The start of a new academic year has arrived and we have gained valuable experiences over the past few months, including internships, academic projects, and personal growth that has contributed to our development as managers. These experiences will be beneficial to our future careers and the organizations we work for.
Given the unpredictability of today’s world, there are a lot of topics to cover up .Therefore, to make things easier for everyone we have selected two themes for the research paper. They are:
–India’s Competitive position and implications on global trade
-Future of fintech in India
We are looking for the best submissions without restricting the creativity of the writers, as long as they relate to economics and finance of the themes mentioned.
The editorial team values the creativity of the writers and believes that giving them the freedom to express their own unique perspectives on a curated topic enhances the quality of their work. In India, where opportunities are abundant and potential is limitless, providing such an opportunity to talented individuals across the country can help them amplify their ability to create research articles that make a difference.
This journal aims to showcase exceptional research articles from students throughout the nation. The TJEF editorial board extends gratitude to the writers for their dedication to producing valuable content for this journal. We hope that the readers will find these articles thought-provoking and inspiring.
Over the past decade, there has been a substantial increase in demand for lithium, which has become a crucial element for the manufacturing of industrial products, specifically batteries for electronic devices and electric vehicles. With the increasing sophistication of technology, products require the use of non-renewable and scarce materials, especially metals that have important applications in various technologies like batteries, wind turbines, and solar panels. Although such metals are used in low concentrations, their demand has increased significantly, making their availability and potential recovery a major concern. Recently, the Geological Survey of India has suggested that Jammu & Kashmir might have a potential reserve of 5.9 million tonnes of a certain mineral.
Lithium is a unique metal due to its low density, making it lighter than water and able to float. Unlike most elements found on Earth, lithium did not form naturally on our planet but is instead a cosmic metal. Scientists believe that it was likely produced during the Big Bang, which occurred 13.7 billion years ago. One theory is that when high-energy cosmic rays collide with heavier elements like carbon and oxygen in space, they break down into lighter atoms, potentially creating lithium. In 2020, astronomers discovered that a specific type of red giant stars can also produce lithium towards the end of their lives. This was based on a survey of hundreds of thousands of stars.
How has lithium demand increased significantly in a decade?
The use of lithium, the lightest and most highly reducing metal, has grown rapidly due to its economic importance as a key component in batteries for portable information technology devices, laptop computers, and mobile phones, and as a material for electric vehicles. Lithium has high gravimetric and volumetric energy densities, making it a preferred material for batteries, which are critical components in various technologies. The production of lithium secondary batteries has grown by 25% between 2000 and 2007, and lithium ion secondary batteries have replaced nickel metal hybrid batteries used in the first commercialized electric vehicles.
However, the recovery and recycling of metals like neodymium, used for neodymium-iron-boron magnets in hard disk drives, pose a challenge due to the formation of stable compounds with elements like oxygen, leading to waste. The increasing demand for certain metals due to the development of new technologies is a cause for concern since their availability can limit the lifetime of such technologies.
Therefore, it is necessary to account for the material and energy flows related to the life cycle of metals, particularly lithium, in batteries to assess the feasibility of future technologies containing lithium-derived materials. The passage underscores the importance of sustainable production and consumption practices that balance economic growth with environmental protection.
The metallurgical industry is a rapidly growing sector, especially with the increasing use of metals in new technologies. Lithium is a metal whose demand has almost doubled in the past 5 years. In 2011, the world produced 34800 tonnes of lithium, which was almost 30% more than in 2010 and 77% more than in 2009. About 60% of the world’s lithium is still obtained from brines. The amount of lithium from pegmatites, which are relatively small deposits, almost doubled its production from 2010. Recently, the production of lithium from spodumene has become more important due to its increased price and use in batteries. It is also an additional source of tantalum, a scarce metal used for capacitors in most electrical and electronic circuits.
The figure shows the sources of world Lithium. We can see that more than half of the world’s lithium came from brines, with over 60% of that production from Chile, and the rest from China and Argentina. Another source of lithium is pegmatites, with almost 85% of the production coming from spodumene in Greenbushes, Australia. The remaining amount was obtained from a mixture of pegmatites in Zimbabwe and concentrates from Brazil and China, which used spodumene imported from Australia. Pegmatites are typically processed further to produce lithium carbonate and lithium chloride
Production sources of lithium
Lithium in India
Recently, the Geological Survey of India has suggested that Jammu & Kashmir might have a potential reserve of 5.9 million tonnes of a certain mineral. This news can have significant implications for India’s economy, what will be the scientific, business, and industrial aspects behind it.
Li-ion Batteries in EV vehicles
Lithium is a metal that can hold a lot of energy and is commonly used in batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are much lighter and can store more energy than traditional lead-acid batteries. They also last longer and can withstand thousands of recharge cycles. However, these batteries degrade quickly and usually only last for 2-3 years. It’s important to check the manufacturing date when buying a battery pack to ensure it hasn’t been sitting on a shelf for too long. Additionally, reducing usage won’t necessarily make the battery last longer, so it’s best to use it as needed.
The Geological Survey of India has discovered that there may be 5.9 million tonnes of Lithium in Jammu & Kashmir, but it’s not confirmed yet. It will take at least seven years before we can mine the Lithium there. The Geological Survey has conducted a preliminary survey called G3, and the actual reserves will be determined after further exploration. Until then, India will have to import Lithium from Australia, which is allowed duty-free under the India-Australia FTA.
The GSI has categorized the resources in preliminary exploration, called the G3 stage. According to the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC), there are four stages of exploration for any mineral deposit: reconnaissance (G4), preliminary exploration (G3), general exploration (G2), and detailed exploration (G1). Each stage generates resource data with clearly defined degrees of geological assurance.
The mineral extraction process typically begins with the G4 stage, involving the identification of mineralized areas worthy of further investigation and leads up to the G1 stage, which includes a detailed exploration with an estimation of size, shape, structure, grade, and other characteristics of the deposit with a high degree of accuracy.
The recent discovery of lithium resources in the Reasi District of Jammu and Kashmir is at the Geological Assessment (G3), a preliminary exploration stage. The G3 stage is further categorized into a six-step process to extract lithium from salt-flat brines or mineral ores.
The six stages include geological surveys, geochemical sampling, detailed ground geophysical work and borehole logging, checking the technicality of pits/trenches to explore the mineralized zone and drill borehole spacing, sampling for litho geochemical from a well-known section, pit/trench, and core sample, and petrographic and mineralogical studies. In addition to the thorough examination of the above-mentioned geological axis, the proposal to mine minerals also needs to be assessed from a feasibility point of view along with the prospects of economic viability, as per the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).
Lithium is a soft, silvery-white metal that reacts vigorously with water. It plays a critical role in much of what we do in our daily lives, including its use in rechargeable batteries for electronic devices like mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, and power tools, as well as battery storage of energy generated from wind and solar power. Lithium is also used in non-rechargeable batteries, such as heart pacemakers, toys, and clocks.
However, one of the key uses of lithium is in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), “global supplies are under strain because of rising EV demand.” The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the world could face lithium shortages by 2025, and about 2 billion EVs will be needed by 2050 for the world to hit net zero. Sales of EVs stood at just 6.6 million in 2021, highlighting the need for increased production of lithium and other materials used in EV batteries.
In addition to EVs, other uses of lithium are found in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, computers, power tools, and battery storage of energy generated from wind and solar power. The Central Electricity Authority of India has estimated that India will need 27 GW of grid-scale battery energy storage systems by 2030, which will require massive amounts of lithium.
This recent discovery of Lithium in India can help the country become a leader in green energy and reduce dependence on other countries for this important resource. This could put India ahead of China, which currently imports a lot of Lithium. However, the location of this discovery is in a region that has seen a lot of conflict, which could make it difficult to access and develop. Such discoveries in politically sensitive areas can create instability and tension.
WILL THE LOCATION POSE SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES?
If India can obtain lithium domestically, it will be a positive step towards reducing dependence on other countries for energy production and storage. This would benefit Indian EV makers and battery producers by shielding them from high import prices. While India would still need to rely on global markets for other important materials like nickel, graphite, and manganese, having domestic lithium resources would provide some level of self-sufficiency. Additionally, it would reduce the risks associated with rising tensions between China and the United States, which could affect global lithium supply and prices.
developing these lithium resources will not be without its challenges. The reserves are located in a politically volatile region that has been contested by India and Pakistan since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1947. The identified lithium reserves are located roughly 30 miles from the Line of Control that separates India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan-controlled Azad (Free) Kashmir. This region has been the site of numerous wars and violent skirmishes, and large resource discoveries in “peripheral” regions far from the capital and locus of government power can often be politically destabilizing.
Additionally, the southern Jammu region, where the lithium deposits are located, is a territory of mountains flanking a river valley that is half Muslim and half Hindu. This presents potential challenges related to ethnic and religious discrimination.
To develop these lithium resources, the Indian government will need to attract investment and industrial development into this politically sensitive region while also addressing these potential challenges related to discrimination and instability. The recent discovery of lithium reserves in India has the potential to bring significant economic benefits to the country. It could create job opportunities and improve transportation infrastructure in the region. The find is being hailed as a solution to unemployment in the area and a boost to the Indian economy. However, there are also potential risks associated with the mining and extraction of lithium.
It can have a negative impact on the environment, specifically with regards to groundwater contamination. In addition, large-scale infrastructure projects can often lead to conflicts in areas where ethnic or religious minorities seek autonomy or self-determination. The region where the lithium reserves have been discovered, which is near the border with Pakistan, is politically volatile and has seen a history of conflict. There are concerns that the discovery of the lithium reserves could intensify existing conflicts or even spark new ones. Therefore, it is important for the Indian government to address these challenges and ensure that the development of the lithium resources is done in a responsible and sustainable manner.
The demand for lithium has increased significantly in the past decade due to its importance as a crucial component in the manufacturing of batteries for electronic devices and electric vehicles. Metals used in low concentrations are becoming increasingly important for various technologies like batteries, wind turbines, and solar panels. However, their availability and potential recovery are major concerns. Sustainable production and consumption practices that balance economic growth with environmental protection are crucial for future technologies containing lithium-derived materials. The world’s lithium is mostly obtained from brines, with over 60% of that production coming from Chile, and the rest from China and Argentina. Pegmatites are another source of lithium, with almost 85% of the production coming from spodumene in Greenbushes, Australia.
The Geological Survey of India has identified a potential reserve of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium in Jammu & Kashmir, which could significantly impact India’s economy. Lithium is a metal that is commonly used in batteries, particularly in electric vehicles (EVs), and is critical for energy storage systems generated from wind and solar power. India will need to rely on global markets for other essential materials like nickel, graphite, and manganese, but domestic lithium resources will provide some level of self-sufficiency, reducing the risks associated with rising tensions between China and the United States, which could affect global lithium supply and prices. However, developing these lithium resources will not be without challenges, as the reserves are located in a politically volatile region that has seen a lot of conflict between India and Pakistan.
What is the most nostalgic memory you have of your childhood? Playing in the sun with your friends, pretending to be sick to avoid going to school, the terror of not having homework to present to the scariest teacher, or playing your favorite videogame. Over the years as we have grown up, have we given serious thought to this juvenile issue? What are video games? And how is it that, unlike most fads of the past, this industry still exists and grows?
The gaming industry took its roots in the United States with Atari’s ‘Pong’. Atari was a company started by two employees of an electronics company, Ampex. They were Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. They created ‘Pong’, a table tennis video game that was released in 1972. It was played in an arcade format, showing a pixelated table, a ball, and two paddles. The game was a sensation and a paving path for other companies such as Taito and Sega. It also helped Atari with the launch of the first-ever home console, the Atari 2600 in 1977 which sold a million units. But it was the Japanese Taito’s creation of ‘Space Invaders’ in 1978 that truly kicked off the gaming Industry.
Asteroids (Atari, 1979)
Galaxian (Namco, 1979)
Berzerk (Stern Electronics, 1980)
Missile Command (Atari, 1980)
Pac-Man (Namco, 1980)
Rally-X (Namco, 1980)
Centipede (Atari, 1981)
Defender (Williams Electronics, 1981)
Donkey Kong (Nintendo, 1981)
Frogger (Konami, 1981)
Scramble (Konami, 1981)
Zaxxon (Sega, 1981)
But who was making these games? While Atari was making the hardware, game development began with Taito and Sega. Without these companies, gaming would not be a reality today. The best example of in-house game development is Nintendo, with stalwarts such as Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Pokémon, and Zelda in its library. Sega created waves with Sonic and Zaxxon. And who can forget the original fighter games that sparked controversy for being too violent? Mortal Kombat, by Midway Games, was bought by Warner Bros. under Netherrealm Studios. These were all the notable games released in arcade format. Together they made a revenue of around $8.5 billion USD. But the arcade games were a dying breed. To avoid death Atari started to capitalize on the home console market. Game development companies had to release their games somewhere. The models of the Atari 2600 and the later home console (Atari 7800, 1986) were on the way. These consoles worked on cartridges that contained the game. Atari seeing an excellent business opportunity rushed extremely high-budget ports of Pac-Man and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. This led to poor-quality games being published which brought the company to bankruptcy in 2013 after failing to make a profit since 1999.
At this time, the true game changer arrived on the scene. The Japanese playing cards maker Nintendo launched the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985. The games that were released on these were the popular Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. Nintendo achieved great success.
Seeing this success Nintendo’s two greatest rivals came onto the scene. Sony and Microsoft i.e., PlayStation and Xbox.
PlayStation1 vs Nintendo 64
Ps1: December 3, 1994
Nintendo 64: June 23, 1996
Sega Saturn: November 22, 1994
The PlayStation 1 was by far the leader in the market. Its sales figures which stood at 102.49 million units dwarfed Nintendo 64’s 20.63 million units. Meanwhile, Sega was fighting a losing battle against the two giants. The reason for this was the business decisions taken by Sony and Nintendo. While the PlayStation could hold more data in the cheaper CDs, Nintendo’s expensive cartridges held less. Moreover, Nintendo was the better console given its superior graphics and lesser loading time, but PlayStation 1 also boasted more titles since game developers focused more on where the money was.
PlayStation2 vs Game Cube vs Xbox Original
Ps2: March 4, 2000
Xbox: November 15, 2001
Game Cube: September 14, 2001
DreamCast: November 27, 1998
Sony continued its dominance in this generation as well. It sold a whopping 150 million units that crushed its competition. The new entrant Microsoft sold 24 million units with Nintendo lagging behind with 21.74 million units. Sega was knocked out of the competition as it closed down operations soon after the launch of Dreamcast. The main reason for Sony’s success was its brand image. Third-party game developers released their games on PlayStation. Moreover, Sony also boasted a larger variety of games for older consumers such as Final Fantasy X, GTA III, and Metal Gear Solid 2. Another factor that helped Sony was backward compatibility with Ps1 games. Microsoft gained traction and a larger market share than Nintendo due to a unique differentiating factor. Microsoft started Xbox Live an online service that also boasted online games. Something that none of its competitors had. Furthermore, let us not forget Microsoft’s premium game Halo 2. Game Cube was lagging behind its competitors because of its wrong marketing strategy. Nintendo was a family-friendly company with games that emulated that characteristic. The sixth generation that GameCube belonged to demanded more mature content. But Nintendo on the other hand also had more first-party game releases than all three of its competitors.
PlayStation3 vs Wii vs Xbox 360 Launch Dates Ps3: November 11, 2006 Wii: November 19, 2006 Xbox 360: November 22, 2005 The seventh generation of gaming consoles was a turning point for Nintendo and an eye-opener for Sony. After finding its target market Nintendo managed to capture the market share by selling 101.15 million units. Sony lagged behind at 80 million units. While Microsoft took over by selling 84 million units. Sony lost this fight because Nintendo found a market for casual gamers that found the new Wii interactive interface fascinating, meanwhile, the hardcore gamers shifted to Xbox owing to shooter titles such as Halo and Gears of War. Moreover, Sony did not have any backward compatibility with its successful predecessor, unlike Xbox. These major reasons contributed to Sony losing this console fight.
PlayStation 4 vs Nintendo Switch vs Xbox One
Launch Dates Ps4: November 15,2013 Switch: March 3, 2017 Xbox One: November 22, 2013 Sony in this fight regained its throne right at the top of the console market. They managed to sell 117.2 million units which outshone Microsoft’s 58.6 million units. Nintendo cannot be considered a fair competitor as it released the Switch which was a handheld-cum-home console. Nintendo continued to draw consumers through its family-friendly approach with games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Another reason for Nintendo’s success was that it continued its tradition of motion gaming from Wii, where its JoyCons could work as motion controllers. This was a concept that both Sony and Microsoft did away with. Sony and Microsoft had similar offerings such as Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus, graphics, processing speed, etc. But Microsoft failed in its first-party games. Both Microsoft and Sony had over 2000 games in their libraries, of which 299 were exclusively for PlayStation while less than 150 were for Xbox. This made Ps4 the superior console for hardcore gamers.
But now times have changed. There are new segues that are been established in the gaming industry. Gamers’ spending habits have shifted. Mobile gaming is now on the rise.
Gamers’ Spending Habits Ever since the advent of online gaming, companies have found a new revenue source. Unlike the previous model where consumers would buy a video game and play it, now they can buy items to use in the game that can be bought with real money. Examples of these are DLCs and in-game purchases.
Here are the highest-grossing DLCs of all time: 1) Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War: The amount spent up till now is incalculable. 2) Entropia Universe: This was a game that was released in 2003 that is still relevant. The game had its own currency (PED – Project Entropia Dollars) that had a fixed exchange rate of 10:1 with USD. The total amount spent till now has been $6,000,000 while the single largest transaction in the game amounted to $635,000. 3) Curiosity: What’s Inside the Cube: More than $60,000.
The gaming industry is fuelled by consumers’ compulsive spending habits. It is due to these reasons that the industry is now a $21 billion industry. According to research, people who suffer from mental sicknesses such as depression, isolation from society, and extreme introversion are prone to compulsive buying. These consumers use gaming in the virtual world as an escape from reality. Hence they provide a necessary impetus to game development companies.
Mobile gaming Game developers have not stressed enough that mobile gaming is a new avenue for an excellent revenue stream. Mobile game developers also make billions in revenue like their console and pc counterparts. According to statistics in 2021 mobile gamer spending reached $116 billion. $16 billion more than in 2020. It is also expected to reach $138 billion by 2035. Furthermore, by 2025, 58% of the App Store’s revenue is projected to come from non-gaming apps and 42% from gaming apps, and 71% of Google Play’s revenue is estimated to come from mobile games in 2025
The gaming world has come a long way from its pixelated days in the arcade. Today it’s neither a children’s pastime nor a family’s means of entertainment. It’s now a billion-dollar industry that is growing at a steady pace. We now have that e-sports where participants compete with their skills for certain games. Adults from the age of 25 to 40 play video games and stream them live as a source of revenue. Video games have even given rise to Metaverse a concept that might be the new way of living for future generations. But is it all good given the fact that certain violent video games have also been the cause of violent tendencies in young minds or the cause of isolation and depression among the youth? It is to be seen what this industry has in store for us and where it will end up.
Piotr Dziwinski, 2019, Managing intangible assets in the gaming industry enterprise, Scientific papers of the Silesian university of technology 2019 organization and management series no. 137,
Lisa Goh, Kevin C.K. Lam, Hong Weng Lawrence Lei, Value Relevance of Financial and Non-Financial Information: Evidence from the Gaming Industry, UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, Volume 23 Issue 1
World food systems refer to the network of activities and processes involved in producing, distributing, and consuming food globally. The economics of agriculture plays a crucial role in these systems, as agriculture is the primary source of food production.
Agriculture is both a business and a way of life for many people around the world. It is an essential economic sector that contributes to national income and employment, particularly in rural areas. The economics of agriculture encompasses various aspects, including production, trade, consumption, and government policies.
Certainly, here’s a more analytical elaboration of the economics of agriculture:
Production: The production of agricultural goods involves various inputs, including land, labor, capital, and technology. The efficiency of these inputs determines the output and profitability of agricultural activities. For example, technological advancements in agriculture can increase productivity, which can lead to lower production costs and higher profits. Similarly, changes in land use policies, such as government incentives to encourage sustainable practices or land conservation, can impact agricultural production.
Trade: Agricultural products are traded globally, and the price of these commodities is subject to fluctuations due to changes in demand and supply. International trade policies, such as tariffs and subsidies, can impact the price and availability of agricultural products in domestic markets. Trade agreements can also have significant impacts on agricultural economies, particularly for developing countries that rely on agricultural exports.
Consumption: The consumption of agricultural goods is influenced by various factors, including cultural preferences, dietary habits, and income levels. For example, the demand for organic or locally-grown foods may be higher in certain regions or among specific consumer groups. The affordability and availability of food can also impact consumption patterns, particularly in low-income communities.
Government policies: Government policies related to agriculture can significantly impact the economics of the sector. Policies related to land use, subsidies, tariffs, and trade agreements can influence the production, distribution, and consumption of food. For example, subsidies for certain crops can incentivize overproduction, which can lead to market surpluses and lower prices. On the other hand, tariffs can protect domestic producers from foreign competition but can also raise prices for consumers.
Environmental sustainability: The economics of agriculture must also consider the environmental impacts of agricultural production. Practices such as monoculture farming, overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, and deforestation can have negative impacts on the environment, including soil degradation, water pollution, and biodiversity loss. The economic impacts of these practices can be significant, including reduced crop yields, higher input costs, and increased health risks.
How do we feed today’s world?
Feeding today’s world is a complex challenge that involves various factors such as population growth, climate change, limited resources, and changing dietary preferences. Here are some ways in which we currently feed the world:
Agriculture: Agriculture is the backbone of our food system, and it involves the production of crops and livestock for human consumption. Advances in technology and farming practices have enabled farmers to produce more food with fewer resources.
Distribution and supply chain: A global network of transportation, storage, and distribution channels ensures that food is available in different parts of the world. This involves coordination among farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and consumers.
Food processing: Food processing plays a critical role in making food safer, more nutritious, and easier to store and transport. It involves transforming raw agricultural products into packaged foods that can be consumed by people.
Food waste reduction: A significant portion of food produced is lost or wasted due to various factors such as spoilage, overproduction, and inefficient supply chains. Addressing food waste can help ensure that the food produced is utilized efficiently.
Sustainable food systems: As the world’s population continues to grow, it is important to ensure that food production and consumption are sustainable. This involves adopting practices that reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment, promote biodiversity, and ensure that future generations have access to nutritious food.
Overall, feeding today’s world requires a multi-faceted approach that takes into account various factors such as technology, sustainability, and social equity.
What is the government doing?
Governments have historically provided significant support to their food, agriculture, and fisheries sectors to ensure an adequate level of farmer income and sufficient and affordable food supplies for their populations. However, governments now aim to achieve a wider range of objectives, such as promoting competitive and innovative industries and environmentally sustainable production systems that are more resilient to climate change and other risks. These objectives vary in importance depending on each country’s individual circumstances, with developed countries often prioritizing environmental sustainability and developing countries focusing on promoting economic growth and employment.
Governments utilize various policy instruments, including price support mechanisms, input subsidies, crop insurance, research and development, infrastructure development, trade policies, and environmental policies, to achieve their goals. These policies aim to stimulate production and raise incomes by lowering input costs and raising output prices while keeping domestic food prices low, especially for the poorest.
It is important to design policy interventions carefully to avoid negative consequences, such as market distortions or environmental impacts, while still achieving desired outcomes.
Current policies are not always well aligned with these developing objectives.
Policies currently in place may not always be in line with the changing goals for the food, agriculture, and ﬁsheries sectors. As objectives evolve to include a wider range of factors, such as environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness, policies need to be adapted to ensure they are effectively promoting these new goals. Without appropriate adjustments, existing policies may not be effective in achieving the desired outcomes or may even hinder progress toward these evolving objectives.
The OECD oversees and assesses agricultural policies in 53 countries that collectively provide over $500 billion in support to their agricultural sectors each year. The majority of this support, over 75%, goes directly to farmers, while the rest is allocated to public investment in agricultural innovation systems, food safety and quality inspection systems, and physical infrastructure. However, there are signiﬁcant variations in the extent and nature of agricultural support across different countries.
Fig 1: Disaggregated producer support estimates
In recent decades, many countries have decreased the level of support they provide to farmers, and this support has become more disconnected from production. Instead, it now focuses on environmental outcomes and better risk management tools. However, some developed countries still provide high levels of support, while some emerging economies have increased their support, albeit from low or even negative levels.
Compared to agriculture, governments provide less overall support to the ﬁsheries sector, but it still constitutes a substantial amount. Fisheries support includes investments in port infrastructure, monitoring and control, as well as payments to individual ﬁshers for vessel modernization. Tax exemptions and subsidies for fuel use are also common, sometimes speciﬁcally targeted at the ﬁsheries sector and sometimes as part of broader support programs. In 2016, total support speciﬁcally targeted to ﬁsheries across all OECD countries included in the Fisheries Support Estimate database was nearly $3 billion.
The policy measures used by governments affect production, trade, and other outcomes differently
Certain policies are more effective than others in achieving speciﬁc objectives. For instance, investing in agricultural innovation and inspection services is a good way to promote sustainable agricultural productivity growth. Payments to farmers can also be targeted towards speciﬁc policy objectives, such as improving environmental performance, by attaching conditions or targeting certain groups of farms. However, policies like artiﬁcially raising domestic prices or providing output and input subsidies can distort production decisions and trade ﬂows, have negative impacts on the environment, and potentially harm the welfare, resilience, and food security of consumers and producers. In some cases, policies are motivated by food security concerns, but they may disproportionately hurt vulnerable households and small farmers. Similarly, public stockholding programs may shield consumers from food price spikes, but they can also have unintended impacts on markets and increase price volatility.
Fig 2: Effects of Policies used
Public support can be better aligned with the opportunities and challenges facing the sector
Meeting the increasing demand for food, agriculture, and ﬁsheries products sustainably while adapting to a changing climate presents both opportunities and challenges. To address income goals, and risks, and improve productivity in an environmentally sustainable way, policies are evolving, becoming more targeted and less market-distorting. However, agro-food products still face higher tariffs and non-tariff measures due to domestic regulations. International agreements, such as the 1994 Agreement on Agriculture, have played an important role in addressing these issues, but progress in negotiations remains slow. To align policies with the needs of the sector, governments must distinguish between income support and productivity, sustainability, and resilience. A more integrated approach is necessary, ensuring policy packages are coherent with economy-wide measures and responsive to the needs of the entire food system. The OECD provides data, analysis, and advice to support governments in improving their policy performance.
Opportunities and threats to food systems
Opportunities include the development of more targeted and less market-distorting policies aimed at improving productivity in environmentally sustainable ways. External pressure from international agreements can also play an important role in aligning policies with emerging needs in the sector. Opportunities for food systems include:
Increasing demand: The global population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which will lead to an increased demand for food. This presents an opportunity for food systems to expand and innovate to meet this demand.
Technological advancements: Advancements in technology, such as precision agriculture and gene editing, offer opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity in the food system.
Sustainable practices: Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of food production and are seeking out more sustainable options. This presents an opportunity for food systems to adopt more sustainable practices and meet the demands of environmentally conscious consumers.
Collaboration: Collaboration between different actors in the food system, such as farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and policymakers, can lead to more efficient and sustainable food systems.
On the other hand, there are also numerous threats to food systems. Climate change is one of the biggest threats, as it can lead to droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events that can damage crops and reduce yields. There is also increasing pressure on natural resources, such as water and land, due to population growth and urbanization. Additionally, food systems are vulnerable to shocks and disruptions, such as pandemics or trade disputes, which can lead to food shortages and price volatility. Threats to food systems include:
Climate change: Climate change can lead to more frequent extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, which can disrupt food production and supply chains.
Land degradation: Land degradation can lead to reduced soil fertility and productivity, which can impact food production.
Water scarcity: Water scarcity can limit agricultural production in certain regions, which can impact the global food supply.
Food waste: Food waste is a major issue in the food system, with an estimated one-third of all food produced is wasted. This not only has economic and social impacts but also contributes to environmental problems, such as greenhouse gas emissions.
Conflict and instability: Conflict and instability can disrupt food production and supply chains, leading to food insecurity for millions of people.
What is the future of food and farming?
The future of food and farming is both promising and challenging. On the one hand, there is the potential for technological innovation and advancements in agricultural practices to increase productivity and improve sustainability. For example, precision agriculture technologies, such as sensors and drones, can help farmers optimize their use of resources like water and fertilizer, while genetic engineering and other biotechnologies may help create more resilient crops and livestock. Furthermore, the integration of digital technologies in the food system, from farm to table, could enable greater transparency and traceability, improving food safety and quality.
On the other hand, the future of food and farming also faces signiﬁcant challenges. Climate change is expected to exacerbate existing pressures on food systems, including drought, ﬂoods, and other extreme weather events. This will require new approaches to agriculture, including changes in crop and livestock management, as well as investment in new technologies that can help mitigate the impacts of climate change. Additionally, increasing demands for food due to population growth and rising incomes, particularly in developing countries, will require new approaches to food production and distribution, such as reducing food waste, improving supply chain eﬃciency, and promoting sustainable diets.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in the global food system, particularly in terms of food security and the resilience of supply chains. The pandemic has highlighted the need for greater investment in local and regional food systems, as well as improved access to technology and resources for smallholder farmers.
In summary, the future of food and farming is likely to be shaped by a range of factors, including climate change, technological innovation, changing consumer preferences, and policy responses. While there are signiﬁcant challenges to be addressed, there are also opportunities for innovation and collaboration to create more sustainable and resilient food systems that meet the needs of a growing global population.
The Adani Group’s dominance in India’s infrastructure sector is undeniable. It may have earned its prominence as a mine developer and port operator, but the group has expanded its reach to control a significant portion of India’s airports, roads, city-gas distribution, and power generation and distribution. In 2019, it won the bid to operate six airports, and in two years, bought a majority stake in the Mumbai airport. With this, Adani ended up controlling one-fourth of India’s air-passenger traffic and one-third of its air-cargo traffic. The group has become one of India’s biggest road developers in recent years, having added 18 highway stretches to its portfolio. It wants to take five companies public over the next three to five years including its airport and road entities. Until then, for their funding requirements, these companies depend on their parent, Adani Enterprises. The airport and road companies rely on Adani Enterprises even for debt. As of March 2022, they accounted for 40% of the Rs 5,000 crore (~US$613 million) debt Adani Enterprises had given its subsidiaries. Once you factor in the group’s presence in city-gas distribution and power generation and distribution, it is not easy to dismiss concerns over the level of dependency on the conglomerate for infrastructure development. The group still has some large projects in the works, such as the greenfield airport in Navi Mumbai. SBI has agreed to lend nearly Rs 12,800 crore (~US$1.6 billion) for the project. While companies such as Adani Power and Adani Ports may generate enough cash to appease lenders, most of the group’s infrastructure businesses are housed in other companies, like Adani Enterprises and Adani Total Gas, which may not be equally positioned.
However, it is also true that investors in Adani Group have grown accustomed to mouth-watering gains since 2020. But recently, they have been faced with a dire reality. On 24th January, US short-seller Hindenburg Research accused the company of stock-price manipulation and accounting fraud. Over the next two trading days, the ten listed Adani companies lost a humungous Rs 4.17 lakh crore (~US$51 billion)—one-fifth of their entire market value. The consequences of this meltdown are both immediate and far-reaching. Although skepticism over Adani companies’ nosebleed valuations is nothing new, but unlike in the past, Hindenburg may have made it impossible to sidestep it now.
In November, when Adani Enterprises set the ball rolling on its Rs 20,000 crore (US$2.5 billion) further public offering (FPO), questions were raised about the stock’s sky-high valuation. On 27th January, when the FPO was opened to the public, its subscription rate was merely 1%. This lack of interest was not only because the stock was ridiculously expensive, but also because it was later available at a lower price on the open market. The Hindenburg report and the subsequent carnage in the Adani stocks had left the FPO in a precarious position. Finally, after the stock crashed 28%, on 1st February, the FPO itself was called off. This event could make investors wary of the group’s future fundraising attempts as well. What’s more, the weightage of Adani stocks (namely Adani Power, Adani Total Gas, Adani Transmission) on the MSCI India Index, which foreign investors closely track, could be reduced. If the prices continue to decline, they could be dropped from this as well as other indices, including the Nifty 50. This could result in funds pulling out millions of dollars from Adani companies. If weightage of the eight Adani stocks in the MSCI index were to be reduced, say by half, they could see outflows to the likes of US$1.5 billion.
Charts for Adani Transmission & Adani Power depicting the stock crash
It’s not just Adani companies that will be affected. As of March 2022, banks had lent over Rs 81,000 crore (~US$9.9 billion) to the top five Adani companies. Public-sector banks have significant exposure to Adani companies, and state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India Ltd.’s investments in Adani group of companies were worth Rs 72,270 crore (US$9 billion) as of 24th January. On 27th January, as the Adani stocks took a hit, several Indian banks, including SBI, sought to quell concerns of default risks by assuring that their loan exposure to the group was within limits prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India. SBI said that its exposure was secured by cash-generating assets. But this should be taken with a pinch of salt since the group has been alleged to have been using stock manipulation to artificially inflate collateral and borrowing base for loans that it had received by pledging shares as collateral. However, it’s worth noting that Indian state-owned banks account for 30% of Adani Group’s debt, while private banks’ share is under 10%. To be sure, Indian banks haven’t reported any slips in loan servicing by the Adani Group so far. But given the fog of uncertainty surrounding the Adani Group now, it’s likely that any future big borrowings from Indian banks will be subject to a higher level of scrutiny. Also, the Adani Group has been reducing its dependence on Indian banks over the past few years, while the consolidated debt of the top five entities doubled over three years to Rs 2 lakh crore (~US$24.5 billion) in the year ending March 2022, most of the incremental funding came from overseas sources.
As a result, bonds and foreign banks account for a larger part, about 55%, of the Adani Group’s overall borrowings. Low interest rates abroad may have played a role in this, but the group’s overseas exposure has now become a liability as Hindenburg Research, in its report, has disclosed that they hold short positions in Adani Group Companies through US-traded bonds and non-Indian-traded derivatives, along with other non-Indian-traded reference securities. Following the report, Adani bonds listed in the US fell sharply to trade at around 77 cents to the dollar. This could result in foreign lenders losing their appetite to lend to Adani companies, or they could ask for higher interest rates on loans.
Hence going forward, Domestic institutional investors (DIIs), especially mutual funds, are likely to keep their distance from Adani stocks. In the past, mutual funds have mostly kept away from the group’s stocks, likely due to concerns about high valuation—they hold just 1.19% in Adani Enterprises as of December 2022. It is unlikely they will invest heavily in Adani stocks anytime soon, especially given the backlash against state-owned giant LIC and other domestic insurers who participated in the anchor-investor portion of the FPO. LIC has been a conspicuous investor in Adani stocks for quite a while for reasons best known to it, holding 4.23% in Adani Enterprises as of December 2022. But now, with the political knives out after the Hindenburg allegations, DIIs, including LIC and the State Bank of India (SBI), might also want to play it safe.
But while active mutual funds have kept their distance, passive funds don’t have that option. They have to buy shares in companies in the same proportion as the composition of a particular index. The rally in Adani companies helped them find a spot on the MSCI India Index. Adani Enterprises, Adani Total Gas, and Adani Transmission were included in it in May 2021. A year later, thermal-power producer Adani Power Ltd was added too. This means inflows into these companies as passive funds readjust their portfolios to sync with the index. For instance, Adani Power’s inclusion in the index resulted in inflows of an estimated US$150 million. However, these same indices also allow for easy outflows of money. In May 2022, when Adani Green’s weightage in the MSCI India Index was reduced, its stock plunged 12%, resulting in outflows estimated at US$220 million.
In the past, Adani Group has managed to attract foreign investors, even at high valuations. In 2019 and 2021, French energy giant Total Energies SE invested in Adani Gas and Adani Green, respectively, pumping US$3.1 billion into them. In April 2022, Abu Dhabi-based investment firm International Holding Company invested US$2 billion in Adani Enterprises, Adani Green Energy, and Adani Transmission. But these investments came when Adani stocks were on a gravity-defying rally. The scenario is vastly different now.
The controversy will likely have a ripple effect on the planned initial public offerings (IPOs) of the five unlisted Adani companies, scheduled to come out over the next three to five years. The reputational damage and the potential loss of investor funds could also upset the stock surge-fundraise-stock surge cycle that many Adani stocks have enjoyed in recent years and with this trouble in raising equity capital, Adani Enterprises and the group’s reliance on debt will increase as well, which will also likely become more challenging to come by.
However, the Adani group did try to reassure investors by calling the Hindenburg report “maliciously mischievous” and released a detailed rebuttal as well, but it wasn’t of much avail. Probably with the SEBI, the RBI and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs probing into the matter we would soon find out if Adani group was being targeted or if the Hindenburg report’s allegations had merit. But there seems to be equal amount of spotlight on the role of regulators as well – while some believe the regulators should have detected the alleged financial irregularities earlier, given that Adani is a publicly traded company and subject to strict disclosure requirements, others have argued that the regulators have been too lenient in their enforcement of regulations, allowing companies like Adani to engage in fraudulent activities with impunity. Now only the outcome of the investigations will determine the extent to which the regulators have been successful in upholding their mandate to protect investors and the public. It would also help assuage the doubts of foreign investors and rebuild their trust in the Indian markets again.
Hence, to conclude, the Adani-Hindenburg incident highlights the importance of conducting thorough due diligence and research before making investment decisions, particularly in emerging markets, importance of ethical and sustainable business practices, the need for greater transparency and accountability by companies as well as the critical role of regulators in maintaining the integrity and transparency of markets and safeguarding the interests of investors and the public.
China’s property market has faced several challenges in recent years, including slowing economic growth, a declining population, and a surplus of unsold homes. This has led to a slowdown in the property market, which has significant implications for the Chinese economy as real estate is a major driver of economic growth and a source of employment.
The real estate market in China is currently experiencing one of the most worrisome economic developments worldwide. To put things into perspective, housing accounts for over 70% of household wealth in China, and real estate generates close to one-third of the country’s economic activity. Almost 30% of all bank loans are secured by the real estate sector.
To stimulate the market, the Chinese government has implemented several measures, such as reducing interest rates, lowering down payment requirements, and increasing funding for developers. However, these measures have not been enough to restore the market to its previous levels of activity, and many analysts believe that the property market will continue to face headwinds in the coming years.
The property crisis in China has also had spillover effects on other industries, such as construction and finance, which are closely tied to the real estate market. The ongoing crisis has been a source of concern for policymakers, and it will likely continue to be a major focus of attention in the years to come.
When limitations on buying private property were finally eased in the early 1990s, after decades of Maoist opposition, a mainland middle class quickly emerged, one that was just as fixated on real estate prices as any of their Western counterparts.
China’s urban class, in contrast to the majority of emerging countries, was essentially pretty much locked into its equity, benefiting from a relatively easy transition from tenant to ownership. Well, sort of—private individuals are still not permitted to own land in China, but they are permitted to lease it from the government for a term of 70 years, which is generally believed to be an endless extension. After retirement, so-called boomer urbanites frequently received a nominal payment from their workplace to purchase their home.
It was a riskier lottery if you lived in a rural area because some residents received huge payments for selling their land to the local government, whose representatives then sold it to private developers while keeping sizable “commissions.” Others were hit in the face with a punch and had their front door plowed through.
However, once the market was established, house values increased steadily over time. For Chinese families, who made every effort to climb the ladder, real estate became the most dependable form of investment. 70% of Chinese wealth is held in real estate due to unstable and manipulated stock markets, and land sales continue to be the major source of income for the same dishonest provincial authorities.
THE PROPERTY CRASH
Prices have fluctuated before, but the bubble has never been so close to bursting as it was when Evergrande, a developer and multinational investment firm, started to fall apart in early 2022. This was a long-foretold event, but complacent Chinese President Xi Jinping didn’t seem to take it seriously at the time.
Housing costs stubbornly remained unaltered even as sales and development fell significantly. This is partly due to how much venture capital is locked up in obsolete inventory as well as the strong opposition to price controls on mainland streets.
To control the aforementioned situation, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), reduced the five-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) by the most it had ever done. The cost of home mortgage repayments in China would decrease as a result of the five-year LPR’s 1.5 percentage point reduction to roughly 4.2%.
According to a report from Reuters, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of China revealed in July 2022 that property investment decreased by over 12% year over year in the nation, marking the year’s steepest decline. The beginning of new building by floor area decreased by around 45%, the largest decrease in almost a decade.
Here are a few figures. The second-largest real estate company in the nation, China Evergrande Group, which has been groaning under $300 billion in obligations, is one of the big developers to have defaulted on their payments in the past year. Around 20% of the Chinese developers that S&P Global Ratings ranks are at risk of going bankrupt, the company has warned.
A survey found that between January and June, the amount of housing sales decreased by 27% from the prior year. It’s also growing worse. In over 100 major Chinese cities, July sales dropped 27% from a year earlier and 13% from June. According to consulting firm Capital Economics, around 30 million newly constructed homes remained unsold last year, and an additional 100 million homes were probably purchased but not occupied. In July, home prices fell for the eleventh consecutive month. S&P anticipates a third decrease in home sales in 2022.
Additionally, hundreds of thousands of people are coming together and refusing to pay back their mortgage loans on postponed housing projects in a sort of popular uprising that appeared unthinkable in a nation where the slightest dissent is crushed.
Therefore, heavily leveraged real estate developers are unable to pay off their loans or complete their projects. There are no purchasers for the property that millions of Chinese people purchased with their savings as an investment. Numerous other people still owe mortgages but are unsure of when they will be able to move into their homes. Banks are under pressure from both developers who borrowed money but are unable to repay it and retail customers who will not. Numerous banks have experienced runs when customers attempted to withdraw all their savings in response to rumors that these institutions were insolvent.
A massive housing bubble was created for at least two decades by a government policy that guaranteed affordable credit for construction projects. Beijing pushed individuals to purchase real estate by keeping interest rates on bank deposits at or very close to zero. There were not many alternative options for regular people to invest their cash. As is typical of bubbles, developers embarked on an impulsive expansion drive, but they never ran out of clients who took out large loans in the hope that prices would continue to rise indefinitely, and they would be able to make a tidy profit one day.
China’s central bank announced a strict “three red lines” policy in August 2020, placing restrictions on the ratios of a developer’s debt to its cash, equity, and assets. This was the final blow to the country’s efforts to control skyrocketing prices, which had been the subject of regulatory changes since 2017. The real estate industry quickly entered a downward spiral, with a sudden and sharp increase in bond defaults, missed payments, and halted projects.
Beijing’s relentless zero-covid agenda, which has resulted in numerous protracted lockdowns, affecting economic growth, people’s earnings, and consequently their savings, has made matters worse. Official statistics show that the youth unemployment rate has increased to 20%. Additionally, Sichuan province, a center for manufacturing and lithium mining, experienced a severe drought, forcing the government to order the shutdown of all enterprises for six days to relieve power shortages. Businesses from several sectors, including those like Apple, Tesla, Intel, and Toyota, are impacted by this.
To combat the real estate problem, the central bank of China has pumped some extra capital into the country’s banking system, but oddly enough, it has placed much of the responsibility on local governments. They are expected to provide developers with relief monies in addition to tax breaks and financial subsidies for homebuyers. However, local governments are not in great financial health, which is ironically due in large part to the country’s real estate bubble popping. The sale of developers’ usage rights to state-owned land used to be one of their main sources of income.
Developers that are drowning in debt and have millions of unsold flats and unfinished projects won’t likely be purchasing more property anytime soon. In the first half of 2022, the land income received by local governments decreased by 31% annually. New concessions made to both citizens and developers may have disastrous financial effects.
There are other bigger problems. The mortgage boycott movement shows that the standard of living in China has deteriorated to the point where people will break unbreakable laws. It’s a significant development. In an unprecedented move, Xi Jinping wants to win a third term as president. He will most likely get his desire, but perhaps his reputation as a superhuman being who is infallible has taken a hit among his people. The reality is that since the start of the pandemic, Xi’s strict policies have severely harmed the second-largest economy in the world. Furthermore, considering China’s pivotal role in the world economy, the consequences might not just affect Chinese people.
IMPACT ON INDIA
The Indian real estate markets will benefit from this, which will accelerate expansion. India’s quick urbanization, the 4700 Amrut 2.0 cities named, the Make in India program, and the extensive metro train construction. Urbanization and higher consumer expenditure are both being fueled by the massive emphasis on building highways and bridges that connect cities. This is driving up demand for both residential and commercial real estate.
If China’s twin problems result in a sustained downturn in the Chinese real estate market, India’s robust iron ore exports, much of which is bound for China, could suffer.
Investors seeking higher profits are moving their capital away from Chinese developers and towards Indian developers, where the returns are currently three times higher.
The real estate market in China, which contributes about 30% of the nation’s GDP, has seen a 72 percent decline in property sales over the past year. The lessons India should learn from the Chinese catastrophe, are that investment instruments that are driven by mindless social standards will typically come at a significant cost to both people and the economy. Second, while a company’s debt accumulation may initially appear to be accelerating growth, in today’s unpredictable, uncertain, and chaotic market environment, it runs the danger of everything collapsing at once.
The Chinese crisis has taught us that Indian developers need to carefully analyze their financial risks and re-evaluate their business plans to make them more resilient in the current economic environment.