FirstFT: India’s military recruitment reform triggers violent protests

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Budding military recruits have launched violent protests across India against plans by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to replace many permanent positions in the armed forces with four-year contracts.

The furious reaction to the proposed reforms has revealed the extent of India’s jobs crisis, especially for young people for whom a career in the armed forces represents coveted economic security.

Modi’s government last week unveiled the controversial new scheme, known as ‘Agnipath’ or ‘Way of Fire’, which scraps guaranteed long-term employment and pensions for new military recruits.

Thousands of people, including many young Indians preparing for the competitive selection process, reacted with outrage. In states like Bihar in northern India and southern Andhra Pradesh, angry mobs vandalized trains, cars and government buildings, leading to hundreds of arrests. At least one person was killed in the violence.

The armed forces, which suspended recruiting during the pandemic, were originally expected to recruit 40,000 people this year under the program. This figure is expected to increase to around 50,000 in the coming years.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of the day’s news — Emily

1. The S&P 500 rebounds 2.4% after a sharp weekly decline U.S. stocks gained on Tuesday, leading the S&P 500 index to its best day since late May, as traders searched for bargains after a sharp weekly drop in global equities fueled by rising central bank interest rates.

  • Go further: To make sense of the crashing markets, the FT’s top investment brains join Claer Barrett’s Money Clinic podcast to explain what’s going on and where things could go from here.

2. Hong Kong Stock Exchange sets terms for Evergrande to avoid delisting The world’s most indebted developer said in an exchange filing yesterday that it has until September 20, 2023 to resume trading in its shares. The developer will have to meet a series of conditions, including publishing an independent investigation of its real estate services unit and demonstrating that it has sufficient assets to operate.

3. Kellogg’s will split into three separate food companies Kellogg is splitting into three public companies, retaining its core global snacks business while separating North American cereal brands where the Corn Flakes maker’s origins lie and a small business selling plant-based foods.

4. FTX crypto exchange bails out BlockFi lending platform Sam Bankman-Fried has delivered his second bailout of a struggling digital asset firm in as many weeks. The 30-year-old chief executive of crypto trading platform FTX has granted a $250 million loan to BlockFi. Just last week, he also helped crypto broker Voyager Digital pull itself out of the sinkhole with a loan totaling around $485 million in cash and bitcoin.

  • More crypto news: South Korean prosecutors have banned Terraform Labs employees from leaving the country as an investigation into the company and its co-founders deepens after the $40 billion implosion of its cryptocurrency.

5. Macau’s Covid crackdown leaves casino group SJM burning cash The Macau casino empire founded by late gambling mogul Stanley Ho is burning through its cash reserves as the Chinese territory tightens a zero-Covid regime that has already sent gambling revenues plummeting.

The day ahead

Brics Business Forum Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver the keynote address at the gathering of the five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Testimony from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jay Powell will present his semi-annual report on monetary policy to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

50th Glastonbury Music Festival The UK festival campgrounds open today, with the event returning from a two-year pandemic-related hiatus to its venue at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. Major titles include Sir Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and Elbow.

Find out more in our Newsletter for the coming week.

What else we read

Private equity groups that buy out companies they own A growing number of private companies are being bought and sold by the same company. Such transactions were partly a consequence of the tidal wave of liquidity that flooded private markets during the long period of low interest rates. But critics point to conflicts of interest.

Southeast Asia bucks global stagflation trend The war in Ukraine, record fuel and food prices and rising interest rates are fueling the threat of stagflation, but at least one region is well positioned to avoid the worst of the recession: Southeast Asia. East. In four of the six largest economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, gross domestic product is growing faster than inflation, an FT analysis shows.

IPL rights auction creates power play Indian Premier League cricket now claims to be the second most valuable sports league in the world per game, behind the United States National Football League. How Disney and Viacom18 use their valuable new properties as broadcast and digital rights holders will be a significant test for the Indian entertainment market.

Elon Musk’s aid to Ukraine draws attention in China When Elon Musk’s SpaceX sent a shipment of Starlink satellite kits to bolster Ukraine’s internet against Putin’s forces early in the war, he was praised by Western leaders. China, however, took a different view. Tesla makes a quarter of its revenue in China and now its chief executive is under pressure from the country’s national security and data hawks.

Can the ECB prevent a second euro crisis? The European Central Bank reacted quickly to the “fragmentation” of the bloc’s sovereign bond market. Investors will infer the central bank’s point of intolerance from intervention, writes Eric Lonergan, fund manager at M&G.

Fashion

Weeks after restrictions were eased in Shanghai, consumers and business owners are navigating a precarious new normal. While some have embarked on “revenge spending,” where consumers are buying more than they normally would in reaction to enduring restrictions and limitations, others are not planning to spend again. for luxury anytime soon, having found that the lockdown gave them “a lower threshold of what makes me happy”.

Some in China have welcomed the easing of restrictions with a wave of “revenge shopping”, but others remain cautious © AP

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