The Booker Prize longlist is out. And an Indian author has made the cut yet again. But before we get to that, let’s tell you what the Prize is all about.
Well, you could say that it’s one of the most prestigious literary awards. Given to the best of the best English works of long form fiction. During its debut in 1969, the Prize only considered books written by Commonwealth writers. That is to say writers from current or former territories of the British empire. But it later went on to stretch its hands all across the globe.
And judges (mostly bookaholics), curate a longlist of no more than 13 books or a Booker Dozen from hundreds of nominations they get from publishers globally. Now, we know that a dozen of 13 books sounds funny. But since this longlist has either 12 or 13 books at max, it’s still called the Booker Dozen even if it’s not literally a dozen. The list then halves, to become the shortlist.
And 1 final winner gets a grand prize of £50,000 apart from the greatly desired global hype. This means that sales of the winning book shoot up exponentially. And the title becomes immortal, literally. Because it never loses its charm.
So, our Indian longlister Chetna Maroo has a 7% chance of walking away with the acclaimed award for her novel Western Lane. We wish her luck and blessings of the book gods of course!
Fun fact: The Prize is called Booker because Booker Group, a British food wholesaler was its initial sponsor until 2001. When the Man Group, a UK investment management firm began sponsoring it in 2002, it came to be known as the Man Booker Prize. After their sponsorship ended in 2019, it was again renamed the Booker Prize even though Crankstart, an American charitable foundation sponsors it now.
P. S.: Another version of the Booker Prize is the International Booker Prize awarded to an author for their work in an international language, then translated into English.
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Nahin Milta by Bayaan
Thanks for recommending this piece of art Raghav Agarwal!
A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀
When Apple made shoes
If you thought that Apple’s Mac Pro is one of its most expensive products till date, then you’re only partially right. Because the brand has another product that’s giving the Mac some really tough competition despite not being a tech device running on iOS.
We’re talking about the iShoes.
Okay, that’s not what they're called. It’s just our nickname for Apple’s shoes. And they cost a fortune for just being shoes. But wait… When and why did Apple even start making shoes?
Well, the story goes back to the 1980s when Steve Jobs visited a Sony office and saw employees sporting Sony-branded apparel. These were designed by Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake. And since Jobs grew an instant liking for the designs, he thought it was a brilliant idea to have something similar for Apple’s employees too.
So, he asked Miyake to draw up some jacket samples. Now, Miyake was the same gentleman who later went on to design Jobs’ famous black turtleneck sweater. Unfortunately, Apple fired Jobs even before his employee apparel project took off. But that didn’t stop the company from exploring an unparalleled dimension ― Apple apparel. And that’s how The Apple Collection was born.
It made the classic 1980s sweatshirts, tracksuits, watches, beach towels and even a windsurfing board. Yup! Weird. Over 22,000 consumers warmed up to Apple’s new clothing line. But maybe the brand had other expectations and abruptly closed down.
It was during this experiment that Apple partnered with Omega Sports to design its limited-edition shoes custom made for employees. Which were a one-time giveaway at a National Sales Conference in the mid 90s.
And since these were never released in the market, there were only a couple of these souvenirs around. They sport the classic rainbow Apple logo on the tongue and lateral sides. And one of these pairs is up for sale for $50,000 (or about ₹41 lakhs) on Sotheby’s website, one of the largest auction houses in the world.
Maybe Apple should launch another limited edition apparel and sneaker line now, eh?
The rise and rise of GST frauds
FY22 ― Over ₹54,000 crores
FY23 ― Over ₹1 lakh crores
That’s the amount of GST evasion detected, clearly doubling between the last 2 (financial) years. Now, Goods and Service Tax was launched in 2017 to have a uniform indirect tax system that simplified compliance and increased revenues for the government. And since its first year, the GST collection has more than doubled — From just ₹7 lakh crores to about ₹18 lakh crores now.
But alongside that, GST fraud and evasion have also been on the rise. Of course, no one likes paying taxes. But how are people going about this?
Well, the most common one seems to be the fake invoices method. Here’s how the Economic Times put it:
Let's take the example of E-Rickshaw: Firm A produces batteries with an 18 per cent GST, costing Rs 100. Firm B places an order for one battery, paying Rs 118 to Firm A.
In a legitimate transaction, Firm A keeps Rs 100 and deposits Rs 18 as GST. Firm B claims an ITC [Input Tax Credit] of Rs 18 on this supply, which can be used to pay GST or obtain cash refunds for exports. However, in a fraudulent transaction, Firm A issues invoices without actually supplying the battery or paying tax. Yet, Firm B still claims ITC based on the information provided by Firm A.
In some cases, companies even create fake firms and register these under GST with fake electricity bills and property tax receipts. In 2021, Swiggy and Instakart, a group company of Flipkart were allegedly involved in such a fake firm GST racket. We don’t know if they actually indulged in such dubious practices though. And there have been no media updates ever since.
But these things happen.
And the GST authorities have been trying their best to clamp down now.
They’re trying to cooperate with the Enforcement Directorate (an organisation that deals with money laundering cases) and share information. Two heads are better than one, right? They’re also geotagging offices and visiting them to verify authenticity. And well, there’s always the buzzword of AI that’s supposed to spot patterns in tax payments and help do the trick.
Hopefully, the GST evasion numbers won’t double again in FY24.
Money tips 💰
A sanitiser for your finances
As I write this, an old half used bottle of sanitiser sits behind my laptop screen. And it reminds me of the paranoic sanitising that all of us religiously did when the pandemic was at its full glory. Yet, we got over the virus too soon, forgetting our sanitiser ritual even sooner.
But maybe you should sanitise your finances every once in a while at least?
Okay, we don’t literally mean sanitising your bank statements, insurance and investment documents. But we’re talking about reviewing and cleaning them up.
If you remember, we told you about a sweet financial habit a couple of editions ago ― neatly maintaining a physical or digital record of your financial documents. So that your family may never have to worry about insurance claims or warranties in your absence.
And if you’ve been doing this then sanitising your financial documents is the add on habit you need to nurture.
To begin with, let’s talk about insurance policies. Now, most health and vehicle policies have to be renewed every year. So, it’s important that you have the current one in your document folder. But you don’t really need to keep old policies unless you have any open unsettled claims against them. Term or life insurance on the other hand have to be kept for as long as they’re in force, mostly all your life.
But unlike policies, stuff like income tax returns or bills need to be kept longer. ITRs for example are best kept for a decade because the Tax Department has the power to issue notices for undisclosed income for up to 10 years for large amounts. So even if you’re confident about offering all your incomes to tax, it’s best to have proof in case a sudden enquiry opens up.
Bills, on the other hand, need to be kept for life. Think gold purchase or investment bills. No matter how old, gold bills and purity certificates are something you shouldn’t toss. It helps if you want to sell or exchange it in the future. But if we’re talking about furniture or appliances, then you could throw away bills past their warranties. Or of old assets that aren’t in use.
Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, we hope you get the drift. Every document has its safekeeping duration. And as much as you need to store financial documents, it’s also important to review them periodically so you can declutter your digital or physical folder.
COVID or not, sanitisation stays one way or another.
Readers Recommend 🗒️
High Performance Entrepreneur by Subroto Bagchi
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or want to convert your passion into a career then this book is for you. Recommended by Tanisha Verma, it’s all about the highs and lows of setting up a business.
We hope you enjoy reading this. Thanks for the rec, Tanisha!
Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩
It’s time to announce the winner of our previous Weekly Quiz. And the winner is… 🥁
Piyush Tiwari! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.
And for the rest of you, here’s your next chance to grab the winner’s crown. Click on this 👉🏽 link, answer all the questions correctly and tune in next week to check if you got lucky.
Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org).