OPINION, P2 WELL-BEING The push for a plant-based diet is getting bigger worldwide. In India, there is even a challenge for companies to put their best foot forward Page 9 Promise broken, states broke VOL XIV, NO. 89 SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2020, 14 Pages, `10 F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , WHAT'S INSIDE ■ SPOTLIGHT, P5 Revolutionary road There are ambitious plans afoot across the country’s major metros to transform and beautify its roads and streets on a par with those in European cities. But how much of it is achievable in India, keeping in mind last-mile connectivity and on-ground issues? ■ WORDS WORTH, P4 Shackles of liberalism Pankaj Mishra writes how tenets of a western world are promoting unequal societies, economies ROHNIT PHORE The sneaker league LEISURE Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM ASUITABLE RETELLING FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY CHENNAI/KOCHI ODD & EVEN Be it sports, politics or fashion, sneakers are a statement of one’s individuality and style Page 6 THE GREEN MOVEMENT ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM P U B L I S H E D FE LINES C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , READ TO LEAD H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , COVID-RELATED DEFAULT Bill passed in RS to offer IBC relief ● Insolvency proceedings suspended for fresh defaults after March 25 FE BUREAU New Delhi, September 19 THE RAJYA SABHA on Satur- day approved a Bill to suspend insolvency proceedings for up to a maximum of one year against fresh Covid-related default from March 25. The Bill seeks to replace an ordinance that was promulgated in June to provide relief to thousands of firms battered by the pandemic. Once the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, gets passed in the Lok Sabha as well, it will be made into law with Presidential assent. Replying to a debate on the Bill in the Upper House, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the aim of the IBC is to “keep the companies as going concern rather than liquidating them”. Since the pandemic has hit everyindustry,it’s difficult to find suitors if a large number of companies are put on the block for resolution, hence the move to suspend insolvency against Covid-related default. The minister, however, GOVT BREATHER Duration of suspension is for up to a maximum of one year As pandemic has hit every industry, it’s difficult to find suitors if large number of companies are put on the block made it clear that insolvency applications filed for default before March 25 (when a national lockdown was imposed) are being entertained. The government had sought to suspend invocation of three sections — 7,8 and 10 — of the IBC for fresh default from March 25.These sections deal with the initiation of the insolvency proceedings by financial and operational creditors and corporate debtors. Explaining the reason behind not allowing even the debtors to seek their own Mira Nair’s adaptation of A Suitable Boy for the small screen resonates with contemporary India Page 7 However, insolvency applications before March 25 being entertained Bill seeks to replace ordinance promulgated in June to provide relief to firms hit by pandemic insolvencyproceedings under Section 10 of the IBC,the minister said: “The restraint that we put was because of difficulty in finding enough resolution applicants aswell as resolution professionals. So, irrespective of who initiates the process, the outcome will be the same—liquidation of the company. The Code actually balances the interests of creditorswith debtors’,andwe can’t allow only the debtors to initiate (insolvency proceedings)while denying the option to the creditors.” Continued on Page 11 K O L K A T A , L U C K N O W , Lok Sabha passes taxation bill PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, September 19 LOK SABHA ON Saturday passed a taxation bill that seeks to provide various reliefs in terms of compliance requirements for taxpayers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The reliefs include extending deadlines for filing returns and for linking PAN and Aadhaar. The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, will replace the Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020, promulgated in March. Among others, the Bill seeks to give tax exemption for contributions made to PMCARES Fund,which was set up in March inwake of the coronavirus pandemic. Replying to the debate on the bill, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the ordinance was necessary to defer various compliance deadlines under GST and Income Tax (I-T) Act during the Covid-19 times. Further, the Bill seeks to make faceless assessment applicable to at least eight processes under the Income Tax Act, including for collection and recovery of tax and gathering of information. “To ensure there is transparencyin tax administration, that is why we are putting it (faceless scheme) in law,” Sitharaman said. M U M B A I , N E W D E L H I , P U N E MONSOON SESSION Three labour codes tabled, clutch of reforms proposed ● Key proposals in IR Code will ease labour law rigidities FE BUREAU, New Delhi, September 19 THE NARENDRA MODI governmentonSaturdaytabledfor‘discussionandpassage’threelabour codes in Parliament,including theIndustrialRelations(IR)Code 2020,whichcontainsaclutchof industry-friendlyproposals. The key proposals in the IR Code that will ease labour law rigidities are the following: a much largersegment of firms – as the Bill becomes law, those with workers up to 300 as against100now–willbeableto resort to closure and retrenchmentwithoutpriorgovernment permission (the state governments are to be authorised to allow this via notification), endorsement by law of the already-in-force full-benefit fixed-term employment scheme that gels with the business pattern of industries that witnessseasonalspurtinactivities; requirement of mandatory 14-day notice for strikes and lock-outs will now apply to all units, not just public utility firms; proliferation of trade unions to be curbed, as only those unions with support of at least 50% of theworkers on the - NEW CODE - ■ Firms with workers up to 300 as against 100 now will be able to resort to closure and retrenchment without prior government permission ■ Mandatory 14-day notice for strikes and lock-outs will now apply to all units, not just public utility firms ■ Unions with support of at least 50% of the workers on the muster roll of the unit concerned will have the right to labour terms with the management musterrolloftheunitconcerned will have the right to labour termswiththemanagement. Apart from the IR Code, labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar also introducedtheOccupationalSafety, Health And Working Conditions Code,2020 and the Code On Social Security,2020. Continued on Page 11 RULES & REGULATIONS Trai suggestions no free pass for OTTs, data privacy still concern QuickPicks ● Trai issues dealt with licensing, charges, etc One-day recoveries exceed fresh cases as 95,880 recuperate KNOCK THEM OUT CSK captain MS Dhoni and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma knock hands instead of shaking them as they kick off the 13th edition of IPL in Abu Dhabi on Saturday LOCKDOWN EFFECT Mobile revenues decline in metros THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has accelerated the adoption of internetservicesacrossincome and location demographics, a survey by JP Morgan has revealed. The most sharp and durableincreasehasbeeninthe use of online payments,video conferencing, on-demand video and grocery. Education and health also figure high in the list,the surveyhas noted. Acceleration has been the least in online shopping for electronics, apparel and food delivery,whilerespondentssig- nalled a drop in ride-hailing usage during pandemic.“The rising spending and frequency of online orders and meaningful acceptance of online grocery was a structural positive for the evolution of Indian ecommerce,” JP Morgan has noted. However, the sample size for the survey was quite small,ofonly530respondents. As per the survey results, respondents spend most time on online videos, followed by social media and chatting. On average,respondentsshoponce a day,stream audio twice a day, watch videos and browse news thrice a day, frequent social mediaandchatfourtimesaday. About 68% of respondents now spend over 25% of their monthly budgets online and 64% order more frequently versus pre-Covid levels. ■Trai suggests OTT market developments need to be monitored and if required an intervention can be made at an appropriate time an aspect of regulatory framework which deals with licensing, payment of any statutory charges to the government, and provision for legal interception, areas which would have brought them on a par with telecom operators. Intermediary guidelines and data protection laws are areas where the content part comes under some sort of regulation,whichisquitedifferent from the areas on which the Trai has submitted its recom- ■ Intermediary guidelines and data protection laws are areas where the content part comes under some sort of regulation ■ Guidelines would make it mandatory for apps like WhatsApp to trace the origin of messages if they create law and order problems mendations, officials said.The Trai recommendations are in response to specific references sought by the department of telecommunication, whereas intermediary guidelines and data protection laws are being handledbytheministryofelectronics and information technology(Meity),andthegovernment has not sought any recommendations from the telecom regulator here. Continued on Page 11 NCR housing market in a downward spiral ● Residential property prices down by 10-15%, hit sector harder Residential property prices in Delhi-NCR at the end of June 2020 were the lowest in three years Weighted average price (`/Sq Ft) BIG TANK RISHI RANJAN KALA New Delhi, September 19 THE SLOWDOWN IN demand, whichgotaccentuatedwiththe pandemic, has hit the real estate sector hard because of which residential properties have seen a decline in prices of up to 15% in the national cap- H1 H2 H1 H2 H1 H2 H1 2017 2018 2019 2020 4,145 Net services on a high post-Covid Continued on Page 11 4,431 lockdown saw metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata register huge decline in mobile subscriber addition as well as revenues,while telecom circles Authority of India data, the adjustedgrossrevenue(AGR)of Vodafone Idea from the three metrocitiesdeclinedto`445.74 crore during April-June period compared to `955.31 crore in theJanuary-Marchquarter. 4,400 REVERSE MIGRATION DURING like Bihar, UP and Kerala witnessedgrowthduringtheAprilJune period. Only Reliance Jio managed to add customers as well as increase its revenues in the three metros,while Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost out on both fronts. As per Telecom Regulatory tory Authority of India stating that over-the-top (OTT) players like Facebook, WhatsApp, Google,Viber,Telegram,etc,do not need to be brought under any form of regulatory framework,willinnowaystopthegovernmentfromdraftingintermediary guidelines and data protection laws aimed at governing them.This is significant becausetheintermediaryguidelines would make it mandatory for apps like WhatsApp to trace the origin of messages if they createlawandorderproblems. Officials said the Trai recommendations only relate to 4,240 KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, September 19 LIFE ONLINE FE BUREAU New Delhi, September 19 THE RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS of the Telecom Regula- 4,265 CHINA ON SATURDAY said it was resolutely opposed to the US' move of blocking downloads of WeChat and TikTok apps and warned counter measures to protect the interest of Chinese companies, reports PTI. Reacting to orders issued by the Trump administration to ban TikTok and WeChat from Sunday, China's ministry of commerce (MOC) said it was resolutely opposed to the US' move to block downloads of these apps. The MOC said in a statement that Washington should immediately stop bullying and safeguard international rules and order. FE BUREAU New Delhi, September 19 4,165 China protests US ban on TikTok, WeChat,warns retaliation policy on local data storage and for what time period data needs to be stored when it comes to OTTs 4250 INDIA’S SINGLE-DAY recovery outstripped the number of new infections as nearly 96,000 people recuperated from the novel coronavirus, even as the total caseload went past 53 lakh, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Saturday, reports PTI. The figures released at 8 am showed that while 95,880 people recovered from Covid-19 in a span of 24 hours, 93,337 new infections were recorded during the period. The death toll, meanwhile, climbed to 85,619 with the virus claiming 1,247 lives in a span of 24 hours. SCREEN CHECK ■ Currently, there's no Source: Knight Frank India ital region. While the Delhi market,whichislargelyaresale market as there are hardly any newprojects,hasseenadecline of 10-15%, the NCR, which comprisesNoida,Gurgaonand Ghaziabad, may not have seen much decline in quoted prices, but for serious buyers the drop is almost in the same range. Real estate consultants, developersandanalyststoldFE that generally Delhi prices depend on location, demandsupply, construction quality, etc. In NCR, primary sales are higher because of new and higher inventory. President ofAssociation of Property Professionals Kshitij Nagpal said, “The real estate market in Delhi has been seeing tough times in the past few years and Covid has exacerbated the pain. Property prices have softened in past few months in the range of 5-15% depending on area and property.” For instance, areas like Vasant Vihar, New Friends Colony, ShantiNiketanandAnandNiketan have seen a drop in prices. These are all Category A localities where prices are depressed duetohighcircleratesandlower market rate,he explained. Buyersareholdingontocash and delaying purchasing decisionsandthemarketisexpected to take much longer to revive than the next six-12 months. Besides, Delhi is set to hike stamp duty. CHENNAI/KOCHI
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