It's Budget Day and there’s optimism in the air with yesterday's Economic Survey forecasting FY24 India's GDP to grow 6-6.8%, slightly lower than the year before but still much higher than the global average.


Wednesday February 01, 2023,

6 min Read

It’s Budget Day! 

And there’s some optimism in the air with yesterday's Economic Survey forecasting FY24 India's GDP to grow 6-6.8%, slightly lower than the year before but still much higher than the global average. 

Domestic indices were cautious ahead of the Budget but ended in the green—BSE Sensex rose 49 points to close at 59,549 Tuesday, while Nifty50 inched 13 points up to end the day at 17,662.

With the macros stacked in favour, our bets are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s fifth Budget driving growth across sectors.

You can stay updated on the budget speech live with us here. Follow us on Twitter with the hashtag #Budget2023WithYS for all that you need to know! 

In other news, the global economic report is out too and the results are “less gloomy”. 

While conditions are still bad and growth will “remain weak by historical standards”, the IMF said that it expects global growth to slow from 3.4% in 2022 to 2.9% in 2023. This is slightly better than the forecast of 2.7% in October.

“India remains a bright spot,” said the report, adding that together with China, it will account for half of 2023’s global growth. On the other hand, the UK is the only G-7 economy that is projected to shrink this year—by 0.6%.

Lastly, a fevered treasure hunt for World War II loot has engulfed a village in the Netherlands when the country’s national archives released a hand-drawn map at its annual “Revelation Day”, where it releases documents previously unavailable to the public after a standard 75-year confidentiality term.

This map, which even has the burial spot marked by an actual X, allegedly leads to valuables hidden by German soldiers at the end of the war.

A real-life quest. 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • India’s races ahead in fintech adoption
  • Rural internet subscriptions grow 200%
  • NEAR’s mission to make Web3 mainstream

Here’s your trivia for today: Who was the first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary?


India’s races ahead in fintech adoption

India has taken a lead in fintech inclusion, with an adoption rate of 87%—substantially higher than the world average of 64%. And, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a major channel for digital financial transactions in the country. 

Of the total 8,840 crore digital financial transactions in India—with a total value of Rs 126 lakh crore—around 52% were made via UPI in FY22.  In FY19, UPI accounted for 17% of the country’s total 3,100 crore digital transactions while 2020-21 saw it rise to 27% (1,250 crore transactions out of the total of 4,600 crore).

Leapfrogging into the future:

  • India has gained third place in digital payments only after the US and China.
  • The rise in adoption of digital financial services was accelerated by the pandemic alongside a strong foundation by the Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar, and Mobile (JAM) trinity and UPI. 
  • On average, between FY19 and the calendar year 2022, the growth in UPI-based transactions—both in terms of value and volume—has been 121% and 115%.

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Rural internet subscriptions grow 200%

Increased push from the government to bring rural and urban digital connectivity to the same level has resulted in a 200% increase in rural internet subscriptions in the last seven years (2015 to 2021), according to the Economic Survey for 2022-23.

More internet subscribers were added in rural areas (95.76 million) in the last three years (2019-21) than in urban areas (92.81 million) due to a dedicated digital drive across rural areas through government schemes.

Connecting people:

  • The total telephone subscriber base in India stands at 117 crore (1.7 billion), as of November 2022, and the overall teledensity in the country is at 84.8%.
  • While more than 97% of the total subscribers are connected wirelessly (114.3 crore or 1.4 billion at the end of November 2022), 83.7 crore (837 million) have internet connections (as of June 2022).
  • The Digital India umbrella programme was launched in 2015 with the vision of developing digital infrastructure as a core utility for every citizen.


NEAR’s mission to make Web3 mainstream

NEAR, a Layer-1 project which uses sharding to solve the problem of blockchain scalability, is looking towards India to boost blockchain talent development and innovation.

Mass adoption:

  • For NEAR India, the idea is to bring mainstream adoption of Web3 apps and networks, through collaboration, and working closely with Web2 brands and startups.
  • Its goal is to onboard five million monthly active users (MAUs) on NEAR from India by the end of the year.
  • Besides Growfitter and Leap, the team is working closely with Bitverse–a fantasy gaming app, Electron Labs–a zero-knowledge (ZK) blockchain solution, Binocs–a crypto tax and compliance platform, Stader Labs–a liquid staking network, Router Protocol–a cross-chain bridge, and more.
near protocol

News & updates

  • Black gold rush: Exxon Mobil Corp posted a $56 billion profit for 2022, taking home about $6.3 million per hour last year, and setting not only a company record but a historic high for the Western oil industry. Oil majors are expected to break their own annual records on high prices and soaring demand.
  • Last-minute win: Gautam Adani pulled off a closely watched $2.5 billion equity sale for his flagship company, largely thanks to existing shareholders, earning the Indian billionaire some reprieve after his empire was rocked by fraud allegations by short seller Hindenburg Research.
  • Thinner wallets: Corporate boards are slashing the pay of some leading CEOs in a new trend that could just be getting started, hitting some of America’s best-known and highest-paid bosses, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman and Goldman Sachs’s David Solomon. 

Who was the first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary?

Answer: Herbert Coleridge, who was the grandson of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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