In this week's wrapup, we talk about the rise of India’s affluent class, jet fuel from human poop, bringing back India’s fugitives and more.
For the markets edition, we explain why HDFC Bank's share price has fallen by over 10% this week. You can read it here.
Meanwhile, here’s a recap of what we wrote over the week.
Is jet fuel from human poop actually sustainable?
Planes actually emit around 100 times more CO2 per hour than a shared bus or train ride. And that could translate into about 1 billion tonnes of CO2 annually.
Now, this only inches us closer to a warmer earth as years pass. So one solution that scientists have come up with is Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). To put it simply, SAF is jet fuel that doesn’t come from non-renewable energy sources like crude oil or refined petroleum. So you could either use food crops or waste like used cooking oils, municipal sewage and even animal waste to make it.
But here’s the thing. SAF only accounts for 0.1% of all jet fuel used in planes today. And we’ll need more of it to slow down climate change.
So how do we make more SAF? Well, a UK-based aviation company recently made jet fuel from human poop! And they look at it as quite a problem solver. But is it really sustainable? That’s exactly what we discussed in Monday’s story. You can read it here.
The rise of India’s affluent class?
On Saturday, Goldman Sachs’ latest report called “Affluent India” went viral. Folks including investors, social media influencers and even the government couldn’t stop talking about it. So what did this report say?
Well, it simply pointed out that India’s affluent class is going to dictate consumption activity in the economy. See, at the moment there are about 6 crore people who earn an equivalent of ₹8 lakhs annually. And based on income tax data, the report expects this population to grow to 10 crore in 2027.
So yeah, India seems to be moving up the income ladder. But who benefits from this rising Affluent Class? We talk about it in our story here.
How to bring back Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi
What comes to mind when we say Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi?
Did you say frauds? Well, yes. These big names are on the ignominious list of India’s top economic offenders because they have arrest warrants against them for economic offences worth at least ₹100 crores. Not just that. They also fled the country as soon as they realised they could be prosecuted in India for their crimes. So they were no longer just economic offenders, but fugitives too. And the Indian government has been trying to bring them back to face justice.
But that isn’t a cakewalk by any means. You see, India has extradition treaties with over 40 countries. But that alone doesn’t help. Our authorities have to convince foreign governments and courts that these folks are guilty and that they’ll be given free and fair trials if they extradite them.
And here’s where things get tricky. Because when our authorities tried to get the UK to extradite some of these popular fugitives there was one common argument their lawyers relied on. They said “Hey, India’s prison conditions are pretty bad. Their health could be at risk.” And courts in the UK have seemed to agree with his line of thought in the past.
So in our story, we explore prison conditions in India and see if major prison reforms could take India one step closer towards bringing its fugitives back. You can read it here.
Is the RBI targeting banking executives?
The RBI has been poking its nose into how the leaders at banks are being compensated. AT least that’s what a Mint report suggests.
If you’re wondering why, it may have something to do with how large financial institutions may have triggered the Global Financial Crisis way back in 2008. You see, back then short-term profits led to generous bonus payments to employees. So they went ahead and took more risks than they actually could. Maybe give out loans to folks and companies without worrying too much about the risk of them not paying back. This was lucrative for them personally, yet harmful for these institutions in the long run.
Now Indian banks may or may not have been sailing the same boat, but the RBI gradually decided to clean up things anyway. Soon it started to set limits on what percentage of a top executive’s pay could be linked to performance. And even added clawback clauses which meant that past bonuses given to CEOs could be taken back if some decision they made turned sour later.
But this could mean overregulation and it could have unintended consequences. What could those be? Well, that’s what we discussed in our Friday story here.
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We hope you enjoyed the weekly wrapup. Have a great weekend!
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