OPINION, P8 COMPANIES, P6 AHEAD OF ESSAR RE-BID EDITORIAL Forget Aadhaar, Facebook privacy threat real & large Unfortunate that agri export policy still allows for export bans on important crops INTERNATIONAL, P16 OPENING UP THE ECONOMY ArcelorMittal offers `3,000 cr to Uttam Galva to settle dues Chinese Premier Li promises fair play for domestic, foreign firms MUMBAI, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2018 VOLUME XXXXXV NO. 311, 22 PAGES, `6.00 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD 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 SENSEX: 32,996.76 ▲ 73.64 NIFTY: 10,124.35 ▲ 30.10 NIKKEI 225: 21,380.97 ▼ 99.93 HANG SENG: 31,549.93 ▲ 36.17 `/$: 65.20 ▼ 0.02 `/€: 80.23 ▼ 0.18 BRENT: $67.15 ▲ $1.10 GOLD: `30,251.00 ▲ `97.00 EXPRESS PHOTO INFORMAL MINISTERIAL Members reaffirm support to WTO Call for shunning unilateral trade moves; India says protectionism in past only eroded the WTO system IN THE NEWS Govt scraps export duty on sugar THE GOVERNMENT on Tuesday scrapped export duty on raw and refined sugar to boost shipments as the country is all set to produce record 29.5 million tonnes of the sweetener in the current 2017-18 marketing season, reports PTI. A notification issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs said it has been decided to reduce export duty on raw sugar, white or refined sugar from 20% to nil. FE BUREAU New Delhi, March 20 Straight talk Kotak Mahindra Bank MD Uday Kotak (left) with Unique ID project architect Reports on P10 Nandan Nilekani during a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday DISINVESTMENT IndiGo, Qatar Airways to make joint bid for Air India Facebook data security chief to leave amid outcry Minimum `1k cr AS FACEBOOK grapples with backlash over its role in spreading disinformation, an internal dispute on how to handle the threat and the public outcry is resulting in the departure of a senior executive, reports The New York Times. The impending exit of the executive — Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer — reflects heightened leadership tension at the top. ■ Qatar Airways has long wanted to have presence in India net worth criteria likely for AI bidders MANISHA SINGHAL Mumbai, March 20 ■ IndiGo & Qatar Airways to put in a joint bid for Air India AS THE GOVERNMENT prepares to call for preliminary interest memorandum (PIM) along with expression of interest (EoI) from parties interested in gaining control of the national carrier, ■ IndiGo has expressed its interest in writing to the govt Air India, sources said that low-cost carrier IndiGo is likely to make a bid along with Qatar’s national carrier, ■ Qatar Airways had expressed interest to buy IndiGo stock when it was listed ■ Both airlines will gain immensely in depth and reach if the deal materialises Qatar Airways, in a consortium. Continued on Page 2 MICRO-IRRIGATION Special Feature Life In Control fights diabetes with technology This start-up allows individuals to manage diabetes and adhere to medication and lifestyle modifications while helping doctors drive better patient outcomes ■ Start-ups, P15 Trouble on tracks Hundreds of students, who have done apprenticeship with Indian Railways, blocked rail tracks in Mumbai during the rush hours on Tuesday morning, demanding jobs. The protest was called off after railway minister Piyush Goyal met them. EXPRESS PHOTO: GANESH SHIRSEKAR North Block stymied `5k-cr fund for a year PRABHUDATTA MISHRA New Delhi, March 20 A DEDICATED Micro-Irrigation Fund (MIF), proposed nearly 14 months ago in the Budget 2017-18, hasn’t become operational as yet as its proponent, the Union finance ministry, couldn’t decide if the state governments are to be given interest subsidy on the MIF loans. According to official sources, the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC), headed by the expenditure secretary, had approved the plan only on February 23, 2018. It is for the agriculture ministry now to seek the Cabinet’s approval forcreation of MIF at National Bank for Agriculture And Rural Development (Nabard). Even though Nabardwas to create the fund, envisaged to have initial corpus of `5,000 crore, from its own resources, the EFC approval was required because both the agriculture ministry and the bank felt states must get loans at Area under microirrigation* (lakh hectare) Drip 39.2 Sprinkler 47 * (as in December, 2016) Total cultivable land in the country : 140 million hectare Irrigated ~45% subsidised rates (some 3% lower than the base rate). And the deliberations went on for a long period, with the finance ministry expressing reservations about subsidising the MIF loans to state governments. Continued on Page 2 INCHING UP Airfares soar amid cancellation of flights Avg fare before cancellation started DELCCUDEL DELMAADEL Avg fare for travel on March 28* 4,400 5,579 5,553 DELBOMDEL 5,300 8,733 8,617 Avg fare for travel on March 22* 6,300 9,271 7,884 WITH THE DIRECTORATE GeneralofCivilAviation(DGCA) grounding a total of 11 A320neo aircraft belonging to IndiGo and GoAir (Indigo-8, GoAir-3) over safety concerns earlierthis month,spot airfares are slowly beginning to rise as the two carriers have cancelled morethan600flightsbetween March 15 and 31, thereby curtailing capacity at a time when the passen- STARTING FARES (in `) 6,248 8,223 7,067 ARUN NAYAL New Delhi, March 20 BOMBLRBOM *if Booking was done on March 20 Source: Yatra.com gerload factoris over90%. On some of the key routes fares have gone up by almost 50% if the booking was done two days prior to the date of travel. Even if bookings are madeforaweeklater,thetrend is on similar lines. Minimumspotfaresonkey routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Chennai andMumbai-Bengaluruareup from 26-65%, as per data sourced from Yatra.com. Continued on Page 2 AN INFORMAL MINISTERIAL of the World Trade Organization (WTO), organised by India, almost unanimously reaffirmed commitment to preserving a rule-based, multilateral trading system that theWTO represents.The move comes barely three months aftertheBuenosAiresministerial collapsed over issues such as the role of theWTO as a multilateral trading body. It also comes at a time when growing unilateral protectionist policies bythe US and some others have worsened fears of an escalating global trade war, threatening to render the WTO meaningless. Speaking at the two-day informal ministerial on Tuesday, commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu ■ We must respect past mandates (like Doha agenda) ■ We can look at new issues (like e-commerce) only if we are sure they would benefit developing nations stressed that India has been a votary of multilateral trading system.“Let us be mindful that in the past when the key economies departed from multilateralobligationsbytaking recourse to exceptions for agriculture and textiles, it led to other members securing similar exceptions. This only eroded the system and dimin- SURYA SARATHI RAY New Delhi, March 20 ished its credibility,”he said. WTO director general RobertoAzevedosaidalthough there is a concern on unilateral decisions by some countries and their potential escalation, members are committed to actively engage to find solutions. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 PRABHUSPEAK multilateral trading system Govt notifies fixed-term jobs for all sectors IN LINE WITH an announcement made by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his latest Budget speech, the labour ministry has extended fullbenefit, fixed-term jobs — alreadya feature in the labourintensive garment and leather industries — to all sectors of the economy. Anotification to this effect, amending the relevant rules under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, has been issued by the ministry of labour and employment. The move would have multiple benefits: It would boost creation of ‘formal jobs’, reduce instances of informal hiring,which continues to be the norm in the unorganised sector, and spare businesses the undue burden of keeping regularised contract employment, even as their labour requirements are seasonal. The labour market flexibility will help the manufacturing sector, on the cusp of a revival after a prolonged slump. Commerce & industry minister Suresh Prabhu with WTO director general Roberto Azevedo ■ India a votary of ● LABOUR REFORM ■ Special treatment for poor and developing nations must be preserved ■ Need to resolve fast impasse on appointments to WTO appellate body ■ Don’t support basing developed country status on aggregate GDP
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