Script gone wrong: RBI takes demonetisation hit, cuts dividend to govt by more than half

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) dividend to the government has come down by half. (REUTERS file photo)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) dividend to the government has come down by half. (REUTERS file photo)

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) announcement on Thursday to more than halve its dividend payout to the government has once again put demonetisation under the spotlight, for failing to deliver on the expectations that were used to defend the November 8 decision.

It was expected that there would be a big windfall for the RBI, when the dodgy part of the cash held in denominations of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 – about Rs 3 lakh crore — doesn’t return to the system and is written off from the central bank’s liability.

The RBI could then transfer this windfall to the government through higher dividend or some other means. The government, in turn, could use this money to build infrastructure, capitalise banks or invest in any other way to accelerate the economic growth.

The script has gone horribly wrong. We know now that most of the cash held in high-value notes, dodgy or otherwise, have returned to the system. It is another matter that the authorities continue to be in denial, maintaining that they are still counting the demonetised notes.

Worse, the RBI’s announcement coincided with the release of a research report by the State Bank of India (SBI) – the country’s largest – that severely undermines the government’s claim that the impact of demonetisation would subside in a few months and make way for accelerated growth as we speak.

According to the SBI report, in the first four months of the current fiscal year, bank credit shrunk Rs 1.5 lakh crore, or 2%, compared to the same period a year ago. The report has identified the sluggish trend in home loans and personal loans as the most worrying.

These suggest that consumer confidence hasn’t turned around and people remain wary of their economic prospects.

 

What is also worrying is that the informal credit network that provides fuel for the much-vibrant cash economy of India had crumbled in the wake of demonetisation. If proponents of demonetisation are to be believed, the demand that the informal credit network catered to, should have shifted to the formal (banking) sector). That clearly hasn’t happened.

The findings of the SBI report also underscore what this author had earlier argued against demonetisation: That there could be a no bigger sin that our policy-makers could commit than turning the management of a multi-layered, complicated economy such as India’s into a linear set of reductive calculations.

The fallout on RBI’s finances is another case in point.

Let alone a windfall, the RBI has not been able to protect its income, thanks to demonetisation. For 2016-17, it will pay Rs 30,459 crore in dividend to the government, compared to Rs 65,876 crore it paid last year. There are broadly three reasons for the lower payout, directly or indirectly linked to the November 8 decision:

First, the central bank is understood to have spent about Rs 15,000 crore on printing new notes. This money wasn’t budgeted, because the note-ban decision was supposed to be a surprise move.

Second, when people rushed to deposit demonetised notes, banks ended up with huge piles of cash and left the financial system with excess liquidity that could have stoked inflation or triggered other imbalances.

The RBI was forced to conduct reverse repo operations, meaning it had to borrow short-term money from the banks to suck out excess liquidity. Some estimates put the excess liquidity to be as high as Rs 8 lakh crore in early January, which means the RBI must have paid a fair amount in interest charges to the banks.

The last, but the most important, reason for the fall in RBI’s earnings relates to a decline in returns on investment in US treasury bonds, which was aggravated by the rupee’s appreciation against the dollar.

The RBI earns a good part of its income by investing India’s foreign exchange reserves in US treasury bonds. A big spurt in this income through 2015-16 had helped the central bank make a record dividend payout to the government.

In 2016-17, it was expected to moderate because interest rates in the US were softening. But the blow to the RBI turned to be harder, thanks to an appreciating rupee that further diminishes the impact of lower dollar earnings. Between July 2016 and June 2017, which is the financial year for the RBI, the rupee has risen nearly 5% against the US dollar, primarily because imports have been sluggish.

Demonetisation hit exports hard, especially in sectors that are import-intensive. It also dampened consumption spending, keeping imports and demand for foreign exchange subdued and helping the rupee appreciate.

[“Source-hindustantime”]

Five observations from Cowboys training camp: Fights! Turnovers! Jet sweeps! More!

Unlike the first three practices in Oxnard, which were conducted in the afternoon, Thursday’s fourth practice was a morning practice. The CBA only allows four consecutive days of practice and the idea behind the Cowboys’ morning practice on the fourth day is to allow the players a little more time to regenerate before the next practice, which is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

On to our five observations from Thursday’s practice:

Fight!

At the end of practice on Thursday, Jason Garrett addressed the different fights that had broken out during the day, and it didn’t sound like he was particularly concerned.

“You like that. You’d rather have to dial it back than constantly have to light a fire under your guys.”

But the chippy attitude between the OL and DL didn’t just suddenly break out towards the end of practice. I noticed early on in the in OL/DL drills that the OL was playing not just through the whistle, but way beyond it. At some point, the D-line must have decided to push back.

Turnovers!

Chidobe Awuzie has been taking snaps mostly with the second team in camp so far, but that hasn’t stopped him from establishing a mini-streak of sorts with interceptions in two consecutive practices.

In Wednesday’s compete period, Awuzie tipped a Dak Prescott pass targeted at Brice Butlerand caught the ball while going to the ground.

On Thursday, he intercepted a Kellen Moore pass during team drills, even if the play was blown dead due to a defensive offsides.

Can he keep the streak going for three practices in a row? And even his mini-streak might not be safe:

Anthony Brown and Mark Nzeocha (yes, the German has more interceptions than all other LBs combined!) each had an interception today as well and will be looking to establish a mini-streak of their own on Saturday.

Jourdan Lewis

Lewis joined the team for the first time on Thursday, and while he didn’t play during team drills, he did take part in position drills for defensive backs. I wasn’t able to tell too much from those drills, even if they were happening right in front of me. He looked as athletic as the next guy, but he looked smoother in his transitions and it seemed that he was able to flip his hips a little faster than some of the other DBs – but that may just have been wishful thinking on my part.

He’s expected to join team drills on Saturday, so see how he performs in team drills soon enough.

Is Rod Smith the No. 3 running back?

Todd Archer suggested yesterday that Rod Smith might be ahead of Alfred Morris on the depth chart.

I have no idea whether this is true or not, but I did try to keep an eye on Rod Smith today, and he did have some nice runs in the team sessions. He also has the advantage of playing special teams (which Morris does not), so having him ranked above Morris may not be that big a stretch. At the same time, Morris had a very good day on Wednesday with the second team while Darren McFadden was taking a veteran day.

A Rod Smith/Alfred Morris roster battle was not something I anticipated going into camp, so this will bear watching.

Who will run the jet sweep?

Despite Lucky Whitehead’s departure, the jet sweep is alive and well in Dallas. The Cowboys ran the jet sweep once on Wednesday with Ryan Switzer (4.51 forty) and once on Thursday with Terrance Williams (4.52 forty). Perhaps they’ll try Brice Butler (4.36 forty) next?

In any case, the jet sweep will likely be much more effective if multiple players can run it.

source:-blogging the boys

SwiftKey Update Brings Emoji Prediction, ‘Oxygen’ Themes, and More Languages

Microsoft today released an update for SwiftKey that includes a handful of new features including emoji prediction and enhancements to 3D Touch gestures.

Users who tap on the emoji key will now see a new prediction panel that automatically suggests up to 18 relevant emoji depending on what they type, saving them the trouble of searching through the entire list.


The update also includes eight new “Oxygen” themes adding up to a spectrum of vibrant colors for SwiftKey keyboards. The new hues can be found in the Design section of the app and include Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Light Blue, Blue, Purple, and Pink.

In addition, Microsoft said it had made substantial improvements to the responsiveness of 3D Touch gestures in SwiftKey on supporting iPhones, including those that trigger cursor control and cursor movement. Haptic feedback has also been implemented for some keyboard actions, such as opening the emoji panel.

Lastly, SwiftKey added support for 15 new languages including Egyptian Arabic, Tanglish, Bambara, Wolof, Mossi, Greenlandic, and Northern Sami. See here for the full list.

SwiftKey is a free download for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]

[“Source-macrumors”]

Google Calendar for iOS Update Finally Brings the Today Widget, More

Google Calendar for iOS Update Finally Brings the Today Widget, More

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The update is already available on App Store
  • The app widget shows two upcoming events by default
  • The widget can be extended to see up to four upcoming events

Google Calendar app for iOS has finally received a feature that should have ideally been added long time ago by the company – the Today Widget. While iOS has been supporting widgets for some time now, the search giant has only now added the Today Widget to its Calendar app on the platform that allows users to see the upcoming events from the home screen itself.

With Google Calendar for iOS version 2.4.0 update, which is already available in the App Store, Google has added support for Today Widget to the calendar app and users will now be able to see two upcoming events by default in the Today View section, as pointed out in a report by 9To5Mac. This can further be expanded to see four upcoming events.

Notably, Google Calendar users can also get a glance of upcoming events on iPhone 6s and later by using 3D Touch – hard pressing the app’s icon on the Home screen. In order to add the Today Widget, just like you add other widgets, you will need to swipe right from the Home screen and tap on the edit button at the bottom of the screen.

“Today Widget – Get a quick look at your day’s events directly in the Today View of your iPhone or iPadthanks to the new Calendar widget,” the company said in its changelog for the update.

Let us know in comment section down below if you will be using the widget going ahead or think that there are other calendar apps that offer more utility.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Plugins and social media links leave websites more open to compromise

hacker laptop

Adding extra features like plugins and social media links makes websites more likely to be compromised according to a new report.

The study by website security company SiteLock finds that sites with between one and five plugins have 1.5 times more chance of being compromised than the average site.

More plugins leads to more risk, with 10 to 20 plugins increasing the chance of compromise to 2.5 times and 20 plus plugins leads to three times the risk. Linking to social media adds to the danger of being hacked too. Sites that link to Facebook and Twitter accounts have 1.5 times the risk of compromise of the average site. Linking to a LinkedIn account produces two times the risk. Linking to accounts on all three networks produces 2.5 more risk of compromise.

The more Twitter followers you have the greater the peril too. Between 500 and 10,000 followers produces two times the risk of compromise and more than 10,000 three times the risk.

Interestingly the site platform used makes a difference too. Sites based on Drupal or WordPress have 1.5 times the risk of compromise of an average site, while Joomla sites are 3.5 times more likely to be compromised.

Looking at sites that have been hacked, the study finds that 73 percent are infected with generic backdoors. 39 percent are infected with shell programs to give the hacker control of the website’s files and the ability to administer the site, while 53 percent are infected with malware designed to target the site’s visitors. Hacking simply to do damage is relatively rare, only seven percent of hacked sites are defaced.

You can see more about the findings in the infographic below.

Image credit: vectorfusionart / depositphotos.com

SiteLock Popularity Infographic 2017

[“Source-betanews”]

Widgets in iOS 10: Notifications, streaming videos, 3D Touch and more

Apple’s use of the term “widgets” may not match what Android users consider a widget, but at the end of the day the two distinct approaches serve the same purpose: To provide snippets of information at a glance.

With iOS 10, widgets are still displayed in the Today view, and can still be accessed by sliding down the Notification Center and swiping to the left.

However, you can now access widgets in more places and they can and (eventually) do more.

More than just notifications on your lock screen

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

iOS 10’s lock screen has completely changed. Beyond the new unlocking method (which requires you to click the home button), you now swipe to the left to view your widgets. Using this same gesture, you can view widgets to the left of your main home screen on an unlocked device.

On an iPhone, you’ll see a single column, while on an iPad there are now two columns of widgets. You can edit the left and right side, or the single column but scrolling to the bottom of your widgets and tapping on Edit. Select the green “+” icon to add a widget, or the red “-” to remove one. Tap and hold on the three lined icon to put your respective widgets in order.

On a locked device, when you attempt to view a widget where personal information can come into play, such as the Activity widget, you will need to place your finger on the home button to unlock your device. Notice, you don’t actually press the home button to open the home screen. With your device unlocked, information in the Activity or Find My Friends (just two current examples) will fill in.

3D Touch

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Beyond iOS 10 widgets hiding just off the left side of your screen, apps that have been updated for iOS 10 can now show a widget when you Force Touch on its icon.

Pressing on an app icon reveals the standard shortcuts, plus a widget regardless of whether or not you’ve added it to your curated list in the Today View.

If you haven’t added a particular widget but want to, you can tap on the Add widget button when viewing it.

Streaming video, interaction and more!

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Now that we know how to access widgets in iOS 10, let’s talk about just what you can do with widgets.

While viewing your widgets, you will notice a button in the top-right corner of some widgets that says “Show more.” Selecting it will expand the widget. For something like the Calendar widget, you’ll see more of your upcoming agenda, whereas the Weather widget will show you the week’s forecast along with current conditions.

During the iOS 10 announcement, Apple used a sports app to demonstrate viewing stats for a basketball game and video highlights directly within the widget. This is an area of iOS 10 that will undoubtedly grow in feature set now that iOS 10 has officially launched and as developers begin to push updates to the masses.

[Source:-Cnet]

Why SEO is more powerful than your CEO when crisis strikes

Many critics and commentators look to the chief executive when crisis hits a brand or organisation. It’s recently become a matter of anecdotal wisdom that those businesses that survive crises best only do so because of the authority, credibility and empathy of their senior leaders.

Certainly those organisations with inept executives or spokespeople are heavily criticised and lambasted during, and even well after, the crisis event. But be clear, chief executive crisis appearances are often about the semiology of sincerity and the appearance of a swift response.

Read more: 11 ways to stop an online issue turning into a PR disaster

An out-dated crisis communication model

Historically, under-fire brands needed a consistent, calm authority figure that became the sole point of company crisis information; someone who could present a personable face for the business while it was under duress.

And there’s our first huge problem; many businesses still use a historic media and crisis communication model, rather than a contemporarily configured one. You see, in the modern media arena, the number of experts, pundits and sources—each replete with their opinions and retrospective ‘shoulda’s and woulda’s’—have multiplied significantly. One (chief executive) person cannot address all those fragmented audiences simultaneously.

In crisis, critics and detractors publish incessantly, inaccurately, and certainly more frequently than the under-the-cosh corporate. Crisis companies lose fair share of voice, almost as soon as the crisis breaks.

Erroneous content can fuel search results first

Online channels pick up much of this early, frequently erroneous, content. Due to the source traffic volumes and search engine rankings, the ‘wrong’ content infiltrates search engine results. And as over 90% of online searchers click on the highest-ranking webpages and sites first, ‘the fix’ is often in! Crisis-hit entities need to use search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure their pages get priority perusal.

But typically, I still lament what the majority seem to be doing. Many are waiting for the board or legal to approve holding statements, or rehearsing the chief executive with sound bites designed to placate a media ever ready to pounce on mispronunciations or misallocation of accountability or blame. The communications focus has become erroneous; technology makes it so.

Chief executives are outgunned by SEO speculation

In terms of message spread and traction, your chief executive is easily outgunned by speed, by speculation and by volume of overwhelmingly critical search engine optimised content. As a consequence, the effectiveness and impact of the chief executive in a crisis is fast being overtaken by the pre-eminent role of search engines (and SEO) in ‘framing the crisis narrative’.

After all, when a crisis breaks, many people trust search engines first to help them divine which channel they’ll follow for news on the incident information. So the big challenge facing brands-in-disaster is: ”Who are crisis followers listening to?” (And by association, “how do we get them to listen to us?”)

Why do companies still cede narrative relevance?

We could realistically expect a business at the sharp end of any crisis to be best positioned to explain and expose what’s truly happening—with updates, footage and on-the-ground interviews. For this to happen, companies need to move into the proprietary news business rather than just the reactive communications business.

DiscoverOrganizationWeb pageCrisis communication

But too often, businesses don’t just fail to command narrative authority in a crisis. Their message management methodology is pre-programmed to hand over that authority to third party media channels. They quickly cede influence.

In only grooming and training their chief executive to perform for traditional news outlets, the beleaguered ‘body corporate’ cedes influence to a process that sees them lose narrative relevance as soon as the crisis breaks. In so doing, they’re again relinquishing their power, the privilege of their reporting position at the crisis coalface and, ultimately, their reputation.

Move into the news business

Despite the newer digital media offering plentiful opportunities to publish crisis updates straight to stakeholders (and search engines), only a minority of Aussie corporates have restructured their message distribution strategies—and resourced their communications teams—to get into the news business.

Now I’m not saying the role of any chief executive in a crisis is redundant—not at all. But given the changes in our information, news and content sharing environments, the importance and impact of good SEO is an absolute mandatory in determining a fairer share of how the story is created, disseminated and located.

Ideally, you twin your chief executive’s status with all the SEO smarts at your disposal and drive your narrative to best represent your business; in crisis times and in peace times.

The big question is: “Do you really know the drill of modern crisis management?”

[Source:-Smart Company]

Afghanistan and Pakistan avalanches kill more than 100

Rescue workers trying to reach the avalanche-hit areas in Chitral, Pakistan

Heavy snow and avalanches have killed more than 106 people and injured dozens in Afghanistan.

In the deadliest incident, 53 people died in one village after an avalanche in Nuristan, a north-eastern Afghan province on the Pakistan border.

Thirteen people were also killed in an avalanche in northern Pakistan, nine of them in the town of Chitral.

Dozens of houses have been destroyed and people were reported to have frozen to death, trapped in cars.

Afghanistan’s minister of state natural disasters, Wais Ahmad Barmak, confirmed the number of dead to BBC Afghan. There were also avalanches to the north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

“Avalanches have buried two entire villages,” a spokesman for the ministry told news agency AFP of the Barg Matal area in Nuristan.

The neighbouring mountainous province of Badakhshan was also badly hit by snow storms.

Map of Afghanistan and Pakistan

Rescuers are experiencing difficulty reaching trapped people, because of bad weather and snow-blocked roads.

Provincial Council member Khalilullah Ghayor told BBC Afghan that two helicopters will be deployed to the area to look for survivors and deliver aid.

The main international airport in Kabul has also been closed because of snow and ice on the runway.

On the Kabul-Kandahar highway, police and soldiers rescued some 250 vehicles that were trapped.

The Salang pass north of Kabul was also closed under as much as 2.5m (7ft) of snow, local police chief Rajab Salangi said, according to Reuters news agency.

At least two stranded drivers have frozen to death. Dozens are marooned there without food.

Officials are warning of more avalanches as snow storms are continuing.

[Source:-BBC]

Tony Romo: More Valuable Than You Might Think

You will not find a person on this planet who wishes Tony Romo well more than I do. He has been one of the greatest football players I have ever seen and, from everything that I can see, one of the best public individuals, too. People should be pointing to Romo and telling their children “that’s how you do it.” The world would be a much better place.

But none of that should factor at all into what the Dallas Cowboys decide to do with him. While they could cut him loose and let him make his own choices as a favor to him, they really should not do that. While NFL history does have several examples of franchise quarterbacks moving for relatively low value, the circumstances around this year need consideration.

Most important is the Cowboys’ salary cap situation. The answer here is that it is not an issue. The Cowboys clearly intended to keep Romo on the roster for 2017 before the emergence of Dak Prescott. While they are currently (according to overthecap.com) $11 million over the 2017 cap, they have a number of moves available to them which put them in a very reasonable situation in short order without touching Tony Romo’s contract. The $5 million he could potentially save them is useful, but not necessary. The possibility of a June 1st cut is also out there, but if I’m the Cowboys, I’d prefer to take the hit now and not in 2018 where Zack Martin, La’el Collins, Anthony Hitchens, and DeMarcus Lawrence all await free agency simultaneously.

But what can’t be underestimated is the value of a top notch back-up. The Vikings, Raiders, and Dolphins all suffered for losing their quarterback last year, and we’ve seen other teams, including our own, lose seasons to injuries at the quarterback position. Not just the obvious 2015, but even quality backups like Kyle Orton and John Kitna were not enough to save Dallas seasons, and, in 2008, one victory from Brad Johnson against the 2-14 Rams might have saved the season. $5 million in cap space is worth it to have insurance against not being next year’s version of the Raiders. Dallas absolutely does have a reason to hold on to Tony Romo that goes beyond the wish-fulfillment scenario of him retiring here to coach.

So what is he worth? Well Cleveland wanted a second-rounder for Josh McCown. Certainly Romo is worth more than him. Some point to Sam Bradford’s trade value last year. Others will say Bradford is much younger, which is true, but he’s also much worse a quarterback and has been a significant injury risk himself, so perhaps that is not too far off after all. But people will say that Minnesota was over a barrel and Cleveland thought Dallas was as well. But this is just more incentive for Dallas to wait until the right opportunity comes along. Franchise quarterbacks are a rare thing and having one in your pocket should not be tossed aside lightly.

The people speaking to the inflated values of Bradford or McCown are correct, though. The market will set the value and what Dallas can get for Romo depends on who is bidding. So, the first question is “how many teams need a quarterback and how many might be looking to improve?”

Need a QB: Jets, Browns, Texans*, Jaguars, Broncos*, Rams, 49ers

Might want to improve: Dolphins, Bills, Bengals, Chiefs*, Vikings*, Bears, Cardinals*

I believe teams marked with an asterisk become immediate Super Bowl contenders with Romo at the helm. But what I believe isn’t important. Do they believe it?

There’s no way to know, but all that needs to happen is for two of these asterisk teams to feel that way and you have a bidding war. We haven’t really seen a bidding war for a franchise quarterback before. It could get into scary territory.

Why do I say we only need two teams? Because the 2017 quarterback class is getting roundly panned. Walterfootball.com only has one quarterback rated with a pure first-round grade. These teams are not going to draft someone to come in and carry them. But as ugly as the draft list is, the free agent list is even worse. You have Kirk Cousins, who the Redkins will either sign or confirm as the next Brock Osweiler (beware quarterbacks that are allowed to walk after a successful season). Then the next guy on the list is… Case Keenum? Shaun Hill? Matt McGloin? Any of those guys inspire you?

No, this is a unique situation. There are a number of teams looking for salvation at quarterback, and there’s only one guy out there who is anything like a proven commodity. And he happens to be fourth all-time post-merger in passer rating, yards per attempt, adjusted, net, and adjusted net yards per attempt, and tied for second in touchdown percentage with Peyton Manning. This is a unique opportunity for Dallas and they should not waste it. It’s not like early 90s San Francisco with Joe Montana and Steve Young both insistent on starting, or mid 2000s Green Bay with bad blood between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Nor is it like Drew Brees or Peyton Manning, where injury concerns made the teams leery of spending large amounts of guaranteed money — Romo would come with no  guaranteed money and, unlike those men, his injuries do not come with attendant concerns of whether he can actually continue to throw a football. We’ve seen him do it.

Furthermore, Tony and Dak have shown that they co-exist well and put the team first, so Tony has real value to Dallas and they have no need to get rid of him.

As a post script, one dark horse possibility: I have publicly said that I am quitting the team if they trade Tony to Cleveland, but that was more a joke than anything. Cleveland has some interesting young talent and a ton of draft picks. With a weak 2017 quarterback class, Cleveland could use those picks to bolster its young talent, trade one of them for Romo, and use its multiple high 2018 picks on what they could reasonably hope to be a better quarterback class. In 2017, they have three picks in the top 33 (two in the top 12), and four in the top 52. They could trade one of those to Dallas along with, say, pick 128 (or one of their anticipated fourth-round compensatory picks) and still put a sizeable talent addition on their roster through the draft. Not an unreasonable possibility. Though I shudder to think of Romo at the end of that infamous jersey, perhaps he could be the end of said jersey. If I was Cleveland, I’d think about it.

[Source:-Blogging the Boys]

Gallery: 10 JIRA plugins to make software development even more agile

Make JIRA work for you

Software suites like JIRA are complicated, and each company needs it to do something just a little bit different. Atlassian knows this, which is why JIRA is relatively barebones: They expect you to supplement it with some of the hundreds of plugins available in the Atlassian Marketplace.

Here are 10 plugins that are sure to add much-desired features to any JIRA setup.

Image: Atlassian

[Source:-Tech Republic]