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.

Sri Lanka government declares curfew, shuts down access to major social media sites

The Sri Lankan government declared a curfew with immediate effect, junior defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said on Sunday, following eight explosions that killed nearly 140 people, and mostly targeted churches and hotels.

“A curfew will be imposed until things settle down,” he told reporters in Colombo.

Government officials also said major social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked inside the country to prevent misinformation and rumours.

BP drug shows promise for treating Parkinson’s

Felodipine, a prescribed drug to treat high blood pressure, has shown promise against Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and forms of dementia in studies carried out in mice and zebrafish at the University of Cambridge.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists have shown in mice that felodipine may be a candidate for re-purposing.

A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the build-up of misfolded proteins.

These proteins, such as huntingtin in Huntington’s disease and tau in some dementias, form “aggregates” that can cause irreversible damage to nerve cells in the brain.

A team led by Professor David Rubinsztein used mice that had been genetically modified to express mutations that cause Huntington’s disease or a form of Parkinson’s disease, and zebrafish that model a form of dementia.

Felodipine was effective at reducing the build-up of “aggregates” in mice with the Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease mutations and in the zebrafish dementia model.

The treated animals also showed fewer signs of diseases.

“This is the first time that we’re aware of that a study has shown that an approved drug can slow the build-up of harmful proteins in the brains of mice using doses aiming to mimic the concentrations of the drug seen in humans,” said Professor Rubinsztein.

The hypertension drug was able to slow down the progression of these potentially devastating conditions and “so we believe it should be trialled in patients,” he added.

In healthy individuals, the body uses a mechanism to prevent the build-up of such toxic materials.

This mechanism is known as autophagy, or ‘self-eating’, and involves cells eating and breaking down the materials.

“This is only the first stage, though. The drug will need to be tested in patients to see if it has the same effects in humans as it does in mice. We need to be cautious, but I would like to say we can be cautiously optimistic,” said Professor Rubinsztein.

Time is running out to save Jet Airways

At 7 pm today, it will be 96 hours or four days since Jet Airways announced a temporary suspension of all its operations on Wednesday.  Much has changed since then.

Over 400 slots of the airline at Delhi and Mumbai have been transferred to other carriers, the number of employees actively looking out for jobs is increasing day by day, as many as 22 B737s have already been transferred to SpiceJet by the lessors and Air India is also in talks with the State Bank of India to get five Boeing 777 on lease.

The lenders await the submission of binding bids from investors by May 10 but there are several important questions which they don’t have answers to, yet.

The first one pertains to slots.

“State Bank of India is concerned about the slots being transferred to other carriers. Investors would not look at the airline with the same interest if this continues. The aviation ministry has given assurance that the slot transfer is for an interim period but it doesn’t make for a good picture when your product is up for sale,” one of the people aware of the developments said.

While the civil aviation ministry said that it will review the situation in July, it is rather important to understand that getting back slots from an airline which would have invested a considerable amount of money on initiating flights on a route and capturing passenger traffic would be difficult, if not impossible.

The second one is regarding employees.

The airline, which has a strength of over 16,000, is now witnessing a rise in resignations as faced with uncertainty over payment of their pending salaries, employees are actively considering job offers or are actively looking out for jobs. However, that’s not a pretty picture.

“We are being offered a 30-50 percent cut in salaries and not just that, experienced pilots are also made to sign bonds of Rs 30-50 lakh for 3-5 years. That used to be the case for first officers at the time of entry. In addition, there is a demotion in the ranks being offered,” a Jet Airways pilot said.

“The problem with skilled staff like pilots, engineers, cabin crew is that it’s a huge pay cut and fall in ranks. However, for ground staff it will be even more difficult,” a Jet Airways employee said.

The third issue is with suspended operations.

It is always difficult to revive an airline, not in operation but in view of the money not forthcoming from the lenders. The management of Jet Airways took the call on Wednesday evening. The important point to take home is that an airline cannot remain suspended for a long period of time as by then, there will be a considerable and irrevocable drop in staff and planes. The airline no longer has a total fleet size of 119 as an increasing number of these planes are being de-registered on account of non-payment of lease rentals. Till last week, 17 were de-registered and 12 were under consideration for the process.

As part of their latest appeal, the staff representatives, CEO Vinay Dube, CFO Amit Agarwal, along with Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at his residence on Saturday. The company sought disbursement of Rs 170 crore for payment of pending salaries and revival of the airline.

“He said he will look into it. He said it’s not a case like Kingfisher. It’s a case of operational inefficiency. The meeting lasted 1 hour 20 minutes,” one of the participants said.

Time is running out for Jet Airways, and stakeholders must act quickly.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: For Godhra Muslims, development is key poll issue; past long buried

It got noticed on the world map 17 years ago due to the infamous train burning incident and the state-wide riots it triggered in Gujarat, but Muslims of this small town say they have long buried the infamous past and want their political leaders to focus on development.

A large number of Muslim residents, most of whom are traders and small businessmen, said the area has remained largely peaceful since the 2002 riots and many give credit for that to the BJP rule in the state.

“After 2002, no major riot has been reported here. There is a general perception among us that peace would prevail till the BJP is in power. That is the reason why many of us support BJP,” said Haji Farukh Kesri, a prominent businessman of Polan Bazar area.

His two automobile shops are situated right near Polan Bazar chowk where Indian tricolour is hoisted every day since 2005 by local Muslims.

“Peace and development go together. If there will be peace, we will be able to grow our businesses. There is absolutely no rift among Hindus and Muslims here. Many of my employees, as well as my customers, are Hindus. We want to preserve this atmosphere. This is required for our development,” he said.

Godhra town falls under Panchmahal Lok Sabha seat, which goes to polls on April 23 along with 25 other parliamentary constituencies in Gujarat. All the seats are currently held by the BJP.

As per estimates, Godhra has a population of around 1.90 lakh people and nearly 40 per cent of them are Muslims. The entire Panchmahal constituency has over 17 lakh voters, including 2.18 lakh Muslims.

Muslims in the town are almost unanimous that they have moved on in their lives since the 2002 ‘Godhra Kaand’, in which 59 passengers of Sabarmati Express, many of whom were returning from Ayodhya, died after a coach of the train was burnt, triggering riots across Gujarat in which over 1,000 people, mostly of minority community, lost their lives.

“No one even discusses what happened in 2002. We have moved on. And, why should we remember it when we were not involved in it. We don’t know who were behind it,” Mohammad Hussein said at a paan shop outside Signal Falia, a Muslim locality right opposite the Godhra railway station.

Signal Falia came into limelight after it was alleged that the locals from this locality on February 27, 2002 set ablaze the S6 coach of Sabarmati Express.

“Most people of this area are not even aware today about the incident. Why should we remember it when we have not done anything wrong?” said Wasim Kazi, standing near a wall separating Signal Falia and Godhra Junction.

Apart from Signal Falia, Muslims mostly live in Saatpul Bazaar and Polan Bazaar areas of the town.

In Polan Bazaar, many Muslims said the BJP government in the state has ensured continued peace, which they said is crucial for their businesses. However, there are supporters of Congress and other parties as well.

Abdul Hamid, who runs a scrap business, said the Muslim voter is equally divided between the Congress and the BJP.

“Not all Muslims vote for Congress. There are many who like the BJP. Our sitting MP Prabhatsinh Chauhan remains in touch with us and attends our functions. We want politicians to focus more on solving our basic issues, such as better roads and healthcare, rather than going on religious lines. There is no reason for remembering 2002, he said.

Notably, BJP has dropped Prabhatsinh Chauhan this time and instead given a ticket to independent MLA Ratansinh Chauhan. Congress has fielded its senior leader V K Khant.

In Saatpul Baazar also, the Muslim residents are clear their focus is development when it comes to voting. However, the voices of discontent against the ruling party are much louder in this area.

“Everyone wants development. But, what has the BJP given us? Just look at the condition in which we are living. There is absolutely no development here. How can you expect us to vote for BJP? Most Muslims would vote for Congress this time. We want to live a better life,” said Salman, a young resident of Saatpur Bazar.

Hyundai mulls options for sourcing EV components in India

South Korean auto major Hyundai is looking at various options for sourcing electric vehicle (EV) components in India, including local manufacturing of battery parts, a top company official said.

The automaker, which is present in India through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), said it is also looking for further clarity in government policy to drive in hybrid models in the country.

“We are studying various options, not only us (HMIL) in India, but even Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) procurement division is looking at it,” HMIL MD and CEO SS Kim told PTI when asked if the company plans to locally manufacture batteries for EVs.

The company’s parent HMC is even contacting suppliers in India for battery components, he added.

Hyundai plans to drive in its first EV in a complete knock-down (CKD) form in the country this year. The vehicle would be assembled at Hyundai’s Chennai-based manufacturing plant.

With the government pushing for local sourcing of EV components, Suzuki Motor Corp along with its partners is already in the process of constructing an automotive lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant at Hansalpur in Gujarat. Tata Motors and Mahindra are also actively pursuing EV segment in the country.

Kim said government support is critical to support growth of EVs in the personal mobility space.

“In many countries where the EVs are sold to private customers, they are supported by the government in terms of subsidies … if OEMs need to push EV mobility, government push is critical, so we are expecting some more support,” he added.

Under the FAME-II scheme with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore, the government is primarily focusing on electrification of public transport.

When asked about launching hybrid vehicles in the country, Kim said the company will take a decision after further policy clarity on the segment from the government.

“Once the hybrid policy and its framework is readied by the government we will also plan our activity accordingly,” he said.

On establishing a new factory, Kim said the installed capacity at the company’s Chennai plant is currently enough to take care of the demand.

The company has added an additional capacity of 50,000 units, taking the total installed capacity at the plant to 7.5 lakh units per annum, he added.

Sri Lanka police say another explosion near national zoo

Sri Lankan police on Sunday reported there had been a seventh explosion, the fourth at a hotel, following six reported at hotels and churches earlier in the day that killed nearly 140 people.

The latest explosion to be reported was at a hotel near the national zoo, which is in an area near the capital Colombo.

“There was an explosion in a hotel in Dehiwela near the zoo,” a police official told Reuters adding that there were no further details available.

An eyewitness on local TV said he saw somebody parts including a severed head lying on the ground near the hotel.

Zoo officials declared the zoo closed after the blast.

 

Adani Group wins projects across coal, gas, highways in competitive bidding

Billionaire Gautam Adani-led Adani Group has in open competitive bidding bagged a string of projects ranging from highway construction to development of airports, coal mining and city gas retailing in the last few years, helping the conglomerate diversify into new sectors, sources said.

Sources close to the company said it is aggressively bidding for projects in logistics, mining, energy, construction and agro commodities to diversify the portfolio.

In February, Adani Enterprises bid highest pre-passenger fee to the Airport Authority of India over the next 50 years to bag rights for half a dozen airports in the country.

It has won coal mine developer and operator contracts for over 64 million tonnes per annum, they said.

Adani Green Energy has bagged solar energy projects of 2,623 MW and wind energy projects of 1,547 MW in the last five years. Additionally, it won a 390 MW hybrid project in reverse auction bid.

The renewable energy projects, they said, were part of competitive bidding where the firm offering lowest tariff got the project.

Sources said Adani Gas, which supplies gas to more than 1,300 industrial units and close to 4 lakh retail customers in and around Vadodara and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Faridabad in Haryana and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh, bagged licence to retail CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households in 13 cities and towns in the ninth city gas bid round in November last year.

In the same round, it won licence for another nine Geographical Areas (GAs) in a joint venture with state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC).

In the 10th bid round concluded last month, it bagged rights to 2 GAs in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, sources said.

Adani Transport had in April last year bagged a contract for four-laning of road in Chhattisgarh and last month it bagged two in Telangana.

Founded in 1988, Adani Enterprises Ltd is the flagship listed firm of the group which together with its subsidiaries is engaged in coal mining and trading, oil and gas exploration, ports and multi-modal logistics, power generation and transmission, gas distribution, and edible oil and agro commodities businesses in India and internationally.

It is involved in the trading of coal and petcoke and bunkering activities, such as supply of marine fuel. Also, the firm engages in the mining, processing, acquisition, exploration, and development of various coal properties, which include a coal mining concession in Indonesia and the Carmichael Coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia.

In addition, it is involved in the distribution of natural gas to industrial, commercial, and residential customers, as well as compressed natural gas to the transport sector.

It sells edible oil under the Fortune brand and markets fruits under the Farm-Pik brand.

Besides, it manufactures fighter aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, and helicopters; and develops avionics and systems, aero structures and components, aerospace composites, and radar and electronic warfare systems, as well as undertakes rail infrastructure projects.

Adhesive patch to reduce heart attack damage

Researchers have developed a new adhesive patch that could reduce the stretching of cardiac muscle following a heart attack.

Developed by a team of researchers from Brown University, US, Fudan University, China and Soochow University, China, the patch is made from a water-based hydrogel material and can be placed directly on the heart to prevent left ventricular remodelling — a stretching of the heart muscle.

A heart attack puts the cardiac muscle at a risk of stretching out that can reduce the functioning of the heart’s main pumping chamber.

“Part of the reason that it’s hard for the heart to recover after a heart attack is that it has to keep pumping,” said co-author Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University.

“The idea here is to provide mechanical support for damaged tissue, which hopefully gives it a chance to heal,” he added.

The researchers said the patch, which costs “less than a penny”, has been optimised using a computer model of the heart to perfectly match the material’s mechanical properties.

“If the material is too hard or stiff, then you could confine the movement of the heart so that it can’t expand to the volume it needs to,” Gao said.

“But if the material is too soft, then it won’t provide enough support. So we needed some mechanical principles to guide us,” he pointed out.

For the research, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team tested the patch with rats and showed that the patch could be effective in reducing post-heart attack damage.

“The patch provided nearly optimal mechanical supports after myocardial infarction (i.e. massive death of cardiomyocytes),” said co-author Ning Sun, a cardiology researcher at Fudan University.

“[It] maintained a better cardiac output and thus greatly reduced the overload of those remaining cardiomyocytes and adverse cardiac remodelling.”

The researchers say the initial results are promising for eventual use in human clinical trials.

“It remains to be seen if it will work in humans, but it’s very promising,” Gao said.

Aramco to buy Shell’s 50 percent stake in Saudi refining joint venture for $631 million

aramco

Saudi Aramco said on Sunday it would acquire Royal Dutch Shell’s 50 percent stake in Saudi refining joint venture SASREF for $631 million.

The sale is expected to complete later this year, the two companies said in a joint statement.

Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co (SASREF), based in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia, has a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Endogamy may up infertility risk in Indian men

A team of researchers have identified that deletions of the Y chromosomes, responsible for production of sperms, can cause infertility in Indian men.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, illustrates how the ethnicity, endogamy and long-time geographical isolation of Indian populations might have played a major role in the high frequencies of deletion events.

According to the researchers, including K Thangaraj from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, deletions in the AZoospermia Factor (AZF) regions on the human Y chromosome are reported as one of the most common causes of severe testiculopathy and spermatogenic defects leading to male infertility.

For the study, the researchers screened blood samples of 973 infertile men, consisting of 771 azoospermia (complete absence of sperm), 105 oligozoospermia (low sperm count) and 97 oligoteratozoospermia (low sperm count with abnormal shape and size) patients.

The deletion screening was carried out using AZF-specific markers.

The experiments were carried in accordance with the relevant guidelines and regulations approved for research on human samples.

The study revealed deletion events in a total of 29.4 percent of infertile Indian men. Of these, non-allelic homologous recombination events accounted for 25.8 percent.

Indian populations are unique in their origin and have been practising endogamy for the last two thousand years, and therefore it is important to add a study of the frequencies of AZF deletions on the Y chromosome and their association with fertility in Indian idiopathic infertile men to similar studies from other parts of the world, the researchers said.