The Significance of IRR in Investment

The Significance of IRR in Investment

The Significance of IRR in Investment

Shri Sharad Ranjan and Shri Hariti Tyagi

The Backstory

The relationship manager of a well-established bank reached out to my daughter, who is in the beginning of her twenties, and proposed an investment plan. The investment plan, according to him, is the best investment option available at present in the market. Further, he added an insurance cover that makes this investment secure and lucrative. Describing the plan, he highlighted the investment plan’s key attributes such as guaranteed maturity benefit at the end of the term, yearly guaranteed addition coupled with a guaranteed loyalty addition, and a high premium benefit resulting in a higher basic sum assured. It is important to mention that investment plans of this type are becoming the norm and open to everyone. Emphasizing the word guaranteed repeatedly is especially effective in attracting younger individuals. However, it limits their access to better investment opportunities that could be a more financially sound decision for them to consider.
To support his argument, the relationship manager used an illustration to show that such type of investing is a wise decision. In addition, he orally stated that the proposed investment would yield returns of 8%, which is better than many existing corporate FDs.

They provided the following table and figure to consider this investment.

Table 1: Premium and Benefit Details


End of Policy Year




Accrued Guaranteed yearly Additions


Guaranteed Loyalty


Guaranteed Maturity



Death Benefit (₹)

1 50000 5000 0 0 605665
2 50000 15000 0 0 615665
3 50000 30000 0 0 630665
4 50000 50000 0 0 650665
5 50000 75000 0 0 675000
6 50000 105000 0 0 705665
7 50000 140000 0 0 740665
8 50000 180000 0 0 780665
9 50000 225000 0 0 825665
10 50000 275000 0 0 875665
11 0 275000 0 0 875665
12 0 275000 0 0 875665
13 0 275000 0 0 875665
14 0 275000 0 0 875665
15 0 275000 100111 875665 875665

Nevertheless, the proposal included an additional table that showed the actual premium to be paid, which included GST and Cess. The proposal has a single, convenient location where one can find the total premium amount, GST, and cess. The reason could be that they want to avoid prospective investors from factoring in the effect of GST and cess on the eventual returns. The final premium will align with the table below.

Table 2: Final Premium Payable Amount Adjusting GST




First year


Second year onwards


Base Premium (Yearly)


₹ 50,000


₹ 50,000


GST and Cess


₹ 2,250


₹ 1,125

Total Yearly Premium

(incl. GST and Cess)


₹ 52,250


₹ 51,125

Understanding Investment Gains

The typical focus on Table 1 figures may lead novice investors to be swayed by its substantial absolute figures and associated death benefits, Isn’t?  Over time, ULIP and money back insurance policies have established this experience. We endeavor to offer recommendations to investors before they commit to this type of investment.

First, one should avoid focusing solely on absolute figures when evaluating returns. Initially, an absolute number may appear attractive, but eventually it may be inconsequential in terms of its value. The real value of ₹ 8.75 lakh after fifteen years will not hold much significance in this situation. The Rule of 72 may determine the extent to which inflation influences the worth of money over a period. For example, divide 72 by the annual inflation rate. By dividing 72 by the inflation rate of 8 percent, it can be determined that it takes 9 years  for the purchasing power of money to decrease by 50 percent.

Second, the Death benefit clause has the potential to be alluring to many. It is unusual    that a person in their twenties has financially dependent parents. Even if that is the case, the death benefit amount of this plan is meager to serve any significant purpose. If the purpose is to get compensated in the event of the individual’s demise, it would then be prudent to evaluate a basic term plan instead of the current one. Thus, if something unfortunate were to happen, the financial benefit to the supposed dependents would hold little value. That being said, it is also commonly accepted that the probability of experiencing misfortune in early life is insignificant. We believe that investors who have crossed a certain age threshold will not be eligible for such a scheme.

Third, one should not trust verbal investment returns without verification, and this is the last but not the least important thing to remember. One cannot rule out the possibility of mis-selling of such products. Consequently, it is advantageous to compute the Internal Rate of Return (IRR), an easily calculable metric using a financial calculator. Online calculation is an option if one cannot do it. Conceptually, IRR is that discount rate which equates the present value (PV) of the cash inflows with the PV of the cash outflow. We input the data into Excel and determined that investing in it would only yield a return of 5.66%. With such a low return, the investment will lose even its face value eventually because the retail inflation rate is higher than that. One may alternatively choose to invest in equities, mutual funds, or debt instruments such as PPF and EPF, given the investor is too conservative. The usual investing

rule is to invest in bonds that match one’s age. Young investors, therefore, should seriously consider equity investment over debt investments.

Table 3: Calculating IRR of Proposed Investment


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12 Year 13 Year 14 Year 15 IRR
-52250 -51125 -51125 -51125 -51125 -51125 -51125 -51125 -51125 -51125 0 0 0 0 875665 5.66


About the foregoing discussion, it is advisable to avoid investment recommendations   that involve complex products that combine investment and insurance. The investment plan must align with investment options, and a simple term insurance policy should provide insurance coverage. Last but not the least, it is a prerequisite to determine IRR when there are cash inflows and outflows happening over a period, regardless of the size or nature of those flows. We should compare the obtained IRR against our expected returns.

About the Authors

Sharad Ranjan-Professor of Economics, Zakir Husain Delhi College Evening (University of Delhi) 

Hariti Tyagi – Analyst, KPMG Global Services

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Sabudana Unveiled: The Tapioca Tale and Beyond

Sabudana Unveiled: The Tapioca Tale and Beyond

Sabudana Unveiled: The Tapioca Tale and Beyond

Sabudana holds a special place in the hearts and traditions of millions. These small, translucent globules have become synonymous with fasting seasons in India, particularly during religious festivals like Navratri, Shivaratri, Ekadashi, and Saawan season. During these periods of abstinence from certain foods, sabudana emerges as a dietary staple, offering sustenance and culinary delight. In this article, we will discuss the origins of sabudana, its nutrient profile, and some labelling and handling tips that can enable informed food choices.

By Richa Pande

It is crucial to recognize that despite the common reference of sabudana as ‘sago’, sabudana is not the same as sago pearls. Sago pearls are derived from the Sago Palm Tree, while the sabudana we consume is made from Tapioca Tubers. In various countries like Australia, Brazil, and India, tapioca pearls made from cassava and cassava roots are also referred to as sago, sagu, or sabudana, but they are not obtained from the sago palm tree. Tapioca pearls and sago pearls differ from each other, even though both are starchy in nature. Sago is a starch obtained from the pith of the tropical palm tree known as the sago palm tree. On the other hand, tapioca pearls are made from the starchy part of the cassava roots, a starchy tuber plant originally found in South America but now grown worldwide in tropical regions. The consumption of ‘Tapioca Pearls’ in Kerala, India, is believed to have been popularized by the royal family of Travancore during the colonial era as a response to famine. The tapioca was extensively washed, and over time, this processing technique led to the creation of sabudana. The extraction process of sabudana involves harvesting the starchy parts of the plants, chopping, pounding, and thorough washing to separate the starch granules from the fibrous residue. After washing, the starch is left to settle, and excess water is drained off. The wet starch is then further processed to remove impurities and obtain the fine, pearl-like granules, which are eventually dried, packaged, and sold. Sago pearls are usually white, while tapioca pearls come in a variety of colours. Tapioca balls are sometimes bleached to achieve a white appearance.

Sabudana is a naturally gluten-free food, making it an excellent option for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. With approximately 330-350 calories per 100 grams, sago is mainly derived from carbohydrates, and offers minimal protein and fat content, with less than 1 gram of each. As Sabudana is rich in carbohydrates, it serves as a quick source of energy. It is particularly beneficial for individuals who need easily digestible foods, such as those recovering from illness or experiencing digestive issues. It contains approximately 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for zinc per 100 grams.

Sabudana is a versatile ingredient that can be used to prepare a variety of delicious dishes. Here are some popular recipes made from sabudana:

  • Sabudana Khichdi:A classic and popular Indian dish made with soaked sabudana, peanuts, potatoes, and spices. It is a common fasting food and can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a light meal.
  • Sabudana Vada:These crispy and flavourful fritters are made from soaked sabudana, mashed potatoes, peanuts, and spices. They are deep-fried to perfection and served with chutney or yogurt.
  • Sabudana Kheer:A delightful dessert made by simmering soaked sabudana in milk with sugar and cardamom. Garnished with nuts, it’s a perfect sweet treat.

Labelling Tips

  • Consumer awareness on sabudana labelling starts with checking the ingredient list on the packaging. Look for products that have a simple and clear ingredient list, preferably with minimal additives or preservatives. Ensure that the primary ingredient is “Tapioca “. Avoid items that have ambiguous terms or generic descriptions like “starch” or “pearls” without specifying the source. Additionally, be cautious about any allergens or potential cross-contamination mentioned on the label to ensure the product is safe for consumption if you have a food allergy. Being diligent about ingredient scrutiny empowers consumers to make healthier and more informed choices when selecting sabudana products. When consuming sabudana during fasts, ensure that the label does not include any allergy warnings about the product being processed in machinery used for cereal products like wheat.
  • When checking the label, also look for terms like “unbleached sabudana.”
  • Look for quality mark logos such as Agmark, or ISI (Indian Standards Institute), which indicates that the product complies with specific quality and safety standards. These logos provide reassurance about the product’s authenticity and adherence to regulatory guidelines. By incorporating these two practices, consumers can make well-informed choices, ensuring both the quality and safety of the sabudana they purchase.

Handling Tips

Proper storage and handling of sabudana are essential to maintain its quality and prevent spoilage. Here are some storage and handling tips for sabudana:

  • Store in a Cool, Dry Place:Keep sabudana in an airtight container in a cool and dry area, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Excess humidity can cause the pearls to stick together or become mouldy.
  • Protect from Pests:Ensure the storage container is tightly sealed to prevent pests and insects from contaminating the sabudana.
  • Check for Expiry Date:Always check the expiry date on the packaging before purchasing. Use the oldest stock first to maintain freshness.
  • Wash Before Use:Before using sabudana in any recipe, wash it thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and ensures the pearls do not clump together during cooking.
  • Soak Properly:If the recipe requires soaking sabudana, use an adequate amount of water, usually 2 to 3 times the volume of sabudana, and soak it for the recommended time to achieve the desired texture.
Recurrent pregnancy loss

Recurrent pregnancy loss

Recurrent pregnancy loss

With an increasing number of affected couples, recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) has become a widespread reproductive health problem. Clinically, it is defined as the loss of three or more pregnancies before the foetus reaches viability. It affects approximately 3 percent of couples attempting to conceive. Cases with multiple miscarriages with or without any viable children are also categorized as RPL.

Dr. Sarla Naglot, ICMR, New Delhi

According to the latest medical journals, uterine anomalies, antiphospholipid syndrome, inherited thrombophilia, abnormal endocrine factors, environmental factors, advanced parental age, and genetic factors may cause RPL by interfering with foetal development that eventually leads to miscarriages. Uterine abnormalities, like uterine septum and Müllerian anomalies, disrupt placenta growth by hampering the endometrium’s blood supply, resulting in miscarriages. Hormonal disorders like hyperprolactinemia, thyroid disorders, uncontrolled diabetes, luteal phase deficiency, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are also associated with RPL. RPL is also reported in patients with hyperprolactinemia and diabetes mellitus I. Moreover, environmental factors like obesity, smoking, excessive caffeine consumption, and alcohol intake are known to increase the risk of miscarriages.

Another significant factor influencing RPL pathogenesis is the maternal immune response against the foetus. The mother’s immune system often views the foetus, with its half-paternal genome, as a foreign body, but a protective immunological cascade gets activated during pregnancy to prevent its rejection. In RPL, autoimmune factors like antiphospholipid syndrome, antinuclear antibodies, and anti-thyroid antibodies lead to an immune reaction against the foetus causing its early rejection. Amongst the known autoimmune disorders connected with RPL, the antiphospholipid syndrome is garnering significant attention due to its high prevalence. Another factor usually seen in RPL cases is embryo chromosomal abnormalities, due to natural selection such foetuses do not survive beyond the 10th week of gestation. As one of the factors involved in RPL is maternal age, couples are strongly advised to undergo peripheral karyotyping. This particular cause of RPL is highly encountered by the new generation of would-be parents due to their late family planning. It has been reported that there is an increased incidence of foetal aneuploidy in older mothers, likely due to fewer optimally developed oocytes. On the other hand, the correlation with male partners is not yet understood. While diagnosis of RPL can be disheartening, many affected couples can carry a pregnancy successfully with available modern therapy and management procedures, especially when underlying causes are endocrine diseases, antiphospholipid syndrome, or anatomical abnormalities.

Unfortunately, around 40% of RPL cases remain unexplained even after extensive clinical investigations and are termed idiopathic RPL (iRPL). Couples afflicted by iRPL go through a difficult and frustrating ordeal, facing financial burdens and feelings of fear and uncertainty. The lack of understanding about the causes of iRPL cases also poses a significant challenge for doctors. A major limitation of RPL clinical workup is that it is mostly focused on female partners and only two clinical evaluations—semen analysis and karyotyping—are recommended for male partners. This is because RPL is not related to conception or impregnation but rather to carrying the conceptus to a live birth, undervaluing the importance of male components after fertilization. However, recent discussions about the significance of sperm in fertilization and early embryonic development have shed light on the investigation of sperm-related factors in RPL. Studies have found chromosomal abnormalities, embryonic aneuploidy, oxidative stress, fragmentation of sperm DNA, and other male contributory factors in iRPL cases. Abnormal expression of certain sperm proteins that may influence feto-maternal communication, foetal development, and embryo implantation has also been identified. Proteins play a significant role in the development and efficient function of spermatozoa, impacting functional pathways and thus, uncovering molecular insights about the role of spermatozoa in fertilization and embryo development is critical for understanding successful pregnancies. Regardless of recent advancements in RPL pathogenesis and molecular insights, it continues to raise concerns and calls for auxiliary molecular research.

The research on the correlation between oxidative stress, DNA fragmentation, and pregnancy loss is still in the early stages and requires more studies to yield conclusive results. Further explorations in this area can elucidate the potential role of male contributory factors in idiopathic cases, potentially improving iRPL management. Based on the findings of our research, we believe that iRPL patients may benefit from medical treatments targeting oxidative stress and DNA fragmentation. Traditionally, the male contribution, particularly of their spermatozoa, has been perceived as limited to fertilization, and any adverse events after conception are attributed to mothers. Biomedical research, however, emphasizes the contribution of male factors in iRPL cases after fertilization. Thus, one of the significant impacts of pre-clinical research findings on male characteristics in RPL is raising awareness in society and changing clinical standards.

In conclusion, conducting more thorough investigations on male partners in RPL can help reduce the incidence of idiopathic cases, raise public awareness, and alleviate the psychological strain on women. Understanding the role of sperm-related factors and employing a molecular approach may provide critical insights into RPL, leading to improved care and better outcomes for affected couples. By unravelling the molecular mechanisms involved in RPL, researchers can identify potential biomarkers for screening and to develop targeted treatments, bringing hope to couples facing these challenges.

From Grain to Gain: Mastering the Art of Aata Selection

From Grain to Gain: Mastering the Art of Aata Selection

From Grain to Gain: Mastering the Art of Aata Selection

Are you aware of what goes into that essential ingredient that forms the foundation of countless Indian meals? Yes, we’re talking about aata, the versatile flour that brings us the beloved rotis, chapatis, and parathas. But have you ever stopped to consider the quality and integrity of the aata you purchase from the market? In a world where consumer choices abound, it’s crucial to be aware and informed about the products we bring into our kitchens. This article aims to shed light on the importance of consumer awareness when it comes to buying aata, ensuring that you make the best choices for your health and well-being. So, join us on this journey as we uncover the secrets hidden within those seemingly innocent bags of flour and empower you to become a discerning and confident aata buyer. Let’s dive in!

                                                                                                                                                                  Richa Pande

When it comes to aata, there’s more than meets the eye. This humble flour comes in various types, each with its unique characteristics and benefits. From the finely ground wheat aata that gives you those soft and fluffy rotis to the nutrient-packed multigrain aata that adds a wholesome twist to your meals, the choices seem endless. However, amidst the vast array of packaged aata available in the market, there are common concerns that conscientious buyers like you should be aware of. Adulteration, contamination, and misleading packaging practices have become all too prevalent, compromising the quality and safety of the flour we bring home. That’s why it’s crucial to choose your aata wisely, considering factors such as purity, nutritional value, and transparency. By making informed decisions and opting for high-quality aata, you not only safeguard your health but also contribute to the overall well-being of your family. So, let’s delve deeper into the world of aata and discover why being a discerning buyer is the key to nourishing your loved ones with the best.

In a world where food products often conceal hidden truths, it’s not uncommon for seemingly innocent bags of aata to harbor their own set of concerns. As an informed consumer, it is crucial to be aware of the common pitfalls when purchasing aata. Let’s unveil the hidden realities behind these packages filled with flour.

  1. Adulteration and Contamination
  • Mixing of Low-Quality Grains:One of the most prevalent issues in the aata market is the mixing of low-quality grains. Some unscrupulous sellers may blend inferior or even damaged grains to cut costs and maximize their profits. This compromises the overall quality and nutritional value of the aata, leaving you with subpar flour.
  • Presence of Artificial Additives:To enhance texture, colour, or shelf life, some manufacturers resort to adding artificial additives to their aata. These additives may include chemicals, preservatives, or synthetic flavour enhancers that are not only detrimental to your health but also mask the natural characteristics of the flour.
  • Contaminants such as Pesticides or Chemicals: Inadequate quality control measures during cultivation, processing, or storage can lead to the presence of contaminants like pesticides or harmful chemicals in aata. Consuming flour contaminated with such substances poses serious health risks and can have long-term implications for you and your loved ones.
  1. Misleading Packaging and Labelling
  • False Claims of Nutritional Value:It’s not uncommon to come across aata packages flaunting bold claims about their nutritional value. However, many of these assertions may be misleading or outright false. Some brands may exaggerate the health benefits of their product without any scientific backing, leaving you uncertain about the actual nutritional composition of the flour.
  • Incomplete Ingredient List:Another packaging concern is the lack of transparency when it comes to the ingredient list. It’s crucial to be aware of what goes into your aata, but unfortunately, some brands conveniently omit or provide incomplete information about the ingredients used. This lack of transparency hampers your ability to make informed decisions about the flour you’re purchasing.
  • Deceptive Branding and Marketing Tactics:Eye-catching packaging, captivating taglines, and clever marketing tactics can sway even the most discerning buyer. However, it’s important to go beyond the surface and not fall prey to deceptive branding. Some brands may use misleading imagery, buzzwords, or claims to create a false perception of quality and purity, leading you to choose aata that may not meet your expectations.

Different Types of Aata

Multigrain Aata

Multigrain aata, a blend of various grains, offers a nutritious alternative to traditional aata. Packed with a diverse range of nutrients, it adds depth and flavour to your meals. Different brands may offer different combinations of grains, leading to variations in taste and texture. If possible, sample a small quantity or read reviews to gauge the overall flavour and consistency of the multigrain aata. Opt for multigrain aata that is free from artificial additives, preservatives, or refined flours. Ensure that the grains used are of high quality and sourced from reliable suppliers.

Organic Aata

Organic aata, derived from organically grown grains, is gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers for several reasons. Organic aata is produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This means it is free from harmful chemical residues, making it a healthier choice for you and the environment. Organic farming practices focus on maintaining soil health, resulting in grains that are often more nutrient-dense compared to conventionally grown counterparts. Organic aata is known for its higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, contributing to a more wholesome diet. Also, organic farming methods promote sustainable agriculture, emphasizing soil conservation, biodiversity, and reduced pollution. Choosing organic aata supports sustainable practices and helps preserve the natural ecosystem. Look for recognized organic certifications, such as Jaivik Bharat, on the packaging. These certifications ensure that the aata has met stringent organic standards and is genuinely organic.

Fortified Aata

Fortified aata, enriched with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12, offers several advantages in improving public health. It serves as a safe and effective method to prevent nutritional deficiencies, as wheat flour is widely consumed. Fortification is a cost-effective way to add back essential nutrients lost during milling. The inclusion of iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 in fortified aata is crucial for combating anaemia and supporting blood formation. To identify fortified aata, look for the “+F” mark on the packaging. This mark signifies that the product has undergone rigorous testing and meets the required fortification standards. By choosing fortified aata, consumers can ensure that their meals are enriched with vital nutrients, contributing to a healthier and more nourished society. 

Making an Informed Choice

When it comes to buying aata from the market, a little research and attention to detail can go a long way in ensuring that you bring home a high-quality product. Here are some tips to help you make the best choices:

  • Read Online Reviews and Ratings:Before making a purchase, take some time to read online reviews and ratings of different aata brands. Feedback from other consumers can provide valuable insights into the quality and reliability of the product.
  • Seek Recommendations from Trusted Sources:Ask family, friends, or even local culinary experts for their recommendations on trusted aata brands. Personal experiences and word-of-mouth recommendations can help you make informed decisions.
  • Check for Recognized Certifications or Quality Seals:Look for recognized certifications or quality seals on the packaging. These certifications indicate that the aata has undergone rigorous testing and meets certain quality standards.
  • Look for Clear and Legible Information:Inspect the packaging for clear and legible information. Ensure that the brand name, ingredients, and nutritional information are easily readable. Avoid products with vague or ambiguous labelling.
  • Check the Expiry Date and Manufacturing Date:Always check the expiry date and manufacturing date of the aata. Freshness is key when it comes to flour, so choose products with longer shelf lives and recent manufacturing dates.
  • Ensure Proper Sealing and Tamper-Proof Packaging:Ensure that the packaging is properly sealed and tamper-proof. Airtight packaging helps maintain the quality and freshness of the aata, while tamper-proof seals provide assurance that the product hasn’t been tampered with.

When it comes to ensuring safety and quality at home, proper storage and regular inspection of aata play crucial roles. By following simple guidelines, such as storing aata in airtight containers in cool and dry places, we can protect it from moisture and pests, preserving its freshness and integrity. Regularly inspecting the aata for signs of spoilage or insects allows us to promptly discard any compromised products, preventing health risks. Additionally, being mindful of the expiry date and discarding aata past its prime ensures that we consume only the freshest and safest flour. By adopting these practices, we can confidently prepare meals that not only delight our taste buds but also prioritize our health and well-being.


Are freebies good for economic health and can they empower the poor?

Are freebies good for economic health and can they empower the poor?

Are freebies good for economic health and can they empower the poor?

Does India need freebies from the government to survive? What is now popularly called the ‘freebie politics’ has its own economic implications. As the proverb goes there are no free lunches, freebies in the form of free units of power can be detrimental for the economy. Though welfare schemes are common and need for a country like India, there is a thin line between welfare schemes and free distribution.

This is what Dr Bhamy V.Shenoy discusses in its 4-part series on economic freebies. Part 1 of the series follows below:

Are economic freebies a boon or a bane for the poor?

One of the oft repeated arguments against freebie is that it can result in unmanageable deficit and create economic havoc. Still political parties can win elections by offering all kinds of freebies. However our constitution makers anticipated such a situation. They have provided guard rails to stop such behavior on the part of political parties of ever increasing freebies.

Politicians especially from the AAP claim that India’s constitution allows them to offer welfare measures. At the same time the same constitution through Articles 292 and 293 mandate borrowings to be within limits. The Constituent Assembly of India discussed these articles on 10th August 1949 led by H V Kamath and Ananthasayanam Ayyangar. To quote them,” So far as borrowing is concerned they may be short or long-term imposing heavy obligations upon not only the present generation but future generation also”. How true.

Let us take a look at the research findings of international institutions (International Monetary Fund, International Energy Agency and the World Bank) and academicians who have studied the controversial topic of subsidy in different parts of the world.

Their findings show that a subsidy like Gruha Jyothi (subsidizing power consumption) is harmful and in the long run affect the very poor people it is expected to help. However all of them do support giving conditional or unconditional benefits in the form of cash to needed families. In fact even the concept of minimum guaranteed income (Graha Lakshmi is one such admirable guarantee and so also earlier Bhagya Lakshmi) is justified if financial conditions of the countries allow such schemes and keep deficit within limits.

In 2010 Iran successfully replaced offering subsidized fuels by giving cash transfer. Even though petrol prices increased by 400% and diesel prices by 900%, subsidy reform was widely accepted. Like Iran, Jordon implemented similar subsidy reform in 2015 with equal success. In fact way back in 1997, five million poorest families were helped in Mexico with conditional cash transfer (if they send their children to school) and was a great success. Similar success stories of cash transfers instead of subsidyhave succeeded in Yemen, Mauritania, and Morocco.

Economic historians will have a challenging task to figure out why India took many years to learn from all these successful efforts.

Bhamy Shenoy

About the Author

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy, an IITM graduate has worked in International energy  sector and has more than 50 years of experience. He is currently the Trustee and Board Member of Consumer Voice of Delhi, Trustee of Sehgal Foundation of Gurugram, Governing Council member of Nitte Engineering College, Advisor to Pratham Mysuru and Founding Working President of Mysuru Grahakara Parishat. He has served as board member of Georgian National Oil Company, advisor to ONGC, governing council member of Manipal Institute of Technology, advisor to Center for energy economics at University of Texas, Austin, etc. Dr. Shenoy has fought since early 90s till recent years to expose mother of all corruption in PDS kerosene distribution and residential LPG generating more than Rs. 50,000 crores of black money per year before the introduction of DBT. He has also successfully fought to expose rampant corruption in oil sector in Georgia.

You can reach out to the author through


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DNA Fingerprinting: A key to know your ancestry

DNA Fingerprinting: A key to know your ancestry

DNA Fingerprinting: A key to know your ancestry

A new field of study was opened in 1984 when Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys generated the first genetic fingerprint in his lab at the University of Leicester. Talking about his discovery, Sir Alec said, “My life changed on Monday morning at 9.05 am, 10 September 1984. What emerged was the world’s first genetic fingerprint. In science it is unusual to have such a ‘eureka’ moment. We were getting extraordinarily variable patterns of DNA, including from our technician and her mother and father, as well as from non-human samples. My first reaction to the results was ‘this is too complicated’, and then the penny dropped and I realised we had genetic fingerprinting.”

Dr. Anil Kumar Tomar


Department of Biophysics, AIIMS, New Delhi

Genetic fingerprinting, or commonly referred as DNA fingerprinting, is a revolutionary method that has transformed the study of forensic science. It is a method that employs analysis and comparison of DNA to solve legal issues like paternity testing and inheritance disputes, establish identity in criminal cases when biological evidence is discovered at crime scenes, and identify victims of major catastrophes, and mutilated and unidentified bodies. In addition, it is also routinely applied in immigration issues, and wildlife forensics. The principle behind DNA fingerprinting is the idea that some portions of each person’s genome have a unique genetic code. To discover a person’s unique genetic profile, this technique entails analysing and comparing specific segments of their DNA. Within the DNA molecule, this code is made up of nucleotide sequences that are organised in a definite order. Short tandem repeats (STRs), for example, are highly variable DNA sections that can be used to create a unique pattern or “fingerprint” for each person. There are various steps involved in the DNA fingerprinting process. A biological sample is first used to extract DNA; this sample could be blood, saliva, hair, or any other bodily fluid. DNA is cut into specified fragments using restriction enzymes and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to amplify DNA segments, which are then separated by a gel electrophoresis technique and bands of DNA fragments are visualised by X-ray. The DNA profile of the person is represented by the resulting band pattern.

Soon after its discovery, the first paternity case, an immigration case, and the identification of identical twins were all solved in 1985 using DNA fingerprinting. While, the first criminal investigation to use DNA fingerprinting evidence occurred in 1986. Few years later, a leading British chemical company, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) marketed the first commercially available kit. As a very accurate and reliable technology for identifying suspects, establishing ties between crime scene evidence and criminals, DNA fingerprinting has had a significant impact on forensic investigations. Further, identifying disaster or mass casualty victims, settling paternity and kinship issues, and studying genetic diseases and population genetics have all benefited greatly from its use. However, the ability to trace and identify ancestral lineages using DNA fingerprinting has become more important. Scientists can discover the genetic markers that have been passed down through the generations by examining particular sections of an individual’s DNA, revealing information about one’s ancestry.

The widespread use of DNA fingerprinting by anthropologists, social scientists, and genealogists to support conventional / historical research and create connections with biological parents is a result of technology advancements and low costs. The capabilities and applications of DNA fingerprinting have been substantially enhanced by the development of DNA sequencing technologies. The simultaneous examination of several genetic markers using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology boosts the efficiency and discriminatory power of the process. Ancestry DNA tests help people to discover more about their family roots. People frequently utilise DNA ancestry tests to learn about their ethnicity and family history. DNA ancestry tests available to the public are Y chromosome test, mitochondrial DNA test, autosomal DNA test, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), etc.

A Y chromosome test is employed to ascertain whether tested males have the same paternal ancestry. The Y chromosome is passed down from father to son and has extremely low mutation over many generations. All males in a direct male line will have the same Y chromosome profiles, if such a line can be identified. This test is the best way to determine whether alleged males are genuinely connected biologically. On the other hand, mitochondrial DNA testing is used to determine maternal lineage. While mitochondrial DNA is inherited by all children, only biological females have the ability to pass it on to future generations. Thus, this test is applicable to both biological males and females to know about their maternal ancestry. Autosomal DNA tests are not specific in that way and are applied to confirm parent/child relationships and all other relationships up to the second cousins. Autosomal DNA is inherited from the autosomal chromosomes. Humans have 22 pairs of autosomal and one pair of sex chromosomes (X and Y). SNPs are the most prevalent form of genetic variations in people. Each SNP is a variation in a single nucleotide, the basic unit of DNA. SNPs are common genetic variations that can be used to infer a person’s ethnicity or ancestry. SNP testing may be superior to Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA testing, which only consider one ancestral line. Their ability to identify degraded DNA strands is an advantage.

Looking at present scenario, this technique has evolved exponentially in terms of technological innovations and commercialization. It is now commercially available for consumers at a reasonable price. If you want to learn about your ancestry, you can simply select and order from a range of DNA fingerprinting tests as per your requirements. The major global firms that provide these test facilities are Family Tree DNA, Easy DNA, DNA, and 23andMe. Several companies in India are also offering these services, including DNA Forensics Laboratory, DDC Laboratories India, map my genome, Xcode Life, and DNA Labs India.


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