FJLKSFSDF, P00 ECONOMY, P2 NATION, P4 SUNIL JAIN SFKJSDKLFJLKJFLBHARAT AATMANIRBHAR HOME DELIVERIES Bajaj may be over-the-top in his anti-lockdown stand, but a long national lockdown is not a feasible option sklfjsdlkfj sdklfjs dklfjsl FM reviews progress; fjlks jfl sjflk sdfsdfsdjslf NBFCs seek `10k cr via kfjsdjfljflsjdfjk jljjslf special liquidity window Indian online grocery mkt can exceed $3-bn sales in 2020, says Sanjiv Goenka OPINION, P6 PRANJUL BHANDARI Employment may recover, but wage levels may not NEW DELHI, MONDAY, JULY 13, 2020 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVI NO. 114, 14 PAGES, `6.00 (PATNA `6.00, RAIPUR `7.00) 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 IN THE NEWS Qualcomm invests `730 crore in Jio Platforms BILLIONAIRE MUKESH Ambani's Reliance Industries on Sunday said it has secured `730 crore from wireless technology leader Qualcomm by selling a small stake in its technology venture, adding to a slew of investments since April that has crossed `1.18 lakh crore, reports PTI. FY21: JSW Steel cuts capex plans by 45% to `9k cr CONCERNED OVER uncertain market conditions, JSW Steel has decided to reduce its capex target for 2020-21 by about 45% to `9,000 crore, reports PTI. At `9,000 crore, the capex target is about 12% lower against the company's `10,200-crore spending in 2019-20. RBI dy guv post: Interview of eight selected on July 23 A SEARCH panel headed by the Cabinet secretary is scheduled to interview eight shortlisted candidates on July 23 for the post of RBI deputy governor, sources said, reports PTI. The post had fallen vacant after seniormost deputy governor NS Vishwanathan demitted office ahead of his tenure end. PREMIUM OFFERS CORONA CRISIS Trai blocks Voda Idea, Airtel plans Operators say speeds not being lowered in any other scheme JOB OPENINGS KAUNAIN SHERIFF M New Delhi, July 12 PRINCIPLE OF EQUALITY Trai's view Higher speed for premium customers discriminates against others, violates net neutrality KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, July 12 THETELECOM REGULATORY Authority of India (Trai) has directedVodafone Idea to drop its RedX plan, which offers higher speed to its premium customers.It also asked Bharti Airtel to explain within seven days how a similar plan being launched by it does not violate the rules of net neutrality. While Vodafone Idea’s RedX planhasbeeninthemarketsince November 2019, with some modifications made in May 2020, Bharti Airtel was soon goingtolaunchasimilarplan. The development is likely to start a fresh tussle between the operatorsandTraiovertheinterpretationoftherulesofnetneutrality.The issue is whether the operators can provide higher speedtoitspremiumcustomers who opt for higher tariff plans without lowering the speed of otherlowerdenominationplans. The operators feel offering ‘Evidence of immunity a glimmer,but data show lasting Covid damage’ Operators' view Higher speed for premium users without lowering speed of others not discriminatory Fixed broadband offers different speeds for different price points, so nothing wrong in mobile plans higherspeed,which means premiumservicestopremiumcustomers without blocking any sites or lowering the speed of customers in lower denomination plans does not constitute violationofnetneutrality. Continued on Page 2 BUGS ARE BACK A farmer tries to save his crops during a locusts’ attack in Lucknow on Sunday EXPRESS PHOTO: VISHAL SRIVASTAV POLICY REVERSAL? Import tariffs up 4 pps since 2014, seem rising further BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, July 12 AFTER SEVERAL YEARS of steady and progressive trade liberalisation, India seems sliding into a protectionist groove, again. Several rounds of duty hikes since the Modi 1.0 government assumed office in 2014 have significantly increased import barriers; besides, the planned stringency on checking sub-standard COLLECTIONS No freeze, but firms After recovering to cautious about hiring half of normal,states’ SHUBHRATANDON Mumbai, July 12 WHILE THERE’S NO outright freeze on hiring and most appointment letters are being honoured, companies have nonetheless turned judicious when it comes to hiring. To that extent,the job market is somewhat quiet. The total active job openings dropped from 2 lakh in April to 1.67 lakhinMay,withthe closing figures for June hovering around 1.32 lakh. These numbers reflect openings at employers that are activelylooking forpeople and accepting applications. According to Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer|Mettl, hiring has undoubtedly nosedived, but companies are planning and building talent pipelines in the eventuality of a lockdown lift and associated demand generation in the market. Continued on Page 13 ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE FE SPECIALS ■ BRANDWAGON, P10 E-commerce firms in high spirits BigBasket, Amazon, Swiggy and Zomato foray into alcohol delivery, but scaling up will be tough ■ eFE, P8 The new automotive lingo From ‘Hello Kia’ and ‘Hello Blue Link’ to ‘Hello MG’ and ‘Alexa, ask Honda’, a new in-car language takes shape tax revenue plateaus PRASANTA SAHU & DEEPA JAINANI New Delhi/Lucknow, July 12 THE OWN TAX revenues (OTRs) of many state governmentsrosesignificantlyinJune from May, but were still in the range of 50-60% of the normal, information gathered by FE from some of the states and anecdotal evidence suggest. A graded pick-up in various economic activities and the hikes in state excise duties on liquoraidedtheslowrecovery.A pick-up in GST collections — which recovered from a low of `32,294 crore in April to `62,009 crore in May and furtherto `90,917 crore in June — alsocontributedtotherecovery. However, the scope of further improvement in collections in July is rather limited, given the last leg of the supply chain is the most difficult to be smoothened.Also, the reimposition of the lockdown restrictions in several key economic pockets due to the spurt in Covid-19 cases could impede the process of resumption of economic activities. Thealcoholexciserevenueof UttarPradeshwasabout77%of the budget target in June, up 59% of the target in from May and just 1.2% in April. Odisha met nearly 50% of its target on States' own tax receipts (% of monthly target) April May June 10-20% 25-50% 50-60% (Figures are approximations based on inputs from state tax ofﬁcials) Centre’s tax transfers to states (` crore) 46,083 46,083 42,000 April May June alcohol excise revenue in June, up from 4% in May.SinceApril, at least 20 states,including UP, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan,West Bengal,Odisha andKeralahavehikedtheexcise dutieson liquorby10-75%. But the states are far from outofthewoodsyet.Despitethe Centre having already transferred `1.34 lakh crore to the states in April-June, which is evenmorethanitsgrosstaxcollections in the period, states’ marketborrowingsinaggregate morethandoubledto`1.7lakh crore in the June quarter from theyear-ago level. Continued on Page 13 DOWNGRADES GALORE India Inc’s credit profile continues to worsen Downgrades 582 652 726 936 Upgrades Feb Mar Apr space,are stressed. About 35% of credit ratings onIndiancompanieshaveeither a negative outlook or are on May 80 24 56 102 415 Jan 133 AT AROUND 21 downgrades a day between January and now, the finances of corporate India continuetodeteriorate.Closeto 3,936 firms have been downgraded during this time while 593 have been upgraded.From 464 in January to 582 in June, downgrades have been rising steadily;the first nine days of Julyhaveseen161downgrades. Businesses,whether in manufacturing or the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) Upgrades vs downgrades in 2020 161 464 FE BUREAU Mumbai, July 12 June Source: Bloomberg credit watch with negative implications,S&PGlobalRatings had observed in a note on June 24.“Thatincreasestoone-in-two ratings if we exclude debt-free companiesintheITsector,”analysts at the rating agencywrote, adding further downgrades were possible in spite of several negative rating actions over the pastthreemonths. Last week, Moody’s Investors Service changed the outlook for JSW Steel to negative while S&P downgraded Delhi International Airport (DIAL) to‘B+’as it anticipates a slow recovery in traffic in the wake of the travel restrictions. Continued on Page 2 Simple average tariff (%) Overall 2014 48.5 50.8 bound 2019 13.5 Applied 17.6 MFN 33.4 Agri (applied) 38.8 10.2 Non-agri 14.1 (applied) Trade-weighted avg tariff 60.7 2014 47.2 2018 (%) 7 10.3 MFN 4.9 8 Agri Non-agri Sources: WTO; ministry of commerce imports could keep a section of imports at bay. India’s applied (real) tariff has increased to an average of 17.6% in 2019 from 13.5% in 2014, according to the latest data compiled by the WTO. Trade-weighted average tariff, too, rose from 7% to 10.3% between 2014 and 2018, the latest year for which the data are compiled. Continued on Page 2 EMERGING DATA ON the body’s immune response suggestthat“wemaybeprotected” morethanwecurrentlybelieve, DrRandeepGuleria,directorof AIIMS and one of the experts leading the country’s novel coronavirus disease response, told The Indian Express. However, the grim news is that Covid-19 is now a “systemic disease”thatcanaffectnotjust thelungsbutthebrainandkidneys as well, Dr Guleria said in a detailed interview. Dr Guleria, who heads the clinical research group of the national Covid-19 task force, said medical examination of patients with severe illness showed that even months after recovery,their lungs continued to be in “bad shape”, and they required oxygen at home. Covid-19 patients were now suffering from strokes and AIIMS director R Guleria neurological disorders, making the diseaseworse than just a respiratoryinfection,he said. “First we thought it was only pneumonia, and then we realised it caused hypercoagulablestate,whichpromotes clotting; and people were suddenly dying because of clots blocking blood vessels in the lungs and heart,” Dr Guleria said. Continued on Page 2 Trump wears mask in public for first time US PRESIDENT Donald Trump wore a mask during a visit to a military hospital, the first time the president has been seen in public with the type of facial covering recommended by health officials. PAGE 14
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