OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 TV MOHANDAS PAI & S KRISHNAN The Union Budget underestimates FY21 and FY22 taxes COMPANIES, P5 EDITORIAL STATE-RUN COMPANIES NEW APPOINTMENT Not allowing oil PSUs to hike petrol prices can derail the process of selling BPCL New dividend policy to ensure consistent reward to holders: Dipam secy Wipro names Pierre Bruno as CEO for European operations AHMEDABAD, THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XV-237, 18 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 SENSEX: 51,279.51 ▲ 254.03 NIFTY: 15,174.80 ▲ 76.40 NIKKEI 225: 29,036.56 ▲ 8.62 HANG SENG: 28,907.52 ▲ 134.29 `/$: 72.91 ▲ 0.02 `/€: 86.76 ▲ 0.08 BRENT: $67.77 ▲ $0.25 GOLD: `44,478 ▲ `27 INDIA WILL LEVY a customs duty of 40% on solar modules and 25% on solar cells from April 2022,according to a government document and two industry sources familiarwith the matter, as it looks to cut imports and boostlocalmanufacturing.Indiawants to ramp up its renewable capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030, from about 93 GW currently, as part of its commitment under the Paris climate accords. “Proposalofministryofnew and renewable energy (MNRE) to impose basic customs duty on solar cells and modules (without grandfathering of bid outprojects)hasbeenagreedto by the ministry of finance,” the MNRE said in a memo dated March 9. India does not currently levy a customs duty on imports of solar cells and modules,buthasasafeguarddutyto protect its local industrywhich expires in July. Continued on Page 2 Insurance FDI hiked, health fund created Higher FDI limit to Raising cover help address insurers’ Changes to the Insurance capital constraints; Act will eased norms to allow foreign aid auction of ownership of firms, subject to riders mineral blocks FE BUREAU New Delhi, March 10 THE CABINET ON Wednesday cleared amendments to the InsuranceActtopavethewayfor raisingtheforeigndirectinvestment (FDI) limit up to 74% from 49%, as proposed in the Budget for FY22. The amendmentswillhavetoberatifiedby Parliamentto take effect. ItalsoapprovedthePradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN) as a single nonlapsable reserve fund created from the share of health in the health and education cess proceeds.This fund will be utilised for the health ministry’s flagshipschemes,includingAyushman Bharat, National Health ● PRIVATISATION IDBI Bank exits PCA, subject to conditions FE BUREAU Mumbai, March 10 THE RESERVE BANK of India (RBI) on Wednesday said IDBI Bank has been taken out of the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework, subject to specific conditions.The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)ownedlenderhasgiventheregulator a written commitment that it shall comply with the norms of minimum regulatory capital,bad assets and leverage ratio on an ongoing basis. IDBI Bank’s exit from PCAis a crucial step towards carrying out the government’s bank privatisation programme, as it is one of the lendersidentifiedfor sale.The bank had been barred from increasing its riskweighted assets — in other words,makinglargeadvances— Net profit of `378 cr for Q3FY21 vs loss of `5,763 cr in Q3FY20 Net NPAratio fell 73 bps q-o-q to 1.94% as on Dec 31, 2020 CRAR, including countercyclical buffer, stood at 14.77% vs regulatory minimum of 11.5% RoA for Q3 stood at 0.51% Leverage ratio stood at 5.71%, as against a minimum of 4% inMay2017.Itsdeparturefrom the lending quarantine comes aftersuccessiveprofitablequarters, even as its gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio stood at an elevated 23.52% at the end of December2020. Continued on Page 2 Majority of directors and key management persons would have to be resident Indians Pfizer wants to make vaccine in India if faster clearance and export freedom assured At least halfofdirectors have to be independent ones; specified percentage ofprofits has to be retained as general reserve NEHAARORA & KRISHNA N DAS New Delhi, March 10 PM Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi to be a single nonlapsable reserve fund created from health cess proceeds foreign investors, the hike in FDIlimitwillalsoallowforeign partners, currently in joint ventures, to raise their stake and control the Indian insurance firms.Overadozen insurance companies in India are formed of joint ventures between domestic and foreign partners, including ICICI Prudential, HDFC Standard Life, Bajaj Allianz and Star Union Daiichi Life Insurance. PFIZER HAS TOLD the Indian government it wants to produce its coronavirus vaccine locallyifassuredoffasterregulatory clearance and freedom on pricing and exports, two sourceswith direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The US company pulled an applicationlastmonthseeking emergency approval for its product in India afterthe drug regulator declined its request to skip a small local safetytrial. That has kept its vaccine, developed with Germany’s BioNTech, out of one of the world’s biggest drug markets. Pfizerwasthefirstcompany to apply for emergency use authorisation in India,proposing to import doses from its US and European facilities instead of producing locally. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 ■ This fund to be utilised for Ayushman Bharat and other flagship programmes Mission and Pradhan Mantri Swasthya SurakshaYojana. The proposal to hike the FDI limit in insurance is expected to open up new avenues of funding at a time when some players are struggling with solvencyissues.The move, along with the decision to launch the IPO of LIC and privatise one of the government-owned general insurers, would bring more efficiencyto the market,analysts say. Apart from drawing new COURTING JUSTICE Valli moves NCLT, seeks minimum holding waiver SAJAN C KUMAR Chennai, March 10 THE MATTER VALLI ARUNACHALAM, ‘KARTA’ of MV Murugappan Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), who has been denied a board seat in the holding company Ambadi Investments (AIL), on Wednesday took the matter to court. The MVM family — comprising Valli, her sister and their mother — moved the Chennai bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) seeking waiver of the minimum 10% shareholding required to ensure the alleged oppression and mismanagement case againstAILis maintainable. It also sought board representation or alternately ■ Valli says deliberate non-disclosure of information, suppression and mismanagement in the affairs of AIL ■ Denied participation in the management ofthe AIL primarily on the ground of gender, this is a departure from the standard offair play and lack ofprobity. ■ Despite significant qualifications she and her sister VellachiArunachalam have not been considered for any position or responsibility inAIL. The application for the waiver was filed under Section 244 of the Companies Act, 2013 (Companies Act) read with Rule 83A of the National Company Law Tribunal Rules, 2016. that its 8.21% stake in AIL be bought out. CounseltotheMVMfamily pointed out its 8.21% stake in AIL, falls short of the required 10%, adding the NCLAT had granted a similar waiver to CyrusMistry’s firmsinhiscase against Tata Sons. Continued on Page 2 Factory despatches Special Feature These Sahelis make life easy for rural consumers FARMER UNIONS on Wednesday called for a Bharat bandh on March 26, when their protest at Delhi's borders against the Centre's three new farm laws completes four months, reports PTI. Farmer leader Buta Singh Burjgill said farmers along with trade unions will protest the hike in fuel prices and privatisation of railways on March 15. On March 19, the farmers will observe Mandi Bachao-Kheti Bachao day, he said. PAGE 2 IPL 2021: Disney+ Hotstar signs on 10 sponsors BRANDS HAVE started queuing up to buy ad inventory for the marquee media event of the year — IPL 2021. Disney+ Hotstar has roped in 10 sponsors for Vivo IPL 2021 so far, reports Venkata Susmita Biswas in Mumbai. Dream11 is the co-presenting sponsor, while Upstox and Vimal Pan Masala are the ‘copowered by’ sponsors. Phone Pe, Association of Mutual Funds in India, Unacademy, Pharmeasy, Livspace, Swiggy and Parle Agro have signed on as associate sponsors. PAGE 4 2,38,622 17.92 41,300 Threewheelers 27,331 Twowheelers whe 2,81,380 -33.82 Domestic sales (in numbers, Feb) 2020 2021 10.21 12,94,787 10.2 14,26,865 % change « Farmer unions call for ‘Bharat bandh’ on March 26 P Passenger vechicles ve « QuickPicks While vehicle sales across categories rose 10.21% y-o-y in February, for AprilFebruary, it declined 18.33%. Total PV sales in the April-February period are below 2015-16 levels and for two-wheelers, it is below 2014-15 levels « ■ eFE, P9 Auto sales grow in Feb but challenges persist « Frontier Markets delivers lastmile products and services to the doorsteps of consumers in villages through an assisted commerce model run by rural women entrepreneurs called Saral Jeevan Sahelis FE BUREAU 17,35,584 SUDARSHAN VARADHAN Chennai, March 10 ● COVID-19 15,74,764 Govt to tax solar module, cell imports from Apr 2022 CABINET NOD « ● VOCAL FOR LOCAL Total West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress party leader Mamata Banerjee (left) files her nomination from Nandigram, in Kolkata on Wednesday WEST BENGAL POLLS Mamata files nomination from Nandigram, says will win seat Injured after being ‘manhandled’ during campaign her former protege and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari ■ Adhikari had quit TMC to join BJP following differences with TMC PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Haldia, March 10 WEST BENGAL CHIEF minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday filed her nomination for Nandigram assembly seat, where she will take on her former protege and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari and exuded confidence of winning it saying she has never returned empty-handed from the land of anti-farm land acquisition movement. ■ Both the leaders were prominent figures in the the anti-farm land acquisition movement in Nandigram in 2007 ■ West Bengal CM to take on Accompanied by TMC president Subrata Bakshi, Banerjee filed her papers at the Haldia sub-divisional office here after taking part in a 2-km roadshow.She offered prayers at a temple before filing her nomination, and at another after doing so. ■ It had catapulted Banerjee to power in West Bengal in 2011 ending the 34-year-long rule of the Left Front “I am confident about my victory from the Nandigram assembly seat. I could have easily contested from Bhawanipur seat (which she represents),” the West Bengal CM said after filing her paper. Continued on Page 2 Verkada surveillance cameras at Tesla, others breached: Hackers A SMALL GROUP of hackers viewed live and archived surveillance footage from hundreds of businesses, including Tesla, by gaining administrative access to camera maker Verkadaoverthepasttwodays,oneofthepeople involved in the breach told Reuters. Swiss software developerTillie Kottmann, who has gained attention forfinding security ● STRICTER VIGIL Russia slows Twitter speed to restrict banned content REUTERS Moscow, March 10 RUSSIA’S STATE COMMUNICATIONS watchdog said on Wednesday it was restricting the use of Twitter by slowing down its speed, accusing the social media platform of repeatedly failing to remove banned content from its site. Roskomnadzor threatened to block the service completely and said there were more than 3,000 posts containing illegal content on it as of Wednesday. Twitter,like other US social media, is used widely inside Russia by allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny whose jailing last month prompted nationwide protests. Detailed report on Page 8 flawsinmobileappsandothersystems,shared with Reuters recordings from inside a Tesla factory in China and showroom in California. AdditionalfootagecamefromanAlabamajail, hospital rooms, a police interview area and a communitygym. Kottmanndeclinedtoidentifyothermembers of the group. ■ Page 8 COME JUNE 15 Telcos to install only govt-approved gear PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, March 10 THE GOVERNMENT ON Wednesday amended telecom licence norms that will enable it to control the installation of networkequipmentfromnontrusted sources. With effect from June 15, telecom operators will be required to take permission from the National Cyber SecurityCoordinator(NCSC)forupgradation of existing networks, utilising the telecom equipment not designated as trusted products. According to the licence amendment, the NCSC will be the designated authority that can impose conditions for the procurement of telecom equipment on the grounds of “Defence of India” or matters ■ Telcos to take permission from the National Cyber Security Coordinator for upgradation ofexisting networks ■ Also, take permission for utilising telecom equipment not designated as trusted products ■ NCSC can impose conditions for the procurement of telecom equipment ■ To help govt control sourcing ofproducts from China, others directly related to national security. It will help the government control sourcing of productsfromChinaandother non-friendly countries. Continued on Page 2 PROVING ITS METTLE Our focus on cash flows saved the day: Tata Steel’s Chatterjee Despite the disruption from Covid-19,TataSteel’sgrossdebt is down by `7,649 crore and should fall further by `12,000 crore in the March quarter. Koushik Chatterjee,ED& CFO,spoke to FE’s Shubhra Tandon on restructuring of the company’s business and the road ahead. FE Tata Steel is restructuring the India business even as the rationalisation of its Euro- peanbusinessesisunderway… Once it’s complete, we wouldhavesimplifiedtheIndia businessintofourclusters(long products,downstream,mining and utilities & infrastructure) to drive scale, synergies and simplification. The long products cluster is almostdoneandtheotherclustersarebeingre-organised.The merger of Tata Steel BSL with Tata Steel is another strategic step in that direction.This pro- grammewouldnotonlyreduce thenumberoflegalentitiesbut also improve our functioning, accelerate the digitisation processandhelpinthefinancial management of the business. The company has deleveraged significantly in the first three quarters of FY21…. Our enterprise strategy on debt management is on track. After reducing net debt by `8,285 crore in the first half — whichsurpassedourannualdeleveragingtargetof$1billion— we cut net debt by another `10,325croreandgrossdebtby `5,640 crore in the third quarter,thusbringingdownnetdebt by`18,609croreandgrossdebt by `7,649 crore over nine months. We intend to reduce gross debt by another `12,000 crore in Q4 of thecurrent fiscal. Is the exercise of acquiring stressed entities through the NCLT process over or are you still looking at assets? Continued on Page 2 Ahmedabad
The Financial Express (FE) is a business paper that’s closest to the people who are in the business of business. From business policies to market trends to new developments, The Financial Express comes packed with incisive news on every relevant issue.