Hey folks!

We’re back with another edition of your weekend indulgence. And every time we ask you to get comfortable with your favourite beverage while you’re at it. Today you might want to consider grabbing a Sprite.

Now, before you think that this is an ad, well it’s not.

Last week Coca Cola’s lemon drink Sprite became a billion-dollar brand by annual sales in India. After Coke India’s Thums Up breached the billion-dollar sales mark in January this year, Sprite is the second brand in their portfolio to do so.

And by 2024, Coke will also hope its homegrown mango drink ― Maaza will achieve a similar feat. They’ve set the target for 2023. But higher mango prices could hit production and scuttle their plans. Either way, Coke India is on a billion-dollar sales spree.

Also here’s our music recommendation for the day, sent in by Harsh Wattamwar, one of our readers.

🎵 Pal Behta Jaaye by Vismay Patel

Well then, ready to roll?

What caught our eye this week 👀

Why is the NPCI excited about Musk’s paid Twitter blue ticks?

Elon Musk always grabs headlines. But this week has been unusually Elon-ic (just our way of saying ‘too much news about Elon’) after he finally took control of the microblogging site.

And it hasn’t taken long for him to make sweeping changes across the platform. One particular change relates to the blue tick. A blue tick, as you know is just Twitter’s way of verifying your account. It tells people that you are who you claim to be and that you’re important. Public figures, companies and even government institutions carry blue ticks these days and they don’t pay a penny for this service.

But Elon wants to flip the script here. He believes the power must remain with the masses. Not just a few elite individuals. And he wants to charge users a nominal fee ($8 a month, adjusted for purchasing power across countries) for the “verified” badge.

However, this has not gone down well with people. There’s been considerable criticism of the plan and people have still argued that the verified badge will continue to be a staple within the elites without carrying over any benefits from the past.

But Musk has found support from one unusual source — the MD and CEO of the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) Dilip Asbe. When Musk tweeted about the fee, Asbe replied “India has UPI AutoPay to auto-debit the charge whether it’s monthly, quarterly or yearly.”


Granted the NPCI head couldn’t care much about the fee. But you could still ask — What’s in it for NPCI?

Well, NPCI doesn’t make money on UPI transactions simply because it’s free. And so, onboarding more users onto UPI Autopay won’t make them a lot of money. But it could do something else.

You see, currently, UPI processes over 235 million transactions a day. But NPCI wants to take that to 1 billion in the next 5 years. And if more people hop onto the UPI Autopay bandwagon, achieving this target could be a cakewalk.

Besides, a larger user base will compel global players to integrate with NPCI’s UPI. This can help India cushion itself from depending on global payment systems.

And say, if RBI considers charging a fee for UPI from Indian users over time, then this user strength could bring in boatloads of money for NPCI no? So yeah, we will have to wait and see whether the $8 charge will go live for real. But if it does, we suppose UPI Autopay will be ready.

Infographic 📊

This didn’t make the cut ✂️

On Tuesday we wrote about India’s tryst with genetically modified (GM) mustard or Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH -11). And we also told you why different sets of people are protesting against it.

One of the reasons is herbicide resistance of the GM variety. Farmers could spray them indiscriminately on these crops to get rid of weeds to improve crop yield. If not for herbicides, they have to spend at least 20% of the cost of cultivation on paying manual labourers who help remove weeds from farms.

Sure, farmers could help save some bucks on weeding with GM mustard. But the folks who pluck out weeds? Well, they’ll lose their bread and butter. And that’s why GM mustard doesn’t seem such a great idea to them.

When the debate around genetically modified HT (herbicide tolerant) cotton was floating a few years ago, farmers were for it. The crop cycle lasts over 6 months and with regular cotton, you’d need at least 4 rounds of manual weeding, 10 labourers per acre and incur a daily wage of ₹250 each. That’s a total cost of ₹10,000 per acre just for weeding.

On the flip side, spraying herbicide on HT cotton would cost them just ₹2,500 per acre. That’s a 75% cost savings!

And if you fit this calculation onto GM mustard, farmers would derive similar benefits. But that also means fewer labourers on farms. So, while some farmers could be happy about GM mustard, daily wage workers might not. Quite an awful dilemma, isn’t it?

Money tips 💰

Game theory and financial decisions

Festivities make us spend enormously. Sometimes even getting us to overstep budgets.

But this festive season, I did something different. I was billing my buys at an apparel store when the cashier cajoled me with an attractive offer.

My cart was worth about ₹8,000. And if I spent ₹2,000 more, then I’d get a voucher worth ₹1,000 which I could splash on my next purchase, with no minimum spends required. It took me a while to decide if I should give in.

But then, I politely refused. Yup, I dumped free goods worth a grand!

The math was simple. Right now I’m spending ₹8,000. If I get lured by a marketing tactic I’d end up spending ₹10,000 first. And then some more during my next visit to use the voucher.

Considering the prices of apparel today, it’s hard to find something under 1,000 bucks. So I’d eventually shop for say ₹1,800 and use the coupon to pay only ₹800. In total, I’d spend ₹10,800.

The cashier would pocket his sales incentive, the store would achieve higher sales and I would end up spending more. So, saying ‘no’ to the voucher was a great decision.

And this is a lot like game theory. Now, game theory is the science of strategy. Though mathematician John von Neumann and economist Oskar Morgenstern pioneered it in the 1940s, it was mathematician John Nash who popularised it.

The concept is simple. While playing a game, you choose your next move with the goal to win. Although this involves a lot of working out in math, game theory has some very real applications in life without the need for complicated calculations. Especially in financial decision-making.

Think of buying a home or a car. Just because everyone’s buying one, it doesn’t mean you should too. It’s always wise to do a feasibility test.

Can you afford a loan? Can you pay the EMIs? Is the salesperson offering you something just because they’re getting an incentive? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. And it also applies to simpler situations like the festive shopping one I was trapped in.

So, the next time you’re in buying bait, remember this and be a winner in the financial decision-making game. :)

Readers Recommend 🗒️

‘Rotten’ on Netflix

This is an investigative documentary series that focuses on corruption in the global food supply chain. Each show dives deep into the food production underworld to expose the corruption, waste and real dangers behind your everyday eating habits.

A big shout out to our reader Ritesh for such a terrific recommendation! Thanks, buddy.

Until then...

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And with this, it’s time to say a brief goodbye before we meet again next Sunday.

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