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.

India’s unemployment rate eases from 1-year high to 6.43% in September: Think-tank CMIE

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo of an India Rupee note

India’s unemployment rate came down to 6.43 percent in September, from a one-year high in the previous month, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). In August, the unemployment rate — or the percentage of unemployed people in the labour force — had stood at 8.3 percent.

”In September, the unemployment rate has fallen significantly with an increase in labour participation in both urban and rural areas,” said Mahesh Vyas, Managing Director, CMIE.

In August, the rate had spiked owing to a fall of two million in employment sequentially to 394.6 million, according to the private think-tank.

The latest CMIE reading comes a day after the RBI brought down its GDP growth forecast for the country’s economy to 7 percent from 7.2 percent for the year ending March 2023.

However, it raised its forecast the economy to expand 7.2 percent in the quarter ending June 2023, as against 6.7 percent previously.

The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee raised the repo rate — or the key interest rate at which it lends short-term funds to commercial banks — by 50 basis points to 5.9 percent, and decided to continue with its current stance of “withdrawal of accommodation”.

RBI governor Shaktikanta Das warned of more rate hikes in the coming months, as inflation continues to reel beyond its target range.

Most economists cheered the absence of surprises in the RBI policy statement.

ALSO READ: What the Street makes of RBI’s rate hike and warning

India’s GDP expanded 13.5 percent in the April-June period compared with the corresponding three months a year ago. The growth rate, however, fell short of expectations of 15 percent by economists polled by CNBC-TV18.

‘NCLT disposed of insolvency cases involving nearly Rs 10.5 lakh crore’

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has disposed of insolvency cases involving an amount of nearly Rs 10.5 lakh crore, excluding liquidation and certain other matters.

The amount pertains to cases filed by financial and operational creditors as well as those done voluntarily for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

The tribunal’s President Chief Justice (Retd) Ramalingam Sudhakar mentioned the figures while delivering the sixth annual day lecture of IBBI. He also said that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has been trying to reduce delays in the resolution process.

Under Sections 7, 9 and 10 of IBC, 25,225 cases involving a total amount of Rs 10,49,264 crore have been disposed of, he said. Out of the total, 23,608 cases involving an amount of Rs 7,21,282 crore have been settled before admission.

Also Read: Coal India’s coal output rises 20% in April-September

Resolution plans have been approved in 565 cases, involving an amount of Rs 3,03,381 crore, he added. The figures are for the period from November 1, 2017, to August 31, 2022.

The amount realised under Sections 43, 45, 49 and 66; during liquidation; and Sections 94 and 95 of IBC are not included in the total. As per the NCLT website, the data is subject to modification.

IBC, which provides for a market-linked and time-bound resolution of distressed companies, came into force in 2016 and since then, various amendments have been made to the Code as well as the regulations.

While emphasising that timeline and speed are the essence of the resolution process, Sudhakar said the decisions of NCLT have a far-reaching bearing on the outcome of IBC.

Also Read: NTPC reports 15.1% growth in power generation in first half of FY23

Sudhakar also said that despite various shortcomings, the tribunal is not deterred from being the adjudicator.

India’s cleanest city has no garbage bins, earns crores of rupees from its waste

The processing of 1,900 tonne of urban waste every day which earns it crores of rupees and also fuels its buses has helped Indore bag the ‘India’s cleanest city’ award for the sixth straight time, officials said in Indore.

The results of the union government’s annual cleanliness survey were announced on Saturday. Indore was adjudged the cleanest city, followed by Surat and Navi Mumbai.

While segregation of garbage into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ categories is common, in Indore segregation happens in six categories at a collection point.

The largest city of Madhya Pradesh with a population of 35 lakh, also known as the state’s commercial capital, is garbage bin-free, even though it generates 1,200 tonne of dry waste and 700 tonne of wet waste daily.

Also Read: Gauging the slowdown in China

“We have 850 vehicles which collect waste from households and business establishments and segregate it into six categories,” said Mahesh Sharma, cleanliness wing superintendent engineer of the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC).

The vehicles have separate compartments for different types of waste. Discarded sanitary napkins, for instance, go into a separate compartment. This sorting at the initial stage of the collection comes in handy for efficient processing, Sharma said.

The highlight of the IMC’s waste disposal process is a bio-CNG plant that runs on the wet waste collected from the city. It is Asia’s largest such facility, according to city officials.

Also Read: IMF Chief Exclusive | 2023 may be worse than 2022 for the global economy, says Kristalina Georgieva

On February 19 this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated this 550 MT per day capacity plant worth Rs 150 crore at the Devguradia trenching ground. It can generate 17,000 to 18,000 kg of Bio-CNG and 10 tonne of organic manure.

As many as 150 city buses are being run on this Bio-CNG which is Rs 5 cheaper than commercial CNG. The IMC earned Rs 14.45 crore from waste disposal last fiscal, including Rs 8.5 crore from the sale of carbon credits in the international market and Rs 2.52 crore as an annual premium from a private company for providing waste to the bio-CNG plant.

In the current fiscal, the civic body hopes to earn Rs 20 crore from waste disposal, said Sharma.

As many as 8,500 safai mitras (sanitary workers) work in three shifts to keep Indore clean, he added. Sewage generated in the city too is treated at three special plants and reused at 200 public gardens, farms and for construction activities, said horticulture officer Chetan Patil.

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Clean Ganga panel clears projects worth Rs 1,145 crore

The executive committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved 14 projects worth Rs 1,145 crore pertaining to sewerage management, curbing industrial pollution, and biodiversity conservation among others, a statement said on Saturday.

The projects were approved at the 45th meeting of the executive committee under the chairmanship of G Asok Kumar, Director General, NMCG, it said.

The projects include eight related to sewerage management in five main stem Ganga basin states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, the statement said.

For sewerage management, four projects in Uttar Pradesh were approved, including tapping of Assi drain in Varanasi by constructing a 55 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), and other works costing Rs 308.09 crore, it said.

The projects were sanctioned with the objective of achieving zero untreated discharge from three drains Assi, Sanme ghat and Nakhha, it said.

Other projects include construction of 13 MLD STP and renovation of existing structures among others in Vrindavan at a cost of Rs 77.70 crore, construction of 12 MLD STPs and laying of interception and diversion (I&D) network in Kosi Kalan town in Mathura district costing Rs 66.59 crore, and six MLD STPs and laying of I&D network in Chhata town in Mathura.

ALSO READ: World Environmental Health Day: A look at steps taken to improve it in India

The above projects in Mathura-Vrindavan envisage to intercept and divert two, one and 11 drains that have their outfall into Kosi drain, which ultimately discharges into Yamuna river at Mathura.

Coal India’s coal output rises 20% in April-September

FILE PHOTO: Workers walk on a heap of coal at a stockyard of an underground coal mine in the Mahanadi coal fields at Dera, near Talcher town in Orissa March 28, 2012. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

State-owned CIL on Saturday reported a 19.7 percent growth in its coal production at 299 million tonne (MT) in the April-September period of the current fiscal. The company accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal output.

The output of Coal India Ltd (CIL) during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal was 249.8 MT, the public sector enterprise said in an exchange filing. The figures provided by the company are provisional.

Achieving nearly 43 percent of the fiscal’s 700 MT production target in six months, CIL is aiming to produce the rest in the second half, the coal behemoth said in a statement. Usually, CIL’s production during the second half of a year remains much higher than the first half.

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The public sector unit’s coal production last month also increased to 45.7 MT, over 40.7 MT in September last fiscal. The company’s coal offtake in the April-September period increased to 332 MT, over 307.9 MT in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, the filing said.

Supplies to power plants, on the back of rise in production and higher loading, went up to 285.5 MT in the first half of FY23. “The year-on-year jump is 41 MT, logging 16.8 percent growth. CIL’s supplies stood at 244.5 MT in H1 FY22,” the statement said.

Eliminating coal shortage apprehension during the festive season, it said there is sufficient coal stock at CIL’s pitheads and at power plants. As of September end (till 29th ), coal inventory at domestic coal-based plants stood at 24 MT with bulk of the stock augmented by CIL’s supplies.

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“The stock is up by 2.4-fold compared to 10 MT of September ’21 when a sudden spike in (power) generation pushed up the coal demand. Ending September, CIL’s pitheads have a stockpile close to 28 MT,” the statement said.

It further stated that now adequate coal stocks are within reach. The production also increases from October onward. There is no cause for shortage apprehension.

Today, even a small street vendor prefers UPI to cash: PM Modi on digital payments

digital media, UPI payments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that even small street vendors today tell the customer not to transact in cash but via UPI instead, as he officially launched 5G services in the country. “This shows when a facility is available, thinking also gets emboldened,” the PM said.

“Small traders, small entrepreneurs, local artists and artisans can now market to everyone,” he said, highlighting his government’s efforts in the area of digital payments. 

The 5G rollout is aimed at providing seamless coverage, high data rate, less delay in internet connectivity and highly reliable communications. It will offer a wide range of benefits to the common people, according to an official statement.

ALSO READ: The four pillars of 5G era listed out by PM Modi

The cumulative economic impact of 5G on the country is expected to reach $450 billion by 2035, it said. 

Internet For All: The four pillars of 5G era listed out by Prime Minister Modi

The PM said the cost of data in India is among the lowest in the world. It has come down from Rs 300 to about Rs 10 per GB.

“When the government works with clean intentions, the intentions of citizens also undergo change… This is the key difference in the intention (niyat) of 2G and 5G,” the PM said.

The use of 5G technology is not limited to speedy internet access, the PM said, it also has the capability to change lives.

ALSO READ: When will the customer get 5G?

“The government itself promoted citizen-centric delivery service through the app. Whether it is about farmers or small shopkeepers, we have given them a way to meet their daily needs through the app,” he said.

The IMC 2022 is scheduled to be held from 1st to 4th October with the theme of “New digital Universe”.

ALSO READ: Mukesh Ambani says India may have started late but will finish first

China struggling to find trained pilots for its three aircraft carriers: Report

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, an air force pilot from the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) looks as they conduct a joint combat training exercises around the Taiwan Island on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. China said Monday it was extending threatening military exercises surrounding Taiwan that have disrupted shipping and air traffic and substantially raised concerns about the potential for conflict in a region crucial to global trade. AP/PTI(

China is struggling to find enough trained pilots to operate fighter jets from aircraft carriers, prompting its navy with two aircraft carriers commissioned and another launched in June, to speed up the pilot training programme, a media report here said.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is struggling to meet increased demand for qualified ship-borne fighter jet pilots to operate the specially made J-15 jets for the aircraft carriers.

The PLAN has sped up carrier-based fighter jet pilot training programmes in the decade since the commissioning of its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, but its lack of a fighter trainer specifically designed for carrier-based operations has hindered progress, according to an article published in Ordnance Industry Science Technology, a Chinese military magazine.

Also read: Gauging the slowdown in China

With Fujian, China’s third and most advanced aircraft carrier, having started sea trials last week, the PLA needed at least 200 qualified carrier-based fighter jet pilots to operate 130 ship-borne aircraft, Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie was quoted as saying by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on Saturday.

The Fujian is equipped with advanced electromagnetic catapults, similar to those on the US supercarrier Gerald R Ford, while China’s first two carriers featured ski-jump designs, so the navy will have to master a new aircraft launch and recovery system.

Official media reports say China plans to produce more aircraft carriers to match the strength of the US Navy. It’s full of challenges, as aircraft design and pilot training are among the world’s most difficult and complicated core technologies which no one will share with you, Li said.

Defence experts say that while China is producing aircraft carriers at a faster pace, it is still a work in progress for the J-15 carrier-based fighter jets, which were stated to be too heavy for deployment on aircraft carriers.

China is rapidly modernising its navy, almost launching a battleship every month or two. Dai Mingmeng, who flew a J-15 prototype on its maiden flight from the deck of Liaoning on November 3, 2012, when he was 41, was one of the first five Chinese pilots to achieve ship-borne certification. He and other senior carrier-capable pilots are now training the latest generation.

State-run China Central Television said the navy has directly recruited cadets from high school graduates aged between 16 and 19 since 2020. The average age of the latest generation of new naval aviation pilot cadets was 20, at least 10 years younger than their predecessors.

The PLA Navy started training its own pilots – rather than picking qualified candidates from the air force – following the establishment of the Naval Aeronautical University in Yantai, Shandong province, in 2017 – adopting the same approach as its US counterpart.

Also read: Exclusive | Suspected Chinese hackers tampered with widely used Canadian chat program – researchers

PLAN pilots use the Chinese-made JL-9G, a single-engine twin-seat aircraft first revealed in 2011, as a carrier-trainer variant, but it cannot be used to simulate emergency landings on a flight deck because of flaws such as being too light and too slow, Ordnance Industry Science Technology, a Chinese magazine said in a report marking the 10th anniversary of the Liaoning’s commissioning on September 25, 2012.

Those flaws have seen it confined to land-based simulated carrier training, the Post quoted the report.

In the past few decades, the US military has been using the T-45 Goshawk carrier-qualified trainer to train its pilot cadets. Now, the Americans have developed a more advanced variant, the T-7A Red Hawk, which is equipped with a more powerful General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine that will make ship-borne fighter pilot training more efficient, it said.

China’s only ship-borne fighter jet, the twin-engine single-seat J-15 Flying Shark, has been dubbed the world’s heaviest carrier-borne fighter as it weighs 17.5 tonnes with a maximum speed of Mach 2.4 just over 2,960km/h while the gross weight of the JL-9G trainer is just 7.8 tonnes and it has a top speed of Mach 1.05.

The PLA does not have the luxury of owning a trainer like the T-45, so Chinese pilot cadets’ carrier-based training entirely relies on flying the J-15, posing a great challenge to improving their flying skills [because of the absence of a back-seat coach], the Chinese magazine’s report said.

Two J-15 fighters crashed in April 2016, resulting in one death and one serious injury. China has developed a twin-seat variant of the J-15 known as the J-15S, but recent footage shown by state media confirmed that platform has been turned into the ship-borne J-15D electronic warfare aircraft, Macau-based military analyst Antony Wong Tong said.

Why China’s J-15S hasn’t been turned into a trainer like the Americans’ is a perplexing problem, Wong said, adding that one factor could be the cost, which would be much higher.

Zhou Chenming, a researcher with the Beijing-based Yuan Wang military science and technology think tank, told the Post that China was still testing the twin-seat J-15S, adopting a similar approach to the Americans when they turned the F-15 Eagle into different versions, including the twin-seat F-15E Strike Eagle.

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Gandhi Jayanti an occasion to rededicate ourselves to values of peace, communal harmony: President Murmu

President-elect Droupadi Murmu (PTI)

President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday greeted citizens on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti and said it is an occasion for all to rededicate themselves to the values of peace, equality and communal harmony. “On the occasion of the 153rd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, I pay homage to the Father of the Nation on behalf of all fellow citizens,” she said in a message to the nation.

Gandhi Jayanti is an occasion for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the values of his inspiring life — peace, equality and communal harmony, the President said. Observing it this year assumes a special significance as the nation has been celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav, marking 75 years of Independence, Murmu said.

This is the time, for all of us, to work towards the realisation of India of Gandhiji’s dreams, she said. A century ago, Gandhiji inspired millions with his call of ‘Swadeshi’ and his stress on self-reliance, Murmu added.

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“The making of an Atmanirbhar Bharat, which is underway, is inspired by the vision of the Mahatma and is intended as a true tribute to him. The India of his dreams is a clean India, a healthy India. The initiatives taken in this regard have been bearing fruits now,” Murmu said.

As we enter the ‘Amrit Kaal’, the period before the centenary of Independence, it is heartening to note that the young generation too has been taking inspiration from Gandhiji’s works, the President said.

Talking about the challenges the world is facing, Murmu said that the world will face more and more complex ones, however, Gandhi’s life will continue to serve as a lighthouse, helping us negotiate the path amid turbulent waters.

“Gandhiji showed to all humanity its true potential, and proved the power of compassion,” she said, adding, “Let us again take the pledge to walk on his path of truth and non-violence, to promote mutual goodwill and to work towards the progress of the nation and the world.”

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NGT directs Telangana govt to pay Rs 3,800 crore for improper waste management

The National Green Tribunal has imposed a penalty of Rs 3,800 crore on the Telangana government for its failure to treat solid and liquid waste. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said huge gaps exist in the management of solid and liquid waste in the southern state.

The bench, also comprising Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, said the liability of the state for past violations had to be quantified on the “polluter pays” principle, to be utilised for the restoration of the environment.

Providing clean air, water, hygiene and environment have to be the top priorities for good governance, the bench said, adding that the state could not avoid its constitutional responsibility of providing a pollution-free environment.

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Calculating the total environmental compensation to be paid by Telangana, the bench said the amount for the gap in the treatment of liquid waste or sewage is Rs 3,648 crore, while the compensation for the state’s failure to scientifically manage solid waste is Rs 177 crore.

“The total compensation comes to Rs 3,825 crore or, say, Rs 3,800 crore, which may be deposited by the state of Telangana in a separate ring-fenced account within two months, to be operated as per the directions of the chief secretary and utilised for restoration measures,” the bench said.

Further, it said the restoration of sewage management would include setting up sewage treatment and utilisation systems, upgrading systems or operations of the existing sewage treatment facilities to ensure the utilisation of their full capacities, ensuring compliance with standards, including those of faecal coliform and setting up a proper faecal sewage and sludge management mechanism in rural areas.

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For solid waste management, the execution plan would include setting up the required waste processing plants and remediation of the left-out sites, the bench said.

The restoration plans requires to be immediately implemented across the state in a time-bound manner and if the violations continued, the liability to pay additional compensation would be considered, the green panel added.

The NGT said compliance would be the chief secretary’s responsibility and directed him to file progress reports every six months.

The NGT is monitoring compliance with the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and other environmental aspects by the states and Union territories.

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5G will help UP become 1 trillion dollar economy, says CM Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said that 5G will lead to a qualitative improvement in the pace of work and will help UP become a 1 trillion dollar economy.

Addressing a programme virtually at the launch of 5G mobile service by Bharti Airtel in Varanasi, the PM’s parliamentary constituency, Adityanath said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started a new era of communication revolution in the country.

The vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to make India a 5 trillion dollar economy, the chief minister said, as he addressed the event held at Rudraksh Convention Centre.

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He said that with the launch of 5G, all gram sabhas would be connected with fibre optics, and added that the state government will provide full support to Airtel with the spread of the technology.

Adityanath stressed on the need to move with the times, as he referred to the famous beginning line Main Samay hoon from TV serial Mahabharat.

He also emphasised the power of technology in helping people tide over crises, such as COVID pandemic, during two years of which, he said, students shifted to learning in remote mode all because of the digital tools at their disposal.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi launched the 5G services at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2022 in Delhi. Modi also interacted virtually with a girl student of Varanasi and inquired about the benefits of 5G.

According to a government statement issued here, the services will be rolled out in a phased manner, starting with Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune. After the programme, Adityanath visited Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple.

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