Business News

BCCI announces Rs 5 cr bonus for Indian team

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 4:57pm
The BCCI on Tuesday announced a Rs 5 crore bonus for the Indian cricket team after the Ajinkya Rahane-led side won the fourth and final Test against Australia to clinch the series 2-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. India chased down 328 in the final Test to end Australia's 32-year unbeaten run at the Gabba, Brisbane. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Secertary Jay Shah tweeted within minutes of each other to make the annoucement of a bonus. "Just a remarkable win...To go to Australia and win a test series in this way ..will be remembered in the history of indian cricket forever ..Bcci announces a 5 cr bonus for the team ..The value of this win is beyond any number ..well done to every member of the touring party," Ganguly tweeted. Just a remarkable win...To go to Australia and win a test series in this way ..will be remembered in the history of… https://t.co/xqEqix2BvM— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) 1611043282000"The @BCCI has announced INR 5 Crore as team bonus. These are special moments for India Cricket. An outstanding display of character and skill," Shah tweeted minutes ahead of him. The @BCCI has announced INR 5 Crore as team bonus. These are special moments for India Cricket. An outstanding disp… https://t.co/rsNUc6YOam— Jay Shah (@JayShah) 1611042752000 In another post, Shah lauded the performances of India's young brigade in the absence of some key players due to injury. "#TeamIndia has redefined words like resilience, grit and determination this #BorderGavaskarTrophy. You have inspired the entire nation. Well done, @ajinkyarahane88 @RaviShastriOfc & the boys. Special mention to Siraj @RishabhPant17 @RealShubmanGill," read his another post.
Categories: Business News

India create history at Gabba, Modi, Pichai laud team

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 4:57pm
As India clinched a scintillating 3-wicket win against hosts Australia at the Gabba Test in Brisbane, congratulations poured in for the cricketing bunch. The team led by Ajinkya Rahane put up a brave fight and bagged the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar series, winning it by 2-1.India’s win over the Aussies has been dubbed as “historic”. And not without reason. The last time a touring team managed to have the last laugh at the Brisbane Cricket Ground was almost 33 years ago in November 1988. At the time, Sir Vivian Richards led the Caribbeans to a thumping win over Allan Border's team by 9 wickets. The Brisbane Cricket Ground, commonly known as the Gabba, has remained a fortress for the hosts, and no one, till now has been able to breach that. And one of the first to acknowledge India’s historic feat was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who hailed the “stellar intent and remarkable grit” shown by the side. While he lauded them for their “remarkable energy and passion”, his colleague and Home Minister Amit Shah called it a “historic” win. We are all overjoyed at the success of the Indian Cricket Team in Australia. Their remarkable energy and passion wa… https://t.co/SJXTJwpgEm— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1611042538000Hats off to Indian Cricket Team for registering a historic series win. Entire nation is proud of your remarkable ac… https://t.co/J00W0NT1cc— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1611043842000Across the world, in the United States, Sundar Pichai also seemed to have been tuned in to the game that saw Rishabh Pant script a new high for himself as he became the fastest Indian wicket-keeper batsman to score 1,000 Test runs, thereby breaking former India captain MS Dhoni's record of 32 innings. The Google boss called the Gabba game “one of the greatest Test series wins ever” while congratulating both sides.One of the greatest test series wins ever. Congrats India and well played Australia, what a series #INDvsAUS— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) 1611042179000The Indian team has had a fantastic turnaround in the series. From being crushed for 36 in the first Test to scripting a win like this, it has been a great learning experience for the series. Rahane led the team confidently after Virat Kohli had to fly back to India for the birth of his first child with wife Anushka Sharma. The 33-year-old skipper congratulated the team on Twitter, and had a message for critics who had reservations about the team's calibre after the Adelaide debacle. WHAT A WIN!!! Yessssss. To everyone who doubted us after Adelaide, stand up and take notice. Exemplary performance… https://t.co/pz5JhDgamH— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) 1611044547000Former India opener Virender Sehwag while hailing India's performance, took a dig at the "Australian arrogance and pride."India had many players injured, but what has been injured more has been the Australian arrogance & pride.The test… https://t.co/NLiiD2rv6G— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) 1611045329000
Categories: Business News

Epidemics lead biggest short-term risks: WEF

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 4:57pm
LONDON: Infectious diseases and livelihood crises led the rankings of risks expected to pose a critical threat to the world in the next two years, according to a survey of more than 650 World Economic Forum (WEF) members from business, government and academia.Extreme weather events and cybersecurity failure were also key risks, WEF said in an annual risks report on Tuesday.The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a devastating impact on many livelihoods, as global lockdowns have led to job losses and business closures. It has also exacerbated issues such as increasing inequalities over access to technology and the threat of civil unrest."The pandemic has accelerated trends that have been coming for a long time," said Carolina Klint, risk management leader, Continental Europe, at insurance broker Marsh.Medium-term worries include burst asset bubbles and debt crises, the report found, while the biggest long-term concerns were of the use of weapons of mass destruction and of state collapses."As governments, businesses and societies begin to emerge from the pandemic, they must now urgently shape new economic and social systems that improve our collective resilience and capacity to respond to shocks while reducing inequality, improving health and protecting the planet," said Saadia Zahidi, managing director at the WEF.Peter Giger, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance, remained optimistic about rebuilding after the pandemic."The history of the economy suggests that every major structural change has led to higher employment," he said.The world's leaders will hold a virtual Davos Agenda event next week, instead of the traditional January event in Switzerland, and a face-to-face meeting in Singapore in May.The report was compiled together with insurance companies Zurich and Marsh & McLennan and South Korea's SK Group.
Categories: Business News

Improved affordability supports housing demand recovery; sustainability key to recovery, ICRA

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 4:57pm
MUMBAI: Improved affordability led by record-low home loan rates, government initiatives including stamp duty waivers and discounts offered by realty developers has stimulated demand for housing.Housing sales volumes that had declined by 62 per cent on-year in June quarter across top 8 Indian cities, bounced back considerably in subsequent quarters, helping limit the on-year decline in December quarter at 7 per cent. The sequential growth in housing sales in September and December quarter was 60 per cent and 53 per cent, sequentially. Sustainability of the trend, however, is the key to a continued recovery, said ratings agency ICRA.Housing affordability in India has historically been low, with unit pricing remaining high due to rising land costs, zoning and floor indices-based restrictions, and high transaction costs and taxes, such as stamp duty and registration charges.In recent years though, the government has been taking steps towards moderating real estate transaction, finance costs and taxes, through measures such as higher income tax incentives for first time buyers in the form of housing loan interest deduction, credit-linked subsidy schemes under PMAY for purchases in the affordable and mid segments, etc.Post the onset of Covid-19, a steep reduction in home loan rates, together with other state and Central Government incentives, has further supported affordability and in turn, housing demand, thereby stimulating some recovery from post-Covid lows.“While the increase in GDP per capita has outstripped the increase in housing prices, which has resulted in some improvement in affordability over the years, overall affordability remains low, with an average house estimated to cost around 44 times the GDP per capita in FY2021. In recent quarters though, reduced home loan rates, attractive payment schemes/discounts and reduction of stamp duties in certain key states on the back of Covid-19, has significantly brought down housing costs and stimulated housing demand,” said Shubham Jain, Senior Vice President and Group Head at ICRA.Repo-linked lending rate (RLLR) for home loans have touched a historical low, with the rates dropping below 7 per cent. Banks are also offering discounts on processing fees etc. Given the prevailing economic uncertainties, repo rates are likely to remain low over the near-to-medium term, and thus home buyers may continue to benefit from the same into 2021-22.Developers have also recognised the liquidity issues being faced by home buyers, and have thus offered deferred payment schemes and/or discounts in various forms, such as freebies, the Goods & Services Tax waivers etc.Further, weakness in the rupee has also supported affordability for the non-resident Indians, and stimulated demand from that segment, ICRA said.Certain states including Maharashtra and Karnataka, which contain the key housing markets of Mumbai and Bangalore, have extended 2-3 per cent reductions in stamp duty for a limited time, which has spurred housing registrations to reach all-time highs in some areas.The central government is encouraging other states to extend similar reductions, and effective implementation of the same would continue to boost housing sales in 2021-22.The Maharashtra Government has also reduced construction premiums for developers by 50 per cent up till December 2021, and in turn, has required the developers availing of this scheme to pay stamp duty on behalf of the buyers, which would further boost demand in the region, the ratings agency said.Mumbai has amongst the highest construction premium levies in the country, with such premiums typically amounting to around 10-15 per cent of the selling price.As per ICRA estimates, even after payment of stamp duty on behalf of the buyers, the developer would still gain by up to 4.5 per cent of the selling price, which would result in improved project viability. Additional pass on of some this benefit to the consumers would further improve affordability and demand.
Categories: Business News

Rising health awareness amid the pandemic set to accelerate sale and visibility of premium salt segment: Tata Salt

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 4:57pm
Bengaluru: Edible salt market will be 100% branded in the next 4-5 years and the market for value-added salt category, accelerated by the pandemic, will gain a lot more visibility now, said Tata Consumer Products. The maker of the eponymous salt brand Tata Salt and market leader in the category estimates the salt market growing at 2-4% driven by increasing consumer awareness about health and quality. Currently, about 7% of the salt market is accounted by unbranded players.“The desire to be healthy than just a tick mark on the checklist was the biggest trend this fiscal. There has been an actual shift than just talking the talk. Consumers are making more conscious choices,” Richa Arora, president, packaged foods - India at Tata Consumer Products, told ET. The FMCG company, that also sells packaged tea, pulses, spices and ready-to-cook meals, registered 11% growth in revenue in its salt division and gained market share in the second quarter ended September. Consumer reports and data points studied over the last six months, overlapping with the pandemic, showed increase in market share for the company, it added. “Currently we have 30% market share but we will be growing aggressively to seize share. We will enter new geographies and continue to focus on our value-added salt segment this year,” said Arora. While Tata Salt, the country's first iodised salt brand, was launched close to four decades ago, the company later expanded the portfolio with premium or value-added salt such as fortified salt and low sodium variant and more recently natural products such as black salt and rock salt. In the second quarter ended September, the company had registered 100% growth in value-added salt segment compared to the same period in 2019. In a follow-up analyst call, Tata Consumer had said that the company was looking to further expand the portfolio in salt to give variety to consumers and in turn increase margins.“Consumers, especially youngsters, have become more health conscious amid the pandemic. Indian consumer is value-conscious but not price conscious,” said Arora, adding, “Premium salt segment is driving the image of the brand. There is a lot of room for growth within the segment. These are not passing trends.” Premiumisation agenda will be percolating into the company’s overall food segment and not just salt in 2021, she hinted.The market for packaged iodized salt in India is estimated to be worth about Rs 22 billion.Other domestic brands include ITC’s Aashirvaad, Surya Salt, Nirma Shudh, Annapurna Salt and Saffola Salt.
Categories: Business News

Buy metal, financial and auto stocks on dips

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
If the correction continues, I would like to buy into the metal stocks like Hindustan Zinc and Vedanta at lower price points, says Deven R Choksey, MD, KR Choksey Investment Managers. What is your take on the cement counter?Cement companies have started utilising their capacities at a threshold level which is above 85% capacity utilisation. This is good news because up till now, the companies have been holding the price but at the same time, the capacity utilisation remained in the vicinity of 65-75%. So from that perspective, if you start looking at cement companies, the advantage would be twofold. The volume-led growth was spurred by higher consumption taking place. Better capacity utilisation also means better profits for the companies at the bottom line level. All in all, cement as a sector is heading for relatively better times. We prefer some of the large capacity companies with a strong pan-India presence, like Holcim and Ultra Tech. Some of the regional players like Shree Cement, Ramco Cement and India Cement also look interesting. We like cement as a space. We believe that it will continue the good run going forward. Traction is building in the ONGC counter. What would be your strategy right now?Fortunately, the exploration companies are finding themselves in a relatively better period now, locally as well as globally. The cost of exploration would remain at $48-54 per barrel and many of the companies have started looking about this level. So, most of these companies can expect higher profits including ONGC. A steadier crude price of around $50-60 would improve things going forward for companies like ONGC. I do not have any specific recommendation on this company since we do not cover the public sector companies. But in general, we believe they are in for better times. What about Reliance? What could we hear from the management this time around?The Reliance refinery business has steadier GRMs now. Reliance is going to have a more profitable delta. They have been successful with a larger amount of cracks on the diesel side as well which has basically seen the traction. So, things could look up for Reliance in the current year from the GRM perspective. Petrochemical polymer prices have remained firm during this period and along with the buoyancy in crude oil prices, have started contributing to higher revenue and profit. The core business of the company, which is refining and petrochemical polymers along with exploration business, could see a relatively better quarter compared to the earlier two quarters in the current financial year. On the other hand, the consumer facing businesses -- telecom and retail -- are showing distinct growth. Jio is seeing relatively better ARPU as they progress every single quarter. They are inching towards higher ARPUs At the same time, we would like to hear from the company about the fibre-to-home and fibre-to-enterprise rollout plans. Should these two platforms gain traction and momentum, then 2021-22 would be the year to watch out for as far as Jio performance is concerned, which has the potential to go up 30-35% over the previous year. So, that is one area which we would like to look at. As for the retail segment, the company has tied up on the supply chain side and we are going to watch for progress in the Jio Mart business. We expect the retail segment to grow at around 15% CAGR at least in the near term. Put together, all Reliance verticals are expected to show better performance in the current quarter. Yesterday’s decline in Tata Steel, Vedanta and even JSW Steel gives a good entry point for those who missed buying metals in the first leg. Do you agree?It is always going to be very challenging to chase the price point as far as cyclicals are concerned. Metals are no exception to this. Commodity prices are remaining strong and are likely to remain strong given the fuel prices remaining on the higher side. It suggests hardened commodity prices going forward as well. Whether you are a trader or a stock investor, it is very challenging to decide at what price point you should buy a particular company. As I see it, yesterday’s fall probably happened because traders offloaded their position. Also in light of the fact that the pandemic surge is happening elsewhere in the world including in China and Japan, crude oil prices have softened yesterday to a certain extent. That is where the larger amount of selloff took place. In this kind of cyclical counters, where traders dominate, one has to be prepared for such sharp selloffs. It is very difficult to put a handle on the price as far as buying is concerned but if a correction is of a sharper degree, it makes a case for buying if you are a trader. If the correction continues, I would probably like to buy into the metal space at lower price points, particularly companies like Hindustan Zinc and Vedanta. What is your favourite idea which is a clear proxy to the economy and could be a big beneficiary of a resurgent economy?With the consumerisation drive which is happening in the country, one would probably like to stay with companies which are in financing business -- be it corporate banks, private sector banks or some of the stronger NBFCs in housing or consumer finance. On one side, the consumer is spending. The cost of money is low and in some of the larger banks like HDFC Bank and NBFCs like Bajaj Finance and HFCs like HDFC, the size of the balance sheet is good enough for them to grow the entire business activity. As demand grows and as the size of the balance sheet allows then to lend further, one can expect faster and more consistent growth. We are looking at 20-25% CAGR growth in the credit lending businesses of HDFC, Bajaj Finance and even HDFC Bank. This is an area where we would be comfortable investing our money. Every correction would mean a buying opportunity in this space. Any view on Tata Motors or from within the auto basket? Tata Motors is probably in a sweet spot. Their passenger vehicle portfolio has been growing very smartly. The company has struggled for a very long period of time. Now they probably have got the right kind of products and most importantly they have addressed the needs and the distribution reach of the consumers. Both these factors are working in favour of the company with a passenger vehicle portfolio. At every price point, they have a vehicle to offer. On the other side, the commercial vehicle segment is showing a good demand and has growth potential as well. More importantly, the fleet operators have started operating above 80% capacity utilisation which is very important because that means economy-wise, things are improving and the demand for commercial vehicles has started improving. Most importantly, JLR which was a bleeding portfolio up till now, is also improving. All these factors are giving the company a good amount of visibility, including a scope for restructuring the balance sheet of the company where JLR could be separated out at some point of time and that could mean a relatively better rating coming up for the company. In my view, the company is in a better position currently and I see it as a buy on dips for Tata Motors share. What about realty and infra pack?We are comfortable investing in proxy to real estate and would probably bank more on the housing finance companies (HFCs). We believe that cyclicality is definitely attached to real estate business but the housing finance business is probably more consistent. Real estate finding traction is a good news. It will probably give a larger amount of growth and so instead of fielding the cyclicality of the real estate company and being on the receiving end, we think the low cycle I would rather stay focused on to the housing finance companies per se as far as I think real estate outlook is concerned. In case of infrastructure, many of the InvIT companies would be a better proxy compared to buying directly into the infrastructure because an InvIT company would probably also have sufficient amount of cash flows and if they are available at discounted price, they will remain a relatively better play compared to directly investing in infrastructure. Also, I believe that infrastructure direct investment is a play best suited to larger funds including endowment and sovereign funds which have more appetite to put larger amounts of money into such kinds of businesses. But for retail investors and midsized investors, InvITs and REITs are much better comparatively.
Categories: Business News

Dunzo lands $40 million from Google, others

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
Hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo has raised $40 million in Series E funding from new and existing investors including Google, Lightbox, Evolvence, Hana Financial Investment, LGT Lightstone Aspada, and Alteria among others.The company said it plans to focus on sustainable growth across its fastest-growing cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, and Pune in the coming year.Dunzo said it witnessed strong organic user demand in the pandemic-hit 2020 and is now approximately a $100 million business in annualised gross merchandise value (GMV), a two-fold increase over the past year."As a team, we are more focused than ever to enable local merchants to get closer to their users and build one of the most loved consumer brands in the country," said Dunzo cofounder and chief executive Kabeer Biswas.The Bengaluru-based startup said it has supported over 300 neighbourhoods across eight cities in the past six months, delivering essential goods to users within 29 minutes on average."As merchants go digital, Dunzo is helping small businesses in their digital transformation journey in support of business recovery," said Caesar Sengupta, vice-president, Google. "Through our India Digitization Fund, we’re committed to partnering with India’s innovative startups to build a truly inclusive digital economy that will benefit everyone."This financing comes at a time when the hyper-local delivery sector is heating up with the recent entry of Flipkart and heightened focus from existing players like Amazon and Swiggy in the segment, with more consumers preferring doorstep deliveries due to the virus outbreak.
Categories: Business News

WhatsApp may face CCI heat over new privacy policy

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
Bengaluru: WhatsApp’s new privacy policy aimed at allowing the messaging app to share extensive metadata and business chats with parent Facebook and its companies could be viewed as an abuse of its dominant position, according to legal and privacy experts who expect this could also raise antitrust concerns with the Competition Commission of India (CCI). In August last year, CCI had declared WhatsApp as a dominant player in the relevant market of ‘OTT messaging apps through smartphones in India’, saying the Facebook-owned app has the advantage of reaping the benefits of ‘network effect’. It added that the lack of interoperability between platforms is another concern, as a result of which customers may be unwilling to incur switching costs.WhatsApp has deferred the implementation of its new privacy policy from February to May following sustained outrage from users. The changes proposed by WhatsApp does not offer users the option to opt out in case they do not want to share data with Facebook. Those who don’t agree to its new update will lose access to the app. “It is not a question of downloads of rival apps, and it’s not just about the quality of service. The question is where is your network? With 400 million users, the shift cannot be swift,” said antitrust lawyer Abir Roy, who is the founder of Sarvada Legal.‘A One-sided Contract’“People are accepting the new privacy policy because it is very difficult to shift completely. And therein lies the issue. It’s a one-sided contract. CCI should look at it. They can take suo moto cognisance,” said Roy.Emails sent to CCI chairman Ashok Gupta did not elicit a response.WhatsApp, however, does not agree that its new privacy policy is an abuse of its dominant position in India. “No. We’re grateful that people continue to use and trust WhatsApp to communicate with family, friends and co-workers. We know we have to compete for users’ trust when it comes to privacy. We think competition on privacy is good because it will help make apps even more private and secure in the future,” Will Cathcart, global head of WhatsApp, told ET in an email.Following the messaging app’s announcement of its new policy last week, downloads of rival app Signal, which has a minuscule base of 20 million monthly active users globally, has soared in India. The privacy activists fear that the network effect among WhatsApp’s users in India could still render it a dominant player in the market.Network effects happen in markets where an increase in usage of a particular platform leads to a direct increase in the value for other users, which makes social media products a ‘winner takes all’ market. Smriti Parsheera, a tech policy researcher with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( NIPFP), believes that a combination of network effects and Facebook’s integration strategies mean that the user is not only tied to a product but to a family of companies, and this could make the entry of competitors and exit by users even harder. “Until that last person in your network doesn’t move out of WhatsApp, it may not be easy to completely give up on the system. CCI has held WhatsApp to be a dominant player. If a dominant player changes terms unilaterally it could constitute an unfair practice, which is a type of abuse of dominant position,” she said.
Categories: Business News

New Covid issue: Mutations rise along with cases

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
The race against the virus that causes COVID-19 has taken a new turn: Mutations are rapidly popping up, and the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more likely it is that a variant that can elude current tests, treatments and vaccines could emerge. The coronavirus is becoming more genetically diverse, and health officials say the high rate of new cases is the main reason. Each new infection gives the virus a chance to mutate as it makes copies of itself, threatening to undo the progress made so far to control the pandemic. On Friday, the World Health Organization urged more effort to detect new variants. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a new version first identified in the United Kingdom may become dominant in the U.S. by March. Although it doesn't cause more severe illness, it will lead to more hospitalizations and deaths just because it spreads much more easily, said the CDC, warning of "a new phase of exponential growth." "We're taking it really very seriously," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We need to do everything we can now ... to get transmission as low as we possibly can," said Harvard University's Dr. Michael Mina. "The best way to prevent mutant strains from emerging is to slow transmission." So far, vaccines seem to remain effective, but there are signs that some of the new mutations may undermine tests for the virus and reduce the effectiveness of antibody drugs as treatments. "We're in a race against time" because the virus "may stumble upon a mutation" that makes it more dangerous, said Dr. Pardis Sabeti, an evolutionary biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Younger people may be less willing to wear masks, shun crowds and take other steps to avoid infection because the current strain doesn't seem to make them very sick, but "in one mutational change, it might," she warned. Sabeti documented a change in the Ebola virus during the 2014 outbreak that made it much worse. MUTATIONS ON THE RISEIt's normal for viruses to acquire small changes or mutations in their genetic alphabet as they reproduce. Ones that help the virus flourish give it a competitive advantage and thus crowd out other versions. In March, just a couple months after the coronavirus was discovered in China, a mutation called D614G emerged that made it more likely to spread. It soon became the dominant version in the world. Now, after months of relative calm, "we've started to see some striking evolution" of the virus, biologist Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle wrote on Twitter last week. "The fact that we've observed three variants of concern emerge since September suggests that there are likely more to come." One was first identified in the United Kingdom and quickly became dominant in parts of England. It has now been reported in at least 30 countries, including the United States. Soon afterward, South Africa and Brazil reported new variants, and the main mutation in the version identified in Britain turned up on a different version "that's been circulating in Ohio ... at least as far back as September," said Dr. Dan Jones, a molecular pathologist at Ohio State University who announced that finding last week. "The important finding here is that this is unlikely to be travel-related" and instead may reflect the virus acquiring similar mutations independently as more infections occur, Jones said. That also suggests that travel restrictions might be ineffective, Mina said. Because the United States has so many cases, "we can breed our own variants that are just as bad or worse" as those in other countries, he said.TREATMENT, VACCINE, REINFECTION RISKSSome lab tests suggest the variants identified in South Africa and Brazil may be less susceptible to antibody drugs or convalescent plasma, antibody-rich blood from COVID-19 survivors - both of which help people fight off the virus. Government scientists are "actively looking" into that possibility, Dr. Janet Woodcock of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told reporters Thursday. The government is encouraging development of multi-antibody treatments rather than single-antibody drugs to have more ways to target the virus in case one proves ineffective, she said. Current vaccines induce broad enough immune responses that they should remain effective, many scientists say. Enough genetic change eventually may require tweaking the vaccine formula, but "it's probably going to be on the order of years if we use the vaccine well rather than months," Dr. Andrew Pavia of the University of Utah said Thursday on a webcast hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Health officials also worry that if the virus changes enough, people might get COVID-19 a second time. Reinfection currently is rare, but Brazil already confirmed a case in someone with a new variant who had been sickened with a previous version several months earlier.WHAT TO DO"We're seeing a lot of variants, viral diversity, because there's a lot of virus out there," and reducing new infections is the best way to curb it, said Dr. Adam Lauring, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Loyce Pace, who heads the nonprofit Global Health Council and is a member of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 advisory board, said the same precautions scientists have been advising all along "still work and they still matter." "We still want people to be masking up," she said Thursday on a webcast hosted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We still need people to limit congregating with people outside their household. We still need people to be washing their hands and really being vigilant about those public health practices, especially as these variants emerge."80340430801955378016669480112196
Categories: Business News

Withdraw allegation: Amartya Sen asks Visva-Bharati

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
Kolkata: Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen has written to Visva-Bharati demanding that the university authorities withdraw the allegation that his family is in "illegal" possession of land in its Santiniketan campus and alleged that the accusations are a crude attempt at harassment. Sen had on Monday written the letter to Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Prof Bidyut Chakraborty two days after the authorities of the central university asked the West Bengal government to measure the plot owned by him at Santiniketan as soon as possible to permanently resolve the dispute. The noted economist said in the letter that his father had purchased free-hold land from the market and not from Visva-Bharati - to add to their homestead and he has been paying taxes for them. Sen had also sent a legal notice earlier this year to the VC asking him to withdraw "false" allegation made to the news agencies that a plot of land owned by Visva-Bharati is unlawfully occupied by the economist. While the university was not able to provide any justification for the allegation, it has requested the West Bengal government "to measure the area of our homestead, Pratichi, to compare with the long term lease of land taken by my father in 1940 from Visva-Bharati", Sen said in the letter. "This sudden abuse of an 80-year-old document is clearly a crude attempt at harassment or worse," he said. "Among other errors it ignores the big fact, which I have stated many times (even in the context of this dispute), that a substantial amount of free-hold land was purchased by my father (in the market -- not from Visva-Bharati) to add to our homestead on which khajna and Panchayat taxes are paid by me yearly," the letter said. Hence the officiating registrar's threat of legal action if the official discovers any additional land beyond the leased land seems hugely mischievous, Sen said. Stating that he is tired of the VC's repeated claims despite emphatic denials on his part about his phone call to Chakraborty in 2019, Sen said that the VC insisted that the call was made either on June 2 or June 14. "On being informed that I was abroad for the entire month of June 2019 and came back to India only in July, the story was promptly altered by the V.C.'s office to assert that I had called in June or July but said the same things," the letter said. "Rather than inventing new falsities and adding to their culpability, Visva-Bharati should withdraw the false allegations made by them, as my lawyer has asked," Sen said. A controversy had erupted on December 24 last year, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati, when media reported that the university has written to the West Bengal government alleging dozens of land parcels owned by it were wrongfully recorded in the names of private parties including Sen. Sen, who now lives in the US, has said that the land, on which his house stands is on a long-term lease, which is nowhere near its expiry. Stating that the Visva-Bharati authorities had never complained to him or his family about any irregularity in holding the land, Sen has accused the VC of acting at the behest of the Centre "with its growing control over Bengal". Visva-Bharati officials were not available for comment on the letter. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and several prominent intellectuals of the state have expressed their supports to the economist on the row.
Categories: Business News

Vaccination must for return to normalcy: Sabnavis

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
By Tamanna Inamdar While the idea of giving free vaccines to everybody is commendable, I do not think it is practical, says Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings. Does it really matter how many people get vaccinated? Will it have a spillover effect in that sense that restaurants, malls and shopping centres will see more footfalls and airlines will see more seats filling up?Madan Sabnavis: I think having everybody vaccinated is a necessary condition before we get back to normal because as long as people are not vaccinated. there will always be a fear that the infection would have scope of spreading and to that extent opening up the economy will be a little more challenging. So hypothetically, if all the 1300 million people get vaccinated, it will be very good time for the economy because then we can boomerang our daily business to what we were doing before the lockdown was imposed So both from the point of view of health as well as from the point of view of the economy, we will get back to normal only if people are vaccinated. Relying on herd immunity would mean being a bit too optimistic and the risk of re-infection would remain. Do you think that the services sector will have the same extent of pent up demand that we have seen in the manufacturing sector?The pent-up demand story does not really play out when we are talking of services because if I cannot go to a restaurant and have a meal now, that does not mean I am going to have multiple meals once I venture out. The same holds for holidays. Also, when we are looking at the services sector, we know that lots of trends have changed like going to a cinema theatre and instead watching things on Netflix or any of these other OTT channels. A lot of lost space will be regained by some of the sectors but it will be a case of starting afresh. We will not see a case of pent-up demand there and so what is lost is actually lost. The damage is permanent. The private sector is taking initiative to tie up with vaccine manufacturers and see how quickly they could get their employees back into office. Would that really speed things along?Actually it will because the organised sector has a total employment force of 20 to 30 million. Just assume that my company says that my entire family can be vaccinated. Either the company bears the cost or we bear our own cost and so multiply by four. We are talking of 80 to 120 million of the population getting independently vaccinated and we could really steady up the process. We need to have both the engines firing. I agree that the government may not be in a position to finance the entire thing because at Rs 400 per person into 1300 million translates into Rs 52,000 crore. While the idea of giving free vaccines to everybody is commendable, I do not think it is practical. So, the private sector will have to play a role and lots of people will be willing to pay for it but we should be given access to it as soon as possible which will be possible only in case you open it up to the general public.
Categories: Business News

Biden to propose 8-yr citizenship path for immigrants

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
WASHINGTON: President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administration's harsh immigration policies.The legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years, but it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favored by many Republicans, making passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.Expected to run hundreds of pages, the bill is set to be introduced after Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the legislation and granted anonymity to discuss it.As a candidate, Biden called Trump's actions on immigration an ``unrelenting assault'' on American values and said he would ``undo the damage'' while continuing to maintain border enforcement.Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfill other basic requirements. From there, it's a three-year path to naturalization, if they decide to pursue citizenship.For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements.The bill is not as comprehensive as the last major immigration overhaul proposed when Biden was vice president during the Obama administration.For example, it does not include a robust border security element, but rather calls for coming up with strategies. Nor does it create any new guest worker or other visa programs.It does address some of the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States, and provides grants for workforce development and English language learning.Biden is expected to take swift executive actions to reverse other Trump immigration actions, including an end to the prohibition on arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries.During the Democratic primary, Biden consistently named immigration action as one of his ``day one'' priorities, pointing to the range of executive powers he could invoke to reverse Trump's policies.Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and enough other GOP senators to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades.That kind of major win _ even if it involves compromise _ could be critical as Biden looks for legislative victories in a closely divided Congress, where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities that involve rolling back some of the GOP's 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending.As a candidate, Biden went so far as to say the Obama administration went too far in its aggressive deportations.
Categories: Business News

Can’t find job in China? Solution: Stay at college

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
Graduation was fast approaching, but Yang Xiaomin, a 21-year-old college student in northeastern China, skipped her university’s job fair. Nor did she look for positions on her own. She didn’t think she had a chance of landing one.“Some jobs won’t even take résumés from people with bachelor’s degrees,” said Yang, who, along with a record 3.77 million of her peers, instead took the national entrance exam for graduate school last month. “Going to graduate school won’t necessarily help me get a better job, but it will at least give me more choices of opportunities.”China’s economy has largely rebounded from the coronavirus pandemic, with data released Monday showing it has become perhaps the only major economy to have grown last year. Still, one area remains sorely lacking: the supply of desirable, well-paying jobs for the country’s rapidly ballooning count of university graduates. Most of the recovery has been fueled by blue-collar sectors such as manufacturing, on which the Chinese economy still relies heavily.With the encouragement of the government, many students are turning to a stopgap solution: staying in school. China’s Ministry of Education announced at the height of the outbreak that it would order universities to expand the number of master’s candidates by 189,000, a nearly 25% increase, to ease unemployment. Undergraduate slots would also increase by more than 300,000.Nearly 4 million hopefuls took the graduate entrance exam last month, an almost 11% increase from the year before and more than double the number from 2016.School is a common landing pad worldwide during times of economic uncertainty, but in China, the push to expand enrollment lays bare a long-running problem. Even before the pandemic, the country’s graduates complained that there were not enough suitable jobs. Official employment numbers are unreliable, but the authorities said in 2014 that unemployment rates for the college-educated two months after graduation were as high as 30% in some areas.As a result, many Chinese have worried that the expansion of graduate slots will increase already fierce competition for jobs, dilute the value of advanced degrees or postpone an unemployment crisis. “Are graduate students under siege?” the headline of one state-controlled publication read.The Communist Party in recent years has frequently linked the prosperity of college graduates not only to economic development, but also to “social stability,” worrying that they could be a source of political unrest if their economic fortunes falter.But in seeking to keep unemployment down for those workers, the government must also be careful not to inflate their hopes, said Joshua Mok, a professor at Lingnan University in Hong Kong who studies China’s education policy. “It may create a false expectation for those highly skilled people,” Mok said. “The Chinese government has to watch out about how to manage these sorts of expectations.”The government’s expansion push is part of a broader, decades-long effort to increase university enrollment. In 1997, China had fewer than 3.5 million undergraduate and graduate students, according to official statistics. In 2019, there were more than 33 million, not counting online schools and adult higher education institutions.Per capita, the number of advanced degrees still lags that of developed countries. There are about two graduate students for every 1,000 Chinese residents, according to government statistics, compared with about nine in the United States. Still, China’s economy has not kept up with the rapid expansion of higher education, leaving each round of new graduates competing for a small pool of jobs.The pandemic has exacerbated those concerns. A report by Zhaopin, China’s biggest job recruitment platform, found that 26.3% of 2020 college graduates were unemployed last June. Jobs for fresh college graduates fell 7% from the same time the year before, the report said, while the number of applicants surged nearly 63%.“What the current Chinese economy needs is more people that have technically oriented qualifications, rather than only general academic degrees from universities,” Mok said. “There’s a mismatch of skills.”The competition has led many students to feel that an advanced degree is practically mandatory. Yang, who is studying land resource management, said she had long known she would attend graduate school because her undergraduate degree alone was “too low quality.”She knew that competition for admission would increase after the outbreak. “If you choose to take the master’s exam, you can’t be afraid of there being a lot of other people,” she said.Others have been less accepting. On Weibo, where the hashtag “what do you think of the graduate exam craze?” has been viewed more than 240 million times, many have worried that teaching quality or the value of their degree would go down as enrollment shot up.Others have asked whether the government was simply putting off a surge in unemployment for a few years. Some worried that companies would raise their application standards higher. Still others wondered whether there would be enough dormitories to accommodate all students.“Enrollment expansion is not just a matter of arithmetic,” one person wrote. “We must think about how this will affect the overall development of education and society.”The concern reached such a pitch that it prompted a government response. Hong Dayong, a Ministry of Education official, acknowledged at a news conference last month that some universities had experienced teacher shortages as graduate programs grew. But she said that officials would introduce tighter quality-control measures and that the government would encourage universities to offer more vocationally focused master’s degrees in order to help graduates find jobs.The government has also ordered state-owned enterprises to hire more recent graduates and subsidized companies that hire them.Some advice has been blunt. Chu Chaohui, a researcher at China’s National Institute of Education Sciences, told the state-owned Global Times tabloid that graduates should lower their sights. As they did so, they would find jobs in sectors such as food or parcel delivery, he said.Inflated expectations may indeed be heightening competition for jobs. According to Zhaopin, the recruiting website, there are about 1.4 positions available to college graduates for each applicant, even after the epidemic. But many graduates look only in the biggest cities or expect high salaries, Mok said.Given the jostling for both jobs and graduate school spots, Bai, in Anhui, shrugged at the government’s increase in master’s seats. Her major, economics, was one of the most popular, she said, and competition would always be fierce.“How much can enrollment expand?” she said. “It’s just a drop in the bucket.”
Categories: Business News

India win fourth test, seal series 2-1

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
An Indian cricket team saddled with broken bones and battered bodies showed a never-seen-before zeal to retain the coveted Border-Gavaskar trophy with a historic three-wicket win over Australia in the fourth and final Test here, successfully chasing a 328-run target to seal the four-match series 2-1.A minefield of talent called Rishabh Pant (89 not out off 138 balls) channelled his inner 'Mad Max' to scare the daylights out of the Australians with his breathtaking strokeplay, ending the home team's 32-year-old unbeaten run at the 'Fortress Gabba'.The result has the potential to end Tim Paine's reign as Australia captain having lost back-to-back home series against India.The highlights package of Pant's battle with Nathan Lyon can be enjoyed repeatedly in times to come as he demolished the 100-Test man in company of debutant Washington Sundar (22), who hooked the world's best fast bowler, Pat Cummins, for a six.No one moved from their seats as Pant cut, drove, and paddle-swept to make a statement to his detractors while gifting India one of their finest overseas wins during the dying moments of the final session with an off-driven boundary.While Shubman Gill (91 off 146 balls) announced his arrival on the global stage, Cheteshwar Pujara (56 off 211 balls) surpassed all the pain barriers en route his slowest Test fifty that held the game in balance for Pant to launch a final assault.The Australian team wouldn't feel too good about not being able to win a Test match with an opposition that was finding it difficult to field a fit first XI a day prior to the Test match.The series will be remembered for ages and the impact that Ajinkya Rahane's team had on the cricketing fraternity and the fans in general will be written in golden words when a fresh history of Test cricket after 2000 is written.In terms of relevance, a series win without Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah not being available at various points, is zillion times more significant than the 2-1 win in 2018-19 when the opposition didn't have Steve Smith and David Warner in its ranks.First time, people celebrated draws, became empathetic to players with limited abilities and believed in their team.The stands were near-about empty at the Gabba thanks to the COVID-19 crowd restrictions but make no mistake that Test cricket seemed well and truly alive and kicking.With its beautiful ebbs and flows, the fifth day was witness to three separate schools of batsmanship, so very dissimilar to each other.Gill, who is now going to be the "Real Deal", was free-flowing in his stroke-making with his "beside the line of the ball" technique as he rode the bounce to hammer home the advantage and briefly make India favourites to win the battle.The two sixes off Mitchell Starc -- a slash over backward point and a thump over deep mid-wicket -- will be the ones for the keeps.The disdain while thrashing the Australian bowlers would have made even Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli proud.India have now got Kohli's heir apparent and the 21-year-old is here to stay for the longest time.Pujara, on the other hand, saw the Australian try out the menacing short ball tactic. He took a few on the helmet, a few more on the chest and other parts and a painful one on the knuckles but remained unfazed.Gill and Pujara showed that there are multiple ways to skin a cat.If Pujara was ready to duck, sway and cop body blows off Josh Hazlewood and Cummins, showing the art of survival, Gill, on his first tour of Australia, was ready to be the intimidator by bringing the pull shot out of his repertoire.The duo, during its 114-run stand, showed that very contrasting styles can co-exist without conflict even as fans of both genres argue who has the more appropriate approach for the format.Even Pant with his cavalier ways would have added his two cents to the debate on various styles.But for the uninitiated, the three distinct schools can be suitably de-constructed -- Pujara's was more of investing in an LIC policy with safe returns while Gill's approach, with his collars-up, was akin to mutual funds and Pant would most likely play his game in high-stakes stock market where winner takes it all but at times at a heavy price.While the final day performance is sure to hold a special place but the story of this match won't be complete without a more than honourable mention of what Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar did on the third morning and afternoon.Had that partnership not been there, it wouldn't have been as easy for India as it seemed in the end.Thakur and Washington gave hope of a fight, Pujara, Gill and Pant, with their performances, honoured that fight.Coach Ravi Shastri was once panned for his "best travelling Indian team" comment but after January 19, very few would disagree that this is the "toughest Indian team on road".Scoreboard at close of play on the fifth day of 4th test between Australia and India on Monday at Brisbane, AustraliaIndia win by 3 wicketsAustralia 1st inningsDavid Warner c Rohit Sharma b Mohammed Siraj 1Marcus Harris c Washington Sundar b Shardul Thakur 5Marnus Labuschagne c Rishabh Pant b T Natarajan 108Steven Smith c Rohit Sharma b Washington Sundar 36Matthew Wade c Shardul Thakur b T Natarajan 45Cameron Green b Washington Sundar 47Tim Paine c Rohit Sharma b Shardul Thakur 50Pat Cummins lbw Shardul Thakur 2Mitchell Starc Not Out 20Nathan Lyon b Washington Sundar 24Josh Hazlewood b T Natarajan 11Extras 4b 5lb 6nb 0pen 5w 20Total (115.2 overs) 369 all out Fall of Wickets : 1-4 Warner, 2-17 Harris, 3-87 Smith, 4-200 Wade, 5-213 Labuschagne, 6-311 Paine, 7-313 Green, 8-315 Cummins, 9-354 Lyon, 10-369 HazlewoodBowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ ExMohammed Siraj 28 10 77 1 2.75 1wT Natarajan 24.2 3 78 3 3.21 6nbShardul Thakur 24 6 94 3 3.92Navdeep Saini 7.5 2 21 0 2.68Washington Sundar 31 6 89 3 2.87Rohit Sharma 0.1 0 1 0 6.00................................................................India 1st inningsRohit Sharma c Mitchell Starc b Nathan Lyon 44Shubman Gill c Steven Smith b Pat Cummins 7Cheteshwar Pujara c Tim Paine b Josh Hazlewood 25Ajinkya Rahane c Matthew Wade b Mitchell Starc 37Mayank Agarwal c Steven Smith b Josh Hazlewood 38Rishabh Pant c Cameron Green b Josh Hazlewood 23Washington Sundar c Cameron Green b Mitchell Starc 62Shardul Thakur b Pat Cummins 67Navdeep Saini c Steven Smith b Josh Hazlewood 5Mohammed Siraj b Josh Hazlewood 13T Natarajan Not Out 1Extras 5b 7lb 2nb 0pen 0w 14Total (111.4 overs) 336 all out Fall of Wickets : 1-11 Gill, 2-60 Sharma, 3-105 Pujara, 4-144 Rahane, 5-161 Agarwal, 6-186 Pant, 7-309 Thakur, 8-320 Saini, 9-328 Sundar, 10-336 SirajBowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ ExMitchell Starc 23 3 88 2 3.83Josh Hazlewood 24.4 6 57 5 2.31 2nbPat Cummins 27 5 94 2 3.48Cameron Green 8 1 20 0 2.50Nathan Lyon 28 9 65 1 2.32Marnus Labuschagne 1 1 0 0 0.00..................................................................Australia 2nd inningsMarcus Harris c Rishabh Pant b Shardul Thakur 38David Warner lbw Washington Sundar 48Marnus Labuschagne c Rohit Sharma b Mohammed Siraj 25Steven Smith c Ajinkya Rahane b Mohammed Siraj 55Matthew Wade c Rishabh Pant b Mohammed Siraj 0Cameron Green c Rohit Sharma b Shardul Thakur 37Tim Paine c Rishabh Pant b Shardul Thakur 27Pat Cummins Not Out 28Mitchell Starc c Navdeep Saini b Mohammed Siraj 1Nathan Lyon c Mayank Agarwal b Shardul Thakur 13Josh Hazlewood c Shardul Thakur b Mohammed Siraj 9Extras 5b 2lb 4nb 0pen 2w 13Total (75.5 overs) 294 all out Fall of Wickets : 1-89 Harris, 2-91 Warner, 3-123 Labuschagne, 4-123 Wade, 5-196 Smith, 6-227 Green, 7-242 Paine, 8-247 Starc, 9-274 Lyon, 10-294 HazlewoodBowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ ExMohammed Siraj 19.5 5 73 5 3.68 1wT Natarajan 14 4 41 0 2.93 2nbWashington Sundar 18 1 80 1 4.44Shardul Thakur 19 2 61 4 3.21 1w 1nbNavdeep Saini 5 1 32 0 6.40 1nb........................................................India 2nd inningsRohit Sharma c Tim Paine b Pat Cummins 7Shubman Gill c Steven Smith b Nathan Lyon 91Cheteshwar Pujara lbw Pat Cummins 56Ajinkya Rahane c Tim Paine b Pat Cummins 24Rishabh Pant Not Out 89Mayank Agarwal c Matthew Wade b Pat Cummins 9Washington Sundar b Nathan Lyon 22Shardul Thakur c Nathan Lyon b Josh Hazlewood 2Extras 18b 8lb 3nb 0pen 0w 29Total (97.0 overs) 329-7 Fall of Wickets : 1-18 Sharma, 2-132 Gill, 3-167 Rahane, 4-228 Pujara, 5-265 Agarwal, 6-318 Sundar, 7-325 Thakur Did Not Bat : Saini, Siraj, NatarajanBowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ ExMitchell Starc 16 0 75 0 4.69 1nbJosh Hazlewood 22 5 74 1 3.36 1nbPat Cummins 24 10 55 4 2.29 1nbCameron Green 3 1 10 0 3.33Nathan Lyon 31 7 85 2 2.74Marnus Labuschagne 1 0 4 0 4.00.............................Umpire Bruce OxenfordUmpire Paul WilsonVideo Paul ReiffelMatch Referee David Boon(Inputs from Reuters)
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Centre issues Letter of Comfort to Bharat Biotech for 45 lakh doses of Covaxin

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
Hyderabad: Bharat Biotech has secured a fresh Letter of Comfort from the Centre for another 45 lakh doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, sources said. Out of the 45 lakh doses, the city-based vaccine maker will be supplying over eight lakh to some of the friendly countries such as Mauritius, Philippines and Myanmar, free of cost as good will gesture sources added. "The company was given a fresh letter of comfort recently for supplying another 45 lakh doses of Covaxin. The doses will be dispatched as when the Ministry places orders with the company," sources told . After having received the government purchase order for 55lakh doses, Bharat Biotech shipped the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses) to Gannavaram (Vijayawada), Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bangalore, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai and Lucknow, it said. Bharat Biotech said it has also donated 16.5 lakh doses to the Government of India. Sources further said the supplies from the company depend on the orders being placed by the government.
Categories: Business News

Tata Motors receives 98 patents in 2020

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
NEW DELHI: Homegrown auto major Tata Motors on Tuesday said it has received 98 patents last year under its accelerated drive for engineering excellence and innovation.These patents predominantly relate to the megatrend of CESS (connected, electrified, sustainable and safe) automobiles, the company said in a statement.The patents also encompass an eclectic mix of improvements in automotive electronics, noise vibration and harshness, conventional and advanced powertrain systems, and crash safety under various categories of industrial designs, copyrights and notarisations, the statement added.The company "accelerated its drive for engineering excellence and innovation in 2020 by filing 80 and receiving 98 patents in 2020", it said."At Tata Motors, we have a rich history of introducing innovations that develop to become industry benchmarks. We encourage our talented team to think afresh and challenge the status quo in our consistent pursuit of excellence," Tata Motors Chief Technology Officer Rajendra Petkar said.Consistently developing intellectual capabilities and properties at an institutional level is key for the advancing India's auto industry's role in building 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', he said adding "At Tata Motors, our objective is to create best in class 'Make in India' products that offer global standards design, safety, comfort and driveability."
Categories: Business News

IT Outperformers: Backbenchers have gone away with the top ranks

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
In 2020, BSE IT and BSE Healthcare indices outperformed other sectoral indices with gains of 56 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively. During the same period, the benchmark Sensex rose 15 per cent. Stocks from both the sectors have seen a phenomenal run.India is moving towards becoming a digital economy. Being one of the fastest emerging sectors, IT has shown global reach, lower risk, high- quality infrastructure, and connectivity that contributes immensely to the Indian economy. Its growth is escalating due to components such as BPO and government initiatives such as Digital India, MeitY Startup Hub (MSH). IT in India is an industry consisting of two major components: IT services and business process outsourcing (BPO). The sector has increased its contribution to India’s GDP According to NASSCOM, the sector aggregated revenues of $180 billion in 2019, with export revenue standing at $99 billion and domestic revenue at $48 billion, which is growing at over 13%.As of 2020, India’s IT workforce accounted for 4.36 million employees. India is the leading sourcing destination across the world, accounting for approximately 55 per cent market share of the $200–250 billion global services sourcing business as of 2019–20.The IT-BPM industry’s revenue was estimated at around $191 billion in FY20, growing at 7.7% year on year. It is estimated to reach $350 billion by 2025. Moreover, revenue from the digital segment is expected to form 38% of the total industry revenue by 2025. The digital economy is estimated to reach a size of $1 trillion by 2025.Yet, a study done on the IT companies that have a market capitalisation of more than Rs 5,000 crore showed none of the Indian IT giants could make it to the Top 5 in terms of highest 10-year returns.Instead,1) Among the top companies with highest 10-year returns, Tata Elxsi ranked highest with 30.56%.2) P/E ratios of major IT companies range from 20 to 30, which is less than market average.3) The aggregate five-year returns of all major IT companies are less than their one-year return. In case of Mindtree, one-year return is 8 times the aggregate five-year return.4) IT companies have performed exceedingly well in last one year, surpassing the returns of last 5 years. For most of them, the one-year return has been 4-6 times their 10-years returns. In the case of Oracle Financial Services, one-year return was over 6 times of its 10-year returns, which is definitely an extraordinary performance.5) Even the 5-year return is higher than the 10-year return. 6) Companies like Wipro and Oracle have a very low 10-year returns.7) IT companies with high 10-year returns have given decent one-year and five-year return as well.80342625So what are the major factors facilitating such growth and development of this sector?a) Low cost of technical laborb) Consistent foreign investmentsc) Continuous innovationsd) Digitisatione) Debt-free financial architectureIndia is the topmost offshoring destination for IT companies across the world. Having proven its capabilities in delivering both on-shore and off-shore services to global clients, emerging technologies now offer an entire new gamut of opportunities for top IT firms in India. The industry is expected to attain a size of $350 billion by 2025. Recent Infosys, Wipro results for Dec 2020 quarter confirmed the continued growth prospects for the industry. Meanwhile, Tata Elxsi continues to outperform.(Ajit R Sanghvi is Director of MSS Securities. Views are his own. This study is for academic purposes only and not recommendation to invest)
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Big 4 IT companies may hire 91,000 freshers for 2021-22

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 1:56pm
BENGALURU: With the sharp pickup in demand after the lockdown lows, Indian IT firms have lined up robust hiring plans for 2021-22. The top four IT firms — TCS, Infosys, HCL Technologies and Wipro — collectively plan to hire 91,000 from campuses, a little higher than last year.Most of the ongoing financial year’s campus hiring would have been concluded before businesses were hit by the pandemic. Companies generally have honoured those offers, though some with a lag.TCS executive VP and global HR head Milind Lakkad said in recent media interactions that the company expects to hire the same number of freshers for the next year as it did this year (about 40,000). 80341255Infosys said it will hire 24,000 college graduates in India in the next financial year, up from the 15,000 that it had planned for current one.HCL Technologies chief HR officer Apparao V V said there are multiple reasons why the hiring momentum is picking up.“We are doing 33 per cent more than what we had targeted and we see a fair bit of acceleration in Q3 and Q4. The visa environment, compensation revisions and countries looking inward have put a cap in terms of the talent available in those countries. If customers scale up their engagement, they have to go where the skills are. Last year, 70 per cent of our increase in manpower was in India and 30 per cent outside India. This year, it was almost 90 per cent-10 per cent. We see huge ramp-ups in India,” he said. HCL plans to hire 15,000 freshers in India and 1,500-2,000 people on-site in the 2022-ending fiscal.James Friedman of Susquehanna Financial Group (SFG) said demand is generally infrastructure-related. That’s where the “big deals” are, often with some digital wrapper, he said. “India mindshare seems once again on the rise,” he said.Infosys won the largest deal ever in its history from German automotive major Daimler that sources said is estimated at $3.2 billion. TCS won a large deal from Prudential Financial. Wipro signed a big one with German retailer Metro.Wipro expects a talent war to unfold in the next few months in the IT sector as companies have stepped up hiring in the last two quarters. “It is all about the demand. The way we have been hiring in the last few months...more demand means more opportunities,” chief HR officer Saurabh Govil said.London-based IT advisory Omdia’s principal analyst Hansa Iyengar said enterprises are accelerating digital agendas and investments as the world looks at a post-pandemic recovery. “Campus recruitment is a good tool to bolster digital portfolios and delivery,” she said.
Categories: Business News

Bharat Biotech warns people with medical conditions

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 10:55am
NEW DELHI: People who are immuno-compromised or are on medicines that affect the immune system are advised not to take the anti-Covid vaccine Covaxin, a detailed factsheet released by its manufacturer Bharat Biotech said.Earlier, the government had said patients on immuno-suppressants or suffering from immune deficiency could take the vaccine though the response was expected to be less effective in such individuals. Usually, cancer patients on chemotherapy, HIV-positive people and those on steroids are immune-suppressed. While the risk of infection is higher in such patients, doctors also say the efficiency of vaccines is often very low in such groups.Bharat Biotech has advised people with bleeding disorders or who are on blood thinners to avoid the shot. Also, those who are acutely ill, have a fever or have any history of allergy, besides pregnant or lactating mothers were also advised against taking the jab. The factsheet suggested that if any recipient developed Covid-19 symptoms, it should be recorded as an adverse event with RT-PCR test results as proof. Doctors said the factsheet could be in the light of adverse events, most of them mild, reported from across the country.Advice intended to be precautionary: BiotechExperts have said that though a vaccinated person can catch Covid-19, the infection is likely to be mild. The company said the advice was intended to be precautionary. “There is a remote chance that the Bharat Biotech Covid-19 vaccine (Covaxin) could cause a severe allergic reaction… may very rarely occur,” the company said. It added that signs of severe allergic reaction could include difficulty in breathing, swelling of face and throat, fast heartbeat, rashes all over the body, dizziness and weakness. “Tell the vaccinator/officer about all your medical conditions, including: Are you on regular medication for any illness? If yes, for how long and for which condition,” the factsheet said. A health ministry advisory to states before the rollout of the vaccination programme on January 16 had listed history of allergy, pregnancy and lactation as contraindications. As provisional measures, it had suggested delaying vaccination by 4-8 weeks after recovery among acutely unwell or hospitalised patients along with those infected with Covid-19 and patients who had been treated with convalescent plasma.The clinical efficacy of Covaxin is yet to be established and it is still being studied in Phase 3 trials. “Hence, it was important to appreciate that receiving the vaccine does not mean that other precautions related to Covid-19 need not be followed,” the factsheet said.The government has procured 55 lakh doses of Covaxin, which have been distributed among 12 states and UTs.
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Yes Bank launches inititative to support MSMEs

Business News - January 19, 2021 - 10:55am
MUMBAI: YES BANK has rolled out YES MSME, a proposition with the aim to strengthen the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with speedy and easy access to funds. This will be facilitated by curated offerings to address both business and individual needs of MSMEs and of new-age entrepreneurs. The YES MSME proposition has been curated, taking into consideration the insights and feedback from customers and industry associations.The proposition focuses on supporting MSMEs in expanding their business, sustaining momentum, and accelerating growth through solutions across lending, deposits, insurance, customized and segmented digital solutions for retail, manufacturing, wholesale, trade and service providers. This also includes special current account offerings for the self-employed segment.The launch comes during the SME carnival from January 18 – 22, 2021 at the Bank’s MSME-focused branches across India. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for MSMEs and Road Transport and Highways, said in a statement, “The MSME sector accounts for 30 per cent of the economy creating 11 crore jobs so far. Investment in the sector is the need of the hour and we are hopeful that concerted efforts by the industry and the Government will help expand it. I congratulate YES BANK for this new addition under their MSME sector initiative and the long-term plan to strengthen the ecosystem.”Prashant Kumar, MD and CEO, YES BANK, said in a statement, “YES BANK remains committed to supporting the growth of this employment-intensive sector and contribute to the growth of the economy. The Bank’s enhanced value proposition will improve access to finance for MSMEs and support their technology upgrade, among other customer-focused measures.”The five key differentiating elements of the proposition are:Borrow: Easy borrowing channels with customised funding – government schemes, trade and finance SME initial public offering (IPO), investment banking (IB), a dedicated MSME Cell, parameterised product solutions for ease along with quick fetching of GST/ITR details, enabling faster access.Save: Current account to savings account/fixed deposit sweep; focused programmes – YES Premia, YES First Business and assets-focused loyalty rewards programme.Simplify: Startup lending up to Rs 5 crore under YES SPARK; digital applications – YES MSME, YES Transact; fintech partnerships and digital payroll solutions.Partner: YES BizConnect – collaborative solutions to build strong market linkages involving over 700 industry associations; tech-based partner solutions; knowledge sharing via advisories, MSME newsletters and discussion forums.Protect: Business insurance products; individual – life, health, general; wealth solutions and investments.
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