Amaravati – The place for immortals

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Being one of the capitals of the Sathavahana dynasty from second century BCE to second century CE, Amaravati was one the most prosperous cities from our history. Geographically located on the banks of river Krishna in Current Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati is chosen to be the capital of Andhra Pradesh after its separation from Telangana. Amravati is a conurbation of two metropolitan areas of Guntur and Vijayawada.

After 58 years of unionized rule and living, on June 2nd, 2014, both the brotherly states Telangana and Andhra Pradesh decided to part ways and form separate states as they were before 1956. Hyderabad, the capital of the united Andhra Pradesh lies in the heart of Telangana state and did not show any scope for being a combined capital for both the states as in the case of Chandigarh.

Here arises the concept of building a new state capital from scratch. All the cities of India had a long track record in the history and took the current shape of Capitals by substantial and continuous development. So, how feasible is it for us, to build a capital from foundations?

Temporary facilities for legislative buildings were set up and the staff was moved from Hyderabad to Velagapudi (An area in Amaravati) in March 2017. The Chief Minister’s office was moved in April 2016 itself. Now, we hardly have small skeletons of staff working at Hyderabad as the major portions of every administration has already been moved.

It’s not just Rome, even Hyderabad was not built in one day. After 1956, people have clearly portrayed Unified Andhra Pradesh as their home to last for centuries together. Not just investments but also relationships of the people has moved across both the regions. How unimpeded can people be in a place now they know is not theirs? Only time has to answer all these questions.

Amaravati, a 52,000 CRORE project as estimated by CRDA or at least a 10000 CRORE project as estimated by Andhra Pradesh government is estimated to take a first phase shape by 2024 (until then Hyderabad will serve as a residuary capital) and have a final shape by 2050. Planned to span over 217 sq.km, the project has entered the execution phase. The city is planned to be built in three phases and the Singapore government delegation headed by Iswaran has submitted the plan for second phase development recently.

The special status for the state that has been asked for has never been approved. The project also had huge rebellion from the local farmers about the land acquisitions. Amidst all these problems, Amaravati still stands as a ray of hope with a city with three national highways, 940 kms of roadways which is going to be a home for more than 14 million people providing 5.6 million jobs. With 21% of the city planned to be covered with greenery including islands, theme parks and 80 km of well-planned water network over the banks of river Krishna still gives us a hope of an oasis lying in the desert of problems.

Article Written By Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy

Valuation of a Company v/s Valuing a Person

A wide range of models exists in the market to value a company. May it be the evergreen Discounted Cash Flow Model (DCF), which considers the future cash flows of the company or more advanced RE and AEG Models. On the other hand, we would value a person based on her Net worth. The underlying assumption for all the models is that the value is dependent on money generated. However, in the real world, neither the value of a firm is assigned based on fundamental analysis nor a person’s worth is based on the amount hidden in her wallet. The Price-Earnings (P/E) Multiple is at all-time high (28x) when the economy is in doldrums and ofcourse Abdul Kalam is valued way higher than Subrata Roy.

Indeed, the value of the company and the person depends on the intangibles they possess. For a company, it is in the form of Intellectual Property, the expertise of employees, the brand perception among the customers etc., never can these intangibles be completely measured. And these factors contribute to the growth of the firm which drives the share price in the market. Similarly, the worth of a person is measured using the value system she is adhered to. Which also reflects the potential of the person thereby leading to her growth. Moreover, the growth of the person or company is dependent on the efficiency through which the investments are utilized.

The worth also depends, both, on the returns the company gauges for itself and also to its shareholders. For a person, the value is derived both from her ability to develop herself and the capability to contribute to others development. Return on Operating Assets (ROOA) reflects the core capabilities of the firm to generate wealth for itself with the assets employed. In the above case, only the operating income is considered which mostly eliminates the external interactions. Likewise, the value of a person is attached to the efficiency through which she could generate higher returns with low resources. The whole Tata Group is worth around $126 Billion and Facebook alone is worth around $350 Billion. The difference in the assets employed by both companies is well known. With minimal resources, Nelson Mandela could eliminate apartheid and with all the available resources Vijay Mallya escaped to London.

The other component which exemplifies the value is the Return on shareholders or well-wishers investment. Return on Common shareholders’ Equity (ROCE) demonstrates the ability of the firm to satisfy its investors. A firm is punished when it could not reach the expectations of its shareholders. Infosys had to forcefully opt for a Buyback as it could not please the investors. Similarly, a person’s social capital is shattered if the return on emotions invested is not satisfactory. Tiger Woods had to face the brunt of his wife for blatantly cheating her and Arvind Kejriwal was contended by people, for he could not reach their expectations.

In the first case, as the Asset turnover and Profit Margins are important for a company so does the discipline and hard work for a person. In the second case, as the Dividends payment and customer relationship are important for a firm, so does the person’s capability to instil trust among her well-wishers.

Swimming – Needs to be learned not mandated

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As an Indian who has studied in a CBSE school, I was taught that Mawsynram and Cherrapunji are among the wettest places on planet earth. But as of late, there are many unexpected places that are receiving higher rainfall above the mean values. The Climate Change phenomenon is taking shape at a new level altogether. The expected increase in temperature is about 8-10 degrees for a century. The increase in temperature would cause the icebergs and the ice on top of the peaks of mountains to melt. This would in turn lead to an increased level of water in the rivers and would increase the level of water bodies on earth. As the water level rises, the coastal regions are more prone to be invaded by the inanimate force of the water leading to floods and high inland tides, making it virtually inhabitable.

On the other hand, the recent rains in Bangalore are a great example of how life gets disrupted due to rain. The rain lashed for days together and flooded the city. The rains have uprooted almost a thousand trees. Is this an effect because of the cutting of trees in the first place? Or is it because of some other reason such as construction activities after the uprooting of trees?

The water retention capacity of soil goes down because of the absence of roots of trees, which on the other hand absorb the water and act as an impetus to the gushing flow of water. Apart from the nature’s brute force, the outbreak of epidemics permeates during the rainy seasons. The arrangement of the clogged water is apt for mosquitos and its other cousins to breed. The number of deaths due to Dengue, Malaria and other diseases are generally high during this period.

Rains are not bad. But excessive rains are ones to combat especially in places like Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. Majorly, all three places should have contingency plans to reduce the losses. The approximate loss during the infamous Chennai floods was anywhere between 2 billion dollars to 2.3 billion dollars (Depending on various sources). Government could actually allow the builders or collaborate with them to build a few townships right outside the cities so that, the relocating is easier during mishaps. The saving of lives is the prima donna during such events. Thus, we must do our best in preventing a scenario where swimming would be a mode of travel to office along with boats and jet skis!! Some momentum in the fiscal spending can also be generated in addition to the infrastructural growth and contingency measures. Providing insurance is only a short term measure and has proved to be a short term cure. Hence, more prominent action needs to be stepped up to build a more resilient economy.

The Future of Device Technology: Intangibility

The internet landscape is growing at an exponential rate. It’s not just about computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones anymore. There are now a multitude of devices that are internet connected.

The Garnter Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2017 focuses on three emerging technology mega-trends that will shape the future: Artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere, transparently immersive experiences and digital platforms. The buzzwords are becoming popular and it is certainly going to rule the future. However, I would like to introduce you to some other emerging technologies in device computing that you must watch out for in the future:

First one is Smart Dust devices. They are small wireless microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS) that can detect everything from light to vibrations. It is a tiny dust size device with extraordinary capabilities. Smart dust will be able to collect data that can be used to understand or monitor better. If Smart Dust becomes a reality, then it’s time for Internet of Things to say goodbye sooner.

Already, glued to your smartphones and computers? Get ready – Neural Lace is coming soon to link your brain with intelligent computers. A neural lace is an ultra-thin mesh that can be implanted in the skull, forming a collection of electrodes capable of monitoring brain function. It creates a link between your brain and a device. Elon Musk announced his new venture in 2017 called “Neuralink” that aims to connect computers to your brain through the use of neural lace. Brain-computer interface is certainly going to change the future of device computer.

Finally, we have Edge Computing. It brings the core building blocks of cloud – compute, storage and networking – closer to the consumers. By moving compute closer to the origin of the data, the latency involved in the roundtrip to the cloud gets reduced. Image a self-driving car – it’s effectively a data center on wheels. Thus, Edge Computing might make Cloud Computing take a back seat.

There are many exciting new device technologies that are emerging that will continue to transform the world.

Let us know your comments about any other new device technologies that will transform the future.

Book Review: My Gita- Devdutt Pattanaik

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“Yada Yada hi Dharmasyaa glanirbhavati bharata.
Abhithanaamadharmasya tadat manam srijayam yaham.” (Chapter 4, Verse 7)

It is an elaborative yet eloquent book which has laid out the basics of life. The book comprises of 18 chapters similar to the Bhagavad Gita, but the interpretation by the Chief Belief Officer of Future Group, Devdutt Pattanaik is resoundingly easy to understand. I for one had a pre-conceived notion that the book might be philosophical, religious and all about God. But I was totally proved wrong.

The book starts with the definition and overview of Gita. The author then goes on to explain the meaning of Tyagi, Yoga and Yogi. All the three are distinctive and are explained elusively. The book incessantly stresses that the humans have a “Need for Association” and social acceptance. It is a proven fact that many people assert validation in life to make themselves feel important.

The explanation of Matsyayana is also provided in the context of life. People often ponder over the difference between Ramayana and Mahabharata in terms of the learning obtained from mythology. The difference between the yugas such as dvapara yuga and kali yuga is provided in terms that are understandable to the common man. The taxonomy used to explain important facts and concepts by Devdutt is intriguing. The usage of matrix to explain the difference of rules and principles, arrow diagrams and block diagrams for other concepts help the reader recall the same with minimal effort.

The book further delves deeper to help the reader understand the differences between deha, dehi, aatma and aham. All four are different and knowledge about the same is vital for a person to remain at peace. The elucidation of dharma and adharma is also outlined with the help of relevant context. The importance of subjectivity countermands objectivity in the real world unlike MCQ question papers at college or school. This concept is driven home with placid examples eliciting the perception of truth from the participants of the conversation.

The innocuous approach of Arjuna in Mahabharata guided by Krishna in the battlefield is synonymous to a guide seeker striving in his/her life to accomplish a goal. Krishna provides the words of wisdom to Arjuna on a constant basis to enable him to unleash his entire potential. The book further elicits the effects of the “Three Gunas” viz. Rajas, Tamas and Sattva in defining a person’s life. Greed drives away peace. The analysis of Maya and Moh is commendable. Speaking frankly, this was one of the best concepts explained in the book!

Also, one wonders the differences existing between heaven and hell, except the colloquial fact that states, suffering is in hell! Devdutt has conveyed as to why only one pandava went to heaven (Read the book for further details on who went to heaven) and not all. The book also highlights the involvement approach vis-à-vis the hermit and solitary approach which focuses on an amazing act called “Meditation”. The learnings one can embark on practicing the suggestions from the book is almost infinite.

So, why should one read this book? Should one be mythology savvy or a connoisseur to appreciate the script? My take on this is simple. The reader should accept the arguments of the author with an open mind. One need not necessarily be a connoisseur to appreciate the book. No doubt, one needs to be interested in listening to stories as most of the concepts in the book are substantiated with stories. All in all, this is an outstanding book which focuses on awakening the inner self of a person. I would rate the book a 4 on 5 and it is a must read for all. Business leaders have a lot of takeaways with respect to designing the motivational programs and leadership summits as well!

If you have found this article to be interesting, do comment in the box below! Happy learning!

Google Pixel Event: Transition from “mobile first” to “AI first” strategy

On 4th October, Google announced a range of hardware at a special event conducted in San Francisco. Artificial intelligence is the most important development that takes place in the consumer technology space. Google’s equation for new products seems to reflect the same – software + hardware and then integrate it with AI. Here are some important highlights from the event:

Google Announced Pixel 2 smartphone – a 5 inch and a 6 inch display version. The phone is powered by a 12 Megapixel rear cam and an 8 megapixel front cam. There are a lot of exciting features in Pixel 2 like activating Google Assistant by squeezing your phone, Google Photos capabilities including Lens, as well as virtual- and augmented-reality capabilities and finally you have a male voice to Google Assistant. The Pixel 2 phone will be available in three colors – “Just Black,” “Clearly White” and “Kinda Blue”. The 5-inch Pixel 2 starts at $649, while the larger 6-inch Pixel 2 XL will cost at least $849.

The most interesting announcement that we felt interesting was the Google Pixel Buds – a wireless headphones that is going to rival Apple’s Bluetooth-powered AirPods. The most interesting feature is that it can do an instant translation for a variety of languages. When the user speaks her native language, an English translation is provided from the phone’s speakers. So, next time if you stuck in another country, just put up your Pixel Buds and start conversing. The Pixel Buds come in the same three colors as the Pixel phone and cost $159.

Google also debuted the Pixelbook – a brand new laptop powered by Chromebook. It has a 12.3 inch screen that’s meant to function both as a laptop and a tablet. Priced at $999, it’s also the first laptop to have Google Assistant. You can also purchase a stylus for $99 that lets you interact with your laptop.

Google also announced Home speakers – Google Home Mini, a smaller version of Google Home speaker and a high-end smart speaker called Google Home Max. Google claims that the Home Max offers deeper bass powered by dual 4.5-inch woofers, and it’s 20 times more powerful than the original Google Home. It shows that Google clearly intends to compete with Apple’s HomePod and Amazon’s new Echo. The Google Home Mini will cost $49 whereas Google Home Max will cost $399.

They also showed off called Google Clips – a new clip-on camera that can take photo and video remotely and synchronizes what it captures instantly with a connected phone through an app. Well, GoPro’s share did fall when the announcement was made.

Google also redesigned the virtual-reality headset Daydream view that works with the Pixel smartphone. It has better lenses that will increase the image clarity and field of vision.

If we look at brand new Pixel 2 phones, Google Home Mini, Google Home Max, Google Pixel Buds, and Google Clips camera, everything is powered by Google Assistant. It’s clear, the future is going to be AI driven and Google has already made its moves.

Another interesting point to observe is that there were more female presenters for the event. There were four when compared to last year’s two. Google was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when former company engineer James Damore wrote a manifesto arguing that women are underrepresented in tech because of “biological causes” rather than bias and discrimination. Looks like Google is just getting started.

Making Life Multi planetary: Elon Musk’s master plan in a nutshell

Last year, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled a masterplan to make humans a multi-planetary species by establishing a colony in Mars at the International Astronautically Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. In his latest presentation at the IAC in Adelaide, Australia, he has provide an update to his 2016 presentation. Let’s have a look at the master plan in a nutsell:

In order to make humans multi-planetary, the first step is making a reusable rocket that can transport cargo and humans to anywhere in the solar system. The Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) is a huge spaceship that will make this possible. It will be powered by 42 of SpaceX Raptor Engine, which is still in development. It will be the most powerful rocket that will ever be build which can carry cargo to Mars of up to 450 tons. The booster system is referred to as the BFR. In his latest plan, he has scaled down the number of raptor engines to 31 in the ITS.

ITS rockets will launch spaceships into a parking orbit around Earth. The first stage will come back to the Launchpad to be refuelled. Then. It will launch a tanker version of the spacecraft. The propellant tanker goes up anywhere from three to five times to fill the tanks of the spaceship in orbit. Once the tanks are full, the ship would begin its long journey to Mars every 26 months.

Another key factor is making the trip affordable. It is estimated that the trip will cost $140,000 per ton. Hence, a trip per person will cost approximately $200,000 over time. But, it’s going to be a challenge to fund the whole endeavour. SpaceX will need to generate a lot of net cash flow from launching satellites and cargo to ISS.

According to the latest plan, he hopes to have the first launch by 2022 (that’s not a typo). At least two cargo ships are planned for 2022, in a move to confirm water resources and identify hazards as well as set up power mining and life-support infrastructure for future flights. The first crewed mission is planned by 2024. The craft will be able to hold 100 people in 40 cabins.

He also laid out a plan to establish a base on the moon. We will have to wait and see how this would emerge out in future. Another interesting fact is that BFR could also be used to transport people within the earth. The rocket would be able to travel across major cities in 30 mins and anywhere on Earth in less than an hour. A trip from Delhi to Sydney will take 36 mins. Although we don’t want a cost estimate, this could possibly work if it’s affordable.

At the end of the day, Space exploration is going to get even more exciting. Lockheed Martin Corp has also announced separate plans for a manned Mars journey – unveiling concept drawings of a “base camp” space station orbiting Mars and landing craft that would carry four astronauts to the planet’s surface. Many more players are expected to join the space race to colonize Mars. Only time will tell, who will be the real winner?

Self-made artificial reality – “Dreams”

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You can turn your can’t into a can when you can turn your dreams into plans. As Abdul Kalam once said, “you have to dream before your dream can come true”. Let us analyse what all you have dreamt for 20+ long years and some facts about your fantasy world of Dreams.

A daydream or a night dream, your brain now will never accept others as a Hero of your fictional world. But, believe me, until you turn four years old, your dreams would have never accepted you as a Hero. Yes! You should turn 4 years old to start your own dreams. Blessing you to have a long life, we also bless you to have 6 years of your life spent dreaming (its proven fact man! “6years”).

Had someone not dreamt about DNA double helical structure, Alternating current generator periodic table etc., I’m sure the science textbook would have been a lot thinner. Yes! They discovered or invented them after dreaming about them. It seems that you cannot read or tell the time in your dreams. Then how could Dmitri dream about a periodic table? Well, he left us without explaining it.

I’m sorry to tell all those 99 percentile scorers of the world, whom-so-ever you are, you will forget 90% of your dream in 10 minutes once you are awake. If you didn’t, then you definitely need a doctor. Also, understand that our brain functions more actively during the night than during the day. So from here on, you can challenge anyone that you were more intelligent during the night than during a day.

“Men, men and men” in a man’s dream but “men and women in equal numbers” in a female’s dream! Oops! Gender discrimination in dreams also. Men, please control the number of men in your dreams as dreams can be controlled. It’s called lucid dreaming. If you still can’t control, try having some female talking beside you while you dream as brain incorporates external voices into the dreams while dreaming. If this option is also not possible, then try to snore. You can’t dream while you snore.

Not everyone’s dreams are colourful. 12% of the people dream in black and white. Are you one amongst them? This doesn’t mean that blind people can’t dream. They dream about other senses like smell, taste and feel etc. My dog, your cat, his parrot, their cow every animal dreams. But remember everyone who comes into your dreams are the ones whom you would have seen at least once in your life. Hereafter, no confusion that some unknown girl has come into your dreams. Go, find her, she might be somewhere around.

Foretelling is completely possible by dreams. People of Titanic and 9/11 dreamt about their crash and believe me 18-38% of the foretelling has proved to be true. These kinds of dreams are called premonition dreams.

Haaa! Not all dreams are sweet dreams. There are negative sides for these dreams as well. Rapid eye movement (REM) is a stage of dream where you sleepwalk, injure yourself etc. there are cases where people killed and got killed by being in this state. Sleep paralysis occurs to some during their sleep where they report inability to move their body or strong evil presence in their room. Dimethyltryphamine, famously called as dream drug is available in the market which is actually banned. These help in prolongation of your dreams and take you to a state where you can’t differentiate between a real world and a dream world.

Finally, though there is a darker side for dreams as well, you still have a treatment for them and they are not life-threatening. If your aim is to work in Google, know the fact that Google was also an invention from a dream. So dream, dream and dream. “Have a fantabulous dream”.

Article Written by Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy

Book Review: Breakout Nations- In search of next economic miracles

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Ruchir Sharma is known for his outstanding business acumen. He is also known to be one of the most influential and powerful persons on the planet. His study on the emerging markets as per the current scenario is well explained in the book. The book is to be read in retrospect as it was written in 2012. Nevertheless, many things have changed its shape or have become crystalline from the natural nebulous state such as price wars, demonetization in India and addition of Renminbi (Chinese Yuan) to the currency basket. The book dwells into the geo-political and economic foray in a lucid and eloquent manner.

The approach of analyzing every country separately with comprehensive insights on its history helps the reader to understand the chapter thoroughly. The length of each chapter is also relatively small. The book is intriguing and extremely informative. The analysis of Turkey, Sri Lanka and the Five Tigers of Asia were appalling to me. The curiosity zoomed to heights after reading the initial few pages. The book talks on various economic factors like currency level, GDP, per capita income, Gini Coefficient and technology infusion. The blend of history with the present and Ruchir’s assessment of the future is a fantastic approach, as it becomes a complete learning experience to the audience.

The metaphors such as “morphic resonance” helps the reader understand the pervasion of knowledge among different economies in the world. The book emphasizes on the underlying causes rather the facts that can be obtained online from many sources. For example, the comparison of Indian “Hindu Rate of Growth” with the South African rate of growth in the nascent years of post-independence is well elaborated instead of just comparing them. Another landmark example that I loved was, the discussion on the uprising of Turkey with the integration of secularity and religious orientation. The basics are laid out clearly so that the reader could understand the dynamics of the MEA (Middle East Asia) with respect to the entire world.

The book also talks about other important countries in the global arena and their confrontations in striving to make their country a developed one. The description on all countries are crisp and it is an easy read for the audience. I would urge all the students interested in basic economics and geo-politics to definitely give it a solid read. I was lured by Fareed Zakaria’s statement about the book, “This book is one of the most interesting ones on economic landscape” and trust me, it is that good!

I would rate the book a 4.5 out of 5. I personally felt that the book was short with minimalistic yet optimal details. Perhaps, many would feel this itself to be heavy, as it is loaded with insights and information! I am eagerly waiting to start reading the next book of Ruchir which is also on the same lines, called as “The rise and fall of Nations”.

Nobel Prizes 2017

As it happens every year, this year’s Nobel prize did not disappoint anyone. Breakthrough researches in different fields were recognized and the prizes were awarded accordingly. Each noble laureate would receive a gold medal, a diploma and a sum of money as decided by the foundation.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry. C. Barish and Kip. S. Thorne for the detection of gravitational waves. Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was used to detect these waves. The detected gravitational waves were generated when black holes merged with each other creating a space time distortion. This also proves Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

Next, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy. The high resolution microscope is used to determine the structure of bio molecules. It will also facilitate the observation of bio-molecules by freezing them mid-movement. This 3 dimensional view of atomic particles was the result of series of discoveries by these laureates. First a protein was viewed 3 dimensionally, later the electron microscope was used to merge two 2 dimensional objects to generate 3 dimensional view. Finally, water was added to microscope’s vacuum to evaporate and collapse bio molecules making them to freeze.

Later, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Jeffery. C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael. W. young. They discovered the “molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” For many years, we knew that our body adopts to the regular rhythm of the day. The nobel laureates identified the gene responsible for biological clock and isolated a specific protein responsible for it. Also, they proved the after effects of not adopting to the cycle. Jet lag, alzheimer’s disease are few such cases.

Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” Being a British writer of Japanese origin he could provide a unique perspective of Japan. His much famed books describe the way in which Japan was devastated during World War 2 and how it was built thereafter. With his words he could evoke emotional appeal among the audience for which he earned the nobel prize.

While North Korea and U.S.A are threatening each other with the usage of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Foundation was rightly decided to award Nobel Peace Prize to the organisation-International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). It was instrumental in achieving treaty based prohibition of these weapons. The organization also works to highlight the loss and humanitarian destruction caused due to the usage of such weapons.

Lastly, the Nobel Prize in Economics is awarded to Richard. H. Thaler for is work on Behavioural Economics. He proved that factors such as limited rationality, lack of self-control and social preferences affect the consumer behaviour. Essentially he bridged the gap between psychology and economics. Thus, paying way for new field of study.

One important observation about this year Nobel Prize is that there no women in the list. Yet again raises many unanswerable questions!