Archive for August 11th, 2017

RBI’s new research series: Mint memos..

August 11, 2017

Today RBI announced a new research series and has a nice name to it: Mint memos. However unlike memo which is a short medium of communication and one would expect some gossip from Mint street, these are mini research papers. Quite like St Louis Fed’s Economic Synopses or Richmond Fed Economic Brief

The Reserve Bank of India announces a new series on its website called ‘Mint Street Memos’ (MSM). On navigating to the landing page of MSM, the viewer would be led to document/s that are in the form of brief reports and analysis on contemporary topics, prepared by the staff of RBI and Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning (CAFRAL), or drawn from one of the recent publications of the Bank with commentaries by the author/s. MSM releases will also feature salient facts, data and tables that are germane to the topic.

The views and opinions expressed in MSM series are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the RBI.

The first releases under MSM published today, cover “Demonetisation and Bank Deposit Growth” and “Financialisation of Savings into Non-Banking Financial Intermediaries”.

Hope this series continues…


India’s new regime of policies and regulation are a curious mix of modern motives and medieval methods…

August 11, 2017

Interesting piece by Andy Mukherjee:


Opportunity cost lessons from Gulzar/Kishore Kumar/Amol Palekar

August 11, 2017

Another interesting piece from Amit Varma on learning economics from Bollywood:

Aane wala pal/ Jaane waala hai/ Ho sake tho isme/ Zindagi bita lo/ Pal jo yeh jaana waala hai/ Ho ho.’ — Gol Maal.
‘The moment that is to come/ Will soon be gone./ If you can/ Live your life/ In this passing moment/ Ho ho.’ 

These words were written by master economist Gulzar, sung by policy wonk Kishore Kumar and acted out, with his customary charm, by polemicist Amol Palekar.

Bindiya Goswami goes visibly weak in the knees when the song begins, though we can’t see her knees, and even Utpal Dutt seems to have a bit of a man crush. The song was not a wasted effort — and in that sense, followed its own instruction.

Aane Wala Pal is a favourite of economists because it is such an eloquent poetic expression of one of the most important concepts in economics: Opportunity Cost. The one basic truth about this world, poets and economists have long bemoaned, is scarcity. Everybody can’t have everything, and choices have to be made. Opportunity Cost, in the words of economist James Buchanan, “expresses the basic relationship between scarcity and choice.”


Though, would want to keep economics away while hearing this wonderful song. It is important not to let economics mix with everything in life…

Language battles in India: Case for declaring Tulu as an official language

August 11, 2017

Language remains a huge unifying force for people. Recently, people in Bangalore opposed imposition of Hindi as Metro stations also had Hindi on the station name boards. This led to the boards being taken off and not the Boards will just have Kannada and English.

This successful movement has captured the imagination of the Western part of Karnataka as well.  People from the region are asking to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Currently, there are 22 languages in Indian Constitution.

Over the past few months, pro-Kannada campaign gained huge momentum in Karnataka after ‘Namma Metro Hindi Beda’ took Twitter by storm. Now, a youth group – Jai Tulunad, has started a campaign called Tweet Tulunad, demanding that Tulu be included as an official language in India.

On Thursday, to mark the third anniversary of the organisation, thousands of youth began tweeting from 6 am, demanding that Tulu be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. With the hashtag #TuluTo8thSchedule, members of the organisation began tweeting aggressively, after which the campaign gained momentum.

The demand for inclusion is hardly new. What is interesting to note is that local people are saying how Kannada was imposed on the region:


History of money from barter to Blockchains….

August 11, 2017

Nice pictorial write-up from Mohit Mamoria on history of money. One can argue about the specifics (like in some countries it was not the temples but Goldsmiths which issued paper money and so on) but broadly the story fits in well. The pictures with it make it even better read.

In the end he says, value of money is derived from its scarcity:


Bank of England to continue printing polymer banknotes made from traces of animal-fat: Economics wins over religious sentiments…

August 11, 2017

Bank of England has released polymer notes of GBP 5, 10 and was planning to release 20 one as well. However, these notes are made from from polymer manufactured using trace amounts of chemicals, typically less than 0.05%, ultimately derived from animal products.

This animal fat usage in notes had led Hindu groups and temples to refuse accepting these notes:
Some Hindu temples and vegetarian cafes refused to accept the new five pound note featuring World War Two leader Winston Churchill, which the BoE says is more durable and harder to fake. 
The central bank was forced to run a public poll where 88% dissented against said polymer bank notes. However, the alternate was Palm oil which had environmental consequences. The costs and benefots are also in favor of the polymer notes.
So Bank of England is planning to continue with the polymer notes. Economics wins over religious sentiments:


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