OPINION, P6 MARKETS, P12 AKHILESH TILOTIA Relaxing deficit targets gives India a $550-bn stimulus INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL `506-CR DUES MORE CONTROL BSNL-MTNL merger plan was a bad idea, but now that it's junked, not clear what is in store SBI to conduct e-auctions for 12 bad accounts this month China tightens its grip over Hong Kong with political overhaul AHMEDABAD, FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XV-238, 20 PAGES, `6.00 P U B L I S H E D F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K ATA , L U C K N O W, M U M B A I , N E W D E L H I , P U N E SENSEX*: 51,279.51 ▲ 254.03 NIFTY*: 15,174.80 ▲ 76.40 NIKKEI 225: 29,211.64 ▲ 175.08 HANG SENG: 29,385.61 ▲ 478.09 `/$*: 72.91 ▲ 0.02 `/€*: 86.76 ▲ 0.08 BRENT: $68.74 ▲ $0.84 GOLD*: `44,478 ▲ `27 IN THE NEWS Apple starts assembly of iPhone 12 in India APPLE IS commencing assembly of its iPhone 12 model in the country, a move expected to help the US tech giant further consolidate its position in the burgeoning smartphone market here, reports PTI. Apple has partnered with third-party manufacturers like Foxconn and Wistron to make some of its phones in India. LPG consumption rises 7.3% despite price rise: Oil firms COOKING GAS LPG consumption rose 7.3% in the last three months despite a steep price rise, with usage among the PMUY beneficiaries, who are mostly poor rural households, jumping near 20%, state-owned oil companies said, reports PTI. Google Pay to give users more control over data GOOGLE ON Thursday said it will offer users of Google Pay enhanced privacy features, allowing them to take control of their own transaction data, reports PTI. GPay is rolling out an update from next week that will provide users with more controls. COVID-19 Covaxin gets all-clear, active cases rise again Bharat Biotech gets DCGI nod, now on par with AstraZeneca PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, March 11 THE CENTRE ON Thursday said Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed Covaxin is out of the “clinical trial mode” and has now been granted the regular restricted emergency useauthorisationjustlikeCovishield manufactured by Serum Institute. Addressing a weekly press conference, NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul said Covaxin and Covishield have the same licensure status now. “The condition of it (Covaxin) being required to be administered under clinical trial mode is no more there. Both thevaccines Covaxin and Covishield have the same licensure status. It has already being given to around 19 lakh people. Covaxin has stood the test of time in terms of great safety. Only 311 individuals had minimal side effects,” Paul said. Continued on Page 2 Second Coming? 15,00,000 Daily tests (5-day moving average), LHS 12,50,000 60,000 5,00,000 2,50,000 0 22,854 5 March 11, 2020 March 11, 2021 40,000 20,000 0 Govt says laxity, not new strains, is reason for surge; vaccine pace slow ISHAAN GERA New Delhi, March 11 AS INDIA’SACTIVE cases continued to rise after touching their lowest point in mid-February — after peaking at 10.2 lakh on September 18 last year— the once-familiarlockdowns are beginning to be seen again. In Maharashtra, which accounted for 55% of the country’s new cases so far in March, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said strict lockdowns would be imposed in some parts of the state. While Amravati saw a lockdown last month,anotherwas States wary, labour codes not to take effect soon REPRIEVE HCL defeats bid for class status in pro-South Asian bias case SURYA SARATHI RAY New Delhi, March 11 PATRICK DORRIAN March 11 STATES’ RELUCTANCE TO frame rules under the four labour codes could delay, if not derail, the Centre’s ambitious labour reforms.The plan to roll outthecodesfromApril1,2021 has been put on hold, official sourcessaid,citingthelethargy displayed byseveral states. Thedevelopmentmighthit India’s prospects of attracting fresh investments. TWO WORKERS WHO say HCL Technologies and its US subsidiary favour South Asian and Indian workers, including by exploiting the federal H-1B and L-1 visa programmes, must pursue their lawsuit individually rather than as a class of 43,000 workers,the Northern District of California ruled. Gregory Handloser and Cerafin Castillo accuse the Indian multinational tech- Detailed report on Page 2 CASE FILES ■ Gregory Handloser and Cerafin Castillo accused HCLTech and its American subsidiary of intentional and inadvertent race and national origin bias Court said they didn’t identify a common hiring experience that could link HCL’s employment decisions as to each proposed class member nology company and HCL America of intentional and inadvertent race and national origin bias. They do so by allegedly,among otherthings, annually seeking more visas The court further said the two had failed to show their situations were typical of the other proposed class members than theyactuallyneed so they can fill positions in the US with South Asian and Indian workers located overseas. Continued on Page 2 announced on Thursday for the Nagpur Police Commissionerate limits from March 15 to 21. At a daily average of 18,376 last week,the number of new cases is far from the 91,506 peak in the week starting September 7, but keep in mind that daily tests are also down nearly a third. While the positivity rates are much lower at 2.6 right now — versus 8.8 then — what is worrying is they were 2.1 the week before and 1.9 in the week prior to that. Continued on Page 2 ● SETTLEMENT Tribunals can’t interfere with CoC’s commercial decisions: SC FE BUREAU New Delhi, March 11 On the face of it, release of assets at a value 20% below liquidation value arrived at by the valuers seems inequitable. Here, we feel the court ought to cede ground to the commercial wisdom of the creditors rather than assess the resolution plan on the basis of quantitative analysis. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 the view that the tribunals have little residual equity jurisdiction upon the CoC’s well-laid-out mandate will help fast-track resolutions. Continued on Page 2 Mamata may get going on a wheelchair SWEETY KUMARI Kolkata, March 11 CM Mamata Banerjee at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata Inavideomessagefromthe SSKM Hospital in Kolkata wheresheisadmitted,Banerjee FE BUREAU Mumbai, March 11 urged her party cadres to remaincalm andnot todo anything that could trouble the common people. Her appeal came on the day EastMedinipurdistrictauthorities visited the site in Nandigram where the chief minister sustainedinjuries.TheElection Commission, sources said, has soughtareportontheincident by Friday. — Supreme Court, while setting aside NCLAT order in Kalparaj Dharamshi vs Kotak Investment Advisors merits of the CoC’s majority business decisions regarding distribution of the proceeds of resolution among various classes of stakeholders. The court’s holding on to Banks get `800-crore offer from HKR Roadways A CONSORTIUM OF lenders ledbyCanaraBankhasreceived a one-time settlement (OTS) offerof`800croreforbadloans worth `1,428 crore from road assetdeveloperHKRRoadways. SBI Capital Markets (SBICaps) has sought matching or higher bids for settlement of the company’s outstanding loans. In stressed assets where there are few other options before lenders, they have been taking the OTS route to exit the account.The process involves a call for other bids as PSBs want to avoid being accused of malfeasance in taking substantialhaircutsandhandingbacka companyto its promoters. HKR Roadways is owned by Gayatri Highways and Megha EngineeringInfrastructure,who hold 37% each in the firm.DLF & Associates holds the remaining26%stake,accordingtoa bid document.As on November 1, 2019, HKR Roadways owed Canara Bank `279 crore, PNB `281crore,UnionBankofIndia `323 crore, Indian Overseas Bank `192 crore, IIFCL `169 crore,IndianBank`94croreand BankofBaroda`90crore. POLL CAMPAIGN HER LEFT FOOT in a plaster cast and doctors saying she is in“immense”pain following a fall in Nandigram a dayearlier, TMC leader and West Bengal chief ministerMamata Banerjee said on Thursday that she hopes to recoversoon and may use a wheelchair to campaign for the Assembly elections starting March 27. 80,000 7,50,000 LAST WORD COMMERCIAL DECISIONS TAKEN by the committee of creditors (CoC) with regard to resolution of a corporate debtor under the insolvency regime can’t usually be held up for judicial review by the relevant tribunals, the Supreme Court has reiterated. This is for the third time since March 2019 that the apex court has ruled against the attempts by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and appellate body NCLAT to interfere with the 1,00,000 Daily Covid-19 infections (RHS) 10,00,000 1,20,000 ● WORK IN PROGRESS *As on March 10 REVIVING CAPEX ‘We will have to bank on govt-led projects’ FE Weatheringthechallengesposedbythe pandemic,L&Tsawitsrevenuestream reverting to the pre-Covid level in the December quarter. In an interview with Shubhra Tandon,CEO & managing director SN Subrahmanyan says the outlook remains bright given the Centre’s push for infrastructure creation.Edited excerpts: What is the outlook for 2021 given thecurrentsituation? With the start of the vaccination process, there is renewed confidence thatthepandemicwillcometoanend, andthishasgivenbusinessesamuchneeded energy boost.There are definite signs of recovery of the economy and,morepertinentlyforL&T,thegov- ernment’s efforts to fasttrackseverallaterallyfunded infrastructureprojects mean things are going to get better for business. The turnaround in industrial and economic activity is already being reflected in the government’s growing GST collections. As a company,the revenuestreaminQ3FY21markeda returntopre-Covidlevels.Weexpect asharppick-upinthefinalisationof projects in the current year,largely on account of proposals pending in the power transmission and distribution, water, metrorail,roadsandelevated corridor spaces. Ourorderbookatsome `3.5 lakh crore — mainly from the governmentsector—isata record high. That too signalsspeedierproject finalisationbyclientsin theinfrastructuresector. Continued on Page 2 Ahmedabad
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