Diesel in Delhi & More

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Diesel creates history in Delhi

Delhi continues to bear witness to historic moments. After a winning streak of 18 consecutive hikes, Diesel prices have now slipped past those of Petrol. Today, diesel costs Rs. 79.88 per litre versus Rs. 79.76 for petrol in Delhi. This hike comes on the back of a phenomenal run in the last two and a half weeks. From June 7th onwards, diesel price increased by Rs. 10.49 while Petrol trailed with an increase of Rs. 8.50 in Delhi.

Why do the prices have a gap anyway? Diesel is the liquid fuelling most logistics and other commercial transport in India. This ranges from tractors for agriculture, trucks for road cargo as well as buses and trains for public transport. Considering how sensitive diesel price could be to inflation, state governments generally prefer to exercise less excise on the same.

What has changed? Last month Delhi government almost doubled VAT on diesel from 16.75% to 30% while petrol saw a minor spike from 27% to 30%. The central government joined this hike party by raising excise duty by Rs. 10 on petrol and Rs. 13 on diesel. Low crude prices helped oil marketing companies to absorb the shock. Starting June 7th with the world beginning to reopen, oil began to be in demand again leading to an upward surge in prices.  And that’s how we got here.

China comes phishing to Indian shores

Remember how we often brush concerns of computer viruses as a hoax? This time the threat seems to be very real. The Indian government has warned all businesses that there could be an increase in the number of phishing attacks that we experience in the coming few days. This is in the backdrop of the escalating tensions between India and China at the border.

How do we know it is China? The Maharashtra government recently issued an advisory admitting 40300 attacks in the last few days have come from IPs originating in Chengdu. Cybersecurity firm Cyfirma warned the government of finding chatter on hacker networks about targeting Indian businesses, media and government agencies. Just last week, Australia experienced a large scale cyber attack, suspected to be originating from China in response to a probe for origins of coronavirus.

What are we doing about it? The attacks are purportedly expected to target businesses. Big companies with huge user bases, like banking and telecom sector have been doing their homework to communicate to users. They have also increased their vigilance on the activity that they observe. The phishing attack is expected to impersonate government agencies with email IDs similar to ncov2019@gov.in with subject on the lines of Free Covid testing. So, you know what to watch out for.

Boycott Facebook Ads movement gathers steam

As social media networks have grown, so have the larger debates around them. Should they police content? Are they completely neutral or do regular human biases plague them too? As the racism debate has gained speed in the US, there is now a new campaign called Stop Hate for Profit. A coalition of six organisations, the campaign claims that Facebook has not taken simple, ethical actions against racist hatred to keep their profit going.

What does that mean for US companies? A lot of consumer facing brands in the US have come forward in support of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign on their social media channels. They have also vowed to introspect on their internal practices to ensure all employees are treated equally. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign wants such brands to not support Facebook and withdraw their advertising dollars from the channel.

Are companies really doing this? Ben & Jerry’s became the latest company to announce stopping paid advertising on the platform from 1st July, taking the boycotter tally to six. However, 76% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from small and medium businesses who will find it much harder to walk this path.

IN SNIPPETS

MARKET PULSE

Markets remained volatile settling for a minor negative of -1.58%.

Gold, on the other hand, hit an all-time high touching Rs. 48575 for 10 gram in the Mumbai Bullion market. Some estimates forecast that the yellow metal will cross the 50K barrier pretty soon.

WILD CARD

Sensex is christened as a mashed up version for Sensitive Index while Nifty started off as a word to encapsulate National Fifty. Although that means when we say Nifty 50, in essence, we are saying National Fifty 50!

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