OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 P BHANDARI & A CHAUDHARY Varying FCI, govt accounting practices distorting GDP numbers INTERNATIONAL, P4 EDITORIAL AHEAD OF LISTING EXIT WOUNDS Access to new tech crucial to PSU banks’ success; allow them to be part of NUEs Finance ministry proposes to hike in LIC's authorised capital to `25,000 crore Shake off your ill will, Britain tells EU over post-Brexit trade AHMEDABAD, MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XV-234, 16 PAGES, `6.00 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 Lenders slash home loan rates to decadal lows FLUSHED WITH EXCESS liquidity as general credit demand still way below the desired levels, leading home loan players SBI, HDFC, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank have slashed their rates to a decadal low, leaving consumers spoilt for choices, reports PTI. Banks are sitting on huge excess liquidity, which as of last week was over `6.5 lakh crore, according to CARE Ratings. AILING DISCOMS To give power reforms a fresh leg-up: Singh Grants under `3.1L-cr scheme to become loans if targets are unmet; Bill to allow multiple discoms ‘Over 50k offline in same area in retailers, kiranas part of Local Shops’ current session AMAZON ON SUNDAY said more than 50,000 offline retailers and neighbourhood kirana stores across 450 cities in the country are now part of its 'Local Shops' programme, reports PTI. 'Local Shops' aims to enable local shopkeepers and kirana store owners to sell online. Spectrum auction: Telcos to get demand notes THE DoTWILL issue demand notes to telcos next week on an upfront payment for spectrum acquired in the recent auctions, reports PTI. Auctions raked in winning bids of over `77,800 crore, for 855.6 MHz of spectrum. ANUPAM CHATTERJEE New Delhi, March 7 WITH NO AMOUNT of government largesse or fiscally expensive financial re-engineering producing the desired result of salvaging the electricity discoms from being perennial defaulters caught in debt trap,the government has decided to make the terms for the latest scheme announced in the Budget FY22 stricter and non-bendable. It is also fast-tracking a plan to usherin real competition in the electricity distribution space. The promised grants to state-run discoms under the `3.1-lakh-crore scheme unveiled in the Budget would getconvertedintoloans,unless FE SPECIALS Discoms in more lucrative areas will have to transfer surplus cross-subsidy to a dedicated fund. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 — RK SINGH, POWER MINISTER IN DEMAND More jobs for blue collar workers in retail, e-commerce Tablets back in business Tablet brands focus on bigger displays and higher specifications to cater to surge in demand ■ eFE, P8 Tech comes centre stage CEOs of six top technology firms share their year-end perspective and outlook for India in 2021 ■ PERSONAL FINANCE, P9 Taxing debt & equity investments Taxation rules for debt and equity investments are different. So check tax implications on each instrument when investing ■ INFRASTRUCTURE, P11 Execution on ground will be key With Budget meeting expectations on infrastructure financing, there is need for proper mechanisms to execute the proposals THE DEMAND FOR courier and homedeliveryboys,asalso account executives,has picked up nicely since January as the retail and e-commerce sectors stage a comeback. Betterplace,atechplatform that manages the life cycles of informal and semi-formal workforces, estimates the demand for blue collar workers has shot up by54% toeight lakhs in the January-March quarter from 5.2 lakhs in the sixmonthstoDecember2020. Indeed,manymore employers are in the market today, about 1,107 compared with 774 in the last six months. Pravin Agarwala, co- founderand CEO,Betterplace, told FE the logistics sector has reported a surge in hiring of delivery executives, warehouse pickers and packers now that more products are being delivered to consumers’ homes.Big format retailers are leveraging theirhub and spoke model to deliver merchandise to make up for the drastic fall in store footfalls. Over1.1 lakh courierdeliveryexecutives have been hired since January, more than 32 time the numbers seen in the three months ended December 2020. Similarly, nearly 17,300 home delivery boys have been hired,an increase of 24 times. Continued on Page 2 Job role wise growth in demand Jan-March Retail sales associate Emergency medical technician - Basic Self employed tailor 87,739 45,079 28,958 17,628 Home delivery boy Traceability of the first originator will require private messaging apps to retain more data 19,154 Accounts executive Privacy or safety % Growth (q-o-q) 1,10,521 Courier delivery executive Sewing machine maintenance mechanic ■ SCIENCE & TECH, P12 PRASANTA SAHU New Delhi, March 7 ACUTE REVENUE CONSTRAINTS have resulted in abigdropinthestates’capital expenditure in the current fiscal; according to an FE review of the budgetary spending of fifteen major states,theircapexwasdown 16% y-o-y in April-January. The significance of the drop willbemoreclearinthecontextthattheFY21capextarget for all states as per their budgetswas`6.5lakhcrore, up 30% onyear. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, March 7 theymettheparametersaimed at reducing their sticky losses, Union power minister RK Singh told FE. The minister also said he intended to introduce a Bill to amend the Electricity Act in the ongoing session of Parliament, to enable operations of multiple discoms in any area and end the current monopoly regime in the power distribution business. Private discoms have as much concerns about the opening up of the sector as their state-run counterparts, but the policy is to avoid monopolies. States yet to restore capex pace India Inc's business confidence highest in a decade FICCI'S OVERALL BUSINESS ConfidenceIndexhaswitnessed a decadal high of 74.2 in the current round on account of improvementinpresentconditionsaswellasexpectations,the industry body said on Sunday. The Index had stood at 70.9 in the previous survey and 59 a year ago. The survey revealed recoveryofdemandconditions, improved capacity utilisation andapromisingoutlookonvarious operational parameters. With regard to the constraining factors for business, the demand situation has improvedonbackoftherelease ofthepent-updemandbuildup during the lockdown.However, rising raw material costs is emerging as a bothersome factorformembersofIndiaInc.The rise in fuel and other commodity prices is beginning to exert pressure on the input costs of companies,the surveynoted. Companies participating in the survey cited high input costs,weakdemandconditions andlackofavailabilityofaffordable credit as top-most concerns fortheyear2021. SHUBHRATANDON Mumbai, March 7 ■ BRANDWAGON, P10 ● FICCI SURVEY 17,426 Individual sales professional 17,318 Mobile phone hardware repair technician 17,158 3,241 46 65 20 17,282 2,410 69 - Source: Betterplace POLL POSITION Prime Minister Narendra Modi with actor Mithun Chakraborty after the latter joined BJP during a public meeting ahead of West Bengal Asembly polls, in Kolkata on Sunday ● PLI FOR TEXTILES Turnover, investment limits to be reviewed BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, March 7 THE GOVERNMENTISconsidering an industry demand to lower the turnover and investment thresholds, and include cotton-based products in a `10,683-crore productionlinked incentive (PLI) scheme thatismeantforonlytechnical textiles and apparel made of man-made fibre. In a webinar on PLI on March 5,which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior industry executives highlighted the limited financial muscle of an overwhelming large percentage of companies in the labourintensive sector, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, to seek a relaxation of the“rigidcriteria”,sourcessaid. Accordingtothedraft“focus product incentive scheme”, reviewedbyFE,thegovernment has proposed to offer as much as 11% incentive to large companies for investments over Turnover criterion `100-500 cr 9%* Incentives Turnover criterion Over State of the matter From disproportionate shares in grain procurement and credit disbursement to generous subsidies on electricity, irrigation and fertilisers, the Punjab farmers do enjoy costly privileges, even though they crib about the new farm laws. Wheat & rice 26 7%* Over `500 cr 11%* Incentives *in first year, to drop by 100 bps each year after that TINY SHARE (Exports of clothing items targetted under PLI; $ bn, in 2019) India Bangladesh Vietnam World States’ spending on irrigation* 23 13 8 Investment criteria (for greenfield projects only) 1.1 7.3 14.8 140.2 `500 crore in greenfield projects in technical textiles. FE BUREAU Punjab farmers a privileged lot (% share, in 2019-20) `500 cr Incentives Detailed report on Page 2 Punjab Output 13 8 UP Haryana Procurement Power subsidy to farmers (% of nominal GDP, in FY19) 1.1 0.5 Punjab All-India Drastic mismatch # (` crore) Punjab Short-term credit need Outstanding loans No of farmers 24,000 (` per farmer, in FY20) Punjab 18,490 MP 10,120 Rajasthan 6,368 Tamil Nadu 6,537 *Including ﬂood control Fertiliser consumption (kg per farmer*, in FY20) Punjab 1,572 Telangana 847 Karnataka 684 Gujarat 618 All-India 518 *Total consumption divided by total PM-Kisan beneﬁciaries of a state; fertilisers are heavily subsidised 60,000 Kisan cards issued 26 lakh 40 lakh # Source: Punjab State Farmers’ and Farm Workers’ Commission report in 2018 Continued on Page 2 ● RURAL JOBS SCHEME Demand still elevated, supply seen regulated SURYA SARATHI RAY New Delhi, March 7 THE DEMAND FORworkunder the rural employment scheme (MG-NREGS)continuestobeat elevated levels compared with the pre-Covid period.Thisindicates that the pick-up in economic activities hasn't created enough jobs in urban areas and that a section of migrant labourerswhoreturnedtotheir rural homes,has chosen to stay put. The number of persons demanding work under the popular scheme hit a nadir in April2020(2crore)butjumped in May (5.2 crore) immediately afterthe lock-downwas eased. Detailed report on Page 2 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY Women empowerment: The power must come from within VALLI ARUNACHALAM FROM MY MARATHON journeyforboardroomparityinmy family’s business, I know the road is lonely and riddled with challenges such as withstanding criticism and being ostracised. But with courage, passion, determination, resilience and patience, I march on. Such is the story of challenges that women face. On International Women’s Day, I recognise that India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25,and a staggering 325 million Indian women under the age of 25. I recognise the enormous contributions that these young women can make to their country, if only they had a fair chance. This momentous day, presents us with an opportunitytorenewourcommitment to work together to empower ourselves and our next generation of young Indian women I am inspired by the remarkable women who have shown by their examples that there is a way. From Kiram Mazumdar Shaw, chairmanandCEOof Biocon, to Geetha Manjunath,founder and CEO of technology startup Niramai, to Supriya Paul, director & co-founder of Josh Talks (an ecosystem designed for inspiring and empowering India’s youth), Indian women are blazing an indelible trail in India’s economic and social landscape. At the grassroots level,I am amazed by how women from all strata of societyhave exhibited enormous strength of character in the face of adversity. From the rural women who walk miles to fetch potable water and firewood at the crack ofdawnfortheirfamilies to the urban women who juggle everyday household demands,childcare,elder-care, and careers, their actions reflect their innate management & organisational skills and resourcefulness. Tapping into these inner strengths is not easy. It takes tremendous courage and conviction to challenge outdated and unfair societal practices and conditioning.But,it canbe done ifwomen form theirown support groups to find strength in numbers. Continued on Page 2 Ahmedabad
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