A Single Cryptocurrency Consumes More Electricity Than A Whole Country

While cryptocurrencies have garnered a mixture of praise and ill-will for their ability to create loads of wealth, critics from the opposite side of the trading block, particularly climate change advocates, have heavily condemned the technology for its effect on the environment.

Bitcoin’s energy consumption has grown synonymously with the boom in the currency’s underlying price. According to the University of Cambridge, Bitcoin mining consumes somewhere in the region of 130 terawatt-hours per year, or around the same amount of energy as Argentina uses.


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Bitcoin’s consumption has doubled since November 2020 as more miners compete for rewards set by the blockchain network. But more recently, the explosion in the buying and selling of digital currencies has brought other networks under the carbon emission spotlight.

According to Digiconomist, Ethereum consumes almost 30 terawatt-hours per year. That puts its network’s consumption on par with countries like Bahrain and Qatar. Ethereum’s energy consumption, like Bitcoin, is surging and doesn’t look like its going to trip anytime soon.

From averages of around 8 terawatts per hour in August 2020, the Ethereum network sits at around 30twh today, representing an increase of 275% according to Digiconomist.


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The world is gearing up for the next couple of years, with big corporations and projects working on ultra-low blueprints for energy-efficient blockchain networks which, in principle, could essentially be maintained on smartphones. For now, these projects are in the developmental phase, subject to research in the next few years.

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KP Sehat Card Will Now Cover COVID-19 Treatment

The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has announced that its Sehat Sahulat Cards will now cover coronavirus treatment costs.

The provincial Minister for Health, Taimoor Khan Jhagra, announced the development on Thursday saying,

To try to provide maximum relief to those suffering from COVID, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to include COVID treatment in the Sehat Card program.


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Minister Jhagra has urged the people of KP to cooperate with the provincial government to control the third wave of the pandemic via strict compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He said if the government succeeds in controlling the third outbreak, the pressure on the healthcare system will be reduced and it will be able to serve people again.


PM Khan to Personally Monitor Food Prices During Ramadan

KP is currently the second worst-hit province after Punjab. Its virus prevalence rate has exceeded 12.0 percent.

The Sehat Sahulat Card program was rolled out in a few districts of the province last year and was eventually expanded to all of KP in January this year. It provides a health cover of Rs. 1 million to every family in the province.

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Govt Relied on Local Debt Market to Finance its Loans

Federal Government relied mainly on the domestic debt market to finance its deficit i.e. 67 percent of the Federal fiscal deficit was financed through domestic debt during July-December ( 2020-21), according to the debt bulletin issued by the Ministry of Finance on Thursday.

According to the public debt bulletin, within domestic sources, all of the additional funding was mobilized through long-term government securities, whereas net reduction was witnessed in short-term debt. Within external sources, multilateral and bilateral sources remained the main contributor in the financing of the federal fiscal deficit.

Ministry of Finance highlighted that external debt was recorded at US$ 82.4 billion at end-December 2020. Although borrowing from commercial sources has relatively increased during the last few years, multilateral and bilateral sources still cumulatively constitute 82 percent of the external public debt portfolio as of the end of December 2020, Public Debt Bulletin maintained.

Highlights of Borrowing Operations during 6-Months of FY 2020-21:

Domestic borrowing was made entirely from the financial markets;
An amount of Rs. 285 billion was repaid to SBP;
All borrowings needed to finance the fiscal deficit was made through longer-term debt while the government retired a portion of short-term debt by Rs. 534 billion;
With effect from 1st July 2020, all institutional investors have been barred from investing in National Saving Schemes (NSS) with the objective to deepen the financial markets and lower the government’s long-term borrowing costs by creating more competition for long-term government debt;
The government introduced various new instruments to further develop the government securities market, attract a more diversified investor base and provide more flexibility and options to the investors as well as to the government;
The government started issuance of 5-Year Sukuk with fixed-rate rental payments from July 2020;
Similar to conventional bond, the government introduced a re-opening mechanism in Sukuk auctions in July 2020 to increase the liquidity of the Sukuk;
The government started issuance of 3-, 5- and 10-Year floating rate PIBs with quarterly coupon payment frequency from October 2020;
The government introduced 2-Year floating rate PIBs in November 2020 with quarterly coupon payment frequency and fortnightly interest rate re-setting.

Pakistan is availing the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for a period of 14-Month (May 2020 – June 2021) which will help to reduce the debt servicing impact to the tune of around US$ 2.4 billion during this period.

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FBR Begins Planning of Budget FY 2021-22

The budget preparation exercise has been started in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for 2021-22.

In this connection, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Dr Waqar Masood Khan chaired the first budget preparation meeting at the FBR Headquarters. Tax policy for the next federal budget was reviewed during the said meeting.

The taxation measures would be drafted in the light of the following broader parameters:

Withdrawal of sales tax exemptions.
Imposition of standard rate of 17 percent sales tax on areas subjected to lower sales tax rates or special sales tax regime.
Abolition of 20 withholding taxes.
Relief of income tax to salaried class.
Rationalization of customs tariffs, regulatory duties and Additional Customs Duties (ADCs).
Raise in federal excise duty (FED) on excisable commodities
New enforcement and administrative measures.
Abolition of condition of Taxpayer Profiles which was extended from March 31 to June 30, 2021.
Change in the date of applicability of withdrawal of exemptions to July 1, 2021.
Legal changes to eliminate tax fraud, fake and flying invoices, plugging loopholes, and bringing new taxpayers into the tax net.
Legal changes to remove difficulties and anomalies, and to abolish any outdated/obsolete provisions.
Removal of tax distortions and anomalies

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Sindh High Court Announces Its Decision On Sale Of Sputnik V Vaccine

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has reportedly authorized a private company to sell Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine after the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) submitted its reply in response to a contempt petition.

The court bench opined that regardless of the motives behind the petition, people should be inoculated as soon as possible. “It will be inappropriate to halt vaccination in this situation”, said the court.

The company has fixed a retail-centric price of Rs. 12,226 for the vaccination, subject to regulations and import costs that come with it.


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Earlier in March, a Karachi-based firm, AGP Limited, received the first batch of Sputnik V consisting of 50,000 doses at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

The federal government had also repealed its decision under which it had allowed the private sector to set the prices of Coronavirus vaccines after importing them. This development came just hours before the first consignment of privately-imported Russian Coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, was due to arrive in Pakistan.

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15 Million Doses of J&J Vaccine Wasted Due to Wrong Ingredients

Around 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine have gone to waste after workers at a plant in Baltimore, Maryland, which is simultaneously manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines, accidentally conflated the ingredients of J&J’s vaccine with that of another vaccine several weeks ago.

Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturing partner of both J&J and AstraZeneca, the UK-based company whose vaccine has not yet received approval from the US regulators, owns the Baltimore plant.


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Last year, Trump’s administration had granted $628 million to Emergent BioSolutions to expand its vaccine manufacturing capacity.

Emergent BioSolutions’ Baltimore plant was still awaiting the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval for its J&J vaccine production lines when the mix-up occurred and this enormous mistake is expected to delay it further.

According to a statement by J&J, 15 million doses of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine have been declared unfit for human use after they failed to meet the required quality standards.

The human error does not affect any of the J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine doses that have already been rolled out because those were manufactured in a plant located in the Netherlands.


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J&J had pledged to deliver 24 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in April and all of these doses were supposed to be produced at the Baltimore plant. However, the delivery of all 24 million doses has been delayed as the company continues to address quality control issues.

J&J has reiterated that none of the mixed-up doses ever left the plant and the entire lot of 15 million doses has been safely disposed of.

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SBP Directs Banks to Ensure Confidentiality of Customers’ Data

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) directed banks to ensure confidentiality of consumers’ data and required the banks to put in place adequate controls at their call centers, including but not limited to continuous CCTV vigilance, physical entry and exit checks, non-accessibility to portable devices or cell phones, controlled accessibility to printers, emails, etc.

Call centers are rapidly becoming customers’ top choice to communicate with their banks. Over time, the use of call centers by customers to seek information, guidance, and redressal of complaints from their banks has increased significantly. On the other hand, technological advancements are helping the banks to provide self-banking solutions through call centers.

The growing importance of call centers in the bank-customer relationship makes it imperative for the banks to efficiently manage their call centers for enhanced customer experience. Recently, SBP conducted a thematic review of the call center management at banks. In the light of the findings, it has issued today regulatory instructions to banks on call center management.

SBP has issued guidelines for call centers of the banks to standardize the variant practices for its management and to improve its efficiency
for better facilitation to the customers.

Confidentiality of Customers’ Data
To ensure confidentiality of consumers’ data, banks will put in place adequate controls at their call centers, including but not limited to continuous CCTV vigilance, physical entry and exit checks, non-accessibility to portable devices or cell phones, controlled accessibility to printers, emails, etc.

Banks are advised to devise an appropriate mechanism to allow their call center staff access to customers’ data on a “Need-to-Know” basis, i.e., restricted to the customers contacting the call center. Proper logs of this access to customer’s information should be maintained and periodically monitored, preferably through automated/ artificial intelligent surveillance.

Banks should ensure masking of the Credit or Debit card numbers so that the call agents could only view the last four digits of the cards. Similarly, appropriate controls must be devised to provide only basic/ limited/ non-financial data to outbound teams.

Policy & Oversight
Banks should have a comprehensive policy and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on call center management duly approved by their Board of Directors and CEO, respectively.

Banks that have outsourced their call centers will ensure compliance with the SBP’s existing instructions on outsourcing. Further, they will also ensure that the confidentiality of the customers’ data is sufficiently protected through appropriate oversight and security clauses in the contract. Besides, the supervision function like quality assurance checks of call center should not be outsourced.

Call centers must have an independent reporting line to avoid conflict of interest. In addition to a senior officer heading the function of call centers, banks will ensure periodic reporting on the performance of call centers to a senior level management committee at least quarterly. It should be explicitly made part of the Term of References (TORs) of the committee to monitor the overall service quality and performance of call centers.

Banks should also ensure that the minutes of the committee’s meetings are recorded along with the status of implementation of decisions taken, and the same should be made available for review of the SBP inspection team.

Ease of Lodgment/ Convenience/Fairness
All banks are encouraged to deploy toll-free numbers for their call centers. It should be ensured that call center numbers are displayed prominently on banks’ websites and notice boards in branches. In case of more than one call center number, banks will mention the line of business or product in front of each number for convenience so that only the relevant number may be dialed by the customers.

The banks should also conduct consumer testing/consumer recalls at least on an annual basis to assess customer awareness regarding call centers and take actions for improvement where required.

Measures should be taken to reduce the call wait time as much as possible to avoid inconvenience to the customers. Banks should develop internal standards/Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) regarding the call wait time for different types of calls. The performance, in this respect, should be monitored by the management level committee referred above in para C through regular reporting. However, the call wait time for card lost/card stolen/card block requests should not be more than one minute.

‘Card lost/ Card stolen/ Card Block’ request should be the first option on the IVR menu after the call connects to the call centers of the banks. Further, the customers should also be provided with an automated option for blocking cards/accounts/digital channels (preferably through TPIN).

Besides, the banks are encouraged to introduce IVR options for regional languages while ensuring the availability of appropriate resources for such options.

The banks should ensure that call agents do not refuse to lodge the complaints of the customers/callers. It should also be ensured that a complaint number is provided to all complainants through SMS/ email.

Banks should adopt appropriate call management tools/functionality, including but not limited to self-banking options, queue management, etc. It is encouraged that the callers/ customers are apprised of their number/ order in the call queue with the option of call back.

Further, it should be ensured that all call centers have feedback options and the caller/ customer are adequately informed and encouraged to provide their feedback through the given option. Banks should ensure that the consumers are explicitly informed about their calls being recorded at the call center. Banks will not market their products/ services except on toll-free numbers. The banks are encouraged to play awareness messages during the call wait time.

Banks should ensure that the complaints received through the call center are properly recorded in the Complaint Management System (CMS), preferably through appropriate automation.

Call Center Resources
Banks should have adequate IT controls, contingency, and disaster recovery set-ups for their call centers. Banks should ensure that their call centers are adequately staffed. Further, it should also be ensured that the call center staff is adequately trained, particularly on digital fraud management, relevant policies and initiatives of banks, and query and complaint handling.

Further, the impact assessment of such training should also be conducted by banks for improvements in future training. All inbound and outbound calls at the call centers will be recorded. The recordings will at least be retained for one year. However, for digital transactions and customers’ consent to be obtained in specific instances, banks will comply with the relevant/ applicable rules and regulations. The custodian of these call recordings and archival/retrieval mechanism may explicitly be developed and monitored while ensuring that only relevant officials have access to such records.

Further, the role of call centers in the complaint handling function should also be reflected in the KPIs of the call center staff and adequately covered in the respective policy. Banks should also assess the performance of their call centers through monitoring tools like mystery calls, customers’ feedback and call center own staff’s feedback, at least once a year. Service quality and data confidentiality of call center should also be assessed/reviewed annually by the banks’ internal audit function.

Further, banks should ensure that Turn Around Times (TATs) of their call center, especially related to blocking of cards and lodgment of complaints are monitored on regular basis.

Banks are required to comply with SBP instructions by June 30, 2021.

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Tech to Auto: These April Fool’s Day News Are Actually Pranks [In Pictures]

The yearly April Fool’s Day is a meme-infested consortium of playing pranks and then revealing them by saying “April Fool!’ to people who were convinced that the stories were the real deal.

From car makers to smartphone headliners, companies flooded their newsfeeds with gags that would be perceived as actual stories on any other day.


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For starters, companies like Apple, Tesla, Audi and Netflix have played this year’s April Fool’s pranks on people by creating highly addictive hoaxes and fake announcements based on overly optimistic concepts, and people reacted as hilariously as expected.

Apple ‘Wins’ Patent For Futuristic Cheese Grater
Affectionately dubbed as the “Cheese Grater”, Apple stated that the design is one of the 77 patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

So, is this just a legitimate patent for new tech, or an April Fool’s Day gag for all the ages?

Decide for yourself.

Car maker Dacia’s Affordable Space Programme
UK-based SUV maker Dacia Cars made an eerie announcement early in the morning regarding “Dacia Dustar”, a subsidiary of the brand that will represent “a new dawn in value-for-money space travel”.

The company’s Chief Operations Officer Noel Armstrong jubilantly proclaimed that the company is about to deliver the best “value-for-money without compromising on quality. We’ve achieved this on Earth, so launching a car into space is the obvious next step!”

While this obviously looks like a gag, this level technological evolution looks quite appealing.

Electric Shocker | Volkswagen to be “rebranded” as Voltswagen
A shocking press release earlier this week suggested that German carmaker Volkswagen is on the verge of rebranding as Voltswagen of America in the United States, with the aim of making an entry into the EV game.

We know, 66 is an unusual age to change your name, but we’ve always been young at heart. Introducing Voltswagen. Similar to Volkswagen, but with a renewed focus on electric driving. Starting with our all-new, all-electric SUV the ID.4 – available today. #Voltswagen #ID4 pic.twitter.com/pKQKlZDCQ7

— Volkswagen (@VW) March 30, 2021

Shocked with disbelief, netizens played along, all the while knowing that this might actually be real.

This best be #AprilFools
This is worse than #Dieselgate
Don’t do this!!!

— Ryan Miller (@Miller_RyanJ) March 30, 2021

While others suggested that changing the name doesn’t make any difference, chances are this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke. We’ll find out soon enough.

Elon Musk, SpaceX And Dogecoin | Forbidden Love
It’s an established fact that Elon Musk has become a whisperer for the masses on Twitter. and the following tweet is nothing short of something huge, even if it was an April Fool’s joke.

SpaceX is going to put a literal Dogecoin on the literal moon

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2021

Get $1,000 In Exchange For Your Broken iPhone | Verizon Cheats
Telecom giant Verizon shared a ‘world-first’ trade-in program which allows existing iPhone users to exchange their broken iPhones for as much as $1,000 in credit points if they intend to buy a new one.

To make it even more difficult for people to take this as an April Fool’s Day gag, Verizon has officially stated that its not a prank, and that ‘the limited-time promotion starts on 1st April’. In a statement, the company said,

Beginning tomorrow, April 1, and for the first time ever, for new and existing customers: trade in your cracked or water damaged phone and get up to $1,000 off our best 5G phones with a port-in and select Unlimited plans1. That means cracked, broken, and even phones that no longer turn on can help make your next device more affordable. Yes, we know it’s April Fools’ Day, but trust us — this offer is #NoJoke. Act now, though, because this offer is only available for a limited time.

The company further mentions that full details on the new deal will show up on its website starting today. #NoJoke

Google Cancels April Fool’s Day 2021
For the second year running, Google has dropped any April Fool’s Day pranks on its forums and websites. Reports suggest that the company is fully committed to focusing on the fight against the coronavirus, which isn’t something to be angry about.

Google cancels its infamous April Fools’ jokes this year https://t.co/hmelFKBQrE pic.twitter.com/Cebklajqjd

— The Verge (@verge) March 28, 2020

In this regard, a Google statement read,

In 2020, we made the decision to pause our longstanding Google tradition of celebrating April Fools’ Day, out of respect for all those fighting COVID-19. With much of the world still grappling with serious challenges, we will again pause the jokes for April Fools’ Day in 2021


Pakistani Company Signs Exclusive Licensing Deal to Supply V-01 COVID-19 Vaccine

Indian Traders Confused With Flipkart’s Entry Into The Crypto Game
Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce company by sales, has said it will be accepting Bitcoin payments in what many suspect is an April Fools’ Day prank.

The future is here. We now accept Bitcoin as a convenient mode of payment. Update your app now. pic.twitter.com/l3MlY2qwRd

— Flipkart (@Flipkart) March 31, 2021

Boasting more than 200 million users across India, BTC investors in the region are seemingly shocked, commenting that “a massive company like Flipkart would not take such a risk given the uncertainties in the regulations here”.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment section below.

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World Bank Lauds Imran Khan’s Climate Friendly Initiatives

The World Bank has announced all-out financial and technical support to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s various green initiatives launched for environmental conservation and protection and achieving enhanced disaster resilience, particularly the Green Stimulus initiative, the Bank’s Country Director, Mr. Najy Benhassine, told Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Climate Change.

A World Bank delegation called on Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, and conveyed the Bank’s all-out support to the green post-COVID-19 economic recovery initiative and afforestation and nature conservation programmes, particularly the Green Stimulus initiative launched by the climate change ministry under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for Clean Green Pakistan, according to a press statement issued here on Thursday.

During the meeting held at the climate change ministry, the Country Director, Najy Benhassine, informed the PM’s aide that funding of US $120 million pledged for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Green Stimulus initiative has already been approved and can be utilized by the country to increase green jobs in the country for those rendered unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis by engaging them in the country’s green projects being implemented for conservation and protection of nature.

He also highlighted that the World Bank management is highly impressed with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for the Clean Green Pakistan and various green projects initiated under the vision, particularly one of the world’s largest ambitious 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP).

“Having been impressed with the marvellous green initiatives of the incumbent government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, we at the World Bank are mulling over replication of Pakistan’s green initiatives in other countries in different parts of the world,” the Bank’s Country Head, Najy Benhassine said.

Explaining about the Green Stimulus initiative, the PM’s Special Assistant, Malik Amin Aslam, said the Green Stimulus initiative was launched last year in April after COVID-19 hit the country for the creation of green jobs for those youth, who were rendered jobless from various sectors due to closure of business and assorted economic activities.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan had also approved the ‘Green Stimulus’ package in April this year as a part of the government’s efforts to extend green cover in the county, which has led to the generation of 87,000 green jobs for the youth rendered unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Malik Amin Aslam recalled during the meeting with the World Bank delegation at his office in the climate change ministry.

While sharing other green projects being implemented under the environmental leadership of PM Imran Khan, the PM’s aide said that the climate change ministry had launched several other flagship programmes and projects, including the world’s largest afforestation programme of 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, Clean Green Pakistan Programme to achieve environmental sustainability and climate resilience through conservation and protection of the environment, forests, and wildlife.

He informed the delegation further that another ambitious Protected Areas Initiative (PAI) had also been launched under the umbrella programme ‘Green Pakistan’, which aims at the conservation and promotion of nature-based solutions and the creation of additional 5,000 green jobs for the community members in the protected areas.

“The ambitious PAI primarily aims to enhance the country’s protected areas cover from 13 per cent to 15 per cent by 2023 and create 5,000 green jobs across the country,” Malik Amin Aslam elaborated.

The World Bank Country Head vehemently lauded the government’s green economic recovery and green jobs creation, afforestation, and nature conservation as well as protection programme, which would hopefully help boost Pakistan’s resilience against adverse impacts of climate change on health, education, water, energy, agriculture, food security, and energy sectors.

Meanwhile, both sides also vowed to collaborate towards combating deleterious aftermaths of the global health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and global warming in various socio-economic sectors.

“It’s really inspiring that despite limited financial resources, Pakistan launched green stimulus initiative under Clean Green Programme, which has led to the creation of thousands of green jobs for those rendered unemployed due to pandemic,” the World Bank head remarked.

He said his organization would utilize financial, technological, and knowledge resources to support Pakistan through its resources and experiences in the overall post-Covid-19 green recovery through enhanced investment in green sectors, including forestry, environmental protection, and climate change resilience through mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the country’s climate-vulnerable socio-economic sectors.

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Graana.com Sells Land on Moon in its New Campaign

Good news – you can now buy land on the moon and escape Earth in just a few simple steps with Graana.com.

We can bet that this is exactly what almost everyone wants right now given the current situation of our planet.

Known for its quirk, Graana.com has always known how to grasp the attention of an audience with out-of-the-box campaigns and creative yet effective marketing strategies. This Pakistani real estate company does it once again by playing to its strengths and ‘Selling Land on Moon’ in their new campaign, launched on April 1st.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

It is said that laughter is great medicine – making it the perfect antidote, especially when times are heavy and downright hard due to the rising COVID-19 cases along with the scares.

The best and one of the most creative day’s for brands to prank people and lighten the mood, April 1st was done right, especially with this brilliantly executed April fool’s Day prank!

‘Chand ka tukda chaheye? Hum la k dain gain na’ – the eye-catching visuals went abuzz creating hype on the social media platforms, leaving many believing (be it for a split second) that they can own property on the moon and that these guys CAN pull this off.

The company went as far as setting up ‘dummy’ landing pages, asking people to register for their plot files and receive ‘Lunar Deeds’.

Brands have always had the freedom to spread any kind of message they want to through their campaigns or bandwagon on trends. Playing smart and staying true to their brand relevance, Graana.com’s execution of the April fool’s day campaign seems inspired by a clip from an Indian drama going viral.

We end it by vouching that this ride to the moon and back has been better than all else.

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