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January 2024

The much-anticipated Budget Session of Parliament is poised to commence tomorrow, with President Droupadi Murmu delivering an inaugural address to the joint sitting of both Houses. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to present the Interim Union Budget on Thursday. The session is slated to extend until the 9th of the next month.

In preparation for the upcoming session, the government conducted an all-party meeting today, aiming to ensure the seamless functioning of both Houses. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, speaking to the media after the meeting in New Delhi, expressed the government’s readiness for discussions on all issues as directed by the chair. He urged opposition parties to cooperate, emphasizing the importance of smooth conduct in both Houses without resorting to placards.

Mr. Joshi conveyed that the government has formally requested the presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to revoke the suspension of MPs imposed during the winter session.

Addressing the media post the meeting, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari highlighted their concerns about the alleged assault on the federal structure. He further stated that Congress and several opposition parties plan to raise issues related to unemployment, inflation, and escalating debt during the upcoming session.

The all-party meeting saw the participation of prominent leaders, including Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Piyush Goyal, and Arjun Ram Meghwal, along with representatives from Congress, TMC, JD (U), DMK, CPI (M), and Shiv Sena, among others.

As the Budget Session unfolds, the focus will be on critical discussions and deliberations, with the Interim Budget presentation holding significance in outlining the fiscal direction for the nation.

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In a notable recognition of the Adani Group’s strategic importance, US brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald has given an ‘Overweight’ rating to Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of the Adani Group. The firm has set a target price of ₹4,368 per share, projecting a potential upside of over 50% on Adani Enterprises shares.

Cantor Fitzgerald emphasized that Adani Enterprises holds a central position in India’s pursuit of various economic objectives. The report underscores the diversified nature of Adani Enterprises, describing it as a “publicly-trading incubator” with numerous business segments set for demerger.

According to Cantor Fitzgerald, the current valuation of Adani Enterprises is largely influenced by three primary segments: airports, roads, and the new energy ecosystem. However, the report suggests that investors are receiving a valuable “free call option” on the remaining 85%+ of Adani Enterprises’ business, which includes several businesses in their incubation phase.

The firm points out that Adani Enterprises owns eight airports, with seven already operational and the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) under development. Cantor Fitzgerald views the additional six businesses as essentially being obtained for free at current share levels.

Cantor Fitzgerald’s Sum-of-the-Parts (SOTP) derived price target implies a target EV/EBITDA multiple of 23.5x for FY26E, compared to the current trading multiple of 13.9x for the same period. The report anticipates potential catalysts for share appreciation, particularly as Adani’s green hydrogen facility becomes operational in FY27E.

Addressing concerns raised by the Hindenburg report, Cantor Fitzgerald acknowledges that Adani Enterprises has taken measures to reduce liquidity risk, enhance governance, and increase transparency. The brokerage firm concludes that Adani is “too big to ignore,” and for India, Adani’s role is deemed essential, asserting that the country needs Adani as much as Adani needs the country.

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Instagram, owned by Meta, is currently in the testing phase for a new feature called “Flipside.” This feature aims to address concerns around ‘finstas’ while providing users with a more private avenue to share content exclusively with close friends and family.

Meta Executive Adam Mosseri responded to inquiries about Flipside potentially coming to Threads, stating, “We’re not even sure we’ll launch it on Instagram. On one hand, it feels good to create a clear space that feels more private. On the other, it’s yet another way to reach a smaller audience on top of secondary accounts and Close Friends. We’ll see how people respond in the test, and iterate forward.”

While the Instagram Head expressed uncertainty, a Meta Executive confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is indeed testing this feature. According to the spokesperson, Meta is continuously exploring new ways for people to connect with friends on Instagram. The decision to test Flipside stems from user feedback expressing a desire for more options for sharing in private spaces.

Understanding Flipside:

The concept of Flipside surfaced when reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi shared development screenshots in December. These screenshots suggest that Instagram may position Flipside as “a new space just for you and your friends,” emphasizing that “only the people you choose can see this side of your profile and what you share here.”

A recent video shared by social media consultant Matt Navara demonstrates how Flipside functions. The feature serves as an alternative profile, allowing users to share reels or posts visible exclusively to a select group of people.

The ‘Finsta’ Connection:

Flipside appears to be a response to the challenge of ‘finstas’—fake Instagram accounts often created by individuals, including celebrities, to engage with close friends. The term gained prominence in 2021, leading to questions during a congressional hearing about Meta’s commitment to addressing the finsta issue.

As Instagram navigates the testing phase of Flipside, it remains to be seen how users respond to this new feature designed to enhance privacy and cater to the demand for more selective content sharing on the platform.

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Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk shared the exciting news, revealing that Neuralink, his neurotechnology startup, has successfully installed a brain implant in its first human patient. The co-founded company aims to establish direct communication channels between the human brain and computers.

Musk expressed optimism about the magnificent development, stating that the initial results show promising neuron spike detection. Neuralink’s overarching goal is to enhance human capabilities significantly, address neurological disorders like ALS or Parkinson’s, and potentially achieve a symbiotic relationship between humans and artificial intelligence.

The “Link,” Neuralink’s implant device, approximately the size of five stacked coins, is placed inside the human brain through invasive surgery. Musk confirmed that the first human recipient of the implant is recovering well. Last year, Neuralink secured approval from US regulators to initiate testing of its brain implants in people.

In contrast to Neuralink, other players in the brain-machine interface research field, such as Synchron, have explored less invasive approaches. Synchron, based in Australia, implanted its first device in a US patient in July 2022. Musk’s Neuralink has garnered attention not only for its ambitious goals but also for securing significant investments, with over 400 employees and at least $363 million raised, according to Pitchbook data.

While Neuralink faces competition in the brain-machine interface research arena, Musk’s recent announcement underscores the company’s progress and the potential for transformative advancements in neurotechnology.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged with students, parents, and teachers during the Pariksha Pe Charcha 2024 program in New Delhi, emphasizing the significance of healthy competition and resilience in life.

Healthy Competition: PM Modi conveyed that competition and challenges serve as inspirations in life. However, he urged students to compete with themselves rather than others. Stressing the importance of healthy competition, he noted that challenges make life inspiring.

Addressing Challenges Collectively: PM Modi emphasized that challenges faced by students should be collectively addressed by both parents and teachers. He urged parents not to consider their children’s report cards as their visiting cards and highlighted the need for resilience in students to withstand pressure.

Role of Teachers: Recognizing the significant role teachers play, PM Modi stated that the bond between students and teachers should extend beyond syllabus and curriculum. He emphasized the role of teachers in reducing students’ stress.

Focus on Fitness: Highlighting the importance of a balanced diet, exercise, and proper sleep for overall fitness, PM Modi emphasized that a healthy body is essential for a healthy mind.

Effective Exam Stress Management: Encouraging students to manage exam stress effectively, PM Modi stressed the judicious use of mobile technology. He suggested the practice of writing answers to alleviate exam hall stress.

Decision-Making and National Development: PM Modi highlighted that decision-making becomes easier when driven by a strong resolve. He mentioned the government’s efforts to uplift 25 crore people from poverty during his tenure.

Union Education Minister’s Perspective: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed confidence that India would become a developed nation under the leadership of the youth. He praised the Pariksha Pe Charcha program for evolving into a mass movement.

The Pariksha Pe Charcha interaction aimed to provide valuable insights and encouragement to students, parents, and teachers, promoting a holistic approach to education and well-being.

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As part of the Republic Day celebrations, the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony is set to take place today at the iconic Vijay Chowk in New Delhi. Featuring music bands from the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the event promises to showcase 31 captivating Indian tunes.

Kicking off with the Shankhnaad tune by the massed band, the ceremony will enchant spectators with melodies like ‘Veer Bharat,’ ‘Sangam Dur,’ ‘Deshon ka Sartaj Bharat,’ and ‘Bhagirathi’ performed by the Pipes and Drums band. The CAPF bands will contribute tunes including ‘Bharat Ke Jawan’ and ‘Vijay Bharat.’ Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force band will present ‘Tiger Hill,’ ‘Rejoice in Raisina,’ and ‘Swadeshi,’ while the Indian Navy band will delight the audience with renditions such as ‘INS Vikrant,’ ‘Mission Chandrayaan,’ ‘Jai Bharati,’ and ‘Hum Tayyar Hain.’ The Indian Army band will captivate with tunes like ‘Faulad Ka Jigar,’ ‘Agniveer,’ ‘Kargil 1999,’ and ‘Taqat Watan.’ The grand finale will feature the Massed Bands performing ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja,’ ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon,’ and ‘Drummers Call,’ concluding with the beloved melody of ‘Sare Jahan se Acha.’

The tradition of Beating Retreat dates back to the early 1950s, credited to Major Roberts of the Indian Army, who developed this unique ceremony of display by the massed bands. It symbolizes a centuries-old military tradition, marking the end of the day’s activities as troops cease fighting, sheathe their arms, and withdraw from the battlefield at sunset.

In preparation for the event, the Delhi Traffic Police has made extensive arrangements to ensure smooth traffic flow. Traffic restrictions will be enforced from 2 pm to 9.30 pm, with Vijay Chowk closed to general traffic. Additionally, Rafi Marg, Raisina Road, and Kartavya Path will have restricted access during the ceremony. Commuters are advised to plan their journeys in advance and allow extra time to avoid inconvenience.

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Paris: In a significant shift, Bernard Arnault, the CEO of the French luxury giant LVMH, has surpassed Elon Musk to become the world’s richest person, boasting a net worth of $207.8 billion, fueled by a substantial $23.6 billion surge.

Arnault Claims Top Spot: According to Forbes’ real-time billionaires list, Bernard Arnault, the 74-year-old tycoon behind LVMH, has secured the position of the world’s richest person, outpacing Elon Musk. Arnault’s net worth reached $207.8 billion after a remarkable surge.

Tesla’s Stock Decline: Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, experienced a setback as Tesla’s stock witnessed a 13% decline on Thursday, resulting in an erosion of over $18 billion from Musk’s net worth. The decline in Tesla’s stock contributed to Arnault’s ascent.

LVMH’s Resilience: LVMH, the luxury conglomerate, demonstrated resilience and optimism in the market. LVMH shares surged over 13% on Friday following strong sales reports, contributing to a market cap of $388.8 billion, though still trailing Tesla’s $586.14 billion.

Arnault’s Luxury Empire: Over nearly four decades, Bernard Arnault has meticulously built a luxury empire, acquiring and nurturing iconic brands like Louis Vuitton, TAG Heuer, and Dom Pérignon. His strategic approach includes involving his five adult children in the family-run business.

Historic LVMH Achievements: In April, LVMH became the first European company to surpass $500 billion in market valuation. The acquisition of Tiffany & Co. for nearly $16 billion in 2021 is considered the largest luxury brand acquisition ever.

Aglaé Ventures and Art Passion: Arnault’s venture capital firm, Aglaé Ventures, backed by his holding company Agache, invests in businesses like Netflix and ByteDance (parent company of TikTok). Beyond business, Arnault is an avid art collector with a personal collection featuring works by Picasso, Matisse, and Mondrian.

Bernard Arnault’s ascent to the top spot underscores the enduring success of luxury brands and his strategic acumen in navigating the dynamic market landscape.

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Hyderabad: In a groundbreaking moment for cricket, Tanmay Agarwal, the talented Indian opener from Hyderabad, has etched his name in history by smashing the record for the most number of sixes in a First-Class game.

Fastest Triple-Hundred: Tanmay Agarwal showcased his brilliance in a Ranji Trophy Plate Group match against Arunachal Pradesh, scoring the fastest triple-hundred in the history of first-class cricket. He reached his triple-century in just 147 balls.

Record-Breaking Sixes: Not only did Tanmay miss Brian Lara’s score of 501*, but he also set a new world record by hitting an incredible 26 sixes in a First-Class innings. The previous record was held by New Zealand’s Colin Munro with 23 sixes.

Dominating Performance: The 28-year-old batter’s phenomenal innings included 33 fours, along with the remarkable 21 sixes. Tanmay remained unbeaten on 323 off 160 balls at the end of the day’s play.

Previous Records: Tanmay had already broken South African cricketer Marco Marais’s record for the fastest triple-hundred in first-class cricket, achieved in 191 balls.

Reflecting on the Achievement: Tanmay Agarwal expressed his gratitude, mentioning that after reaching 150, he started hitting freely, and luck favored him. The record-breaking feat was unplanned and unfolded as he found the middle of the bat consistently.

Lopsided Contest Questions Integration: The dominating performance against a north-eastern side has raised questions about the inclusion of such teams directly into the Ranji Trophy, where records are being broken regularly.

Run Riot in Gen-Next Cricket Ground: The match, held at the ‘Gen-Next’ cricket ground on the outskirts of the city, witnessed a staggering score of 529 for 1 in just 48 overs, with Tanmay’s undefeated 323 contributing significantly.

Tanmay Agarwal’s extraordinary display of power-hitting has not only set a new benchmark in first-class cricket but has also created a moment that will be remembered in the annals of the sport.

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New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu led the nation in celebrating the 75th Republic Day with a grand parade on Kartavya Path in Delhi. French President Emmanuel Macron graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, witnessing India’s rich cultural diversity and military prowess.

Themes: The parade revolved around the twin themes of ‘Viksit Bharat’ (Developed India) and ‘Bharat – Loktantra Ki Matruka’ (India – Maternal Symbol of Democracy), symbolizing progress and democratic values.

Special Guests: A total of 13,000 special guests participated in the parade, representing the spirit of a developed and democratic India.

Women Empowerment: Notable for the first time, over 100 women artists led the parade, showcasing their musical talents with Indian instruments. An all-women tri-service contingent marched down Kartavya Path, symbolizing ‘Nari Shakti’ or ‘women power’. Women pilots featured in the flypast, and contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) comprised solely of women personnel.

Parade Duration: The Republic Day parade started at 10:30 am and continued for 120 minutes, captivating spectators with a vibrant display of India’s cultural heritage and military excellence.

International Presence: French armed forces participated in the parade, featuring a 30-member band contingent and a 90-member marching contingent. A multirole tanker aircraft and two Rafale fighter jets from the French Air and Space Force graced the skies.

Indian Armed Forces Contingents:

Indian Army: The 61 Cavalry, the only active Horsed Cavalry Regiment globally, led the mechanized column.

Indian Navy: The contingent and tableau highlighted the themes ‘Nari Shakti’ and ‘Sea Power Across the Oceans Through Indigenisation’.

Indian Air Force: A contingent of 144 airmen and officers showcased the prowess of the Indian Air Force.

DRDO Showcase: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) displayed critical systems and technologies, focusing on ‘Women power in protecting the nation’ across land, air, sea, cyber, and space dimensions.

Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Delhi Police: Women personnel led the contingents, reinforcing the commitment to women’s leadership in the country’s security forces.

The Republic Day Parade 2024 was a magnificent display, combining tradition, modernity, and the spirit of inclusivity, reflecting India’s journey as a developed and democratic nation.

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