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Hello everyone! Good day! 

Let us dive into some news from past week 

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Political Parties: Electoral Bonds and Big Donors 

The “lottery king” Santiago Martin who made a fortune by selling lottery tickets was in the spotlight for being a top donor to political parties under a controversial Funding scheme. 

The Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, emerged as the largest recipient of Martin's generosity, receiving ₹540 crore from his company, Future Gaming, via electoral bonds. Following closely was the ruling party DMK, which received ₹509 crore, with the YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh receiving ₹160 crore. The BJP received ₹100 crore, while the Congress received ₹50 crore. In contrast, the two parties of Sikkim together received less than ₹10 crore from the firm. 

Donations started mounting from different sources as well, with the BJP emerging as the top beneficiary of the electoral bonds scheme, garnering over ₹6000 crore in total donations. Notable contributions included ₹346 crore from Keventers Food Park, MKJ Enterprises, and Madanlal Ltd, all sharing the same Kolkata address. Vedanta contributed ₹226 crore, while Haldia Energy contributed ₹81 crore. The BJP also received donations of ₹80 crore from Western UP Power and Transmission Company, and ₹42 crore from Welspun. Industrialist Lakshmi Mittal contributed ₹35 crore to the BJP. 

Additionally, Vedanta donated ₹125 crore to the Congress, while the Aam Aadmi Party received donations from Spicejet and Tech Mahindra. Other major companies contributing electoral bonds to various parties included Megha Engineering And Infrastructures Limited, Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited, BG Shirke Construction Technology Pvt Ltd, Bajaj Auto Ltd, Tech Mahindra Ltd, Spicejet Limited, Derive Trading And Resorts Private Limit, Vardhman Textiles Ltd, and V M Salgaocar Corporation Pvt Ltd. 

FDI Slowdown Amid Economic Growth 

Despite India boasting a rapid GDP growth of $3.5 trillion and a staggering population of 1.4 billion, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the country have been on the drop. This downturn can be attributed to various factors, including bureaucratic red tape, difficulties in contract enforcement, and low labor productivity. Moreover, the termination of numerous bilateral investment treaties and a shift towards protectionist policies have further exacerbated the situation, leading to a dampened investor sentiment. To address this concerning trend, experts are advocating for substantial reforms aimed at enhancing the ease of doing business in India. These reforms include streamlining regulatory processes, expediting the negotiation of investment protection treaties, and implementing measures to incentivize exports, such as allowing gradual depreciation of the rupee. By undertaking these reforms, India aims to reinvigorate investor confidence and attract much-needed FDI to fuel its economic growth. 

Japan ends its negative interest regime  

In a historic move, the Bank of Japan raised interest rates since 2007 and abandons yield control implemented in 2016. The Central Bank had resorted to the rather unconventional quantitative easing policies in the past decades to tackle the persistent deflation in the economy and stimulate growth by benefiting banks, insurers and businesses.  

 

The BOJ raised the short-term interest rate from –0.1% to 0% in Mar ‘24, putting an end to the negative interest rate regime which was in place since 2016. The decision was made as the Japanese inflation has remained consistently above the 2% rate since April 2022 and a recent wage revision in the country.  

Meanwhile, US Fed has decided to keep the rates unchanged and signaled 3 rate cuts in 2024 starting from June, 2024.  

More news from the week ...

  • Vladimir Putin will continue his reign as Russia’s President for another 6 years: Putin is all set to make history soon as the longest serving Russian leader overtaking Stalin. Putin’s re-election was termed as ‘not free nor fair’ by the White House.   

  • India is ranked 126th in the list of Happiest Countries: According to the World Happiness Report, Finland, Denmark and Iceland kept their positions intact as the 3 happiest countries. India’s position is abysmally low at 126, whereas its Southeast Asian counterparts Singapore (30) and Taiwan (31) are ranked higher.  

  • SEBI to start beta testing T+0 settlement cycle: SEBI will test the T+0 settlement cycle with a select set of brokers from March 28. In T+0, the trades will be settled on the same day and the seller of shares will receive money on the same day unlike T+1 cycle.  

  • Unilever plans to spin off ice cream business: Unilever spins off its ice cream business with brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum in a move to cut costs. The move is expected to lead to 7,500 job losses.  

Check out the awesome content from Ambrela 

Why is Rolex so expensive? 

 

Check out the reel below:  

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Visual of the Week

Screenshot 2024-03-22 205720.png

Source:livemint.com

Government data revealed that India's primary reservoirs have reached their lowest March levels in five years, raising concerns about potential shortages of drinking water and power during the upcoming summer months. In cities like Bengaluru, known as India's 'Silicon Valley' and housing major firms like Google, water supply is already being restricted. The strain on India's water resources is attributed to factors such as population growth, rapid urbanization, and inadequate conservation efforts. Alarmingly, groundwater levels in one out of every four districts in India are classified as over-exploited, critical, or semi-critical. 

Test you knowledge !

We know Unilever’s biggest market is USA. Can u guess What is the second biggest market after US?   

[A]  China 

[B]   India   

[C]   United Kingdom 

[D]   UAE  

While US contributes 18% of the revenue of Unilever, from India it generates 11% of the revenue, making it the company’s second biggest market. China comes third with a 6% market share. 

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