OPINION, P6 COMPANIES, P4 S BHALLA & A VIRMANI `2.4 tn in DBT will end poverty—our subsidy bill is larger INTERNATIONAL, P8 SUNIL JAIN UDAN SCHEME MICHAEL DELL UNDER PRESSURE With taxes rising and apps/software to ease filing, GST is already looking better SpiceJet's Singh says routes 'financially viable' without VGF Dell mulls return to market just 4 years after going private NEW DELHI, SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 2018 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XLIII NO. 283, 10 PAGES, `8.00 (PATNA `9.00, RAIPUR `10.00) P U B L I S H E D F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K ATA , L U C K N O W, M U M B A I , N E W D E L H I , P U N E FARM-SECTOR REFORMS MONETISING ASSETS Mulls shifting agri marketing to Concurrent List; move could help reduce local levies, boost eNAM DoT nixes proposal, says telco should have examined ownership aspect Centre seeks to have greater say (%) 8 6.5 6 4.32 3.12 4 RISHI RANJAN KALA New Delhi, January 26 Punjab Haryana Madhya Pradesh Uttar Pradesh STATE-OWNED, LOSS-MAKING TELECOM firm BSNL’s movetomonetiseitsrealestate assets in order to shore up its revenueshasrunintotroubleas thedepartmentoftelecommunications (DoT) has said since theownershipoftheproperties do not vest with the firm, its proposal cannot be processed. The telecom firm had recently moved a proposal before the DoT that it be allowed to sell part of its land banks and buildings to bring aboutafinancialrestructuring of the organisation. However, DoT officials said the sale of property can only happen if the title of the same vests in the name of the company,which is not in the case of BSNL, and hence, the proposal lacks in merit and cannot be processed. The reason is that most of the land bank which BSNL has was acquired by DoT before BSNL came into existence.As a result the ownership oftheselandiswiththegovernment and not BSNL. Second, lands and building which are withBSNLweremostlyacquired for building exchanges for the purposeofincreasingruralcoverage.Theselandswereacquired from local municipal bodies for a token amount for technical *Sundry mandi taxes, arthia commission, etc eNAM: Little progress Over 470 mandis in 14 states conduct electronic trade, but only within mandis; inter-mandi eNAM trade yet to thrive, leave alone inter-state trade 90 fruits and vegetables identified for trading on the e-NAM platform, actual trade only in 45 commodities and volumes are very low remunerative prices. Market fee, rural development imposts and arthia or societies’ commissions add up to 7% of the mandi prices at present, with the levies particularly high in states like Punjab, Haryana, both major grain producers. Shifting agriculture marketing to the Concurrent List, it is believed, will give a boost to electronic national agriculture market (e-NAM) which is designed to multiplythe farmers’choice of buyers. Continued on Page 2 Telangana to have separate agri budget The government has decided to provide `8,000 per acre perannum to farmers (for two seasons) as investment support for agriculture, the governor said,adding the government would allocate funds for the scheme in the budget. Superwomen BSF’s women motorcycle team showcases its prowess at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Friday EXPRESS PHOTO: AMIT MEHRA Continued on Page 2 QuickPicks Forex kitty continues to scale new peaks, touches $414.78 bn THE RALLY in the foreign exchange reserves continued for the fourth week in a row, and scaled a new peak of $414.784 billion in the week to January 19, helped by a rise in foreign currency assets, according to the Reserve Bank of India data, reports PTI. The central bank data showed that the reserves rose by $959.1 million during the reporting week. In the previous week, the reserves had touched $413.825 billion after it rose by $2.7 billion. The reserves had crossed the $400-billion-mark for the first time in the week to September 8, 2017, but has since been fluctuating. Sterling Biotech director held in `5,000-cr bank fraud case GUJARAT-BASED PHARMA firm Sterling Biotech's director Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit was on Friday sent to a one-day Enforcement Directorate custody in a money laundering case related to an alleged `5,000-crore bank fraud case, reports PTI. The ED registered a money laundering case in this instance after taking cognisance of an earlier CBI FIR. The CBI had booked the company and directors, and alleged that Sterling took loans of over `5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets. PAGE 3 EVEN AS ITS ambitious labour reform agenda is facing delays forpoliticalreasons,theNarendra Modi government is moving fast on bringing in industry-friendly labour-market changes that don’t require legislative approval. Fixed-term employment, introducedinthegarmentsector in September 2016 and replicated in the leatherindustry recently, is all set to be extended to all sectors. The fixed-term employment makes it easier for the industry to hire more in times ofneedtocaterfortheseasonal nature of order flows, but people employed under such contractsforfixedperiodsenjoyall benefits akin to the “permanent workers”, including work hours, wages, allowances, statutorybenefitslikeemployees’provident fund,etc. According to a draft notification put up by the labour ministry on its website, “No SEASONAL JOBS ■ Fixed-term employ- ment makes it easier for the industry to hire more in times of need ■ Move is important to As visiting Asean leaders pledge to boost trade, data show India's goods trade deficit with the 10-nation bloc remains elevated, mainly due to Indonesia. Some analysts say this suggests India gained little from FTA with Asean, more so with Indonesia. ‘13-14 ‘14-15 ‘15-16 ‘16-17 Source: DGCIS ‘16-17* ‘17-18* *Apr-Oct avoid unproductive disputes and litigation across industries ■ It was introduced in the garment sector in Sept 2016 and was replicated in the leather industry recently notice of termination of employment shall be necessary in the case of temporary and badli workmen and no workmen employed on fixedterm employment basis as a result of non-renewal of contract or employment or on its expiry, shall be entitled to any notice or pay in lieu thereof, if his services are terminated.” Continued on Page 2 FY16 (` crore) Net loss 3,880 28,440 Revenue Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Asean leaders in New Delhi Wage bill 55% of revenues Average annual revenue growth 4-5% Average annual wage increment 8% Note: FY17 numbers still not declared purposes.If these land are to be sold, it would require making change in the purpose for whichtheywereaquiredandthe local bodies may object to the saleandmayaskthatitbegiven back to them. “Recently,wedidafairvaluationofathirdofourlandholdings.Based on this,4,030 plots measuring a little over 2 crore sqmtriswortharound`67,000 crore in the market today. We can monetise these land holdings and use the proceeds for expanding our network and infrastructure,”BSNLchairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava told FE. BSNL conducted the valuation as part of its project Vasundhara with KPMG as the consultant. When queried that howcan BSNL make a proposal with regard to properties which do not belong to it, company sources told FE that if the government wants the ownership can be changed with the Cabinet’s approval. Continued on Page 2 ● H-1B PROGRAMME US lawmakers seek to more than double visa limit PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Washington, January 26 TWO REPUBLICAN SENATORS on Friday introduced a legislation in the Senate that seeks to increase the annual H1B visa limit with an aim to bring in the world’s “best and brightest”to the US. Introduced by senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Flake,the Immigration Innovation (ISquared)Act of 2018 provides work authorisation for spouses and dependent children of H-1B visa holders and establishes a grace period during which such visa holders can change jobs without losing legal status. The Bill also exempts spouses and children of employment-based green card holders from the cap. Previousversions of the Bill wereintroducedinthelasttwo Congresses. Continued on Page 2 BETTING ON THE BEST Mobius heads into retirement touting fresh emerging stock highs BLOOMBERG Singapore/Shanghai/Hong Kong, January 26 Honest borrowers to get easy PSB loans: DFS secretary HONEST BORROWERS will find it easier to get loans from PSBs following the reforms being undertaken, department of financial services (DFS) secretary Rajiv Kumar said, adding there would be a premium on integrity, reports PTI. The Centre this week said it will infuse an unprecedented `88,139-crore capital in 20 PSBs before March 31 to boost lending and revive growth. “One of the key objectives is to put a premium on the integrity of borrower and make need-based funding easy and hassle free for genuine and honest borrowers,” Kumar said. (India's goods trade deficit, in $bn) With Asean With Indonesia 14.75 FE BUREAU New Delhi, January 26 Deficit widens in FY18 Striking imbalance 10.31 If, as many suspect, biology proves to be to future industries what physics and chemistry have been to industries past, that would be a feat of lasting value ■ Science & Tech, P15 Fixed-term workers in all sectors soon BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK 10.97 Banking on sequencing the world India-Asean trade 12.9 LABOUR MIN PROPOSAL Special Feature 9.9 THE TELANGANA GOVERNMENTwould introduce a separate budget for agriculture from the next financial year, governorESLNarasimhan said onFriday.TheTRSgovernment will also be providing invest- ment support for the key sector to ensure cultivators don’t fall into debt trap,he said. “Let me, at this moment, share that from 2018-19 budget onwards, my government proposes to introduce a separate budget forthe agriculture sector,”he said in his Republic Day address. 8.15 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Hyderabad, January 26 8.46 Andhra Pradesh 7.42 0 Poor coverage Posting losses since FY12 2 7.01 5.09 4 6.5 9.94 GIVEN THE STATE governments’ reluctance to reform agriculture trade that impedes its efforts to empower farmers with easy access to buyers outside their states and freedom from exploitative middlemen, the Centre is evaluating a proposal to bring marketing of farm goods under the Constitution’sConcurrentList,sothat it has greater say on the relevant regulations and taxation. A key objective of the change, according to official sources who requested anonymity, is to weed out sundry state-level taxes that inflate the cost of farm goods procurement by the government and private traders,even as the farmers get less-than- Local levies* on farm goods trade 9.66 PRABHUDATTA MISHRA New Delhi, January 26 BSNL wants to sell lands which it doesn’t own Mark Mobius is retiring as emerging markets fund manager at Franklin Templeton Investments AFTER DECADES AT the forefront of emerging-market investment, Mark Mobius is heading into retirement betting the best is yet to come. The 81-year-old money manager kicked off his final television interview before leaving Franklin Templeton Investments on Wednesday predicting developing-nation stocks will set a fresh record this year. That echoed his Decemberforecastthatemergingshareswilllikelysurpassthe 2007 peak by 20%, though he didn’t give a timeframe then. “We’re going to see a pretty good market thisyear,”Mobius said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Earnings momentum will determine which emerging companies perform well in an environment of risingglobalinterestrates,hesaid. Brazil, Africa, Vietnam and parts of Latin America are attractive due to their exposure to commodities or rising consumerspending,according toMobius.Commodity-related investments will even outperform technologyshares,partly because they’ve been undervalued for a long time,he says. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose for a 11th day on Friday, set for the longest winning streak since April 2015. It’s about 6% below its record high reached in 2007. AsMobiusheadsoffintothe sunset, here are six things you may not have known about the emerging-market legend: Getting it right: Mobius has made prescient calls on some major market movements. He correctly predicted the start of a bull market that began in 2009, snapped up bargains during the Asian financial crisis after Thailand floated its currency in 1997, and bought Russian stocks as panic selling took hold in Russiain1998.Hewasalsoone of the first institutional investors to identifyAfrica as a promising frontier market, setting up the Templeton Africa Fund in 2012. Continued on Page 2
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