National Digital Health Mission & More

Good morning! Record for 91 dismissals behind the wickets in 98 T20 international matches, highest number of 195 stumpings across all 3 formats, leading India to victory in first T20 WC in 2007, ODI WC in 2011, leading CSK to IPL victory thrice with a best win percentage and a latest brand valuation of $41.2 million. But, there is no better way to reminisce MS Dhoni’s fabulous journey than this compilation of amul ads.

MAIN STORIES

Big Boss wants to keep you healthy

On 15th August, from the ramparts of red fort which has seen many a lofty moments in history, PM Narendra Modi announced the launch of National Digital Health Mission.

What is NDHM? Under this “One Nation One Health Card” scheme, a person’s medical history and records such as diagnostic tests and treatments will all be stored under one national, digital infrastructure. This information can be accessed by authorized personnel across the country with the intent of hassle free record filing for citizens under a Unique ID. Currently, the scheme is on pilot mode in 6 Union Territories and the intent is to keep it optional for people to sign up.

On the fence: Like with any lofty intent, this one comes with arguments on both sides. Some experts believe that this could lead to less diagnostic test duplication and better underwriting for health insurance providers. On the other hand, Indian Medical Association or IMA called out the fact that NDHM violates the fundamental data privacy of patients with even data security still a question mark as per them. As we all know, the proof lies in the pudding and we might want to wait this one out to see how it shapes up.

Bumpy road for Eicher

For a company announcing that they are looking at demand almost coming back to pre-covid levels, very few expect that it’s share price will drop by 7% in response. This was the Eicher Motors story on Friday.

What’s up, doc? First up, like many other companies Q1 results spelt doom with EBITDA margin falling drastically from 20.8% to barely-there 0.2% from the previous quarter. With a 40,000 units backlog, supply chain disruptions and riding on a 3 week instead of one week inventory, demand fulfillment looks dicey as hell.

What about long term? Management also mentioned that they have developed a few prototypes of electric motorcycles while working to zero in on the right customer segment. They are also looking to widen their net in the commercial vehicle business inorganically. On Friday, the company announced a new Volvo Eicher Commerical Vehicles Ltd. subsidiary resulting out of their acquisition of the India business for Volvo buses. Our prognosis? Long term prospects could outweigh short term concerns.

Africa’s ambitious trade agreement from 2021

If European Union was a patented deal, Africa could have been sued for this. In the works for two years, African Continental Free Trade Agreement envisons an African Continental Free Trade Area or AfCFTA. The agreement aims at free movement of goods and services across the continent with full operationality expected by 2030. At it’s peak, this biggest free-trade land area will have a potential market of 1.2 billion people and GDP of $2.5 trillion.  

What’s at stake here: As per a new report by World Bank, successful execution of this agreement could improve regional income by $450 billion or 7% of the regions current income, fasten wage growth for women and eradicate poverty for 30 million people, all before 2035. It is also expected to increase intra-continent trade by 81%! The same report also envisoned that the pact could well boost the continent’s economic immunity with it’s priority on trade reforms.

So, when’s it starting? In the original blueprint signed by 54 of the 55 African Union countries and ratified by 28, the first trade was supposed to commence on 1st July, 2020. But then you know what happened. Coronavirus. Now they are targeting to have the first commercial deal start from 1st January 2021.

IN SNIPPETS

RBI pays up to it’s stakeholder: On Friday, while maintaining a 5.5% Contingency Risk Buffer, RBI approved transfer of Rs. 57,128 Crores to the government as dividend for 2019-20. Although much lower than the humungous sums they received last year, this amount should help government finances breathe better as they reached 83.2% of their fiscal deficit target by June 30, 2020.

Succession planning at the highest level: Having personally faced the brunt of it’s absence, Mukesh Ambani seems to be taking timely steps for a sophisticated succession plan. Plans are afoot to set up a family council with equal representation to family members, including all three heirs as well as mentors and advisors. The objective is to ensure that the council acts as the guiding north star to the behemoth’s vision and strategy.

Resignation that smells of a rat: More than any CEO quitting, what spooks a market much worse is when an auditor quits. Price waterhouse put in their papers as auditor for GVK Infrastructure citing lack of information and cooperation. Although it looks like the chicken and egg story considering the company is already under the scanner for a modest scam of about Rs. 700 Crores through it’s Mumbai airport project.

Monkey getting the cats to play nice: Taking substantial amount of credit, White House announced that Israel and UAE have agreed to resume full diplomatic relations, which will soon lead to bilateral agreements in tourism, trade, investment, direct flights and resumption of embassies. This is the third nation with which Israel has settled a truce, following Egypt and Jordan. Turkey and Iran chose to threaten UAE over this development.   

Corporate vs diplomatic: There have been a lot of murmurs about an executive order banning transactions on WeChat by Americans and subsequent removal from App Store and Play Store. While Apple with clear projections of drop in China handset sales has been at the forefront of opposing the move, it is now joined by other stalwarts like Disney, Ford and Walmart.

MARKET PULSE

The equity indices seems to be on a fat loss mission, as quite a few gains melted away. Some of the looming anxieties ranged from AGR dues Supreme Court hearing, possible economic instability and foggy visibility on US stimulus. HDFC Bank, ITC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and RIL pooled to share a major part of the spoils.

Warren Buffet made headlines on Friday by dumping Bank stocks for that of a miner with Barrick Gold.  This new and surprising preference for the yellow metal from the Oracle of Omaha did not really show instant results but it could signal a longer rally and simultaneously a more tepid path to economic recovery.

WILD CARD

With airlines seeing a long timeline before they get back to their soaring heights, Qantas airlines still wants to make you feel business class. The Australian airline is now selling their business class inventory as care packages which can be sent across the country for 25 AUD. Considering how luxurious and well done they looked, it’s not surprising that they sold out 10,000 units in two batches over a few hours on Friday.

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