LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

about 9 months ago
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2020 has taught us many life lessons and one more important learning – its impossible to predict the entire next year when we cannot predict the next second in our lives.

Yet, we as humans need to have a roadmap, something which chalks our path and gives a rough idea about what to expect in the coming days. A new Year does that to everyone – we all know its just a change in the date but we still want to hope that this change in date will bring about a new beginning, take away all that was bad on the previous date, almost miraculously.

So, despite knowing fully well that nothing goes as per plan, we try and look at major events which have been scheduled for 2021. 2020 has taught us – they may or may not happen. Lets keep an open mind and hope in the new normal, new way of life, these events do happen. This will be a jam-packed year in the sense that all that was postponed last year, is now rescheduled for this year.

The first such event already happened on 1st Jan -  UK began its first day as a separate entity, no longer a part of the EU. On 20th Jan, the world will also see Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States – all eyes will be on Trump – how will he behave while handing over the baton?

This year will also hopefully see Tokyo hosting its first postponed Olympic Games in modern history from July 23 to Aug. 8. Then there will be delayed and postponed Oscars on 25th April, the Dubai Expo in October. On 17th August, Microsoft will pull the plug on its 25-year-old browser, Internet Explorer. There will be the usual G7 Summit – this time in UK and the Davos meet. Elections in Netherlands and Germany will be crucial.

2021, there will be a lot of space events - Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, hopes to launch space tourists in 2021 and it will also launch Luna 25 moon lander in Oct, to head to the moon’s south pole; India plans to send man to space by end of the year; Richard Branson, the Virgin founder and billionaire entrepreneur, will fly to space in a Virgin Galactic rocket ship.

And most important – mark 2nd April – the date when the much-awaited and delayed latest instalment of the James Bond franchise is due to be released.

The Economist published a very interesting report on “Implied chances of happenings in 2021.”

In VERY LIKELY –

US rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement by 1st Feb.

Republicans controlling the Senateby end of June

US reopens travel with EU countries by 1st May

And in LIKELY –

Scotland announces new independent referendum

Over 4,50,000 confirmed Covid deaths in USA

Oil price remains at below $50/barrel by end of the year

For us in India, apart from the Republic Day celebrations, where we don’t know if Covid will permit UK Prime Minister to grace the occasion, all eyes will be on 1st Feb, ears tuned in to the Union Budget and once that is over, all attention will be back on the economy.

The challenge will be about sustaining the growth momentum, increase private sector investment, create major employment opportunities. The FM really needs to come out with out-of-the-box ideas to help India tide over the past year.

Rolling out the vaccine will be the first and foremost task and this will be no small feat – Sitharaman will have to really scratch her head hard to come up with an idea to provide trillions of rupees for healthcare and vaccinate over 1.3 billion people, while reviving growth through massive investments, recapitalize banks – do all this when tax collections are low and fiscal deficit is already out-of-control.

Once again, we are hoping all this happens because we believe that the vaccines will work and the world will be relatively safer if not mask -free in 2021.

To end on a positive note - Nomura has projected India to be the fastest growing Asian economy in 2021, with an estimate of 9.9% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2021.

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