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Mumbai: Hopes of more reforms, coupled with lower commodity prices and rising consumer confidence, are expected to aid key Indian indices in 2016 to pare their losses in the year gone by.
“The year 2016 is broadly expected to deliver positive returns; for this it is important for markets to have some momentum in reforms, private capex cycle, global stability and growth,” said Devendra Nevgi, chief executive of ZyFin Advisors.
According to Nevgi, other factors such as improvement in bank NPA’s and a rise in corporate earnings will buoy the Indian equity markets in the year ahead.
Vaibhav Agarwal, vice president and research head at Angel Broking, predicted that earnings’ growth will pick up from the second half of the year and drive the rally forward.
“Investor interest continues to remain strong as favourable macro cues such as low inflation, declining interest rates, cheap global commodities and strong governance are likely to drive improvement in corporate performance over the coming years,” Agarwal elaborated.
Other market observers pointed out that India will continue attracting foreign funds over the long term, even as other emerging markets (EMs) like China, Brazil and Russia continue to grapple with a slowdown.
“India is in a sweet spot as compared to other emerging markets given its strong fundamentals, expected improvement in economic growth, lower inflation and cut in interest rates. For these reasons, we expect FIIs’ (foreign institutional investors) interest to return to the equity markets,” said Nitasha Shankar, vice president for research with YES Securities.
“However, trends in 2016 would also depend on geopolitical events both within India (related to reform announcements) and on the global front. So, while we do expect FIIs to return to India, whether this would happen on a large scale in 2016 or be pushed to 2017 remains to be seen,” Shankar maintained.
The unpredictability of foreign funds during 2015 has been blamed for the rout seen in the bellwether indices last year.
Figures from the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) showed that the FPIs (foreign portfolio investors) bought stocks and debt worth Rs.63,663 crore (over $10 billion) in 2015 from the previous year’s levels that exceeded Rs.1 lakh crore.
Nevertheless, data with the stock exchanges disclosed that FPIs had taken out a total of Rs.20,373.69 crore during 2015.
“Reforms such as the GST (Goods and Services Tax) bill remains the key to attracting more foreign flows. Domestic flows are expected to remain buoyant,” Nevgi said.
In addition, experts cited that the softness in commodity prices, particularly that of crude oil, is expected to help in keeping a check on inflation and create room for further rate cuts that can help in reviving the investment sentiment.
“With oil and commodity prices expected to remain low, we expect the inflation trajectory to continue to trend downwards in 2016,” said Agarwal.
“Assuming a normal monsoon, we expect inflation to remain in the RBI’s (Reserve Bank of India) comfort zone giving them enough headroom to cut interest rates further by at least another 50-100 basis points in this year.”
Nevgi explained: “Oil and commodity prices are important, but the market sentiments may not change on day-to-day moves. Larger and unexpected movements in the short run will, however, affect the sentiments.”
Moreover, with investors’ focus now back on the chances of RBI easing key lending rates, inflation rhetoric is likely to become dominant in the initial months of 2016.
“The monsoon would be in the focus as the rabi crop acreage so far has fallen by over five percent,” said Anand James, co-head, technical research desk with Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
Besides, investors would look forward to parliament’s budget session beginning end-February and the US Fed’s moves on the next round of rate hikes.
“With the last two budgets being slightly underwhelming when weighed against the markets’ hopes, budget 2016-2017 will go a long way in making the market believe again,” James said.
“Certainly, more US rate hikes can be expected, but markets would not be as weary of these as much it would if such hikes were fast-paced.”
However, on the downside, volatility on account of global divergence on monetary policy is expected to hurt Indian markets, as the US is expected to go in for more rate hikes and ECB (European Central Bank), Japan and China continue with their stimulus programmes.
“The divergence in monetary policy of the US and the rest of the world and the political realignment will flare up volatility in 2016,” said Anindya Banerjee, associate vice president for currency derivatives with Kotak Securities.
Volatility had dented key Indian indices last year, with markets scaling record highs, only to see their valuations drop sharply over the months.
As a result, the two most-quoted indices – the 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the 50-scrip Nifty of the NSE – fell by five percent and 4.1 percent respectively.
In comparison, the two indices had logged gains of 29.89 percent (Sensex) and 31.38 percent (Nifty) in 2014 to emerge as the best performers globally. (IANS, Rohit Vaid), (image courtesy: upload.wikimedia.org)
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City