OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 AMITABH KANT & KOWTHAM RAJ VS Critical that India harvests hydrogen as a future fuel INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL FM-SPEAK TEST FOR GLOBAL PUBLISHING Quota within OBC quotas wellintended, but only a half-solution India's inflation target band up for review, says Sitharaman Facebook ‘unfriends' Australia: News pages go dark KOLKATA, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM VOL. 30 NO. 94, 14 PAGES, `6.00 (NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN `10.00) 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 READ TO LEAD SENSEX: 51,324.69 ▼ 379.14 NIFTY: 15,118.95 ▼ 89.95 NIKKEI 225: 30,236.09 ▼ 56.10 HANG SENG: 30,595.27 ▼ 489.67 `/$: 72.65 ▲ 0.10 `/€: 87.72 ▲ 0.10 BRENT: $64.65 ▲ $0.31 GOLD: `46,222 ▼ `268 IN THE NEWS Ford puts on hold all projects with Mahindra FORD MOTOR HAS frozen all projects it was working on with Mahindra and Mahindra while it finalises a new India strategy, reports Reuters. Sources said they expect Ford to make a decision in about a month on whether to proceed with M&M in a different form or not. Domestic air passenger traffic down 40% in Jan INDIA'S DOMESTIC AIR passenger traffic declined around 40% to 77.34 lakh in January 2021 over the yearago period as Covid continues to hit air travel demand, as per the monthly traffic data released by the aviation regulator DGCA, reports PTI. US reaches its H-1B visa cap for 2021 THE US HAS received enough petitions needed to reach the Congressionallymandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for the fiscal 2021, reports PTI. Successful candidates for the most sought-after work visa among foreign professionals, including Indians, would be decided by a computerised draw of lots. QuickPicks Flipkart leads Q4 international net sales for Walmart FLIPKART LED international net sales for Walmart during the three months ended January, the US-based retailer said on Thursday, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. President and CEO Doug McMillon said: “This (India) is a market where we will step on the gas to ensure we have the appropriate level of investments in areas like the supply chain.” PAGE 4 DAIICHI ARBITRATION Fortis stake sale to IHH under a cloud SC directs lenders to place on record all details of loans, securities extended to former promoters and share sale ■ Daiichi Sankyo is seeking enforcement of the `3,500-crore Singapore arbitration award against the Singh brothers INDU BHAN New Delhi, February 18 THE SALE OF the controlling 31%stakebyFortisHealthcare to Malaysian major, IHH Healthcareisunderacloud.The Supreme Court on Thursday directed 17 lenders to Fortis — Yes Bank,Axis Bank,HDFC Ltd, CiticorpFinance,RBLBankand Credit Suisse — to furnish by February24,thedetailsofloans advancedtothehospitalchain. It also asked them to furnish thesecuritiesofferedbyformer promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh in connection with such loan arrangements. Thursday’s order comes after the apex court had, on February11,asked the lenders to explain their role in the transfer of shares of Fortis Healthcare to IHH Healthcare Berhaddespitedirectionsfrom it and the Delhi High Court barring any such transfer. IHH had, in July 2018, boughta31%controllingstakein ■ Daiichi has alleged the duo disposed of their controlling stakes secretly in Fortis Healthcare to IHH Healthcare ■ This was despite giving several written assurances to Delhi High Court that they will not alienate their unencumbered shares FortisHealthcarefor`4,000crore via the bidding route. Later on December 15, 2018, the SC had directed that status quo be maintained which had stalled theopenofferwhichIHHwasto makewhichwouldhaveseenits stake furthergoing up. Continued on Page 2 Clutch of steps for DFI to raise low-cost funds Bonds issued by body to be tax-free, may qualify for SLR tag OPTIONS GALORE BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, February 18 ■ It could get to issue THE GOVERNMENT AND Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have held talks to make lowcost funds available to the development finance institution (DFI) proposed in the Budget 2021-22, as raising cheaper resources for lending to infrastructure projects at reasonable rates remains critical to the DFI’s success. Sources told FE that the DFI may be allowed to float tax-free bonds frequently to raise money from retail investors. The government and the regulator are also exploring a proposal to permit ■ It may have access to a credit window— longterm operation funds — from RBI at cheaper rates ■ DFI likely to get nod to issue tax-free bonds frequently to raise funds bonds that may qualify for SLR investment by banks ■ To have `20,000 cr in initial capital, authorised capital to be `1 lakh cr the institution to issue bonds that would qualify for SLR (statutory liquidity ratio) investment by banks. Besides these steps, the feasibility of extending a credit window by the central bank, along the line of the long-term operations funds ■ Govt to dilute stake in DFI to 26% once more investors join that the central bank used to make available to DFIs at concessional rates earlier, is also being discussed. The DFI could also tap multilateral agencies for resource mobilisation. Continued on Page 2 RETRO TAX ‘Constructive’meet with GoI, says Cairn FE BUREAU New Delhi, February 18 AMID CAIRN ENERGY'S reported move to recover a $1.4-billion arbitral award in its favour by attaching and seizing Indian assets overseas and New Delhi’s rumoured plans to contest the award, the Edinburgh-headquartered energy company’s chief executive officer Simon Thomson met Union finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey here on Thursday. While the development kept alive hopes of a reconciliation, Thomson, as he came out of the meeting, said the talkswere‘constructive’,without elaborating. “We just want to go in and have a conversation and see what the government has got to say,but we look forward to a positive resolution of this,” Thomson had said minutes —SIMON THOMSON CAIRN ENERGY CHIEF EXECUTIVE before the meeting. Neither the British company nor the Indian government came out with official statements about the meeting till late evening. Continued on Page 2 ‘Wistron to resume production soon’ FOOD MINISTER PIYUSH Goyal said on Thursday that there was no proposal before his ministry to increase the rate of food grains sold through ration shops under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Recommending an increase in selling prices of wheat and rice under the NFSA,the TAIWAN-BASED WISTRON, a manufacturer on contract forAppleInc,issettoresume production at Kolar in Karnataka in the next few days, state large and medium industries minister Jagadish Shettar said on Thursday, recent Economic Surveysaid that as the food subsidy bill is “becoming unmanageably large” and while it is difficult to reduce the economic cost of food management in view ofrisingcommitmenttowardsfoodsecurity, thereisaneedtoconsidertherevisionofcentral issue price (CIP) to reduce the bulging food subsidybill. ■ Page 3 reports PTI. ThefactoryatNarasapura in Kolar district had been shut since December 12, 2020, when about 4,000 employees vandalised the facility over wage-related issues. ■ Page 4 ● KERALA POLLS 'Metro Man' Sreedharan to join BJP Govt sites skip netbanking, foreign card schemes SHRITAMA BOSE Mumbai, February 18 IN AN INDIRECT fallout of the zeromerchant discount rate (MDR) regime on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay cards, some state-owned establishments have disabled the netThe zero-MDR regime for UPI and RuPay transactions has made these channels cheaper for merchants Netbanking and card-based payments are unavailable for some payment players on some checkout points All options are being offered for high-margin products and services, but UPI and RuPay payments are preferred for low-margin transactions banking option for certain banks and card networks. The idea behind the moveistosaveonMDRoutgoespecially on low-margin transactions bynudging customers to pay using UPI or RuPay cards,paymentindustryexecutivessaid. For instance,the netbanking option for HDFC Bank customers is unavailable on the Indian Railway Catering andTourism Corporation (IRCTC)website, while Tata Memorial Centre (TMC),Mumbai,does not allowusers to make payments using a Mastercard debit card. Emailed queries sent to HDFC Bank,IRCTC and TMC,Mumbai, did not elicit responses till the time of going to press.A Mastercard representative said the company’s team in India would respond on Thursday; the response was awaited till the time of going to press. MDRisthefeewhichamerchantpays toabankforfacilitatingadigitaltransaction.It is currentlycapped at 0.9% of the transaction value for payment channels other than credit cards, for which the MDRis market-determined. Continued on Page 2 IPL AUCTION 2021 At `16.25 cr, Morris is costliest buy ever SHAMIK CHAKRABARTY Kolkata, February 18 EDGING PAST YUVRAJ Singh’s `16-crore contract for Delhi Daredevils in 2015, South African allKYLE JAMIESON GLENN MAXWELL rounder Chris Morris Royal Challengers Bangalore Royal Challengers Bangalore became the most expensive IPL player ever, going for `16.25 crore to Rajasthan Royals at the Twenty20 league’s highCHRIS profile annual auction on MORRIS Thursday. Rajasthan Royals NewZealandallrounder Kyle Jamieson came close but fell short, with Royal JHYE RICHARDSON KRISHNAPPAGOWTHAM Challengers Bangalore takPunjab Kings Chennai Super Kings ing him for `15 crore. After a fierce biddingwarbetween Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and RCB,Australian Glenn Maxwell was sold to the Bengaluru-based franchise for Aussie fast bowlerRileyMeredith. In all, the 2021 IPL auction at `14.25 crore. At `14 crore, CSK Among the Indian players, off- Chennai threwup fireworks and surpulled out of the race. spinner K Gowtham became a mil- prisesdespitenotbeingafullauction In otherbig buys,KingsXI Punjab, lionaire through CSK’s `9.25-crore andthemajorityoftheteamsalready renamedasPunjabKings,baggedAus- buy while Punjab signed uncapped having a settled core group. tralian pacerJhye Richardson for`14 Tamil Nadu batsman Shahrukh Continued on Page 2 crore,andspent`8croreforuncapped Khan for `5.25 crore. `15 cr `16.25 cr We just want to go in and have a conversation and see what the Indian government has got to say, but we look forward to a positive resolution. No proposal before ministry to hike NFSA grain prices: Goyal ZERO MDR Piramal’s bid for DHFL gets RBI green signal PIRAMAL CAPITAL and Housing Finance has received a nod from the RBI to take over DHFL, reports Ankur Mishra in Mumbai. RBI has cleared the bid under its ‘fit and proper’ framework. The DHFL administrator will now move the NCLT Mumbai to seek approval for Piramal’s resolution plan. PAGE 10 CASE FILE BOOSTING VIABILITY around 94% of the spot market transactions take place and catalyse formation of newexchanges. Acompetitivemarketmightalso increase the options of discoms and other consumers when it comes to purchasing spot poweraccording to theirrequirements.Effectively,they might be able to cut costs.Analysts said the new regulations will help increase the share of spot power in electricity purchased by discoms and large industrial consumers. ‘METRO MAN’ E SREEDHARAN,a much-admired technocratwhoiscreditedwithchanging the face of public transport system in the country,will join theBJPgivingaboosttothesaffron party ahead of the Assembly polls in Kerala.The entry of Sreedharan into politics via the BJP was announced by state party chief K Surendran at a press conference onThursday. Surendransaidthe officialfunction of his joining the party will be held during E Shreedharan itstwo-week long Vijaya YatracommencingonFebruary 21 from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram to“expose the misrule”ofthepresentLDFgovernment and previous dispensation led by UDF and prepare the party’s ground for the Assemblyelectionslikelytobeheld inApril.Sreedharan said hewas joining the BJPto ensure justice for the people of Kerala who werebeingdeprivedofthefruits of development due to the selfcentric attitude of the present CPI(M)-led LDFgovernment. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 ON TRACK Protesting farmers take part in the nationwide ‘Rail Roko’ programme as part of their agitation against the farm laws at Sonipat railway station on Thursday EXPRESS PHOTO: GAJENDRA YADAV ● CERC NORMS Spot power market gets a leg-up ANUPAM CHATTERJEE New Delhi, February 18 THE CENTRALELECTRICITY RegulatoryCommission (CERC) has introduced the'market coupling'mechanism for spot power trading,a move which could align spot prices within same geographical areas and time slots, and encourage exchanges to attractconsumersviaimprovedqualityof supply,payment flexibility,etc. Themoveisseentodentthemarket dominance of the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), where currently Market coupling to help discover uniform price of spot electricity across power exchanges Transaction fee capped at two paise per unit. Derivatives trading out of the purview of new regulations `14.25 cr `14 cr PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Kozhikode, February 18 `9.25 cr Kolkata
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