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After the recent monetary policy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)/Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) are now emphatically firing on all three cylinders of rates, liquidity, and guidance. There is some appreciation subsequently, in the very front end of the rate curve of this new reality, as demonstrated by the 91-day treasury bill yield now moving below the repo rate.
Markets, however, remain broadly unimpressed slightly higher up the curve, with bonds even from 3 to 4-year onwards barely budging much. Whereas, yields at the longer end of the yield curve are demonstrating no sign whatsoever of the visible easing bias embedded in monetary policy. As an example, the relatively well traded 14-year government bond is comfortably sitting almost 200 basis points (bps) over the repo rate.
An added dimension of the macro picture:
The significant growth slowdown globally, amplified in India owing to a noticeably slowing consumer, is now well documented. This has triggered monetary easing across most of the world. India has been proactive amidst emerging markets with 135 bps already delivered backed by liquidity and guidance as well, as noted above. Concurrent data suggests that the growth slowdown is still in play, thereby keeping alive hopes for more easing.
A new development is the US Fed deciding to restart a measured expansion of its balance sheet in response to recent sharp surges in overnight rates triggered, amongst other things, by banks no longer holding sufficient excess reserves. This marks a reversal from the ‘quantitative tightening’ that the Fed had embarked upon since late 2017, as depicted in the chart below.
It is no surprise that the dollar has been unilaterally strengthening almost exactly since the Fed began its balance sheet shrinkage, thereby curtailing the global supply of dollar liquidity.
Of course, there are other aspects at play as well, including the general expected divergences in monetary policy more broadly. However, the Fed’s actions definitely had an impact on both actual and perceived dollar liquidity availability in the global financial system.
As is well known in times of a rising dollar emerging markets, those, especially who run a current account deficit (like us) or are more open to capital flows, have to run a much tighter ship with corresponding constraints on pursuing expansionary policy. However, it is likely that basis the above observations, this phase of an aggressively rising dollar may be ending (barring on a renewed bout of risk aversion). This is an added benefit for many emerging markets and allows for prioritizing the objective of growth with much greater safety.
An added benefit for India purely from the aspect of external stability, is the recent likely compression in our current account deficit. This compression is most probably cyclical, reflecting weakness in domestic demand rather than a new found broad-based net export competitiveness. However, alongside a more stable dollar, this compression again buffers us against potential external headwinds to some extent and, ceteris paribus, allows for the pursuit of (say) looser monetary policy without courting near-term instability risks.
To summarize, a weak growth-inflation outlook is being augmented by a reasonable stable external risk profile (barring global shocks triggering risk aversion). This should also prima facie boost the demand for Indian assets including bonds, as well as allow for easier tapping of offshore markets by local borrowers.
In this context, it is also a very opportune time for the discussed-to-bits sovereign issue that has been recently contemplated in India. The primary concern that we may overdo this can be overcome by some rule-based metric and should not stand in the way of issuance of the bond itself, especially given that the most notable feature of India’s current macro is the stark unavailability of adequate risk capital, both to assume market and credit risks.
Many coats on the fiscal peg:
It is quite noticeable that term spreads should be so elevated at this point of the cycle. This is considering both local and global macro, as well as the guidance and liquidity coming through from the RBI. The problem really, as noted, is the unavailability of enough capital willing to assume the additional market risk. A circa INR 2,00,000 crore positive liquidity is also not necessarily improving risk appetite for market participants.
The dominant reason for this of course is continued fiscal fears. These are on account of both the weak revenue growth so far in context of fiscal measures already announced (although it is now clearer that the revenue forgone this year on account of recent corporate tax cuts is nowhere close to the amount indicated earlier) as well as the ‘optionality’ that the government continues to retain with respect to announcing further measures.
If the government were thinking about this holistically it would probably realize that this open ended optionality is coming at the cost of one more impediment to monetary transmission into lending rates (higher bond yields) and hence it is best to put this to rest one way or another. It would also then look at the benefits from incremental measures against the cost of this blockage. However, thus far, the market is not convinced that the government is thinking in this direction. Indeed, the recent somewhat conciliatory statements by the Finance Minister on an international platform around our path of fiscal consolidation have been largely ignored by the market. The wariness also is on account of speculation that an income tax cut may be just around the corner.
The above said, and at risk that the next large fiscal measure may get announced before the proverbial ink has dried on this paper, it is also possible to envisage that the bond market may be over-playing the fiscal risk given everything else that is unequivocally bond positive. This includes this latest development on the external front that is largely the theme of this note. The big risk, as noted, is also from higher state development loan (SDL) supply. However, so far, banks have been quite willing to anchor this asset class leading to a 10-20 bps overvaluation here when compared with the long end of the government bond curve. Thus, it can be argued, there is some cushion for SDL yields to rise somewhat without really impacting the sovereign curve significantly.
Reflecting all of this, we have tactically raised our allocation to the 10 to 14-year segment again in our active duration products. While this trade is not as well anchored as the front end (and hence needs monitoring actively), we do sense that the market is currently quite agnostic to what is otherwise a reasonably constructive environment for rates. The obvious risk is something meaningful incrementally done on the fiscal side.
A new thought that we are harboring is also that, while we are quite confident about our ‘lower for longer’ hypothesis on policy rates backed by surplus liquidity (which makes front end rates a very obvious lucrative trade), one should yet not turn too judgmental on what exactly is the terminal rate in this cycle. The argument that terminal rate is very close cannot rest on the macro scenario. This requires much more support from policy as the continued spate of weak concurrent data suggests. Rather the judgment call at some juncture will lie in the efficacy of further cuts, as demonstrated in the potential inability of banks to keep passing lower rates. Bond investors don’t need a resolution on this debate immediately, given that there is more than adequate room for term spreads to compress on the current curve structure itself. (IANS)
"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."
Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.
Pseudo feminists state that women deserve more respect and rights, any other gender deserves no respect. They feel that women should be the ones ruling the world and at higher positions. When feminism takes a turn for extremities it becomes pseudo-feminism and people who label themselves as feminists will bash anyone who speaks against even the wrongdoings of a woman. They'll bash women who're wife and sisters for not speaking up and support any women criticizing political leaders even if it's completely irrational. This is where hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism merge with each other.
They take advantage of the rights given to women to protect themselves to threaten other genders. The rights given to women are supposed to make them feel reassured that they can reach out to the judiciary if their rights are being hampered not to threaten to make the victim sound like the culprit.
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Indian Feminist Movement has made significant progress however, even in the modern world women are still unsafe and are discriminated against when it comes to getting a job, land ownership, and access to education. While filling the official papers it is still asked "Wife of /Daughter of:….."
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family. Such injustices make feminism such an important movement, gender equality is worth fighting for to create a safe environment for women. Feminists over the years have been criticized for focusing on the rights of privileged women and not giving equal representation to poorer and lower caste women, which has led to separate caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.
Some notable milestones in the Feminist Movement
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against Sati Pratha (practice in which a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage
- Savitribai Phule started the first school for girls at Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848.
- In 1972, SEWA, the biggest trade union for women was set up by Ela Bhatt for women working in the informal sector.
- The Chipko Movement was launched and led by women in 1973.
- #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse was started in 2006 and revived in the year 2015.
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family.Unsplash
Feminism is often misunderstood as pseudo-feminism and hence, becomes the target for public hatred and is accused of wronging other genders under the façade of feminism. It is misunderstood by Indians as female domination instead of gender equality. Indian society and Indian feminists believe that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape and they refuse to even recognize the men who say they were raped and it's the toxic masculinity in the society that believes how can a woman rape a man? Reality is different from what we believe, women can be the perpetrator too, women threaten to file a case of domestic violence, or sexual assault against innocent people just to fulfill their ego.
Thankfully feminism and pseudo feminism are two separate concepts and feminism is just about equality and not judgment. Indian society and feminists actually need to understand the difference between the two and stop tarnishing the Feminist Movement as a whole.
Keywords: Feminism, World, India, Pseudo-Feminism, Gender
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
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Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.