Endeavor Careers Choicest Blogs: Weekly Current Affairs: November 2021, Week 03

Welcome to the Endeavor Editors’ Weekly Current Affairs Choicest Blog series. Get a weekly roundup – on news from business, economy, markets, policy, and more. A quick capsule format news summary and update to keep you abreast with all the latest current affairs.

1)  International News and Global Economy

Afghan economy nears collapse as pressure builds to ease U.S. sanctions

Three months into the Taliban’s rule, Afghanistan’s economy has all but collapsed, plunging the country into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Millions of dollars of aid that once propped up the previous government has vanished, billions in state assets are frozen, and economic sanctions have isolated the new government from the global banking system. Now Afghanistan faces a dire cash shortage that has crippled banks and businesses, sent food and fuel prices soaring, and triggered a devastating hunger crisis. This month, the World Health Organization warned that about 3.2 million children were likely to suffer from acute malnutrition in Afghanistan by the end of the year — 1 million of whom are at risk of dying as temperatures drop. As the country edges to the brink, the international community is scrambling to resolve a politically and legally fraught dilemma: How can it meet its humanitarian obligations without bolstering the new regime or putting money directly into the Taliban’s hands?

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Ukraine-Russia conflict: Zelensky alleges coup plan involving Russians

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian “representatives” are planning to overthrow his government next week, as a Russian troop build-up sparks fears of an invasion. Mr Zelensky said audio recordings suggested Ukraine’s richest businessman was being dragged into the plan, though this has been denied. The Kremlin spokesman, meanwhile, said Russia had “no plans to get involved”. Moscow has also dismissed concerns over the troop build-up as “alarmist”. On Friday, Nato’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russian use of force against Ukraine would “come at a cost”, without specifying what this would be. Mr Zelensky denounced a “very dangerous rhetoric” coming out of Russia. “It is a signal… that there could be escalation,” he said. “There is a threat today that there will be war tomorrow. We are entirely prepared for an escalation.”

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Why the Russia-Ukraine tension, why it has the West in a tizzy & where can it lead & if there is war

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Pakistan, China help of no use? Afghan banking system on verge of collapse, says UN | Taliban rule

The United Nations has pushed for urgent action to prop up Afghanistan’s banks, warning that a spike in people unable to repay loans, lower deposits and a cash liquidity crunch could cause the financial system to collapse within months. An abrupt withdrawal of most foreign development support after the Taliban seized power on Aug. 15 from Afghanistan’s Western-backed government has sent the economy into freefall, putting a severe strain on the banking system which set weekly withdrawal limits to stop a run on deposits.

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In a first, Pakistan’s debt, liabilities cross PKR 50 trillion

The total debt and liabilities of Pakistan have crossed 50.5 trillion Pakistani rupees (PKR), of which the addition of PKR 20.7 trillion is under the current government alone, as per official figures. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released the debt figures till September 2021, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan described the increasing debt as a “national security issue”, Express Tribune reported. The figures have shown that the total debt and public debt of Pakistan has been deteriorating since the Imran Khan government has come into power. Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities jumped to the record PKR 50.5 trillion at the end of September 2021, an addition of PKR 20.7 trillion in the past 39 months. There was an increase of nearly 70 per cent in total debt of the country, Express Tribune reported.

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IMF rebuffs Imran Khan Govt’s borrowing request amid rising financial woes in Pakistan

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EU adds more pieces to its ‘elusive’ capital market jigsaw

The European Union has moved a step closer to its vision of creating a single capital market across the bloc, a slow-moving process but one that is chipping further away at Britain’s status as Europe’s investment banker. The bloc first began an ambitious – but tortuous – process of ultimately creating a single EU securities market in 2015. Creating a single market should make it easier for companies to issue bonds and shares, enabling them to spread risk and be less reliant on just bank loans for funding – the risks of which were highlighted during the eurozone crisis. The initial plans for a capital markets union were set out in 2015 by McGuinness’ then British predecessor Jonathan Hill to much fanfare, promising the building blocs would be in place by 2019. Follow-up measures two years later raised expectations further, but an EU official acknowledged that there remains a perception that CMU is an ‘elusive’ goal. This time around the EU executive, the European Commission has proposed thornier steps for knitting together national markets by creating an EU tape or record of stock and bond trades by 2024, step exchanges will lobby hard to water down. A single EU point of access for information on listed companies to mirror the ‘Edgar’ filings system on Wall Street, is also proposed.

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EU countries agree on a common stance on new rules for US tech giants

EU countries have agreed on a common position on new rules to curb the power of U.S. tech giants and force them to do more to police their platforms for illegal content. However, they will have to iron out the final details with EU lawmakers, who have proposed tougher rules and higher fines. Frustrated by the slow pace of antitrust investigations, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager has proposed two sets of rules known as the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act targeting Amazon, Apple, Alphabet unit Google and Facebook. The DMA has a list of dos and don’ts for online gatekeepers – companies that control data and access to their platforms – reinforced by fines of up to 10% of global turnover. The Digital Services Act (DSA) forces the tech giants to do more to tackle illegal content on their platforms, with fines of up to 6% of global turnover for non-compliance.

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China’s new Land Border Law may legitimise the use of civilian settlements to make territorial claims

China’s new land border law that recently grabbed headlines apparently seeks to legitimise its use of the civilian settlement to support territorial claims along its disputed boundaries with India and Bhutan. There have been reports about China building villages in areas it illegally occupied in Bhutan as well as in Arunachal Pradesh. Article VII of the 2005 India-China agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for Settlement of the Boundary Question says the two sides shall safeguard the interests of settled populations in the border areas while clinching a deal to resolve the boundary row. China’s new land border law says “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the nation are “sacred and inviolable”. The law emphasises the role of the citizens, particularly people living in the border areas, and the civilian institutions in supporting the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force, which have been assigned the responsibility of “guarding land borders, resisting armed aggression and deal with major emergencies and terrorist activities on land borders”.

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WHO cautions against imposing travel restrictions due to new variant

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has cautioned countries against hastily imposing travel restrictions linked to the new B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19, saying they should take a “risk-based and scientific approach”. “At this point, implementing travel measures is being cautioned against,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. “The WHO recommends that countries continue to apply a risk-based and scientific approach when implementing travel measures.” The WHO, which has convened an experts’ meeting on Friday to evaluate whether it constitutes a variant of interest or a variant of concern, will share further guidance for governments on the action they can take, he said.

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Concerned by new variant, Asian countries move to tighten COVID-19 measures

Asian countries rushed to tighten restrictions after a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant was detected in South Africa, with Singapore and India announcing stricter border controls and more rigorous COVID-19 testing on Friday. Scientists are still finding out more about the new variant, first identified at the start of this week, but the news pummelled financial markets on Friday, with stocks in Asia suffering their sharpest drop in three months and oil plunging more than 3%. The variant, called B.1.1.529, has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

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Countries convene for pandemic treaty talks

World nations gather Monday to thrash out whether to pursue a pandemic treaty setting out how to handle the next crisis — which experts fear is only a matter of time. The three-day meeting at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva comes with the planet still besieged by Covid-19, nearly two years on from the first recorded cases. The World Health Assembly — the WHO’s decision-making body comprising all 194 member states — is holding an unprecedented special session to consider developing a new accord on pandemic preparedness and response. The meeting should conclude with a resolution on the way forward. The desired outcome — whether a treaty or another formulation — will come later down the line, potentially as far off as 2024.

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New COVID-19 variant: How dangerous is Omicron?

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2) Climate

India faces uphill battle to meet 2030 climate targets: Fitch

India must substantially alter its current trajectory if it has to deliver on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s climate targets for 2030, Fitch Solutions said. Modi at the COP26 announced India by 2030 will increase its non-fossil fuel power generation capacity to 500 GW, generate 50 per cent of its power from renewable sources, reduce its total carbon emission by 1 billion tonnes and bring down carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent. “India now faces the challenge of balancing strong economic growth with a sharp deceleration in its CO2 emissions,” Fitch Solutions said in a note. “India must substantially alter its current trajectory, if it is to deliver on its commitments. Based on the current state of play, the country will fall far short of its climate objectives,” it added.

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3) India  

Covid update   

COVID-19 update: Ministry of Health issues fresh guidelines for travel from 12 nations in the ‘at risk’ category

Amid the rising concern for the new coronavirus variant Omicron, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on November 28 issued new guidelines for international travellers arriving in India, which will be effective from December 1 onwards. The new set of guidelines provides protocols to be complied with international travellers as well those to be followed by airlines, points of entry — including airports, seaports and land borders — for risk profiling of passengers. Among other things, the government also issued a list of 12 countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India including post-arrival testing.  They include countries in Europe including The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh,  Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

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Other updates

Bye to population explosion scares

The findings of the National Family Health Survey, fifth round, are quite bracing. The most significant one is that the total fertility rate (TFR) for the country as a whole is now below the replacement level of 2.1. Some big states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar still have TFRs higher than the replacement level, but these states also show a welcome trend of declining TFRs from the fourth to the fifth round of the survey. This is most welcome. However, it also sends out the signal that our demographic dividend will not last forever. The wide disparity in TFRs across India gives the country as a whole a staggered, prolonged demographic dividend, without the kind of sharp peak that most nations tend to experience. India must fashion policy to ensure fast growth before the ageing, non-working population becomes large enough to become a drag on growth. Ageing cannot be checked. But how policy helps or hinders growth is entirely in the hands of the people and their representatives, who can make sound policy or fumble, for instance, by squandering state resources on handouts, instead of using them to invest in the physical and social infrastructure that would raise productivity.

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Some important nuggets from the latest headline-making National Family Health Survey

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4) Economy

Business optimism in India at nearly 8-year high: Report

Data shows that business optimism for the fourth quarter of this calendar year is the highest since the second quarter of the calendar year 2014 with the construction sector most optimistic on the level of the selling price, inventory levels, and hiring of employees. The Dun & Bradstreet Composite Business Optimism Index (BOI) for Q4 2021 stands at 94.6, up 27.4% compared to the Q3 2021 survey. Data shows five out of six optimism indices have registered an increase as compared to Q3. Arun Singh, Global Chief Economist at Dun & Bradstreet says the GDP growth during the October-December quarter of 2021 is likely to be strong as the BOI has surged to an almost eight-year high. Singh says that the sustenance of the optimism level of businesses depends on how inflationary pressures and the supply situation is managed. “Sustenance of the optimism level of businesses, however, depends on how effectively domestic supply challenges are managed and inflationary pressures are controlled. As prices, in general, are expected to go up driven by supply disruptions and rising commodity prices, both consumer spending and corporate earnings are at risk.”

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5) Markets, Banking and Finance

Rejig in preferential share rules proposed

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has proposed a revamp of rules on preferential share offers by relaxing pricing norms and lock-in requirements for promoters. This will make it easier for companies to raise funds through this route. It has also been proposed that companies must obtain a valuation report, whenever there is a change in control following a preferential allotment of shares to investors. This follows the controversy over the PNB Housing Finance-Carlyle deal. In June, Sebi had halted an attempt by Carlyle to buy a majority stake in PNB Housing through a preferential share issue overpricing. The deal was shelved after the Securities Appellate Tribunal gave a split verdict on PNB Housing Finance’s petition, which had challenged the regulator’s stay on the mortgage lender’s proposal for the preferential issue of shares to private equity funds.

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 6) Business

Telcos demand 5G spectrum base price to be cut by more than half: Report

In the first auction of radio airwaves in five years in March 2021, airwaves in the premium 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands went unsold mainly due to the high base price. Telecom industry body COAI is learnt to have asked the government to cut the base price of spectrum by more than half, for the proposed auction especially for 5G services, according to industry sources. In the first auction of radio airwaves in five years in March 2021, the government offered 2,308.80 MHz of spectrum in seven bands, at a reserve price of nearly ?4 lakh crore. However, airwaves in the premium 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands went unsold mainly due to the high base price. The government could not put 3.3-3.6 GHz frequency range for auction as it could not get it vacated in time and the base price of the radio waves in the spectrum band was termed to be very expensive for 5G services.

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CESL inks pact with IIT Bombay to establish EV charging infrastructure

State-owned CESL on Friday signed a Letter of Association with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) to implement electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country. Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. Under this association, both parties will collaborate to work on technological advancements in the electric vehicle charging domain by development of flagship products, standardization of technical specifications, solutions for meeting EV charging capabilities, and customized solutions for the Indian EV charging ecosystem.

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Vodafone Idea’s revenue market share steadies at 18.6% in Q2: Trai

Vodafone Idea (Vi) arrested the fall in its revenue market share (RMS) in the September quarter — the first time since Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merged more than three years ago — helped by a strong recovery in urban markets such as Delhi, Kolkata, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Analysts attributed it mainly to segmented tariff increases implemented around August in the base prepaid voice and postpaid corporate users segments. Vi, formed in August 2018, reported a steady 18.6% RMS in the fiscal second quarter – equivalent to the number reported in the April-June period, the latest telco financial data collated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) showed.

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7) Technology

Crypto exchanges rush to soothe investor concerns amid regulatory uncertainty

Private equity firms and strategic investors who have pumped in millions of dollars in Indian cryptocurrency exchanges are getting jittery after the government decided to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, in the upcoming Winter session of Parliament. The wording of the Lok Sabha bulletin released late on Tuesday has spooked both investors as well as venture capitalists. The Bill seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India but allows for “certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology and its uses”. “The main concern that’s being raised is, whether anything is different this time around, and what is the strategy going ahead. We do not think the government will completely ban crypto assets and that’s what we told the investors during the calls,” said a promoter at one of the exchanges. Crypto exchanges, which urged investors to not rush into selling, are hopeful that while PE and VC funds have held back India plans, they would be back soon once the government gives clarity.

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Will Crypto investors be caught in a regulatory whirlpool? | India Development Debate

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 Cryptocurrency exchange Coinstore enters India despite pending curbs on trade

Singapore-based virtual currency exchange Coinstore has begun operations in India at a time when the Indian government is preparing legislation to effectively bar most private cryptocurrencies. Coinstore has launched its web and app platform and plans branches in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai which will act as its base in India for future expansion, its management said. “With nearly a quarter of our total active users coming from India, it made sense for us to expand into the market,” Charles Tan, head of marketing at Coinstore told Reuters. Asked why Coinstore was launching India despite the pending clampdown on cryptocurrencies, Tan said: “There have been policy flip-flops but we hope things are going to be positive and we are optimistic that the Indian government will come out with a healthy framework for cryptocurrencies.”

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 Explained: The road to data protection law

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPP) on the Personal Data Protection Bill of 2019 is said to have adopted the final draft. The Bill is slated to be tabled in the Winter Session. Amid the proliferation of computers and the Internet, consumers have been generating a lot of data, which has allowed companies to show them personalised advertisements based on their browsing patterns and other online behaviour. Companies began to store a lot of these datasets without taking the consent of the users and did not take responsibility when the data leaked. To hold such companies accountable, the government in 2019 tabled the Personal Data Protection Bill for the first time. One of the major changes that the final draft of the PDP Bill is believed to have pushed for is to include non-personal data within its ambit, which changes the nature of the Bill from personal data protection to just data protection. The final draft is also said to have sought additional compliance for companies that deal exclusively with children’s data, by asking them to register with the Data Protection Authority — a regulatory body that will have powers to decide on implementing the law’s various provisions. A third key aspect that the committee is said to have pushed for is to consider all social media companies as publishers and to hold them accountable for the content on their platform if they are not acting as intermediaries. It is said to have recommended that no social media company be allowed to operate in India unless the parent company handling the technology sets up an office in India.

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Paytm Q2 results: Net loss widens to Rs 482 crore

Paytm parent One 97 Communications on Saturday reported a widening of consolidated loss to Rs 481.70 crore for the September 2021 quarter compared with Rs 376.60 crore posted in the June quarter and Rs 435.50 crore in the same quarter last year. Some analysts have questioned the company’s valuation and path to profitability. Paytm Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma in a recent interview said  the stock’s early tumble was “no indication of the value of our company.” “We are in it for the long haul,” Sharma said. “We’ll put our heads down and execute.”

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8) Politics

TMC raises 10 issues, urges women reservation bill be brought in Parliament

Ahead of the winter session of the Parliament, Trinamool Congress (TMC) raised several issues including the Women’s reservation bill in the all-party meet, held at the national capital on Sunday. TMC leader demanded from Centre to “bring women’s reservation bill in this winter session of Parliament and not bulldoze bills without screening by the opposition.” “Issues like Unemployment, Price Rise of Essentials/Fuel Prices, the law on MSP, weakening of the federal structure and stop disinvestment of profitable PSUs were raised by TMC in the meet,” said the source. The all-party meeting was called by the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi ahead of the winter session of Parliament, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among the leaders who attended.

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9) Sports

WTA still ‘deeply concerned’ over tennis star Peng Shuai

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association “remains deeply concerned” about Chinese star Peng Shuai, following her accusations of sexual assault against a powerful politician. WTA chairman Steve Simon “has reached out to Peng Shuai via various communication channels. He has sent her two emails, to which it was clear her responses were influenced by others,” she said. “He remains deeply concerned that Peng is not free from censorship or coercion and decided not to re-engage via email until he was satisfied her responses were her own and not those of her censors.” Peng, a 35-year-old Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, was not seen for more than two weeks following her allegations that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli, now in his 70s, forced her into sex during a years-long on-off relationship.

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ICC calls off Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier after new Covid-19 variant emerges

The International Cricket Council on Saturday announced that the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2021 in Harare has been called off due to the introduction of travel restrictions from a number of African countries, including the host country Zimbabwe, following the breakout of a new COVID-19 variant in southern Africa. The decision was taken during the preliminary league phase of the nine-team tournament, that was to decide the final three qualifiers for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, to be played in New Zealand, as well as two additional teams for the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship.

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10) Opinion

Fintech CXOs and founders share why data structuring is critical to the growth of India’s BFSI sector

Perfios Software Solutions; estimates that 40 per cent of Indian customers are new to credit. Talking about the kind of data structuring banks need today to be able to lend, Sabyasachi, Chief Business Officer of Perfios shared that for credit bureaus like Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN), GST has played an instrumental role in enabling access to largely structured and sanitised data, however, there are significant gaps that need to be addressed. One, he noted that most fintech players are trying to structure only the customer data. The biggest missing link is the structuring of data pertaining to the internal systems itself such as that related to processes and workflows. “If a financial institute actually has to look into a data structure, it can be bucketed into multiple things. One, what are the data structures that are required in a particular process. Two, what are the data sets required in a workflow? Three, what is the data structure required from a customer experience standpoint and the product itself? Unless we address all these four buckets, I think it is going to be futile because you’re just trying to address only one bucket which is about customers,” he explained.

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Green Electricity can become the cheapest energy by 2050, says study4

Cost-slashing innovations are underway in the electric power sector and could give electricity the lead over fossil-based combustion fuels in the world’s energy supply by mid-century, according to Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). When combined with a global carbon price, these developments can catalyse emission reductions to reach the Paris climate targets, while reducing the need for controversial negative emissions, a new study finds. “Over the last decade alone prices for solar electricity fell by 80 per cent, and further cost reductions are expected in the future. This development has the potential to fundamentally revolutionize energy systems. Our computer simulations show that together with global carbon pricing, green electricity can become the cheapest form of energy by 2050, and in the long-term supply up to three-quarters of all demand,” Gunnar Luderer, author of the new study and researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as well as professor of Global Energy Systems Analysis at the Technical University of Berlin.

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Does India’s EV market growth signal the end of petrol pumps? Not yet

India’s electric vehicle (EV) market is having a great year. EVs accounted for as much as 2 per cent of all new vehicle sales between January and August 2021. Seven states, including Assam and Odisha, have announced EV policies. While this growing interest in electric mobility bodes well for India, we still have a long way to go to wean our passenger road transport sector off oil. India will need regulatory policies to accelerate the phase-out of the internal combustion engine (ICE)-based vehicles. The world’s leading EV markets – the US, EU and China – have demonstrated the effectiveness of stringent fuel economy norms and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates in accelerating demand for EVs. The vehicle scrappage policy should be made mandatory and linked with schemes and programmes for EV transitions. The government should diversify revenue sources to compensate for reduced petrol and diesel sales.

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China regains favor with investors who deem India overvalued

In a change of tone over the world’s two biggest emerging markets, global investors overseeing billions of dollars are slowly starting to favor China versus India — reversing a year-long trend that’s pushed stocks in opposite directions. BlackRock Inc. has upgraded Chinese stocks as policy hurdles ease, saying “the time to position in China is now,” while trimming its exposure to Indian equities. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Nomura Holdings Inc. both downgraded Indian stocks in recent days, with the former upgrading offshore Chinese equities at the same time. Valuations are the key rationale as the losses triggered by Beijing’s wide-ranging regulatory crackdown have made Chinese equities relatively cheap, while shares in the South Asian nation appear expensive after a world-beating rally. The pivot toward China comes amid growing optimism that its battered equities have factored in the worst of Beijing’s rein-tightening that at its most extreme wiped off as much as $1.5 trillion in value. That said, an economic slowdown and a property market crunch are among factors that make being bullish on China a brave call.

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Explained: Why are India, other countries releasing oil from strategic reserves?

India’s move to release 5 million barrels of oil from its strategic reserves as part of a coordinated challenge led by the US against the OPEC+ producers’ cartel’s move to curb output, is the first time that New Delhi would be dipping into its reserves to leverage it as a geopolitical tool. The oil will be released “in parallel and in consultation with” the US, China, Japan and South Korea, the Oil Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, without specifying a timeframe. The UK has announced that it will release 1.5 million barrels of crude; the US is set to release 50 million barrels. The release is part of a concerted effort to negate upward pressure on crude prices from OPEC+ — a 13-country grouping of oil exporters that has been joined since 2016 by 10 others led by Russia to decide production quotas — keeping supply below demand, even though the action is largely symbolic in nature. India has called for an increase in the supply by OPEC+ at multiple international forums and in bilateral talks with oil producing countries. India argues that high crude oil prices are impacting the post-Covid economic recovery, especially in the developing countries.

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Big buyers take on OPEC+ as India joins US, others to release strategic reserves & cool crude prices

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Quitting coal need not end in crisis. Not quitting it is sure to

Coal-dependent countries around the world face two wickedly interlinked challenges: accelerating the phase-out of coal to stop the planet warming while sustaining economic prosperity and political support. A swift transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is increasingly inevitable, says the International Energy Agency, but it’s not happening fast enough for the world to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. For that to happen, new coal power investments need to stop. And existing coal industries need to be rapidly phased out. The economic potential of a well-managed transition away from fossil fuels is now well demonstrated. Extensive research evidence shows renewable energy and low emissions industries can create millions of new jobs – far more than lost in the phasing out of fossil fuels.

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The Crypto bill can lead to creation of more meaningful crypto products

The crypto bill envisages creating an enabling framework for a Central Bank Digital Currency, for the RBI to create the Crypto Rupee. The RBI has been consistent in its messages and warnings that it is not comfortable with cryptocurrencies and investors may lose all their invested capital. Crypto technology can enable a lot of good use products and solutions. What we saw so far was mainly a shallow use of the technology. The first tokens envisaged to become a replacement to fiat currency and therefore they were called cryptocurrencies. Later, they became highly traded only because of the trustless architecture of public blockchains underlying them. The latest crypto interest has been in NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens that give you part ownership of any digital asset. People started creating NFTs of photos, collectibles, memes etc. Since the Crypto bill was enlisted to be considered by the parliament, there is a significant amount of noise about how the ban on private Crypto tokens can be very regressive. The principal justification was how the country may be deprived of the benefits of the underlying BlockChain technologies. This is not true though. Much of the crypto limelight has been hogged by those who have a vested interest in promoting the current crypto tokens. However, the same crypto technology can be used to create many crypto products and solutions that can enable some real useful purpose.

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11) Weekly special

The Tata deal widens the circle of trust for 1mg: Gaurav Agarwal

A close partnership with the Tata Group will accelerate the 1mg journey because of the instant recall of the Tata brand, said Gaurav Agarwal, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the digital healthcare platform, during a panel discussion at the Ascent eConclave. 1mg was founded by Gaurav, Prashant Tandon, and Vikas Chauhan in 2015, and operates e-pharmacy, e-diagnostics, and e-consult services in more than 20,000 pin codes. Earlier this year, Tata Digital — a Tata Sons subsidiary — took a majority stake in 1mg, and the digital healthcare platform is now known as Tata 1mg. “As we interacted, we found that the two organisations were very culturally aligned,” Gaurav said. “We found a lot of common synergies with what the Tatas were trying to do in the overall health ecosystem,” he explained, citing the work of the Tata philanthropic trusts in backward parts of India. “Through all these conversations, we knew that our journey would be accelerated with a close partnership with the Tata Group. That’s what helped us make the decision,” Gaurav said.

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12) Did you know?

Who is bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto?

Satoshi Nakamoto is the name used by the presumed pseudonymous person or persons who developed bitcoin, authored the bitcoin white paper, and created and deployed bitcoin’s original reference implementation. As part of the implementation, Nakamoto also devised the first blockchain database.

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With that, we come to an end for our Weekly Current Affairs November 2021 -Week 4. Hope you have liked it. Write your feedback in the comments below and let us know if there is anything else you would like us to cover.

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