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Updated: 2 hours 37 min ago

Telecom Ministry to start identifying new spectrum bands for 5G

2 hours 37 min ago
The Department of Telecom will start identifying and making available new spectrum bands for access and backhaul segments for timely deployment and growth of 5G networks, according to a ministry note.The department will also make available harmonised and contiguous spectrum required for deployment of next generation access technologies, a DoT note said."Identifying and making available new spectrum bands for access and backhaul segments for timely deployment and growth of 5G networks, making available harmonised and contiguous spectrum required for deployment of next generation access technologies for making adequate spectrum available for being equipped for the new broadband era", said the DoT noting.To offer multi-gigabits mobile broadband services (MBB), 5G would essentially require large contiguous spectrum blocks per operator to roll out 5G services, according to a TRAI white paper on 5G. DOT's National Digital Communication Policy also supports this contention.In India, earlier, only 2.400-2.4835 GHz and 5.825-5.875 GHz were unlicensed bands for indoor and outdoor use of low power equipment. Recently, 5150-5250 MHz, 5250-5350 MHz, 5470-5725 MHz and 5725-5875 MHz frequency bands have been included as unlicensed for use in indoor and outdoor environment. The opening of more unlicensed frequencies will facilitate development of 5G ecosystem, the TRAI paper said.The department's WPC (Wireless planning & Coordination) wing is also simplifying rules enabling 'light-touch' licensing and delicensing of spectrum for broadband proliferation.TRAI had recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies. The 5G committee of the telecom ministry has said about 6,000 Mhz of spectrum can be made available without delay for the next generation mobile service. The panel has identified spectrum for 5G services across 11 bands, of which four bands -- premium 700 Mhz band, 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz), 24 Ghz and 28 Ghz band -- can be made immediately available for the service.It is likely that the entire spectrum quantum suggested by TRAI will be put to auction .The 700 MHz band was put for auction last time but was not sold. The 35 MHz paired spectrum is still available for 4G and 5G services. The 3.5 GHz band has recently been identified in India for IMT services. 100 MHz spectrum from 3300-3400 MHz is available on pan India basis and out of 200 MHz in 3400-3600 MHz band.Globally, full scale deployment of 5G networks is expected to start by late 2019 or early 2020 for which pilots have already commenced. India is also not far behind.The 5G High Level Forum envisages 5G to be deployed in India by 2020 along with the rest of the world.
Categories: Business News

This may be the best of times for reforms that India badly needs

May 25, 2019 - 11:51pm
By Amit KapoorAfter the BJP won 282 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 - the first time in three decades that a single party was able to gain an absolute majority - it was popularly believed that the unexpectedly strong performance was a one-off affair.The outgoing government had been ridden with colossal corruption cases, the economy had come to a standstill and anti-incumbency was at its peak. But 2019 has proved that the event was not an outlier. Narendra Modi has led his party to another major victory with a dozen more seats than the last time - the first time in five decades when a government is returning with an absolute majority for the second time.While such a strong mandate is commendable, it shows the faith that the Indian population rests on the party and the immense expectations they hold from it. Moreover, it is a rare opportunity in a complex democracy like India for any party to have the power to introduce bold reforms and long-lasting transformations with little partisan logjams. By again voting the BJP into power with an absolute majority, the Indian voters expect that the government will adopt such a decisive stance. The BJP had also projected itself to be action-oriented in its first term.Over the last five years, the government has introduced a string of reforms that were aimed at enhancing the socio-economic development of the country. The economic measures were directed at increasing productivity of the factors of production including land, labour and capital.In the case of land, the government introduced the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. The act, by mandating that 70 percent of the funds collected from the buyers should be used for construction purposes only, helped in addressing the project delays and inefficiencies in the system.For addressing labour productivity issues that the country is facing, the government set up National Skills Development Corporation that has provided training to 5.2 million students. This will help in the optimal utilisation of country's demographic dividend.Lastly, the government undertook a couple of moves to address capital-related issues. Since the BJP came into power in 2014, the banking sector has been under the stress of mounting bad debt. As of March 2017, bad loans accounted for 10 percent of banking assets. The best option of salvaging the situation was by targeting the problem of debt resolution. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code was passed in 2016 as a result. It allows either the creditor or the borrower to approach the National Council Law Tribunal (NCLT) to initiate insolvency proceedings and lays down provisions for debt resolution within a span of 3-5 months.Apart from addressing the issues prevalent in the economy, the government undertook the biggest tax reform in the country with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The tax law, which had been in the works for years, unified the entire country under a uniform tax system and eased the flow of goods and services across state borders. Even though there were a few wrinkles in its implementation, GST would help in reducing the transaction cost for businesses over the long-run and improve its ease of doing business.Along with economic reforms, the government also focussed on improving the living standards of the citizens. Two of the biggest reforms on the social aspect have been on the areas of sanitation and financial inclusion. In 2014, India was a global laggard in sanitation coverage, having significantly high open defecation rates even in comparison to poorer nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh and several sub-Saharan countries. To tackle this issue of low sanitation facilities and improving the child health indicators like mortality, nutrition and stunting, the Modi government launched the Swachh Bharat Mission, aiming to make India open-defecation free.The National Sample Survey's Swachhta Status shows that the number of rural households with toilets have increased to 64 per cent from 45 per cent during the period 2014-15 to 2017-18, while people defecating in open have reduced from 52 per cent to 33 per cent in the same period.The other flagship scheme of the government, the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) Yojna, was launched to dismantle India's archaic subsidy transfer system that has been ridden with corruption, leakages and inefficiencies. The scheme has provided universal access to bank accounts and unique identity to all individuals by allowing biometric authentication to circumvent intermediaries and reduce market distortions with direct transfers. Currently, 100 per cent of the beneficiaries of PAHAL the direct benefit transfer of LPG, 88 per cent beneficiaries of MNREGA and 86 per cent of the PDS beneficiaries are linked with Aadhar. The programme delivery is now taking place via direct benefit transfers (DBT). In 2018-19, around Rs 2 trillion was delivered through DBT.The agenda for the next five years for the BJP government should be to maintain continuity with the reform process; leveraging upon the ones that have already been undertaken and venturing into ones that have been left untouched since independence in 1947. The schemes and initiatives that have been the highlight of the last five years surely have scope for improvement on the implementation aspect. Meanwhile, the strong electoral mandate can be used to push through unpopular reforms that the country needs to solve its perpetual economic ailments.Two of such major reforms are those of land acquisition and labour flexibility. India has had an ugly record of industrial projects falling into a limbo due to land acquisition issues. Since land is a state subject, the central government needs to address these in a decisive manner in consonance with its regional partners. Secondly, it is a well-documented fact that the country's rigid labour laws have disincentivised firms to grow and formalise. Indian firms have, thus, lost out on crucial economies of scale due to these limitations.The next five years are an opportune time for the BJP government to introduce long-standing structural reforms that India's socio-economic fabric has severely required since its independence. Even the 1991 reforms were majorly market-oriented while the factor-side of the economy was left untouched. With the rapidly changing political landscape of the nation, it is time to infuse a similar exuberance within the economy.(Dr Amit Kapoor is chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India)
Categories: Business News

Polls over, now starts Modi's real battle

May 25, 2019 - 11:51pm
The political battle has been convincingly won. Now, the NDA government must take on — and win — the economic challenges staring the country in its face.The four major engines of the economy — private investment, exports, private consumption and now even public investment — have stalled or are sputtering. Irrespective of the data — not withstanding growing concerns about their credibility — the economy’s health warrants concern.GDP growth has been slowing. The crucial automobile sector is hurting. Agricultural distress, lack of fiscal manoeuvrability, serious concerns around unemployment and a stubborn investment drought in the private sector are among a slew of challenges that the new government must tackle head on.Politically, the Modi government will be equipped well, unencumbered by coalition or other compulsions. But it is constrained financially and not-so-buoyant tax collections. Taking charge of an economy that is facing all-round challenges, the NDA government must prioritise well.While challenges on agriculture and job fronts require a longterm, multi-dimensional approach, the government must, as a priority, make an all-out effort to persevere with the banking reforms and do whatever it takes to stoke private sector investment. To be sure, most of these issues have been building up for a while, even though they have intensified in the recent past. The expectation is that the second Modi term, armed with a historic mandate, will have the courage to take bold decisions to tackle them.Based on conversations with leading economists, here are the top five economic issues that the new government must prioritise:Reviving InvestmentGovt spending may kick-start the cycle 69498445 There are few economic issues more urgent for the new government than getting investment back on track, failure to do which could imperil India’s ambitious growth plans. Gross fixed capital formation, which is net investment in fixed assets as a share of the gross domestic product, was 32.3% in 2018-19, compared with 38.7% in 2012-13.Pulapre Balakrishnan, professor of economics at Ashoka University, says public investment in areas like infrastructure and affordable housing, which necessitates demand for commodities, steel and cement, could kick-start private investment. This is crucial since exports, which also spur private investment, have not really been a bright spot of the economy.M Govinda Rao, a former member of the economic advisory council to the PM, says private investors may have held back over the last quarter, waiting for the general election to be over.Now that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has won a majority in the general election, concerns about a coalition government have been put to rest. “A revival in the investment climate can happen only when banks are willing to lend,” he adds.There are already signs of that. The total outstanding non-food loans (total lending minus advances to the Food Corporation of India) by scheduled commercial banks rose 12.3% between March 2018 and March 2019, the first year of double-digit growth in the past five years.Enabling private investment would also require a more streamlined land acquisition process and faster environmental and other clearances, which clearly show the new government has its task cut out.69498580 69498576 Banking ReformsStake sale will unleash animal spirits 69498452 One of the most consequential policies of the Modi government has been the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016. The recovery rate for the 94 cases resolved through IBC till 2018-19 has been 43%, against 26.5% for such recovery mechanisms rolled out earlier, according to CRISIL Ratings. Alongside, the average time taken to resolve cases under IBC is 324 days, higher than the mandated 270 days. As of March 2019, a third of the 1,143 cases had been pending for over 270 days and in some cases even beyond 400 days.The reasons for the delay range from litigation by promoters desperate to hold on to their companies to bidders buying time to pay up. It is widely felt that the government cannot waste time in rescuing IBC from the mess it has landed in and it must implement it in a strict and time-bound process.M Govinda Rao, former member of economic advisory council to PM, says the government must go beyond the merger of public sector banks (PSBs) and divest its stakes. “It will allow banks to take risks. Enough taxpayer money has been used to recapitalise them.” The government infused more than Rs 1 lakh crore in PSBs in 2018-19, against the budgeted Rs 65,000 crore.Pulapre Balakrishnan, professor of economics, Ashoka University, says recapitalisation without governance reforms amount to little. “How loans are given and how these bank heads are appointed — they need to be looked at.”There is also the crisis in non-banking financial companies, triggered by the collapse of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services. NBFCs borrow short term to lend long term, creating a mismatch. And since they cannot take deposits from the public, they are dependent on banks and mutual funds for capital. The government should promptly address this issue and restore confidence among NBFCs facing a liquidity crunch. NBFC liquidity squeeze has a ripple effect on sectors such as real estate, infrastructure and SMEs.Agricultural CrisisMath has to be made farmer friendly 69498456 The farm sector employs half of India’s workforce even as its contribution to GDP has slipped to under 18%. In 2014, the NDA government aspired to double farm income. Instead, 2018-19 could be the worst for farmers’ income in almost two decades. Farmers are reeling under inflation asymmetry. Due to disinflation in farm-gate prices, they are selling their farm produce cheaper but are buying other things at higher prices. “So, the terms of trade for agriculture has become the worst since the 1960s,” says Jehangir Aziz, who heads emerging market economics at JP Morgan.The agri sector faces serious structural challenges. Between 1970-71 and 2015-16, the number of farms have doubled to 145 million, even as average farm size has more than halved to 1.08 hectares. While India has pushed reforms in key economic sectors, agriculture remained ignored after the Green Revolution. Production rose but farm-gate prices have declined. Most policy initiatives — from minimum support price (MSP) and fertiliser subsidy to farm loan waivers — have been flawed, geographically uneven and mostly band-aid solutions. Despite last year seeing the highest MSP since 2014 and loan waivers (worth Rs 1,90,000 cr between April 2017 and early 2019), farmer protests and suicides have surged. Last November, 200 farmer groups organised protest marches, demanding better prices.In the short term, some form of cash handouts like PM-Kisan and pensions will ease the pain. But deep structural reforms are urgent and necessary, says Abheek Barua, chief economist, HDFC Bank. Overhauling the Agricultural Produce Marketing Act, allowing direct buying from farmer producer organisations, restructuring the MSP policy and opening up market infrastructure — like warehousing, processing and logistics — are critical. A consistent and thought-through export policy factoring in perishables is important. Improving farmer capacity and productivity by upgrading rural infrastructure will be helpful. Finally, agriculture supports far too many people. Some of these people should be proactively moved to more productive sectors.Jobs ChallengeFocus on manufacturing and upskilling 69498462 India, the world’s second most populous country, with over 470 million workers, will have the world’s largest workforce by 2027 — one billion. Creating jobs is critical even as the ground reality remains grim. According to a leaked NSSO job survey data, unemployment is at a 45 year high, at 6.1%, in 2017-18. A report by Azim Premji University says 50 lakh people lost jobs in 2016-18 due to policy shocks like demonetisation and GST. The slump in the construction sector, which absorbs millions of unskilled illiterate migrant workers, hasn’t helped.Over both the short and long term, India has a lot to worry. The job-creating manufacturing sector contributes just 18% to the GDP even as its labour intensity has been declining. In organised manufacturing, labour intensity has declined from 1.45 in the 1980s to 0.33 in the 2000s. With rising automation, this will only get worse. Even exports by labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, gems and jewellery, which used to account for more than half of India’s exports 15 years ago, have been declining. Now, capital-intensive categories like engineering goods and automobiles contribute 60-70%. “Make in India has been fairly directionless,” says Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, CARE Ratings. After GST and demonetisation, SMEs are hurting, too.The government must prioritise and incentivise manufacturing and remove policy bottlenecks while helping them become globally competitive. A small country like Bangladesh has outpaced India’s garment exports, says Sunil K Sinha, principal economist, India Ratings. Land and labour reforms, hand-holding labour-intensive SMEs, including smoothening of credit schemes like Mudra loans, are all critical. Most importantly, India must prioritise and train its youth for the new jobs that are being created.Data IntegrityCredibility of numbers, above all else 69498471 There is a big problem with India’s growth story — economists are unsure if the economy is expanding at the rate the government claims. For instance, questions have been raised about the revisions of GDP estimates since a new series was introduced in 2015.These revisions marked down the rate of growth in the United Progressive Alliance years while raising the figures during the Modi years, so much so that the government said India’s GDP grew at 8.2% in 2016-17, the year of demonetisation, higher than the earlier estimate of 6.7%, confounding many an economist.“No one who really cares about the facts trusts our short-term growth numbers. They always seem to move in the direction convenient for the government and no one outside the NITI Aayog seem to understand why the change was justified,” says Abhijit Banerjee, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 69498486 Last year, the NITI Aayog, which replaced the Planning Commission, was criticised for its role in announcing GDP data usually released by the Central Statistics Office. There are also calls for the government to be more open with its data.“People will have to continue questioning the government,” says Rao.It is now not uncommon for global banks, economists and investors to discount India’s growth rate or use some other metrics to get a sense of the health of the economy.Disclosing only that data which show the government in a favourable light or resorting to methodologies which enable that will seriously harm India’s reputation. That is the last thing the new government needs.
Categories: Business News

Will 2019 polls reshape BJP-RSS dynamics?

May 25, 2019 - 11:51pm
In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off a campaign that would become the central theme of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 2019 election blitz. Called Main Bhi Chowkidar (I’m a Watchman, Too), it urged citizens to be vigilant guards in the cause of the nation.Modi first described himself as a sentinel on national duty during the 2014 election campaign. By calling himself India’s principal sentry, Modi was perhaps tipping his hat to the core principle of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the organisation that taught him his method and sculpted his ideological memory.RSS founder KB Hedgewar was an ardent admirer of British discipline and preparedness. His biographer records Hedgewar telling volunteers in Pune about an incident during his brief stay in prison on sedition charges. One day, an alarm bugle sounded during lunchtime.British guards and other jail staff — some halfway through their lunch, others half-dressed and yet others in the middle of their siesta — rushed to a designated assembly point, weapons at the ready. The force had lined up in a matter of minutes, awaiting orders.Hedgewar wanted RSS volunteers, and eventually all Indians, to be like the prison guards: alert and ready at all times. “Missionaries in the cause of nation should be even more ready to respond and give up every other kind of personal preoccupations when the call comes,” he gravely observed. The RSS believes every Indian should be trained for this eternal vigil of the nation.Modi’s Main Bhi Chowkidar campaign was a shrewd articulation of that core principle, dramatically presented at every election rally with much chest thumping over revenge strikes for terror attacks and dire warnings to pesky neighbours. Expectedly, RSS described the BJP win as the victory of national forces.Modi has been an invaluable talisman to the RSS. Its reach and influence have expanded rapidly in his first five years and the road ahead appears to be as smooth as it can be. Just before the Modi government came to power, RSS had about 45,000 daily shakhas across the country. That rose to nearly 60,000 shakhas by March 2019. Its affiliates working in different fields such as education and culture have got their chosen candidates in key positions.Not everyone in the RSS was happy with the Modi government though. Its economic agenda was under heavy friendly fire. Some felt it was too keen to roll out the red carpet for foreigners and big businesses. Others were miffed that the government was not paying enough attention to labour and farm issues. Before the elections began, an old-timer commented, “Chunav tak chedenge nahin, jeetne ke baad chodenge bhi nahin (We won’t trouble him until the elections are over. We won’t leave him be once the elections are won).”As the elections approached, the RSS launched itself into the electoral battle with unprecedented fervour. In some states such as Kerala, the BJP was playing second fiddle to the RSS. Senior RSS pracharaks were directly strategising and controlling the day-to-day campaign of BJP candidates. The most promising candidate of the party in Kerala was Kummanam Rajasekharan, a former pracharak. Although the state saw a small spike in vote share for BJP from 10.3% in 2014 to 12.9% now, it still could not capture a seat.In Madhya Pradesh, RSS’ work is being credited for the dramatic rise in voter turnout and the BJP’s spectacular performance after the poor show in the assembly elections six months ago. The state saw turnout go up by 10 percentage points; from about 61% to 71%. The RSS is also said to have played a key role in making sure Jyotiraditya Scindia lost in Guna. RSS sources say the local BJP leadership was sympathetic to the aristocrat but a determined RSS took control of the campaign to ensure his defeat.With the Lok Sabha secure and the Rajya Sabha also likely to come under the BJP’s control soon, the Sangh Parivar is hoping to have a bigger say in government policies. However, Modi and Amit Shah remain unquestionable masters of their domain and will not brook anyone testing their authority. At the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the highest policy-setting meeting of the RSS, in Gwalior last March, a delegate said that personality cults could harm the country.Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat is said to have replied that Modi was not only a true RSS pracharak, he was one of the best examples of an ideal swayamsevak or volunteer. Bhagwat said as a politician and administrator, Modi does what he needs to do in the national interest. Often it may be difficult to understand the reasons behind his decisions. They needn’t worry about the country, however. The RSS was on guard, he told the questioner. 69498307
Categories: Business News

What the new govt's first big decisions are likely to be

May 25, 2019 - 11:51pm
It was 2 PM on Thursday. Early trends of Lok Sabha election results indicated a landslide for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies. The counting of 600 million votes cast during a seven-phase poll that began on April 11 was still on. The return of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India looked certain.Now there was no time to be lost. A frenetic pace of activity began in Delhi’s establishment corridors. Security agencies directed beat traffic constables to clear parked vehicles along the Raisina road and beyond, as they prepared for the PM convoy’s movement to the BJP headquarters that evening. And on the newly refurbished fifth floor of the government think tank NITI Aayog, where the office of its chief executive officer Amitabh Kant is located, an urgent meeting was convened, believed to be at the direction of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), to prepare a road map for the new government.“The ministries have already worked on 100-day action plans; NITI Aayog has worked on it. But it’s for the Prime Minster to take the final call. The 100-day plan is about pushing difficult and big-ticket reforms,” Kant told ET Magazine in an interview that evening.69499401 So, the reforms of Modi Sarkar-II could well include key structural changes in job-creating sectors such as construction, tourism and textiles, and finding suitable modalities to speed up credit flow and private investments. The buzzwords in the coming days could be agri-business, ease of living, aspirational districts and $5 trillion economy (India is currently a $2.96 trillion economy). There may also be radical policy decisions to allow private players in the business of space.ET Magazine spoke to key officials at three union ministries—commerce and industry, railways and agriculture— to understand what’s in store in the new government’s 100-day action plan, and beyond. The word in these circles is that many ministries might be asked to revise the action plan on account of being too conservative. Many have been cautious because they know accountability will be demanded on the 100th day.So, there are two possibilities of rolling out reforms 2.0 under Modi Sarkar-II. First, the 100-day action plan may include only those targets that are reasonably achievable, with modest financial implications. Under this scenario, the big-ticket changes that require substantial resources will be left for the Budget, which is likely to be presented in early July. It’s learnt that the department of commerce may include the replacing of Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) with another WTO-compatible scheme in its 100-day agenda. MEIS, for the record, is an export incentive scheme valued at Rs 32,000 crore (2018-19) which recently came under attack from the international community, as it does not conform to the prevailing norms of the World Trade Organization.The second possibility though is the introduction of big-ticket reforms in the 100-day plan itself. A caveat is needed here—the 100-day action plan is an initiative of the PMO, as against the Budget announcements, to be prepared in the North Block and presented by the new finance minister. The question is: won’t PM Modi himself announce the big reforms of his second innings? A senior officer of the ministry of railways says that its big initiatives — building of two more dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) and a road map to increase speed across trains — may find a place only in the upcoming Budget, and not in its 100-day plan. DFCs are considered instrumental for raising the railways’ share of freight movement from existing 25% to 50% by 2032, he adds. Presently, two DFCs — the Western (Delhi-Mumbai; 1,504 km) and the Eastern (Delhi-Kolkata; 1,856 km) — are being built. There is potential for four more dedicated corridors — Mumbai-Chennai, Kolkata-Chennai, Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Kolkata.69499404 In a written reply to ET Magazine’s queries, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, said that no stone would be unturned to make India a $5 trillion economy, up from $2.9 trillion now. “Some of the initiatives to make India a $5 trillion dollar economy will be pursued hard. The next government will follow up initiatives such as Start-Up India, Agri-Export policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc,” he added.For Modi of 2019, the biggest advantage emanates from the fact that he is no longer a novice to Delhi and its bureaucracy. And for rolling out reforms of huge size and scale, he does not need any support from some of his not-so-reliable allies. So, where’s the roadblock now? In 2014, Modi was new and yet to figure out the pathways of how the PM’s office functioned. In a month’s time, he, however, cobbled up a team of bureaucrats with a sprinkling of those he knew earlier and trusted— PK Mishra, Hasmukh Adhia and Amitabh Kant combined with others such as Ajit Kumar Seth, the then cabinet secretary who he retained for an extended tenure, possibly to bring in some continuity at the top. In contrast, Manmohan Singh had removed the incumbent cabinet secretary Kamal Pande, an appointee of the Vajpayee government, within a month of taking oath as PM in 2004.It’s no secret that Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat (2001-2014) drove his policies by relying more on bureaucrats than his cabinet colleagues. But Modi as PM needed some skilled and experienced hands to anchor the economic ministries, in particular where major reforms were to take shape. But, call it talent deficit or lack of confidence in the majority of the BJP MPs, Modi ended up handpicking only those in whom he had total faith. Initially, Arun Jaitley was given three key ministries — finance, corporate affairs and defence. Another Modi pick, Piyush Goyal, a chartered accountant, was also given multiple portfolios.Then, within six months of forming the new government, Modi got Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu, also a chartered accountant-turned politician and a one-time favourite of former PM Vajpayee, to join the BJP and handle the ministry of railways. By the end of the tenure of the first Modi government, Prabhu and Goyal were together handling four key ministries — railways, coal, commerce and industry, and civil aviation. Also, in a 2017 reshuffle, Modi appointed four bureaucrat-turned politicians — KJ Alphons, RK Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri and Satya Pal Singh as ministers, ignoring the aspirations of many political veterans, mainly to expedite the functioning of key ministries such as urban development, tourism and power.For PM Modi, 2019 is expected to be easier than 2014. The reason is simple—Modi has now grasped the dynamics of Delhi’s bureaucracy and he understands the strength and weaknesses of his political “A” team. He knows precisely who he can rely on, minimising the need for experimentation.And that could make Modi’s priorities substantially different from what he began with in 2014. For example, after becoming PM for the first time, Modi abolished the Nehruvian institution of Planning Commission, a measure that was symbolic in nature. Then, he pushed his team to do away with 1,500 archaic laws— for example, under the Indian Aircraft Act, 1934, kites were considered as aircraft thereby requiring the same permit for flying aeroplanes and kites. Also, he ran some successful campaigns such as Make in India and Skill India which, however, did not yield desired results on the ground.This time, Modi may roll out big-ticket schemes from day one, with the first priority being job creation. Unemployment, for example, was an issue in the recent round of elections, but the incumbent escaped the wrath of the voters as nationalism around the Balakot air strikes changed the narrative completely. Modi likely understands the full weight of this humongous 303 mandate. And with the team being ready from Day One, he is not likely to waste his time on slogan or symbolism.
Categories: Business News

Naresh Goyal, wife stopped from boarding Dubai-bound flight

May 25, 2019 - 8:45pm
MUMBAI: Former chairman of Jet Airways Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal were denied permission to travel abroad Saturday by the immigration authority at Mumbai airport, sources said.The couple was to travel by Dubai-bound Emirates flight EK 507 when the immigration authority denied them permission to fly, they said.The checked in baggage, which was in the name of Anita Goyal, was also offloaded from the flight. The flight was scheduled to depart at 3.35 pm.Naresh Goyal could not be reached for comments. Response to a query sent to Emirates was also awaited.Last month, Jet Airways officers and staff association president Kiran Pawaskar had written to the Mumbai police commissioner that the passports of Goyal and other directors and senior members of the Jet Airways management be impounded as the airline had not paid salaries to its employees for several months.Naresh Goyal, along with Anita Goyal, had resigned from the board of Jet Airways, which he founded 26 years ago, in March following a debt restructuring plan. He had also resigned as the airline chairman.
Categories: Business News

The good, bad and ugly sides of TikTok

May 25, 2019 - 8:45pm
Picture this: A dimly lit living room of a home in a small town in Rajasthan. A newly-wed couple dance to the title tune of 90s Bollywood hit ‘Baazigar’ as they earnestly play the parts of actors Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Their lip-syncing is off and dance moves chase the beat. This 15-second TikTok video recently went ‘viral’. The mobile platform is populated with millions of short-form videos like this one. Now, TikTok’s “cringe-inducing” videos are potential meme material for urban Internet inhabitants, but for millions of the app’s Indian users, many newborn creators and first-time users, it is liberating and aspirational and “a confidence booster”. So while mocking TikTok, it seems, is fashionable nowadays, dismissing the platform is just plain foolish. In an exclusive chat with Brand Equity, Sumedhas Rajgopal, entertainment strategy and partnerships lead, TikTok (India), tells us the Chinese app’s user base in India is as diverse as the country. Thousands of videos uploaded to the platform every day reflect that diversity we see in user base. Here’s a quick sampling beyond lip-synch fails: Housewives post seasonal recipes, doctors share health tips, millennials partake in hashtag challenges, cricket commentator Aakash Chopra talks sport while TV actor Ashish Bisht shares comedy clips. Says Rajgopal, “We want to enable everyone to be a creator. We have seen a rise in creators who are just good at what they do and celebrities who have been able to use the platform to engage with their fans.” Low barrier of entry has made the app a sensation in the country, and now India counts as the ByteDance-owned platform’s fastest growing base (currently stands at 200 million users).Brands ticking to get on board TikTok is also quickly becoming marketers’ new darling, mainly due to the access it gives brands to creators and consumers of middle India. Despite a recent controversy over explicit and inappropriate content spotted on the platform that resulted in a temporary ban on app downloads, the brands that use TikTok have stuck by it. Voonik, a fashion e-store for women, was the first brand to explore TikTok in India. According to Prem Suganth V.T, associate director, Voonik, TikTok as a marketing platform is maturing and Voonik’s approach to it is shaped by a longer term strategy. “The product is undergoing a lot of transformation based on the needs of the advertisers, which means it’s too early to park a huge budget there. Currently, not more than 20% of our digital marketing budget gets allocated to TikTok.” But, he adds, by the end of the second quarter the number is expected to go up to 50%. Brands that have deployed TikTok as a social media vehicle are retailers Myntra, Zara, ShopClues and Snapdeal; entertainment companies and OTT platforms Dharma Productions, Hungama Music, Voot and Viu; and personal care brand Clean & Clear, among others. Some large legacy brands are also on board. Earlier this month, Pepsi launched a “challenge-driven” campaign. As a part Pepsi’s summer campaign ‘Har Ghoont Mein Swag’, the brand created an anthem first uploaded to Google-owned YouTube, which picked up on other platforms too. On TikTok Pepsi ran #SwagStepChallenge for six days where it invited users to share their “swag step”. The challenge generated over 4 billion views, which makes it the most successful brand campaign on TikTok. Like most brand offensives on social media, whether all that swag translated to sales is still uncertain. But Tarun Bhagat, director - marketing, hydration and cola, PepsiCo India, is quite impressed with the results nonetheless. He tells us, “TikTok is a platform that provides consumers a way to demonstrate their self-beliefs. At a deeper level, our brand ideology has been similar. It was a synergy that we spotted. Also, it is every brand team’s dream to garner user-generated content that organically uses various elements of the product or campaign. That has been impressive for us.”When ‘the’ social network launches a TikTok killer? Tech, and especially social internet, trends have varying shelf-lives. Over the years, even established social apps have found it difficult to sustain and keep users’ interest alive. TikTok could face similar challenges. Add to that the fact that the market is dominated by Facebook’s ecosystem of social and communication apps. Already the tech titan is preparing to unleash a TikTok-like feature for Instagram.However, Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO and co-founder of digital shop Gozoop, thinks TikTok is here to stay. “It has been successful in changing the behaviour of a certain demographic, which in turn has made it a very sticky platform also high in loyalty.” Currently, Naqvi and team are working on a Pan-Asia campaign (across 50 countries) on TikTok for the Olympic Council of Asia. Echoing Naqvi’s sentiments, Sanjay Mehta, joint CEO, Mirum India, says “From a pure advertising point of view, it has got the numbers. Hence, it is not a platform that one can ignore at this time.” According to digital marketing specialists, clients are asking their agency partners to explore the platform but with a certain degree of restraint. Smart marketers don’t get caught in hype. Anil Nair, CEO of VMLY&R India, thinks TikTok could turn out to be a “fad” because it lacks a greater value proposition. He says, “Any other existing social network can come up with a TikTok like feature. The platform does not have a larger value proposition that can stand the test of time.” He admits that for marketers “the virality factor” is tempting, but “I know that I can’t possibly build any long-term strategies on it. Also, it may not serve every category as it has a skew towards certain youth-oriented and lighter storytelling formats.”What happens after TikTok’s 15 seconds of fame are up? VMLY&R’s Nair believes the platform has to harvest the residual brand equity and pivot into other adjacencies to continue being relevant and to checkmate future redundancy.Mirium’s Mehta says, “Getting initial acclaim and large numbers are always good, but it also puts a lot of pressure on it to sustain popularity and ensure continuing growth. Having a close eye on users' engagement with the platform, listening in to see what users are looking for, and constantly innovating while retaining its fundamental character, should be the priorities for TikTok.”But, above all brands have a far greater responsibility than just driving engagement, reach and sales, says Naqvi. “There is always a bottomline to the bottomline and that is, doing what is right for your own value system. I believe a platform like TikTok should take measures to control offensive/vulgar content, something they have already done.” In fact, across social media platforms, brand safety concerns have heightened among marketers. Nair adds, “Also, the company should ensure the platform doesn't become just another vehicle to live a fake life to amass likes.” And the clock starts now. *Tick-tock* Short but not always sweet: The brand safety factor Despite social platforms ramping up AI-driven and humans led moderation teams, there still are serious concerns around content regulation. When asked how TikTok plans to fix the issue of inappropriate and explicit content popping up on the platform, TikTok’s Sumedhas Rajgopal informs, “Since July 2018, we have removed over six million videos that have violated our Community Guidelines. In India, our moderation team covers 15 major Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Gujarati. We also updated our Community Guidelines in November last year and added a section just for India.” One such update was a clause about “skin-show”, now stricter for TikTok’s India community compared to guidelines for other countries, Rajgopal tells us. By the end of 2019 TikTok aims to have 1,000 employees in India, 25% will be deployed to its content moderation efforts.A TikTok EconomyTikTok overtook Facebook as the most downloaded social networking app globally in Q1, 2019. 188 million downloads, with India accounting for 47%, according to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. India user base - 200 millionOwner ByteDance plans to invest $1 billion in India over the next three years.Offers immersive and interactive ad formats such as ‘Brand Takeover’ that allows full-screen vertical display and ‘In-feed Native Video’A cottage-industry: Professional classes to train people to make TikTok videos that go viral. Charges vary between Rs7,000 and Rs10,000 per month for weekly classes. Classes also hosted by TikTok influencers. TikTok hosts offline creator’s meets to educate the influencer community about new features available on the app.Good, bad or ugly? A look at TikTok’s global reelLast year, TV host/comedian Jimmy Fallon and skateboarder Tony Hawk joined TikTok to take on Internet challenges. #TumbleweedChallenge involved dropping to the ground and rolling around to Western movie style music. The app also partnered with the NBA to show behind-the-scenes footage and game highlights, and showcase celebrities to create challenges for community engagement. According to a report in AdWeek, “TikTok has told agency partners in the US that it is working on a biddable advertising option on the platform, signaling it is looking to further open up to advertisers and their digital dollars.” Currently, Sony, FIFA, Calvin Klein, Huawei and Coca Cola, are some of the brands that are betting big on the platform in the US. In 2018, TikTok tapped the UK market by creating Christmas and New Year related hashtags and challenges.
Categories: Business News

What went wrong in Amethi for Congress?

May 25, 2019 - 8:45pm
What went so horribly wrong for Congress President Rahul Gandhi that he lost from his family's pocket borough Amethi Lok Sabha constituency?Ask local leaders and people and they cite reasons like Congress turncoats benefitting BJP's Smriti Irani and apparent lack of interest of Rahul as well as his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra this time.Rahul, who was elected three times consecutively from the constituency in 2004, 2009 and 2014, lost this time by over 55,000 votes.The only other time that a Gandhi family member has lost from this constituency, created in 1967, was in 1977 and it was Rahul's uncle late Sanjay Gandhi who was defeated in an anti-Emergency wave.Sanjay Gandhi then wrested the seat from Janata Party in 1980 and since then it has remained with the Congress, barring one year when the BJP won the seat.After Sanjay Gandhi's death in 1981, Rajiv Gandhi won the seat in a by-election the same year. Rajiv Gandhi then retained the seat in 1984 and 1989.After Rajiv's death, Captain Satish Sharma, a friend of the Gandhi family won the seat in 1991 and 1996.However, in 1998, Sharma was defeated by Sanjay Singh, former Congress leader who had contested on a BJP ticket.A year later, Sonia Gandhi entered politics and won the Amethi seat.She retained it before shifting to Rae Bareli in 2004 and fielding Rahul from Amethi.Rahul retained it three times but was defeated now."Why will anyone vote for such a person who does not visit the people of his constituency," posed Surendra Singh, a resident of Buraulia in Amethi, while referring to Rahul.He said the Congress chief had visited Buraulia three years ago and did not visit here even in the election season.Significantly, Rahul was conspicuous by his absence even during the day of polling in the constituency while his rival Irani was active.Vishun Kumar Singh, a resident of the Nara village, said the virtual absence of Rahul and Priyanka from Amethi during the elections had hurt them badly."Earlier Priyanka Gandhi used to camp in Amethi and Rae Bareli and would take care of the campaigning. But this time, both of them were busy in campaigning in other parts of the state," he said."In their absence, the campaign carried out by the local leaders hardly generated any buzz among the people," Singh said.Rakesh Singh, a local Congress leader, said the party was very weak in Amethi organisationally as compared to the BJP."Had we not been weak, we would not have lost four out of five Assembly seats of Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in the 2017 Assembly polls," he said.He said turncoats and BJP's four MLAs brought votes for their party in Amethi, making a huge dent in the Congress votes."Chandra Prakash Mishra, formerly of the BSP, who contested against Rahul Gandhi in 2004 and got close of 1 lakh votes, had joined the BJP. And Mishra's joining the BJP gave an edge to the saffron party as he had a good command on the backward and Dalit votes in Amethi," Singh said.Rakesh Singh said that Dalits and OBCs constitute about 58 per cent of the total population of Amethi, while Thakurs and Brahmins constitute over 26 per cent and Muslims for over 16 per cent.Others who have joined the BJP in the past five years include Jang Bahadur Singh (Congress), Dhiru Tripathi (Congress and then SP), ex-Samajwadi Party MLA Gajadhar Singh, former Congress and BSP leader Ashish Tripathi, SP leader Rajesh Masala and ex BSP leader Sriram Krantikari.Krishna Tiwari, who had joined the BJP leaving Congress in 2015 told IANS, "Several Congress leaders leaving the party made things worse for the Congress as they joined the ruling BJP in last five years."He said besides Congress leaders, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party leaders, who also switched to the saffron party in last few years proved a turning point for the BJP.Giving examples of the leaders who switched to the BJP, Tiwari said, "From Salon assembly constituency, the Congress's forward face and former MLC Dinesh Pratap Singh has switched sides to the BJP and contested against Sonia Gandhi."He said, Shiv Balak Pasi of the Congress had also joined the BJP. "And after his death, his wife Kamla Devi has also joined the BJP," he said.Farman Haider, a local resident of Musafirkhana constituency on the other hand blamed the local Congress leaders for Rahul Gandhi's defeat in Amethi.He said the local leaders like Deepak Singh, Yogendra Mishra (Amethi Congress President, who resigned earlier in the day) and Chandrakant Dubey did not allow Rahul Gandhi to connect with the people.""If he is not allowed to interact with the people of Amethi then how will he come to know about the problems of the people," Haider rued.Surendra Singh, another resident of Burualia, the village which was adopted by former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, said that the Congress chief must introspect why the people did not vote for him this time.He said, "The roads in his area, scholarships to the students and youths, Kendriya Vidyalaya centre and several schemes brought by Irani in Amethi helped her connect with the masses, especially the youth."Pointing towards the number of visits of Irani in Amethi and Rahul Gandhi, Singh said, "Even after losing in 2014, she (Irani) came to Amethi for over 35 times. She met people personally. And when they went to Delhi, she also remembered their names. While Rahul Gandhi visited for over 15-16 times.""And the local BJP leaders acted as a bridge between Irani and the people of Amethi to fulfill their demands," he said.Ashok Singh said that Didi (Irani) helped people in their testing times. Like when the houses or crops of people or farmers were destroyed in natural calamities she immediately sent help to those families.Gyan Pratap Singh, owner of the Alok Dhaba, said that Irani has personally connected with the people of Amethi.For instance, she has personally got over 50,000 people covered under a central government life insurance scheme, besides ensuring benefits under various other initiatives.
Categories: Business News

Air Asia India drops plan to take Jet's grounded B737s

May 25, 2019 - 8:45pm
New Delhi-Low-cost carrier Air Asia India has dropped its plan to lease B737 aircraft of grounded Jet Airways as the Tata group venture carrier wants to continue with one type of aircraft."Air Asia India had informed the aviation regulator about their plan to lease some of the B737 airplanes that were operated by Jet Airways. But later it did not follow up. Now, the idea has finally been dropped," said an industry source.He said the airline did not want to pursue the plan as induction of new type of fleet was seen adding complications given the different seat configuration, maintenance and skill requirement."In low-cost airline business, one-type of fleet is advisable," the executive quoted above said.Facing severe liquidity crunch, Jet Airways had stopped operations on April 17. In order to fill the capacity gap due to grounding of Jet Airways, the rivals SpiceJet and Vistara swung into action to take the crisis-hit airline's narrow-body airplanes.While SpiceJet is learnt to have inducted 20 of Jet's grounded B737 planes, Vistara took 4.The Bengaluru-headquartered Air Asia India also showed initial interest and applied to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for regulatory approval.The airline is set to continue its expansion plan adding A320 airplanes. In the next 18 months, it plans to double its fleet size from current 21 A320 aircraft.The budget carrier that started operations in June 12, 2014 currently has a market share of 6.2 per cent in the domestic market.
Categories: Business News

How India plans to win the US-China trade war

May 25, 2019 - 5:45pm
NEW DELHI: A high-level advisory group on trade has said that a knee-jerk tit-for-tat approach by raising import duties may not be a good strategy for the government, which should look at reducing tariffs to take advantage of the US-China trade war.The panel, headed by economist Surjit Bhalla, submitted its report to commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday. The recommendations are expected to be followed up by the new government as slow export growth is seen to be dragging overall manufacturing sector.It said that India performed well below its potential on the export front, an observation that the commerce department has refused to acknowledge and has blamed the global situation for the poor performance. Doubling India’s exports to $1 trillion over the next seven years would require an annual growth of 10% compared to the 2% average in the last five years.Suggesting that the focus also needs to be on broader issues, the committee had proposed a reduction in the effective corporate tax rate from the current level of 24%, arguing that India’s competitors have effective rates of under 20%. Similarly, it recommended a sharp reduction in the real policy rate, which is the “highest ever” given that the median rate in rivals has stated around 0.8% a year. 69493159 The panel also suggested that an Empowered Investment Promotion Agency needs to be set up and empowered to take quick decisions to identify and attract investors based on pre-defined criteria. This is particularly important to leverage “China plus One” opportunity as companies are looking to diversify their investments across the globe.It has pointed to the need for optimising free trade agreements and suggested an indepth assessment of the existing trade pacts and their impact on the competitiveness of the Indian industry. Remedial measures should be taken for future negotiations, if required. “Regional trade agreements can be important tools for expanding markets, improving competitiveness and developing production networks through building regional value chains, if partners are selected with rigour and foresight, and negotiations are pursued to gain effective market access,” it warned.At the same time, the panel has proposed that the scope of the negotiations should be widened to include non-tariff barriers as several gains due to duty cuts were not available as countries blocked imports using standards and other tools.The committee also underlined the need for a rationalisation of India’s tariff structure to make it more predictable to encourage participation in global value chains.
Categories: Business News

10-point guide to help Modi kick-start the economy

May 25, 2019 - 5:45pm
If Prime Minister Modi’s 2014 mandate was India’s biggest in three decades, his 2019 re-election was an even bigger feat. Modi cruised to victory amid agrarian distress, youth unemployment, high income inequality, anemic growth, a broken financial system and the promise of a basic income for 50 million of the country’s poorest families by the Congress, making the win even more momentous.The new government will hit the ground running as it looks to get economic growth back on track by simplifying taxes, easing compliance and spurring demand. A plan to kick-start private investment and stimulate demand has already been drawn up as the incoming administration gets ready to present a full budget in July. The finance ministry and other departments have already prepared measures aimed at stimulating the economy that need to be taken by the new government.The first challenge would be to revive demand, officials said. The budget is likely to be presented in early July and could, as was promised in the interim budget, cut personal taxes to put more money in the hands of the middle class, thus persuading people to spend more and drive up demand.Here are ten things that can help the Modi government to incite the economy:Cash from public assets The govt can look forward to monetize assets including rail tracks, roads, ports and power units to generate funds for public investment. The auction of new spectrum is expected to yield a bonanza for the new government.DisinvestmentThe government needs to quickly plan a big selloff programme. The main priority should be to exit all non-strategic PSUs and shut the loss-making ones. Employees of such organisations should also be given generous voluntary retirement schemes.Liquidity for NBFCsThe government can come to the rescue of the NBFCs by buying some of the assets owned by them using government bonds, which can be used by other such entities to raise resources.A Few Big BanksThe idea of a few big banks could finally materialise under Modi 2.0 with the merger of public sector banks to create five big players. The government then needs to capitalise them adequately to strengthen their balance sheets.Fix IBC ProcessThe IBC needs amends as in the time taken for the resolution of stressed assets needs to come down. As far as the revision of Feb 12 circular it should be hastened.GST 2.0Simplify GST further by doing away with the two top rates of 18% and 28%. GST tax slabs could be merged into two main rates from four at present. BJP's election manifesto talked about simplification of the GST process and lowering time spent for tax compliance to 1 hour per month. It also promised reduced tax rates, higher tax collection and better compliance. Mining Revival Address logjam in mining to get coal and iron ore moving. Bottlenecks in coal supply are hurting utilities, aluminum smelters and steel mills. Some 8.7 gigawatts of generation capacity was shut as of the end of June due to coal shortages, according to reports. India has 197 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity.Cities as Growth EnginesBuild new cities, redevelop older ones; address real estate issues. The government's Smart City Mission should also be revamped to take the government’s urban reforms agenda forward.China OpportunityRoll out mega industrial zones, labour refoms and land acquisition law to encourage large-scale competitive manufacturing. The government will also need a strategy to gain market access in China for its farm and pharmaceutical exports and attract foreign companies looking to shift out their manufacturing bases from there in the wake of the trade war between the US and China. Empower the KisanRemove all curbs on selling farm produce, green light GM farming for food and cash crops. A continuing emphasis on inclusive social welfare programmes, under the umbrella of “Antodaya” (upliftment of the poor), will run through the plan.
Categories: Business News

What the next 100 days under Modi 2.0 will look like for you

May 25, 2019 - 2:45pm
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi braces for a second term with a historic mandate, herculean economic challenges await him. Experts expect India to fair better under Modi 2.0. The new government will consider a clutch of proposals over the next 100 days to complete unfinished goals of fine-tuning reforms such as the bankruptcy code, spurring private investments, reversing a slowdown in consumption, creating jobs and fixing farm policies. Here's what to look out for in the first 100 days.For IndiaThe finance ministry has prepared 100-day agenda for the new government with an aim to push the economy which has slipped to 6.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2018-19. In its poll manifesto, BJP promised to turn India into a $5 trillion economy by 2025 and reiterated its promise to double farm income by 2022. The government is expected to simplify GST by doing away with the two top rates of 18% and 28%. GST tax slabs could be merged into two main rates from four at present. BJP's election manifesto talked about simplification of the GST process and lowering time spent for tax compliance to 1 hour per month.The new government will also try to improve manufacturing and revitalise its Make in India initiative. This would also help the re-elected government give a much-needed boost to job creation.The policy priority in the second term will be to reignite growth with prudence as secondary priority.For you and meThe primary expectation of the common man is more cash in hand after taxes. Thus, the government is expected to bring changes that favour citizens. The new government may consider more relief for taxpayers in the main budget. In 2017, the Modi government formed a task force to draft a new direct tax legislation or code to replace the existing 50-year-old Income Tax Act.The task force was scheduled to submit its report by February 28, 2019. However, the deadline was extended by three months to May 31. So, it is likely that the Modi government may replace the existing Income Tax Act.The re-elected government is also expected to continue its clean money campaign with various tweaks in tax rules and laws to plug leakages and put a check on cash transactions.The Modi government had taken steps to make India 'cash-lite'. This trend is also expected to continue. The Reserve Bank of India has already announced that it will soon come up with a new set of customer-protection measures aimed at improving user confidence in electronic payment channels. The Interim budget 2019's tax changes are also here to stay. The main among these include: full income tax rebate for those earning up to Rs 5 lakh per annum, increase in standard deduction from salary to Rs 50,000, removal of tax on notional rent on second house and hike in TDS threshold limit.For studentsThe re-elected Modi government has plans to unveil a new national education policy, a drive to fill 5 lakh vacant faculty positions in higher education, and add of 10 Institutions of Eminence (IoE) to the existing sanctioned strength of 20. IoEs are expected to break into the international top 100 club of academic institutions.The HRD Ministry will also unveil a five-year vision document covering themes such as access, quality, excellence, governance systems, research and innovation, employability, accreditation processes, use of technology for education, internationalisation and financing the higher education. For healthOver the first three months of a second term earned with a resounding margin, the Narendra Modi government may surprise patients with more affordable medicines as well as cheap blood tests.The ministry is said to be planning to launch pathology labs at more than 5,000 Jan Aushadhi outlets across India, besides capping traders’ profit margins. A scheme to encourage domestic production of raw material for medicines is also in the wings, to reduce India’s dependence on imports.For ChinaIndia has prepared a strategy to gain market access in China for its farm and pharmaceutical exports and attract foreign companies looking to shift out their manufacturing bases from there in the wake of the trade war between the US and China.The commerce department’s strategy paper, aimed at reducing India’s trade deficit with its neighbour, proposes a detailed sector-wise strategy for import substitution in electronics, telecom, electrical equipment and pharmaceuticals, which form the bulk of the country’s purchases from China. India’s trade deficit with China stood at a record $63.04 billion in FY18.For the factory workersA proper cover for migrant labourers and factory workers is a top priority, and the effort will be to cover 100 million workers in the Employees’ State Insurance Scheme by 2022. For softwareIn February, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Modi, approved the National Policy on Software Products - 2019. In its first 100 days, the new government is expected to press ahead on this, with the idea to increase India's share of the global software product market ten-fold by 2025.The new NDA government is expected to push ahead with an agenda to put Indian software products and product start-ups on the national map.
Categories: Business News

India's tired of dynasts with a foot in London

May 25, 2019 - 2:45pm
The Modi tsunami, where for the first time after 1971 a party has come back to power with an absolute majority larger than what it had before, unveils the beginning of a ‘new politics’. It is crucial for all political players to understand what this connotes, for they can ignore the takeaways only at their own peril.First, this tsunami has overwhelmed dynastic politics. It has been accepted for too long that progenies of high profile politicians have an ordained right to succeed their parent. But, frankly, there is something abhorrent about the world’s largest democracy considering this par for the course. Until now, there was no real challenge to this distortion. However, the second coming of Narendra Modi has made many dynasts appear irrelevant.The most dramatic instance is that of the Congress party. Rahul Gandhi, who is where he is solely on the basis of whose son he is, needs to accept responsibility for his party’s debacle, and, in the best traditions of democracy, offer to step down. Congress party is in urgent need of a new leadership, a new message, a new cadre, and a new operational strategy.Tejashwi Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav need to internalise the same message. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) did not win a single seat in Bihar, and yet Tejashwi remains the leader of the party simply because he is the anointed son of Lalu Prasad. Akhilesh may claim preeminence as the son of Mulayam, but lineage cannot guarantee performance. His wife, Dimple, has lost the election, as have other members of his family.Second, the magnitude of the Modi victory has rendered hitherto caste fiefdoms largely redundant. Thus far, conventional politics tended to rely on the political arithmetic of caste or community. For instance, in UP, the Samajwadi-Bahujan Samaj Party combine was based on the assumption that Yadav, Jatav, Dalits and Muslim votes would take the alliance past the finishing line. In Bihar, for years now the Muslim-Yadav combine was considered impregnable. The Modi tsunami has swept these caste citadels aside. It is increasingly clear that in the new scenario, caste arithmetic can be finessed by political chemistry.Third, the ‘new politics’ has inaugurated a new process of leadership evaluation. The voter, rising above primeval loyalties, is aggressively asking who in the political firmament is best suited to provide the leadership the nation needs. Narendra Modi may have his detractors, but his leadership qualities could just not be matched by anybody in the opposition. He combined eloquence, charisma, decisiveness, will, vision, cultural rootedness and indefatigable energy, that won over even his most trenchant critics. Henceforth, the people of India will look at someone at the helm of a party in terms of leadership qualities and not inheritance or entitlement.Fourth, the 2019 election has shown that the people of India want a credible narrative. In the case of BJP, a clear-cut narrative was crafted. It consisted of development economics, focussing on the welfare benefits that had touched the quality of lives of people, be it through toilets, housing, electricity, direct benefit transfers, gas connections, health schemes and infrastructure projects. To this was added a muscular opposition to appeasement politics, which tapped into the Hindu backlash, starting from the Shah Bano case of 1985, that perceives ‘vote bank’ politics prevailing over an equitable respect for all religions. Nationalism was a third ingredient that, especially after the Balakot attack, resonated with the people.The narrative was enriched by the slogan of ‘New India’. India is a young, aspirational and impatient country, with 65% of its people below the age of 35. The young are tired of the formulas of the past. Their surge of upward mobility wants to embrace the possibility of the new – new possibilities, new avenues, new vision and new opportunities – for personal advancement that go beyond the dole mongering welfarism of other parties. BJP did not spell out in minute detail what the New India will be, but the slogan and the intent to create one had an appeal by itself.Fifth, in this era of ‘new politics’, no state bastion is immune. The concept is pan-Indian in scope and will, therefore, continuously seek expansion. This has been demonstrated by the inroads BJP has made in Odisha, the north-east, and even more dramatically in Bengal, which was considered by most political pundits as a fortress reserved for the formidable Didi. There are exceptions to this rule, such as most notably, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. But there is no guarantee that BJP will not make a dent there as well in course of time.It must be hoped that this ‘new politics’ will function in the true spirit of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. In pursuance of this goal, the legacies of Adi Shankaracharya, and of Chanakya, will be crucial. The Jagad Guru emphasised the importance of sabhya samvad, civilised discourse, where even an opponent was treated with democratic respect. Chanakya, the great strategist, welcomed opposing points of view, but was unsentimentally focussed on the importance of enlightened statecraft, and the basic premise that, ultimately, the strength of a nation lies in the social harmony prevailing within.(The writer is an author and member of JD(U). Views are personal)
Categories: Business News

We are better prepared for slowdown, says Tata Motors CEO

May 25, 2019 - 2:45pm
Tata Motors MD & CEO Guenter Butschek talked about the current slowdown in the automobile market, turnaround in the company and the shift away from diesel. Excerpts:How is Tata Motors managing the slowdown that has hit the auto industry?We see right now a turnaround at one end and a turn down at the other but we are much better prepared for what lies ahead than we were — when the transition from BS3 to BS4 happened. We shifted gears in 2017. If we had started taking steps only now, we would be hopelessly lost. Earlier, market fluctuations would hit us over proportionately because we were not agile enough. But now, within 4 weeks of the new axle load norms, for example, we have a vehicle at ARAI for certification. We are now sufficiently robust to handle any changes in market environment, regulatory framework or competitive pressure.So after turnaround 1.0 and 2.0, will there be a 3.0?There will not be a turnaround 3.0 as the new principles are now a part of our DNA. Tata Motors has changed and we have embedded turnaround 1.0 and 2.0 into the organisation. The whole purpose of the turnaround was to become less vulnerable to volatility.Will Tata Motors reduce its diesel dependence in passenger vehicles post April 2020?There are two factors in diesel — BS6 and the CAFÉ norms that come into effect in 2022. BS6 makes diesel technology more expensive and as the gap between petrol and diesel fuel prices come down the amortisation of the higher price for diesel vehicles takes longer. The diesel shift is already happening with us — Tiago, which was expected to get 60% of its sales from diesel variants, now gets 70% of its sales from petrol ones. Going forward, for small displacement engines up to 1.2 litre, diesel may not be a viable proposition except for fleet customers. So, we will take a call product by product on diesel and also offer CNG as an alternative.In the 1.5 litre and above segments for SUVs and sedans, diesel options will remain. Smaller vehicles could also be ideal for electrification and urban mobility, though the pricing there could be an issue.
Categories: Business News

When you know what govt will do next, you know where to bet

May 25, 2019 - 2:45pm
By DK AggarwalThe wait is over. The Modi-led NDA government’s return to power at the Centre signals that India needs a strong leader who can deliver political stability and economic development; local in roots, global in vision.Good politics is all about good economics: one needs to closely watch Modinomics and Modi-fications. We hope RBI will be more accommodative in June.In the first term, Modinomics focused on some key deliverables – AMRUT, HRIDAY, Bharatmala Pariyojana, UDAY, UJJWALA YOJANA, Smart City, Ease of Doing Business (EODB), GST implementation, introduction of bankruptcy code and Make in India, to name a few. And, India marched on the path of digital transactions at a faster pace.With renewed vigour, now the immediate task in the hands of the Modi government will be to focus on governance and the growth slowdown in the economy, which slipped to 6.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2018-19, so that it does not become more pronounced. The government should focus more on financial inclusion, spending on infrastructure development, fiscal consolidation, smoothening and simplifying earlier reforms such as GST, RERA and BFSI reforms, improving direct and indirect tax collections to provide relief to the farm sector, reviving industrial growth, increasing credit growth, and most importantly, Job creation.After the recent bankruptcies in the airline and telecom sectors, the government’s focus should be to uplift these sectors along with others such as NBFC and automobile. Consumption demand has been slowing continuously and the government should focus on boosting demand by creating jobs. For this, the government has to double its efforts under the ‘Make in India’ programme. Only by pursuing policies that can ensure genuine product development and manufacturing within the country can the government make the ‘Make in India’ programme a grand success and address joblessness, which continues to be a thorn in the flesh of the economy.India’s GDP needs to grow faster than even 7 per cent. Going forward, macroeconomic stability will guide India on a high growth trajectory. The government has to bring petro-products within the ambit of GST and that would be the one of most effective measures to put the economy back on track.With the return of the Modi government for next five years, the focus of the stock market would be on the growth cycle. From here on, investors should look at companies that are expected to be in the limelight over the next three to four years based on expected policy changes. The full-fledged Budget, due in July is likely to give a new direction to the economy and pave the way for foreign fund inflows to continue.69493939 Chairman & Managing Director,SMC Investments and Advisors Limited
Categories: Business News

India plans to lure companies fleeing China

May 25, 2019 - 11:44am
NEW DELHI: India has prepared a strategy to gain market access in China for its farm and pharmaceutical exports and attract foreign companies looking to shift out their manufacturing bases from there in the wake of the trade war between the US and China.The commerce department’s strategy paper, aimed at reducing India’s trade deficit with its neighbour, proposes a detailed sector-wise strategy for import substitution in electronics, telecom, electrical equipment and pharmaceuticals, which form the bulk of the country’s purchases from China. India’s trade deficit with China stood at a record $63.04 billion in FY18.The strategy paper, prepared by the department, was submitted to commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu.After taking charge as minister in September 2017, Prabhu has personally guided strategies to reduce the trade deficit with China. The core of the idea was increasing exports to China and reducing imports by substituting inbound shipments with local manufacturing.Citing the views of the telecom industry, the department said China has a host of discriminatory and restrictive practices that bar Indian companies from participating in their procurement process. The industry has suggested steps such as local manufacturing of products like printed circuit boards and camera modules and the creation of a research and development fund for the sector.In the case of solar power, the department said India needs to “ringfence government procurement” through competitive bids and set up plans in public-private partnership mode here. 69491143 For auto components, the paper said introduction of standards and common testing facilities to match EU and US standards will strengthen local production. It suggested excluding artificial fibre textiles from the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free-trade agreement and simpler goods and services tax norms for the sector.“India, with its vast working population, and large consumer market is an attractive destination for companies moving their manufacturing bases out of China, and also for Chinese manufacturers for collaborating for setting up production bases in India,” it said.The companies likely to relocate to India are from sectors like electronics, consumer appliances, consumer electronics, textiles, healthcare equipment and heavy industry.TARIFF, NON-TARIFF BARRIERSThe paper favours extending support to exporters by pursuing tariff reduction in the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (an accord among seven Asian countries) and the proposed RCEP. It talks of export incentives to adequately substitute the existing Merchandise Exports from India Scheme and the need to pursue greater market access for agriculture and dairy products and pharmaceuticals.As per the department, Indian pharmaceutical firms face regulatory hurdles and prolonged and unpredictable timelines for drug registration.They are asked to submit detailed clinical trial data and reveal the drug formulation process at the time of registration.On this, the ministry would look at establishing an interface between the Food and Drug Administrations of India and China for conduct of regular training programmes on regulatory standards and processes of filling dossiers in China and relaxing the product registration time to one year from 3-5 years.It would also look at pursuing export orders where market access has been obtained from China for commodities including rice, sugar and sesame seeds.
Categories: Business News

India could get a new govt on May 30

May 25, 2019 - 11:44am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday evening and tendered his resignation along with the council of ministers. He is likely to take oath, along with his new ministry, on the evening of May 30 in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.The process of finalising the leaders who will be sworn in as ministers has begun, and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners have sent feelers on the number of berths they expect.Modi is likely to invite some foreign heads of state for his oath taking ceremony, sources said.The PM chaired the last meeting of his council of ministers on Friday evening, where a resolution to dissolve the 16th Lok Sabha was passed. Finance minister Arun Jaitley did not attend the meeting due to ill health.“The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, met the President today and tendered his resignation along with the council of ministers. The President has accepted the resignation and requested Shri Narendra Modi and the council of ministers to continue till the new government assumes office,” said a communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan.The President hosted a dinner for the outgoing ministers on Friday.More Ministers Likely from Bengal, Odisha, KarnatakaA meeting of the NDA Parliamentary Party, consisting of the newly elected MPs of Bharatiya Janata Party and its partners, will be held on Saturday evening in the Central Hall of Parliament. PM Modi will address the gathering and then meet President Kovind to stake claim to form the next government.Meanwhile, the process of cabinet formation has begun and there have been discussions between the BJP and RSS brass on a tentative first list of probables.Speculation is rife about who will make it to the new team. Modi had told a meeting of the council of ministers at the BJP headquarters last week that some of them will not get another term but that the party will harness their talent — an oblique reference to them being moved to the BJP organisation.BJP leaders were divided on whether party chief Amit Shah will join the Modi cabinet. Some of the top leaders said Shah had not given any indication that he will leave the post of party chief.The new Modi team is likely to have four ministers from West Bengal (the last ministry had two), where BJP has won 18 seats out of the total 42. Higher representation is also likely from Odisha and Karnataka, sources said.With the party failing to open its account in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, there could be some faces from South India as well. Party sources said the number of women ministers may go up in the new team.NDA partners are said to be pitching for ministerial berths and plum portfolios though BJP has a clear majority on its own. JDU and Shiv Sena are likely to get three berths.
Categories: Business News

The week in 10 stocks: Timken, KEI, Dilip Buildcon, RPower among big winners

May 25, 2019 - 11:44am
NEW DELHI: It was a breathless week for Dalal Street as equity benchmarks hit new highs and rallied nearly 4 per cent. BSE Sensex zoomed 1,504 points to 39,434 as of May 24 from 37,930 on May 17, while NSE’s Nifty gained 437 points to 11,844.Since the beginning of the week, the bulls were in the driver’s seat after exit polls projected a comfortable majority for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).While euphoria over the election results helped Sensex and Nifty cross the psychologically important 40,000 and 12,000 levels for the first time on Thursday, the rally fizzled out as traders booked profit in the later part of the day. However, buying on the last day of the week helped the indices settle at all-time closing highs.There are expectations that the landslide victory for the BJP will improve business sentiment and outlook for private investment.Here is a list of top stocks and sectors that kept buzzing through the week.Stocks that rallied up to 29%As many as 118 stocks on the BSE500 index managed to deliver over 10 per cent returns to investors during the week gone by. They included Timken India (up 29 per cent), KEI Industries (27 per cent), Reliance Power (27 per cent), Dilip Buildcon (up 25 per cent) and JK Cements (up 23 per cent). 10 scrips that crackedJust 10 stocks on the BSE500 declined over 5 per cent during the five sessions. Jubilant Life Sciences declined 14 per cent, followed by Eris Lifesciences (down 12 per cent), Procter & Gamble Health (10 per cent), Torren Pharma (down 7 per cent) and Tech Mahindra (down 7 per cent). Stocks @fresh all-time highsOver 25 stocks on the BSE500 index hit fresh all-time highs during the week. The list included several blue chips including Titan, L&T, Axis Bank, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and SBI. DCB Bank, DCM Shriram, City Union Bank, Manappuram Finance and Sunteck Realty also scaled new lifetime peaks.Scrips at fresh lifetime lowsOn the BSE500 index, Central Bank of India, The New India Assurance, Vodafone Idea and Thyrocare Technologies reeled and touched new all-time lows. Sectoral update: It’s all greenBarring the FMCG (down 1.86 per cent) and IT index (down 0.35 per cent) on the BSE, other sectoral indices ended the week in green. The BSE Capital Goods and Realty indices jumped nearly 11 per cent each. Bankex, Telecom, and Power indices rallied over 5 per cent each. Second-rung stocks on a highSecond-rung stocks outperformed equity benchmark Sensex during the week gone by. BSE Midcap index advanced 4.45 per cent to 14,945 in five sessions, while BSE Smallcap index gained 5.85 per cent to 14,699.Top Nifty gainerIndusInd Bank: The private second lender emerged as a top gainer in the Nifty pack during the week gone by with a 20 per cent rise. The stock gained traction after it posted robust top line growth for fourth quarter of FY19. Total income increased 28.88 per cent to Rs 7,550.43 crore in Q4FY19 from Rs 5,858.62 crore in the same period last year. However, the bank reported a 62.22 per cent dip in profit at Rs 360.10 crore. Bottom line got impacted due to provisioning for its exposures to IL&FS.Larsen & Toubro: Shares of the company jumped over 13 per cent for the week ended May 26 to end at Rs 1,544. The infrastructure major on Thursday acquired over 24.9 lakh shares of Mindtree from open market, taking its shareholding in the IT services firm to 28.45 per cent, according to a regulatory filing. “L&T has acquired 24,99,619 equity shares (with a face value of Rs 10 each) of Mindtree on May 24, 2019," a BSE filing showed.Top Nifty losersTech Mahindra: Shares of the IT firm declined 6 per cent to Rs 735.90 on May 24 from Rs 784.90 on May 17. The scrip witnessed selling pressure after posting lower-than-expected result for March quarter. The company posted 8.47 per cent YoY dip in consolidated profit at Rs 1,126.60 crore for the quarter against to Rs 1,230.80 crore reported for the corresponding quarter last year.DHFL: Shares of Dewan Housing cracked over 9 per cent on Wednesday after the NBFC said it would neither accept new deposits nor allow premature withdrawals. Premature withdrawals would be allowed only in cases of medical or financial emergency, DHFL said. However, the scrip advanced 7 per cent to Rs 120.50 during the week.
Categories: Business News

Chinese invaders force big TV brands to tweak pricing call

May 25, 2019 - 8:44am
KOLKATA: Samsung and LG, India’s two biggest television set makers, are cutting prices to counter online-exclusive and Chinese brands.The South Korean duo, which between them make three of the five sets sold in the country, will slash prices by about a fifth, said four industry executives. The full effect of the cuts, in the 43-55 inch screen sizes, will be evident by Diwali, although prices have dropped by 8-12% in the run-up to the cricket World Cup, which starts May 30. Prices could fall Rs 8,000-15,000 by September, they said.LG has dropped sticker prices by Rs 3,000-7,000 and Samsung is offering retailers Rs 3,000-4,000 of support for each set to clear out old stock. New sets will carry the old sticker price, which isn’t the norm, executives said. Samsung is also offering freebies on new models which can be traded for additional discounts.A Samsung India spokesperson, however, denied plans to reduce prices. “Continuing with our consumer-focussed approach, especially during the upcoming World Cup, we have introduced newer models in our smart TVs that come with superior features,” the person said.Aggressive Pricing Likely SoonThe head of a leading national retail chain said Samsung has not changed the maximum retail price (MRP) and is instead offering indirect discounts. The development brings to mind a similar battle in the smartphone segment when Chinese brands forced Samsung to drop prices.Industry executives said Samsung and LG want to narrow the pricing premium over brands such as Xiaomi, TCL, Thomson and BPL to 5-10% by Diwali from as much 50% on some models. That may force Sony to further drop prices after the Japanese company slashed rates 7-8% last month for sub-40 inch sets. However, Sony had told ET last month that it wouldn’t enter into a TV price war.69490804 Cheaper brands have hurt Sony, LG and Samsung in the price-sensitive, 32-inch segment, prompting the leaders to build a moat around the market’s premium end.Vishal Mewani, director of Mumbai’s leading retail chain Kohinoor Electronics, said big brands have had to review their pricing strategy because of India’s preference for ‘value’ brands.Pulkit Baid, director of Great Eastern Retail that runs 58 stores, said large brands are now targeting the 43-55 inch segment to compete against Chinese brands with almost similar pricing. “I am certain the sub-55 inch category will see more aggressive pricing in the next three months after the steep price cuts in 43-inches from last year,” Baid said.An LG India spokesperson said the top-tier brands command more than 75% of the total TV market and there is not much impact on the positioning of these big brands despite the availability of low-priced choices. He said consumers look for pricing, value proposition, better technology and after-sales service while purchasing a product, since the lifecycle of a TV is more than five years. “Not just high end, we have retained and further strengthened our leadership in the 32 (inch) smart TV category,” the spokesperson said.BRAND LOYALTYNilesh Gupta, director of Vijay Sales, said that while prices are dropping, brand loyalties are unlikely to shift. “It’s unlikely a buyer for LG, Samsung and Sony will shift to any other brand,” Gupta said.The Rs 22,000-crore Indian TV set market is expanding at 8-10%. Tracker GfK estimates online brands accounted for 20% of total television sales volume in 2018, a channel in which Samsung, LG and Sony are seen as late entrants.Industry executives, citing GfK numbers, said Samsung is the largest in the overall TV market with around 30-31% share, followed by LG at 27-28%. However, Xiaomi, which cites IDC data, claims it is the largest in India’s smart TV segment.Sony’s starting price for a 40-inch TV is now Rs 37,990. LG and Samsung are already selling a 43-inch UHD TV for Rs 41,990-Rs 44,990, compared with Rs 52,990-plus last Diwali. A 55-inch UHD is now selling for about Rs 63,000, down from Rs 80,000-plus.In contrast, online-focussed brands such as Xiaomi, TCL and Thomson are selling a 43-inch UHD set at Rs 23,999 to Rs 29,499, while a 55-inch one is sold in the Rs 33,999 to Rs 56,799 range.
Categories: Business News

Smaller rivals may gain in India at Huawei’s cost

May 25, 2019 - 8:44am
Huawei’s expected troubles due to US sanctions could open a window of opportunity for rival debutants Realme and Oppo to get a toehold in India’s premium smartphone market, analysts said.Oppo is making a second attempt at cracking the premium smartphone segment — those costing over Rs 30,000 — with the launch of its new premium series Reno. Realme will enter the space towards the latter part of the year.Market experts say Huawei may be forced to pull out devices with Android readying to snap ties with the Chinese smartphone maker. Oppo and Realme could well exploit the gap and growing competition in the segment dominated by Samsung, OnePlus and Apple so far. The premium smartphone segment itself is expected to almost double by Decemberend to 10% of the overall market, said Counterpoint Research.“The absence of Huawei, one of the fastest growing premium segment players, will surely give competitors some relief,” Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said.Madhav Sheth, chief executive officer at Realme India, confirmed the brand’s plan to enter the premium segment and said “There's huge scope in every segment, including the premium segment. We want to be present in this segment… before the year-end, our premium product will be launched.”Both Oppo and Realme – which are in the top five in the overall Indian smartphone market — are owned by BBK Electronics, which also owns Vivo and One-Plus. OnePlus was the second largest premium brand in the Jan-March quarter after leading the segment from April-Dec 2018. Korea’s Samsung reclaimed leadership in the premium segment in the Jan-March quarter, as per Counterpoint and IDC.Oppo, which will launch Reno and Reno 10X Zoom Edition phones later this month, had first entered the premium segment last year with the launch of Find X, followed by R17 Pro. In India, these phones didn’t see success but Oppo emerged the fastest growing smartphone brand in the premium segment globally with 863% growth, according to the Counterpoint Research report released in April 2019.Realme’s Sheth said that the company will have a full handset portfolio priced in the range of Rs 5,999-40,000. “It is about bringing innovation and technology to consumers.”Analysts said launch of new OnePlus smartphones and new devices from Samsung will drive the segment in the coming months. Apple will also help in expanding the segment as it readies to make other high-end phones in India to reduce duty pains, having already slashed the price of the XR model which has started to move fast in the market, which will bring down prices of its latest models.Pathak said vendors are now looking to build brand loyalty among consumers, being available across price segments, including the premium segment.
Categories: Business News

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