OPINION, P2 MIND & GAMES Reminding us of August 1942 FE LINES IS DAIRY FARMING CRUEL TO COWS? Running resolution A small group of animal welfare scientists is seeking answers to that question. Facing a growing anti-dairy movement, many farmers are altering their practices Page 10 ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM Getting fitter can be one of the best new year resolves Page 6 LEISURE Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM Vol .XX No. 9 THE 2021 ROAD MAP FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY NEW DELHI SUNDAY, JANUARY 3, 2021, 18 Pages, `10 (Patna `11, Raipur `10) B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K A T A , 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 DEMAND REVIVAL? Trade deficit touches 25-month peak in Dec While 2020 will be a year best forgotten by the startup ecosystem, 2021 could be a watershed moment. We profile a few startups from the north-east of India that will be worth watching out for ACONTRACTION IN merchan- dise exports narrowed to 0.8% year-on-year in December 2020, as compared to 8.7% in the previous month,according to a preliminary estimate released by the commerce ministry on Saturday. But imports rose at a faster pace of 7.6% in December, the first increase since February, driving up trade deficit to a 25month high of $15.7 billion. The rise in imports signals a possible revival of domestic demand, which was battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, as businesses go through a'reset' phase following the unlock. However, some amount of pent-updemandforrawmaterialsmayalsohavecontributed to the rise in imports, analysts say,preferring towait longerto pronounce any sustained demand recovery. Neverthe- ■ WORDS WORTH, P4 Two political journeys and an ideology The Vajpayee-Advani partnership stuck a golden mean between political pragmatism and ideological loyalty ROHNIT PHORE Sep Oct -3.6 -2.7 -6.7 -8.7 0 -9.9 Trade balance ($ bn) LHS -60.98 15 -15 -30 -59.7 -16 Dec* 7.6 -4.7 -6.9 -20 Nov -45 15.7 Exports (% change, Imports y-o-y) RHS -60 -75 *Preliminary estimate Source: Ministry of commerce less,ifinboundshipmentscontinue to rise, import-sensitive exports,too,willgetaboost,but it will also mark a return to the usual high trade deficit trend. The outbound shipment of core products (goods excluding petroleum and gems and jewellery),which reflect the economy’s competitiveness, grew 5.2% in December, against a 0.4%fallinthepreviousmonth. Similarly, core imports rose 8.4% last month, compared with a 1.7% fall in November. Exports in December dropped to $26.89 billion from $27.11 billion a year before.Imports rose to $42.60 billion last month from $39.59 billion a year earlier. Already,hitbythepandemic, exports have witnessed a rollercoaster ride this fiscal. Having risen by 6% in September, the first expansion since February, outboundshipmentsfalteredby 5.1% in October and 8.7% in Novemberbeforethecontraction narrowedagaininDecember. Core exports have acceleratedataquickerratethanthatof overall merchandise exports month after month since May 2019,according to an FE analysis, based on the data from the DirectorateGeneralofCommercialIntelligenceandStatistics. Continued on Page 11 Hope Biden will end Trump's cold war: China AS JOE BIDEN is set to assume A delegation of farmer groups during a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday AMIT MEHRA QuickPicks DEADLOCK Ganguly suffers mild heart attack, undergoes angioplasty BCCI PRESIDENT and former India skipper Sourav Ganguly suffered a mild heart attack and underwent primary angioplasty at a city hospital, doctors said, reports PTI. “He had an acute myocardial infarction. He is stable haemodynamically and has received loading doses of dual anti platelets and statin. We are yet to decide on how many stent insertions is required for him," a doctor at Woodlands Hospital said. PAGE 18 US Congress overrides Trump’s veto of defence budget THE US CONGRESS has overwhelmingly overturned Donald Trump's veto of the annual $740-billion defence policy bill, delivering a resounding bipartisan rebuke to the President in his final days in the White House, reports PTI. The overriding of the Congressional veto, the first of his administration, is seen as a stinging rebuke to President Trump given that the Senate voted 81-13 against his veto. PAGE 11 Farmers threaten own R-Day parade PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, January 2 HARDENING THEIR POSITION ahead of the next round of talks withthegovernment,protesting farmer unions on Saturday said theywilltakeoutatractorparade towards Delhi on January 26, when the countrywill celebrate Republic Day,if their demands are not met.British Prime MinisterBoris Johnsonwill be in the national capital on January 26. He will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade which will beheldatRajpath. Addressing a press conference,farmerleaderDarshanPal Singh said their proposed parade will be called Kisan Paradeanditwillbebeheldafter the RepublicDayparade. The next round of talks between the government and farmerunionsisscheduledtobe heldonJanuary4.OnFriday,the unionshadannouncedthatthey would have to take firm steps if the meeting fails to resolve the deadlock. Swaraj India leader YogendraYadavsaiditisa“plain lie” that the government had accepted 50% of the farmers’ demands.“We have got nothing onpaperyet,”hesaid. Continued on Page 11 power, China's foreign ministerWangYi on Saturdayhoped the US President-elect would end Donald Trump's'cold war' policy towards Beijing and return to a 'sensible approach' by restoring normal ties. The Chinese hope the next US administration will resume dialogue, restore normalcy to relations and restart cooperation,Wang said. PAGE 11 Union health minister Harsh Vardhan at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, during the vaccine dry run on Saturday PRAVEEN KHANNA FIGHTING COVID India readies for vaccine drive; govt assures safety ● Free to 3 crore frontline workers; all Delhi residents Nod to Covaxin recommended ANEXPERTPANEL ofthecen- tral drug authorityon Saturday recommended granting permissionforrestricted use of indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR,in emergency situation, especially in the context of infection by mutant strains,officialssaid.TheSECdeliberated ontheemergencyuseauthorisationapplicationofBharat Biotech on Saturday after it presented updated data and justification,adayaftersimilar directions for the Oxford PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, January 2 AS IT CAME closer to the rollout of the first Covid-19 vaccine,India held a dry run by all states and Union territories on Saturday in preparation for a massive vaccination drive, with health minister Harsh Vardhan appealing to people not to be misguided by rumours and disinformation regarding the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccine. Vardhan said free vaccine would be provided in the first phase to the most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare and two crore frontline workers. He said the details of how27 crore priority beneficiaries — thoseabove 50 years of age and those below it vaccine. The committee, however,said the firm shall continue the ongoing phase 3 clinical trial and submit data as and when available. The committee noted that the vaccine is an inactivated whole virion,having potential to target mutated coronavirus strains.After detailed deliberations, the SEC has alsorecommendedforgrant of permission to Cadila Healthcare in Ahmedabad for conduct of phase-3 clinical trial protocol for its vaccine candidate. —PTI having comorbidities —would be vaccinated until July were being finalised. Continued on Page 11 All UK returnees to be tested; 4 more +ve with new strain ALLPASSENGERS comingfromtheUKbetween January8 and January30would be subjected to self-paid Covid-19 tests on arrival, the health ministrysaid ina standard operatingprocedure (SOP) issued on Saturday.Moreover,each passengerarrivingfromtheUKwouldhavetobring hisorherCovidnegativereportfromatestdone 72 hours prior to the journey,the SOPstated.It saidadequatearrangementsshouldbemadefor the passengers who will be waiting for their RTPCRtestoritsresultsattheairport. FourpersonswhorecentlyreturnedtoGujarat from the UK have tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus,a state official said on Saturday.Results of the 15 samples that had tested positiveforcoronavirusonarrivalinAhmedabad from the UK are currently pending with the NationalInstituteofVirologyinPune. — PTI WIRED BROADBAND Jio top gainer as nation took to WFH KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, January 2 RELIANCE JIO IS turning out to be the biggest gainer from the current practice of work from home,as the telco added over8 lakh wired broadband connections in the six months since April 2020.BhartiAirtel comes adistantsecondwith2.30lakh additions, followed by ACT, whichadded1.50lakhconnections. State-run BSNL, in contrast, lost 2.20 lakh connec- Wired broadband connections (in million) RJio Airtel 7.97 FE BUREAU New Delhi, December 2 Aug 7.75 -4 -8 Jul 1.74 Startup states Jun 0.67 0 -12 ■ SPOTLIGHT, P8-9 May 1.59 Apr 2020 2.67 4 2.44 ● Imports rise 7.6%, exports contraction narrows to 0.8% 1.70 WHAT'S INSIDE ODD & EVEN C H E N N A I , 0.9 F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , READ TO LEAD -0.8 P U B L I S H E D What will be on the itinerary when people take to travel as the world opens up Page 5 ACT BSNL Additions (million) 0.80 0.23 April 2020 0.15 Oct 2020 -0.22 Source: Trai tions during the same period. As per data from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Jio had 0.90 million wired broadband connections in April, which increased to 1.70millioninOctober.Airtel’s wired broadband connections stood at 2.44 million in April, which increased to 2.67 million in October while that of ACT increased to 1.74 million from 1.59 million. Continued on Page 11 REALTY CHECK IT ruled office space absorption in 2020 Social commerce new shopping tool ● Logistics and engineering also increased their share in the year 3.4 2.7 THE IT SECTOR continued to rule the Indian office space absorption in 2020 with the service centric cities — Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai — alone accounting for almost 60% of the total 27.4 million sq ft (MSF) of space leased by corporates. Property consulting firm Savills India said office space absorptionacrossIndia’stopsix 2 IT-ITeS BFSI Co-working 14 10.6 RISHI RANJAN KALA New Delhi, January 2 1 2019 % share 46.3 Engineering & manufacturing Consumer goods & services Transport & logistics Healthcare 3.4 2.3 3 6.8 7.8 8.5 Hyderabad 2020 Share (%) 14.3 Sector-wise ofﬁce space absorption cities fell 51% Y-o-Y in 2020 from a record high of 55.7 MSF ayear-ago.Forcomparisonsake, in 2018 calendar year, corporates leased 47.3 MSFof space. Bengaluru reported the maximumofficespaceabsorption with 6.8 MSF in 2020. Despite a drop of 56% Y-o-Y, the city led overall leasing across the top six cities, fol- Bengaluru lowed closely by Hyderabad, which leased 5.4 MSFof space, Savills India said. Hyderabad took over the national capital region (NCR), whichsettledatthethirdplace. DelhiNCRreportedaround4.4 MSFof office space absorption in 2020. Like in the previous year,thetopthreecitiesofBengaluru, Hyderabad and NCR 51.7 5.4 15.6 9.5 Chennai 6 4.2 (Million sq ft) 2019 2020 Source: Savills India constitute around 61% of the total leasing activityin 2020. Thecountry’sfinancialcapital, Mumbai recorded around 2.9 MSF leasing in 2020 — the least absorption witnessed among the six cities, while Chennai witnessed an annual decline of just below 29%. Continued on Page 11 ● Selling via social media likely to be nearly $70-billion market by 2030 ASMITA DEY New Delhi, January 2 JAIPUR-BASED RITU Bhansali started her skin-care brand, Everything Mom Made on Instagramamidthepandemic. In less than five months, Bhansali’s business page has garnered 2,300 followers.The company ships about 80 individual packages per month besides servicing bulk orders EXPANDING NETWORK ■ Social commerce, which is a $1.5 billion to $2 billion market today, is estimated to be worth as much as $20 billion in just five years ■ A deluge of cheap smartphones and affordable data prices make it easy for consumers to access services on the internet ■ WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram with a collective reach of over 400 million users allow businesses to tap into potential customers ■ Through social commerce, consumers can opt for product demos by way of videos forweddings,ritualsandcatering to a host of corporates.“We were born on Instagram. The platform allows me to directly interact with my consumers,” Bhansali says. Fashion brand Doodlage doubled down on social media platforms after Covid19 hit sales through brickand-mortar outlets. Cofounder Kriti Tula says New Delhi business grew three times compared to pre-Covid with the help of Facebook and Instagram.The firm has been able to deliver not only in India but also expand its operations to Australia, Dubai,Singapore and Europe. Social commerce is emerging as a new model for small and medium businesses to transact.A deluge of cheap smartphones and affordable data prices make it easy for consumers to access services on the internet. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram with a collective reach of over 400 million users allow businesses to tap into potential customers. Continued on Page 11
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