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

RBI

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.

Daily COVID-19 count in India remains below one lakh mark

India reported 80,834 fresh COVID-19 cases, the lowest after 71 days, while the daily positivity rate further dropped to 4.25 percent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.

With the fresh cases, the country’s tally of cases has climbed to 2,94,39,989. The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,70,384 with 3,303 daily deaths, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The active cases further declined to 10,26,159 comprising 3.49 percent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 95.26 percent. A net decline of 54,531 cases has been recorded in the COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

Also, 19,20,477 tests were conducted on Saturday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 37,62,32,162 while the daily positivity rate has further dropped to 4.25 percent. It has been less than 10 percent for 20 consecutive days, the ministry said, adding the weekly positivity rate fell below 5 percent and was recorded 4.74 percent.

Parle forays into flour market with Parle-G Chakki Atta

The branded ‘atta’ segment has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years and keeping this in mind Parle Products has entered this market with their Parle-G Chakki Atta.

To find out more, watch the accompanying video of Mayank Shah, senior category head of Parle Products in conversation with Storyboard’s Shibani Gharat.

Overdrive: Why Mercedes Benz GLA convinces as a crossover

Mercedes Benz India recently launched the second generation GLA in the country which comes with a long list of features, a petrol and a diesel engine.

Watch the accompanying video to find out whether it’s impressive enough to choose this car against its rival given even that Audi’s second-generation Q3 is yet to launch in the country.

Here’s what brands are looking for post COVID second wave

As India slowly begins to unlock following the dire second wave of COVID-19, what are brands looking for, what are their business problems and how will communication change going forward.

Watch the accompanying video of Agnello Dias, creative chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network India in conversation with Storyboard’s Ankit Saxena, for more details.

BSE, NSE suspend trading in DHFL shares

DHFL: Brickwork revised its rating on the firm's NCD, FD, others to BWR AA- from BWR AA. (Image: Reuters)

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) have suspended the trading in equity shares of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL). The ban will come into effect from June 14, both the exchanges noted in their respective circulars.

The BSE and NSE circulars stated that DHFL had informed the exchanges on June 8 regarding approval of the resolution plan by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Mumbai Bench “which provides for delisting of equity shares of the company”.

The resolution plan, approved by NCLT in the successful bid of Piramal Group for DHFL, envisaged zero value for the shares of DHFL. Despite this the stock was allowed to be traded.

The BSE and NSE circulars added that the DHFL on June 9 stated that “no value was attributable to the equity shares as per the liquidation value of the company estimated by registered valuers appointed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016”.

Further, the company has also mentioned that the written order of the NCLT approving the resolution plan is still awaited and all disclosures made remain subject to such orders, the circulars said.

“In pursuance of Regulation 3.1.2 of the National Stock Exchange (Capital Market) Trading Regulations P. A. and for reasons mentioned above it is hereby notified that the following security will bc suspended from trading w.e.f. June 14, 2021 (i.e. closing hours of trading on June 11,2021),” the NSE stated.

The DHFL stock was allowed to be traded earlier this week. It was also allowed to rise 10 percent (the maximum permitted as per the applicable price band). Over 14 crore shares were traded on NSE alone and investors took delivery of over 9 crore shares valued close to Rs 200 crore on June 8.

The stocks continued to be traded on both exchanges despite the company formally informing the exchanges that the worth of equity shares is zero. About 5 million shares were traded on June 9 as well. This had drawn criticism from market experts, who appealed to the exchanges to stop the trading of DHFL shares at the earliest to protect the interests of the investors in the securities market.

DHFL, a non-banking finance company with focus on housing finance, came under crisis in mid-2019. The company’s commercial paper – short-term debt instruments – were downgraded to “D”, meaning default in June that year. The company began defaulting on a spree of payments, and was estimated to owe over Rs 90,000 crore to its lenders after it went bankrupt.

In November 2019, the Reserve Bank of India referred DHFL for resolution under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). It was the third-largest pure-play mortgage lender to be referred for insolvency under IBC, and the first finance company to be referred to NCLT by the central bank.

Overdrive: Skoda Octavia 4th generation review

Auto major, dealer asked to pay Rs 6 lakh over car glitches

Hatchbacks and compact sedans continue to remain popular choices but people upgrading are likely to choose sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers and that’s the reason why the executive or the premium sedans have taken a massive hit.

The one that has led to the demand are cars like Civic and the Corolla; the Elantra continues to soldier on, but one name that is very popular that people seem interested in is Octavia and it’s a ray of hope for Skoda India because there is now a new one and it comes with plenty of new premium features.

Watch the accompanying video to find out whether this new sedan can make a dent in entry-level luxury sedan space and whether it is still a value for money proposition as before.

PhonePe files formal SEBI complaint against Ventureast Fund

Sebi

Payments company PhonePe has filed a formal complaint against Ventureast Proactive Fund-II (VPF) with SEBI.

The company said the complaint is based on alleged violations of SEBI’s code of conduct in relation to what the company said were VPF’s recent “side dealings” with Affle to “scuttle” the OSLabs majority acquisition by PhonePe. CNBC TV 18 had earlier reported PhonePe is in talks to acquire a majority stake in the domestic smartphone operating system IndusOS.

This SEBI complaint in India is in addition to a lawsuit that PhonePe has already filed against Ventureast and Affle in the Singapore High court.

The lawsuit claims that VPF “deliberately deceived PhonePe, by continuing to engage PhonePe and OSLabs on the sale of its shares in OSLabs in favor of PhonePe even though it had sold those same shares to Affle in a side deal without OSLabs and PhonePe’s knowledge on a prior date during a legally binding no-shop period.”

Ventureeast is still to respond to CNBC TV 18’s queries.

Sameer Nigam, CEO and Founder PhonePe said in a statement, ‘’As founders, we are always held to the highest standards of legal and ethical integrity by our investors. But these standards should apply to investors in startups too. I believe in this case, VPF has not only broken SEBI’s code of conduct, but it has also acted in complete negligence of its fiduciary duties as a large shareholder of IndusOS. By deliberately derailing PhonePe’s acquisition of IndusOS, a deal which all three OSLabs founders continue to also believe is in their company’s best long-term interests, VPF has also hurt OSLabs’ long term interests. We believe it’s important to expose such unethical conduct by VPF for the sake of the larger startup ecosystem. We have a very strong case and are confident that we will prevail on both fronts, and hopefully in the process also create a strong deterrent against bad actors trying to bully young startups.’’

On the other hand, Affle has accused PhonePe of trying to undervalue IndusOS and has also filed a lawsuit in a Singapore court.

The PhonePe – Indus OS deal is likely to be valued at $60 million, as per sources, but investor Affle Global, which owns 23% in Indus OS, says it values the company at $90 million.

This has led Affle to take legal action against the founders of Indus OS, while PhonePe has also filed a lawsuit against the marketing tech company in a Singapore court for blocking the deal.

“Affle Global Pte Ltd (“AGPL”) is a long-term investor in OSlabs Pte Ltd (registered entity of Indus OS) and our investment of over $20 million values OSlabs at over $90 million,” the investor said in a statement.

“We believe that Walmart-owned PhonePe and founders of OSlabs are acting in collusion to prejudice our existing shareholder/investor rights based on unfair practices. We believe that PhonePe must strictly uphold the highest level of governance standards, respect fair valuation of OSlabs investments of existing shareholders and undertake fair processes in full compliance with the existing shareholders agreement, the constitution and Companies Act of Singapore. AGPL has no inclination to support the low-balled $60 million valuation-based PhonePe transactions for OSlabs. We value our investment based on over $90 million valuation of OSlabs and we are confident that OSlabs would unlock greater growth in the near future,” Affle added.

Indus CEO Rakesh Deshmukh did not respond to queries.

Sources told CNBC TV 18 that PhonePe has also bought out a 30 percent stake in Indus OS from other investors and is looking to take a majority stake as part of the deal.

Byju’s becomes India’s most valued startup post-funding from Zoom’s Eric Yuan, others

Edtech giant Byju’s has become the most valued startup in the Indian ecosystem with a $16.5 billion valuation post a fundraise of Rs 2494 crore, as per regulatory filings.

The investors in the new round included Zoom founder Eric Yuan, apart from others such as UBS Group, Blackstone, ADQ, and Phoenix Rising, as per regulatory filings

Byju’s has surpassed fintech giant Paytm, which was valued at $16 billion in its last round of funding in November 2019.

Byju’s valuation has more than doubled since January 2020 when the company was valued at $8 billion.

Byju’s has raised nearly $2 billion in funding since January of 2020 from marquee names such as Tiger Global, Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital, T Rowe Price, Silver Lake and several others, as per data from Venture Intelligence.

The company has also been on an acquisition spree, having acquired WhiteHat Jr last year for $300 million and Aakash Educational Services this year for nearly a billion dollars. Latest reports suggest Byju’s is looking at more acquisitions of players such as Great LEarning and GradeUp.

Bharat Biotech to carry out trials in US for Covaxin

Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical major Bharat Biotech will be carrying out clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The company announced that the trials will be conducted to support marketing applications in the US, reported ANI. The announcement from Bharat Biotech comes just a day after the emergency use authorisation for Covaxin was rejected in the US.

The US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) yesterday “recommended” that Ocugen, Bharat Biotech’s US partner, will apply for the Biologics Licence Application (BLA) with additional data on the Covaxin vaccine. The recommendation by the FDA meant that Covaxin wouldn’t be approved for use in the country under the grant of the EUA.

The US drug regulator had announced changes in its guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine approvals and had announced that it would no longer be granting EUAs.

Bharat Biotech currently is the only manufacturer of India’s indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin. However, the pharmaceutical company has yet to release its Phase III trial results regarding the vaccine’s efficacy. The company also announced that it was in the process of compiling and analysing the data from the Phase III trials and would release them soon.

“The company will no longer pursue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Covaxin. The FDA provided feedback to Ocugen regarding the Master File. The company had previously submitted and recommended that Ocugen pursue a BLA submission instead of a EUA application for its vaccine candidate and requested additional information and data,” Ocugen said.

Ocugen is currently in talks with the FDA to better understand the requirements and data needed to obtain the BLA. Bharat Biotech’s announcement to conduct trials in the US comes just a few days after the company announced that it would conduct Phase IV clinical trials to test the real-world effectiveness of Covaxin.

Two Indian origin journalists bag Pulitzer Prizes for 2021

Two Indian origin journalists have bagged the Pulitzer Prizes for the year 2021. Megha Rajagopalan, a journalist working for BuzzFeed News, and Neil Bedi from Tampa Bay Times have bagged these awards under the International Reporting and local reporting categories respectively.

The Pulitzer Prize is awarded yearly in twenty-one categories with each winner receiving a certificate and a $15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category is awarded a gold medal.

As per a report by PTI, Megha Rajagopalan along with Alison Killing and Christo Buschek bagged the award for exposing a vast infrastructure of prisons and mass detention camps secretly built by China. The prisons had detained and housed thousands of Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

Also read: SC says every journalist is entitled to protection, quashes sedition case against Vinod Dua

According to BuzzFeed News, when China had started to detain Muslims in Xinjiang, Megha was the first journalist to visit a detention camp in 2017. China had denied such places existed and had her visa revoked. She was forced to leave the country.

Working from London, she along with Alison Killing, an architect specialising in forensic analysis of architecture and satellite images of buildings,  and Christo Buschek, a programmer who builds tools tailored for data journalists, investigated and published one of the worst human rights abuses in history.

Neil Bedi, an investigative reporter for Tampa Bay Times along with Kathleen McGrory was awarded the top US award for exposing the Sheriff’s Office in Pasco County’s programme that could identify people believed to be future crime suspects using computer modelling. Nearly 1,000 people including children were monitored under the programme.

Also read: Belarus kidnapping: What international law says about capture of dissident journalist Roman Protasevich

In an investigation, it was found that the powerful and politically connected sheriff had built a secretive intelligence operation that used grades and abuse histories to label school children as potential criminals. Neither the children nor their parents were aware of the Sheriff’s wrongdoings.