Archive for January, 2017

Meet the Kerala journalist leading a global campaign to put jackfruit on our dinner tables

January 31, 2017

This is a great story of Mr. Shree Padre, exactly the kind which make your day. These are unsung individuals who are making amazing contrbutions in their own way. Mr Padre is a founding editor of Adike Patrike, journal on arecanut farming:

Living continents apart, Miriam Martinez Joya and Shyamanna have little in common but their deep and abiding love for the humble jackfruit. Joya, a California-based entrepreneur, drives her jackfruit truck selling value-added jackfruit products every day, while Shyamanna, a practicing doctor, steals time away from his patients to care for the thousands of jackfruit trees growing in his orchard in Devanahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Those who would consider such passion for a fruit misplaced, should meet Joya and Shyamanna’s inspiration – a man named Shree Padre who has become a self-appointed global campaigner for jackfruit in Swarga, Kerala.

At 61, Padre describes himself as “a farmer by profession and a journalist by obsession”. Padre is the founding editor of Areca News – later re-branded as Adike Patrike or the Areca nut magazine – a Kannada publication aimed at educating farmers. Though the magazine once primarily focused on areca nut farming, it came as no surprise to anyone who knew Padre, when Adike Patrike began to publish stories on jackfruit from 2006 – the year Padre took it upon himself to bring the fruit back into the limelight.

He says jackfruit is the ultimate Kalpavriksha, a tree whose every part is useful..

Superb coverage..


Reviving PIMCO..

January 31, 2017

Nice Story of how Jackie Hunt is trying to revive PIMCO. PIMCO saw a shocking decline post exit of its star Bill Gross. Now the fund is slowly trying to come up once again:


A photo essay captures the fading charms of Delhi’s single-screen theatres

January 31, 2017

Jamphel Sharab has a nice photoessay showing Delhi’s single screen theatres. Do see the ticket prices on the boards. Shockingly low!

How cinema has changed over the years from single screen mega hall to multiple screen small halls. Whatever the changes or innovations, it is really sad that viewing cinema has become so costly. There was a time when most could watch a movie as it was really economical. There were several classes from Box (the highest) to Dress Circle (the lowest) with balcony in middle. Now most find it difficult given exorbitant prices.

The next set of innovation in cinema should be focused on making it more affordable. Especially given the poor quality of movies going around, you feel dejected each time you take the risk of watching a movie..

If Italy exits, how will it ease the Lira shortages?

January 31, 2017

JP Koning has a post on the issues with Italexit. He says whichever way look at, entering Euro is a one way street. Italy is a weak economy and its currency Lira will depict the weakness. The Italians shall always prefer to hold Euro leading to both currencies in circulation.


What to trust on demonetisation: Official data or grim reports in media?

January 31, 2017

One was reading the Economic Survey chapter on demonetisation which as expected makes a rosy case of the exercise. Infact, this is the one of those rare instances when an official report has called the currency withdrawal exercise a demonetisation one.

Prof Arun Kumar looks at this puzzle. The official data/reports continue to show demon to be not as evil whereas there are media reports showing otherwise. Who to believe? He says (and rightly so), both sides need to wait for more data to come:


Removal of cash withdrawal restrictions: De jure vs De facto..

January 30, 2017

The Indian central bank apparently has woken up to the uncomfortable political territory it is being pulled into with each passing day. After a drubbing from Indian public and Indian Parliament, it even got a hearing from Election Commission.

So it has decided to remove restrictions on certain withdrawals and restore to status quo before 8 NOV 2016:

In a review of the pace of remonitisation, it has been decided to partially restore status quo ante as under:

  1. Limits placed vide the circulars cited above on cash withdrawals from Current accounts/ Cash credit accounts/ Overdraft accounts stand withdrawn with immediate effect.
  2. The limits on Savings Bank accounts will continue for the present and are under consideration for withdrawal in the near future.
  3. Limits vide the circulars cited above placed on cash withdrawals from ATMs stand withdrawn from February 01, 2017. However, banks may, at their discretion, have their own operating limits as was the case before November 8, 2016, subject to 2 (ii) above.

So restrictions on savings bank account remain (Rs 24,000 per week??) and those on current accounts are done away with. Also restrictions on ATMs are withdrawn from 1 Feb 2017.

However, this is hardly enough. All these are just de jure announcements. De facto one continues to face trouble especially regarding the Rs 2000 note as no one is willing to change. This 2000 note clearly was and remains to be the most atrocious policy decision taken on 8 Nov 2016. There is no point if banks continue to give these high denomination notes  which are useless anyway except for making large payments.  You actually need a lot more Rs 100 and Rs 500 notes coming to the system to help Rs 2000 to circulate.

Infact, there is still time and government should either take back this Rs 2000 note in a “gradual fashion” or reintroduce Rs 1000 note.

The central bank has also not been sharing any data/information which has made it really difficult to assess the situation.

Understanding the war on cash (Why, who and problems)?

January 30, 2017

A three essay series by Tony Joseph of Business World. He looks at the various political economy factors behind the digital cash drive. This go digital drive is hardly as rosy as it is presented to the masses. There are several players involved who are using governments to rush/push through policies to make that quick killing.

In the first essay he says:


Reflections on the art and science of Policymaking in India

January 30, 2017

Dr. Vijay Kelkar recently gave the CD Deshmush lecture organised by NCAER. The lecture was in news as Kelkar said there should be just one GST rate. The news agencies know shot ways to kill any interest in the lecture. This was barely a line in the whole lecture!

The lecture is based on the wide experience of the speaker in Indian policy.


When people downloaded bitcoin apps in Cyprus crisis..

January 30, 2017

William Luther of Kenyon College posts about his upcoming paper on the topic.

He shows how people downloaded more bitcoin apps during Cypris crisis in 2013:


The curious case of the Indian MBA…

January 30, 2017

Veena Venugopal editor of BLine has a piece on Indian MBA (she was an MBA too).


She reflects on her experience of taking about a session on India in a Spain college. She was surprised to see large number of students turn up on a freezing morning. She contrasts this with experiences of students in India who have such a cost and benefit approach to studies:

Last week I was shivering in the -12°C weather in a historic little town called Segovia in Spain. I was there on invitation from one of the big universities, IE, to give their students an idea about contemporary India. What is India beyond the global headlines of the IT industry? What are the social, political and economic issues that India and Indians currently face?

On the panel with me was Eugenio Luján, who is the dean of philology at Complutense University of Madrid and a scholar on vedic history. He traced the strengths and problems of India from a historical context and my job was to inform them about their contemporary status. How does caste work, what are the gender norms for Indian women, why is it that there are communal clashes here; actually since people live so close to each other, how is it that there aren’t more communal clashes? How do the rich behave? How do the poor cope? How does inequality play out across various areas?

What was fascinating for me was not just the fact that a bunch of students braved the weather and turned up at 7pm — after a full day of class — because they were curious about issues in India but, more importantly, that they did this for something that has very little to do with their coursework or examinations. They don’t earn credit from this, they are not tested on their knowledge of this country. They merely wanted to get an idea of how things worked in other places. Last year, they listened to people from Russia. Next year, they’ll pick another nation and try and grapple with the ground realities there. It was impressive, this commitment to general awareness of the world around them.

In India, especially among students pursuing professional courses, it is virtually impossible to find an audience that is eager to understand the nuances of society in their own country, much less a distant land. If there isn’t a grade or a job offer at the end of it, Indian students will not “waste” even a minute of their time on it. While this is a rather all-enveloping phenomenon, it is particularly prominent among management graduates. Other than a routine one-credit course covering business ethics, there is very little that forces these young managers — really the crucial one per cent creamy layer of Indian society who can actually make a big difference — to think about the country they occupy as anything other than a “market”.

Though, she is comparing general students to that of MBA students in India. So it is not really apples with apples. But yes point well taken. It is a big problem..

Is it reverse swing or contrast swing? Spotting the differences..

January 30, 2017

Ever since Pakistan bowlers showed the potential of Reverse swing, it has been a huge area of interest with cricketers and commentators alike.

However, there is a difference between reverse swing(when ball moves differently in the air) and contrast swing (when it moves differently due to surface differences).

Rabi Mehta and Garfield Robinson explain the differences:


Cash withdrawal limits irk India’s Election Commission…

January 30, 2017

We wish governments to stay away from central banking operations. But we should expect the same from the central bank as well especially on election matters. There is research which showing how central bank stances during elections leads some governments coming to power and others being voted out.

Election Commission of India is not just irked by the low cash withdrawal limits but also by the attitude of Indian Central bank:


Betting on Nordic rain pays better than your average Hedge Fund

January 27, 2017

Jesper Starn of Bloomberg has a nice piece showing how Nordic electricity utilities gave better returns than hedge funds last year.


A $500 bn pot of gold: How Boston Consulting and Google pushed Indian Government to end the era of cash

January 27, 2017

Who did it or rather who advised it? These conspiracy theories continue to abound given the benefit of the cash exercise have mainly occurred to digital payment services.

Norbert Häring of Real-World Economics Review Blog has a post tracking the 8 Nov 2016 to a very prescient report coauthored by BCG and Google:


When Bandra’s Kolis danced in the Republic Day parade…

January 27, 2017

Interesting article on the topic when Kolis made their Republic Day debut in 1961:

Their “catchy songs and lively dances became the craze of Delhi”. That’s how the fisherfolk from the Colwad hamlet, in Mumbai’s Bandra neighbourhood, described their reception in the national capital in 1961, where they had been accorded the honour of being the newly formed state of Maharashtra’s first-ever representatives at the Republic Day Parade. So catchy were their tunes, they even got Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to dance with them, a Koli cap on his head.

Fifty six years later, the song that the Colwad Musical and Dramatic Union performed for India’s first prime minister serves as a reminder that it’s impossible to predict how sounds will travel – taking new forms as they float along, inspiring unlikely characters and sparking new endeavours.

The article has a bit on everything like community, music, migration etc..

Are you angry? Then learn economics!

January 27, 2017

Most of the time we read articles on how economists have led to a world full of greed and inequality. Most of the current problems are being blamed on the profession.

However, there are some who think otherwise.  Rick Weber one of the bloggers on NoteonLiberty Blog says we should actually learn economics:


Budget lessons from the Nawab of Awadh..

January 27, 2017

Aurodeep Nandi draws budget lessons from Nawab of Awadh.

The Nawab built Imambara amidst struggling economy. Thus, India should also opt for more Capital expenditure ahead of revenue expenditure:


7 thrillingly new world maps and how we live today

January 27, 2017

Danny Dorling Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford has drawn these maps.

Channeling our twin urges to explore and understand, we geographers strive to uncover the hidden connections of human existence. These seven maps — produced with cartographer Benjamin Hennig — offer new ways to understand how we got to where we are today and where we are collectively headed. And just as these maps help re-envision our planet, could they also help us shift our mental map to one that guides toward building a better future for all of humanity?

Pictures worth so many words..

Would implementation of FSLRC have strengthened the RBI Board?

January 26, 2017

Stuff continues to be written on RBI Board. After its (mysterious) role in demonetisation, we have seen flurry of articles from comparing it to SEBI to international central bank boards. Then this blog looked at historical evolution of RBI Board and another one on fullness or emptiness of the Board in recent years.

This blog had also written about why there is no discussion of FSLRC’s recommendations on RBI Board. Apparently, one article picked the post and asked broader questions.

Now, in another long must read post Bhargavi Zaveri adds more clarity to the debate. She says on the contrary FLSRC would have strengthened the RBI Board. Would it have altered the outcome of demonetisation?


Focus Economics – Top Economics & Finance Blogs of 2017

January 26, 2017

Focus Economics, a global economics analysis firm publishes its list of top economics and finance blogs for 2017.

It is wonderful to see Mostly Economics featuring in the list. Thanks once again to all the visitors for carrying the word forward.


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