OPINION, P6 NATION, P3 T NANDA KUMAR Since MSP can’t be junked, govt must trim other procurement costs BACK PAGE, P14 SUNIL JAIN FUTURE PROSPECTS CORONA CRISIS Reforms need to be a 24x7 job, can't slide back periodically; investors look at more than just the Budget Sales to normalise by Jan end, getting Jio Mart orders: Biyani UK says vaccine plan ‘on course’ as Covid surge hits hospitals NEW DELHI, MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVI NO. 270, 14 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 IN THE NEWS Pre-pack scheme to cut litigation, costs: Analysts THE ‘PRE-PACK’ insolvency scheme proposed by the Sahoo panel will incentivise early identification of stress in the banking system, facilitate fast resolution of bad loans before the debtor faces substantial value erosion, and cut costs and litigation, analysts said on Sunday, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Farmer union supporting new laws moves SC AMID THE ongoing stalemate with protesting farmers, the Centre is pinning hopes on the Supreme Court. But the filing of an impleadment plea by a farmer leader who supports the 3 contentious farm laws two days ahead of hearing, seeking direction to the Centre for wider consultation before making any amendment, may further complicate the issue, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. PSB recapitalisation: RBI concerned over zero-coupon bonds THE RESERVE Bank of India (RBI) has expressed some concerns over zero-coupon bonds for the recapitalisation of PSBs and talks are on between RBI and the finance ministry to find a solution, sources told PTI. BAD DEBT Budget set to remodel ARCs Another `20k-cr capital infusion in PSBs likely in FY22 BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, January 10 WHILE THE GOVERNMENT has kept alive the option of settingupastate-backedbadbank despite initial reluctance, it is learnttobeintalkswiththecentralbankoveraraftofproposals — including further recapitalisation of state-run lenders and reformsintheassetreconstruction space — to bolster the ecosystem of bad debt resolution. The proposals may find place in finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech on February1. TheBudgetproposalforcapital infusion into public-sector banks (PSBs) in the next fiscal is still being worked out but the amount could be at least the same as in FY21 (`20,000 crore), a source told FE. While PSBs have stepped up efforts to raise capital from the market, they will still require governmentsupport,thesourceadded. At the same time,the privatisationofafewsmallandsickPSBs is beingvigorouslyexplored. As prospects of a Covidinduced spike in defaults loom large,boththe financeministry FE SPECIALS Gross NPAs may spike (%) 12.5* 9.1 8.2 Mar-19 Mar-20 Mar-21 *Baseline scenario, may shoot to 14.7% in case of severe eco stress Banks' asset sales to ARCs lose pace (%) PSBs PVBs FBs SCBs 80 60 40 20 0 2015-16 2019-20 Source: RBI and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) believe PSBs need to remain adequately capitalised next fiscal to be able to absorb the bad loan shock and boost lendingtospureconomicactivities,the source added. Similarly,while the government has started weighing the idea of a bad bank,supposed to bemodelledafteranassetreconstruction company (ARC), though with a difference, it may impress on RBI to address certain irritants in this space,includingtheso-called15:85norm. Continued on Page 2 Non-meaty business The market for plant-based meat alternatives is seeing some action, but soya products still rule ■ eFE, P8 Infosys’AI revolution Infosys is preparing for the AI revolution, a shift from IT services to hyper automation and analytics ■ PERSONAL FINANCE, P9 Now, exit NPS via online mode The pension fund regulator has introduced a paperless exit procedure for National Pension System subscribers ■ INFRASTRUCTURE, P11 Pvt sector interest a leg-up for PPP The keenness shown by 8 players has reinforced UP’s move to build the Ganga Expressway with private participation Norms being fine-tuned, states ready FE BUREAU New Delhi, January 10 AS INDIA IS set to launch its Covid-19 vaccination drive from January16,the Centre on Sunday said Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoringvaccine delivery,shall form the foundation for the inoculation drive. The platform will be citizen-centric so that thevaccine is available anytime and anywhere. As part of preparations for the nationwide roll-out, the health ministry on Sunday held a video conference with officials from states and UTs to discuss feedback on CoWIN and its operational use gathered from the vaccination dry runs. Continued on Page 2 HIRING SLOWS Q3 PREVIEW India Inc to see a smart rebound FE BUREAU New Delhi, January 10 DRIVEN BY FESTIVE FERVOUR,pent-up demand,sharp costcutsandregulatorybreaks, corporateearningsforthethree months to December 2020 are expected to rebound smartly. Withverylittle of the country now under a lockdown and business activity picking up nicely, companies, across the board,should report good revenue growth,betterthan in Q1 and Q2FY21. Sectors such as capital goods are expected to have seen a rebound in order inflows and also execution. Highfrequencydatasuggest a somewhat uneven recovery with volumes falling in one month and rising in the next. However,certainproducts,twowheelers for instance, may not have fared well in the home marketbuthavedonewellinthe export market. Continued on Page 2 20 14.2 10 5.8 0 2 -10 -20 Dec Mar Jun Sep Dec Mar Jun Sep Dec Mar Jun Sep Dec 2017 2018 2019 2020 (E) BSE-30 Index earnings growth (%) Source: Kotak Institutional Equities estimates ● SHARP DROP States' capex seen down a quarter PRASANTA SAHU New Delhi, January 10 AGAINST A 30% year-on-year jump projected for FY21,budgetary capital expenditure by state governments may have dropped by a quarter in AprilNovember, going by an FE review of data from 12 states. Among them, these 12 states — Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Capex (growth %, y-o-y) April-Nov Budget estimate (FY21) 30 22.4 12.8 Centre -26 States As per data of 12 states reviewed by FE Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Odisha, Telangana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Jharkhand — reported combined capital expenditure of `1,09,860 crore in AprilNovember FY21, compared with `1,48,571 crore in the year-ago period,down 26%. Continued on Page 2 Fewer full-time job offers in Dec SHUBHRATANDON Mumbai, January 10 HAVING SEENAgood pick-up after July, the number of full-time job opportunities on offer seems to be falling. Companies drawing up their strategies seem to see some moderation in business prospects and have pared their workforce requirements. Full-time jobs registered a 33%month-on-monthdecline in December to 1,62,000 over November,datafromXpheno,a Bengaluru-based specialist staffing firm, show.This is the first time in three months that theactivejobcounthasdropped below the 200,000 mark; the lowest active jobs number was seeninJuneandJulyat132,000 and 142,000,respectively. Nonetheless, Kamal Kara- TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES (TCS) has reported a stellar set of numbers for the December 2020 quarter — the strongest growth seen by the company in the last nine years. V Ramakrishnan, CFO, TCS, tells Shubhra Tandon during an interview that Investors continue to support consumer internet companies NOTWITHSTANDING THE DISRUPTION caused by the pandemic, Indian consumer internet companies continued towin the support of investors in 2020, raising a little over $8 billion, data sourced from market research firm Tracxn showed. Companies had attracted investments worth about $11.21 billion in 2019. The food-tech and ed-tech segments were the clear winners, as demand from homebound consumers soared, corneringbulkoftheinvestments. Zomato closed a $660-million financing round backed by 10 new investors at a post-money valuation of $3.9 billion while rival Swiggy raked in about $156 million in two tranches. Ed-tech player Byju’s alone secured more than $1 billion from investors; Unacademy, Eruditus and Vedantu collectively bagged over $500 million in funding. More than 10 start-ups across sectors ranging from beautytopaymentsturnedunicorn in 2020 against nine in 2019.In fact,an estimated 6570% of the investors who had placedtheirbetsonthesectorin 2019 invested again in 2020. Continued on Page 2 5.43 2019 2020 ($ bn) 2.34 2.55 2.07 2.15 ■ SCIENCE & TECH, P12 2.89 1.37 Internet factionalism A conservative internet is edging closer to reality; should it be allowed? 0.6 Q1 Q2 Consumer Internet cos (B2C) Q3 Q4 Source:Tracxn OLD IS GOLD Budget cuts lead brands to yesteryear actors DEVIKA SINGH New Delhi, January 10 AS CONSUMER COMPANIES curtail their advertising and marketing budgets following a hit to their businesses after the pandemic,yesteryear stars and celebrities increasingly find themselvesmuchindemandfor endorsing brands. Given how these stars charge relatively lower endorsement fees than the reigning superstars, this works outwell forcompanies. Several recent cases point towards this trend. For example, Dimple Kapadia and daughterTwinkleKhannahave Endorsements by yesteryear celebrities ● TruSaniz Hand Sanitiser ● Knorr Soup ● Britannia Toasties ● Mother Dairy ● Instagram ● Ching’s Masala been roped in by Knorr Soup while Neena Gupta is endorsing Mother Dairy, Ching’s Masala and Britannia Toastea. A recent advertisement by credit card repayment platform CRED features a host of ‘older’ celebrities — Madhuri ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE nth, co-founder, Xpheno, points out more enterprises have extended work-fromhome and remote working for 2021 opening up room for employment opportunities. Continued on Page 2 ‘Indicators suggest growth is sustainable’ HIGH INTEREST ASMITA DEY New Delhi, January 10 ■ BRANDWAGON, P10 ● VACCINE ROLL-OUT Dixit,AnilKapoor,BappiLahiri, Udit Narayan and Govinda. According to industry sources, these actors are available for a fraction of the cost of the reigning stars such as Ranbir Kapoor or Deepika Padukone, and hence, are preferred by brands not in a position to splurge in these tough times. Consider this: top actor AkshayKumar,whorankedsecond in Duff & Phelps’ celebrity brand ranking for 2019, at a $104-million brand valuation, commandsanendorsementfee of `2-3 crore perday. Continued on Page 2 New Delhi there are indicators tosuggest the growth is sustainable. “The biggest factordriving margins is growth which was seen across verticals. But more importantly, the ability of people to work from anywhere also increased the fungibility,”he says. ■ Interview on Page 2
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