A Look At Soft Drinks Industry

A Look At Soft Drinks Industry

When the global soft drink market, especially in developed countries is slowing down or contracting, its demand in developing countries like India seems to indicate faster growth. Let’s have a comprehensive look at the global and Indian soft drinks industry.

Crux of the Matter

Global Soft Drinks Industry
In 2019-20, the global revenue from soft drinks was $667.4 bn in 2020 and the US contributed $200.29 bn to it. Moreover, the soft drinks market is expected to grow annually by 6.5% (CAGR) from 2020 to 2025. In relation to the total population, $89.67 per person were generated from soft drinks revenue in 2019-20.

Reasons For Declining Trend

  • Nourishment Based Food – Consumers are focusing on nourishment and nutrient-rich food.
  • Sugar a slow poison – A big impact on purchasing decisions due to awareness among people about the anti-sugar movement.
  • Shift in preference for ‘naturally healthy’ – Consumers preferring natural and organic products for better health. Carbonated beverages are being replaced by Fermented drinks, ready-to-drink teas, and products with natural sweeteners.
  • Business model promoting Sustainability – Consumers making more conscious purchasing decisions keeping in mind a business’ values so as to have a positive impact on the world.
  • Increasing Prices and Tough Competition – Profit margin on carbonate-sugar contained drinks is shrinking.

Experts estimate that non-carbonated drinks are expected to overtake their carbonated rivals.

Soft Drink Market In India
Experts say that the soft drink market in India seems promising and might continue its “robust growth trajectory”. Carbonated beverages account for 51% of PepsiCo’s sales volumes in India. Demand for lemon-based soft drinks is expected to increase rapidly in the Indian market.

The bottled water category is expected to see a robust volume growth with increasing awareness among consumers about water-borne diseases and shortages in drinking water in the urban areas.

Varun Beverages Limited

Covid-19 Impact
Indian Beverage Association’s (IBA) preliminary assessments for full 2020 indicate a contraction of ~34% in the soft drink industry, i.e. of ~₹70,000 crores. Due to lockdown, the industry suffered a loss of ~₹1,200 crore as raw material expired. Recently IBA sent a letter to the Finance ministry to reduce GST on beverages.

  • Costa Coffee is the second largest coffeehouse chain in the world, and the largest in the UK. Coca-Cola Company acquired Costa Coffee in 2019 for $5.1 billion.
  • Coca-Cola sponsored the 1928 Summer Olympics, and has subsequently remained a sponsor to the current time. Coca-Cola Olympic City was an 8-acre plaza in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, built in concurrence with the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.
  • Campa Cola is a soft drink brand in India. It was a market leader in the Indian soft drink market in the 1970s and 80s in most regions of India until the advent of the foreign players Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Campa Cola was created by the Pure Drinks Group in the 1970s.

Paytm Google Feud: What Counts As Digital Gambling?

Paytm Google Feud: What Counts As Digital Gambling?

Google took down Paytm and Paytm First Games from its Play Store after the former alleged Paytm’s Cricket Fantasy game to be a breach of its gambling policies. The digital payments app accused Google of discrimination by pointing out that its Tez app has a similar strategy for cashback promotions. Let’s dig deeper into the issue.

Crux of the Matter

What Happened?
On 18th September 2020, Google blocked Paytm from its Play Store after the ‘PayTM Cricket League’ was started by the latter in its ‘PayTM First Games’ section. The move came one day before the cricketing league IPL was set to commence.

A policy update ahead of IPL was made by Google, which stated that they will discontinue apps that support any unregulated gambling.

About Paytm Cricket League
In this fantasy cricket gaming model, users would receive virtual stickers of cricket players on making certain transactions. They can then add these players in their virtual team and earn points based on the actual performance of the players. Top 1 lakh performers – based on cumulative points at the end of the tournament – would earn scratch cards that can fetch them rewards up to ₹1 lakh.

If an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of its policies.


Paytm Restored
Google later restored the app a few hours later after Paytm rolled back the campaign. However, on Sunday, 20th September 2020 Paytm claimed that to get re-listed on the Play store, it was forced to roll back the UPI cashback and scratch card campaign even though it is legal in India. Paytm denies any violation of rules.

Allegations Of Discrimination
Paytm in its blog alleged Google of discrimination and mentioned that Google Pay’s campaign of Tez Shots mentioned “score runs to earn assured rewards up to ₹1 lakh” at the beginning of this cricket season. In Tez Shots games, a user can play multiple times and earn vouchers. Then they are qualified for a lucky draw through which they can get assured tickets for up to ₹1 lakh. They can further earn discounts and reward points on various services through their Google Pay app. Paytm said ‘either these cashback campaigns are not in breach of Play store policies, or, they have a different set of rules for their apps.’

What About Dream11 Then?
There has been a debate around whether Paytm First Games, Dream11, or any other Fantasy Sports game that utilizes a similar reward and cashback strategy on the basis of a real-time cricket match would be considered gambling.

In 2019, a Bombay High Court bench said that Dream11 was “undoubtedly a game of skill and not a game of chance”. Dream11’s app is also not listed on Google Play Store. Mobile Premier League, another sports fantasy contest app, is also not listed on the Play Store.

Google’s Response
In response to the allegations, a spokesperson from Google stated that their policies do not allow any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate betting or support online casinos. If the policy violation is repeated they may take serious actions that may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. These policies are enforced on all developers.

New Groupings
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of Paytm asked for a formation of a new grouping which will give representation to the domestic tech firms. He added that since established industries such as NASSCOM and IAMAI are dominated by US-tech companies, a new platform will ensure that local tech firms have their voices represented.

Madhur Deora, president of One97 Communications, and owner of Paytm verbalized the issue, “You’ve got a player which regulates India’s digital ecosystem while competing with many companies in the same ecosystem”, and asked the problem to be taken into account.

Founders are coming together and there is a discussion on this topic. We will be talking to the government, lawmakers, and regulators. We would like to amplify the voice of the Indian startup community and our technology companies.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm

  • PayPal filed a case against Paytm in the Indian trademark office for using a logo with a similar color combination to its own in 2016. PayPal claimed to be using the logo with the said color combination since 2007.
  • Tez was a mobile payments service by Google, targeted at users in India, later folded into the new Google Pay app in 2018. Within 37 days after being launched, Tez got about 8.5 million installations.
  • Paytm has alleged that telecom companies are not blocking numbers used for phishing activities and sued them for ₹100 crores in damages in the Delhi High Court. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Aircraft Amendment Bill 2020 Passed In Parliament

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020 Passed In Parliament

The Aircraft Amendment Bill 2020 was recently passed in the Parliament, which now awaits approval from the President of India. The move would add autonomy and authority to the aviation agencies, which has been on demand since long.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Announcement
On 15 September 2020, the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed in the Rajya Sabha; the bill was approved by the Lok Sabha in March 2020. The amendment would be modifying the Aircraft Act, 1934.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri reported that 300,000 passengers were managed by Indian airports daily before the Covid-19 pandemic, and also announced the addition of 100 new airports by 2024.

Minister Puri declared that suggestions by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) after audit in 2012 have been incorporated in the amendment.

  • Aviation agencies like the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) would now be converted into statutory bodies.
    The move grants more authority in decision making and penal action to the agencies, each of which would have a Director-General appointed by the Central Government.

  • DGCA would supervise on safety measures and regulatory functions, while the BCAS would regulate functioning concerning security in civil aviation. The AAIB would work on investigations regarding aircraft accidents.
  • Highest fine has been increased from ₹10 lakhs to ₹1 crore. These fines are levied on offences like carrying banned items in the plane (ammunition, explosives etc) or for illegal construction in the vicinity of an airport).
  • Provision for suspending/canceling of “licence, certificate of approval” for breach of rules under the Act has been added. These licenses include those provided for establishing and maintaining airport systems and the aircrafts.
  • Aircraft of any “armed forces” besides Navy, Military and Airforce would also be exempted now from the Aircraft Act – includes agencies like BSF. Earlier, only Army, Navy and Airforce aircraft were exempted from the Act.
  • Shivkar Bāpuji Talpade was an Indian technical instructor in the art and craft department of Sir JJ School of Art, who, as per some reports, constructed the first unmanned aircraft in 1895. A film based on the life of Talpade, Hawaizaada, starring Ayushmann Khurrana, was released in 2015.
  • Hardeep Singh Puri is an Indian politician and the current Civil Aviation Minister of India. Hardeep has served as Joint secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of External Affairs from 1994 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2002. 
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a trade association of the world’s airlines founded in 1945. Consisting in 2016 of 290 airlines, primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries, the IATA’s member airlines account for carrying approximately 82% of total available seat miles air traffic.

Chinese Censorship In Foreign Sports And Industries

Chinese Censorship In Foreign Sports And Industries

Falling victim to the stringent Chinese censorship norms, several firms as well as sports leagues have modified their content and rules to maintain cordiality with China, which has a huge market being formed out of the largest population in the world.

Crux of the Matter

In 2018, Mercedes-Benz put a ‘MondayMotivation’ post on Instagram using a motivational quote by the Dalai Lama. The Chinese Government considers the Dalai Lama a “dangerous separatist” as he escaped to India after China violently suppressed the independence movement in Tibet in 1959.

Mercedes deleted the post after backlash, and claimed in a statement that they “will promptly take steps to deepen [their] understanding of Chinese culture and values…[and] ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again”. It is worth noting that Instagram has been banned in China since 2014.

Marriott And Zara
In 2018, the Chinese website of the Marriott International hotels was suspended for a week as the website listed Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate countries – China considers both as parts of its territory. The Chinese website of the Spanish apparel retailer Zara faced similar criticism for listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.

The issue ended with both the companies issuing public apologies and promising to abstain from such comments in the future.

Zoom App
In June 2020, video conferencing app ‘Zoom’ removed accounts of several users in Hong Kong and the US which were paying tributes to the victim of 1989 Tiananmen Square – a pro-democracy movement where more than 10,000 activists (mostly students) were killed.

Zoom later reversed the decision and accepted that the Chinese Communist Party had pressurized it to remove the accounts of the activists.

NBA And Chinese Influence
NBA, the basketball league of the US, is one of the most followed basketball leagues in the world.

  • October 2018: Daryl Morey, the General manager of the ‘Houston Rockets’ team, tweeted in support of protests in Hong Kong. China immediately announced that it would not broadcast the team’s games in its territory while several sponsors terminated their contract with the team.
  • Famous basketball player LeBron James criticized Morey while the NBA labelled Morey’s tweet “regrettable”.

  • The NBA later reversed its statement after both the Democrats and the Republicans condemned its alleged “appeasement”. In his statement, NBA Chief Adam Silver claimed there are “consequences from freedom of speech” but they would “live with those consequences”.

Similar controversy occurred in June-July 2020 when the NBA banned the usage of the “Free Hong Kong” phrase on customized jerseys. While the NBA labelled the incidents “errors” and fixed it later, US Senator Josh Hawley wrote a letter to the NBA asking that “if the NBA is more committed to promoting the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) interests than to celebrating its home nation – your fans deserve to know that is your view”.

Large viewership and high revenue have been cited as the reasons for the NBA’s evasive stance regarding issues with China. NBA had ~600 million viewers in China (2017-18)
Moreover, its ‘5 year deal’ with Chinese firm Tencent for “digital streaming rights” of matches in China is reportedly worth $1.5 billion.

App Bans
Most used apps like Twitter, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, YouTube, etc are banned in China, with State-controlled apps like WeChat, Weibo, etc being used instead. Several cases of Weibo, WeChat, TikTok, etc removing content criticizing China from all over the world have been reported.

Twitter also recently suspended the account of a Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan who claimed that Covid-19 was “manufactured”.

Also Read: Chinese Censorship In Hollywood And Bollywood

  • The Chinese Dream is a term promoted by Xi Jinping since 2013 within Chinese society that describes a set of personal and national ethos and ideals in China. Xi began promoting the phrase as a slogan in a high-profile visit to the National Museum of China in November 2012 after taking the office of general secretary.
  • The Harmonious Society is a socioeconomic concept in China that is recognized as a response to the increasing social injustice and inequality emerging in mainland Chinese society as a result of unchecked economic growth. The governing philosophy has therefore shifted around economic growth to overall societal balance and harmony.
  • Stephen Chow is a filmmaker, actor, producer, political adviser of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and martial artist. He is internationally known for directing and acting in commercially successful movies like Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle.

Understanding NGOs In India

Understanding NGOs In India

Lok Sabha recently passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment (FCRA) Bill 2020, changing rules regarding funds for Indian NGOs from foreign while tightening the existing laws. Before we get into the details of the Bill, let’s understand definition of non-governmental organizations in India, what are their types, difference between NGOs and non-for-profit organizations, and see some interesting stats around it.

Crux of the Matter

What Are Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)?
There is a lack of clear definition of Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) since it represents a variety of different interests and a multitude of not-for-profit activities. However, the general definition says that NGOs are organizations formed by people on a voluntary basis working independently of government intervention in India.

The term NGO is used to denote an umbrella of not-for-profit organizations. NGO may be a non-governmental, quasi or semi-governmental, voluntary or non-voluntary, partisan or non-partisan, formal or informal, non-profit, or profit-oriented bodies, with legal status and registered under different Acts.

Non-for-Profit Organizations (NPOs) are formed as a legal entity working for welfare but no working member takes part in part in profit or loss. NGOs can be trust, society, or non-profit making company but NPOs can only be non-profit-making companies, i.e. NPOs are a category of NGO.

The working spectrum of NGOs is very wide i.e. betterment, upliftment, and development of society and economy as well, bringing awareness of human rights, women empowerment, etc. Whereas, NPOs work in particular fields like promoting art, science, research, commerce or any other useful purpose.

Types Of NGOs On Legal Basis

  • Trust – Trusts, private or public, can be charitable organizations registered under the Indian Trust Act, 1882; Public charitable trust is exempt from Income Tax.
  • Society – It is another form of NGO that can be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It may be entitled to Income Tax exemption if it falls under certain charitable aspects as directed by the Income Tax department.
  • Section 8 Company – Not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) can be formed under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013.

Section 8 companies, trust, and societies are exempt from income tax if registered under 12AA (tax exemption) of the Income Tax Act. To get fund from abroad NGOs are required to register under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

NGOs can be misused to convert black money to white or legal money. To do so, black money is donated to NGOs and later NGOs return it as payment for goods or services it was supposed to purchase. By doing so, a taxpayer gets tax exemption for the “contribution” and trust gets tax exemption for the money received. The government can reject an NGO’s permit if it is found guilty or can also charge it with a hefty fine.

To know about the recently passed FCRA 2020 Bill, read this story: What Is The FCRA 2020 Bill Recently Passed In Lok Sabha?

  • International non-governmental organizations date back to at least the late 18th century, and there were an estimated 1,083 NGOs by 1914. International NGOs were important to the anti-slavery and women’s suffrage movements, and peaked at the time of the 1932–1934 World Disarmament Conference.
  • Social entrepreneurship is an approach by individuals, groups, start-up companies or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. For-profit entrepreneurs typically measure performance using business metrics like profit, revenues and increases in stock prices. Social entrepreneurs, however, are either non-profits, or they blend for-profit goals with generating a positive “return to society”.
  • The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.