OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 TV MOHANDAS PAI & N HOLLA Farm Bills latest step in sequential freeing up of farm sector INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL PM-SPEAK RAISING THE BAR India needs an export push to grow fast; even in the past, exports, not consumption, pushed GDP & investment Mandi infra being given a boost, to help farmers earn more Jack Ma’s Ant Group increases IPO valuation target to $280 billion NEW DELHI, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2020 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVI NO. 197, 16 PAGES, `10.00 (PATNA `9.00, RAIPUR `10.00) P U B L I S H E D F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K ATA , L U C K N O W, M U M B A I , N E W D E L H I , SENSEX: 39,982.98 ▲ 254.57 NIFTY: 11,762.45 ▲ 82.10 NIKKEI 225: 23,410.63 ▼ 96.60 HANG SENG: 24,386.79 ▲ 228.25 `/$: 73.35 ▲ 0.03 `/€: 85.91 ▲ 0.06 BRENT: $42.80 ▼ $0.36 GOLD: `50,796 ▲ `320 —THOMAS ISAAC, FINANCE MINISTER, KERALA financialyeariftotalcompensationwere paid in full.” With the Centre changing its stance and agreeing to borrow on the states’ behalf, the impasse at the GST Council overthe issue seems to be end- ing.It is also clearthe compensation cesswould not onlystay for a considerably long period beyond July 2022, but would likely be levied on more items. Continued on Page 2 RBI announces first `10,000-crore OMO for state bonds RBI ON FRIDAY announced thefirstauctionofstatedevelopment loans through the OMOroute.ThepurchaseauctionwillbeheldonOctober22 and the size of the auctions could be enhanced in future, depending on the response to the first one,the central bank said.Therewillbe30different securities on sale from 15 states — Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh,J&K,Jharkhand,Kar- nataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. RBI has not specified the amountofsecuritiesonsaleor the amount it plans to purchase from each state. Report on Page 10 ● CHINA IMPACT Digital media units to be tightly regulated FE BUREAU New Delhi, October 16 THE GOVERNMENTONFriday saidthechiefexecutiveofadigitalmediaoutletlocatedorregistered in India and majorityof its directors have to be Indians, Entities to be covered under new rules ■ Those uploading/ streaming news and current affairs on websites, apps, other platforms; news agencies which supply news to digital media entities and/or news aggregators; news aggregators which, using software/web applications, aggregate content from various sources in one location Amid contraction pressure,finmin starts Budget-making exercise THE FINANCE ministry on Friday kicked off the exercise to prepare the annual Budget for 202122 amid the urgency to push economic growth hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, reports PTI. The upcoming Budget will be crucial for the country as it will have to deal with the impact of the pandemic, which has affected all segments of the economy, including revenue collection, disinvestment, expenditure, exports and food prices. The economy is projected to contract by a massive 10.3% this year, according to an IMF forecast. PAGE 2 UPL tumbles over 7% after KPMG exit as auditor of Mauritius arm SHARES OF UPL fell 7.6% on Friday after KPMG Mauritius resigned as statutory auditors for the UPL’s Mauritius arm, UPL Corporation, reports Urvashi Valecha in Mumbai. In a filing to the exchanges, UPL Corporation shared the letters that its auditors had written. In the notification, the company clarified that in order to reorganise the audit process and to improve the productivity, the company had asked KPMG Mauritius to resign as statutory auditors of UPL Corporation. Despite this, shares of UPL tanked to close at `467.75 apiece. PAGE 10 Revenue grows 6.1% to `18,594 crore Net proﬁt 7.4% higher on sequential basis JK Tyre, other firms face CCI probe SPIRIT OF DURGA A migrant worker with her children depicted as goddess Durga at a pandal in Kolkata EXPRESS PHOTO: PARTHA PAUL THE COMPETITION COMMISSIONofIndia(CCI)isinvestigatingJKTyre&Industriesafterthe Haryanagovernmentaccusedit ofbidrigging,andtheprobehas been expanded to other firms, according to sources and legal filings seen byReuters. The CCI last year ordered a probeafterHaryanasaidJKTyre employedunfairtradepractices whilebiddingtosupplytyresfor publictransportvehicles,acourt filing showed.The case details and CCI’s initial assessment were contained in a September 19 state court filing made byJK Tyre contesting some of the watchdog’s demands. Report on Page 4 « 71.91 Quadricycles dricycles Source: Siam Despite the upswing in sales of PVs and two-wheelers (despatches from factories to dealers) since August, manufacturers are keeping theirfingers crossed about sales forecast.There are two reasons for this. One, the increased sales are on low base and second, volumes in most segments are still belowwhatwas seen some five years ago.“Though we are seeing some green shoots, the HCL Tech to hire up to 9,000; profit rises 19% to `3,142 cr ● BID RIGGING Chg (%) Threewheelers volumes in most segments are still lower than those seen five years ago. We are expecting strong demand for passenger vehicles and two-wheelers in the festive season.Beyond that it is difficult to predict how demandwill shape up.Wehave to wait and see,” Siam president and MD of Maruti Suzuki India Kenichi Ayukawa said. Continued on Page 2 ● REALTY IT FIRM HCL Technologies on Friday posted an 18.5% rise in Septemberquarternet profit at `3,142crore,andsaiditislooking at hiring up to 9,000 freshers in the second half of this fiscalonthebackofstronggrowth momentum.The Noida-based company had registered a net profit of `2,651 crore in the year-ago period (as per US GAAP).Itsrevenuegrew6.1%to `18,594 crore in the quarter Continued on Page 2 11.64 SEPT QUARTER PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, October 16 as it notified rules underwhich up to 26% foreign direct investment (FDI) in such entities will be permitted through official approval. The move seems aimed at curbing the influence of Chinese or other foreign-owned digital media news entities that, the government thinks, maybe hostile to the country’s interest.It also fills in an existing regulatoryvoid in the digital media space, unlike the broadcast media sector that is tightly regulated. The department for the promotion of industry and internal tradeclarifiedthatthe 26% FDI in digital media rule will apply to entities uploading/streaming news and current affairs on websites, apps, other platforms; news agencies which supply news to digital media entities and/or news aggregators; news aggregators which, using software/web applications, aggregate content from various sources in one location. QuickPicks Continued on Page 2 PASSENGER VEHICLE (PV) sales sawa strong double-digit growth in September as manufacturers pushed more vehicles to the dealers who have depleted their stocks afterthe lockdown on the back of pent-up demand. Dealers have been stocking sinceAugustinanticipationthat the upcoming festival season would see good demand for vehicles. According to data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam)onFriday,passengervehiclesalesduringSeptemberstood at 271,027 units, up 26.45% comparedwiththesamemonth lastyear.Two-wheelersales also rose 11.64% during the month onayear-on-yearbasis. Sept ‘20 (Units) 18,640 “I welcome (the Centre’s decision to borrow). But there is one issue yet to be resolved — how much of the compensation is to be deferred to 2023? Negotiate this point and reach a consensus.” FE BUREAU Chennai, October 16 Sept ‘19 Twowheelers 66,362 FINANCE MINISTER Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday told 21 states and 2 UTs, which have chosen the incentivised Option 1 to bridge their yawning GST revenue shortfall in FY21 that, they“won’t face anycash shortfall”intheyearduetothepaucity ofrelevantcessproceeds. She wrote to the finance ministersofthesestates:“Atotal of `2.16 lakh crore is unconditionallyavailabletostatesunder Option 1 (special window + 0.5% extra OMB sans reforms). Thismorethancoversthefunds whichwouldhavebeenreceived by them during the current —NIRMALA SITHARAMAN, FINANCE MINISTER GILEAD SCIENCES' REMDESIVIR had little or no effect on Covid-19patients’lengthofhospitalstayorchancesofsurvival,a clinical trial by the World Health Organization(WHO)hasfound. The antiviral medication, among the first to be used as a treatmentforCovid-19,wasone of the drugs recently used to treat US President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection. The results are from WHO’s Solidaritytrial,whichevaluated theeffectsoffourpotentialdrug regimens,includingremdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ ritonavir and interferon, in 11,266 adult patients across more than 30 countries. The study found the regimens appeared to have little or noeffecton28-daymortalityor the length of the in-hospital course among Covid patients hospitalised,WHO said. REPORT CARD Higher sales due Passenger to low base and vehicles low inventory with 26.45 dealers; volumes still lower than 2016 18,49,546 FE BUREAU New Delhi, October 16 REUTERS Zurich/Geneva, October 16 PV sales rise 26% in Sept but industry still cautious 16,56,658 "A total of `2.16 lakh crore is unconditionally available to states under Option 1. This more than covers the funds which would have been received by them in the current fiscal if total compensation were paid in full.” WHO says remdesivir didn’t really help patients RECOVERY MODE « THE GOVERNMENTONFriday issued notices to Flipkart,Amazon and other e-commerce companies fornot mandatorily displayinginformation,including country of origin, on products sold on theirplatforms. Thenoticeshavebeenissued bythedepartmentofconsumer affairs, ministry of consumer affairs,food and public distribution.Apart from Amazon and Flipkart,notices have also been sent to other ecommerce players,sources said. The companies have been asked to reply to the notices within 15 days. “It has been brought into notice that some of the e-commerce entities are not displaying the mandatory declaration on digital platforms required under the Legal Metrology (PackagedCommodities)Rules, 2011,” said one of the similarly worded notices. The two companies, as per the notices, have not provided the mandatory declaration and contravene theAct. Impasse seems to end, dissenting states soften stance COVID-19 « PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, October 16 States’GST gap to be fully bridged,says FM ● « Amazon, Flipkart get notices for not stating country of origin WELCOME U-TURN 2,72,027 LABEL TROUBLE 2,15,124 ● HCL Technologies Intra-day on BSE (`), Oct 16 900 875 850 865 827.10 825 800 775 Previous close: 859.45 Open Close under review from `17,528 crore in theyear-ago period. “WedeliveredasolidperformanceinQ2.Ourstellarperformance is broad-based across verticals, service lines, geographiesandMode1,2,3offerings. Our new bookings remained very robust, it increased 35% comparedtothelastquarter,we won15transformationaldeals,” HCLTechnologiespresidentand CEO C Vijayakumar told reporters in avirtual briefing. Continued on Page 2 INDIABULLS HOUSING Additional stake sold in OakNorth for `220 cr FE BUREAU Mumbai, October 16 ■ Dilutes 13% stake INDIABULLS HOUSING FINANCE (IHF)onFridaysaidit had sold an additional stake in OakNorth Holdings for `220 crore following an earlier sale that fetched it `1,810 crore. The mortgage lender had also mopped up `683 crore through a qualified institutional placement (QIP). With the latest stake sale, it has raised a total of `2,493 crore as fresh capital in September and October. After these transactions, IHFholdsastakeofcloseto3% in OakNorth Holdings. The proceeds of the stake sale will in OakNorth for `1,810 crore ■ Raises `2,493 cr as fresh equity in October and September ■ Bonds worth `2,780 cr issued this fiscal be used for strengthening the capital adequacy ratio and redeeming bonds, which are due to mature this year. The capital adequacy ratio of the lender stood at 27.94% at the end of June quarter. Continued on Page 2 Blackstone nears $2-bn property deal with Prestige BAIJU KALESH & SARITHA RAI October 16 BLACKSTONEGROUPISnearingadealtobuyPrestigeGroup’s commercialpropertiesforabout $2 billion, according to people withknowledgeofthematter. TheUSprivateequitygroup is in advanced talks to acquire Prestige Estates Projects’ rentyielding assets, including officesandoperatingmalls,the people said, asking not to be identifiedasthediscussionsare private. Terms haven’t been finalised and negotiations could still be delayed or fall apart,the people said. A representative for Blackstone declined to comment.An email to Prestige wasn’t immediately answered outside of business hours on Friday. Blackstone is the largest ownerofcommercialrealestate in Indiawith a total investment of around $7.8 billion as of March2020.Ithasbuiltitsportfolio over more than a decade, buying up more properties as India’s economy slowed in recent years. Two real estate investment trusts backed by Blackstonehavealsobeenlisted on India’s publicmarkets. Prestige has about 45 ongoing projects spanning 52 million sq ft,with another 57 million sq ft underconstruction. —BLOOMBERG REINING IN BIG TECH FCC to tackle social media liability limits; questions raised about timing JON REID October 16 THE FEDERALCOMMUNICATIONS Commission (FCC) will consider clarifying the scope of a legal shield that protects Twitter and other social media companies from being sued for moderating thirdparty content, chairman Ajit Pai announced. The Trump administration petitioned the agency to consider adopting rules regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives tech companies legal immunity to moderate third- The Commission’s general counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rule-making to clarify its meaning." —AJIT PAI , CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION It’s unclear how far the agency’s rulemaking, in response to a petition from the Commerce Department’s NationalTelecommunications and Information Administration,will advance.A Democrat would assume the FCC chairmanship next year if Joe Biden wins the presidential election. ‘Speech police’ party content on their platforms. Conservatives have complained about what they seeasananti-conservativebias bysocialmediaplatformssuch as Twitter and Facebook Inc. “TheCommission’sGeneral Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230,” Pai saidinastatement.“Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarifyits meaning.” Republicanshaveaccusedtech companies of inappropriately censoring third-party content in ways that could alter election results. Continued on Page 2 Twitter briefly blocks Trump-linked a/c US PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s re-election campaign’s Twitter account was briefly restricted on Thursday, causing an outcry from Republican lawmakers who accusedsocialmediafirmsof actinglike“speechpolice” and vowing to hold Twitterresponsible. Twittertemporarily blocked the @TeamTrump account from sending tweets after it New Delhi postedavideoaboutDemocratic presidential candidate JoeBiden’ssonthatitsaidviolated its rules. The video referred to a New York Post story from Wednesday that contained alleged details of Hunter Biden's business dealingswithaUkrainian energy company and said the formerVP had met with an adviserofthecompany. ■ Report on Page 8
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