break it. For ourselves and for the sake of people and reasons for which we are chasing money.

Secondly, we need signals of progress. Money is a measure of how far you have progressed in life. The more the money you have the more you can make sure your progress. It’s simply the logic of evolution. People need validation of their success. Bigger house, bigger car, branded goods and list goes on.

Thirdly, it’s the easy way out. It’s only human to avoid difficult things. Important things are very difficult to measure.  Have I been a good father or husband? Have I groomed my child well?  Such things take years to measure and we still don’t have answers.

So, should we not be focused on creating money for ourselves?

I’m not saying that. Definitely create. Take care of yourself for sure!! Use it to the maximum to make yourself happy!!! You need a certain amount and beyond that is extra.

The definition of their certain amount is naturally different from one person to another. If that extra is going to happen easily, without stress and without your involvement, then its fine. Basically don’t kill yourself for that extra. Be Smart.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a certified financial planner, wealth manager and financial freedom coach.

How the RBI actually helps you

Most of us in Mumbai, see this huge structure called the Reserve Bank of India and wonder what it really does. It’s also a tourist attraction!! It has so many other offices and again one wonders why they need to have so many offices. I’m going to try and highlight a very interesting part of RBI’s work and how it helps us directly on a day-to-day basis.

The RBI does a review of the monetary policy of the country at frequent intervals during the year. So how does the monetary policy help us investors to take smart decisions?

Monetary policy is a tool by which the RBI decides to raise interest rates or reduce interest rates or keep them steady.

In our country, as we’re an oil importing nation, this decision is very closely linked to Oil. Oil to a large extent contributes to inflation. We all know what happens when inflation keeps rising. We in India unfortunately do not see too much of inflation falling and things becoming cheaper.

Oil is Not Well

So when oil prices rise i.e. we see a rise in crude oil prices almost instantly we can expect rising food prices. This is because there is going to be a rising cost pressure for manufacturing & services. This rise obviously gets passed onto the retail consumers.

When this happens RBI adopts a hawkish stance, tries to pull money out of the system by raising interest rates. Now when interest rates rise no one seems to be interested in borrowing. This immediately puts a brakes on money circulation.  Less money chasing goods decreases the demand for money. This way it controls inflation.

There is yet another tool that the RBI has and that is known as the CRR or the cash reserve ratio.  This ratio in simple words means the amount of cash that the bank must maintain with the RBI as the percentage of the total assets. So when this increases banks are forced to park more with the RBI and this is also a way to control inflation.

On the other hand when things look dull, when there is a recession of sorts, the RBI comes to the rescue and gets into action to kickstart growth in the country. It does this by lowering the interest rates. This we all will understand quite easily because we see a direct benefit of this happening. We see a fall of interest outgo in our EMI’s for the home loan that we are carrying. New loans become cheaper.

Individuals are motivated to go out and make purchases, whether it is for a washing machine or a piece of real estate. Businesses are motivated to go out and borrow to buy more machinery, to expand capacity, to hire more staff and manpower and basically do everything that will add to the growth of business.

Economic growth results as a result of all this. It is also during this time that stock market rises, we see a rally in stock prices and mutual fund NAV’s jumping higher and higher each day. There is prosperity all around.

Critical Role

As you can see that the central bank of the country has a very very important role to play.  If it makes a mistake, things can go really wrong.  Imagine like the USA or Japan if our interest rates were very low; everyone would run to borrow, they would borrow more than they require because it would be cheap and easy to borrow. And that is very individuals would run into what is known as the debt trap, because someday you’ll have to pay back.

Each day the central bank attempts to make sure that everything in our country remains stable and financially there’s nothing that goes wrong dramatically.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager & Financial Freedom Coach.

The year of the bond, once again!

We are not talking of James Bond, we are talking of investment bonds.

We are in a situation where the fixed deposit rates are at a general low and there is a lot of discontent among depositors of fixed deposits.

Whenever we see a situation like this, one way or the other, the bond markets come to the rescue. It comes to the rescue of smart depositors, who are agile to move their money from fixed deposits to bond funds.

Let’s understand what is happening and why.

What Exactly is Happening in the Bond Markets?

It is likely that in this year, investors of bond funds will make handsome gains. Bond prices may rise and there may be capital gains. Investors of bond funds not only earn the rate of interest, but also earn capital gains. So that way, they make more than the return they would make on fixed deposits. The returns could be a high single digit or sometimes as high as double digits.

Over three years, this will become practically tax free or the tax would be a very small amount. So, basically, I am thinking that a rally will happen in the bond market. There are three main reasons for this — reduction in government borrowing (which is favourable), recovery of trading losses (which is favourable) and no change in monetary policy (which is neutral).

A word of caution, however, that such bond market investments are also subject to bond-market volatility and should be considered ideally with the help of a financial expert.

Before proceeding further, let us, therefore, quickly explain a bond, bond fund and bond market. We need to do this because few people understand the bond markets and even fewer invest in the bond markets.

Bond is nothing, but a commercial transaction where the borrower is issuing a bond to the lender and the lender will earn a certain rate of interest. When interest rates fall, everyone becomes interested in owning that bond.

As a result, the demand for the bond increases, the price of the bond increases and the bondholder makes capital gains.

A bond fund is a fund where ordinary investors pool in their money and a fund manager buys them a portfolio of bonds.

Moving onto the Reasons For a Rally in Bond Funds…

Now, the fundamental reason for a rally is reduction in interest rates as it stimulates economy and growth.

Firstly, the government is a massive borrower of funds. So a reduction in government borrowing reduces the demand for money in the economy. As a result, prices of bonds rise and this contributes to capital gains for bond holders.

Secondly, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently announced that the commercial banks and RBI, which are the largest lenders to the government, will have another year to offset losses they have incurred on account of buying government bonds in the past. This action will lead to a rise in the price of bonds and this contributes to capital gains for bond holders.

Lastly, on one side due to the rise in oil prices, there is more inflation and thus more money is needed for circulation in the economy. On the other side, many government bonds are maturing, which will provide money supply. So, it is likely that we see a neutralising effect and thus RBI will take no action. This inaction here will support capital gains as explained above. Hence, this year might be a year of good gains for the bond investors.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager & Financial Freedom Coach.

Five new financial goals for you this summer

I am going to try and explain to you why the summer holidays of April and May are great months to get a lot of things started, financially speaking.

This time period in a way resets the financial clock. You also have the option to hit the reset button on everything you have done so far; financially speaking of course and hope to do better things better than you did last year.

Let’s look at some of the new and unusual things to do in April.

  • Make a learning budget

Learn something about money or anything you like. The best way to make money is to learn something about money. Just like if you wanted to learn cooking you will get into the cooking class. If you wanted to learn swimming you would enrol in the swimming class. If you find learning about money is too daunting task than learn something which is close at to your heart or related to your work. If you learn something new, there’s a possibility that you will use your new ideas to generate new income and in turn that will generate new wealth for you.  So make a budget, enrol somewhere and spend that budget. How about a % of your annual income? Spend it for sure!

  • Plan a unique holiday 

When you’re by yourself and without your mobile phone you will have the opportunity to think! When you have time to think, suddenly good ideas will come to your mind.  You may think this is silly but you can be sure that you will be amazed if your drivers experiment just once. So it might be a good idea to go for a holiday just by yourself. If you find that too intimidating, join a group of strangers. You can combine that with the adventures experience if you like.  Be extra careful if you’re going with your special buddies. Do this only if they are going to be in a position to help you discuss your idea and make it bigger. They must play the role of complimenting your thoughts. So make a schedule to do this holiday and obviously make a budget to make it happen. Think & create new ways of making wealth.

  • Make a prediction and make it happen

Be brave. Let’s aim to grow and multiply net worth by 50% by the time you come to the end of this financial year. This is not a joke and it is easier than you can imagine.  I’m speaking about NETWORTH and I’m not talking about return on investment. If your networth is Rs. 100 today, all I’m saying is that let’s aim to make this a 150 by the end of this year. This networth comprises of all your savings till date. This can be achieved by simply saving aggressively every month for the next twelve months. Just put this into a recurring deposit or liquid fund so you don’t spend it.  We just have to prove to ourselves that this is possible. Where and how we will invest this money will think about that later.

  • Eliminate a negative belief 

I want to give you an exercise here. Write down all your negative beliefs you have about money and wealth. Most people are not able to achieve the desired level of wealth because they think about wealth negatively. So even if you are earning a good amount of income you will never see yourself becoming wealthy. Examples are money causes problems, money causes a fight, managing money is complicated etc. Then for each negative thought, you have written down the positives i.e. the opposite for a few months. Soon negatively biased feelings will evaporate.

  • Make a new investment; something you have not done before

Again here you do not have to be a financial expert. The idea is to learn something new. There are hundreds of investment options. Our objective here is to learn something new. Talk to your advisor and seek his or her guidance. Just a word of caution here; don’t do anything which is speculative or is something that you just can’t understand. Do what do find easy you understand and do that then.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager & Financial Freedom Coach.

Seeking financial freedom? The time is NOW!

John Lewis famously remarked, “If not now, then when? If not us, then who?” This is so appropriate in the current financial world that we live in.

That statement will leave to rest every other argument that is conservative and against the idea of wealth creation. We are often faced with the situation where there is no option but to create wealth. Read on to know why!

Interest rates are painfully low. For all those diehard fans of guaranteed investment returns, there’s hardly any place to go to. Thinking of fixed deposits? Feeling happy with 7%? And fully taxable? That period is over. Period.

That doctrine of investing into pure fixed deposits and similar instruments is unfortunately standing challenged. There is no option but to sprinkle it with a combination of a little something that will add to the returns earned from fixed income type of securities. In fact this category of investors are in a way, best placed in terms of the current tax laws.

They can earn about 9-10% with minimal or near zero tax over about five years and more. Starting to generate rate of return above the inflation level of 7% is starting to create wealth. So there it is; there is no option but to move in the direction of creating wealth.

For more evolved investors, who invest in equities and who and still sitting on the sidelines tend to run out of patience every now and then. They are sometimes waiting for the right time, sometimes waiting for correction, sometimes waiting for valuation and sometimes waiting for just nothing. Sometimes, just too busy to take action!

I totally understand not wanting to lose hard-earned money. But if the money does not move it will stagnate. That’s the problem with money.

Hit the Ground Running

Inaction and inactivity kills it. Makes it costly to hold. Makes us lose opportunities, sometimes small and sometimes significant. I know of many people including my dad, who just kept investing into equities and holding forever. No doubt they were hugely (big HUGELY) better off then the people in the same time zone. I think they could have done far better with some smart lessons on asset allocation. This is because if they compare the growth rate of their holding over a period of 20 or maybe 30 years the compounded rate of return earned is often not impressive.

It is just marginally better or a few percentage points above the fixed deposit rate. Hence the need for asset allocation, which simply put is not to have all eggs in one basket at any given point in time. These sections of investors anyways create wealth, and, asset allocation is the tool that ensures that the process of wealth creation continues uninterrupted. So again there it is; even for this section there is not option but to start enhancing their wealth creation activities, else returns will continue to remain forever mediocre.

Then there are skeptics and there is nothing much for skeptics of everything, except that they need a serious dose of financial education. Perhaps what if needed is a proof of concept and for that, which better country to live in other than India where financial transparency in investments is so high that I sometimes feel, it comes from another planet.

 Your Money Needs Action

Today, there is a whole lot of variety to choose from and we have never been more spoilt for choice. But the most important thing in all this is to understand that your money needs action. It needs activity and for that the time is now!

And furthermore, if you asked me this question 10 years ago; I would have said that, the Time is NOW. If you ask this question 10 years hence, I will still say the Time is NOW. Any time is the right time to start the process of creating wealth. All that is important is that you take your first step; then continue it all the way with zeal and determination… till you have the level of wealth that you desire. And if you accumulate more than you need, still do it and share it with the world.

If you want your financial freedom; then the Time is NOW!

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager and Financial Freedom Coach.

Young Turks: Here’s the success story of venture fund Aspada

Venture fund Aspada was co-founded by Kartik Srivatsa and Thomas Hyland in 2012 and has made 17 investments so far across Fin-tech, agriculture, health and edu-tech startups.

Young Turks takes a look at their investment thesis, their differentiated VC model and meet three of their portfolio companies – Capital Float that underwrites unsecured loans to startups and SMEs; Dunzo, a hyper local concierge and delivery player that is also Google’s first direct startup investment in India; WayCool, a Chennai-based agriculture-tech startup.

Amazon picks New York City and Virginia for $5 billion new headquarters

Amazon.com Inc picked America’s financial and political capitals for its split new headquarters, saying on Tuesday it will build offices for more than 25,000 people each in New York City and close by Washington, D.C.

The world’s largest online retailer plans to spend $5 billion on the two new developments and expects to get more than $2 billion in tax credits and incentives, with plans to apply for more.

Its move ends a frenzied year-long bidding war among cities across North America, splitting the location between two finalists. In addition, Nashville, Tennessee, will become Amazon’s fourth-biggest office outside Seattle with more than 5,000 corporate jobs focused on technology and management for its retail operations unit.

With more than 610,000 workers worldwide, Seattle-based Amazon is already one of the biggest employers in the United States and the world’s third-most valuable company, behind Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp.

Still, it faces fierce competition for talent with Alphabet Inc’s Google and other companies offering free perks in sunny – but increasingly unaffordable – Silicon Valley. It hopes the new headquarters will give it a leg up when it starts hiring for the offices in 2019.

“These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent,” Jeff Bezos, the company’s chief executive and world’s richest man, said in a news release.

Already marketing its forthcoming New York location in Long Island City, just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan, Amazon said the neighborhood is home to breweries, waterfront parks and easy transit access. The former industrial area also has a clock counting down the hours until the end of US President Donald Trump’s first presidential term.

In addition, the choice of Arlington, Virginia, could hand Amazon greater political influence in the nearby US capital, where it already has one of the largest lobbying shops in town.

Bezos privately owns the Washington Post, which has written critical articles about Trump and, in turn, he has been a frequent target of broadsides from the president. The paper maintains full editorial independence from its owner.

Tax Breaks

At the outset of the headquarters search last year, Amazon said it was looking for a business-friendly environment, in addition to help recruiting workers.

The company said on Tuesday it will receive performance-based direct incentives of $1.525 billion from the state of New York, primarily for creating 25,000 jobs with an equivalent benefit of $48,000 per person. It also can apply for credits worth $3,000 per job under the city’s Relocation and Employment Assistance Program.

In Virginia, it will receive performance-based direct incentives of $573 million, based on 25,000 jobs at $22,000 in benefits per head.

In sum, Amazon will get a boost worth greater than $2 billion for the new offices, on top of $1.6 billion in subsidies it has received from across the United States since 2000, according to a database from the Washington-based government watchdog Good Jobs First.

Amazon did not comment on the Good Jobs First numbers but said it has invested $160 billion in the United States since 2010, including in warehouses, data centers and employee compensation.

The new offices will generate more than $14 billion in extra tax revenue for New York, Virginia and Tennessee over the next two decades, Amazon said.

“This is a giant step on our path to building an economy in New York City that leaves no one behind,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in the press release.

The company expects an average wage of more than $150,000 for employees in each new office.

Year-Long Competition

Amazon had received 238 proposals vying to host its next home base after Seattle. New York and Virginia beat out 18 other finalists from a January short list, including Los Angeles and Chicago.

New Jersey made headlines early in the contest by proposing $7 billion in potential credits against state and city taxes if Amazon located in Newark and stuck to hiring commitments.

Others with less money to offer took a more creative approach: the mayor of the Atlanta suburb of Stonecrest, Jason Lary, said he would create a new city from industrial land called Amazon and name Bezos its mayor for life.

In evaluating its options, Amazon drilled down into the quality of schools to which employees could send their children, a key factor in keeping workers satisfied. The company evaluated local SAT scores for college admission and met with superintendents, hearing how they characterized the importance of education in science and math.

It was not immediately clear how negotiations unfolded once Amazon settled on the plan for two offices, which Reuters and other media reported last week.

Amazon said the split would give it more geographic diversity for recruiting and could also help lessen congestion and cost-of-living increases that would have accompanied one bigger office.

The company has already had to navigate similar issues at its more than 45,000-person urban campus in Seattle. An affordable housing crisis there prompted the city council to adopt a head tax on businesses in May, which Amazon helped overturn in a subsequent city council vote.

Some critics had pushed for more transparency from cities and states in the bidding process, warning that the benefits of hosting a massive Amazon office may not offset the taxpayer-funded incentives and other costs.

The company has said it helped boost Seattle’s economy indirectly by $38 billion between 2010 and 2016. Construction and service work has increased, catering to Amazon, and the company said it also helped attract other businesses to Seattle.

Amazon shares were up about 1 percent in morning trade.

Need more workers? Improve parental leave, Fed paper says

The United States economy could add as many as 5 million workers to its labor force by improving conditions for women workers, including offering better parental leave, a paper published by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank on Tuesday found.

Worker shortages have become an increasing concern for US companies now that unemployment has fallen to 3.7 percent, and part of the problem has been a decline in the rate at which working-age people participate in the labor force.

The San Francisco Fed paper, whose lead author is the bank’s new president Mary Daly, analyzed Canada’s track record of a rising participation rate, and found that most of the difference can be attributed to policies like childcare subsidies and parental leave policies that make it easier for Canadian women to remain in the workforce after they have children.

“The contrast between the incentives Canada and the United States offer prime-age workers to remain attached to the labor force is clear,” Daly and her co-authors wrote. “By reversing the trend in participation of prime-age women to catch up with Canada’s labor market participation rate, the United States could add as many as 5 million prime-age workers to its labor force.”

Dell taps banks to raise more cash for tracking stock offer

Dell Technologies Inc is working with investment banks to add more cash to a $21.7 billion offer to buy back a “tracking stock” tied to its software company VMware Inc as it nears a deal with investors, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The move comes after several investors in the tracking stock, including billionaire Carl Icahn, said they would not accept Dell’s first offer, arguing it transfers too much value to Dell’s owners, founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake.

The acquisition of the publicly traded tracking stock would result in Dell becoming a publicly listed company without an initial public offering (IPO). Dell needs a majority of the holders of the tracking stock to approve the deal. A vote on the tracking stock offer has been scheduled for Dec. 11.

Dell issued the tracking stock in 2016 to buy data storage company EMC for $67 billion because it could not pay for the entire deal in cash and did not want to add to its debt burden. EMC owned a majority stake in VMware, which Dell inherited.

The security “tracks,” or depends on, the financial performance of VMware, and has been trading at a significant discount to VMware’s stock. This has emboldened investors such as Icahn to argue that Dell’s offer undervalues the tracking stock.

Dell has so far offered $109 in cash for each tracking share, up to $9 billion in total, with the remainder payable with 1.3665 shares of Dell’s Class C common stock for each tracking share. That is equivalent to a 41/59 cash-stock split. Dell has said it plans to use a special dividend from VMware to fund the $9 billion portion of the deal.

Dell and tracking stock investors are now close to a deal, according to the sources. Dell is hoping to conclude negotiations with owners of the tracking stock and table a new offer as early as this week, the sources said. Negotiations have focused on a valuation of between $120 and $130 for each tracking share, though a final decision has not been made, some of the sources added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Dell and Silver Lake declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal had reported last week that Dell was looking at improving on its tracking stock offer.

The tracking stock jumped 5 percent to $103.49 on the news, its highest level since it started trading in 2016.

The tracking stock battle has echoes of the $24.9 billion deal that Dell and Silver Lake clinched to take the company private in 2013, a transaction that Icahn also opposed. In that case, Icahn also managed to secure a slight improvement to the offer.

Michael Dell has turned to deal-making to transform his company from a PC manufacturer into a broader seller of information technology services, ranging from storage and servers to networking and cyber security.

As a public company, Dell could more easily use its stock as currency for acquisitions. While its debt has dropped from $57.3 billion following the EMC deal to $50.3 billion, it remains heavily indebted. The company continues to pay down debt and has told investors it aims for an investment-grade rating sometime next year.

Other investors that opposed the original tracking stock deal include P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, which earlier this month asked Dell to raise its offer by 20 percent. Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp is also not satisfied with Dell’s offer, sources have said.

SC’s ‘no’ to PIL seeking disclosure of criminal antecedents, assets of candidates in polls

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a PIL seeking a direction to the Election Commission to ensure that voters’ fundamental right to know about criminal antecedents and assets of candidates in polls is enforced. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said such issues “cannot be the subject matter of judicial decisions” and the job pertained to other constitutional functionaries like the poll panel.

“Can it be the matter of judicial decisions and directions,” asked the bench, which also comprised justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

Refusing to entertain the PIL filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, it said, “We have a lot of other work to do. Let the other constitutional functionaries work also… Working of the Constitution is the joint responsibility of constitutional functionaries.”

The PIL had referred to recent notifications of the poll panel and said they have been issued without either amending the model code of conduct (MCC) or the Election Symbol Order and hence, they lacked legal sanction to force candidates to disclose their personal details.

Recently, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the poll panel before contesting an election.

It had also asked the legislature to consider framing a law to ensure decriminalisation of politics.

The PIL had sought a direction to the poll panel to ensure the right of voters to know “age, qualification, criminal antecedents and assets of candidates”.

It said if the candidates do not advertise their details adequately then their election “be set aside and the nomination of the candidate would stand rejected”.

The plea also sought that the candidates disclose their details on a minimum space of 33 per cent in case of banner, poster and hoarding advertisements and and a minimum of 33 per cent of the running time in case of audio and video recordings.

“It is imperative that this information is displayed widely, and onus must be on candidate seeking high Constitutional office to make a clean breast of things,” the petition said.

Each candidate and every political party should publish all the details thrice, in leading English, Hindi and vernacular news channels and newspapers, the list of which would be provided by the EC based on their TRP and circulation, it said.

The petition contended that it was the fundamental rights of voters to know about the details of their candidates and this right could not be secured until the candidates publish these information on advertisements.

The petition mentioned that in the 2014 General election, 17 per cent of the candidates had criminal charges framed against them and eventually the House had 33 per cent of ‘tainted’ individuals, adding that their percentage has risen thrice from 2009 elections.

The plea said that it cannot probably be presumed that the electorates of India are deliberately choosing those who are suspected criminals, to be their legislative representatives.

RBI to pump liquidity worth Rs 12,000 crore on November 15

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would inject Rs 12,000 crore into the market by purchasing government securities on November 15, 2018.

The decision comes amid concerns of a liquidity crisis in the economy after the financial services company IL&FS reported defaults in September.

“Based on an assessment of prevailing liquidity conditions and also of the durable liquidity needs going forward, the Reserve Bank has decided to conduct purchase of… Government securities under Open Market Operations for an aggregate amount of Rs 120 billion on November 15, 2018 through multi-security auction using the multiple price method,” the RBI said in a statement on Tuesday.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey meets PM Modi

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the importance of global conversations on social media platforms. After his meeting, Dorsey tweeted pictures from his meeting and said: “Thank you Prime Minister @narendramodi for having us today. I enjoyed our conversation about the importance of global conversation. Also: thanks for the ideas for Twitter!”

In response, Modi said: “Delighted to meet you @jack! Happy to see the passion with which you’re leading @Twitter. I enjoy being on this medium, where I’ve made great friends and see everyday the creativity of people.”

Dorsey, who is on his maiden trip to India, has already met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Twitter, which counts India among its priority markets, has a large number of politicians in the country on its platform who engage with residents and extensively use it around elections.

The company has also launched its ?#PowerOf18′ initiative aimed at encouraging Indian youth to contribute to public debate and participate in civic engagement in the upcoming election season.

Addressing a townhall at IIT-Delhi Monday, Dorsey vowed to check spread of fake news but said there is no ?one fix? solution for the ?multi-variable? problem. Social media firms have been facing the menace of rumours and fake news floating on their platforms. Organisations like Facebook and WhatsApp have taken a number of steps, including sensitisation programmes among users across the country.

“In a number of conversations, it’s become more important that we scope the problem as tightly as possible because fake news or misinformation as a category is way too big,” Dorsey had said Monday.

He had added that if certain content is found to be misleading, it is the company’s job to ensure that such information is picked out and prevented from spreading.

Final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ to premiere in April

HBO’s hit Emmy-winning drama “Game of Thrones” will debut its eighth and final season starting in April, the network announced in a trailer released online on Tuesday.

The video featured footage from previous seasons to recap the costly battles that preceded the coming showdown for control of the fictional kingdom of Westeros. The network did not reveal a specific date for the final season’s premiere.

“Game of Thrones,” which has won multiple Emmy awards, is HBO’s biggest hit ever with some 30 million viewers in the United States and an army of devoted fans worldwide.

Several spinoffs of the series are in the works. HBO, owned by AT&T Inc, said in June that it had given a pilot order to a prequel that will take place thousands of years before the events of the current series.

There is a lot opportunity in India, would love to serve every single person of this country, says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. In 2006, Dorsey co-founded Twitter with Ev Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, and was CEO until 2008. He returned to the social media giant in 2015. He is also the founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company. Dorsey, 41, in his maiden visit to India, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the importance of global conversations on social media platforms. He also held a conversation with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Dorsey also attended a townhall in Indian Institute of Technology Delhi where he talked about the youth and social change.

In a wide-ranging interview with Shereen Bhan, Dorsey said there is a lot opportunity in India and Twitter would love to serve every single person of this country. Dorsi also said they are fortunate that a lot of public figures in India are using Twitter and now the company is focussing to become useful to the common man.

He also talks about the recent meeting with Prime Minister and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Twitter’s strategy to counter fake news and its approach towards the upcoming general election in India among a raft of other topics.

Edited Excerpts:

Let me start by asking you about your India visit. I read your tweet where you said that you have been wanting to visit India for a long time. Is it everything that you imagined it to be?

It is and more. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to experience India. So I am really happy to be here.

You have had a meeting with the Prime Minister and he is fairly active on Twitter. What was the conversation about?

It was all about Twitter and technology. I asked him some questions around how he thinks about things like artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptocurrency, for example, and we talked a lot about Twitter.

I asked him why he uses it and how he found it and just what he has been experimenting with. He pointed me to his tweet on World Environment Day, for instance, as his big global movements that can be inspired, people can see that we are all in this together. So the discussion was awesome.

Were there any suggestions or ideas from him on what Twitter could do in India, both in terms of working with the government as well as perhaps India specific features?

There were a lot of ideas, but they were focused on looking more broadly at the world and helping us all realise that we are one planet, one humanity.

You also met with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. What was that meeting like? I believe he was quite enamored with your tattoo?

Yes, he asked about it. He asked what it was and I told him about it. It was a great conversation as well. We talked a lot about Twitter and to see the dynamics of India and I asked him some questions about the country and I told him I am doing Vipassana retreat next week and he shared about his experience as well.

You are doing the Vipassana retreat next week, for how long?

In Burma for 10 days.

Is this something that you have done before or is it the first time?

Last year.

What was that experience like for you?

Best thing I have ever done.

What did it teach you at the end of that 10 day period?

Discipline to get to clarity, focus. It was just the amount of clarity I received after. It was awesome.

I will talk to you about the clarity with respect to your vision for Twitter in general but let me ask you specifically about Twitter India. There are issues that the government has not just for Twitter, but with other social media networks as well. Yesterday (on Monday) there was a statement that the government put out which basically said that they were not particularly happy with the speed at which Twitter had responded to the government’s ideas in being able to take action against offensive tweets, etc… Do you surprised with that statement and what is Twitter’s response?

I think there is always an opportunity to increase the response time. We have to look at this on a case-by-case basis. So, we need to make sure that we are doing right by the people that we serve and also the partnership that we have with the local government.

We do have a global outreach that we need to work with governments all around the world and sometimes these things get a little bit over complicated. However, there is always an opportunity to improve and we need to understand where there might be friction and fix it.

Is there anything different in the Indian context of what the government is asking of Twitter – you have seen problems in the US for instance with the 2016 Russia meddling situation. However, what is the need of the Indian government, is it different from what other governments are asking?

I do not know the specifics but I do not think so. I think we have very similar patterns of what we see from governments all around the world.

Things like setting up grievance redressal mechanism here in India, or placing grievance office here, is that something Twitter is on-board with, how soon can we expect you to do that?

I know it is an active conversation within the country and something that we should have considered but we have no timeline.

What does the India business mean for Twitter, it is your second largest market outside of the US in terms of active users? The view is that perhaps you have peaked out in markets like the US and markets like India are going to give you the incremental user base? What does a country like India mean strategically to Twitter?

I do not think it is either or, I think India alone there is a lot of opportunities and I would love that Twitter serves every single person within this country. I think it has a lot of value, the public conversation being able to see what our world leaders are saying, being able to see outside of our borders that were facing some problems such as climate change is useful and valuable.

So, we benefit and are fortunate from the fact that a lot of public figures in India use us in really amazing ways and we have to understand why we might not be as immediately useful to the everyday person and what is parking them from seeing us as valuable. However, that is our work and that is what we are focused on.

I remember reading after your earnings call where you said that you are making meaningful progress to make Twitter a healthier and more valuable everyday service. In that context, what do you believe are the key changes that you have already been able to make and what more would you like to see change?

What we have to do going forward is really looking at behaviour, not the content and we have made some significant progress in recognising abusive behaviour or the probability of it happening and we have either shut it down immediately or shut it down before it is happening.

So, that has moved a lot faster. I think the biggest issue that we need to solve is our entire terms of service and help operation operates on reports. So it requires people to report something happening to them.

We recently enabled bystanders to report something that they might be seeing, but a reporting mechanism requires too much work. So, right now we find ourselves focused on treating problems and self-preventing problems. We like to get to a mindset and a course of action that allows us to be more preventive, that does not require a victim to do the work to report something that has happened to them, and that we can be a lot more proactive before they even have to consider reporting in the first place.

So if you are saying that the reporting mechanism is complex, and you want to focus more on preemptive action on part of the platform itself, what is it going to take to be able to ensure that is, in fact, a reality, how much of the work is already started on your part?

It is not the work but it requires a lot more machine learning and deep learning and artificial intelligence, lot more technology and we are doing the work right now.

I cannot remember where you said it, but you said that we are rethinking what made sense 12 years ago and does not make any sense today. So we have seen it go from 140 to 280 characters because you started off with this wanting to replicate an SMS kind of service because of data consumption, data usage and charges and that is not the case anymore. It is a very different world. So as you envision the future for Twitter, what continues to make sense today and what does not any longer?

That quote was around when you open up the app, what does Twitter incentivise you to do and is that right for today. For instance, we have, if you go to your profile, you see the number of followers you have and that number is big and it is bold and it is bigger than most things on the page.

I do not know if the emphasis should be, but what you do is you want it to go up and the question is should that be the focus, should the focus be on the number of followers you have?

Or on engagement?

I do not know if it is engagement or what it is. I do not know if there is a counter to it but I can point you to examples where people had close to zero followers and said something meaningful that went around the world. So does followers matter? It is just that we made them matter because we made that number bold and we made the font size big.

So how are you going to disincentivise that behaviour and how are you going to incentivise behaviour that focuses more on meaning and value?

I do not know yet. We are asking the question right now.

Is that what you hope of after the Vipassana?

No that is not the goal. To me, the goal of Vipassana is asking better questions, not arriving at answers. So we are going to ask questions, we are asking the questions what does Twitter incentivise and is that right for today, should it incentivise anything?

Should it incentivise positioning itself as a platform for activism for instance? There are people who have started using this term loosely #activism, MeToo is an example of that, we have just seen it play out in India. What is your thought on that?

We did not incentivise that but it happened and I am very proud that it happened because I think it speaks of the dynamics of the service and some of the best dynamics of the service that will be public, that will be accessible to everyone, that will be real time, that will be conversational.

So, I think those circumstances is what enabled some of the activism that we see and that we would love to see more of but it is all towards an angle of talking more of the stories that were not told, more transparency.

From day one at Twitter, it used to bring more transparency to nearly everything – government, corporations, past history, society, and culture. It has definitely increased the transparency of the world and I am very proud of that. However, at the same time, we need to make sure that people can easily be overwhelmed with transparency as well. So we need to be careful on that. We are giving people what matters, what is relevant to them in the moment, in the context what they are in and not overwhelming them with information which might force them into inaction instead of action.

Since you were talking about transparency, one of the issues that people have not just with Twitter in specific but with social media in general is this business of a manipulation of reality – you can buy accounts and get something to trend, for instance, and that gives an altered view of reality. So in your quest for transparency, how does this fit in?

I don’t see these as separate things. I think technology is going to enable a lot more of these imagined realities that looked extremely real. Videos being constructed from pure imagination that look entirely realistic could be the thing that we should be discussing. The technologies of creating that is far ahead the technologies of detecting whether it was created or not. So that is an issue. So I think we have to accept that it is going to happen. I don’t think there is a way around it. So what are the anecdotes to that? I think conversation about it, pointing it out.

I think we can try to resist it but I think that will be futile in terms of owning what it is and then figuring how to live with it. I would rather spend a time figuring out how to live with this reality than reacting to it negatively because it will not be stopped. No one, no nation will be able to stop this.

I remember reading that you said that policy fixes are only going to be able to at best a symptom but that is about what they can do and this brings me to an author I know that you follow as well – Yuval Noah Harari – and he is basically saying that there is no individual free wheel on account of large technology companies like twitter and others operating in the manner in which they do driven by data and manipulate things of data to use that loosely. So if it just going to have to cook with this new reality, what are the tools we are going to need to be able to do that?

He said that we could go down a path where we offered all the decisions to algorithms and in some cases that is extremely useful. The algorithms will be better at us, for instance, in some health manners than we might be but he also paints a picture where algorithms might determine who we marry or what we buy or what groups we join or what jobs we take or what schools we go to and his anecdote to this is building self-awareness and his practice to those self-awareness is meditation. If we build self-awareness, we understand ourselves better than the others do.

A child born today in the algorithm will probably understand that person better when he is 25 than they will on a current trajectory, that is what he paints.

So he says the only anecdote to that is to build self-awareness and one of the way of doing that is meditation.

I would hope that a lot more of us will take to that route and there will be a greater degree of self-awareness but it does put a responsibility on a platform like yours and you have spoken about this. There is a need to try that the platform doesn’t become an echo-chamber that the algorithms don’t work like that they nurture echo-chambers, what more can you do using technology to ensure that there is a certain amount of self-awareness that you drive as well?

I think the most important thing that we can do given the reality and the definite outcome is that everything will be algorithm based. The most dangerous thing right now is that most of the algorithms are not built in such a way that they can explain why they made a decision. So they won’t be able to tell you why they chose this option for you against us. That feels pretty dangerous.

What are you most worried about today?

That. So what I was saying is like we do have a responsibility to help this field of research called explainability that encourages algorithms to be able to explain how they make decisions. Because if these things are black-boxes and they are just making decisions extremely quickly on our behalf and we don’t know what is going on then you lose pretty well. You don’t know why.

So if you use the sense of why and the reasoning, that is a loss of control. So I would put pressure on anything that we build that can explain this, they can explain why it does and what it does.

You don’t look at what the markets do, how the stock performs I believe. You had a good quarter, the last quarter was also good, is that something that drives you what is happening on the business front or is that not something that is a priority? I know, in 2017, the priority was to get back to profitability, which you have but is that something that drives you at all today?

It wasn’t to get to profitability. It was to enable us to self-sustain and the business follows whether people value us as a service or not. If they don’t value us as a service, we will not have a business, we will not have the stock price. So we put the focus where it should serve people in the way that they value us more everyday in such a way that they value us as much as they want to talk about us and tell their friends, this thing is extremely valuable and here is why you need to get on it.

What is your metric to measure success if it is not monthly active users or daily active users or revenue or profit, how do you measure success for twitter?

It is whether we are providing daily value to someone. If they walk away from it saying that was valuable, I learnt something.

Coming back to the Indian context because state elections are going on and we have got the big general election in 2019 and I am sure that there has been a conversation with the government on ensuring that it is a free and fair election and the role that technology and social media platforms are likely to play there. What can we expect in terms of safety nets, checks and balances that you intend to put in place?

We have learned a lot from what we experienced with the Mexican election and the recent US mid-term election and it is likely that the same lessons apply within India as well and more globally.

We want to protect the integrity of the conversation around all elections. So we will take this opportunity to give better and better, but I think the most important thing is that we experiment, to try new things and we constantly experiment with new ways of doing things.

So the pockets of solution that we have found have worked, is adding context. So adding more context that drives credibility. For instance, in the US, the context of an election level so that people could see that this was a credible participant in an election and the other one is working at the dynamics and focusing our energy on those dynamics.

So we set up a focus for the Mexican election, for the US election. That allowed us to have one streamlined centre that we can act much faster and that we could cheer things from our partners in government that we should pay attention to or present them things that they should pay attention to.

Since we are talking about experimenting with the features, Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag said that he didn’t do it for twitter, he did it for the internet and he came to twitter and he was told that it was too nerdy that could never catch on but here we are, post 2009, do you think that this was the key inflection point in twitter’s journey, the introduction of the hashtag?

Yes, I don’t think I ever said that. It was a valuable concept because it gathered conversations together. So I think it has been phenomenal as has the add symbol and the retweet and the thread, those are all not invented by anyone in the company. They are invented by people using the service and I think that is what is the most beautiful things about us.

Any plans to bring Square to India and as an entrepreneur, what continues to drive you today?

Seeing people use what we built drives me. That is what I love. It feels electric. We at Square would love to get into India.

What is holding you back?

It requires a lot of local regulatory relationship and banking relationship. Getting these relationships takes around nine months and significant investment and it is one thing means we cannot do something else. So, it is just a matter of trade-offs. That is what holds us back but I am a big believer in the internet having a currency and bitcoin is to me the one that we are likely to be at.

So the criticism that we get from the likes of Jamie Dimon and Bill Gates saying that bitcoin is pretty much like a ponzi scheme, you don’t buy into that.

No, I don’t buy it at all. I buy into the concept that the internet will have a global currency. Look at what the internet has done. It has removed barriers and borders, it has allowed the world to see ourselves as one and the one thing it is missing right now is the inability to trade in one single language which is a currency. So it is going to happen and it is whether we resist ourselves. So I want to make it happen because that would allow us at Square to do something and the whole world can use it.

Here are the safest countries for travel

Travel has ranked 20 popular destinations around the world based on how safe they are.

The travel magazine assessed factors like crime rates, likelihood of terrorist attacks, natural disasters and health concerns.

The data was collected from reports like world economic fund on crime rates, world risk report on natural disasters.

NHS fit for travel website on health and the foreign office’s assessments of the risks of terrorism.

Here are the world’s top 10 most safe countries to visit.

  • Barbados

Safety index: 5.6

  • Jordan

Safety index: 5.8

  • Morocco

Safety index: 6.1

  • Japan

Safety index: 6.1

  • Canada

Safety index: 6.1

  • Australia

Safety index: 6.1

  • Spain

Safety index: 6.2

  • Singapore

Safety index: 6.5

  • UAE

Safety index: 6.6

  • Iceland

Safety index: 6.6

But what about India?

It’s ranked 17th in the list, making it the fourth most dangerous country to visit.

M&A transactions saw a decline of $1.1 billion in October, says Grant Thornton India

Merger and Acquisition (M&A) transactions in October saw a decline of $1.1 billion due to dip in large value transactions, said Pankaj Chopda, director of Grant Thornton India LLP.

October reported transactions worth of $5.5 billion which icluded $2.7 billion worth of M&A transactions and $2.8 billion worth of private equity/venture capital (PE/VC) transactions, Chopda said.

“The primary M&A transaction happened in the energy and natural resources sector plus the media and entertainment, he said, adding that Reliance’s investment in Hathway and Den were the two large transactions in the media and entertainment sector.

Sequeira Energies acquisition was a large enough transaction in the energy and natural resources sector, Chopda said.

Similarly, on the PE/VC side, the larger transactions have been the investments into OYO Rooms where it has gained a unicorn status, he added.