OPINION, P2 MIND & GAMES Five steps to Nirvana HUMANS ARE MAKING NATURAL DISASTERS WORSE. HERE’S HOW We’re making natural disasters like hurricanes unnaturally harmful, scientists say. And the number of ways we’re doing it is fairly astonishing Page 10 ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM Vol 11 NO. 30 IDEA EXCHANGE Neeraj Chopra ‘Competition in India has increased, many juniors are doing well. Things are changing...’ Page 4 Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM LEISURE EXPRESSIONS & REFLECTIONS MUMBAI SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2018 14 Pages, `10 SPOTLIGHT STARTUP SIKKIM Unknown to many, Sikkim has been witnessing an upsurge in startups. This is thanks to the state government’s startup scheme, which is providing a conducive environment for biz Page 7 WORDSWORTH LOVE & LONGING In Kama: The Riddle of Desire, philosophy meets fiction in concurrent narratives that examine human desires across civilisations Page 5 FINANCIALEXPRESS ON SUNDAY PUBLISHED FROM:AHMEDABAD, BENGALURU, CHANDIGARH, CHENNAI, HYDERABAD, KOCHI, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NEW DELHI, PUNE RAFALE DEAL No role in choice of Indian partners, says French govt ● Dassault says it made decision to partner with Reliance Defence; Hollande sticks to stand; def min reiterates its non-involvement PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, September 22 THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT has said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal as former FrenchpresidentFrancoisHollande's reported statement that New Delhi proposed Reliance Defence as the Indian partner for the contract escalated a political row over it. While the French government said French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the deal, Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, said it had made the QuickPicks Village Rockstars is India’s official entry to Oscars 2019 NATIONALAWARD-WINNING Assamese feature Village Rockstars has been chosen to represent India in the best foreign language category at the 91st Academy Awards next year, reports PTI. Elated with the news, director Rima Das said that the movie selection is a huge recognition for filmmakers from the northeast. “It will change a lot for filmmakers from the region,” said Das. The film follows Dhunu, a girl who grows up in poverty and learns to fend for herself. However, that does not prevent her from following her dream of forming a rock band and owning a guitar someday. Village Rockstars, starring Bhanita Das in the lead role, had its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and has toured more than 70 prestigious film festivals. The film had bagged the best feature film trophy at the 65th National Film Awards, besides winning awards in child artist, location sound recordist and editing categories. ODD & EVEN READ TO LEAD A retrospective exhibition traces the journey of artist SG Vasudev and his return to equanimity Page 9 ROHNIT PHORE ROW OVER FRENCH REVELATION ■ Both the French government and French aerospace company Dassault issued separate statements after Francois Hollande's reported comments that New Delhi proposed Reliance Defence as the Indian partner for the contract ■ French government said French companies have full freedom to select Indian firms for the deal ■ Dassault Aviation, maker of Rafale, said it had made the decision to partner with Reliance Defence ■ Defence ministry reiterates it had no role in decision to partner with Reliance Defence. Both the French government and French aerospace company Dassault issued separate statements following a French media report that quotedHollandeassayingthat Congress president Rahul Gandhi has again asked the PM to clear his stand on the deal in a press conference on Saturday the selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner alleged Reliance Defence was formed only 12 days before announcement of Rafale deal, a claim rejected by Reliance ■ Opposition parties the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for French aerospace giant in the `58,000-crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.“TheFrenchgovernment is in no manner involvedinthechoiceofIndian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected byFrench companies,” the French government said in its statement. Reacting to the developments, the defence ministry said on Saturday“unnecessary Continued on Page 11 ROUHAN SHARMA Mumbai, September 22 INAMOVE to expedite the flow of funds into the cashstrapped company, IL&FS Transportation Networks (ITNL),the roads development arm of IL&FS, on Saturday redesignated its chief financial officer Dilip Bhatia, as chief strategyofficer,responsiblefor divestment of assets and other strategic initiatives. In a notice to the Bombay StockExchange(BSE)onSaturday, ITNL said the move is being made in view of “the strategic priority of monetisation of the company’s project assets and generating liquidity”. Bhatia will relinquish his responsibilities as CFO with immediate effect. ITNL said it would look for a new CFO in due course. The rejig in Bhatia’s role comesadayfollowingenmasse resignations at another of the company’s subsidiaries, IL&FS FinancialServices(IFIN),where long-serving MD & CEO Ramesh Bawa, along with four independent directors and a non-executive director, quit their positions from the strugglingMumbai-basedconglomerate. On the day, IFIN said it defaultedoninterestpayments NEED NEW PLAN ■ Dilip Bhatia redesignated as chief strategy officer ■ Delhi HC stays sale of assets till Dec 7 ■ ITNL seeking legal advice ■ IL&FS financial services MD&CEO, directors resigned on Friday of `250 crore to lenders. Also on Friday, the Delhi High Court barred the roads arm, ITNL, from selling its assets till December 7, 2018, based on an arbitration application filed by Aditya Birla Finance Limited (ABFL),one of ITNL’screditorsfortwooftheir road projects. ITNL said it is seeking legal advice. As perthe Delhi HCwebsite, the cases pertain to ITNL’s Chenani Nashri Tunnelway (CNTL)andPuneSholapurRoad DevelopmentCompany(PSDC). Continued on Page 11 Long queues, congestion at airports could be thing of past Tata Steel to acquire Usha Martin’s steel biz in slump sale ● External agencies being appointed to ensure service quality at major airports FE BUREAU Kolkata, September 22 TATA STEEL ON Saturday announced that it will acquire thesteelbusinessofUshaMartin (UML) for `4,300-4,700 crore.UML,inastockexchange filing, said the sale of steel business to Tata Steel will help the company in “significant reduction”of its debt.The deal is expected to be completed in six-nine months,it added. Tata Steel, in a release, said it has executed definitive agreements for acquisition of the steel business of UML through a slump sale on a going concern basis.“It is proposedthatthesteelbusinessof UMLwillbeacquiredsubjectto transaction closing, for a cash consideration of `4,3004,700 crore (subject to various transaction adjustments),”the release said. The closing of the acquisition is subject to fulfilment of various conditions under the agreements. At the closing, Tata Steel or any of its subsidiaries oraffiliates maycarry PTI controversies” are being sought to be created following media reports regarding Hollande's statement. “The government has stated earlierand again reiterates that it had no roleintheselectionofReliance Defence as the offset partner,” the ministry said. "The reported statement perhaps needs to be seen in its full context – where the French media has raised issues of conflict of interest involving persons close to the former president. Hissubsequentstatementsare alsorelevantinthisregard,"the ministry said, seen as a reference to a recent news report linking the Rafale deal with a filmbyHollande'spartnerJulie Gayet. “Incidentally, media reports of February,2012,suggest that Dassault Aviation, within two weeks of being declared the lowest bidder for procurementof126aircraftby the previous government,had entered into a pact forpartnership with Reliance Industries in the defence sector,” the defence ministry said. Reportedly, Hollande’s office has said he stood by his remarks made to Mediapart. ITNL rejigs CFO role to expedite sale of assets ARUN NAYAL New Delhi, September 22 PRE-FLIGHT Deal to be sealed at about `4,700 crore within nine months out this acquisition,it added. UML’s steel business comprises the specialised 1 MTPA alloy-based manufacturing capacity in long products segment based in Jamshedpur, a producing iron-ore mine, a coal mine under development and captive power plants,Tata Steel said.The transaction and acquisition structurewould be determined shortly,it added. NIGHTMARES usually start at airports,where passengers face long queues, delays and baggage woes. These issues are acute at major airports like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. But flyers can soon expect a smooth experience on the ground at least, thanks to Airports Economic Regulatory Authority's (AERA) move to ensure strict service quality checks at airports. A decade after coming into being, AERA has initiated the process to appoint external agencies to determine service quality at major airports, par- So far, the service standards have been measured by Airports Council International ticularly private ones. So far, the service standards have been measured by Airports Council International (ACI), which conducts airport service quality (ASQ) surveys to rate facilities across the world. “We have been dependent on ACI-ASQ for service standards at major airports. We want to independently conduct service quality checks. The statutory mandate to ascertain tariff at major airports is settled now. So we can start with service monitoring functionsoon,”saysSMachendranathan,AERA chairman. The service quality performancewouldbelinkedtotariff determination, with penalties imposed on operators for failing to meet standards. The regulator, which fixes tariff at major airports — which handle more than 1.5 million passengers annually— feels several airports are choked at peak hours, leading to long queues at various stages from terminal entrance to boarding of flights. For instance, Bengaluru's Kempagowda International airport handled around 25 million passengers per annum (mppa) in 2017 against its present capacity of 20-22 mppa.Similarly, the Mumbai international airport is expected to breach its capacity-mark of 48 mppa this year. “The number of airports monitored by AERA will come down to around 17 from 25 after the amendment to the AERAAct.We want to focus on bigger airports, especially those developed with publicpartnership models,”Machendranathan adds. As per the ministry of civil aviation, many airports like Patna, Jaipur, Guwahati and Nagpur are handling far more passengers than they were designed for. Domestic traffic has been increasing 16-18% year-on-year for the last four years on cheap fares and rising disposable incomes. Both the private operators and state-owned Airports Authority of India have failed to keep pace with the growing passenger traffic, resulting in inconvenience to passengers. This Diwali, e-tailers looking at tier-II for cracker of a sale With value offerings and easy credit schemes, e-commerce players are trying every trick to rope small town customers, who are growing 40% y-o-y The 5-day* online festive bonanza Total shoppers expected (in mn) Source: RedSeer Consulting (in $ bn) 20 2.5-3 2018 1.05 1.5 2017 13-14 10 2016 *Flipkart and Amazon hold five-day festive season sale -- Big Billion Days & Great Indian Festival, respectively Expected GMV 2018 son, e-commerce biggies Flipkart andAmazon have come up with initiatives to attract shoppers from tier-II cities.Ranging fromawideproductassortment to easy EMI options, instant credit lines and better logistics infrastructureforspeedierdelivery, the competition between FlipkartandAmazonisexpected tobeevenfiercerthisyear. After all, the festive season is the best time to acquire new customers, with over 20 million shoppers expected to shop duringthefive-dayfestivesales next month, as per a RedSeer Smrithi Ravichandran, senior director,Flipkart. Fashion is a major growth driver for Flipkart, and it has helped reposition Flipkart as a value platform with offerings both in the private label and branded space. “We have addressed Big Billion Days from all three ends — service, assortment and capabilities — to make customers buy more,” adds Ravichandran. Lastyear,55-60%oforders during Big Billion Days came from tier-II and tier-III cities. This year,Flipkart is looking at a 67% share, with a focus on affordability and services. Apart from fashion, it is looking at furniture (Perfect 2017 READYING FORTHE festivesea- Consulting report.“Of the 500 millioninternetusers,only100 million shop online.This number is expected to grow to 185 million by 2020.A majority of the growth is driven by tier-II and tier-III shoppers, which is growing by 40% y-o-y,” says Ujjwal Chaudhry, engagement manager, RedSeer Consulting. “So far, the online story was dominated by the 3Ms—male, money and metro cities.” Butthatischangingfast.“By 2020, tier-II and tier-III markets,andwomencustomersare goingtodriveconsumption.We expect 100% growth in new customersfromthesemarkets, 50% of which is expected to be propelled by fashion,” says 2016 ANKITA RAI New Delhi, September 22 Homes) refurbished goods (through its 2GUD platform), recharges, and new launches on mobile, TV and electronics categories to drive growth. In addition, to boost digital paymentsandaffordabilityquotient,Flipkart has just launched cardlesscredit—aninstantcredit of `60,000, based on scores derived from customer behaviour on the platform.This is in addition to easyEMI options on creditanddebitcards. As per the RedSeer report, affordability and vernacular accessarethekeyleverse-commerce players will be working onthisfestiveseason.Consider how Amazon is launching its festive campaign — India ke As per a RedSeer report, affordability and vernacular access are the key levers e-commerce players will be working on this festive season khushion ke beech mein budget nahin aayega — this week, which will run till Diwali. “We have signed up with banks for easy debit and credit card EMIs, as well as cardless EMIs on Amazon Pay for those who do not own credit cards or cannot access installments on debit cards,” says Ravi Desai, director, mass and brand marketing,Amazon India. In addi- tion,Amazonhasalsolaunched a Hindi app in order to lure first-time users. “New customerstypicallyeitherbuylowvalueitemsorsmartphones.No access to selection and right affordability has held back demand in markets beyond tier-I cities.We are addressing thatwithafocusonhigherAOV (averageordervalue)itemsand making them affordable througheasyEMIs,”addsDesai. In fact, over 65% orders at Amazon come from tier-II and III cities and towns, with over 50% of sellers hailing from such places.“Last year during Diwali, 86% of new customers camefrombeyondtier-IIcities,” said anAmazon spokesperson.
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