Hey folks!

Have you found ₹2,000 notes in your Instamart orders?

If you did, how sad were you when you realised they were counterfeit?

For those of you wondering what on earth is going on, Swiggy’s been doing something really interesting. They’ve been slipping in fake ₹2,000 notes in their Instamart deliveries. Not the kind that will put them behind bars. But those that say “I promise not to pay the bearer the sum of Two Thousand” with Shahid Kapoor’s photo instead of Mahatma Gandhi’s.

If you don’t know yet, Amazon Prime recently released a new show called ‘Farzi’ starring Vijay Sethupathi and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles. And since the story revolves around fake notes, they’ve joined hands with Instamart to promote the series through this creative campaign.

So, customers aren’t just thrilled when they find a surprise pink note in their order, rather they’re all the more excited to spread the word around social media and the web.

Oh! Aren’t we doing the same thing?

Swiggy, you clever monkey!

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

River flows in you by Yiruma

Time to get going!

A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀

Hawala and gold smuggling ― a match made in heaven?

Kerala based jewellery business Joyallukas is in a ₹305 crore soup. The Enforcement Directorate recently suspected that the company is illegally transferring huge amounts of cash to its subsidiary in Dubai through an arrangement called hawala.

What’s that, you ask?

Well, it’s just a way of transferring money overseas without actually moving cash via banking channels. Confused?

Let’s explain. Imagine that you want to send me ₹50 lakhs from a foreign country. But that could cost you quite a bit. So, you decide to go the hawala route.

You go to a hawala agent or a hawaladar and give them a little over ₹50 lakhs. The hawaladar rings up an agent in India and tells them to pay me the money. The Indian agent keeps their cut and pays me the rest.

Sure, it’ll cost both of us a little, but it’ll still be cheaper than the charges we bear if we were to go through a regular banking channel. Also, the money never really gets transferred between the overseas and Indian hawaladars.

It’s just a trust based system that works on recording how much money they owe each other. And ultimately, these transactions cancel each other out.

But this isn’t the case in a situation like Joyallukas’. Here, money may or may not have passed through officially. It could be a case of an overseas sham company sending in fake goods to their Indian parent.

In return, they could be getting paid for these stock transfers. We don’t know. But hawala and gold smuggling has always complemented each other ever since the 1960s. And it’s been happening a lot in Kerala.

What smugglers do here is, borrow money from a hawaladar, say in Dubai and use it to buy gold. The hawaladar already has this money because remember? They’ve collected it from people who want to illegally transfer cash overseas as we explained earlier.

The smuggler then passes on the task of smuggling the gold (let’s say to India) to a facilitator, who in turn hires another person ― a carrier. This carrier conceals the gold either in their baggage or even inside their body and flies to India. Once the carrier lands, a local agent collects the gold and sells it at a price pre decided by the smuggler in Dubai.

Both the gold smuggler and the hawaladar make sure that their act is done. Of course, independently but not without each other’s support. And in the end, everyone makes windfall gains.

Owing to transactions like these, the Calicut airport in Kerala had also earned the title of ‘smugglers’ paradise’. Interesting no?

How Kolkata has managed to retain its tramways

On Friday, Kolkata kicked off its annual ‘tramjatra’ or tramways carnival celebrating 150 years of operation of the lone surviving tramway in India.

Although the British administration first introduced tramways in the city of joy in 1873, they soon spread across the subcontinent in (the then) states of Bombay, Madras, Delhi and Cochin. But the tramway only manages to survive in Kolkata today. Ever wondered why?

You see, the Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) was registered in London in 1880. And the British government ran it even after independence. Earlier it was horse fleets that ran tram carriages. It wasn’t until the 1900s that trams were powered by electricity.

Until the 1960s, the CTC made rosy profits. After all, it was a great way for the working class to travel economically. A 2 coach tram could accommodate 100 passengers comfortably at a time. Something even 5 cars that occupied the same amount of road space failed at.

But then, things started to turn sour. Slow speeds, infrequent timings and a disconnected network made people switch to faster modes of public transport. The CTC couldn’t survive and was officially taken over by the West Bengal government in 1967.

But even then, the problems of the tramway saw no end. Continuous neglect from successive governments meant that tramway cars weren’t maintained well. And there were many calls to phase them out.

But a 1980 World Bank funding of about ₹46 crores to keep tramways alive breathed new life into it. The CTC was to get 75 new trams, another 60 were to be rebuilt and 105 other tram cars were to be renovated.

Trams need 20 times lesser infrastructure costs to expand than metros, are non-polluting and also need just 17 MW of electricity a day for the entire system. But commuters were blinded by a fast paced life. Meaning, the relevance of the tramway started fading.

Cut to 1994, an Australian tram conductor from Melbourne Roberto D’Andrea learnt that Calcutta’s tramway was under threat of extinction. Since he was fighting the automatic tram ticketing system back home, he struck a chord with Calcutta’s tram conductors and helped them put up a fight against the closure of the tramway.

Ever since, Kolkata annually commemorates this uncanny partnership with Melbourne, which has the largest tram network in the world with a carnival called ‘tramjatra’.

And that’s partly how the tramway pumps blood into Kolkata’s lifeline even today.

Infographic 📊

Money tips 💰

Why you should spend some time with your insurance application

If you’ve ever tried to get yourself a health insurance policy, you’ve probably had this question pop up in your head at least at some point. Should I disclose any pre-existing diseases?

The answer is a big yes.

But, won’t that dampen your chances of getting your insurance policy? Of course, it will. And that’s why most agents who help you through the process trick you into hiding these bits of information.

Although they know that insurance companies will reject a claim citing no disclosure when you need it, they’ll lure you into suppressing important information just so that they make a hefty commission on your health insurance policy.

And by the time you know of it, things would have already gone haywire.

So, what should you do to avoid such a mistake?

Always double check your application. If it’s an online platform, you may have to do it on your own or prompt a sales executive to fill it out for you.

Be doubly careful if it’s an offline agent. Ask for the filled in application and check for any discrepancies. Mistakes can creep in despite vigilance.

So spend some time combing through the application, especially if you feel something is amiss. You can even call the insurer directly if you have any additional concerns.

And if you need any help figuring out health or life insurance for yourself, just talk to our fabulous advisors at Ditto Insurance (Yup, that’s us)!

1. Go to Ditto’s website — Link here

2. Click on “Chat with us”

3. Enter your query, and RELAX!

Our advisors will take it from there!

Readers Recommend 🗒️

Red Roulette by Desmond Shum

Considering the fact that the Chinese Communist Party’s Xi Jinping is in power for the 3rd consecutive term, this book is a good read at this point in time. The book beautifully captures the fact that an entrepreneur can only survive with strong political connections in China.

Shout out to Vineet Nandwani for sending in this great recommendation. We hope the rest of our readers pick it up and enjoy the read.


That’s all folks!

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Until next Sunday…

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