Time to Die? (10 October 2021)

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From Dr. No in 1962 to No Time To Die in 2021, the Bond franchise has come a long way. The story is all too familiar though: James Bond faces death, only to survive yet another day. Here are some stories where we see the brink of end, or of new life!

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Several factories in China have shut down due to power disruptions linked to shortage of coal supply. Indian power plants also are also on edge of blackouts after the surging electricity demand and coal scarcity.

The skyrocketing prices

The price of thermal coal, doubled in the past few months, is close to it's all-time high at USD 200 a ton, last seen there in 2008.

The struggle is due to

1. Higher-than-expected demand post Covid

2. Greenflation caused by increasing restrictions placed by governments on traditional energy sources

3. Under-investment due to caps on energy prices by the regulators

Our take

Switching to a net zero carbon nation is definitely the right path towards sustainable growth, but it has to be planned in a sustainable way too. There would be economic costs of achieving the carbon emission targets, which might make countries rethink their energy policy. It can end up being the case of one step forward, and three back.

QoS

Ayushman Bharat Mission, after a few years of its launch, is taking the next leap of going digital with unified electronic medical records, which will make a patient's history accessible online via a unique identification code.

Current picture

70% of the Indian population has limited or no access to essential medication while 43% of the citizens are active internet users — a clear case to leverage technology and expand on the digital health infrastructure.

What worked for the pioneers?

1. Estonia: a robust healthcare network, designed to shorten therapies and support diagnoses through medical history data

2. Canada: a strong political will and engagement to digitize the healthcare technology

3. Denmark: citizens have great trust in healthcare system, especially the way their personal data is handled

Our take

The right approach is to commit, catalyze, measure and enhance this digital transformation. India has already set the tone by committing to the goals and catalyzing through a partnership of government and private healthcare institutions. Measuring these goals and enhancing the platform to serve multiple objectives remains to be done.

Skyfall

Facebook gathered headlines last week: some for the outage of its platforms and some for a whistleblower's outrage over the platform prioritizing profitability at user's expense.

Impact in numbers

It eradicated USD 45 billion from Facebook’s market cap. 6 billion users across the platforms were affected. Also, as per a latest survey, 34% of the Americans had an unfavorable opinion about Facebook as compared to 29% in 2020.

The full circle

1. Because of the half day outage, many found themselves socially isolated from their circles and small businesses faced the prospect of an unexpected financial hit

2. As per the whistleblower, Facebook created ‘lenient rules for elite users’, Instagram ‘made body issues worse’ for teen girls, and Facebook through its algorithm, ‘aggravated’ the US Jan 6 violence

Our take

With more than 15 years in existence now, the right expectation from a giant like Facebook would be to position itself as a platform that operates with public accountability and transparency. Any failure to do so might take away the trust and make users resort to other alternatives for their social networking and business needs.

Edelweiss-Podcast-play

"There is such a tendency to do something because someone else is doing it today. I think investing is very personal. It has to make sense for you. And you will know if it makes sense for you. You are a good investor, if you can be a goldfish with your investments, if you don't need to look at them every day."

Radhika Gupta, CEO — Edelweiss Asset Management

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