OPINION, P6 NATION, P5 ASHOK GULATI & SHYMA JOSE For malnutrition-free India,bio-fortification of crops is key NATION, P4 SUNIL JAIN PRAISES NITISH SUPPLY-SIDE FRICTIONS A mechanism for timely clearing of govt dues to industry without needing FM's intervention is a must Modi hails Bihar as "powerhouse" of talent Retail inflation to fall with easing of lockdowns: CEA NEW DELHI, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVI NO. 168, 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 ● COVERING DUES Special loans for discoms raised to `1.2 lakh cr FE BUREAU New Delhi, September 13 THE LOANS BEING offered to state-run electricity distribution companies (discoms) under a special liquidity window may be increased to `1.20 lakh crore from the `90,000 crore announced earlier to cover the additional dues of these entities to power generators for the April-June period, a senior official said on Sunday. The Centre had announced the scheme to clear the dues owed by discoms to the power generating companies till March, but several states, citing the discoms’ additional stress due to the coronavirus lockdown, wanted a widening of the window, Union power ministrysecretarySanjivNandan Sahai said. “As on September 11, `25,000 crore has been disbursed out of `68,000 crore sanctioned under the scheme,” Sahai added while addressing the webinar on renewable energy organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The special loans are being given by state-run PFC-REC. Overdues — receivables pending for more than 60 days — to gencos by discoms stood at `1.16 lakh crore on June-end.By July-end,the figure had increased by another `1,000 crore. Continued on Page 2 UNSTEADY ECONOMY ● BOARD SEAT Firms bet on temp hiring; trend to rise With demand outlook still hazy, companies are hesitant to hire permanent workers SHUBHRATANDON Mumbai, September 13 INDIA’S 15 MILLION-STRONG freelancemarket,alreadygrowing at the second-fastest rate in the world,is expected to gather morepace.Withvisibilityonthe economy poor, companies are increasingly preferring to hire temporaryworkers.Payoneer,a digitalplatformforglobalcommerce,estimatestherehasbeen asharp46%increaseinthehiring of freelancers in the June quartercomparedtoearly2020. With the economycontracting, Payoneer says 135 million jobs mayhave been lost leading to a 35%riseinunemploymentand that has prompted many more totake up gig jobs. AsSurajMoraje,GroupCEO, Quess Corp, a staffing firm pointsout,thepandemichasled toanaccelerationinthetemporary worker economy.“Several employers are hesitant to take ontheresponsibilityforpermanent employees as the demand outlook remains murky. Also, companieswanttobringinspecialised skill sets for a variety of roles,” Moraje explained. Amit Vadera, assistant vice president,TeamLease Services, FE SPECIALS Industries anticipating hiring more on fixed term contracts Monthly growth in Indian freelance revenue (in %) 30 (in %) 17 E-commerce Logistics Manufacturing, engg & infra Home office products take off Laptops, computer accessories and desks are in high demand as the work-from-home routine continues ■ eFE, P8 Bridging the lab-to-market gap Western Digital’s Data Innovation Bazaar is enabling startups to meet the right investors and customers ■ PERSONAL FINANCE, P9 Multi-asset allocation funds Multi asset allocation funds help cushion the risks associated with investing in just one asset class ■ INFRASTRUCTURE, P11 Delhi charged up for EV promotion The policy unveiled by the state govt last month could change the National Capital’s transport landscape ■ SCIENCE & TECH, P12 Can we write off GPT-3 experiment? Newer AI models should now focus on building trust because that would also form the basis for newer applications 0 15 Pharma Valli Arunachalam 9 SAJAN C KUMAR Chennai, September 13 1 -10 12 10 13 10 14 Financial services 28 20 19 -6 agingpartner,MarchingSheep, told FE the economic crisis has left many unemployed and some people are now more inclined to taking up assignments on a project or contractualbasis.“Thisisamindsetshift wheretheyhaverecognisedthat theeconomicconditionsmight not be conducive to full time employment and hence short term engagements will lead to both financial stability and exposure,”Aron said. AFTER AMBADI INVESTMENTS, the holding firm of the Murugappa Group, agreed to consider the candidature of Valli Arunachalam for appointment on its board at its forthcoming annual general meeting on September 21 — if appointed she would be the first woman to hold this position in the century-old group — she told FE that the development would be the first step in the ongoing discussions with the family to amicably settle her family branch’s stake in the group. In an e-mail interaction, Arunachalam said if given a board representation she would exercise her duties with due and reasonable care, skill, and diligence. This includes promoting the objects of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in the best interests of the company, its employees, the shareholders, the community and also the environment. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun The data above represents the m-o-m growth in Indian freelance revenue since January for the first half of 2020 Source: TeamLease Services Source: Payoneer ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE observedthatwhileearliermore positions at the bottom of the pyramid would be on contract, now even mid-level profiles are becoming contractual. “The increase in contractual hiring was seen in 2008-2009 too following the global financial crisis.While companies anticipate a pick up in demand they are unsure about how much of it willsustain.Soinsteadofgetting into long term commitments, they are preferring hiring on contract,”Vadera said. SonicaAron,founder&man- DEAD WRONG Are some states hiding death numbers despite rising cases? ISHAAN GERA New Delhi, September 13 ■ BRANDWAGON, P10 My appt will bring about much-needed diversity: Valli INDIA MAY HAVE been registering more deaths than any other country but, given more infections have been detected due to increased testing, the casefatalityrate—totaldeaths upon total cases — is among the lowest of major Covidinfected nations. On Friday, as India added 95,735 cases and registered 1,172 deaths, the country’s case fatality rate dipped to 1.68%.Another reason for the dip in case fatality rate may be betterclinical management.At the start of the pandemic,hospitals were overflowing and there was no cure but, over time,management has gotten better. That is also the reason that death rate has come down from a high of 3.3% in June. However, there is wide dis- Disparity in deaths (Death per million) 300 250 200 0.9 150 100 0.5 50 0 AP Bihar July 13 EXPRESS INVESTIGATION -- PART ONE China watching: President, PM, key Opposition leaders... At least 10,000 Indian individuals and organisations from politics to business, judiciary to media, even crime-accused, are being monitored P VAIDYANATHAN IYER, JAY MAZOOMDAAR & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M New Delhi, September 13 CALLING ITSELF A pioneer in using big data for“hybrid warfare” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” a Shenzen-based technology companywith links to the Chinese government,and the ChineseCommunistParty,ismonitoring over 10,000 Indian PRESIDENT OF INDIA PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA RAM NATH KOVIND NARENDRA MODI SHARAD BOBDE CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF FORMER PRIME MINISTER CONGRESS PRESIDENT BIPIN RAWAT MANMOHAN SINGH SONIA GANDHI Some prominent personalities on the radar individuals and organisations initsglobaldatabaseof“foreign targets,”aninvestigationbyThe Indian Express has revealed. The range of targets in India identifiedandmonitoredinreal timebyZhenhuaDataInformation Technology is sweeping — Telecom panel may reduce spectrum prices for auction KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, September 13 WITHTHESUPREMECourtruling on the adjusted gross revenue dues being through, the departmentoftelecommunications is now soon going to finalise the pricing of spectrum for the next round of auctions. Sources indicated to FE that thoughtheTelecomRegulatory Authority of India has not lowered the reserve price despite the DoT’s request for a review, the government’s inter-ministerial panel maydo so. Therearetworeasonsdueto which the panel may look at reducing the reserve price. The first being that nowit is exactly Spectrum quantum as proposed byTrai: about 8300 MHz ■ The airwaves arevaluedworth `5.22 lakh cr at reserve price Delhi Aug 13 COVID-19 UPDATE 47,54,356 TOTAL CASES 78,586 DEATHS SO FAR 94,372 NEWCASES parity in case fatality rate across states. It is evident that case fatalityratewill decline as Odisha Sept 13 tobuyequipmentfromChinese vendors,theirprocurementcost mayrise byaround 15-20%. states detect more infections — Delhi’s rate has come down from 4.1% to 2.3%; similarly, Bengaluru’s fell from 5.9% to 1.5% and Bihar and Odisha also seem to be following this trend.However,the states have the lowest case fatality ratio. Bihar’scasefatalityratewas 0.6% on September 10, whereas Odisha’s was 0.4%. Continued on Page 2 Ahmedabad’s positivity dips below 1% WHILE AHMEDABAD was one of the few cities where testing data and a sero-survey wereshowingsimilarresults—onJuly11the sero-survey showed a 17.7% infection, whereas the case infection rate was 15.1%-a change in testing strategy has meant a stark divergence in results. ■ Page 2 More listeners tune in to radio but advertisers switch off Covid-19 impact on ad revenue Revenue in Q1FY21 (` crore) Television Print Radio 3,423 1,217 79 « 61 « 71 « ADVERTISING ON RADIO channels hit rock bottom in the three months to June with revenuesfalling80-87%,yearon-year. An estimate by Pitch Madisonpeggedtheindustry’s earnings at about `71 crore in the quarter. Calling the recovery,“tentative”,Entertainment Network India CEO, Prashant Pandaypointsoutthat“evenin Augustindustryrevenueswere down between 30-50%y-o-y.” While radio did experience a surge in listenership during the intense lockdown months — up nearly 30% according to an industry body — monetising this has been a challenge. Even before the pandemic, the industry was in trouble with revenues down 7.5% in 2019 to `3,110 crore, according to EY. While they were expected to rise to `3,280 87 Decline over Q1FY20 Source: Pitch Madison report 5G: `492 cr per Mhz knownhowmuchoperatorslike BhartiAirtelandVodafoneneed topayastheirAGRduesoverthe next 10years,and second,since the operators are not supposed HIGHS & LOWS SUSMITAVENKATA BISWAS Mumbai, September 13 ■ Reserve price for spectrum for held in 2016, a total of2353 Mhz spectrumwas put on sale but ■ But spectrum in 3300 Mhz-3400 only 965 Mhz Mhz, 3400 Mhz-3600 Mhz, used for 5G got sold services, is not likely to be auctioned Source: MoHFW ON SUNDAY, as Maharashtra recorded 22,084 infections, the Covid cases in the state totaled 1.04 million. The state now accounts fora fifth of India’s cases.Globally, Maharashtra is the province with highest number of infections. In terms of deaths, it would rank tenth in the world. ■ Page 2 `6,568 cr per Mhz ■ In the last auction India Why Maharashtra is recording more infections 700 Mhz used for 4G services: Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz, 2500 Mhz, 33003400 Mhz, 3400 Mhz-3600 Mhz 1.7 Karnataka ■ Reserve price for spectrum in ■ Bands proposed for auction: 700 1.6 0.4 Continued on Page 2 RELOOK Case fatality rate (%) as on Sept 13 2.2 in both breadth and depth. The list includes President Ram Nath Kovind,Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, among others. crore in 2020, that seems unlikely now; experts expect a contraction of 30-40%. “Radio is not seeing the same recovery rates as mediums like television or print,” says Chandra Dobhal, ExecutiveVP,Amplifi India.Owing to local restrictions such as containment zones orpartial lockdowns, advertisers are cautious about using radio. Continued on Page 2 New Delhi Continued on Page 2
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