Free Press Journal
  • Can the US push oil to USD 250 a barrel?

    Last week, Artem Avinov, leading analyst with TeleTrade, predicted that oil prices could jump to $250 per barrel if the Strait of Hormuz is blocked by Iran. This was duly reported by www.rt.com (https://www.rt.com/business/432075-iran-strait-hormuz-oil-prices/). Iran threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz in case the US makes any attempt to prevent its export of oil….

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  • India, Swiss banks and black money

    Last week, the political climate was charged with accusations that the government had actually begun encouraging the promotion of black money. Prima facie, the charges seemed to have some merit in them. Swiss bank deposits from India had swelled by 50%, one of the largest increases in recent times (see chart). But the accusation was…

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  • India uses AIIB to diversify its funding sources

    India has already begun diversifying its funding sources by looking for more financial support from the three year old Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), headquartered in Beijing. Hitherto, it had sought financial aid from bodies like Japan’s ODA, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank and the IFC besides other commercial bands and…

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  • Bad loans: Advantage NBFCs & private banks

    Last week, in his annual letter to shareholders of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak, the managing director, stated that private sector banks could increase their market share to as much as 50%. Till a few years ago, private sector banks were expected to carve out a market share of around 32% by 2025. All of…

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  • Bankruptcy law will be learning experience for at least 2-3 years: Bahram Vakil, founding partner, AZB & Partners

    Bahram Vakil, the founding partner of leading law firm AZB & Partners, is reckoned among the country’s foremost infrastructure and project finance attorneys. He has worked on several committees that introduced major policy changes in the country. Among them are the U K Sinha Committee— working group on foreign investment in India; SEBI sub-group on regulatory guidelines…

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  • Tokenism will not make Mumbai smart

    McKinsey Global Institute has just come out with its paper on Smart Cities: Digital Solutions for a more liveable future (https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/capital%20projects%20and%20infrastructure/our%20insights/smart%20cities%20digital%20solutions%20for%20a%20more%20livable%20future/mgi-smart-cities-full-report.ashx). It explains how “after a decade of experimentation, smart cities are entering a new phase. Although they are only one part of the full tool kit for making a city great, digital solutions are…

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  • How much gold can be mined in India?

    Officially, India mined just 1.61 tonnes of gold in India during 2017-18. That was essentially from primary sources. But ask geologists, and they will tell you that India should be mining a lot more gold. This is because the terrain from Australia to China has similar geological features. There is a lot of gold to…

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  • The Madhya Pradesh agricultural marvel has miles to go

    Madhya Pradesh is a state investors need to be watching very carefully. During the past 12 years, the state has witnessed a blistering growth in agriculture of over 10% year-on-year. Moreover, according to the state government in its media releases, “During the last five years, the state has recorded an 18% growth in agriculture –…

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  • Need to take literacy improvement seriously

    The government of India like to crow about how it has improved India’s literacy levels ever since independence. But when the numbers are studied carefully for a long period of time, the performance isn’t worth a mention. India claims that its literacy levels stand at around 72.99% according to the latest Census and figures released…

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  • Maharashtra, Western Maharashtra, Western Maharashtra farmers, electricity due, Nationalist Congress party, Sharad Pawar, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, agriculture

    Power-for-all would not be that easy

    The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has decided to call for a review of the power sector. Contrary to what he had been told by the power administration, this sector has not performed very well. Unfortunately, the impression that the power sector was doing well was pushed even by India’s leading rating agency, Crisil, which had…

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  • Policy Watch: Did RBI and the government allow the NPA loot?

    On 14 March 2018, the RBI governor, Urjit Patel bemoaned the fact that he had more power to regulate private banks than public sector banks (PSBs). Really? Let’s look at the RBI’s ways of regulating private banks. Did the RBI raise questions over advances ICICI made to Videocon despite cautionary signals ? Did RBI haul up private…

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  • Go, Chanda Kochar! Please go

    Last week witnessed the first public appeal being made by mainstream media asking Chanda Kochar (currently managing director of ICICI Bank) to step down from her post. In what was captioned “an open letter” the article stated that “ICICI deserves a statesman, not a leader in hiding.” This author too agrees that she must step…

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