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Sundar Pichai (left), CEO, Alphabet and Google; and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook.
Sundar Pichai (left), CEO, Alphabet and Google; and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook.

Saving the news biz from Google, Facebook

  • Australia has proposed legislation to rein in the internet giants. Its fate will have implications for India
  • Other governments including India are looking at regulating big tech. This may lead to tech firms withholding some sites and content from specific markets to avoid paying content creators

A recent survey of 1,500 micro enterprises by the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship found that 54% of the firms were not getting promptly paid for their goods and services. Delays sometimes last months.  (Photo: Mint)
A recent survey of 1,500 micro enterprises by the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship found that 54% of the firms were not getting promptly paid for their goods and services. Delays sometimes last months. (Photo: Mint)

Small firms catch the deadly IOU virus

  • Few companies have been able to recover payments in the post-covid world. This, in turn, has a cascading effect
  • Inside government circles, there is talk of a new technology platform to list firms’ payments outstanding information. But there is little the government can do vis-a-vis private contracts

Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi; data from Value Research shows that three-fourths of multi-cap funds already have a higher allocation to mid- and small-cap stocks than the 23% weight they have in the top 500 stocks in the market.  (Photo: Mint)
Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi; data from Value Research shows that three-fourths of multi-cap funds already have a higher allocation to mid- and small-cap stocks than the 23% weight they have in the top 500 stocks in the market. (Photo: Mint)

Why Sebi’s 9/11 strike on mutual funds has misfired

  • The regulator’s circular on multi-cap mutual funds hasn’t been well thought out. It needs to be quickly withdrawn
  • From Sebi’s perspective, better disclosures and investor education are areas it should focus on, rather than take upon itself the matter of asset allocation of a multi-cap fund

Every person in the rural household needs a smartphone—the child for her education, the unemployed youth for reskilling, and the farmer for agronomic and marketing information. (Photo: iStock)
Every person in the rural household needs a smartphone—the child for her education, the unemployed youth for reskilling, and the farmer for agronomic and marketing information. (Photo: iStock)

Why farm reform will fail without tech

  • Market participation is meaningless without information. Should every Indian farmer get a smartphone?
  • Without internet connectivity and market intelligence, the transaction cost associated with selling in places outside the local market are higher than the value of the produce

Government-held lands that communities across India use for livelihood are now becoming the next frontier of land conflicts. (Photo: PTI)
Government-held lands that communities across India use for livelihood are now becoming the next frontier of land conflicts. (Photo: PTI)

How solar farms fuel land conflicts

  • India’s solar dreams require large tracts of land. Now, rural communities are pushing back
  • In the absence of a legal framework to resolve disputes, conflicts rage on. The problem is showing up in the govt’s bid to promote solar parks because they need large tracts of land

By the end of July 2020, there were 357 notified SEZs.  (Photo: Getty)
By the end of July 2020, there were 357 notified SEZs. (Photo: Getty)

Coastal sunrise must follow sunset on SEZs

  • Despite the hype, SEZs never became a driver of exports. That’s because we blindly followed the Chinese model
  • As part of the Sagarmala Project, the idea is now to have coastal economic zones (CEZs), coastal economic units (CEUs) and port-led industrial development and exports

Inflation targeting began to rise as a mandate for central banks in the 1980s because of the experience of high inflation in the 1970s.  (Photo: Shankar Narayan/Hindustan Times)
Inflation targeting began to rise as a mandate for central banks in the 1980s because of the experience of high inflation in the 1970s. (Photo: Shankar Narayan/Hindustan Times)

Why RBI’s inflation regime is broken

  • India is likely to witness low growth and medium to high inflation for a while. What should the central bank do?
  • If central banks redefine their mandate as control of overheating rather than targeting a rate of inflation over which they have very little control, they will be helping the economy better

Recently, real estate advisory Knight Frank (India) surveyed 1,600 technology professionals in India and found that 30% of them reported deterioration in productivity and work performance while working from home (Photo: Getty)
Recently, real estate advisory Knight Frank (India) surveyed 1,600 technology professionals in India and found that 30% of them reported deterioration in productivity and work performance while working from home (Photo: Getty)

The growing fatigue with work from home

  • Both firms and employees are unhappy with WFH. Will the old office order return post the pandemic?
  • The long-term outlook is work from office or a blended model where a minority works out of home. A number of companies appear to have tilted towards a hybrid working model already

The government has announced an ambitious project to form 10,000 farmer producer organizations over the next five years in a bid to improve farm-gate prices and help growers earn a higher share of the consumer rupee (Photo: Sanjeev Kumar/Hindustan Times)
The government has announced an ambitious project to form 10,000 farmer producer organizations over the next five years in a bid to improve farm-gate prices and help growers earn a higher share of the consumer rupee (Photo: Sanjeev Kumar/Hindustan Times)

How farmer-led firms are vying for a fairer share of the consumer rupee

  • In a volatile food price environment, hopes are being pinned on farmer-run companies. Can both the farmer and consumer benefit?

(Left to right) BoAT co-founder Aman Gupta; Suhasini Sampath, co-founder of Yogabar; Varun Alagh, Mamaearth co-founder. The order volumes at most consumer brand startups is already back to pre-covid levels.
(Left to right) BoAT co-founder Aman Gupta; Suhasini Sampath, co-founder of Yogabar; Varun Alagh, Mamaearth co-founder. The order volumes at most consumer brand startups is already back to pre-covid levels.

Niche consumer firms grab investor eyeballs

  • Business is booming for fleet-footed brand startups. But will consumer demand hold up over time?
  • One worry for investors is that the economic contraction will depress consumer spending. But entrepreneurs say spending on eating out and travelling is likely to shift to other categories

Under the new privatisation rules, the concession period has also been extended to 50 years from the earlier 30 years (Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint)
Under the new privatisation rules, the concession period has also been extended to 50 years from the earlier 30 years (Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint)

Why private airports make the cheque list

  • With Mumbai in the bag, Adani is India’s largest private airport operator. What makes it such a coveted business?
  • There are concerns that AAI’s revenues would now be completely dependent on the volume of passengers. There is also no cap on royalties to subcontractors

Between FY2010 and FY2020, India net imported goods and services worth $921 billion. Much of this fed domestic consumption, rather than capital formation
Between FY2010 and FY2020, India net imported goods and services worth $921 billion. Much of this fed domestic consumption, rather than capital formation

A stronger rupee can’t slay inflation

  • An appreciating currency will be of little help. Instead, it’ll hurt domestic industry when consumption returns
  • There is a deep connect between monetary policy and external balance. We need a new currency-monetary framework to replace the simplistic repo rate-inflation dogma

Jio has just 29 telecom patents—all technologies included. It is not clear how many are 5G related.
Jio has just 29 telecom patents—all technologies included. It is not clear how many are 5G related.

Inside Reliance Jio’s game plan for 5G

  • Jio wants to build a Made in India telecom network. How viable is that plan and how far can it go?
  • What matters is the version of 5G Jio wants to build: the company is lobbying to push a deployment strategy in telecom standards called Option 6, which can’t exploit the full potential of 5G

A human on average could read about 600-700 books in his or her lifetime. In contrast, the GPT-3 model has already digested about 500 billion words from sources like the internet and books
A human on average could read about 600-700 books in his or her lifetime. In contrast, the GPT-3 model has already digested about 500 billion words from sources like the internet and books

Chatbots on steroids can rewire business

  • GPT-3 is making waves for its ability to generate human-like text. Will it live up to the hype?
  • Implementing GPT-3 is currently expensive. It can also be misused to create content that looks like human-written content and could be used to spread hate

The psychology of a recession has set in. Even those individuals who have jobs have seen others get laid off and want to save more for a rainy day.  (Photo: AP)
The psychology of a recession has set in. Even those individuals who have jobs have seen others get laid off and want to save more for a rainy day. (Photo: AP)

Why this Diwali will lack all sparkle

  • Businesses are betting big on festive season spending. But consumers are hardly in the frame of mind to shop
  • With the psychology of a recession setting in, the festival season between October and December is expected to be a dull one. Some sectors may buck the trend, of course

India’s pharma market is expected to continue to grow at about 10% a year for the next several years  (Photo: Raj K Raj/HT)
India’s pharma market is expected to continue to grow at about 10% a year for the next several years (Photo: Raj K Raj/HT)

Inside the bull run in the pharma shop

  • Pharma stocks have been on a dream run in the markets. What’s driving the surge and will it last?
  • The one-year forward price-earnings multiple of the Nifty pharma index has already shot up to its highest in recent times: 27 times the earnings, against 14.7 times in March 2020

According to an analysis, the average number of applications per job posted on LinkedIn has doubled from around 90 in January 2020 to 180 in June.  (Photo: Getty Images)
According to an analysis, the average number of applications per job posted on LinkedIn has doubled from around 90 in January 2020 to 180 in June. (Photo: Getty Images)

Stories of distress, hope on LinkedIn

  • The networking and hiring platform gives a peek into white-collar workers’ thinking. It’s not a pretty picture
  • The pandemic has resulted in a sprinkling of good samaritans who have devoted their personal time to job matchmaking. They use simple tools such as Excel to collect and share information

Policemen try to get people off the road following an explosion at an oil well in Baghjan, Assam. India may be climbing the global rankings on the ease of doing business, but its environmental protection record remains dismal. ( Photo: AFP)
Policemen try to get people off the road following an explosion at an oil well in Baghjan, Assam. India may be climbing the global rankings on the ease of doing business, but its environmental protection record remains dismal. ( Photo: AFP)

Why green reform is a grave step back

  • India’s environmental clearance process is riddled with delays. Will proposed reform make it better or worse?
  • The new relaxations appear to tilt the balance in favour of project promoters. The most significant change is the legitimization of post-facto clearance after ecological damage is done

In July, gems and jewellery exports declined by 50% year-on-year and leather and man-made yarn by about a quarter (Photo: Bloomberg)
In July, gems and jewellery exports declined by 50% year-on-year and leather and man-made yarn by about a quarter (Photo: Bloomberg)

India’s exporters are on the edge

  • Stung by muscular trade policy and the global slowdown, smaller exporters are hurting. Many jobs are at stake.
  • The Modi government’s push for a self-reliant India is potentially the most complicated new problem. Changing import tariffs would effectively push up the price of imported inputs

Since 2016, India’s economy has moved as though it was walking down one of the many historic stepwells one sees all over India, with each year’s growth rate lower than the previous year’s. (Photo: Biplov Bhuyan/Hindustan Times)
Since 2016, India’s economy has moved as though it was walking down one of the many historic stepwells one sees all over India, with each year’s growth rate lower than the previous year’s. (Photo: Biplov Bhuyan/Hindustan Times)

India’s descent into stepwells of growth

  • Poor handling of the pandemic threatens to derail our competitive advantage in the global economy
  • India’s economy is well-positioned in IT and outsourcing; health and pharma; and higher education and research, which are sectors expected to be leading drivers of global growth

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