The Week That Was:

From: Vartaa Editorial Team on Sep 11, 2016

Fresh clashes in Kashmir

Violence broke out again in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with protesters and security forces clashing again in the Pulwama district. The protesters came out against alleged nocturnal raids in their village by security forces. More than a dozen protesters were injured. In a separate incident meanwhile, the Indian Army was engaged in a prolonged gun battle against terrorists infiltrating across the border. Four militants were killed in the Naugam sector and weapons and stores recovered from their bodies.

New political challenges in Punjab

Navjot Sidhu's launch of his own political party last week has sent the state of Punjab and its political parties in to a tizzy. The state has traditionally seen a bi-polar contest between the Akali Dal-BJP alliance and the Congress. In 2017 however, the AAP is making a big play in the state and Sidhu's Awaaze-Punjab becomes the fourth corner. The AAP which has been on the backfoot in the state over the last few weeks, looked to counter punch with Arvind Kejriwal going on a 4 day tour and launching a manifesto aimed towards the state's farmers.

Cauvery waters run into a dispute...again

One of India's oldest water sharing disputes flared up again in the last few days with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at loggerheads over how much quantity the former should release to the latter. After the direction of the Cauvery Water Tribunal and a Supreme Court order on Sept 5 directing Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs, the Karnataka government buckled under public protests and has now decided to go back to the Supreme Court to have the original order reviewed and the quantity of water to be released to be reduced to 1000 cusecs. Meanwhile, politicians in Tamil Nadu are raising the heat on Karnataka and the tension has led to movement of goods between the two states being halted.

Opinions you must read:

  • This sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack. The Mint looks back at this period and America's perpetual state of being at war.
  • What can Indian cities learn from disruptors like Uber when it comes to public transportation?
  • The Indian Express calls out the BCCI for its immaturity in its recent dispute with the ICC.

Chart of the Week

There is a fervent entrepreneurial spirit in the air in India right now and the government is doing its part in encouraging it. However, above all, the success of India's unicorns is what is propelling the Indian startup dream. Young Indians are drawing inspiration from the founders of successful ventures such as Flipkart and Ola Cabs and their efforts are being buttressed by the influx of abundant Venture Capital funds. This week we look at the Indian Unicorn club- Indian private companies valued at more than $1 Billion. We used data from CB Insights which maintains the list of unicorns.

Not surprisingly, Flipkart occupies the top spot with an estimated value of $16 Billion. In fact, Flipkart is valued higher than SpaceX ($12 Billion) and Dropbox ($10 Billion). Lets put that in perspective- India's most valuable public company is TCS and its valuation has hovered around $70 Billion. TCS is 48 years old whereas Flipkart is less than 9 years old! Next is another Ecommerce giant Snapdeal with an estimated value of $7 Billion. Both these companies are facing stiff competition from Amazon and may soon need to go public to raise cash and fend off Amazon. Ola Cabs and Paytm are the other high-value unicorns and are followed by Hike, Shopclues, and Zomato. CB Insights also maintains a list of private companies most likely to break into the Unicorn club soon and 2 other startups- Oyo Rooms and Grofers find a place on this list.

This is indeed a great time to be an entrepreneur in India. We hope the country creates dozens of more unicorns and valuable public companies which will employ millions of people and improve the quality of life for even more.