Australia's New Budget Aims to Balance the Books
In an effort to pull itself out of a $44 billion deficit and end the next financial year with a $1.5 billion surplus – thus becoming the first major developed nation to get out of debt after the global financial crisis – Australia’s budget received a significant makeover in the form of cuts and handouts.
''The deficit years of the global recession are over,'' said Treasurer Wayne Swan. ''The surplus years are here.''
· According to Radio Australia, 70 per cent of Australia’s foreign aid spending benefits the Asia-Pacific region. While the budget will increase from $4.8 billion this year to $5.1 billion for 2013, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands will receive reduced funding; Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji will see a moderate fund increase.
· The government will allocate 13,750 places under its humanitarian program in 2013, according to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.
· Over the next five years, approximately $52 million will be spent on increasing Australia’s overseas presence. China and Senegal are two nations at the forefront of this effort.
· $5.45 billion will be cut from defence spending over four years, but this will not affect the soldiers currently serving overseas.
· The mining resource tax will help “spread the benefits of the boom” by directing profits ($3.6 billion) to families, low income earners and those without jobs who will be hit hard by the carbon tax, effective 1 July 2012.
· The corporate tax rate will be reduced by one to 29 per cent as a result of the mining resource tax.
· A “modest” tax cut will benefit income earners of up to $80,000.
· The Family Tax Benefit Part A will increase and equip more than half a million families with an extra $600 per year.
· $3.7 billion will be allocated to the aged care system to help the elderly live at home for more time.
· The new budget is very anti-smoking: $600 million in savings will be accumulated by lowering travellers’ duty-free allowance for tobacco to 50 grams and cigarettes from 250 cigarettes to 50. Surplus funds will be directed towards health programs that aim to help prevent heart attacks and stroke.
· Beer drinkers are not exempt: over the next 12 months, increased taxes will funnel an estimated $2.183 billion to the government.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.