OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 GR REDDY Centre must allow states higher borrowing limits,cut cess INTERNATIONAL, P4 SUNIL JAIN PM SPEAK NEW STRAIN India needs a big reset to bolster social sector spends, can't have Punjabtype stirs derailing reforms Vaccines’ nod speeds up India's journey to be Covid-free: PM Johnson says UK restrictions will probably get tougher NEW DELHI, MONDAY, JANUARY 4, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVI NO. 264, 12 PAGES, `6.00 (PATNA `6.00, RAIPUR `7.00) 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 More robust MSP system in the works PRABHUDATTA MISHRA New Delhi, January 3 THE AGRICULTURE MINISTRY is considering various optionstostrengthentheminimum support price (MSP) mechanism, and these may be presented to the agitating farmers in the next round of talks with them on January 4, official sources said. Legally guaranteed MSP is one of the two key demands of the over40 farmerunionswho have been protesting at the national capital borders for over five weeks, along with repeal of the three new laws governing agriculture production and marketing. “We are aware of many farmers not getting the benefit of MSP even when mandi prices are lower than the benchmark rates. Several efforts were made in the past few years including increasing the procurement levels to address this issue. “We are working out a plan with a view to ensuring that the maximum number of farmers get MSP for their crops,” said a government source involved in the drafting of the proposals. He added that budgetary implications of the options were being weighed. Continued on Page 2 SII, BHARAT BIOTECH DCGI approves Covid vaccines Approval has been granted based on recommendations of Subject Expert Committee PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, January 3 INDIA'S DRUGS REGULATOR on Sunday approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted the approval on the basis of recommendationsbyaCovid-19Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO). “After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accepttherecommendationsof the Expert Committee and, accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech arebeingapprovedforrestricted use in emergency situations,” DCGI Dr VG Somani told the media here.This clears the way fortherolloutofatleasttwovac- FE SPECIALS This clears the way for the roll out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days Serum and Bharat Biotech vaccines have to be administered in two doses The Serum Institute of India has tied up withAstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR WHO has welcomed the move, saying it will "help intensify and strengthen the fight against the pandemic in the region" cinesinIndiainthecomingdays. “Serum and Bharat Biotech vaccineshavetobeadministered in two doses.All the three vaccineshavetobestoredat2-80C,” Somani said. The Serum Institute of India,the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer,has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield, while Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the approval a "decisiveturningpoint"inIndia's fightagainstcoronavirus. Continued on Page 2 Olive oil hits a ‘home’ run The consumption of olive oil in Indian homes has seen an uptick in the past six months ■ eFE, P8 & 9 Tech comes centre stage CEOs of top technology firms share their year-end perspective and outlook for India in 2021 ■ PERSONAL FINANCE, P11 Longer holding for more alpha Large-cap funds have underperformed benchmarks mainly due to stock selection decisions, says CRISIL’s Piyush Gupta GROWTH PUSH Economy on recovery path; `1L-cr investment but growth not broad-based identified by govt It’s not clear yet whether November consumption uptick will be sustained FE BUREAU New Delhi, January 3 LATEST ECONOMIC DATA signals there was an uptick in demand, seemingly mostly made up of consumption,during the Diwali period, but at best indicates a sputtering economic recovery. A 12% year-on-year rise in GSTcollectionsfromNovember transactions, a sanguine 7.6% growthinimportsinDecember, thefirstincreaseintenmonths, and a sustained rise in railway freight loading in the five months through December, suggest a somewhat sustained momentum towards recovery. However, other high-frequency data doesn’t quite confirmanunhesitant,broad-based resurgence.Core-sectorproduction, manufacturing and services PMI and fuel sales have been weaker in the latest print (see chart). Some amount of pent-up demand forrawmaterials from industry may also have contributedtotheriseinimportsin December. If inbound shipments continue to rise,importsensitive exports,too,will get a Unemployment rate (%) Fuel sales (in million tonnes) 25 20 15 10 5 0 8 6 7.6 Dec 2019 9.06 Dec 2020 Freight revenue (` crore) Freight loading (m tonne, RHS) 12,000 120 8,000 80 4,000 40 0 Feb Source: Railways Manufacturing PMI Services PMI 0 Dec (1-30) Diesel 0 2.5 2.44 Petrol Exports (% change, y-o-y) 20 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -0.8 -61 Apr Dec* *Preliminary estimate Source: Ministry of commerce Core sector 50.6 56.3 49.2 53.7 Oct 2019 6.35 4 2 Source: CMIE 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 6.94 Nov 2020 Note: Reading below 50 suggests contraction and above it indicates expansion Source: IHS Markit boost.Seasonal demandduring Christmas may have improved export orders for December, meaningthejuryisstilloutona sustainedtrade recovery. Reflecting a gloomy picture of job creation, the unemployment rate headed downhill, from 6.5% in November to 9.1%inDecember,accordingto the CMIE data.The RBI’s fore- (% change, y-o-y, in output of 8 infra industries) 10 0 -10 -20 -30 -40 -50 0.7 Nov 2019 Source: Industry ministry -2.6 Nov 2020 casts of mild positive GDP growth rates of 0.1% and 0.7% in Q3 and Q4 respectively, still look optimistic. The Centre is apparently giving a leg-up to demand with its budget spending and by encouraging CPSEs to bolster capex. Continued on Page 2 BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, January 3 THE GOVERNMENTHASidentified investment prospects worth `1.02 lakh crore across sectorsoverseenby23keyministries and departments, as it seeks to fast rekindle growth impulses through a virtuous cycleofinvestmentsandsoften theCovidblowstotheeconomy. Anempoweredgroupofsecretaries (EGoS), set up in June under Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, has asked all wings of the government to vigorously pursue investment proposals having greater potential of fruition,officialsourcestoldFE. Secretaries have been asked to monitorpendingforeigndirect investment(FDI)proposalsand ensure speedyclearances. AccordingtoaDPIITassessment, the petroleum ministry has the highest potential to draw investments (`15,403 crore),followed bythe ministry of electronics and IT (`14,587 THE CENTRE on Sunday invited expression of interest (EoI) from strategic investors for 26% stake in BEML,along with management control, adding one more central public sector enterprise (CPSE) to Tax reforms boosted eco growth: Pandey THE IMPACT OF a gamut of measures to strengthen the tax system has coincided with an improving economy, resulting in the highest monthly Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection and a narrowing gap in direct tax mop-up compared with last year, finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey told FE. GST mop-up in December touched an all-time high of `1.15 lakh crorewhich swung the third quarter collections into positive growth terrain. The first two quarters had seen GST revenue contract by 41% and 8.2% onyear,respectively. Pandeycited introduction of a ■ Direct tax 20% mop-up 10% ofdirect tax lower than disputes being last year at resolved under Dec-end Vivad seVishwas scheme ■ GSTon import up exponentially on new 'rules of origin' mechanism (GSTR-2B) that auto-generates eligible input tax credit (ITC) fortaxpayers as a major reason for reduced revenue pilferage and eased compliance burden for genuine assesses. Continued on Page 2 ● DATA SECURITY WFH to spur tech hiring SHUBHRATANDON Mumbai, January 3 QuickPicks BSNL invites EoI for core 4G network by only Indian firms MORE THAN six months after BSNL’s 4G tender was cancelled because of complaints that it does not promote homegrown companies, the government has decided that only Indian companies can provide core network for the network, a move hailed by the local firms, reports Kiran Rathee in New Delhi. PAGE 3 consultants. Work from home has accelerated the HIRING IN INFORdigitaltransformation MATION technology at manycompanies. roles is going to gain However, with furtherpace this calincrease in remote endaryear. working environHiring for roles in Illustration: Rohnit Phore ment, the security of fields of cyber security, data and information has blockchain,augmented reality, gained prominence more user interface and user experi- than ever before. ence is expected to increase by 20-25%, according to HR Continued on Page 2 POST-CSE STUDY Honey brands start multimedia ad blitzkrieg VENKATA SUSMITA BISWAS Mumbai, January 3 Honey category advertising volume trends FOLLOWING THE FINDINGS of Centre for Science and Environment that almost all honey brands in the country were adulterated, leading brands have escalated advertising on television, print and digital mediums to preserve theirreputation. According to a study by TAM, advertising volumes for the honeycategoryin the print medium grew nine times during December2020 compared Saffola Honey Markfed Sohna Honey Patanjali Honey Medium: Print Medium: Print Medium: Television Increase in ad volume in December 2020 over November 2020 28 times 13 times Ad volume in Print medium up 9 fold during December 2020 compared to November 2020 to November 2020. Honey advertising on digital was up by a factor of four for the same 17 times Advolume in Digital medium grew 4 fold during December 2020 compared to November 2020 Source:TAM Media Research period of comparison. Industryanalysts estimate that each leading brand has allocated INVESTMENT PROSPECTS Ministry/dept (` cr) Petroleum 15,403 MEiTY 14,587 Chemicals 14,241 DPIIT Steel 12,337 8,450 Total* 1,01,726 *23 ministries/depts Source: DPIIT crore) and the chemicals and petrochemicals ministry (`14,241 crore). Continued on Page 2 Govt puts BEML on the block DATA ANALYTICS SUMIT JHA New Delhi, January 3 ■ BRANDWAGON, P10 HIGH FREQUENCY DATA Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec ● AGRI STIR about `7-8 crore towards advertising now for this purpose. Dabur and Patanjali,which are among the 10 brands that did not pass the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) test,are working on reassuring consumers about purity of their products.Daburhas launcheda campaign which invites consumers to verify the authenticity of their bottle of honey by downloadingapuritycertificate from the company’swebsite. Continued on Page 2 New Delhi the pipeline of state-owned firms being put on the block. The last date for filing EoI for BEMLisMarch1,2021.Atcurrent market prices the 26% stake in BEML is worth about `1,055crore. ■ Page 5
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