OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL INFRA PUSH NO MORE PM inaugurates `5,750-cr section of freight corridor Pierre Cardin, father of fashion branding, passes away at 98 Brands can’t fly solo on online sales,need tie-ups with top apps Remote-voting for migrants a big fillip to democracy, guards against disenfranchisement AHMEDABAD, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2020 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XV-178, 16 PAGES, `6.00 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 SENSEX: 47,613.08 ▲ 259.33 NIFTY: 13,932.60 ▲ 59.40 NIKKEI 225: 27,568.15 ▲ 714.12 HANG SENG: 26,568.49 ▲ 253.86 `/$: 73.43 ▲ 0.08 `/€: 89.95 ▲ 0.08 BRENT: $51.44 ▲ $0.58 GOLD: `49,854 ▼ `12 ISHAAN GERA New Delhi, December 29 UK flight suspension likely to be extended: Aviation minister INDIA IS LIKELY to extend the suspensionofpassengerflightstoandfromthe UKtocheckthespreadofthenewstrain of coronavirus,aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday,reports PTI. The ministry had last week suspended all flights between the two countries from December 23 to December 31 over the mutated variant of the virus which is more contagious. “I foresee a slight extensionoftemporarysuspension of India-UK flights,” Puri said at a press conference. Sensex INDIAN EQUITIES MAY bevalued at their most expensive ever but foreign portfolio investors continue to be buyers. Flows in December have crossed $6 billion and could well hit $7 billion before the month is over. While it’s the abundance of liquidity worldwide that is channelling funds into equities, India seems to be getting more than its fair share of EM allocations. The earlier-thanexpected rebound in the economy is expected to give corporate earnings a fillip as also boost the government’s tax 47,700 47,800 Intra-day, Dec 29 47,613.08 47,466.62 47,600 47,400 Previous close 47,353.75 47,300 47,200 Andhra’s 6.4 GW solar tender gets Adani, NTPC bids Open Close collectionsallowingittospend more on much-needed investments. While earnings for FY22 have been upgraded post theresultsannouncementsfor Q2FY21,the Street is betting on more upgrades. Continued on Page 2 Super 10 Current Mcap (` lakh cr) RIL TCS HDFC Bank 7.86 5.6 HUL 5.33 Infosys HDFC 4.53 Kotak M Bank 3.96 ICICI Bank 3.65 Bajaj Finance 3.13 Bharti Airtel 2.84 13.08 11 ``` Source: Bloomberg QuickPicks Mobile number portability requests continue to pour in IT SEEMS that mobile subscribers are fast changing their network provider as since July, the average mobile number portability (MNP) requests per month are hovering over 8 million against the normal range of 4-5 million per month, reports Kiran Rathee in New Delhi. The increased number of MNP can be attributed to the prevalence of work from home (WFH) as subscribers relocate to their hometowns and porting to an operator of their choice, that has better network there. PAGE 4 Ex-DEA secy Chakraborty likely to be next HDFC Bank chairperson FORMER ECONOMIC affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty is likely to be the next chairperson of the country's largest private sector lender HDFC Bank, sources said, reports PTI. He would replace Shyamala Gopinath, who is set to complete her term in January. According to the sources, the bank has recommended the name of Chakraborty for appointment as the part-time Chairperson, subject to the Reserve Bank of India's approval. THE ANDHRA PRADESH government has received good response to the bids invited by it earlier this month to build solarpowercapacityofanother 6,400 MW in the state,with all bids received adding up to 14,900 MW. Adani Group,Torrent Power andstate-runNTPCarelearntto be among the bidders, with Adani offering to the build the largest capacityindividually. Robust investor interest in the state’s solar sector has put at rest speculation that the latest tender process might come acropperinthewakeofanumberofmajordevelopersrefrainingfromparticipatinginit,citing the state’s “poor track record”. Solar power producers had unsuccessfully requested thestategovernmenttoextend the bid submission timelines for the latest tender for three months “to fully comprehend the technical aspects of the proposed project”. The solar plants are slated to be built in the districts of Kurnool, Ananthapuramu, Prakasam and Kadapa. Continued on Page 2 WHOLESALE DESPTACHES OF passenger vehicles (PVs) and two-wheelers are expected to grow by 5.4% and 14.4% y-o-y, respectively, in December — the fifth straight month of growth. Analysts point out much of this comes on the back of pent-up demand,festive sales and also a low base. While wholesale numbers will come in on January 1, Motilal Oswal estimates demand in December has been good and that the inventory is lower than normal for PVs. What’s interesting is that both PV and two-wheeler firms are offering smaller discounts this time around.Typically, auto companies offer big discounts in December to clear the calendar year inventory because of thin demand for them in the new year. One reason for the lower discounts and still better sales during the month could be 4.65 Nov 13.43 5.14 Dec* 14.4 *Estimate by Motilal Oswal research Source: Siam that most companies have announced price hikes from Januaryto compensate for the rise in input costs. Since dealer inventory is low, largely because of the year-end manufacturers did not push stocks, wholesales should be good in the JanuaryMarch quarter as well. Continued on Page 2 Provisioning and proﬁtability (` crore) 4,00,000 3,00,000 2,00,000 1,00,000 0 -1,00,000 PSBs Operating proﬁts Source: Annual accounts of banks READY FOR R-DAY A contingent of the Indian Navy marches during the Republic Day parade rehearsals at Rajpath in New Delhi on Tuesday Online boost FE BUREAU Retail payments pick up 20% Retail payments picked up 20% y-o-y with buoyancy in the retail business and a rise in the share of online payments. Such payments are now 24% above pre-Covid levels whereas offline payments — largely cheques and ATM withdrawals — are still about 15% below pre-Covid levels, despite the opening-up over the past few months. 40 30 20 10 41 38 8 33 35 34 7 7 7 26 7 9 21 5 3 33 30 27 28 28 30 25 27 27 26 22 18 34 36 37 36 9 10 10 39 8 0 Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct 2019 2020 (` trillion) Online payments Offline payments Source: RBI, Jefferies; 'Offline' transactions comprises cheques and ATM withdrawals FE BUREAU Mumbai, December 29 RESERVE BANK OF India (RBI) onTuesdaycautionedthemodest bad loan ratio of 7.5% at end-September2020end“veils thestrongundercurrentofslippage”warningofasharpdecline in asset quality. The central bank pointed out the financialperformanceof the banking sector in H1FY21 had been shoredupbythemoratorium and the standstill in asset classification.“Going forward, although the risks to the banking sector remain tilted upwards, much hinges around the pace and spread of the economicrecoverythatisgradually gaining traction in H2: 2020:21,” RBI noted. TheaccretiontoNPAs,asper the RBI’s income recognition and asset classification (IRAC) norms,would have been higher PVBs FBs Provisions Net proﬁt intheabsenceoftheassetquality standstill provided as a Covid-19reliefmeasure.“Given the uncertainty induced by Covid-19 and its real economic impact, the asset quality of the bankingsystemmaydeteriorate sharply,going forward,” it said. The moderation in the gross non performing asset (GNPA) ratio, which started afterthe peak in March2018,continued through FY20 and FY21 so far, to reach 7.5% by end-September 2020. The improvement was driven by lower slippages which declined to 0.74% in September 2020 and resolution of a few large accounts through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Fresh slippages remained the highest amongPSBs. Continued on Page 2 ■ Related reports on Page 10 ● POST-IT PMC BANK Bust bank pins hopes on yacht,jets’sale SHRITAMA BOSE Mumbai, December 29 A TROUBLED COOPERATIVE bankwhichhasbeenunderthe central bank’s supervision for morethanayearhaspinnedits hopes of a turnaround on the sale of two French-manufactured jet planes. The administrator for Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank on Tuesday invited fresh bids for two aircraft owned by the promotersofthebank’slargest borrower, ostensibly after the 14.19 16.88 Oct Asset quality set to worsen sharply: RBI ANUPAM CHATTERJEE New Delhi, December 29 47,500 FE BUREAU New Delhi, December 29 11.64 2019-20 FE BUREAU Mumbai, December 29 26.43 Sept BAD LOANS ● ROBUST RESPONSE FPIs continue to buy, Dec flows to hit $7 bn 14.16 3 2018-19 providingelectricityconnections in as early as a week — to make it easier for doing businessinKolkataandBengaluru, reports fe Bureau in NewDelhi. ■ Page 2 Continued on Page 2 Aug Two-wheelers 2017-18 THE CENTRE HAS firmed up several proposals — from adoptinganonlinesystemto approvebuildingplanandefiling of cases for the enforcement of contracts to going to be an annual shot, based on what we currently know,” she said. Kang is clear that the entire populace needs to be inoculated. PVs 2016-17 Continued on Page 2 —DR GAGANDEEP KANG PROFESSOR, CMC VELLORE SIX PERSONS WHO returned to India from the UK have tested positive for the new mutated strain of coronavirus, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday,reports PTI.It said the UK variant genome of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in three samples at NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in the Centre forCellularandMolecularBiology (CCMB) in Hyderabad andone in theNationalInstituteofVirology(NIV)Pune. All thesepersonshavebeenkeptin single room isolation at designated health care facilities by respective state governments and their close contacts have also been put under quarantine,the ministrysaid. Year-on-year basis (%) 2019-20 who have another airline, fullservice carrier Vistara in partnershipwithSingaporeAirlines, needs its approval to bid through this firm forAirIndia. VACCINE CANDIDATES HAVE exceeded expectations of efficacy and booster shots to remedy shortlived vaccine-derived immunity may not be needed, Dr Gagandeep Kang, clinical scientist, vaccine expert and professor at the department of gastrointestinal sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore, told FE. “It’s feasible that we might not need new vaccine shots unless the virus changes a lot. But I don’t think that it is Six passengers test positive for UK strain GROWTH PATH 2018-19 AirAsia Berhad recently waived a clause forTatas which gave them a free hand to bid forAir India Ease of doing business: Centre steps up focus on Kolkata, Bengaluru MARKETS Rank 2019 2020 1 1 2 2 3 3 5 4 8 5 4 6 7 7 6 8 11 9 12 10 ofAirAsia India as part ofaJV with the Indian conglomerate ‘Use private sector in the vaccination, vital to innoculate entire population’ Vaccines won’t work 100% of the time, we need to invest a lot more in better treatments like antivirals. Will be industry’s fifth straight month of growth, though on a low base 2017-18 THE GOVERNMENT on Tuesday said it has proposed to make airbag mandatory for the passenger in front seat of a vehicle, reports PTI. It aims at improving passenger safety during accidents. ENDING MONTHS OFspeculation, Tata Sons on Tuesday entered into an agreement to buyanadditional32.67%stake in low-cost airlineAirAsia from its Malaysian partner,AirAsia Berhad, for $37.6 million.This transaction will takeTata Sons’ stake inAirAsia to 83.67%. Currently,AirAsia Berhad’s stake in the airline is 49%. ThoughAirAsiaBerhadhasbeen going through financial problemsandhadearlierindicatedit wouldbeexitingtheIndiabusiness, the advantage for Tatas is thatnowtheycanputinabidfor AirIndiathroughAirAsia.Tatas, 49% ■ Tata Sons will buy an additional 32.67% stake, increasing its total stake to 83.67% 2016-17 Mandatory airbag for front seat passenger? FE BUREAU New Delhi, December 29 ■ AirAsia, until now, owned Car, bike sales set to grow in December 2019-20 PROMOTERS OF Vedanta have pledged their holding in the company to raise $1.4 billion, mostly for repaying the debt that was coming up for maturity, reports PTI. In a stock exchange filing, Vedanta said its promoters raised $1 billion debt by issuing equivalent notes to Citicorp International. Move paves way for Tata Group to bid for Air India through the low-cost carrier ‘Unless virus changes a lot,we can manage’ REVVED UP 2018-19 Vedanta raises $1.4 billion to retire debt Tata Sons to take over AirAsia India COVID VACCINE 2017-18 A DAY before the next round of talks between the Centre and the farmers protesting against the three new agri laws, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal met senior BJP leader and home minister Amit Shah, reports PTI. Sources said they discussed and finalised the government's position for the Wednesday meeting, a source said. FLIGHT PLAN 2016-17 IN THE NEWS Farmers’ protests: Tomar, Goyal meet Shah before talks ■ PMC Bank seeking buyers for a Dassault Falcon 2000 and a Bombardier Challenger 300 failure of the first attempt made earlier this year. A public notice issued by the administrator sought sealed bids for a Dassault Fal- Bidders must put in 10% of the offer amount as earnest money; reserve prices unavailable Last date for submitting bids is Feb 17, 2021, bids to be opened on Feb 20 ■ Four EoIs received for PMC Bank con 2000 and a Bombardier Challenger300,bothcurrently parked at the Mumbai airport. Continued on Page 2 Stamping out gangsters, and how! PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Kanpur, December 29 THE KANPUR POSTALdepartment has ordered an inquiry after stamps featuring underworld don Chhota Rajan and slain gangsterMunna Bajrangi were issued by the main post office in the city, officials said on Tuesday. Twelve stamps each of Rajan and Bajrangi were printed under the ‘My Stamp’ scheme, which was launched by the department a few years back,an official added. Calling it was a lapse by the Chhota Rajan Munna Bajarangi person manning the ‘My Stamp’ desk, postmaster general VK Varma said, “A probe has been launched.” It has been found that the request for these stamps having face value of `5 was made anonymously by a person who paid `600 for them,he added. Without asking for identificationpapers,whichisessential, the person manning the 'My Stamp' desk released 12 stamps eachwith the pictures, Varma said. Philately department incharge Rajneesh Kumar, who was prima facie found guilty, has been placed undersuspension,he said. “We have also issued showcause notices to some other employees in this regard,” the postmaster general said. Continued on Page 2 Ahmedabad
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