OPINION, P6 MARKETS, P11 INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL KOTAK GROUP FUND PANDEMIC BLUES Former SBI chief Rajnish Kumar to be exclusive adviser UK economy suffers biggest decline in more than 300 years Larger role for pvt sector key to meeting vaccination goal Need to curb misuse in humans, monitor overuse in farm animals to fight antibiotic resistance NEW DELHI, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVI NO. 299, 48 PAGES, `10.00 (PATNA `8.00, RAIPUR `9.00) 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: 51,544.30 ▲ 12.78 NIFTY: 15,163.30 ▼ 10.00 NIKKEI 225: 29,520.07 ▼ 42.86 HANG SENG: 30,173.57 ▲ 134.85 `/$: 72.76 ▲ 0.11 `/€: 88.09 ▲ 0.30 BRENT: $60.79 ▼ $0.35 GOLD: `47,193 ▼ `583 IN THE NEWS Amazon to integrate Pantry, Fresh in India AMAZON’S GROCERY offerings Pantry and Fresh will now operate as a single service, the company said on Friday, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. To begin with, customers in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Mysuru will be able to avail the benefits of the integrated store. IRFC lists $750-m medium-term note on India INX INDIAN RAILWAY Finance Corporation (IRFC) has listed $750-million medium-term note on BSE-owned India International Exchange's debt listing platform, the bourse said on Friday, reports PTI. The issue is part of IRFC's $4-billion global medium-term note programme, the exchange said in a statement. Marc Llistosella is new CEO, MD of Tata Motors TATA MOTORS on Friday said it has appointed Marc Llistosella as its CEO and MD, reports PTI. He is the former president and CEO of Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and head of Daimler Trucks in Asia. FRANKLIN SCHEMES E-voting process gets nod from SC INDU BHAN New Delhi, February 12 THE SUPREME COURT on Fridayupheldthee-votingprocess, for the assent of three lakh unitholders,on the winding up of Franklin Templeton’s six mutual fund debt schemes. An “overwhelming majority”of unitholders had voted in favour of the winding up of the schemes which were wound up byFTonApril23,citingdifficulties in the bond market conditions following the pandemic. Abench comprising justices SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, while rejecting the objections raised by some investors to the e-voting results, held that the majority of unitholders had favoured the move to wind up these schemes.It said the“consent of the unitholders would meanconsentbymajorityofthe unitholders who have participated in the poll, and not consent of majority of all the ■ 96% of investors of each scheme had favoured winding up; 16 unitholders had alleged irregularities in voting process ■ SBI Funds Management to disburse `9,122 cr to investors in proportion to their respective interest in the scheme assets within 20 days ■ Distribution can be in tranches without waiting for liquidation of all the securities/assets unitholders of the scheme… Windingupanddisbursements would be in terms of our directions in earlier orders of February2 and February9”. Continued on Page 2 BUDGET TAX DISPUTES ‘Numbers credible, but Opposition is trying to push false cronyism narrative’ Revised estimates of expenditure & revenue for FY21 meant to be achieved, not merely to ‘look good’, says fin secy Will help the poor, will spur growth: FM Our budgetary accounts are transparent, and not 'suspect' like in the UPA era when bonds were issued in lieu of cash subsidies in oil and fertiliser Besides offering "quick short-term solutions", the govt seeks to create "long-term sustainable growth" path via this Budget FE BUREAU New Delhi, February 12 FINANCE MINISTER Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday slammed the Opposition for trying to create a “false narrative” of the Budget for FY22 being “crony-centric”, listing out a raft of measures to suggest the government,on the contrary,has championed the cause of the poor and the vulnerable. Speaking on the Budget in the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman said the latest Budget is the instrument using which the country will attain About 800 million people were provided free grains after the pandemic, 80 million got free cooking gas, and cash was given directly to 400 million. Over 1.67 cr houses were completed under PM Awas Yojana. Over 2.67 cr households got electrified since Oct 2017. Are these for the rich? —NIRMALA SITHARAMAN, FINANCE MINISTER reliance. Besides providing quick short-term solutions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has NCLT reserves order on Future shareholder meet THE GRADED increase in passenger train services may lead to a full resumption of all passenger train operations from April 1, 2021, in view of the festive season, reports fe Bureau THE NATIONAL COMPANY Law Tribunal (NCLT) has reserved its verdict on allowing shareholder meetings of Future Group companies, which are part of the deal for sale of retail assets of Future Retail to Reliance Industries,reports Bloomberg. Future Group firms have sought the in New Delhi. The railways suspended allpassengertrainsinMarch 2020 following the national lockdown to combat the Covid 19 pandemic. ■ Report on Page 2 tribunal’s nod for the asset sale deal. Amazon.com has filed objections to Future’spetition,seekingarestrainonFuture Group companies’shareholder meetings. Future Retail says Amazon has no standing to intervene in the case.The tribunal has not set a date for the order. Plea on fake news: SC notice to govt, Twitter THE SUPREME COURT on Fridaysoughtresponsesfrom the Centre and Twitter India on a plea seeking a mechanism for regulating content and advertisements spreadinghatredthroughfakenews and instigative messages via bogus accounts, reports PTI. The PIL said that fake news is the root cause of many riots, including the one in Delhi earlier this year, and bogus accounts are used to promote casteism and communalism. QuickPicks India has not conceded any territory to China: Defence min INDIA HAS not "conceded" any territory to China by firming up an agreement on the disengagement process in Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh, and other outstanding "problems", including in Depsang, Hot Springs ad Gogra will be taken up at the upcoming talks between military commanders of the two nations, the defence ministry said on Friday, reports PTI. The statement came hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged the government has "ceded" territory to China. RBI’s estimated $7-billion support buoys Indian bonds BENCHMARK INDIAN sovereign bonds posted their best week since December after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stepped in with one of its heaviest interventions to support a market weighed down by a glut of paper, reports Bloomberg. Yields on the 10-year note dipped 8 basis points, its biggest drop in 10 weeks. PAGE 10 Hate speech: Facebook took action on 26.9 million pieces in Q4 FACEBOOK ON Friday said it took action against 26.9 million pieces of content for hate speech in the December 2020 quarter, and the prevalence of such content on the platform declined to 7-8 views for every 10,000 content views globally, reports PTI. Facebook has drawn flak in the past for its handling of hate speech on the platform in India. PAGE 8 AMID THE PERCEPTION that thevariousschemesforresolution of tax disputes run in recent years have yielded only moderate results in reducing the load of tax litigation, finance secretary Ajay BhushanPandeyonFridaysaid the new system of faceless assessment and appeal would ‘strike at the root of the problem’ and help bring down the disputes substantially. Speaking at the Indian Express Idea Exchange programme, he said the revised estimates of revenue and expenditure for the current financial year were realistic. If gross direct tax collections were down 6.7% on year by January, the gap would be much narrower by the end of the year, as the slump was partly due to liberal refunds of around `1.91 lakh crore. He also said tax buoyancy of 1.16 DAVID BRUNNSTROM, ALEXANDRAALPER & YEW LUN TIAN Washington/Beijing, February 12 KOCHHAR GETS BAIL Former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar outside a special PMLA court in Mumbai, which granted her bail on Friday EXPRESS PHOTO Some relief FE BUREAU CPI inflation hits 16-month low, IIP grows 1% Retail inflation hit a 16-month low of 4.06% in January, as food inflation fell to its lowest since May 2019 and the base remained conducive. Industrial output grew 1% on year in December 2020, against a 2.1% fall in November, but it still remained well below the 4.2% rise in October. Index of Industrial Production (% change, y-o-y) 10 0 -10 1.0 Consumer Price Index (% change, y-o-y) 8 7 0.4 -20 7.35 5 -40 4 -50 -60 -57.3 Dec 2019 Source: MoSPI April ‘20 Dec 2020 3 4.06 Dec 2019 April ‘20 The Biden administration has signalled itwill maintain pressure on Beijing ■ But it is keen to cooperate with Beijing on issues like climate change According to a senior official, Bidenwould be ‘practical, hardheaded’ in dealingswith Xi ■ China has expressed hope that bilateral relationswill improve under Biden don’t get moving, they are going to eat our lunch.” Continued on Page 18 China, HK ban BBC World News, Radio 7.2 6 -30 Complicated ties US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN and his Chinese counterpartXi Jinping held their first phone call as leaders and appeared at odds on most issues, even as Xi warned that confrontation would be a “disaster” for both nations. WhileXihascalledfor“winwin” cooperation, Biden has called China America’s “most seriouscompetitor”andvowed to“out compete”Beijing. On Thursday, Biden told a bipartisan group of US senatorsatameetingontheneedto upgrade US infrastructure the United States must raise its gamein the faceofthe Chinese challenge. Bidensaid hespoketoXifor twohoursonWednesdaynight andwarnedthesenators:“Ifwe Jan 2021 CHINA BARRED Britain’s BBCWorldNewsfromitstelevisionnetworksonFridayand Hong Kong’s public broadcastersaiditwouldstoprelayingBBCWorldServiceradio,a week after Britain revoked Chinese state television’s broadcast licence, reports "Since the launch of faceless, random assessment in August last year, over 50,000 tax disputes have been settled, where tax demands were 'large' only in 8% of the cases, against 60% during the earlier system." —AJAY BHUSHAN PANDEY FINANCE SECRETARY estimated for FY22 was neither conservative or unduly optimistic (buoyancyhas been in the negative territory in FY20 and FY21). While data show the tax disputes continue to rise and the number of high-pitched assessmentordershasn’tcome down,theofficialsaidsincethe launch of faceless random assessmentinAugust lastyear, over 50,000 disputes have been settled. Continued on Page 18 ● PARTING WAYS Biden warns China will ‘eat our lunch’ platform was issued a stern warning to comply with local laws or be prepared for action. The ministry had questioned Twitter's delay in taking action on its order to block provocative content that could impact public law and order, whereas the American company had been quick to crackdownwhenasimilarinstanceoccurredatUSCapitolHill. Continued on Page 2 FE BUREAU New Delhi, February 12 GETTING REAL Twitter blocks 97% of flagged a/cs, posts TWITTER HAS BLOCKED over 97% of the accounts and posts flagged by the IT ministryforprovocative content and misinformationaroundfarmers’ protest,sources said. This followed a meeting betweenTwitterrepresentatives andtheInformationtechnology secretary on Wednesday where the US-based microblogging Continued on Page 2 All passenger trains may restart in April ● GOVT WARNING PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, February 12 intended to chart “long-term sustainable growth” path through this Budget. ‘Faceless assessment key to solve problem’ Reuters. China’s National Radio and Television Administration said BBC World News’ reports on China had “seriouslyviolated”arequirementtobe“truthfulandfair”, harmedChina’sinterestsand underminednational unity. ■ Report on Page 8 SoftBank, OYO end LatAm partnership REUTERS February 12 THE LATINAMERICAN unit of OYO has ended its joint venture with the SoftBank Latin America Fund, less than six months after they struck a partnership in the region,both companies have said. OYO’s business in Latin America,known as Oyo Latam, on Wednesday said it was moving to a digital-only model,and that the changes would require laying off nearlyits entire staff. SoftBank Group has poured $75 million into OYO in Latin America, part of its more than $1-billion investment in the parent company. Though hotels in the region can still operate under OYO’s brand, operations will now be managed directly from OYO’s home base in India, an OYO Latam spokeswoman told Reuters. “The Latin American joint venture (with SoftBank) has ceased to exist,” she said, adding that did not mean OYO was completely shutting down in the region. “It was another adaptation due to the pandemic,” she said. Japan-basedSoftBankadded the decision was made jointly with OYO due to challenges brought about by the coronaviruspandemic. REALITY BITES Life without Google: Australia is now facing the unthinkable ANGUS WHITLEY & GEORGINA MCKAY February 12 IMAGINE A WORLD without Google, the search engine so pervasiveit’sthestartingpoint for more than five billion queries a day.That’s the reality facing Australia, where the tech giant is threatening to unplug its homepage in a standoffwiththe government. Google opposes a planned law thatwould force the company and Facebook to payAus- tralianpublishersfornewscontent.The internet juggernaut’s ultimatum to local lawmakers —changethelegislation,orelse — has left a digital vacuum hanging over a nation that essentially knows just one way to navigate the web. Google runs 95% of internet searches inAustralia. Potential fallout from the spat goes far beyond Australia for Alphabet-owned Google, whose dominance of global advertising has made it a target for watchdogs worldwide. Australia will next week introduce a Bill to force Google, Facebook to pay publishers, broadcasters for content Google also opposes the law’s final-offer arbitration model Google opposes this move, the search giant points out it helps by driving traffic to such websites Google currently runs 95% of internet searches in Australia If the company backs down in Australia,thepay-for-newslaw risks becoming a template for jurisdictionsincludingCanada and the European Union that are following the quarrel and keen to shorten Google’s lead. But disabling what is arguably the world’s most famous website would hand all of Australia to rivals, including Microsoft’s Bing and DuckDuckGo, which have failed to dislodge Google as the gateway totheweb.Thesesearch-engine competitors would suddenly New Delhi have a playground for developmentandafootholdtoadvance on the global stage. Software-engineering student Patrick Smith exemplifies Australia’sGoogledependency. The24-year-oldfromCanberra saidhesometimesracksup400 Google searches a day to help with his studies, catch up on newsandlookuprecipes.Smith saidhisbrowserfromtheprevious day shows 150 searches — in the space of just five hours. Continued on Page 18
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