Business News

World leaders welcome US transfer of power

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
PARIS: Several world leaders said they were looking forward to Wednesday's transfer of power in the United States, where Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in as president after four turbulent years under Donald Trump.Top EU officials voiced relief that they would soon have a friend in the White House again."Let's build a new founding pact for a stronger Europe, for a stronger America and for a better world," said Charles Michel, president of the European Council."This time-honoured ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy," added European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen."And the resounding proof that, once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House."President Hassan Rouhani did not miss the opportunity to hail the departure of "tyrant" Trump, with Tehran repeatedly calling on Washington to lift sanctions imposed over its nuclear drive.Biden's administration wants the United States back in the landmark Iran nuclear accord which Trump withdrew from, conditional on Tehran's return to strict compliance.A "tyrant's era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign," Rouhani said."We expect (the Biden administration) to return to law and to commitments, and try in the next four years, if they can, to remove the stains of the past four years."NATO said it hoped to boost transatlantic ties under Biden."We look forward to working with President-elect @JoeBiden to further strengthen ties between the #UnitedStates & #Europe, as we face global challenges none of us can tackle alone," the military alliance's chief Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter Tuesday.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was looking forward to "working closely" with Biden.Johnson, who has faced criticism over his close relationship with Trump, cited a host of policy areas in which he hoped to collaborate with Biden."In our fight against Covid and across climate change, defence, security and in promoting and defending democracy, our goals are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them," he said in a statement.Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called for Russia and the United States to repair their strained ties."The current condition of relations between Russia and the United States is of great concern," Gorbachev said in an interview with state-run news agency TASS."But this also means that something has to be done about it in order to normalise relations," he said."We cannot fence ourselves off from each other."
Categories: Business News

Sundaram Fin makes key changes in management

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
CHENNAI: Non-banking finance company Sundaram Finance on Wednesday announced that it has made key changes in its management.The changes include the appointment of Rajiv Lochan as Managing Director succeeding T T Srinivasaraghavan with effect from April 1, 2021, the company said.T T Srinivasaraghavan, fondly called as 'TT' among close circles, would retire after serving the organisation for over 38 years as of March 31, 2021.It was during his tenure the balance-sheet of the city- based company grew from Rs 800 crore to over Rs 30,000 crore today.Srinivasaraghavan, during the last two decades, also led the diversification of the group from focus on medium and heavy commercial vehicles to a multi-product diversified financial services provider, a company statement said.Lochan, who is the current Director (strategy) of the company, has over 25 years of experience in financial services and was a partner in the consulting firm McKinsey and Company.Recently, he served Kasturi and Sons as its managing director.He would be elevated to the role of Managing Director from April 1.Commenting on the tenure of Srinivasaraghavan, Sundaram Finance chairman S Viji said, "Under his (Srinivasaraghavan) leadership, the company demonstrated its traditional focus on asset quality and most importantly its adherence to values of prudence and customer focus."On his service to Sundaram Finance, Srinivasaraghavan said, "It has been a great privilege and honour to lead this outstanding group of people who make up Team Sundaram over all these years.""Our enduring commitment to the Sundaram values will ensure that Sundaram Finance scales greater heights under the new leadership team," he said.Post-retirement, Srinivasaraghavan would remain on the company's board of directors and play a mentorship role, the company said.Meanwhile, the current deputy managing director Harsha Viji would assume the role of executive vice-chairman and take the responsibility of overall strategy and direction of Sundaram Finance and other group companies in financial services.A N Raju, Director (operations), would succeed Viji as the deputy managing director.On taking up the new responsibility, Rajiv Lochan said, "The strength of Sundaram Finance lies in its blend of tradition and service with cutting-edge management processes and technology.""This gives us a strong platform to grow in the years to come and I look forward to the challenge and responsibility of leading Team Sundaram to greater heights," he said.For the financial year 2020-21, the board has declared an interim dividend of Rs 12 per share.With 588 branches across the country, Sundaram Finance manages assets over Rs 30,000 crore and provides finance to commercial vehicles, cars, construction equipment and offers innovative solutions to its customers, including diesel finance and working capital finance, among others.
Categories: Business News

Covid vaccines from India reach Maldives

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
NEW DELHI: A consignment containing 100,000 doses of COVISHIELD vaccines reached Male Wednesday 2:30 pm Malé time in what marked launch of Delhi’s vaccine diplomacy. With this, Maldives (along with Bhutan) has become the first recipient of GoI’s gift of the COVISHIELD vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). India’s vaccine diplomacy is yet another testament to its Neighbourhood First policy, in which Maldives occupies a special and central place. This is reciprocated in full measure by the ‘India First’ policy of the Government of Maldives. Prime Minister during his visit to Maldives in June 2019 rightly said ‘Neighbourhood First is our priority; and in the Neighbourhood Maldives is priority’.The delivery of these vaccines in Maldives fulfills the commitment made by Foreign Secretary during his visit to the Maldives in November 2020.“Today is a milestone day for the Maldives in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the form of COVID vaccine, we have just witnessed HOPE arriving in the Air India flight parked behind us. We have received 100,000 doses of COVID vaccine Made in India and developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on countries like the Maldives in terms of human suffering and economy. With the arrival of the vaccine we can be confident that the worst is over and we are on way to normalcy as we have known before March last year...It gives me immense happiness that, with support of India, Maldives will be able to launch the inoculation drive so early on in the global fight against COVID pandemic. Two days back, while addressing the Executive Board of the WHO, DG Tedros Adhanom criticized the way some privileged countries were indulging in large scale buying and hoarding of vaccine to the detriment of the less privileged countries. He said “Such a “me-first approach” has left the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at risk.” In this context, it is a matter of satisfaction that India is making sure that countries in its neighbourhood do not go without vaccine in this dark hour of COVID-19 pandemic.I am happy to share that in addition to Maldives, India will gift vaccine to Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Seychelles and Nepal in the next 2-3 days. Vaccine will also be gifted to SL, Afghanistan and Mauritius as soon as their regulatory approvals are in place. It is amply clear that by providing vaccines to the Indian Ocean countries like Maldives, SL, Mauritius and Seychelles, India is playing a leadership role in promoting safety of the people of the Indian Ocean Region,” Indian envoy to Maldives said as he handed over vaccines. “I would like to say that regardless of where the virus came from, the vaccine has come from India.”Since Maldives has a population of about 500,000, the donation will cover vaccination requirement of 20%percentage of the population. In addition, GoM proposes to purchase 300,000 doses of vaccines from SII at commercial rates. Right from the start of the COVID pandemic, India has worked very closely with the Maldives in dealing with the pandemic. Among all neighbours, Maldives was the first and one of the largest beneficiaries of India Covid related assistance, sources recalled. This includes assistance in evacuation of Maldives nationals from Wuhan, supply of essential medicines and food items and deployment of a 14 member Rapid Response Team consisting of doctors and paramedics in March 2020 to guide and train the Maldivian authorities and personnel in tackling Corona threat. When international borders were closed due to the pandemic in April 2020, Operation Sanjeevani was launched to meet the medicine requirements of Maldives. Under this operation, a special IAF plane airlifted 6.2 tonnes of essential medical supplies from India to Maldives. Also, as part of Mission SAGAR, Male was the first port of call for Indian Navy Ship Kesari which delivered about 600 tons of food items to Maldives in May 2020 thus ensuring food security. Maldives Foreign Minister has publicly announced that India has been the first and the best responder for the Maldives during this crisis. It is noteworthy that Indian assistance comes without any pre-conditions or expectations.In order to support the tourism industry of Maldives, which is the main revenue earner for the local government, it was decided to create an air travel bubble with the Maldives in August 2020. Maldives was the first country in South Asia with which an air travel bubble was established.The air bubble has been very successful and at present there are 40 flights to Maldives from 6 different cities of India. Creation of the air bubble has helped revive Maldives tourism industry thereby boosting its economy.Following creation of the air bubble with Maldives, with more than 60,000 tourist arrivals, India now occupies the number one spot as a tourist source in the Maldives. This position was occupied by China before the Covid pandemic. With tourism and fish exports coming to a grinding halt due to the Covid pandemic, the Maldivian economy was under immense strain. India’s steadfast support to Maldives was conveyed by PM Modi to the President of Maldives during their telecon in April 2020. In September 2020, India extended an urgent financial assistance of US$ 250 million to Maldives through investment by SBI in GoM bonds. This was the first assistance package of such a magnitude that was announced by GoI to any country to deal with COVID-19 pandemic. Being an import dependent economy, Maldives bore the worst brunt of supply-chain disruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was, therefore, decided to launch a direct cargo ferry service between India and Maldives to ensure a reliable and predictable supply chain for Maldives and boost bilateral trade. An announcement to commence the service was made by EAM in August 2020 and the maiden journey of the cargo ferry service was flagged off by Hon’ble Minister of Shipping of India and Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives in September 2020. In addition to bolstering trade ties between India and Maldives, this cargo ferry service has ensured food security to Maldives and strengthened our people-to-people contact.
Categories: Business News

IT, financials & commodities to lead earnings push

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
The longer the liquidity stays, the greater is the possibility of the market rally widening and going beyond leaders, says Aditya Narain, Head of Research, Edelweiss Securities. We may debate on how market valuations are trading above historical averages, but that argument is not finding any resonance with investors. What is your view?My thoughts on that are simply that there are points in time where you do end up running with valuations that are higher than averages. One of them is when you have an earning cycle that is looking strong and much more confident and that is where you are at some level at this point in time given that we are expecting about 25% earnings for the next two years. There is a much stronger basis for that this time around than in the last couple of years. The early part of the earning cycle will typically provide you earnings multiples that are higher than normal. Secondly, it has been talked about that the rate structure has changed in the economy. We are operating at much lower rates. There is greater access to capital and in many ways, that tends to change the valuation framework a little bit. Quietly honestly, if we were to look at valuations adjusted for lower rates, we would be just a little above averages rather than being dramatically above averages. Thirdly, I believe that there has been a little bit of a reset in the economy forced by the pandemic but it really captures the last stages of the reset that was already happening. So whether it is corporate leverage or bank NPLs, whether it is the turnaround or the bottoming of the real estate cycle, all of this has tended to happen. There is earnings growth, lower rates and we are looking at a potentially reset environment which could suggest a longer-term growth trajectory. That combination is giving higher multiples at this point in time. They can sustain for a longer period of time than is normally believed but eventually they will tend to normalise and that is where you stay at this point in time. We think valuations will stay relatively high. They would not necessarily go up further from here. Now for markets to keep on going higher, the technical factor is liquidity and that is benign. But there has to be an earnings push. Where do you think that surprise could come from?That could come from three areas. The first would be the IT space and you have seen some evidence of that coming through in the last quarter. That could surprise on the upside and tend to sustain. The second will typically be the financial system and the banks where it is easy if the asset quality stabilises as the banks are increasingly suggesting. From a credit perspective, there will be fundamentally reasonable upsides. The third area is the entire global space and particularly the commodity space where there is a lot of momentum both from a demand and more importantly from a price perspective. That is a place where from the nearer term, one could get fundamentally decent surprises. I would say these are the three places where you could get surprises. Generally the numbers will be good but I would wait for significant surprises. One could also get a boost from asset values. When markets reflate like this, more liquidity goes to the real estate market. These are the areas where you could get earnings surprises. There is more cushion in terms of the earnings revival this time around than we have seen in the past. Let’s divide the market or stocks into two or three buckets; a stock which one should buy and hold and which over 3-5 years could be a compounder; a stock where business is at an inflection point because of market share gain or industry dynamics and a company or a business where you feel force of liquidity will create magic.Rather than getting into stocks, I will just put it into buckets. The first bucket where one can get earnings surprises and multiple compounders and a fundamental rerating is the IT space. We are running target prices that are 40-50% higher than where prices are today after having moved a lot. That bucket, particularly for the large caps, is a massive space. The second bucket where you could get earnings surprises is with the financial system and the banks, particularly those which have been perceived to have been slightly higher on the asset quality risk side. Significant amounts of provisioning have come through and that is the space where you could get earnings upticks over the next three to 12 months which are well ahead of the market. The third bucket where liquidity could take things much further is the real estate space. It has faced a double whammy because liquidity goes for beta stocks and that is where it lies but equally importantly, if the liquidity sustains or expands in the underlying economy, volume trajectories can tend to move up. Within these three spaces we would see expansions in 2021. In 2021, we are going to see an elongated rate pause. There are expectations of inflation making a return and of course liquidity which central banks are in a mood right now to suck back. So do you think that fundamentals are taking precedence and that money is going into only quality stocks?I would put it in two ways. One is that the underlying economic performance has been positive and it has surprised most on the Street. The December numbers that have come through for auto and housing have been very strong. First of all, an underlying support is coming from strong economic momentum. Secondly this has to sustain and more evidence is needed because Covid has been a negative event and the market is treating it and some businesses are seeing it as a very positive event. In terms of the pandemic, there will be cost in terms of growth and segments which will lose out in terms of purchasing power. One has to watch for areas of weakness before one extrapolates this for a very extended period of time. Thirdly, one has to watch a little bit in terms of inflationary risks. We have seen it in terms of commodity prices and have started seeing it in terms of gross margins that businesses are earning or have started earning in the recent past because costs have tended to go up and most recently we saw Maruti raising prices because of the cost push. Some of these pressures are going to be evident over the next one or two quarters. This is something that is not just about P&L. It can impact demand. Petrol and diesel prices have gone up, car prices are going up because of higher costs of raw materials. This can create a little bit of a demand wall which one has to be watchful for. These are the things that one needs to keep in mind. As to whether this market rally is going to extend beyond just the leaders, I think the longer this liquidity stays, the greater is the possibility of that happening. Also, if demand stays strong, then growth will tend to widen. If that starts happening, then you will see a substantial move to the so- called riskier companies which are not the leaders. One needs to sit back and watch out for that rather than take that call immediately. What is your outlook on overall earnings? Are we likely to see a meaningful recovery this quarter?Costs will start going up but clearly not to the same extent that they used to be in the previous year. There have been two elements in the cost story. One that has been most pronounced has been the cyclical element. But the other bigger element is the structural one, People have rationalised costs more and done away with unnecessary spends. That will tend to stay while the cyclical ones will actually come back. The bottom line is there will be cost increases quarter on quarter, not just in absolute terms but as a percentage of sales. But the cushion that has been built up and the reset that has happened with businesses is going to show through and that margin will continue to do relatively well. One of the bigger things to take away from this entire episode over the last nine months has been that there has been a massive reset in the way business is done and the economics behind that business. Quite honestly, it has come at the expense of consumer demand and consumer savings which is where the risks will lie at some point of time but for the corporate sector, such a harsh environment has probably seen unadulterated gains for the biggest and the better players and that is reflecting in the earnings and in the multiples that they are getting in the market
Categories: Business News

Why US accused China of genocide and what's next

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
BEIJING : The U.S. secretary of state's accusation of genocide against China touches on a hot-button human rights issue between China and the West.In one of his final acts in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Tuesday that China's policies against Muslims in its Xinjiang region constitute ``crimes against humanity'' and ``genocide.''Earlier the same day, British lawmakers narrowly rejected a proposal aimed at China that would have barred trade deals with any country deemed to be committing genocide.Xinjiang, a far western region that borders central Asia, is home to the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic group. China denies human rights violations and says its actions in Xinjiang are necessary to counter a separatist and terrorist threat.WHY IS CHINA ACCUSED OF GENOCIDE?Pompeo cited forced birth control among Uighurs, which an Associated Press investigation documented last year, and forced labor, which has been linked by AP reporting to products imported to the U.S., including clothing, cameras and computer monitors.``I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state,'' Pompeo said in a written statement, using an alternative spelling for Uighurs.WHAT IS CHINA'S RESPONSE?China strongly defends its human rights record and policies in Xinjiang, saying its constitution and laws treat all citizens equally. It denies imposing coercive birth control measures or forced labor, saying those behind the allegations are lying in an effort to smear China's reputation and impede its development.Xu Guixiang, a deputy spokesperson for the Xinjiang branch of the ruling Communist Party, told reporters last week that birth control decisions were made of the person's own free will and that ``no organization or individual can interfere.''Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday called Pompeo a ``doomsday clown'' and said his designation of China as a perpetrator of genocide and crimes against humanity was merely ``a piece of wastepaper.''WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?Pompeo's genocide designation does not trigger any immediate repercussions, but requires the U.S. to take it into account in formulating policy toward China.It puts pressure on incoming President Joe Biden to maintain a tough line against China. He and members of his national security team have expressed support for such a designation in the past.Antony Blinken, Biden's choice to be secretary of state, said Tuesday that the Trump administration was right to take a tougher stance on China, but that it had approached the matter poorly by alienating U.S. allies and not fully standing up for human rights elsewhere.HOW WILL CHINA RESPOND?China may wish to avoid an early skirmish with the Biden administration, saving its invective for Pompeo and calibrating its response based on the possibility of a lowering of tensions that have flared under Trump.As with most sensitive issues, it has heavily restricted foreign media access to Xinjiang and sought to limit any domestic discussion to official pronouncements.Still, the ``parting shot`` from the Trump administration will likely further stress the relationship in the near term, said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China. He said the already slim chances of reducing China-U.S. tensions have been further limited in the coming weeks and months.WHAT HAPPENED IN LONDON?Lawmakers rejected by a 319-308 vote an amendment to a post-Brexit trade bill that would have forced the British government to revoke bilateral trade agreements with a country if the High Court of England found that it had perpetrated genocide.Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab last week called the amendment ``well-meaning'' but ineffective and counter productive.A significant number of rebel Conservatives backed the proposal, as did Jewish, Muslim and Christian community leaders. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to continue facing vocal calls within his Conservative party for a stronger and more coherent policy on China over its alleged rights abuses and violations of international norms.
Categories: Business News

Panagariya on what FM should do in Budget 2021

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
Compared to pre-Covid days, the GDP growth should be significantly higher than where we left off in 2019-20, says Arvind Panagariya , Former VC, NITI Aayog, in an interview with ET Now. What is your assessment of the macroeconomic scenario both globally and in India?Globally, it will be good if we can get back to the pre-Covid level of world output and income. I would put that as a good scenario at least for the current year meaning. So if we are talking about 2021, then things look a little better because we certainly have the vaccines going around to leading countries on that front like the United States and China. We have made a beginning in India as well. Some of the other countries are behind. So, 2021 should look better and we should see good recovery. I do not put any numbers yet as it is too early to do that. In India, I remain optimistic that we would return to the pre-Covid GDP, perhaps a bit higher than that in 2021-22. Given the base of 2021, this will mean a very significant growth but compared to pre-Covid days, the GDP growth should be significantly higher than where we left off in 2019-20. What would the Biden presidency mean for the US and global recovery? Do you see the US as less protectionist? Do you see an end to the US-China trade wars?Personally I do not think this is going to change the economic scenario very much. The Biden administration will probably be a bit more on the stimulus side so fiscal will be more expansionary. They certainly have given those indications right now and that should help the US economy a bit. On the other hand, a lot of studies also show that temporary stimuluses generally do not translate into very large impact simply because people spend only a very small fraction of that money. On the US-China trade front, I do not think there is going to be a change. There has been a long standing bilateral consensus on China in the United States going back to President Bush and then President Obama going by all the reports that the USTR sends to the Congress annually. So, that will depend on how the stand-off between China and the United States plays out but I do not think any initiative will be taken from the US sides because there is a different President. From the Indian perspective again, I do not see much change given the fact that China is a major issue for the United States . India is simply too critical for the United States to make any shifts in policy. So what about global trade?Will it be as lacklustre as last year?It should do better because ultimately the dent in global trade was made by Covid and as we vaccinate the populations across the world, global trade will pick up also. It has already picked up. The numbers show the pickup in global trade has been way stronger and sooner than was the case in the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. From India’s perspective, I have always maintained that what happens to the recovery of global trade is of far less importance than what we do in India because ultimately the global market is extremely large. The total goods and services were about $25 trillion pre-Covid. Even if they drop to $22-23 trillion, that is a hell of a large market. Our problem is to get a larger share in that very large market. You spoke about the Indian economy doing better than expected and you also spoke about the US stimulus likely to be larger under the Democratic administration. Should we in India be a little less stingy as far as the fiscal stimulus is concerned? Should the government going into the Budget worry about the fiscal deficit so much?What the government did was absolutely right and I would not characterise it at all as stingy. They were very prudent not to have started firing right away as the United States did and from the way the economic recovery has unfolded since then, that stance has actually been vindicated. My own view has always been that if the workers cannot get to the work, then you cannot generate supply response by simply stimulating demand. In fact, even the consumers cannot go and spend the money because of Covid. Any stimulus would not have translated into effective demand in the first place but even if it did, there could have been a supply response because workers simply could not get to their workplaces. But now that workers are returning and vaccination has started, there is scope for some response. I would suggest that first, a lot of overdue payments by the government to the states in terms of the GST overdues, tax reimbursements or refunds to the people and companies should be made. Likewise, a lot of the payments have to be made on goods and services that have been delivered to the government but payments have not been made. Fast-track those payments. That is one thing I would do and also frontload a lot of the expenditures that you are going to do in 2021-22. For instance, the PM Kisan payments could be made in advance rather than in three tranches. Just do a one tranche of Rs 6,000 in April if that is feasible and then some of the other expenditures could also be frontloaded. Under the UPA government just before after the 2008-2009 crisis, the fiscal deficit had gone up to 6.4%. Do you think that 6-7% fiscal deficit could be safely run? Will rating agencies not blink at that?I still remain on the conservative side and which is why I have said that frontload the expenditures and then wait and say where you want to go and you can do a revision if necessary on the Budget halfway through. That is how I would go. Fiscal deficit does matter because you are also crowding out private investment which needs to be able to get resources in the financial markets as well. If the government borrows too heavily in the financial markets, then that is a problem. I would instead recapitalise the banks so that the credit flows do not get choked. Debt matters. After all, somebody will have to pay in the future. Interest payments will pile up. Already from 2021, we are going to add up debt to GDP ratio of about 85%. One needs to be careful. So it has to be calibrated and that is how I would approach. Between recapitalising the existing banks and a bad bank, which one would you favour and why? I do not think it is an either or choice. Recapitalising has to be done because the NPAs will add up. At this stage, I do not think we need a bad bank really. For example, State Bank of India has its own asset reconstruction company (ARC). If it chooses to go that way, that is fine but now we have got a proper bankruptcy process in place and that is what we ought to use. Instrumentality ought to be used far more effectively and we have done that. When we talk about bad banks, our ministries are not able to move fast enough. Just remember how long it took and still I am not sure where the Infrastructure Investment Fund stands. It had been promised in 2015 or 2016 and it never took off. When the bankruptcy policies were not at work, I would have said we should do it, but now the IBC process is at work, I would strengthen that if necessary and rely on the banks themselves to go to the ARCs if necessary. Since resources are always going to be a constraint for a government in an economy which is recovering very slowly, would you favour unconventional measures like monetising the deficits? Monetisation anyway is RBI’s decision. If it wants to monetise, it can go in and buy the government securities and put money into the market. That is the conventional way we used to do it where the government will write the securities directly to the central bank and central bank will give equivalent amounts of money. It is no longer really needed and it is not desirable either because other processes accomplish the same thing that is the purchase of the securities in the secondary market, in a far more transparent manner. It takes place at a market interest rate whereas when you do a direct transaction, you do not know what the appropriate interest rate is. One demand which periodically resurfaces is since India has huge forex reserves which are earning very little, why not use these forex reserves to fund infrastructure as these will create jobs and vital infrastructure? Is that a good use of forex reserves?At the end of the day, it ultimately comes down to asking whether it is desirable for the government to run larger fiscal deficits. We had an earlier play of it during UPA-1. I wrote about this and in the end my conclusion analytically was that there is no easy way to do this without also showing this on to the books of the government. It will have to ultimately reflect somehow in terms of the fiscal deficit because the spending ultimately has to be done by the government. You have talked about transparency and even if you create some sort of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) and put it on those books, it still ultimately is a part of the government liability and will certainly show up in terms of interests that will have to be paid by the government. It is up to the central government and if the interest earned on these assets is very low, which I am sure it is because most of it sits in treasury bills in the United States, should we have a sovereign wealth fund or something which then is invested in more lucrative higher return securities or even equities? That will be a much bigger decision. To me, the main issue is that you know whatever it is on the accounts of any of the public entities which are not an integral part of the budget, we should list that fully. I do not think that the ratings agencies know what is on the books and what is not on the books. It will be nice for the analysts to be able to get that in one single place. We should start that practice. Some of it got done in the previous budget. We have to do a bit more of that bringing all the expenditures together so even the government will find it useful to have all these listed somewhere in the budget itself.
Categories: Business News

Vistara commences daily flight service to Sharjah

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
MUMBAI: Vistara, a joint venture of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, Wednesday started daily services to and from Sharjah, under the travel bubble agreement between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).This is Vistara’s second destination in the UAE, in addition to its 4-times weekly connectivity between Delhi and Dubai.Starting 24 January 2021, the airline will also fly daily between Mumbai and Sharjah.The airline has a fleet of 45 aircraft, including 35 Airbus A320, two Airbus A321neo, six Boeing 737-800NG, and two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, and has flown more than 20 million customers since starting operations.
Categories: Business News

Centre withdraws plea against R-Day rally

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday appealed to the farmers protesting the controversial Farm Laws in and around Delhi to maintain peace on Republic Day. They also refused to hear a Delhi Police plea to stop the proposed tractor rally. "We find it highly irregular to decide in the first instance whether to allow or disallow a rally or a procession," said a three judge bench led by CJI S.A. Bobde."That is the prerogative of the executive and police have to take a call on this," said CJI Bobde, while asking the cops to withdraw their plea.The Delhi Police had said, in their plea, that a rally would affect the dignity of the Republic Day parade and disturb peace.The bench, however, squashed the plea, reiterating that it was a law and order issue involving policing. "Police must decide who will enter Delhi and in what numbers," said CJI Bobde.Now, Delhi Police can only regulate the parallel rally proposed on the ring road as it cannot crack down on it while the court was dealing with the farmers protests.The Attorney General for India, KK Venugopal, tried to urge the court to keep the plea pending but was denied."The farmers have committed to holding the rally peacefully," said Venugopal, but expressed apprehensions of a possible breach of peace. The CJI then appealed to the farmers' union to ensure a peaceful Republic Day.
Categories: Business News

Rijiju gets additional charge of AYUSH Ministry

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
New Delhi: Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has been temporarily assigned the charge of the Ministry of AYUSH, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique issued on Tuesday. The move was necessitated as Shripad Yesso Naik, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Goa. Shripad Yesso Naik (68) was admitted to the hospital on January 12 after he met with an accident while on his way back to Goa from Karnataka. The minister's wife and his close aide had succumbed to the injuries in the accident. "The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed that during the hospitalization and treatment of Naik, following a road accident, his portfolio related to Ministry of AYUSH be temporarily assigned to Kiren Rijiju in addition to his existing portfolios," according to the statement.The president has further directed that this arrangement may continue till Naik resumes his work related to Ministry of AYUSH, it said.
Categories: Business News

Where the super rich are investing in the market

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
Within the midcap space, we are betting on companies like Indian Energy Exchange or Crompton Consumers, Havells and some of the PSU names like Bharat Electronics and GAIL, says Hemang Jani, Equity Strategist & Senior Group VP, MOFSL. You represent a HNI and an ultra-HNI crowd. What are they buying? Given the kind of up move that we have seen in the markets, there is a lot of appetite for the midcap and small cap companies. We have been covering a few of them and retail in particular has a fancy for stocks which have a low absolute price compared to valuations. That is something we are seeing as a major trend particularly from smaller retail clients or clients who have come into the market for the first time. So, within the midcap space, we have been liking companies like Indian Energy Exchange or Crompton Consumers, Havells some of the PSU names like Bharat Electronics, GAIL because that sector again is in the limelight and the absolute prices are not too high with some of them offering very high dividend yields as well. The second category to witness very good appetite and excitement are IPOs. The last three-four IPOs have been superhit in terms of the listing as well as the kind of upside that we are seeing and 2021 is a year where there is such a strong IPO pipeline that you know there is going to be a lot of excitement from retail participants and even from HNIs. They are looking for some good funding deals. Overall compared to the largecaps, where the typical large investors would have a holding from a momentum in retail participation point of view, these are the two areas where we are seeing a lot of excitement midcap, small cap and IPO. Which are the stocks you are telling your clients to buy?Housing Finance is one sector. Given the uptick that we are seeing in the real estate names and the entire ecosystem around housing, even the Budget could be an important factor and we think these housing finance companies can do exceptionally well. We have seen a very good up move in HDFC, LIC Housing and recently we have initiated a coverage on Can Fin Homes which typically lends only to the salaried class and it is far more smaller in terms of size and valuations. This is one space where we are exceptionally positive because a) it is a leverage play, b) you have a very strong visibility and because of the kind of development which have happened in the last two years where companies like Dewan Housing and to some extent Indiabulls has gone through the pain, the markets share gain and the overall growth for some of the other companies have been much much higher. This is one space where we are exceptionally positive on the names like LIC Housing, Can Fin Homes, HDFC etc.
Categories: Business News

DC on lockdown before Biden's inauguration

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
WASHINGTON: The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will take place in a Washington on edge, after the deadly riot at the US Capitol unleashed a wave of fear and unmatched security concerns.And law enforcement officials are contending not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack by troops with a duty to protect him.There have been no specific threats made against Biden.The nation's capital is essentially on lockdown. More than 25,000 troops and police have been called to duty. Tanks and concrete barriers block the streets. The National Mall is closed. Fencing lines the perimeter of the US Capitol complex. Checkpoints sit at intersections. The US Secret Service, which is in charge of the event, says it is prepared.But law enforcement officials have been monitoring members of far-right extremist and militia groups. They have grown increasingly concerned about the possibility such groups could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said.Even in the hours before the event, federal agents were monitoring “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said.And 12 National Guard members were removed from the security operation after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event.Pentagon officials wouldn't give details on the statements.Two other US officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online.The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.”The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.Gen Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for potential issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event.Their removal from the massive security presence at the nation's capital came amid worries from US defense officials about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members following the deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6 by Trump supporters.The FBI has been working to vet all 25,000 National Guard in town. Officials have said the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat.But the FBI has also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that right-wing fringe groups could pose as members of the National Guard, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter.Over the summer, a man carrying a handgun and an assault rifle was arrested in Los Angeles and charged with impersonating a National Guard member during a protest. Actual Guardsmen confronted him when they noticed things out of place on his uniform.Investigators in Washington are particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, could descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said.Some of the extremist groups are known to recruit former military personnel and train extensively and have frequented anti-government and political protests.That concern intensified significantly after investigators identified members of right-wing extremist groups participating in the Capitol riot.The nation's capital has been on edge since the deadly insurrection.A fire in a homeless camp roughly a mile from the Capitol complex prompted an evacuation Monday during a rehearsal for the inauguration.The arrests of two people with guns who entered the checkpoints set off concerns, though the arrests had no apparent connection to the inauguration.Federal law enforcement officials have also been wary of increased surveillance of military and law enforcement checkpoints and other positions.Some National Guard troops have reported people taking pictures and recording them, said the law enforcement officials, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing security matters.In a related problem, the Secret Service issued a bulletin over the weekend about what it sees as an “uptick” in National Guard troops posting pictures and details of their own operations online.The AP obtained the message sent to all National Guard troops coming to Washington. The bulletin read, “No service members should be posting locations, pictures or descriptions online regarding current operations or the sensitive sites they are protecting” and urged them to stop immediately.Asked about the bulletin, a spokesperson for the Secret Service said the agency “does not comment on matters of protective intelligence.”Neither Hokanson nor Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman would provide details on the comments or texts made by the two Guard members.
Categories: Business News

Iron ore imports from India up nearly 90%

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
BEIJING/NEW DELHI: Australia and Brazil, the world's two largest iron ore producers, remained China's top suppliers in 2020, but imports from India soared 88% as Chinese mills diversified sources amid sky-high raw materials prices. Australian shipments rose 7% to 713 million tonnes, while Brazilian supplies were up 3.5% at 235.7 million tonnes, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on Wednesday. "The two countries' rise could not fully meet China's demand," said Tang Chuanlin, analyst with CITIC Securities, "Mills had to buy from other countries." The world's top steel producer imported 44.8 million tonnes of iron ore from India last year, compared with the 23.8 million tonnes purchased in 2019, and was the most in nine years. China churned out a record 1.05 billion tonnes of crude steel in 2020, with demand boosted by Beijing stimulus for infrastructure. India, the world's third-biggest steelmaker, suffered a 12.6% decline in the nine months though December from same period year earlier, government data showed, leaving more iron ore to sell to Chinese buyers. Tang also noted that Chinese steel firms were using more low-grade ore, like India's, as part of an effort to lower costs. Almost two-thirds of India's iron ore exports to China had less than 58% iron content, according to Indian mining industry estimates. "The purchases will continue until March (on strong Chinese demand)," said B.K. Bhatia, joint secretary general of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, the country's biggest mining lobby group. Bhatia expected Chinese buying to continue through until March, but said it was too difficult to predict demand beyond then. Spot prices of iron ore with 62% iron content for delivery to China jumped 73% in 2020, while 58% iron ore soared 91%, according to SteelHome consultancy.
Categories: Business News

Not the time for big bang tax reform: View

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
The coming budget offers narrow scope for sweeping tax reform, and the focus must be on making existing taxes work efficiently. The steep cut in corporate tax rates in 2019-20 — to 22% for domestic companies and 15% for domestic new manufacturing companies from 30% provided they give up exemptions and the minimum alternate tax — would take some more time to work through the system and stabilise revenues.Lowering the goods and services tax (GST) rates and widening the tax base is the remit of the GST Council. And a reduction in personal income-tax rates can wait given the huge shortfall in revenues due to the contraction in growth.A possible reform is to raise the tax-exempt limit of Rs 1.5 lakh on savings schemes for individuals, unchanged since 2014-15, to let taxpayers (mostly the salaried) diversify their financial savings to more rewarding instruments. Today, less than 4% of taxpayers pay income-tax and only a few thousand declare income over Rs 1 crore.Deploying big data analytics to assiduously pursue audit trails thrown up by GST is the way to widen the tax base. Following up on the sales of basic and intermediate goods producers down the transaction chain will curb evasion. Surcharges that distort the tax system must be scrapped. The exempt-exempt-tax (EET) system — where tax is charged only on the part of income used for consumption — can apply to fresh savings, grandfathering extant schemes.The average customs tariff of 14% is way too high. Imports are treated as inter-state sales within the country, and attract integrated GST that is eligible for input tax credit.Ideally, a uniform import duty of 5% on raw materials, intermediate goods and final goods, giving all lines of value addition the same rate of effective protection, will end classification disputes and help fight inflation. The dispute-resolution mechanism must also be strengthened. Clear and simple tax laws, stability and certainty in these laws, and an efficient tax administration will make India an attractive investment destination.
Categories: Business News

Mahindra has a premium plan for Peugeot

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
Vehicle maker Mahindra group is understood to be drawing up a strategy to stay invested only in premium two wheelers and sees premium bikes from Peugeot Motocycles (PMTC) as a potential growth area after being singed in the mass market post its buyout of Kinetic.The new Mahindra management looks at realigning its business portfolio plan as high end two-wheelers account for 80-90% of profits, Mahindra plans to stay invested in French company PMTC, which is not a mass market player. Having launched the iconic Jawa under its Classic Legends (CLPL) portfolio, Mahindra is all set to launch BSA as its next offering under its Classic Legends umbrella.Interestingly, recent brokerage reports mentioned that as part of Mahindra’s exiting loss-making subsidiaries, PMTC could be a likely possibility in the near future. PMTC posted a loss of INR 256 crore in FY 20.The company feels it is well positioned in Classic Legends, which is even identified as one of the growth areas amongst ten potential gems earmarked by the group.“With 80-90% of the profit made by high end two wheelers, Mahindra feels that’s an important market to play in. We see it as a very important market to be in and that is where with Jawa and BSA, we are getting back that grand diversity reception from consumers”, said Anish Shah, deputy managing director of M&M, adding that this business has a lot of potential. The company also sees potential in electric two wheelers and is currently adopting a wait-and-watch policy for that segment for its Europe play. “With regard to PMTC, it is today on a very good trajectory and has done better than expected. They are leaders in electric two wheelers in Europe and that is the space we feel has strong potential”, adds Shah.However, not all experts agree to this game plan, pointing out Mahindra’s poor run in the 2-wheeler space over the years mentioning their lack of technology, expertise and manpower to run such a business. Hitesh Goel, director, research, automobiles & components, Kotak Institutional Equities, says Mahindra should come out of the two-wheeler business.“The company will, at the moment, focus all its energy on SsangYong and take a wait and watch ( may be a year or two) on how the two wheeler business pans out before taking a call”, he adds.Analysts say if the company continues to stay invested, it makes sense to play in electric and premium end of the two wheeler space. "I am a bit unsure how it will pan out as Classic Legends has not really set the charts on fire and being plagued by service and maintenance issues. While Peugeot is not really a premium brand, they will struggle if the price positioning is incorrect. So essentially, wanting to play only in the premium space is fine, but their choice of products/brands is not reflective of that”, said Kaushik Madhavan, vice president, mobility practice, Frost & Sullivan.Mahindra has not done particularly well in the mass two-wheeler space with products like Stallion and Centuro. Classic Legends has its own set of problems including parts constraints and order cancellations due to poor delivery schedules. Despite demand for such bikes, CLPL has been unable to expand capacity too, say sources. Mahindra Two Wheelers acquired 51% equity stake in Peugeot Motorcycles in 2015, to increase its presence in the European scooter market. The electric two wheelers is the new growth area and it’s very likely that the new models produced between Mahindra and Peugeot will be electric, say experts.
Categories: Business News

Budget must fix the labour market to boost demand

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has described her upcoming budget as unlike anything seen in the last 100 years.When she presents it on Feb. 1, Sitharaman will not only aim to repair battered government finances and ensure demand recovers in an economy facing its worst contraction since 1952, she must also revive declining revenue and restore millions of jobs lost during the pandemic. That will be crucial to boosting consumer sentiment in a country where local demand contributes nearly 60% of gross domestic product.“The virus has led to a demand shock and the budget might need to focus on that,” said Bank of America economist Indranil Sen Gupta, pointing to in-house surveys that showed 19% of respondents were laid off during the pandemic. Demand has to be created either through cutting taxes on fuels or providing income support and spending on infrastructure projects, he said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been parsimonious in pump-priming the economy, for fear of a rating downgrade to junk, and may find that kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. With the central bank halting monetary easing since mid-2020, citing high inflation, the onus is on Sitharaman to loosen the budget despite having meager resources to work with.The fiscal cost of steps announced so far account for less than 2% of GDP, and compares to direct spending of roughly 3% on average in other emerging markets, according to S&P Global Ratings.Analysts believe that tax cuts, higher capital expenditure and greater spending on infrastructure projects -- which tend to support low-income earners -- hold the key to unlocking demand for goods and services.In December, 38.7 million Indians were unemployed, latest data from private think-tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. showed. Purchasing managers’ surveys separately pointed to job losses in both the services and manufacturing sectors -- which together make up more than 65% of the economy. That’s pushed the jobless rate higher to 9.1% in December, the highest since June, according to CMIE, as the pandemic continued to play havoc on the economy.Those numbers lay bare the absence of private capital spending and highlight the need for government expenditure to lead a recovery in investments and ensure that the rebound is more durable.“Public spending-led job creation is sine-qua-non for the recovery,” said Kunal Kundu, an economist with Societe Generale GSC Pvt. in Bengaluru. It’s time for the government to “improve the quality of its expenditure with a major focus on infrastructure spending, which has high employment elasticity.”What Bloomberg Economics Says...“We expect recovery momentum to continue and likely get a major lift from additional stimulus in the upcoming budget announcement on Feb. 1. The government’s vaccination drive should also boost consumer and business sentiment.” -- Abhishek Gupta, India economist.Spending more will be a key challenge for the administration, which had a roadmap for narrowing fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP before the pandemic hit. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see stimulus steps, along with falling tax revenue, pushing India’s budget gap wider to about 8% of GDP in the current financial year ending March, more the double a 3.5% target.But a pick up in tax collections in the October-December quarter offers hope. Improved revenue, as well as income from asset sales, should help the government rein in its deficit in the next fiscal year. That, in turn, will open the room for more capital and welfare spending, supporting greater economic activity and drawing millions of migrant labourers who fled to their rural homes during the lockdown.“Some labourers may find their urban jobs do not exist anymore, and may require social welfare benefits for longer,” said Pranjul Bhandari, chief India economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Mumbai.. “In the short run, the accumulated savings of high earners can support GDP growth. But once that wears off, the lack of demand can potentially lower medium-term growth. As such, the continuation of social welfare spending will become important.”
Categories: Business News

IT, pharma good long-term buys;value in PSUs

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
Good stocks and businesses will attract a significant amount of money in the next one, one-and-a-half years, says Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Group Chairman, Inditrade Capital What is defining the trend for the market right now?The writing was on the wall as far as markets are concerned. There was some amount of correction for two days -- a combination of profit taking and little bit of risk aversion amongst domestic traders. The amount of liquidity which the global markets have got and there’s promise of fresh bout of liquidity. Biden is talking about a $1.9 trillion push, which probably would not happen. But it is going to be above $1 trillion. Everybody is pretty sure that a significant amount of that will flow into the emerging markets including India. So the gush of liquidity which we have been experiencing is not going away anywhere. If at all, it is going to increase and emerging markets like India definitely will get a lion’s share of that liquidity. So Indian markets are not going anywhere. There is only one way, it is going to go up. It cannot be going down as long as this amount of liquidity is there in the global markets. So let us be prepared. Yes, some valuations are looking a bit stretched. We need to be a little careful but good stocks and businesses will attract a significant amount of money in the next one, one-and-a-half years. Where do you think the valuations are not too hot to handle?I will try and answer in a couple of segments. One segment is where we see a re-rating happening and where we believe it is going to continue. IT is one sector I have been confident about for the last six months. Now everybody in the Street is talking about how IT is going to get re-rated but this is real and it is going to continue for some time. It is not going to end. Look at the body language. The management commentary of all the IT companies show how confident they are. The response they are getting in the market, the kind of businesses, the deal wins which is happening is unheard of. The margins are improving and the kind of margins they are achieving have not been seen for the last two-three years and it is going to go up from here. If you want good quality IT stocks, stick to the large caps. Wipro, Infosys, TCS and HCL can be picked up and held for a year plus. If you are looking at slightly smaller IT companies, look at the performance of MindTree. We are confident about many other IT companies. If you are really considering value buying in this market, PSU is one pocket which needs to be looked at. They have not yet attracted the kind of valuation which their private sector peers are attracting. Look at the leading power company in India. NTPC is by far the largest. At Rs 100, NTPC is a great buy. We see at least a value of around Rs 130-140 within a period of 6-12 months. Even if you consider the kind of dividend yield which a company can give at Rs 100 valuation, it is going to be much better than some of the other safe instruments which you will get. So these are the kind of stocks which one can look at. One more sector which I like to talk about is pharma. There are question marks on valuations but in spite of that, we believe Indian pharma still has a long way to go. But one has to be a little careful as to which company you are picking up, which specialisation or which segment they are in. So both IT, pharma for long term and PSU in pockets for value buying. What do you feel is driving the Reliance comeback?First of all, there was no rationale for the Reliance stock to go down that much. There was a bit of a question mark over their petchem business and the entire refining business. Nothing was happening in the Saudi Aramco tie up and the market has been waiting for it for quite some time. The second issue which was kind of bugging is that telecom tariff hike was not coming. It was expected and as far as Reliance valuation is concerned, one of the important things has been a telecom price hike over the next couple of years. So telecom price hike has to be there for Reliance to achieve what we were all expecting it to be doing. The third and the important thing is the listing of the Jio Platform as well as retail whether in India or in some of international bourses. There has been no news and so a bit of a lull as far as the counter was concerned. But a couple of things are happening. One, with the oil prices going up the expectations are around the GRMs improving as far as the refining business is concerned. Also, the signs are there that the tariff hike in telecom may come sooner than later. These are the two things which are driving at this point in time. It is definitely a good stock and the FIIs are buying. There will definitely be traction towards buying Reliance.
Categories: Business News

Ravi Shastri’s post-win speech is perfect CEOspeak

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
A new order in Indian cricket stamped its mark as a young bunch led by Ajinkya Rahane brought Australia crumbling at Brisbane. For the Aussies, it was defeat, coupled with pain and humiliation as India created history by inflicting loss on the hosts who have never lost a Test at the Gabba stadium since 1988.And acknowledging the rise of the new order and the newer lot of heroes was Team India coach Ravi Shastri. In his post-match speech to the cricketers in the dressing room, the 58-year-old felicitated the team for their collective effort. Like a good manager, and a CEO, he also highlighted some key performances and the men behind it. At the start of the 3-minute-long speech which has been uploaded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on its website, Shastri did a quick recap of all the negatives that had bogged Team India down Down Under. He recalled the ills - injuries, debacle at Adelaide, motivation, apprehension - that the bunch had overcome to thrash Australia and win the Border-Gavaskar Test series 2-1. While lauding the team’s resilience and spirit, he also appreciated the stupendous effort put in by the youngsters.WATCH - Exclusive: Head Coach @RaviShastriOfc delivers a dressing room speech at Gabba.A special series win in Au… https://t.co/UWM65wPROL— BCCI (@BCCI) 1611070085000He praised Chandigarh boy Shubman Gill for his fluent 91, and called Cheteshwar Pujara “the ultimate warrior” for enduring several blows during his 56 runs in India's second innings. For Shastri, the 23-year-old Pant was "simply outstanding" even though the latter, while staying unbeaten at 89, did create some anxiety with some of his batting shots.He appreciated Captain Rahane, who had taken on the skipper’s mantle after Virat Kohli returned to India for the birth of his first child, for being able “to lead the side from the position that we were in and to make them bounce back in the middle the way you had, simply superb.”And like a good corporate leader who is able to take everyone along, Shastri remembered to acknowledge the contribution of the three debutants who gave their best. He showered high praise on R Natarjan, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur for rallying behind the team when it was needed the most. But it was not just work. Shastri, who is known to enjoy good rapport with the present team, also urged the team to bask in the glory of the win and “enjoy the moment.”“Enjoy the moment, lads, enjoy it. These things don't happen every day," Shastri said.The video shows Shastri addressing the team, positioned in a circle. The coach is flanked by captain Rahane by his side, as he thanks everyone from the players to the masseurs, physio and the ground staff for their support and help. Some excerpts from his speech:"Courage, resolve, strength you guys have shown is unreal. Not for once you were down. Injuries, 36 all out, (and still) you had the self-belief in you. This hasn't happened overnight but now you have got that self-belief and you can see where it can take you. "Today, forget India, the whole world will stand up and salute you. Remember what you guys did today; you need to enjoy this moment. Don't let it go away, enjoy as much as you can. All the debutantes, the support staff, everybody. You have been simply outstanding.Onwards, and upwards, as Team India get ready to take on England next.
Categories: Business News

Govt to discuss proposed India e-commerce policy

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
New Delhi: The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will hold an inter-ministerial consultation on Thursday on the proposed e-commerce policy that seeks to subject companies that store or mirror Indian users’ data overseas to periodic audits and set up a regulator for the sector.An e-commerce law that restricts the information that these companies can store, use, transfer, process and analyse is also on the agenda. Various ministries had raised concerns over the role of a regulator and protection of consumer data in the policy.“The inter-ministerial meeting will take stock of the proposed policy as it stands today and the various issues raised by other ministries,” said an official.Industry experts say the restrictions under consideration could require both Flipkart and Amazon to significantly restructure their businesses. Following Press Note 2 of 2018, Amazon had reduced its stake in the parent companies of the two largest sellers on its platform, Cloudtail India Pvt. Ltd. and Appario Retail Pvt. Ltd., but a further tightening of norms may even force it to completely divest from the two businesses. Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart continues to use its business-to-business entity to sell to vendors on its platform, which would need to stop if rules are tightened, said experts."Any major alterations to the FDI policy at this juncture will have an adverse impact on SMBs and the startup community who are all getting re-energised to tap into newer opportunities," said an Amazon spokesperson. "We continue to remain committed to complete compliance to all applicable laws and we will continue to work with the government on enhancing our contribution to the Indian economy."Also Read: India planning tighter FDI rules for e-commerce sectorThe draft e-commerce policy, which was first discussed at various echelons of the government last year, elicited concerns such as overlap with other legislation, categories of data that require mirroring and the reach of the proposed regulator.The ministries of electronics and IT, corporate affairs, finance and agriculture, besides the Reserve Bank of India, are among the stakeholders likely to attend the meeting. As per another official, Press Note 2, which bans entities related to an e-commerce marketplace from selling its goods on that marketplace and applied restrictions to those entities whose inventory was controlled by the marketplace, is also on the agenda. The draft policy provides for regulation on issues such as security, law and order, law enforcement, taxation and safety of individuals to enable the government to have speedy access to data carried on ecommerce platforms that operate in the country.
Categories: Business News

Flipkart puts food platform plan in cold storage

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
Kolkata: Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart is likely to suspend plans to set up a separate platform to sell food directly to consumers, said two industry executives. The management is of the view that it will be difficult to drive traffic to, or exploit synergies with, its flagship e-commerce marketplace, the people said.Flipkart didn’t respond to queries.The government, last year, rejected Flipkart’s foreign direct investment (FDI) application to set up Flipkart FarmerMart — which was supposed to be a seller on the platform — as it didn’t comply with Press Note 2, which came into effect from February 2019. Press Note 2 stipulates that foreign e-commerce platforms can neither hold inventory, nor own equity directly or through group companies, in their seller entities.The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is said to have told Flipkart that it will need to set up a separate platform — a strategy the company reviewed and decided against for now, said the industry executives cited above.Press Note 2 norms came into force three years after the government allowed foreign physical and online retailers to sell food items if they were produced and manufactured in India. Executives said Amazon had moved swiftly and received FDI approval for its food venture in 2017 and hence can continue since this happened before Press Note 2 norms were notified. But Flipkart’s plan to invest in a supply chain for sourcing fresh produce directly from farmers and selling to consumers through its marketplace hit a roadblock.A senior DPIIT official said the government will clear FDI applications that conform to sectoral FDI norms. “Press Note 2 is a part of the policy. In fact, it is a medium through which policy changes are notified,” he said. Walmart India, which runs a chain of wholesale cash and carry outlets, sources about 25% of fresh produce directly from farmers.
Categories: Business News

L&T, fertiliser stocks could benefit fromBudget

Business News - January 20, 2021 - 7:58pm
Any further rationalisation in the subsidy, apart from easing the burden for the government, helps the fertiliser companies, says Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Group Chairman, Inditrade Capital. What could the Budget mean for stock specific movers or any individual sectors?There has to be a lot of focus on public spending and if that happens, the large construction companies, particularly a company like L&T should benefit out of that. So I will be a buyer in L&T pre budget if I have to take a trade. That is one trade which I think I am willing to bet on. The other area I can look at is fertiliser. The fertiliser subsidy is one single item in the Union Budget which has not really moved much. It is still about Rs 85,000-90,000 crore and something needs to be done about it. Any further rationalisation in the subsidy, apart from easing the burden for the government, helps the fertiliser companies. I will be looking closely in that area as well and remember this is going to be a long awaited structural change. So a Chambal Fertiliser, a Coromandel International, RCF all need to be looked at carefully pre budget.
Categories: Business News

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