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The Impact of rise in fuel price on Indian Economy

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A sudden surge of fuel price has raised the eyebrows of many of us. Ordinary citizens of India begin to chide and criticize the govt policies and oil companies deregulation strategy as they have to shoulder the maximum brunt in many ways. But the bottom line is we simply unaware of the facts and figures that are controlling the price of fossil fuels. So it is high time we must aware of the intricacies and delicacies of a hike of fuel price and its subsequent effect on the economy

Fuel means coal, gas or oil which burns to gives us energy or heat. But in the broader economic terms we are more concerned about crude oil; i.e. petrol or diesel. The recent rise in the prices of crude oil has drawn everyone’s attention towards the crucial role that oil plays in the economy of any nation. Crude oil is one of the most necessitated commodities in the world and India imports around 100 million tons of crude oil and other petroleum products. This, in turn, results in spending huge amounts of foreign exchange.

In the Indian Context

The increasing quantum of imports of petroleum products has a significant impact on the Indian economy, especially when crude oil prices are shooting up globally. Crude oil not only serves as a source of energy but also as a major raw material to various industries. With no major discoveries in recent years, the increasing costs of production have pushed up crude oil prices globally. Also, the high volatility in the prices of oil breaching the $100/barrel mark and rising to a high of $147/barrel could be attributed to the fact that in the recent years, many index funds have taken positions in commodities considering oil to be an asset stock in their portfolios. It has been usually observed that in India, the pricing scheme is designed in such a way that it offers a system to moderate the soaring international oil prices and thereby study the impact on growth, inflation, etc.

Reasons for the surge

There has been a sharp hike in the prices of petrol and diesel since the “dynamic” daily pricing model for these fuels was introduced in India. Before accepting the causes of the surge, we must know how the crude oil price is designed.

How is the Indian crude basket calculated?

  • The Indian basket of crude oil basically represents a derived basket comprising Sour Grade and Sweet Grade of crude oil processed in Indian.
  • Prices of petrol and diesel have both been made market-determined. Since then, the Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are supposed to take appropriate decisions on the pricing of petrol and diesel. This is in line with international product prices and other market conditions such as the exchange rate and the demand-supply situation.
  • In 2017, the new dynamic daily pricing was introduced.

What does dynamic daily pricing system mean?

  • Dynamic daily pricing means the state retailers will reset the price of petrol and diesel each day, rather than wait for a fortnightly revision.
  • On a broad view, this move will align the retail pricing of crude products in line with price changes in the international markets. This will bring transparency in the pricing of crude products.
  • The companies will change the price of transport fuels every day based on crude price movements. Dynamic pricing is followed in many developed countries.
  • We can say therefore say that the retail fuel prices are expected to be more aligned to market dynamics.

What is the positive impact of dynamic daily pricing system?

  • This move is believed to crystallize the outlook for oil marketing companies marketing margin, or the difference between the cost of procurement and the price charged by retailer and therefore boost confidence over the overall sustainability of this broad deregulation initiative.
  • The shorter time lag between crude purchase and products sales will collapse, thus allowing prices to reflect cost and avoid artificial distortions.
  • It will enhance OMCs’ ability to pass the prices into the economy more effectively.
  • Global experience shows that the current dynamic pricing of fuel has the potential to attract the participation of private players in fuel retailing and several downstream opportunities, thus exposing the downstream and marketing to best practices and modern technology in refining.
  • A liberalized retailing regime may also expose the PSUs into an intensive competitive scenario.

What is the negative impact of dynamic daily pricing system?

  • Consumers may be affected sometimes, especially if there is a major international event, like a war or riot. Then, the prices may fluctuate a lot. It can become expensive or cheap, depending on the nature of the incident.
  • Prices of FMCG goods may also fluctuate dynamically. FMCG prices are directly related to fuel prices. Now, if the fuel prices suddenly increase, then there are chances that FMCG products pricing may also fluctuate, and sometimes daily.

What explains the divergence in the movements of the crude basket and of retail prices?

  • With global crude oil prices plummeting to record lows when it took charge, the government resorted to a series of excise duty hikes in the second half of 2015 and the initial months of 2016 on both petrol and diesel to help shore up finances.
  • This has helped the Centre realize higher central excise duties primarily through the increased tax on petrol and diesel, which are still outside the ambit of GST.
  • In India, the share of taxes in the retail selling prices of petrol and diesel (as on July 16) was 55.5% and 47.3% respectively, with central taxes (essentially excise duty) accounting for the bulk of it.

What other variables are involved?

  • The price is determined not only by the movement of crude oil price (the main raw material), but also by the rupee/dollar exchange rate and the demand-supply situation in the market.
  • While a deficit of the product leads to a rise in its price, an increase in supply will lead to a decrease.
  • Over the first nine months of the calendar year 2017, the global crude oil price for the Indian basket fell by 0.44% while the price of petrol (in Delhi) came down by 0.3%.
  • This is despite the fact that the rupee strengthened against the dollar by nearly 7%, something that would have translated into sharply cheaper imported oil.

How has the government justified the excise hikes?

  • The government has defended the higher duty and said that increased revenue was going into welfare activities of building more roads and providing irrigation and drinking water facilities.
  • Government has said that oil companies would continue to have pricing freedom.
  • The government says that one part of the fall in oil prices as a part of proper economic and fiscal planning goes to the consumer.
  • The second part is going to developmental activities, particularly national highways and rural roads, because those who consume petrol and diesel drive vehicles on these roads, and they must pay for it.
  • The third part is consumed by the states by way of VAT.
  • Of what the central government gets, 42% is being passed on to the states.
  • And for the fourth and final part, it goes to the oil companies for the reason that when oil companies make international purchases against future purchases, they suffer a huge loss.

Why the prices have increased/Causes

  • Variation in supply
  • Stronger dollar
  • Import-dependent
  • Sanctions on Iran

Oil and Iran

  • India purchases 10% of its requirement from Iran
  • It is also 3rd largest supplier to India
  • It provides a credit of 60 days
  • Iran supplies 2.4 MN barrels per day of crude to the international market
  • The value of import bill for oil increased by 76% in July from a year earlier to $10.2 bn, which pushed up the trade deficit to more than $18 bn (the highest in five years). The increasing crude oil prices will ensure that the CAD will reach 2.6% of GDP in this financial year from 1.5% a year ago

According to the recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) by the IMF, roughly 80% of the recent oil price increase was caused by deterioration in supply conditions. This, however, is not the only study on the factors leading to higher crude prices.3. The “Oil Price Dynamics” report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York finds that less than two-fifths of the rise in oil prices since the beginning of 2018 was on account of supply-side factors.4These contrasting studies lead to uncertainty regarding the sustainability of higher crude prices

Impacts on Indian economy: The unbearable effects –

Impact on national income

According to RBI sources, for every unit dollar increase in crude oil price, WPI inflation rises by 30 basis points. India, the world’s seventh-largest economy, was a key beneficiary of falling crude oil prices between 2013 and 2015. An analysis by this newspaper, more than a year ago, had indicated that almost the entire reduction of about 0.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in India’s fiscal deficit between FY14 and FY16 could be attributed to the sharp fall in crude prices. Lower crude prices also contributed to the narrower current account deficit. The biggest benefit of the fall in oil prices was evident in narrower twin deficits. Since the pass-through of the fall in crude prices to retail consumers was limited (the government retained a large part of the benefits by hiking excise duty on retail fuel products), the direct impact on inflation—measured by consumer price index (CPI)—was muted.

Things, however, started reversing about two years ago and have gathered pace in the past few months. As against an average price of $46.2/barrel for the Indian basket of crude oil in FY16, it rose to $56.4/barrel in FY18 and averaged $65/barrel in the fourth quarter of FY18. With the US’ decision to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal and to re-impose sanctions on Iran, upside risks to crude prices cannot be ruled out. It is then worth understanding the impact of higher crude prices on the Indian economy.

In short, one could safely conclude that higher crude prices will adversely affect the twin deficits—fiscal and current account deficit—of the economy, which will have spillover impact on the monetary policy, and consumption and investment behavior in the economy. However, before we talk about the impact in numbers, it is important to address one tricky question: “what is driving higher crude prices?”

The question is relevant because the factors leading to change in prices will decide the sustainability of the higher prices.

If the rise can be attributed to demand-side factors, it is not necessarily adverse for economic activity or financial markets. The higher crude oil imports bill could be offset by higher oil and non-oil exports (and of course, remittances). Similarly, better domestic economic activity could help meet fiscal deficit targets. However, if oil prices are pushed up by supply factors, it would be concerning.

According to the recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), roughly 80% of the recent oil price increase was caused by deterioration in supply conditions (particularly faster-than-expected deterioration in Venezuelan output). This, however, is not the only study on the factors leading to higher crude prices. The “Oil Price Dynamics” report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York finds that less than two-fifths of the rise in oil prices since the beginning of 2018 was on account of supply-side factors. These contrasting studies lead to uncertainty regarding the sustainability of higher crude prices.

Not surprisingly then, the majority of the forecasts for oil price remain at $65-70/barrel. An increase of 15-25% in oil prices in one year will impact the Indian economy in various ways.

Impact on fiscal math

As a rule of the thumb, an increase of $10 per barrel in crude prices will lead to an increase of about Rs17,000 crore (or $2.5 billion at an exchange rate of 67/$) in fuel subsidies, equivalent to 0.09% of GDP. In the Union Budget 2018-19, the government had budgeted for petroleum subsidy of Rs25,000 crore, similar to that in FY18.

Our calculations, however, suggest that fuel subsidy could be as high as Rs54,000 crore if crude price averages $65/barrel in FY19. Additionally, a cut of Re1 in excise duty for both petrol and diesel will lead to an annual revenue loss of Rs12,000-13,000 crore (or 0.065% of GDP). It remains to be seen if the excise duty cut can be resisted by the government, considering that the general election is less than a year away now.

Impact on current account deficit

As a rule of thumb, an increase of $10 per barrel in crude oil prices will lead to an adverse impact of $10-11 billion (or 0.4% of GDP) on current account deficit. There are two opposite forces at work in the current account deficit. Higher oil prices will push the import bill higher; however, it will be partly offset by higher oil exports and better remittances. The latter will materialize since more than half of India’s remittances are reported to be channeled through the Gulf countries, which are likely to witness better economic conditions with higher oil prices. If we talk in numbers, an increase of $10 per barrel in crude prices will push the merchandise imports to bill up by about $20 billion, which will be partly offset by an increase of about $6 billion in oil exports and $3-4 billion in workers’ remittances.

Impact on inflation

With a weightage of only 2.4% in headline CPI, the adverse impact will entirely depend on the extent to which higher crude oil prices are passed on to the consumers. Considering the general election next year, it is difficult to envisage a significant hike in retail fuel prices, and thus, the direct impact on CPI inflation is likely to remain muted.

Overall, the windfall gains—in terms of lower subsidy and higher revenue for the government, and lower imports—from lower crude prices are behind us.

Looking ahead

The soaring price of oil is having a major influence on India’s economy. India spends a lot of money financially supporting its citizens with fuel every year. Petrol in India is a lot cheaper than it should be. However, Oil firms in India are still buying oil at international market value. Therefore, Indian oil firms are hemorrhaging money at $100 million a day. There will be more difficulties faced if the price increases any further. It is understandable that the government is receiving complaints to raise the price of fuel by the oil companies but politically it is an unfavorable thing to do as members have to win election votes.

The political disturbances in the Middle East recently due to Iran and other countries have increased anxieties of the Finance Minister who has to smooth over conflicts for the home consumers. The question about oil production and availability has led to rising apprehensions. The minister spoke out about the situation saying they were in touch with the Petroleum Ministry and would take steps to settle the undesirable effect of high energy costs on the public. His reasoning was that when prices reached $147 a barrel that they managed the situation. Political turmoil in Egypt has resulted in crude oil prices going past 100 dollars a barrel which has led to the outcome of prince increases in all major oil importing countries like India. High global oil prices increase the government funding bill and broaden the trade decrease as India starts importing much more than it exports. India already imports three-quarters of its fuel needs. State-run firms like Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum will bear the brunt of severe revenue shortages. In 2010-11, the under-recovery of oil firms is estimated to exceed Rs. 700 billion leaving the government to pay the rest of it as a subsidy. Modi led government put in fuel reforms by deregulating petrol prices and raising prices of diesel, kerosene, and LPG to cut its subsidies and fiscal losses.

Since the past couple of years, India has maintained steady and rapid development and has infused vigor into global economic growth. The world will be a big factor in its coming improvement as India will not be able to progress without it. In approximately twenty years India will make historic inputs into the development of the global economy by the expansion of foreign trade and expansion and development in the west. It will improve its overseas investor relationships and have better business outlooks. Overseas investments will have to be guided and supported by competitive businesses and have to complete complex types of economic and technological collaboration with improved quality and benefits for both organizations. India will also have to diversity and increase its bilateral, multilateral and regional economic assistance so they can have mutual development and a global strategy in all countries and regions around the world.

India’s economy has enjoyed sustained progress in recent times. In comparison to the global economies, India’s has had a nice steady momentum with fewer fluctuations. India’s information industry has been the cause of rapid improvement with developments in language and human talent. The service industry has taken leaps and attracted many investors, therefore leading to the manufacturing industry getting less focus. India’s government has also had encouragement endeavors that have promoted growth.

There are still many hurdles to face before India’s economy can reach greater heights. Economists say that there will be great progress as well as many challenges in the future. The government especially has to start successful policies to cope with any downfalls. The most crucial problem faced by the government at the moment is current inflation due to an exponentially expanding economy. Only the passing of time can say how India’s economy will adapt to the increasingly bleak global economic climate.

Global oil prices are becoming increasingly market-oriented. Thus, dynamic fuel pricing will improve the competitiveness of the economy overall. It would also bring in transparency in fuel pricing and incentivize investments in the oil sector.

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Sarada Prasanna Pattnaik is based out of Balasore, Odisha. He was earlier a banker and later a faculty at quite a few reputed colleges and institutions. He now teaches civil service aspirants in leading coaching institutes. He is the chief architect of Vidya Group of Educational Institutions. He is an author and a writer in the civil service coaching arena. Writing is his passion and he loves to pen down his thoughts on varied topics ranging from Literature, Politics, Science & Technology, Finance, Sports and Travel.



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EDITOR'S PICK

Let’s Talk Green: Types of Deficiencies in Plants

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Plants can’t say through words about how they feel? Or what they need? However, these green living beings can express through their appearance about their needs. The abnormal yellowish color of leaves of plants often tries to tell us about their basic requirements for a healthy life. Let us take a look at the below symptoms or signs of deficiency to know what exactly the plant is craving.

Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for the creation of chlorophyll, which is the key ingredient of photosynthesis. Additionally, nitrogen is the main constituent of amino acids that forms proteins. Protein stimulates growth in plants and promotes fruit development.

Signs: Yellowish or pale green leaves and inhibited growth

Solution: Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil or plant makes the rich in nitro nutrients. Another method is to plant a nitrogen-rich plant such as beans and peas near nitrogen-deficient plants.

Phosphorous Deficiency

Phosphorus (P) is a vital macronutrient for plant productivity. According to research results, Phosphorus deficiency limits the photosynthetic machinery and the electron transport chain. It reduces the orthophosphate concentration in the chloroplast stroma to levels that inhibit ATP synthase activity.

Signs: Darkening around edges of leaves, stunted growth and small or no flowers.

Solutions: Adding aquarium or fish tank water to soil however ensure the water doesn’t contain salt components. The fish water is also a great source of nitrogen.

Potassium Deficiency

Potash deficiency is common in sandy soils because potassium ions (K+) are extremely soluble and easily leach from soils without colloids. Potassium deficiency impacts protein synthesis in plants and maintains turgidity and flaccidity of guard cells that helps in opening and closing of stomata.

Signs: Leaves with brown spots and yellow or brown veins or yellow edges. This deficiency leads to disease and drought.

Solution: Bury peels of Banana an inch below the topsoil. Peels take some time to rot and will slowly help plants. Banana peels also deter aphids.

Magnesium Deficiency

Insufficient magnesium in plants degrades the chlorophyll in the old leaves, which causes interveinal chlorosis, which limits the photosynthesis process in plants and subsequently the plant growth is compromised.

Signs:

Yellowing of veins and edges of leaves.  Sometimes it leads a marbled appearance.

Solution:

Epsom salt works tremendously when directly added to the topsoil of the plant before watering it. It is significantly beneficial for peppers, tomatoes, and roses.

Calcium Deficiency

Inadequate Calcium in plant cells leads to tissue necrosis leading to stunted growth of plants. Lack of calcium also increases the plant’s vulnerability to root diseases such as Pythium.

Signs:

Yellow spots between the leaf veins, blossom end rots, stunted growth, weak or dying stems.

Solutions:

Crushed eggs shells are a great source of calcium when added to the soil. This method will slowly help your plants, so make sure you till the eggshells well into the soil to help the process along.

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Slight change in your Lifestyle can bring the spark back!!!

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a very common yet major problem for most of the men irrespective of the age group. ED occurs for many factors including particular health disorder, emotional relationship problems, specific medication, and alcohol or smoking habits and fortunately it can be curable. Although there are many ED treatment options including medication and surgery, there are also some natural remedies which can help to overcome the problem. Apart from this, certain activities or lack of activity also causes ED, so before trying out medications or natural remedies, some changes in lifestyle can also be considered for better results.

Here are some lifestyle changes that one needs to try before opting for medication or surgery.

  1. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise has helped a lot of people to overcome most of the health problems. Similarly, for ED, improvement in blood pressure, blood flow, and overall fitness may significantly reduce the risks of ED. Apart from regular cardio exercises, it is advised to focus on various pelvic exercises and Pilates as well.

2. Eat Healthy

Healthy eating habits have always helped us to stay fit. Eating right and nutritious food helps to reduce the risk of many vascular and lifestyle diseases, which are the major cause for ED. Some of the foods that help in curing ED includes watermelon, dark chocolate, and pomegranate juice.

3. Say No to Alcohol and Smoking

Both of these activities affect health badly and lead to many potential health risks, including cardiovascular disorders and ED. Eliminating alcohol and smoking habits may help cure ED problems.

4. Stay stress-free

Stress is another major factor that impacts sexual performance. Stress comes from several directions including finances, work, and relationship issues. All you need to do is keep yourself calm and try to find solutions to your problems. To reduce your stress levels, some meditation can be tried out or some soulful music can also help in reducing unnecessary mental pressures.

5. Keep yourself engage in sexual activities

Engage yourself in certain sexual actions that turn you on. This helps in partial erections which has a positive impact on ED. The increased blood flow to the genital helps to stimulate and enhances the function over a period of time.

So, these are a few tips that might benefit you before you go for medications. It is advisable to consult a doctor before taking any medications or herbal supplements.

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Homemade Masalas that Brings Authentic Taste to Your Food!!!

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Indian masalas are always rich in fresh herbs and spices that add mouthwatering flavor to the Indian cuisine. Especially when prepared at home, the complex and perfect combination of ingredients brings a real feast when added to the curries or stir-fries. Homemade masalas completely change the appearance and taste of the food.

Therefore, here we present ten best masala recipes for the most common Indian delicacies.

Pav Bhaji Masala

Ingredients: 7 whole red dry chilies, 4 tbsp coriander seeds, 2 tbsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tbsp black pepper, 1/2 inch cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves, 4-5 black cardamom, 2 tbsp dry mango powder, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, and ½ tbsp sugar powder.

Method

Take a pan and dry roast all the ingredients except for dry mango powder and sugar, until it becomes golden brown on a low medium flame. Once you get the aroma of the roasted spices to add the dry mango powder and roast for a minute. Then, switch off the flame cool and add sugar powder and mix well. Once the mixture cools down, grind it to a fine powder in a mixer. Then, store in an airtight container.

Chicken Masala

Ingredients: 1 tsp turmeric, 12 cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp mace, 15 pieces dried plums, 1 tbs red chilli powder, 10 pieces green cardamom, 4 tbs coriander powder, 1 tbs salt, 12 pieces black pepper corns and 4tbs deghi mirch,

Whole Spices to Grind: 2 large pieces cinnamon sticks, 2 tbs white cumin seeds, 15 pieces green cardamom, 5 pieces star anise, 1 tbs black cumin seeds, 1 tbs black pepper corns, 1/2tbs cloves and 4 bay leaves

Method

Put all the whole spices into a mixer and grind to make powder, then add the all the powdered spices to the grounded mixture of whole spices and mix well. Store in air tight jars.

Sambhar Masala

Ingredients: 2 cups whole red pepper, 1 1/2 cups coriander seeds (dhania), 2 Tbsp mustard seeds (sarson), 3 Tbsp cumin seeds (jeera), 4 tsp pepper corns (sabut kali mirch), 2 Tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana), 2 Tbsp husked split black gram (dhuli urad dal), 2 Tbsp bengal gram (channa dal), 2 Tbsp yellow lentils (arhar dal), 2 Tbsp rice, 2 Tbsp asafoetida (heeng), 2 Tbsp turmeric powder (haldi), 1/4 cup dried curry leaves (kadi patta)

Method

Roast all the ingredients, except the turmeric powder until it becomes slightly colored. Remove from the stove and cool, and grind to a powder. Then, mix in the turmeric powder. Store the sambhar masala in an airtight jar.

Gunpowder Masala

Ingredients: 1 cup – urad dal, 1 cup – Channa dal, 8 to 10 Red Chillies, 1 tbsp – white sesame seeds, (dry roasted, 1/2 tsp – Hing powder, 2 to 3 pieces Tamarind, Small piece Jaggery (optional), Salt to taste, 1 tsp – oil.

Method

Roast the dals together in two teaspoons of oil, till it becomes golden brown. Then add red chilies and roast for two minutes on medium flame. Add the tamarind, hing powder, sesame seeds, jaggery, and salt. Grind the mixture coarsely and store in an airtight container. Mix with sesame oil and eat with idlis and dosas. It can be stored for two to three months.

Korma Masala

Ingredients: 1 tsp Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp  Whole Black Pepper, 2 tbsp  Coconut Powder, ½ tsp  Mace, ½ tsp Turmeric, ½ tsp Salt, 1-1/21 tsp Red Chili Powder, 1 tsp Coriander Powder 1 tsp, 6 Cardamom, 1 Bay Leaves, ½ tsp  Tartary, Kewra Essence Few drops

Method

Grind together cumin seeds, whole black pepper, coconut powder, and Mace. Transfer in a bowl, add turmeric, salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, cardamoms, bay leaf, Tartary along with few drops of kewra essence. Mix well and store in an airtight bottle. This masala is enough for 1 kg mutton and chicken korma.

Hope you like it. Click here for more homemade masala recipes.

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Five Homemade Masalas for Most Common Indian Cuisines!!!

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Indian masalas are always rich in fresh herbs and spices that add mouthwatering flavor to the Indian cuisine. Especially when prepared at home, the complex and perfect combination of ingredients brings a real feast when added to the curries or stir-fries. Homemade masalas completely change the appearance and taste of the food.

Therefore, here we present five best masala recipes for the most common Indian delicacies.

Garam Masala

Ingredients: 150-grams cumin seeds, 50-gram black cardamom seeds, 25-gram cinnamon, 25-gram cloves, 25-gram peppercorns, and 4 bay leaves.

Method: Sundry or lightly roast all the ingredients to get rid of moisture content. Then grind all the spices to a powder in a mixer. Remove the garam masala and store in an airtight container.

Chole Masala

Ingredients: 1/3 cup powdered amchoor, 1/4 cup powdered anardana, 1 cup garam masala, 3/4 cup powdered coriander seeds, 2 Tbsp powdered red chillies, 1/2 cup powdered sonth and 1 3/4 cup salt

Method: Mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight jar.

Biryani Masala

Ingredients: 60 corns allspice, 4 whole star anise, 16 green cardamoms, 4 whole flowers of mace and 1 whole nutmeg

Method: Dry roast all ingredients and keep them aside to cool down.  Then grind them to powder and store in an airtight jar.

Chaat Masala

Ingredients: 1 cup coriander seeds, 1 1/4 cups cumin seeds, 1/2 cup thymol seeds/ ajwain, 1/2 cup mango powder, 2 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 1/4 cups powdered black rock salt, 4 tsp powdered black pepper, 2 tsp citric acid, 1/2 cup dried and powdered mint leaves

Method: Roast the coriander, cumin and ajwain in a heavy-based pan until it becomes dark brown. Then remove from pan and leave it to cool. Take all the ingredients together in a grinder and powder fine. Store in an airtight container.

Tandoori Masala

Ingredients: 1/4 cup dried, powdered ginger, 1/4 cup dried, powdered garlic, 2 Tbsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp chaat masala, 1/4 cup garam masala, 1/4 cup powdered red pepper, 1/4 cup kasoori methi, 3/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup dried, powdered onion and 1 tsp powdered red color (optional).

Method: Mix all the ingredients, blend in a blender and store in an airtight container.

Happy Cooking 🙂

Hope you like it. Click here for more homemade masala recipes.

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Plants are not always friends!!!

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Plants, an amazing creation of Almighty, provide oxygen to supports the animal kingdom on earth. However, there are many venomous or poisonous plants do exist in nature, which we are not aware of.  It is also believed by some people that there are some man eating tree do exist somewhere in the Middle East. Although there is no strong evidence reported regarding the existence of such trees, current world, however, deadly poisonous plants do exist.

Below is a brief compilation of some of the most dangerous plants that are still found in nature.

Nerium Oleander

Nerium Oleander is believed to be the most poisonous plant on Earth. The plant is filled with poisonous chemicals including two most powerful toxins namely oleandrin and nerine. The poison of oleander so powerful, that it can poison the human body even on ingestion of the honey made by the bees that consumed oleander nectar. Even though it is noxious in nature, Oleander plants are used for decorative purposes because of it a lovely fragrance.

Cicuta or Water Hemlock

Primarily found in the marshy areas of America, Cicuta, commonly known as Water Hemlock, contains a poisonous toxin, cicutoxin, in its roots. Unfortunately, the white roots of Cicuta are often mistaken for the parsnip. The chemical cicutoxin causes nausea, cramps, vomiting and muscle tremors. People survive the cicutoxin suffer from long-term health conditions, such as amnesia. Ingestion of this plant material can cause death in the animal within 15 minutes of consumption.

Abrus Precatorius or Rosary Pea

The beautiful red and black colored seeds, of rosary pea plant popularly known as rosary prayer beads, are widely known for making imported jewelry.  These beautiful seeds contain the poison abrin, however, the seeds are absolutely safe until they are broken or the outer coating is damaged. Each pea of the pod contains approximately 2.5 milligrams of abrin, which is sufficient to kill a human. Abrin inhibits protein synthesis by bonding with the plasma membranes. Symptoms of abrin poisoning include tough breathing, nausea, vomiting, fever, and fluid in the lungs. It also leads to dehydration and ends with the kidneys, liver, and spleen shutting down causing death within four days.

Atropa Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade

Atropa Belladonna, commonly known as ‘Deadly Nightshade’ grows to a height of 1.5 meters and can be recognized by its bell-shaped purple flowers and the dull, dark green leaves. The plant is completely safe for animals and birds, however deadly for human beings. Symptoms of Belladonna poisoning include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, headaches, confusion, and convulsions. The deadly poison doses disturb the nervous system, rendering the nerve endings in involuntary muscle paralysis.

Castor Oil Plant

Castor plant contains the deadly toxin, ricin, found in high concentrations in the seed coating. Symptoms of castor poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, internal bleeding, and kidney and circulation failure. Exposure to the dust is most common in areas where the beans are processed for commercial use.

Taxus Baccata or the English Yew

These plants are believed to be a symbol of the immortality of the soul and seen in plenty at church graveyards across Great Britain. The 22 meters giant trees contain poison in all of its parts except the bark. Consumption of the leaves and seeds can lead to dizziness, dry mouth, dilation of the pupils, weakness, irregular heart rhythm, and possibly death. It also possesses medicinal values, such as a cure for water elf disease and potential as an anti-tumor. Yew extract is used for Taxol, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

Ageratina Altissima or White Snakeroot

The white snakeroot is a shadow loving weed mostly found in the eastern and southern United State. The plant contains high levels dangerous toxic substance called trementol, which acts as a powerful poison for horses, goats, and sheep and symptoms poisoning include depression and lethargy, placement of hind feet close together or far apart, nasal discharge, excessive salivation, arched body posture, and rapid or difficulty breathing. In humans, the poisoning symptoms include bad breath, loss of appetite, listlessness, weakness, vague pains, muscle stiffness, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, severe constipation, coma, and possibly death.

Aconitum or Aconite

Aconite is a beautiful but poisonous plant that contains toxins in every part of it and is known to poison people who mistake its white carrot-like root for horseradish or some other herb. Its poisoning symptoms cause numbness, tingling, and cardiac problems as well. When ingested, the poison leads to a burning sensation in the mouth followed by increased salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, a tingling sensation in the skin, changes in blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, coma, and sometimes even death.

Datura Stramonium or Jimsonweed

Jimsonweed or Datura with its pointed leaves and fruits looks scary itself. The parts of the plant contain toxic alkaloids with hallucinogenic properties that can cause hospitalization and death when consumed in high dosage. Even beautiful white or lavender trumpet-shaped flower of Datura also contains the poisonous toxins atropine and scopolamine. It is also widely known for its medicinal values such as relieving asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bone-setting.

Hippomane Mancinella or Machineel

Manchineel or the ‘little apple of death’ found in plenty Found across the Florida Everglades, Central America, and the Caribbean. Its white sap can cause damage, including rashes, skin irritation, coughing, loss of voice, etc. These tiny apple-like fruits, if ingested, can cause blisters in the mouth, swell the throat to shut it off, and even cause gastrointestinal problems.

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EDITOR'S PICK

Strange Superstitions across the World!

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Brazil

 

In Brazil, it is believed that handbags shouldn’t touch the floor or ground, as this is considered as a bad luck. People believe that if the handbags are kept or fall on the ground, then the owner of the handbag will lose the money kept inside it.

China

As per Chinese culture, the number four and its multiples are extremely unlucky, as the Chinese phonation of the number ‘four’ is similar to the word ‘death’. People in China usually avoid the number four in almost everything including building numbers and number plates as well. Similarly, the numbers 13 and 23 are also believed to bring bad luck, so many elevators in China don’t have these numbers on their control panels.

United States

In Vermont, the United States, many farmhouses that are constructed in 19th century are built with slanted windows in the roofs. This is because of the local people who believe that witches unable fly their brooms into tilted openings.

Egypt

Egyptians believe that opening and closing of scissors without cutting anything or simply keeping scissors open is a sign of bad luck or misfortune. It is also assumed that placing them under pillow while sleeping can help prevent nightmares.

Zimbabwe

It is a common practice in Zimbabwe that the husband casts a spell on his wife to prevent her from infidelity. Should this spell be broken, it is assumed that the bodies of the cheating couple become tightly bound together in a ritual known as ‘durawalling’, and are thus inseparable. The exercise is believed in so sturdily that it acts as a strong preventive for extra-marital affairs.

Japan

 

Stomach should be kept hidden during a thunderstorm, especially before falling asleep. This is due to the blind belief that Raijin, the god of thunder, will steal and devour your belly button while you’re in peaceful slumber! It is also thought that the Raiju loves sleeping in a human navel. Therefore Japanese often sleep on their stomachs during bad weather.

Russia

Buckets or carts in Russia are never kept empty, as both are believed to be bad signs of poor fortune. Therefore, street cleaners are encouraged to keep their brooms, rakes and other cleaning equipment in their buckets to keep them full always.

Spain

According to Spanish beliefs one should eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve for good luck and wealth throughout the life.

Sweden

In Sweden the manhole covers on the pavement are marked with either a “K”, for the Swedish word for ‘fresh water’ and ‘love’), or an “A”, for the Swedish word for ‘sewage’ and ‘broken heart’. Local folks believe that their love fortune and fate can be determined by the amount of K and A covers they pass over, and they can plan their steps accordingly. If you step over the wrong kind of manhole cover it is said to bring negativity. Gratefully, it can be countered by three hearty slaps on the back.

Serbia

Spilling some water on ground behind a person going for job interview is believed to bring good luck. The movement of water is symbolic to fluid movement and tranquillity, so they should tackle the task ahead with ease.

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EDITOR'S PICK

Amazing Sundarban Forest!!!

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The Sundarbans is a mangrove forest spans across the borders of India and Bangladesh. It is a delta formed by the confluence of Brahmaputra, Ganges and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. The forest is extends from the Hooghly River in India’s state of West Bengal to the Baleswar River in Bangladesh. The Sundarbans are comprised of wide variety of flora and fauna which attracts millions of tourist from all over the world.

Apart from its incredible beauty and wildness there are also other amazing facts.

It is the largest Mangrove forest in the world. The tremendous growth of mangrove is due to the coastal water around the Sundarbans. 40% of the mangrove forest comes under India, while rest of the forest comes under Bangladesh. It is also considered to be the UNESCO World heritage site.

Sundarbans (India) is ten times bigger than the city of Venice. Encompassing 4000 sq. km, the Sundarbans Forest in India has 102 islands, out of which 54 are inhabited and rest of the area is covered with the forest.

The dense mangrove forests are home to the royal Bengal tigers. It is believed that Sundarban has the largest number of royal Bengal tigers in the world.

The name Sundarban has been given after a mangrove tree that is named as Sundari which in Hindi means beautiful. That is why Sundarban is considered to be as a very beautiful place.

As declared by the Fishery Board of India, Sundarban is the largest Biosphere Reserve in India because of its brackish water fish production and marine fisheries.

There is a village called widow village in Sundarban, which is home to India’s resilient Tiger Widows.

Sundarban is also famous for its night safaris due to the Phytoplanktons, the small micro-organisms that reflect light in the dark new moon.

So, these are a few facts that we have tried to present you; however, there are many more other amazing facts about Sundarban.

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EDITOR'S PICK

In the Memory of Padma Bhushan Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan

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Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s writings are considered as great milestones in Hindi literature which needs no introduction. He was a rebellious Indian poet noted for the Nayi Kavita literary movement in early 20th century.  He was born in a Hindu Kayastha family, in Allahabad in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, in British India. He was also a poet of the Hindi Kavi Sammelan.

In 1976, he was honored with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest award for his contribution to Hindi literature. He had incorporated vocabulary from several languages, including Awadhi, Hindi, and Urdu, which were considered as Hindustani language during that time.

Let’s check of his best poems below,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These evergreen compositions will always remain with us.

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Bollywood

The Sultan of Music: Adnan Sami

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Adnan Sami is one of the best & most underrated singers of Bollywood we have ever seen. He is a musician, pianist, and actor who performs Indian as well as western music, mostly in Bollywood movies. His most remarkable musical instrument is the piano. He is considered as the first person to play Indian classical music on the piano in a way he created through the Santoor.

Some of his best songs are –

Born in London to a Pakistani diplomat, Arshad Sami Khan and Naureen from Jammu & Kashmir of North India, Adnan has been titled as “Sultan of Music” by The Times of India.

Adnan is also known for playing over 35 musical instruments.

His first single was in English, Run for his life, recorded for UNICEF and released in 1986. It was ranked No. 1 in the music charts in the Middle East followed by three more No. 1s: Talk To Me, Hot Summer Day and You’re My Best Kept Secret.

With the song Aye Udi Udi in the movie Saathiya (2002), he got an opportunity to work with A. R. Rahman.

In 2000, Adnan joined with Asha Bhosle on the album named Kabhi to Nazar Milao in India. Composed by Adnan, the album became an instant hit and had topped the indie-pop charts in early 2000.

His second album was Tera Chehra, released in October 2002. The album featured Rani Mukerji in the title track and Amitabh Bachchan in another track “Kabhi Nahi”, who also sang the duet with Adnan.

Hope you will like this collection of Adnan Sami’s best songs.

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EDITOR'S PICK

Ten things we should do to SAVE EARTH

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Today the environment has become a serious concern as the wrath of Mother Nature clearly indicates the consequences of being irresponsible and careless towards the environment for centuries.

Now people have come forward to save the earth by practicing even little things every day that can really help in reducing carbon footprints, greenhouse gases and conserving the environment.
Therefore let’s go green by practicing below ten things.

1. Follow 3R rule.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle are the three things that we need to pay attention to our everyday life. Reducing, reusing or recycling daily household trash can significantly reduce pollution.
Cultivate a habit of throwing household waste in separate garbage-bins per them, so that these waste materials can be reused or recreated. Also, we should use products that come with minimal packaging. This little practice in our day to day life is the first step towards conservation of natural resources and landfill space.

2. Volunteer yourself for cleaning up your society or surroundings.

Avoid throwing any waste on roads or in your surroundings further.

3. Educate people.

Bring awareness among people by educating them on environmental pollution and help them to understand the value and importance of our natural resources.

4. Save water.

Water is the most important natural resource and minimum use of water has become one of the biggest challenges that we are facing nowadays. Statistically, 65 percent of the daily usage of water is used in the bathroom. This can be minimized by taking shorter showers instead of taking a bath. Try not to leave the tap running while brushing your teeth.

5. Go for sustainable eating habits.

Food production is a major reason for the extinction of wildlife. Our eating habits are responsible for almost 60% of global biodiversity loss. Therefore, adopting a plant-based diet instead of a meat-dominated diet can minimize the impact on the environment.

6. Shop mindfully.

Try to buy less plastic products or materials and make a habit of using reusable shopping bags.

7. Save energy.

Usage of long-lasting or energy-efficient light bulbs will minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Also make sure to switch off the lights, fans, coolers or ACs while leaving the room.

8. Plant a tree.

We all know that trees provide food and oxygen. Afforestation helps save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change. Therefore, try to plant more and more trees in your surroundings.

9. Don’t throw chemicals into the natural water bodies.

Try to use non-toxic chemicals in the home and office.

10. Drive less.

Try to share vehicles or carpool whenever possible. Go for public transports more often or ride a bicycle to work, school, and supermarket. In this way, we can help in reducing emission and it will also help us economically.

If we can practice these simple things every day, it can help in reducing the global consequences and make a big transformation in the long run.

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