OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 JOE NOCERA Revoke shield for Twitter, Facebook, but for the right reason INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL GST COMPENSATION BIDEN NOMINATION SC sets a dangerous precedent with farm protest panel, groups can use protests to revoke laws Finmin releases `6,000 cr to states, UTs to meet shortfall Longtime diplomat William Burns picked to head CIA NEW DELHI, TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVI NO. 271, 16 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 SENSEX: 49,269.32 ▲ 486.81 NIFTY: 14,484.75 ▲ 137.50 NIKKEI 225: 28,139.03 ▲ 648.90 HANG SENG: 27,908.22 ▲ 30 `/$: 73.39 ▼ 0.14 `/€: 89.26 ▲ 0.39 BRENT: $55.35 ▼ $0.64 GOLD: `49,344 ▼ `912 While the government and a section of legal experts demurred over the court’s stance, the agitating farmers said they “welcomed the court’s observations repri- —MAHESH AGARWAL, SC LAWYER With limited resources to spend, there is a need to change certain consumption habits. Cut unnecessary expenses, invest in your health and save money for the essentials ■ Personal Finance, P9 QuickPicks Mumbai, Pune account for over 50% home sales in Oct-Dec HOUSING SALES in October-December 2020 registered a significant improvement with apartments in the sub-`75 lakh price segment driving demand as record low interest rates coupled with some states slashing circle rate and stamp duty attracted homebuyers, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Developers also cashed in on the opportunity by introducing attractive offers which lowered the overall cost of units. Except Ahmedabad, all the other top eight cities saw an increase in housing sales when compared to the preceding quarter. PAGE 4 PSBs registered credit growth of 4.6% y-o-y in September 2020 EVEN AS the credit growth of banks declined to 5% in September 2020, public sector banks were able to show an improvement in the loan growth from March to September 2020, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. Public sector banks registered a 4.6% y-o-y credit growth in September 2020, compared to 3% loan growth in March 2020, as per financial stability report (FSR) released by Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Credit growth for private sector banks, however, declined to 7.1% in September 2020, against the 10.4% growth clocked in March 2020. PAGE 10 —VIKAS SINGH, SENIOR SC LAWYER manding the government”, but said they would “still wait for the formal order before jumping into any conclusion”. Continued on Page 2 —KV VISHWANATHAN, SENIOR SC LAWYER Some lending apps thriving on Google Play despite violations NUPUR ANAND Mumbai, January 11 AT LEAST 10 Indian lending apps on Google’s Play Store, which have been downloaded millions of times, breached Google rules on loan repayment lengths aimed at protecting vulnerable borrowers, according to a Reuters review of such services and more than a dozen users. Fourappswere taken down from the Play Store — where the vast majority of Indians download phone apps — after Reuters flagged to Google that they were violating its ban on offering personal loans requiring full repayment in 60 days or less. Three of these apps — 10MinuteLoan, Ex-Money and Extra Mudra — didn’t return calls and emails seeking comment. The fourth app, StuCred, was allowed back on the Google Play store on January 7 after it removed the offer of a 30-day loan. StuCreddeniedengagingin any unscrupulous practices. ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE 13.5 14.1 14.8 15 0 5.4 6 6.5 7.5 5 2.5 10 LOAN LOSSES IN the banking sector,asmeasuredbythegross non-performing asset (GNPA) ratio, could nearly double to 13.5% bySeptember2021 in a baselinescenario,andtoashigh as14.8%inasevere-stressscenario resulting from the pandemic, the Reserve Bank of India(RBI)saidonMonday.The GNPA ratio stood at 7.5% in September2020. Were the scenario of severe stress to materialise, the bad loan ratio of the banking system could be the highest since March 1997, when it stood at 15.7%, according to historical data from the RBI.“Domestically, corporate funding has been cushioned bypolicymeasuresandtheloanmoratorium announced in the face of the pandemic, but stresses would 7.9 8.2 8.8 FE BUREAU Mumbai, January 11 Sep-20 Sep-21 Sep-20 Sep-21 Sep-20 Sep-21 Sep-20 Sep-21 PSBs PVBs FBs All SCBs Projection of SCBs’ GNPA Ratios Source: RBI Supervisory Returns and Staff Calculations bevisiblewithalag,”thecentral bank observed in the December2020editionofitsfinancial stabilityreport (FSR). The GNPA projections are indicative of the possible economic impairment latent in banks’portfolios,with implications for capital planning. “A caveat is in order, though consideringtheuncertaintyregarding the unfolding economic outlook,andtheextenttowhich regulatory dispensation under restructuringisutilised,theprojected ratios are susceptible to changeinanon-linearfashion,” theRBIsaid.RBIgovernorShaktikanta Das observed India’s banking system faced the pandemicwithrelativelysoundcapital and liquidity buffers built assiduously in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and buttressed by regulatory and prudentialmeasures. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 12 First round is on Centre, says PM PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, January 11 PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA Modi said on Monday that the Centre will bear the expenses of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first round and suggested that public representatives should not be a part of this exercise. Interacting with state chief ministers, Modi underscored the enormity of what he described as theworld’s biggest vaccination exercise, which begins from January 16,saying over30crorecitizenswillgetthe jabs in the next few months in Indiaagainstonly2.5crorepeople vaccinated so far in over 50 countries in around a month. The two already approved made-in-India vaccines are more cost-effective than any other in the world and have beendevelopedasperthecoun- 100 INFECTIONS FALL, SO DO TESTS 90 14 12 80 10 70 60 8 50 40 6 30 4 20 2 10 0 Aug 31, 2020 Jan 11, 2011 0 Daily tests (in lakhs), RHS Daily infections (in ‘000), LHS Seven-day moving average try’sneeds,hesaidatameeting held over video conference to discuss the Covid situation and vaccine roll-out. Continued on Page 2 Serum to supply 1.1-cr vaccine doses to govt SERUM INSTITUTE OF India (SII) has signed a purchase order with the government to supply 1.1 crore doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, reports fe Bureau in Pune. SII has readied a stockpile of around 50 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZenecavaccine, Covishield.Companysources said SII had on Monday received the purchase order for the vaccine. The government is sourcing the vaccine at around `200 per dose. ■ Page 4 HIGH-FLIERS The all-women crew members of the inaugural flight of Air India from San Francisco to Bengaluru arrive at Kempegowda International Airport, in Bengaluru on Monday ● DECEMBER CHEER Auto sales clock growth, a first this fiscal FE BUREAU Chennai, January 11 2W WHILE WHOLESALE DESPATCHES have shown growthforthepastfewmonths, retail automobile sales registered growth in December — first time so far this fiscal. According to data released by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations on Monday,retailsalesacrosscategories grew11%duringDecemberon ayear-on-yearbasis. The growthwas on the back of a good crop season, better offers in the two-wheeler segment, new launches both in passengervehicleaswellastwowheeler segments and a fear of price increase in January. 11.88 PV TRACTOR 23.99 Dec 2019 Dec 2020 y-o-y (%) While retail sales of PV had shown growth in previous months also,December for the first time saw sales of twowheelersmoveintothepositive territory,growingby12%y-o-y. The sales growth is not surprising as being the calendar year ending month dealers The agencies, which are run or backed by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), will share the data more widely with banks and other lenders toadequatelyevaluaterisksandpreventover-borrowing,thepeoplesaid. Ant and Tencent declined to comment.JD.com and the PBOC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The people declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speaktothemedia.Detailsoftheregulatory proposal to include Tencent and JD.com in the loan data sharing arrangement have not been reported. Continued on Page 2 New Delhi 35.49 CV 16,61,245 18,44,143 Total China to push tech giants to share data central bank, plan to instruct internet platforms to feed their vast loan data to someof the nationwide credit agencies,the people said. (%) 16.2 16.8 17.6 20 CONSUMER CREDIT CHINA PLANS TO push tech giants, including Ant Group, Tencent and JD.com,to share consumer loan data to prevent excess borrowing and fraud,two people with knowledge of the matter said, in Beijing’s latest tightening of scrutiny. The plan, if implemented, would effectively end the government’s laissez-faire approachtotheindustry.LargeInternet platforms have tended to resist handing over their data, a crucial asset thathelps themrun operations, manage risk and lure newcustomers. Chinese regulators,including the Severe stress COVID VACCINATION Continued on Page 12 JULIE ZHU Hong Kong, January 11 Medium stress 4.6 “Staying the implementation of the farm laws is correct but the reason is not. The law should be stayed as it's beyond the legislative competence of the Centre.” “Courts can interfere if prima facie laws are found to be unconstitutional. Once after a final hearing a law is upheld, all concerned should accept it and move on, as it happened in the Mandal Commission matter.” ● STORE REVIEW Five tips for smart spending and saving habits Saving —MUKUL ROHTAGI, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL “The recent Central Vista judgment has correctly emphasised that the courts should not intervene in policy decisions. So, the SC’s examination in respect of farm laws has to be limited to their legality.” Special Feature spending "The SC is right in stepping in. Nearly 50 days have passed and there is still an impasse... Negotiations have yielded nothing." AMAZON ON MONDAY urged the division bench of the Delhi HighCourttosetaside “certain prima facie observations” in the single bench’s December 21 order that allowed Future Group to go aheadwith its deal with Reliance Retail in accordance with Indian laws. The matterwill come up for hearing on Wednesday. The single judge bench, while upholding the interim award by Singapore International Arbitration Centre in favour of Amazon as legal, had also declared the FutureRIL deal to be legal and left the final decision to the regulatory authorities before whom the deal is pending for final approval. “HavingheldthattheEmergencyArbitrator’sorderwasnot ‘coram non judice’ (without jurisdiction), the single judge could not have, in the same order, render any observations inconsistent with the express premises of the Emergency Arbitrator’s interim order,” Amazon said in its appeal. Baseline 51,454 THE SUPREME COURT on Monday pulled up the Centre for its ‘failure’ to resolve the 50-day-long farmers’ protest against the three new farm laws and said it may have to stay the implementation of the contentious laws to create a betteratmosphere for discussions. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde also said it would constitute a committee headed by a former chief justice to resolve theimpasseover the farm laws. The orderin this regardwill be passed on Tuesday. —KK VENUGOPAL, ATTORNEY GENERAL INDU BHAN New Delhi, January 11 Actual 25 59,497 GAILWILL ON Friday consider buyback of shares with a view to returning surplus cash to shareholders — the biggest being the Centr, reports PTI. In a filing, GAIL said its board will meet on January 15 to consider buyback and payment of interim dividend for FY21. FE BUREAU New Delhi, January 11 “A law cannot be stayed by the SC unless it violates the fundamental rights or constitutional schemes. Law has to be without the power to legislate, only then it can be stayed.” In a severe-stress scenario, it could go as high as 14.8% 51,004 69,105 GAIL to consider buyback, dividend on January 15 Top court raps govt for its ‘failure’ to resolve the issue, to form expert panel Loan losses at banks could double by September 2021 2,71,249 FOR THE FIRST time in independent India, the Budget for FY22 will go “paperless”, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. The government intends to refrain from printing the copies in the wake of the safety issues posed by Covid, an official source told FE. SC says will stay the laws; govt,legal experts differ Amazon moves Delhi HC’s division bench for relief RBI ALERT 2,18,775 Budget to go ‘paperless’ for the first time ● FUTURE-RIL DEAL 9.7 MERCHANDISE EXPORTS GREW 16.2%, year-on-year, in the first week of January, while imports rose 1.1%, a senior commerce ministry official said on Monday, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. However, hit by the pandemic, exports have already witnessed a rollercoaster ride this fiscal. FARMERS' STIR 12,73,318 14,24,620 IN THE NEWS Exports grow 16% in first week of January -13.52 11.01 Source: FADA Research clear their stocks as consumers prefer new year manufactured vehicles. To push sales during the month both manufacturers and dealers offer discounts which are greater than earlier months. Continued on Page 2
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