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.

My fight is of principles, never hankered after any post: Sachin Pilot

Sachin Pilot

Soon after his patch-up talks with senior Congress leaders, former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Monday night said he has never hankered after posts and his was a fight for principles.

Pilot, who made his first public appearance since he revolted against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot a month ago, told reporters that he and the other MLAs raised organisational issues, the case of sedition filed by the SOG and the style of governance in the state, and expressed the hope that the grievances will be addressed soon.

He was speaking after the rebel Congress MLAs met party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and K C Venugopal and aired their grievances.

The MLAs said the issues raised were in the party’s interests.

“We raised issues of principles before the Congress leadership and welcome their assurance of time-bound redressal of our grievances,” Pilot told reporters.

“I don’t crave for any post or hanker after any position. The party has given a position and can take it back. I wanted that the respect be maintained and those who have worked hard in the formation of Congress government in Rajasthan be rewarded accordingly,” the former deputy chief minister said.

Pilot said he has worked hard for bringing the Congress to power in Rajasthan and hoped the party would fulfil its promises made to the people.

After the meeting, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said, “The Congress will go forward unitedly by mutually respecting each other and resolving concerns raised”.

Pilot said some personal remarks have been made against him, but he has never used such language that hurts anyone.

“I feel there is no place for personal mudslinging in politics,” he said.

The young Congress leader said all this while he did not respond to any personal remarks made against him and maintained dignity.

“We raised organisational issues, the case of sedition filed by the state SOG, the style of functioning and governance in Rajasthan,” Pilot said.

“I raised my experiences of 1.5 years to the party leadership and said whatever was in the party’s interest,” he said.

Prior to the meeting, a three-member Committee was formed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to address the grievances.

Sources said Priyanka Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and K C Venugopal will be part of this Committee.

India, UK strike new med-tech pact to fight COVID-19

Innovative Indian medical technology (med-tech) start-ups were on Monday invited by the UK and Indian governments to apply for a Rs 5.6-million manufacturing support programme as part of a new bilateral med-tech partnership to combat COVID-19.

The programme involves the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) joining forces with the UK government to plug the gap between the demand and supply of ventilators and essential medical equipment, crucial in the fight against the deadly coronavirus.

Selected start-ups, who have until the end of August to apply, will be hosted at AMTZ’s MediValley incubation centre, receiving financial, technical and infrastructure support necessary to make their equipment market-ready.

I am delighted that this new med-tech programme takes our partnership even further. I look forward to seeing the life-saving solutions we can pioneer by bringing the best scientific minds from the UK and India together as a force for good in the world, said Sir Philip Barton, the British High Commissioner to India.

COVID-19 affects every human being on the planet and respects no border. The need for collaboration on science and innovation between nations has never been more important, he said.

The envoy highlighted that the UK is already India’s second-biggest research partner, with joint research expected to be worth 400 million pounds by 2021, with five new projects to tackle anti-microbial resistance announced last month.

The new med-tech programme follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed recently between the UK government and AMTZ and aims to boost med-tech collaboration between the two countries by creating direct research and development linkages between UK companies and AMTZ’s manufacturing and testing facilities, as well as to the wider Indian healthcare market.

AMTZ is happy to sign a memorandum of understanding with the British High Commission for encouraging innovations in medical devices, particularly on those products that are necessary for fight against the pandemic, said Dr Jitendar Sharma, Managing Director and CEO, AMTZ.

Through this partnership, British High Commission and AMTZ aims to encourage a number of innovators and provide them with technical, technological, financial, entrepreneurial and strategic hand holding enabling them to leapfrog from idea to innovation and from a start-up to an established enterprise. This is with an aim to serve the global innovation community, he said.

The call for applications is open to all Indian start-ups, micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and innovators, including those at prototype, development, pilot, validation, early traction, and scaling stages.

It signifies a major development as part of the UK-India Tech Partnership, which was established in 2018 to bring together the best tech minds from both countries to deliver high-skilled jobs and economic growth as well as to collectively tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

AMTZ is an enterprise under the government of Andhra Pradesh, dedicated to medical device manufacturing.

It has reserved 100,000 square feet rent-free manufacturing space for start-ups to facilitate quick commercialisation of successful solutions. It has been contracted by the government of India for the manufacture of ventilators and other essential medical equipment, such as masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, etc.

MediValley is the incubation and innovation arm of AMTZ, funded by NITI Aayog, as Atal Incubation Council.

How mask-makers are using technology to kill viruses left behind on protective face masks

They’re everywhere now thanks to COVID-19 — the protective mask. They come in the highest grade possible, like the N95 mask, which act as a near-foolproof barrier against the novel coronavirus, while the humbler ones are a makeshift handkerchief strung around the wearer’s nose and mouth. However, at the basic level, a mask is nothing but fabric that attempts to prevent the novel coronavirus from entering one’s respiratory body through nasal and oral cavities. However, that simplicity in function could soon change.

A handful of textile companies have started waking up to the need of not just preventing transmission of viral particles to the wearer of a mask, but also destroying the virus in question that would otherwise remain on its surface. The one common link that connects the products of these manufacturers is a Swiss technology called HeiQ Viroblock applied generously in all these anti-viral masks.

Anti-viral masks versus regular masks

“Normally a mask or a PPE cover-all are merely barriers that don’t let the viruses inside,” explains K S Sundararaman, Managing Director of Coimbatore-based Shiva Texyarn, “Anti-viral technology, though, kills these viruses that settle on the surface of this barrier.”

One of the textile companies to have adopted HeiQ technology, Shiva Texyarn launched its anti-viral masks exactly a month ago. By the time July was done, the Coimbatore textile company sold a whopping 20 lakh pieces. “What we made was a washable mask for just 49 rupees,” says Sundararaman. But its three-layered mask isn’t as simple.

While the HeiQ Viroblock technology attempts to deactivate the viruses that settle on the surface of the mask, another layer of N-95 melt-blown fabric ensures the mask stays washable. “We’ve used a technique that ensures the virus doesn’t penetrate the first layer of the mask,” says Sundararaman. The mask’s third layer is untreated cotton.

Shiva Texyarn’s masks come with an N95 melt-blown fabric to ensure that they stay washable. (Image: CNBC-TV18)

How does HeiQ work?

In a nutshell, HeiQ destroys viral particles left behind on the surface of the fabric its technology is used in. “In other words, it is constantly self-sanitizing and breaking these viral particles down,” says Bharat Subramaniam, Director, Emcee Apparels that is part of the Defend and Protecht initiative, a coming-together of three textile companies using HeiQ Viroblock technology to make anti-viral masks.

“When a virus gets attracted onto a silver ion, which is fused to a bio-based lipsome layer, the silver ion destroys the outer layer (protein coat) of the virus,” Bharat explains, “Once this outer layer is destroyed, the viral RNA is released, which now cannot exist outside a host or the protein coat.”

In layman terms, the silver ions and the bio-based liposome layer make the foundation of HeiQ Viroblock, which is the bedrock of the anti-viral technology that these masks come with. The silver ions attract viral particles and use simple osmosis to destroy their protein coats. “The surface of the mask has a coating of silver ions and vesicle booster to speed up the process,” Bharat says.

Defend and Protecht’s mask uses four applications of HeiQ technology in just one mask. (Image: CNBC-TV18)

Mask sales in top gear

Defend and Protecht, Shiva Texyarn, Arvind Ltd and Loyal Textile Mills are some of the textile majors using HeiQ viroblock to equip otherwise basic washable cloth masks. In less than a month since Defend and Protecht launched its top-line of anti-viral masks, priced at Rs 250 per piece, it sold nearly 6,000 pieces. The company is also launching a new Essentials line, priced at between Rs 30 and Rs 60 per mask.

The company’s manufacturing footprint, in Chennai, has a capacity of 20,000 pieces per day but only makes around 5,000 to 10,000 masks every day. “We can scale up to 75,000 masks, per day with ease,” says Bharat, “In fact, the machines that we’ve allotted to manufacture these masks ensure a capacity of 100,000 pieces per day.” This isn’t surprising especially given that the textile manufacturers that are part of Defend and Protecht — Emcee Apparels, Sreekumar Texind Corporation and Dvintex are capable of making an excess of a million shirts every month.

Shiva Texyarn is targeting a sales target of 10 lakh masks this month, in the domestic market alone. “We don’t foresee the need to scale up further until the export ban is lifted,” says Sundararaman, “There is a lot of interest from countries as far as Brazil because of our high-level of protection and our competitive price point.” While the company’s basic product is priced at a very competitive Rs 49, more fancily designed variants are priced at Rs 70.

Value-additions to anti-viral masks

For a relatively steeper price of Rs 250 per piece, Defend and Protecht’s top-line of anti-viral masks come with some nifty value-additions. In addition to the HeiQ Viroblock technology that exists in all of its masks, HeiQ Pure controls odour that is emanated thanks to bacterial breakdown of sweat, which is fairly common while wearing mask.

Additional HeiQ technology like ‘Smart Temp’ also helps with thermoregulation, which controls of heat build-up within Defend and Protecht’s mask. Loyal Textiles, on its part, has launched Triple Viral Shield equipped reusable masks and PPE equipment, also using HeiQ technology.

NDTV Q1 net profit drops 55% to Rs 7.55 crore

Media firm New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) on Monday reported a 54.68 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 7.55 crore for the quarter ended June.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs 16.66 crore during the April-June period a year ago, NDTV said in a BSE filing.

Revenue from operations dropped 33.68 per cent to Rs 72.73 crore during the quarter under review as against Rs 109.67 crore earlier.

Total expenses fell 54.68 per cent to Rs 64.64 crore as compared to Rs 93.96 crore in Q1 FY20.

Shares of NDTV settled at Rs 34.55 on BSE on Monday, down 0.29 per cent.

Power Grid net profit falls 18% to Rs 2,048 crore in June quarter

State-owned Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd on Monday posted an over 18 per cent fall in its consolidated net profit to Rs 2,048.42 crore for the June 2020 quarter.

The company’s consolidated net profit had stood at Rs 2,502.80 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year 2019-20, according to a BSE filing.

Its total income rose to Rs 9,816.72 crore in the April-June 2020 period, compared with Rs 9,361.72 crore in the year-ago period.

Expenses rose to Rs 6,277.29 crore, from Rs 5,982.30 crore a year ago.

Power Grid transmits about 50 per cent of the total power generated in India on its transmission network.

Beirut explosion: Lebanese PM Hassan Diab steps down in the face of protests

Lebanon’s prime minister says he is stepping down from his job in the wake of the Beirut port explosion last week that triggered public fury and mass protests.

In a brief televised speech, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Monday that he is taking a step back so he can stand with the people and fight the battle for change alongside them.

He said: I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon, repeating the last phrase three times.

A brief while earlier, Diab’s Cabinet resigned. The developments follow a weekend of anti-government protests in the wake of the Aug. 4 explosion in Beirut’s port that caused widespread destruction, killed at least 160 people and injured about 6,000 others.

Diab blamed corrupt politicians who preceded him for the earthquake that has hit Lebanon.

They (political class) should have been ashamed of themselves because their corruption is what has led to this disaster that had been hidden for seven years, he added.

FM Sitharaman launches online dashboard for National Infrastructure Pipeline

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday launched the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) Online Dashboard, a one-stop solution for all stakeholders looking for information on infrastructure projects in the country, an official release said.

In the Budget speech of 2019-2020, Sitharaman had announced an outlay of Rs 100 lakh crore for infrastructure projects over the next 5 years.

A high-level task force submitted a final report on the National Infrastructure Pipeline with projected infrastructure investment of Rs 111 lakh crore during 2020-25.

The online dashboard is being hosted on the India Investment Grid (IIG). IIG is an interactive and dynamic online platform that showcases updated and real-time investment opportunities in the country, the release said.

“NIP will provide a boost to the vision of an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. The availability of NIP projects on IIG will ensure easy accessibility to updated project information and attract investors for PPP projects,” Sitharaman said at the launch through video conferencing.

“This is a great step in the direction of implementing NIP – giving a fillip to infrastructure development in the country,” she added.

Sitharaman asked all concerned department/ministries to immediately update the status of projects on NIP portal and keep it updated in real time.

She also asked all concerned department/ministries to show concrete progress in terms of project and reforms implementation.

As per the release, NIP is a first-of-its-kind initiative to provide world-class infrastructure across the country and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

It will improve project preparation, attract investments (both domestic and foreign) into infrastructure, and will be crucial for attaining the target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by FY2025.

NIP covers both economic and social infrastructure projects, based on the updated Harmonized Master List of Infrastructure.

Out of the total expected capital expenditure of Rs 111 lakh crore, projects worth Rs 44 lakh crore (40 per cent) are under implementation, projects worth Rs 33 lakh crore (30 per cent) are at a conceptual stage, projects worth Rs 22 lakh crore (20 per cent) are under development (project identified and DPR prepared, but yet to draw-down funds) and the balance projects worth Rs 11 lakh crore are unclassified, it said.

The entire gamut of projects will now be hosted on IIG to provide visibility to NIP and attract investments from global and domestic investors, the release added.

Samsung rolls out ‘Made in India’ privacy app on select handsets

A Samsung worker gives a demonstration of the Galaxy Z Flip Phone at the Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Smartphone maker Samsung on Monday said it has rolled out privacy app AltZLife developed at its India R&D centre on select handsets in the country.

The app allows users of the Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 smartphones to quickly switch to privacy mode from normal mode by double clicking the power button and also automatically save images and videos in private folders based on the usage pattern.

“The AltZLife feature will be available to the existing as well as new users of Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51 through a software update on August 10, 2020,” Samsung said in a statement.

According to a research conducted by Samsung, 79 per cent of generation-Z (those born between mid-90s and early 2000s) users admit to having content such as images, applications and private chats on their smartphones that they do not want family or others to see.

Samsung India Senior Director (Mobile Business) Manu Sharma said the app helps eliminate the anxiety that consumers usually face while also sharing their smartphones with someone.

“An industry-first innovation, this feature has been designed keeping in mind the inherent need of consumers, especially Gen-Z, for enhanced privacy when it comes to storage and access of content on their smartphones,” he said.

Samsung said next-generation mobile users also want to hide the fact that they have things they do not want to share.

“The two ‘Make for India’ solutions that are part of AltZLife Quick Switch and Content Suggestions have been developed by a team of young engineers at Samsung R&D (research and development) institutes in Bengaluru and Noida using insights from consumer research,” the statement said.

STARTUP DIGEST: Here are top startup stories of the day

There were many important developments in the startup space through the day on Monday, which include IFC invests $10 million in Endiya Partners Fund II, Anti-China sentiment not a factor as OnePlus, Redmi top sales during Amazon Prime Day sale, and ‘DocSumo’ raises $2.20 million seed funding, Paytm launches a smart PoS device to digitise small businesses, Flipkart launches its first startup accelerator programme.

Here’re the day’s top startup updates:

1. IFC invests $10 million in Endiya Partners Fund II
The International Financial Corporation (IFC) has invested $10 M in VC firm Endiya Venture Partners to support product start-ups and drive innovation.
The IFC has also committed an additional $10 million for direct co-investments alongside Endiya Fund II. The Partnership with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group will provide Endiya’s portfolio companies with financial and strategic support to push growth and scale.

Endiya Fund II has a corpus target of INR 500 cr ($65 m) and has completed its first close at INR 280 cr ($40 m) in May 2019. Financial institutions, corporates, and family offices across India, Europe and U.S are limited partners in the fund.

Endiya Fund II will seek to invest in 16 – 20 startups, with an initial cheque size of to $1 million million in seed or pre-series A rounds and a planned investment of up to $5 million per company.

2. Amazon Prime Day: Anti-China sentiment not a factor as OnePlus, Redmi top sales
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon’s Prime Day sale in India saw a huge demand for smartphones, large appliances, and apparel, with Chinese names such as OnePlus and Redmi among the top-selling brands despite the anti-China sentiment.
Amazon India says it added twice the number of Prime members added in last year’s event during the sale it held last week.
The ecommerce company also said it had the highest participation from small businesses, with over 91,000 SMBs participating, and over 209 of them becoming ‘crorepatis’.
India was the first country for Amazon globally to kick off its 2-day annual Prime Day event on August 6, while the other markets will hold the event in the next quarter.
Prime Day is meant for Prime members of Amazon, allowing them to avail discounts, grab new launches, and access new content on Prime Video and other Amazon platform

3. ‘DocSumo’ raises $2.2 million seed funding from Better Capital, Techstars and Barclays
DocSumo, a document AI startup that was founded in 2019 has raised a seed funding from Better Capital, an early stage venture firm with fintech investments in notable companies like Rupeek, Open, Khatabook, YAP and others. Global accelerators TechStars and Barclays also participated in this round making the total raise for the company to $2.2 million.

The startup provides intelligent workflow automation for financial services companies to save back office costs by up to 70 percent through document data capture, analytics and fraud detection.

4. Flipkart launches its first startup accelerator programme
Walmart owned Flipkart has launched a startup accelerator program called – ‘Flipkart Leap’ with a focus on innovations for users in metro cities well as those in Bharat – tier 2 and 3 cities. Selected B2C and B2B startups will undergo a 16-week program that will focus on making them market-ready and allow them to win an equity-free grant of $25,000.

Flipkart Leap has identified five themes to shortlist relevant high-potential startups — Design & Make for India, Innovation in Digital Commerce, Technologies to Empower the Retail Ecosystem, Supply Chain Management & Logistics and Enabling Relevant Deep Tech applications.

5. Paytm launches a smart PoS device to digitise small businesses
Noida-headquartered Paytm has launched keeping the small business owners in mind.

The device can be used for accepting payments as well as processing orders, said the company in a press note today. It also comes bundled with Paytm’s ‘Scan to Order’ service that is getting adopted by restaurants and takeaway joints across the country.

Besides restaurants the terminal can be adopted by delivery personnel, kirana stores, small shopkeepers and others to accept digital payments on the go.The company aims to issue over 2 lakh devices within the next few months which will generate over 20 million transactions per month.

This device is integrated with the ‘Paytm for Business’ app to generate GST compliant bills and also to manage all transactions and settlements for the merchant.

6. ConveGenius acquires Gray Matters India
EdTech social enterprises ConveGenius acquires Gray Matters India (GMI) to boost its AI based assessment products.

The acquisition will help ConveGenius integrate GMI’s measurement science with its automated learning capabilities and help under-served students diagnose their remediation requirement for missing skills and knowledge through a tailored set of instructions.

7. Twitter expressed interest in buying TikTok’s US operations
Twitter Inc has approached TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to express interest in acquiring the US operations of the video-sharing app, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters, as experts raised doubts over Twitter’s ability to put together financing for a potential deal.

It is far from certain that Twitter would be able to outbid Microsoft Corp and complete such a transformative deal in the 45 days that US President Donald Trump has given ByteDance to agree to a sale, the sources said on Saturday.

The news of Twitter and TikTok being in preliminary talks and Microsoft still being seen as the front-runner in bidding for the app’s US operations was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

AAI puts GoAir on cash and carry mode at all airports

GoAir

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has asked budget carrier GoAir to operate on the cash and carry basis at all airports with effect from August 11, sources told CNBC-TV18. Once an airline is placed under the cash and carry mode, it needs to make payments upfront for using airport services.

One an airline is placed under this system, it needs to make payments for services including landing, parking and using navigation services to AAI in advance. As per the standard procedure, an official said that airlines can maintain dues equivalent to half their security deposit.

When contacted, a spokesperson for the airline told CNBC-TV18, “GoAir is engaged in constructive discussions with AAI and would like to assure our customers that there is no impact on GoAir’s operations. GoAir flights will continue to be operated as normal at all airports.”

A notice, dated August 10 was sent to all station heads of GoAir so that necessary arrangements can be made to make payments on a day-to-day basis.

GoAir was the first airline to have sought government support to ensure that it survives the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The domestic aviation sector was shut for two months for scheduled passenger flights and airlines were allowed to resume operations (partly) from May 25.

Currently, airlines have been allowed to operate under restricted fare brackets using only 45 percent of seating capacity. However, muted demand is resulting in lower capacity utilisation. In July, low-cost airline SpiceJet was also placed under a similar arrangement, but the decision was deferred.