Editors Column

In a nation obsessed with the yellow metal, the sale of 1,000 kg of gold in 10 months through digital payment companies using mobile applications is a huge step forward. Financial technology start-ups like Paytm, Tmw and PhonePe have made waves while catering to over four million customers — individuals and families — in India and selling gold online.

A complete market and institutional mechanism for biofuels will have to be evolved in India, like Europe in the last decade. For India, putting together a comprehensive biofuels policy could be a first step towards reducing the dependence on crude and other fossil fuels imports, supporting the government’s campaign to double farmers’ income by 2022 apart from creating jobs in rural areas.

The BJP got a taste of its own medicine as the Congress-JD(S) cobbled up a quick post-election coalition of sorts to stake claim to form the next government in Karnataka. This is akin to what happened in Manipur, Meghalaya and Goa when the Congress and its allies fell short of numbers, and were caught unawares when the BJP made it past the post after taking on board splinter parties.

Within twenty-four hours of Walmart announcing that it would take majority stake in homegrown e-commerce major, Flipkart, there were reports, which indicated that SoftBank, the largest shareholder in Flipkart, had still not made up its mind on whether it would sell its stake to Walmart.

Nepal and India may be generally compared to Canada and USA in terms of proximity. The comparison ends there. Unlike the drift in relations between the US and Canada, India has always tried to engage Nepal, even though the latter has sometimes felt stifled by India’s presumably Big Brother attitude.

India had not recognised unilateral sanctions imposed by the erstwhile Democratic administration of Barack Obama and it may be no different this time now that President Donald Trump has unilaterally pulled out of a nuclear accord signed with Iran in 2015. India’s position that sanctions that do not have the backing of the United Nations are not to be recognised is not likely change overnight.

As the din of the election campaign in Karnataka ebbed on Thursday evening, celebrations began in unlikely quarters – smart phone makers and tablet manufacturers. Political promises made by the BJP and the Congress party in their manifestos seem to have opened up the prospect of huge business opportunities for smart phone manufacturers.

As the world assesses the cost of US walking out of the Iran nuclear deal, policy-makers in New Delhi will be more anxious than anticipated. The re-imposition of sanctions against Iran will force India to re-work both its energy strategy and strategic calculations to cope up with unfolding situation.

The fall of the rupee against the dollar and the concomitant rise in crude prices to $75 per barrel may turn out to be the beginning of a tumultuous fifth year in office for the Narendra Modi government. The rupee sinking below 67 to a dollar – for the first time in 15 months – and Brent crude futures being quoted at $75 a barrel will serve as a double whammy on the economy.

Regulators are expected to arrive at decisions after due deliberation as these often have a long-term structural impact on the sector they are meant to regulate.

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