Demonetisation, two years on: few hits, several misses. While the move sought to weed out unaccounted wealth, RBI data shows the amount of cash in circulation as of 19 October stood at ₹19.68 lakh crore, 9.5% higher than the pre-note ban levels. A survey by LocalCircles shows 60% Indians feel black money is back to full scale. Experts also point out side-effects like lower rural wages and less bargaining power for farmers. The bright spots? A revenue boost for the taxman, and a 440% increase in digital transactions, including NEFT and mobile banking.
Do you think demonetisation has achieved, or is on track to achieve, its stated objectives? Share in the comments below.
Indians are doing little to protect themselves from toxic air. Despite alarming pollution levels, Reuters reports, few people use face masks outside or an air purifier at home. (Only 200,000 air purifiers were sold in India last year compared to a whopping 9 million in China.) The reasons for the slow offtake? Low awareness levels and a lack of standardisation for products. Experts say the citizen apathy gives politicians the cover they need for not dealing with the problem head on. “Whatever little government action you see is because of… environmental activists and the Supreme Court,” says psephologist Yogendra Yadav.
The Competition Commission of India has cleared Flipkart and Amazon of charges of unfair business practices. The All India Online Vendors Association, a lobby group of more than 3,500 sellers, had alleged that Flipkart was using its dominant market position to favour select sellers. AIOVA had accused Amazon of favouring sellers it partly owns, such as Cloudtail and Appario. Earlier, the CCI dismissed price-fixing charges against Uber and Ola, saying their “algorithmically determined prices” did not amount to collusion.
Will Urjit Patel complete his term as RBI governor? Quoting people in the know, MoneyLife reports that Patel may “throw in the towel” at the next RBI board meeting on November 19 as continuous friction with the government was impacting his health. Earlier, Times of India reported the Centre would allow Patel to serve out his full term, which ends in August 2019. The rift between the central bank and the government broke out in the open last month after RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya’s scathing speech on issues such as lending curbs and liquidity for non-banking finance companies.
Snapdeal’s fortunes seem to be reviving. Regulatory filings show the online retailer lost a lot less money in 2017-18: net loss came in at ₹613 crore, down from ₹4,647 crore in 2016-17, although revenue more than halved to ₹515 crore from ₹1,106 crore. The SoftBank-, Alibaba- and Foxconn-backed e-tailer embarked on a turnaround plan after rejecting a merger with bigger rival Flipkart in July last year. The strategy, dubbed Snapdeal 2.0, involved selling the company’s digital wallet, logistics arm and multi-channel order management unit to become a pure-play online marketplace.
Idea of the Day: To be your best, stop trying hard to fit in with everyone else and be unique, says clinical psychologist and executive coach Judith Sherven.
“In order to bring forth the deepest treasures within you have to have the courage to stand apart from all those who want you to ‘fit in,’ ‘conform,’ ‘behave.’”