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.

Brent oil prices rise after OPEC-led group announces 1.2 million bpd supply cut

International oil prices rose on Monday, extending gains from Friday when producer club OPEC and some non-affiliated producers agreed a supply cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $61.81 per barrel at 0016 GMT, up 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.

Prices surged on Friday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers including heavyweight Russia announced they would cut oil supply by 1.2 million bpd, with an 800,000 bpd reduction planned by OPEC-members and 400,000 bpd by countries not affiliated with the group.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.35 per barrel, 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, below their last close, weighed down as America’s booming oil drilling industry is not taking part in the announced cuts.

The OPEC-led supply curbs will be made from January, measured against October 2018 output levels.

“Our key conclusion is that oil prices will be well supported around the $70 per barrel level for 2019,” analysts at Bernstein Energy said on Monday.

Despite the cuts, that was still a price forecast reduction of $6 per barrel as Bernstein reduced its crude oil demand forecast from 1.5 million bpd previously to 1.3 million bpd for 2019.

The slowdown in demand-growth comes on the back of increasing fuel efficiency and because of an economic slowdown.

Japan, the world’s third biggest economy and No.4 oil consumer, on Monday revised its third-quarter GDP growth down to an annualized rate of -2.5 percent, down from the initial estimate of -1.2 percent.

Meanwhile the two world’s biggest economies, the United States and China, are locked in a trade war which is threatening to slow global growth and battering investor sentiment.

Despite the announced cuts, Brent crude prices are almost 29 percent below their most recent highs in early October.

Stocks extend decline as trade woes batter sentiment

Stocks extended their slump in early Asian trade on Monday, with US equity futures off to a softer start for the week as worries over US-China trade tensions battered investor sentiment.

S&P futures were down 0.6 percent and the Dow futures lost 0.7 percent, while Australian stocks declined 0.9 percent.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s comments that US officials would raise tariff rates on Chinese imports if the two countries could not come to an agreement during a 90-day negotiating period fanned fresh concerns over US-China trade relations.

Markets were already reeling on news last week that Canadian officials had arrested the chief financial officer of Chinese smartphone maker Huawei for extradition to the United States. The arrest was seen as an added threat to the resolution of a trade war between the world’s top two economies.

Wall Street’s main indexes fell more than 2 percent on Friday in a broad sell-off, posting their largest weekly percentage drops since March.

The dollar was on the backfoot after Friday’s soft US jobs report raised worries that economic growth is moderating and the Federal Reserve may pause its tightening cycle sooner than previously thought.

The dollar was down 0.25 percent at 112.45 yen and the euro added 0.2 percent to $1.1404.

Other data straddling the weekend showed China reporting far weaker than expected November exports and imports, underscoring slower global and domestic demand and raising the possibility authorities will take more measures to keep the country’s growth rate from slipping too much.

China says US should withdraw arrest warrant for Huawei CFO

China’s foreign ministry called in the US ambassador on Sunday to lodge a “strong protest” over the arrest in Canada of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer, and said the United States should withdraw its arrest warrant.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on December 1 and faces extradition to the US, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.

The executive is also the daughter of the founder of Huawei.

“Unreasonable Demand”

Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng told US ambassador Terry
Branstad that the United States had made an “unreasonable demand” on Canada to detain Meng while she was passing through Vancouver, China’s Foreign Ministry said.

“The actions of the US seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty,” Le told Branstad, comments similar to those he made to Canada’s ambassador the night before.
China strongly urges the United States to pay attention to China’s solemn and just position and withdraw the arrest warrant on Meng, Le added.

“China will respond further depending on US actions,” he said, without elaborating.

Le also told the Canadian ambassador on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Meng.

The United States has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei shipped US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.

Companies are barred from using the US financial system to funnel goods and services to sanctioned entities.

Chinese Telecom Firms Under Scanner

US Senator Marco Rubio told CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday he would “100 percent absolutely” introduce something in the new Congress that would ban Chinese telecom firms from doing business in the United States.

“We have to understand Chinese companies are not like American companies. OK. We can’t even get Apple to crack an iPhone for us in a terrorist investigation,” he said.

“When the Chinese ask a telecom company, we want you to turn over all the data you’ve gathered in the country you’re operating in, they will do it. No court order. Nothing like that. They will just do it. They have to. We need to understand that.”

Rubio was a strong critic of China’s ZTE Corp , which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating US laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran.

Assembly elections 2018 results: What is really at stake for BJP and Congress?

December 11, 2018 could turn out to be a watershed day in India’s electoral history. Six months down the line when a new central government takes over in Delhi, we could reminisce to say – “hey, that day was pretty damn important!” These state elections are significant for both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress and for their leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, respectively. Together these states account for 83 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats that go to polls next year and may give a hint of the nation’s mood.

The exit polls released on Friday have only added to the intrigue with close contest seen between BJP and Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. While the Congress has a clear advantage in Rajasthan as per a majority of exit polls and the state’s past record of voting out the incumbent government, the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress could lose Mizoram. The Congress could also fail to lead a diverse coalition of regional and sub-regional outfits to the halfway mark of 61 seats in Telangana’s 119-member assembly as well, if exit polls are to be believed.

In key heartland states, the pre-election trends pointed that Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje could face the voter’s ire, captured most vividly in a slogan ‘Modi tere se bair nahin, Vasundhara teri khair nahin’ (We have no enmity with Modi, but wont spare Vasundhara). Trends also indicated that while Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh continue to remain popular, a lot of voter angst could channel against them due to farm distress and due to demonetisation and the poor implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).

Not surprisingly, the state elections verdict will be seen as a test of the ‘Modi magic’ or Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ability to do heavy lifting for his party in polls. Along with BJP president Amit Shah’s strong organisational skills and election management, the Modi magic has got better of the Congress in every major state polls since 2014 where the two parties were in a direct contest.

BJP’s performance in Rajasthan will be a key test for this theory as both the PM and Shah were seen aggressively campaigning in the state till the Election Commission’s 5pm deadline for the end of all campaigning on December 5. PM Modi was able to draw large crowds in his campaign rallies and focused to attack the Congress on dynasty politics and corruption. Weeks before official campaign began, the top leadership of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was seen traveling across Rajasthan to boost and activate its cadre, a key source of BJP’s organizational structure and electioneering.

A win in Rajasthan despite all odds and history could reinforce the ‘Modi magic,’ beyond any doubt. BJP retaining both Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will give the party a huge morale boost and confidence as both incumbent chief ministers are seeking their fourth term in the states.

A loss in all three for BJP, particularly Madhya Pradesh where farm distress became a key campaign focus of the Congress party against Shivraj government, could set the political discourse on the way to the 2019 General Elections. The three states also have a large number of rural voters. The Rahul Gandhi-led Congress has promised farm loan waivers and remunerative pricing for crops in all states in its manifesto.

For BJP, state election results in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will have a strong impact on its electoral strategy for 2019 General Elections as well. In 2014, the party won 62 of the 65 Lok Sabha seats at stake with the Congress winning just 3. BJP won all 25 seats in Rajasthan, 27 out of 29 in Madhya Pradesh and 10 out of 11 in Chhattisgarh.

Together with BJP’s 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 General Elections (a total of 135 of the 283 seats), the resounding victory in these heartland states handed the saffron party its first government with full majority since it was formed in 1980. The party’s dominating performance in these states was significant, as the Congress was reduced to below 50 Lok Sabha seats, something which didn’t happen even during the 1977 General Elections post emergency.

The loss of the three key states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh – will put significant pressure on Modi-Shah combine ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The BJPs Lok Sabha strength has reduced from 283 to 269, with the party losing most by-polls since 2014, including in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

For the Congress party, a win beyond Rajasthan, and more particularly in Telangana will help boost perceptions about Rahul Gandhi’s leadership skills and ability to knit together a diverse coalition. The alliance between the Telugu Desam Party and the Congress in Telangana is a case in point. In the past, Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP has never supported the Congress. Within Congress, the party is once again giving its state leaders more autonomy in decision-making although not declaring chief ministerial candidates in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh could have a negative impact.

Nationally, it could the Congress expand United Progressive Alliance and bring more parties in its fold against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. It could seed a doubt in the mind of Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar about his alliance with the BJP.

In Odhisha, the Biju Janata Dal’s Naveen Patanaik could look at the Congress to counter the saffron challenge. In down south, the two Dravidian parties – AIADMK and DMK, the latter in particular, could consider entering into a formal alliance with the Congress.

Female voices take center stage at Grammys

After being nearly muted at this year’s ceremony, the 2019 Grammys are shaping up to be the year of the woman, with powerful female voices representing the majority in two of the top categories.

Kacey Musgraves, H.E.R. and Janelle Monae, performers who play instruments, write or co-write all of their songs and are also listed as producers on their projects, earned nominations for the coveted album of the year.

They are joined by singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Brandi Carlile, whose recent album is critically acclaimed and scored nominations in the big three categories, and Cardi B — a former stripper, social media darling and reality star who has become a pop culture sensation now competing for both album and record of the year.

Nominees for album of the year at the 2018 Grammys only included one woman — Lorde — and she was not given a performing slot on the show. The only woman to win a solo award during the televised broadcast was best new artist winner Alessia Cara. But this year nominees in the top four categories expanded from five to eight, and in album of the year, five are powerful female acts.

“I love being in the company of genius women and I think that every woman that is nominated has contributed so much excellent work and heartfelt work and truthful work this year, and it’s just deserving,” Monae said in an interview with The Associated Press after Friday’s nominations were announced.

Six of the eight best new artist nominees are women, including H.E.R.

Monae gave a powerful speech at the 2018 Grammys ahead of Kesha’s emotional and striking performance celebrating sisterhood and women’s rights. Monae said back then she was hoping to see the upcoming Grammys make a change.

“This is what I envisioned. This is what I imagined. I imagined us having a stronger presence this year,” she said. “I’m so proud of them and I can’t wait to see them at the Grammys and celebrate them and let them know that they have my support, win or lose, we are stronger together and it’s incredible to see women who are so in control of their narrative.”

“Dirty Computer,” Monae’s third full-length album, features the singer and guitarist working behind-the-scenes to craft the right songs and style: “I did produce and engineer a lot of this record. I had a perspective and a vision that only I could sit down and execute.”

Other women nominated this year have multiple roles on their own albums. Musgraves, also a guitarist, co-produced her entire album, “Golden Hour,” which earned four nominations, including best country album, best country solo performance (“Butterflies”) and best country song (“Space Cowboy”).

“I knew I wanted to do something different than what I had been doing. I was craving the time to explore and just find that creative center again. Like when I first moved to Nashville and I just wrote every day for years and stumbled across songs that really meant something to me,” Musgraves, who worked on the album for a year and a half, told the AP on Friday. “I feel like I learned a lot about myself in making this record and I feel like I got to the heart of my own matter more so than I ever have.”

This year’s nominees mark a departure from the Grammys held earlier this year, where Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow was criticized when he said women need to “step up” when asked about the lack of women in the top categories. He later acknowledged that it was a “poor choice of words,” and it forced the academy to launch a new task force focused on inclusion and diversity.

Kendrick Lamar and Drake are the top Grammy contenders for the 2019 show, earning eight and seven nominations apiece, respectively. They both are nominated in the album, record and song of the year categories.

But they are in competition with some top-notch female acts, including Lady Gaga, SZA, Maren Morris, Ella Mai and Carlile, nominees in either song or record of the year, or in both.

The singer H.E.R., who earned five nominations, is the only best new artist contender to receive an album of the year nomination. In best new artist, she’s one of six women nominated for the prize, along with Bebe Rexha, Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Chloe x Halle and Jorja Smith.

H.E.R. not only co-wrote and co-produced each song on her self-titled album, she also plays guitar and piano.

“That’s inspirational for other young women. Like, ‘You can do it. You can be a producer. You can play an instrument,'” she said on Friday. “I had to work twice as hard. I had to earn my respect as a musician growing up as a little girl because you don’t expect a little black girl to pick up the electric guitar. So, to be in that position where I can tell other little girls, ‘You can do this too’ — it’s special.”

Monae, who scored a best music video nomination for “PYNK” — which she shares with director Emma Westenberg and producer Whitney Jackson — recalls filming the video for the song celebrating womanhood.

“There were so many women on set that day and it was magical. We were uplifting each other and telling each other how much we loved each other and just celebrating all that we are,” she said. “I’ll never forget that.”

Bulandshahr violence: Army jawan sent to jail for 14 days

The Army jawan arrested for his alleged involvement in the killing of a police inspector during mob violence in Bulandshahr was on December 9 produced before the judicial magistrate, who sent him to jail for 14 days, officials said.

The Army handed over Jitendra Malik to Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force team in Meerut late on late December 8 night.

Malik was interrogated by the crime branch during the day and also questioned by the Special Investigation Team constituted by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe the incident, the city Superintendent of Police (Crime) said.

He was taken to the district hospital for a medical examination and later produced before the magistrate, who sent him to prison for two weeks, the SP said.

On December 3, a mob of some 400 people rampaged through a village in Bulandshahr apparently after cow carcasses were found in a jungle nearby. During the violence, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a 20-year-old man died of gunshot wounds. Singh and his team had gone to the area to tackle the violence when they came under attack by the mob.

Earlier in the day, the UP government transferred Raees Akhtar, who was posted as additional superintendent of police (rural) in Bulandshahr, six days after two people died in mob violence in the district following an alleged cow slaughter incident.

In a statement issued here, Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said Akhtar has been transferred to PAC Headquarters in Lucknow.

Manish Mishra, posted as additional superintendent of police at modern control room, Ghaziabad, has been made the new ASP (rural) of Bulandshahr.

On Saturday, the UP government transferred Bulandshahr SSP Krishna Bahadur Singh to the DGP office in Lucknow. Kumar had said the senior superintendent of police will be replaced by Sitapur SP Prabhakar Chaudhary.

The government has transferred two other policemen of Bulandshahr district — Circle Officer of Syana area Satya Prakash Sharma and Chingravati police chowki in-charge Suresh Kumar.

Additional Director General, Intelligence, SB Shiradkar submitted a report on the violence Friday. The transfers are understood to be in line with the findings of the report on police handling of the situation.

Inspector Singh, who died in the mob violence, was the investigating officer of the Dadri lynching case from September 28, 2015 to November 9, 2015. However, the chargesheet was filed by a different IO in March, 2016.

Police have arrested nine accused in the Bulandshahr case but the main conspirator, Yogesh Raj, the district convener of Bajrang Dal, is on the run. In a video that surfaced online on Wednesday, Raj had claimed innocence.

Another inquiry by a government-constituted SIT is underway, and the team is going into the details and video footage of the incident, an official said.

Also, a magisterial probe has been ordered by the government.

The Uttar Pradesh government has been severely criticised by opposition leaders over law and order and for its handling of the situation after the violence.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday said the violence in Bulandshahr was an “accident” and there did not happen any incident of mob lynching in his state. He, however, assured that no one responsible for the violence will be spared.

Rahul Gandhi asks Punjab CM to pass resolution in assembly supporting Women’s Reservation Bill

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, urging his government in the state to pass a resolution calling on the Centre to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill. Gandhi has written the letter, seeking passage of a resolution urging the central government to pass the bill, to the chief ministers of those states where the Congress is in power.

In his letter to the Punjab CM, Gandhi noted that the Rajya Sabha passed the 108th constitutional amendment bill in 2010, but it lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

“The Congress and several parties have called on the prime minister to ensure the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill and pledged their support.

“While the opponents of the bill have cast doubts on the ability of women to affect change, the leadership role taken by women after the 73rd and 73th constitutional amendments have proved the detractors wrong,” he said in his letter.

The bill seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.

“In order to affirm our support to the passage of the Bill, it would be expedient for the state assembly to pass a resolution calling for the reservation of one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and legislative assembly for women, in the next session,” Gandhi said.

He said that Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev had also written to all party-led state governments in this regard on November 23.

The legislative assemblies of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have already taken a lead and passed a resolution calling on the central government to enact the women’s reservation bill, he noted.

Gandhi’s letter comes just days before the start of the Winter Session of Parliament.

Vijay Mallya extradition case: CBI joint director leaves for UK; hearing on Monday

A team of officials led by the CBI’s Joint Director, S Sai Manohar, left for London on December 9 to attend a crucial hearing in the extradition case of embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya on December 10, sources said.

Manohar will take the place of Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who had been attending the trial till now. The government had sent Asthana on forced leave, divesting him of all powers after he and CBI Director Alok Verma entered in a bitter feud.

Two officials of the Enforcement Directorate are also accompanying the CBI officer, sources said. Manohar is part of the SIT earlier headed by Asthana.

Mallya faces a case of loan default to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore besides allegations of money laundering and diversion of loan funds for purposes other than they were meant for. He is in self-imposed exile in London.

He left for the United Kingdom in March 2016 taking advantage of the dilution in the CBI lookout notice against him.

Indian agencies are seeking to extradite him. The case will be heard by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Monday.

Mallya has contested his extradition on the grounds that the case against him is “politically motivated” and the loans he has been accused of defrauding on were sought to keep his now-defunct airline afloat. “I did not borrow a single rupee. The borrower was Kingfisher Airlines. Money was lost due to a genuine and sad business failure. Being held as guarantor is not fraud,” he said in his recent Twitter post on the issue. “I have offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to them. Please take it,” he had tweeted earlier.

Opposition leaders to discuss prospects of anti-BJP front

In a major step towards forming an anti-BJP front, top Opposition leaders will huddle on December 10 to discuss forging a grand alliance to take on the saffron party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The meeting, significantly, comes a day before the results of the Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram Assembly polls are scheduled to be announced and the winter session of Parliament is slated to begin.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is coordinating the meeting. He has invited the leaders of all the non-BJP parties.

“The main agenda of the meeting is to chart the future course of action for forming a non-BJP front,” a source said.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi are likely to attend the meet, during which the Opposition is also expected to chalk out a joint strategy for the winter session of Parliament.

During the meeting at the Parliament House Annexe, the opposition parties were expected to discuss their responses to government bills and issues related to the Rafale deal and farmers, sources said.

Not only the heads of non-BJP parties, but also the chief ministers of opposition parties from Kerala, Punjab and Puducherry were invited to the meeting, they added.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee, National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy are expected to attend the meeting.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M K Stalin, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav are also among those likely to attend the meeting.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was unlikely to be part of the meeting, the sources said, adding that he might join the anti-BJP alliance post the general election.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati was also unlikely to take part in the meeting, but her close aide Satish Chandra Mishra might attend it, a source said.

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav was likely to attend the Opposition meet, but in case he was unable to come, then senior party leader Ram Gopal Yadav would be present, a party source said.

Naidu had last month met the heads of several opposition parties, including Rahul Gandhi, and termed the TDP’s alliance with the Congress a “democratic compulsion” to protect the country.

Sources said there could be pre-poll as well as post-poll alliances, taking into account the interest of each state.

“Price rise, the ill-effects of demonetisation and the GST, unemployment and threats to the Constitution will also be on the agenda of the meeting,” NCP leader D P Tripathi said.

AAP leaders confirmed the party’s participation in the Opposition meet called by Naidu.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh dubs opening of Kartarpur corridor a conspiracy of Pakistani army

Claiming that Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa had broken the news of opening of the Kartarpur Corridor to Navjot Singh Sidhu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their prime minister, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on December 9 dubbed the whole affair as a “bigger conspiracy” hatched by the Pak army. “The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is clearly a game plan of the ISI,” the Chief Minister said, adding a bigger conspiracy seems to have been hatched by Pakistan Army against India.

He admitted that Pakistan was attempting to revive militancy in Punjab and thus everyone should be wary of all of its overtures, no matter how grand they appear to be, an official release, quoting him, said.

The Sidhu affair was being unnecessarily hyped and those raising it had clearly failed to see the ISI game plan, said Captain Amarinder, lashing out at the Akalis for branding the Punjab minister as stooge of the Pakistan Prime Minister.

The Chief Minister hit out at the Akalis and the BJP Central leadership for “indulging” in unwarranted controversy over his (Chief Minister’s) relations with Sidhu.

This, he said, was in a bid to divert public attention from the core issue of Pakistan’s continued and deliberate perpetration of terror activities in Punjab with the ultimate aim of destabilising the border state.

Singh said the demand for opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor was pending since partition as several holy Sikh shrines (Sri Nankana Sahib, Sri Panja Sahib, Dera Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib) had been left in Pakistan.

Even former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh had taken up the issue of opening the Kartarpur corridor with Pakistan, he added.

Amarinder said he himself had raised the issue with his Pakistan Punjab counterpart Parvez Elahi and with the then President, Parvez Musharraf during his previous tenure as the chief minister.

The Chief Minister said Imran Khan was undoubtedly making efforts to bring peace, tranquillity and harmony with India, but at the same time he should also prevail upon the top brass of Pakistani Army to ensure that killings of our soldiers at borders are stopped immediately.

On why he opted not to go to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, Amarinder said he declined the invite because he could not think of going there while Indian soldiers and civilians were being killed by the Pakistani Army.

On the issue of Navjot Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony, Amarinder said he had told Sidhu that he had declined the invite by writing a letter to the Pakistan Minister for foreign affairs, and had also shared a copy of the same on the social media.  Despite his advice not to visit Pakistan, Sidhu, went ahead due to his friendship with Imran Khan, said the Chief Minister, adding it was not unreasonable.

He said that he himself has many friends there, including the former Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi. “We had been meeting frequently during my previous tenure and Elahi had also been coming to meet me in Patiala”, said Captain Amarinder.

The Chief Minister said that Navjot Sidhu was a “likeable person” and he shared warm ties with even Sidhu’s parents when the cricketer-turned-minister’s father was President of District Congress unit, Patiala, and his (Amarinder) mother Mohinder Kaur who was the Member of Parliament from Patiala.

The Chief Minister said that he and Sidhu were not at loggerheads as reported by the media and he had absolutely no problems with Sidhu while running the Government.

Amarinder Singh said that Sidhu always spoke in a forthright manner and his only problem was that “sometimes he shoots before he thinks.”

Regarding Sidhu’s remarks that Rahul Gandhi was his Captain, the Chief Minister said this was hardly an issue to be raised as Sidhu had always treated him (Amarinder) as a fatherly figure.

Amarinder Singh warned Pakistan against carrying on with its nefarious designs and urged it to desist from trying to foment trouble in Punjab.

He also asked Pakistan to put an immediate end to the killing of Indian soldiers at the borders.

The Chief Minister charged the ISI with pursuing its ulterior motive to create law and order problem in Punjab by exploiting the religious sentiments of innocent Sikh youths in Canada, USA and even in Europe, and arming them with funds and weapons.

Captain Amarinder Singh also lashed at the ‘Sikhs For Justice’ for abetting terrorism in Punjab by whipping the religious sentiments of Sikhs.

He said that the people of Punjab, especially the Sikhs from rural areas, would not lend support to its so called ‘referendum 2020’.

The SFJ’s claims of the Kartarpur Corridor being a gift of Pakistan also had no takers in Punjab, the Chief Minister added..