OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 K SRINATH REDDY On vaccines against Covid-19, don’t mistake promos for promise COMPANIES, P4 EDITORIAL BY MARCH CEO-SPEAK AstraZeneca's vaccine dose error shows rigorous regulatory and internal oversight is needed FM pushes large CPSEs to exceed capex target Ola aggressively building global electric two-wheeler biz AHMEDABAD, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2020 VOLUME XV-151, 16 PAGES, `10.00 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD 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 SENSEX: 44,149.72 ▼ 110.02 NIFTY: 12,968.95 ▼ 18.05 NIKKEI 225: 26,644.71 ▲ 107.40 HANG SENG: 26,894.68 ▲ 75.23 `/$: 74.05 ▼ 0.16 `/€: 88.28 ▼ 0.34 BRENT: $48.04 ▲ $0.24 GOLD: `48,751 ▼ `214 ● CORE SECTOR Fall by 2.5% in October reverses the recovery PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, November 27 CONTRACTING FOR THE eighth consecutive month,the output of eight core infrastructure sectors dropped by 2.5%inOctober,mainlydueto decline in production of crude oil, natural gas, refinery products and steel. The production of eight core sectorshadcontracted5.5%in October2019,datareleasedby the commerce and industry ministry showed on Friday. Coal, fertiliser, cement and electricity recorded positive growth, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products and steel registered negative growth in the month under review. During April-October, the sectors’ output declined by 13% as compared to a growth of 0.3% in the same period of the previous year. The output of crude oil,natural gas, refinery products, and steel declined by 6.2%, 8.6%,17%,and 2.7%,respectively. The growth rate in fertiliser production has declined to 6.3% in October, from 11.8% in the same month last year. Continued on Page 2 BACK ON TRACK? ● CPSEs At minus 7.5%,economy looks better than expected Unlikely that data captures the crunch in informal sector, higher govt spend vital to sustain the momentum in next few quarters FE BUREAU New Delhi, November 27 INDIA’S GROSS DOMESTIC product (GDP) shrank at 7.5% inSeptemberquarter,acontractionmuchnarrowerthanfeared by many,including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),official data showed,as resilient consumers keptproducersontheirtoesand lettheeconomyclawitswayout of the pandemic’s deep pit.The economycontracted at a record 23.9%inthefirstquarterofthe fiscal;thatwasthesteepestslide among G-20 countries. Though robust release of pent-up demand and relatively buoyant rural economy — thankstofortuitousgoodmonsoon—havedriventherecovery, the jury is out on whether and howstronglyitwillbesustained, nowthatthefestivalfervourhas subsided.An apparent reversal GDP (% growth, y-o-y) 10 5 7.1 0 -5 -10 -15 -20 -25 -30 Q1 6.2 5.7 5.6 5.2 3.1 -7.5 -23.9 Q2 Q3 FY19 Q4 Q1 (% growth, y-o-y) 20 10 0 -10 -20 -30 -40 -50 -60 4.1 4.4 Govt consumption Q2 Q3 FY20 Q4 Q1 Q2 FY21 Best performers Electricity, etc Agriculture -7.3 Manufacturing -11.3 Worst performers Pvt consumption -22.2 Fixed investment -15.6 -12.2 Q1, FY19 4.4 3.4 0.6 Q2, FY21 Source: MoSPI of the gains in pandemic containmentalsoposesabigthreat to the revival’s continuity. While manufacturing PMI roseto58.9inOctober,thehighest in more than a decade, against 56.8 in September,separate data released on Friday revealed the output of core-sec- -9.1 Trade, hotels, transport, etc Public administration, etc Mining (% change in GVA, y-o-y, in Q2) torindustries,whichhaveashare of about 40% in industrial production, fell 2.5% in October, after showing rapid sequential improvement to report flat growth in September. Diesel consumption in the first half of Novemberwas5.1%lowerthan the year-ago level, while these Centre for m-cap, asset monetisation goals in MoUs wereup7.4%inOctober. While the economy hasn’t received much government spending support in Q2 — government consumption expenditure fell 22% on year — the Controller General of Accounts onFridaysaidtheCentre’sbudgetspendingrose9.5%onyear in October, after a 26% fall in September; also, budgetary capex was up 130% on year, at `31,519 crore. The government,which was conspicuously absent to give support to the economy in the second quarter,apparently has since boosted its own expenditure and the spending via companies owned by it.However,as FEhasrecentlyreported,barring two ministries — rural development and food — no otherministrywilllikelyexceedtheiroriginal spending targets for the year, going by the revised estimates handed down to them by thefinanceministry;unlesssubstantial additional fiscal stimuli is announced soon,the Centre’s overall budgetary spending will likely remain below the `30.4 lakhcrorebudgeted. Continued on Page 2 ■ Q2 data signal 'upside potential' to forecasts: CEA, Page 2 Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary, Dipam FE BUREAU New Delhi, November 27 THE GOVERNMENT IS set to include market capitalisation andassetmonetisationamong the goals set for central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) in the customary MoUs between the administrative ministries andthesefirms,departmentof investment and public asset management (DIPAM) secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said on Friday. The staff of CPSEs — which are around 250 now — may lose on their performance related pay (PRP), if the firms fail to meet the goals on m-cap and monetisation. What this means is that a slippageintheperformanceon the two parameters could result in a firm’s performance rating downgrade and consequentreductioninvariablepay of its staff. Continued on Page 2 MOUNTING DOUBTS Astra eyes extra global vaccine trial CEO refuses to call half-dose regimen an error, says trial protocol changed after discrepancy SUZI RING & JAMES PATON November 27 ASTRAZENECA’S COVID-19 VACCINE lookslikeit’sheaded foran additional global trial as the drugmakertries to clearup uncertainty and confusion surrounding favourable results in its current study. The company wants the new test to confirm the 90% efficacy rate that the shot showedinaportionofanexisting trial,chief executive officer Pascal Soriot said. It’s favouring that option rather than Now that we’ve found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study...this one (trial) could be faster as we know the efficacy is high so we need a smaller number of patients. —PASCAL SORIOT, CEO, ASTRAZENECA adding an arm to a separate study that’s already underway in the US. Continued on Page 2 100 m Sputnik doses to be made in India Lockdown curbs in Maha till year-end RUSSIAN DIRECT Investment Fund (RDIF) and pharma firm Hetero have agreed to produce over 100 million doses per year in IndiaoftheSputnikVvaccine againstCovid-19,Russiasaid in a statement. ■ Page 4 THE MAHARASHTRA government on Friday extended thelockdown on account of coronavirus in the state till the midnight of December 31, 2020, an official release said. ■ Page 3 ● OLA, UBER Surge price capped at 1.5 times, can discount by 0.5 times FE BUREAU New Delhi, November 27 Kannadafilmssawaround50% viewership and even beyond from outside the home states. THE MINISTRY OF road transport and highways (MoRTH) on Friday issued guidelines aimed at bringing cab aggregators like Ola and Uber under a regulatory framework, which among other things, has fixed a ceiling for surge pricing. The guidelines stipulate that surge pricing can’t be more than 1.5 times the base fare. The aggregators are also free to charge 50% lowerthan the base fare. The city taxi fare indexed by WPI for the current year has been fixed as the base fare. Currently, there’s no cap on surge pricing and cabs operating under the aggregator model charge twice, thrice and sometimes (during festivities) even four times the base fare. Further, the driver of a vehicle integrated with the aggregator shall receive at least 80% of the fare applicable on each ride and the remaining charges for each ride shall be received by the aggregator. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 FARMERS’ FURY Farmers clash with police during anti-farm Bill protest at Singhu border, in New Delhi on Friday EXPRESS PHOTO: PRAVEEN KHANNA PRIME TIME Bollywood streaming paying off ASMITA DEY New Delhi, November 27 OTT (OVER THE TOP) platforms believe the strategy to buy and stream Bollywood films is paying off. Gaurav Gandhi, director and country general manager at Amazon Prime Video India, said Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi werethemost-watchedmovies on the platform in the country. In fact, Gandhi said the films went on to become the mostviewed Hindi movies by the OTT firm’s global subscribers too,across 180 countries. PrimeVideo’sslateofdirectto-digital regional movies also were a big draw, Gandhi said, claimingthefirstsetofacquired Tamil,Telugu, Malayalam and CYBER CASH Facebook’s Libra coming in Jan but scaled back REUTERS London, November 27 FACEBOOK'S LIBRA CRYPTOCURRENCY is readying to launch as early as January, the FinancialTimesreportedonFriday, citing three unidentified people involved in the project. The Geneva-based Libra Association that will issue and govern Libra plans to launch a single digital coin backed by the dollar, the FT said, citing one of the people. The move would represent Crypto-mania ■ Regulators and central banks across the world had earlier raised concerns that Libra could upset financial stability ■ Geneva-based Libra association to govern plans to launch a single digital coin backed by the dollar an even bigger scaling-back of the project’s ambitions than that proposed in April in response to a regulatoryand polit- ■ It is seeking regulatory nod to issue series of stablecoins backed by individual traditional currencies and a token based on the currencypegged stablecoins ■ Stablecoins are designed to avoidvolatility typical of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin icalbacklashagainsttheproject. Libra,unveiled byFacebook Inc lastyear,was relaunchedin slimmed-downformafterreg- ulators and central banks across the world raised concerns it could upset financial stability and erode mainstream power over money. The Libra Association, of which Facebook is one of 27 members, is seeking the goaheadfromSwitzerland’smarkets watchdog to issue a series of stablecoins backed by individual traditional currencies, as well as a token based on the currency-pegged stablecoins. 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