OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL RS CLEARS BILL WAR OF WORDS Hike in FDI cap to help solvency of insurers: Sitharaman Putin says 'it takes one to know one' after Biden's killer remark SC does well to shut Companies Act route to sidestepping IBC Vaccine wastage can be curbed if the government allows vaccine-sale in the open market AHMEDABAD, FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XV-244, 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 SENSEX: 49,216.52 ▼ 585.10 NIFTY: 14,557.85 ▼ 163.45 NIKKEI 225: 30,216.75 ▲ 302.42 HANG SENG: 29,405.72 ▲ 371.60 `/$: 72.53 ▲ 0.02 `/€: 86.62 ▼ 0.23 BRENT: $67.50 ▼ $0.50 GOLD: `44,883 ▲ `120 IN THE NEWS ‘Mallya, Choksi, Nirav all coming back to face law’ FINANCE MINISTER NIRMALA Sitharaman on Thursday said that fugitive businessmen Vijaya Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are "coming back" to India" to face the law, reports PTI. The Centre is persuing extradition of Mallya and Modi from the UK, and Choksi is believed to be in Antigua. ‘No toll booth; collection based on GPS in 1 year’ INDIAWILL DO away with toll booths and implement complete GPS-based toll collection within one year, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday, reports PTI. He said 93% of the vehicles pay toll using FASTag, but the remaining 7% have still not taken it despite paying a double toll. Telcos make upfront payments for spectrum OPERATORS RELIANCE JIO, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have made upfront payments to the telecom department for the spectrum they acquired in the recently-held auctions, industry sources said on Thursday, reports PTI. NEW TWIST Delhi HC stalls Future-RIL deal Says emergency aribtrator’s stay order valid; charges Future Retail for violating its order CASE FILE DEC 21, 2020 Delhi HC holds that deal in accordancewith India laws FEB 2, 2021 Delhi HC’s single judge, in another related petition, directs Future Group to maintain status quo on deal FE BUREAU New Delhi, March 18 KISHOREBIYANIANDhiscompany Future Retail suffered a setback on Thursday with the single judge of the Delhi High Court,justiceJRMidha,holding them guilty for violating the February 2 order, which had directed that status quo be maintained on the Group’s `24,713-crore deal with RelianceRetail.Itwasaninterim order and the judge onTuesday pronouncedthe detailedorder. Accordinglythecourtissued showcausenoticetoBiyaniand other directors of the Future FEB 8 HC’s Division Bench lifts stay on the Feb 2 order; allows regulatory agencies to give their nod to the deal FEB 11 Amazon moves SC appealing against the order Group asking why they should not be sent to prison,as sought by Amazon,which is opposing the deal and had filed the petition before the court. Continued on Page 2 PhonePe takes up 6 IPL 2021 sponsorships PHONEPE ON THURSDAY announced that it has taken up six different sponsorships for the upcoming season of IPL,reports fe Bureau in New Delhi.The digital payments firmistheofficialco-presenting sponsor for the television broadcastofIPL2021onStar SCRAPPAGE POLICY Booster for auto sector, will curb pollution too Not clear if vehicles in NCR can be used if they are more than 15 years old FE BUREAU New Delhi, March 18 INDIA'S AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY and the consumption demand in the economy will likely get a leg-up from a ‘voluntary’ vehicle scrappage policy announced by road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, even as it will have a salutary effect on environment due to mitigated vehicular pollution. The vehicle scrappage policy lays emphasis on fitness, rather than age of a vehicle; it will be rolled out in phases Fitness tests and scrapping centres: October 1, 2021 Scrapping of government vehicles >15 years of age: April 1, 2022 Mandatory fitness testing for heavy commercial vehicles: April 1, 2023 Mandatory fitness testing for other vehicles: June 1, 2024 (phased roll-out) — NITIN GADKARI, MINISTER FOR ROAD TRANSPORTAND HIGHWAYS starting from October this year, but will take full effect only in late 2024 (see chart). The policy,nowin the draft stage, is meant for the entire country, but it is unclear if a 2015 Supreme Court order validating a National Green Tribunal directive that prohibited diesel cars older than 10 years and petrol vehicles older than 15 years from plying on the National Capital Region would prevail on it. Continued on Page 2 CARROT-AND-STICK POLICY Incentives for ■ Scrap value at 4-6% of exscrapping of showroom price of new vehicle old vehicles ■ 5% discount on purchase of Sports Network. It is also the associate sponsorforthe digital broadcast of IPL on Disney+Hotstar.PhonePe is also sponsoring four IPL franchises — Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore & Delhi Capitals. ■ Page 4 new vehicles ■ Likely road tax rebate by states: 25% for personal and 15% for commercial vehicles ■ Likely waiver of registration fee for new vehicle Disincentives/penalties for non-compliance ■ Hike in RC and fitness certificate renewal fees, stiff penalties for delay in renewals ■ Green tax by states ■ Mandatory automated fitness test, de-registration ● COVID-19 India sees biggest single-day jump in over 100 days Govt targets 50 laggard, high-potential products Exports ($ billion, 2019) 821 India World 330 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, March 18 35.5 FROM JERSEYS, PULLOVERS and cardigans to swimwear andwindcheaters,the government istargetingelevatedproduction in 50 man-made fibre and technical textile product categories in which India barely makes a cut now.While global exports of these products stood at $222 billion in 2019, India’s share was only $1.8 billion,or0.8%,withboth Bangladesh andVietnam leading by a wide margin. Through a Rs 10,683-crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme,India,where cotton fibre dominates the textiles and garment value chain, intends to grab a share in this pie. The incentives will be 9.3 Textiles & MMF apparel items MMF: Man-made ﬁbre Products under PLI (Exports in $ bn, 2019) Clothing items (40) India World 1.1 140.2 82 Technical textiles (10) 0.7 extended forincremental production in 50 product categories (40 man-made-fibrebased garments and 10 technical textiles) over a fiveyear period starting FY22. Continued on Page 2 RALLY DAY Assam Jatiya Parishad leader Dulu Ahmed (above) at a rally before filing his nomination papers in Kamrup district on Thursday; BJP workers and supporters (right) at a rally in Guwahati on Thursday MODI IN ASSAM ‘Cong can go to any extent to mislead people, garner votes’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Karimganj, March 18 QuickPick India home prices lowest among 56 key markets in Q4 of 2020 ROILED BY Covid, home prices in India fell 3.6% in December quarter 2020, pushing down its global ranking to the lowest 56th compared to 43rd a year ago, while Turkey continued to lead the tally, says a report, reports PTI. According to international property consultancy Knight Frank, India was the weakest-performing housing market in October-December last year with a decline of 3.6% y-o-y in prices. PAGE 4 LASHING OUT AT the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the grand old party can go to any extent to mislead people and garnervotes. Addressinghisfirstelection rally in Assam after the announcement of poll dates, the PM said the Congress is moving around with talachabi (poll symbol ofAIUDF) in THE MAN WHO LOVES NUMBERS The policy will boost Indian auto industry's turnover to `10 lakh crore from `4.5 lakh crore at present... availability of scrapped material to reduce the cost of auto components by 30-40%. GST revenue to get a leg-up too. PLI FOR TEXTILES BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, March 18 CFO OF THE YEAR SAURABH AGARWAL Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally, in Karimganj district on Thursday the state, even as some of its workers were opposed to the idea. “The Congress has become so weak that it can align with any outfit and mislead people for the sake of getting votes,”he said. He accused the partyof creating “disconnect” between people and places. “TheBJP,on the otherhand, has done everything to connect people physically, emotionally and culturally,” the prime minister added. INDIA ON THURSDAY recorded 35,871 new Covid19 cases, the highest singledayriseinover100days,which took the infection tally to 1,14,74,605, according to the Union health ministry data. Registering an increase for the eighth consecutive day,the active caseload reached 2,52,364, which accounts for 2.20% of the total infections. The recovery rate further dropped to 96.41%, the data updated at 8 am showed. The death toll rose to 1,59,216with 172 newfatalities,itstated.The single-dayspikeof35,871cases is the highest in 102 days. As manyas 36,011 newinfections were recorded on December6. The number of people who have recovered surged to 1,10,63,025, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.39%, according to the data.The tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7,30 lakh on August 23,40lakhonSeptember5and 50 lakh on September16. ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE SHOBHANA SUBRAMANIAN Mumbai, March 18 IF THERE’S A tune Saurabh Agrawal’s humming these days it’s the American rapper Future’s Life is good.The number was at the top of the US charts some time back and isAgrawal’swayof bonding with his two boys. He’s missed out on family time these past few of years with the ThyssenKrupp transaction calling for a lot but with the Tata Teleservicespaymentshavingbeen sorted out and Bhushan Steel a done deal,life is a little less stressful for the Tata Group CFO. But only a little. Unscrambling the 100oddbusinessesat the $100-billion conglomerateisa never-ending process. In between buying,selling and mergingbusinesses,Agrawal is trying to create a cohesive unitfordefencemanufacturing; there’s also the not-sosmall matter of allocating resourcestothegroup’sfocus areas: digital,consumer and financialservices.Byhisown admission,he’snevershortof ideas, he’s by and large clear aboutwhatneedstobedone. The tough part is putting these ideas to work and it often means long hours in the office. Although he’s clearly passionate about work he does wish he had a little more time to watch the historical docu-dramas that he loves; The Crown is one of his favourites. It’s also time away from that game of squash and from bridge sessions with wife Shelley and sons SiddharthandRaghav.Butheis on track with yoga sessions and squeezes in some badminton when he can. The travel can be killing butAgrawalmakesthemost of it especiallyif he’s in London,his favourite city. For someone who loves being outdoors but is cooped up in office, the morningwalksinHydePark are a treat. And the flights give him time to catch up on his reading; right now he’s immersed in StevenStrogatz’s Infinite Powers on the magic of calculus. Mathematics has fascinated Agrawal since his schooldays — most of them spent inDehradunandDelhiPublic School — and his passion for numbers remains undiminished. Rather than stay with the family’s printing and publishing business, he chose to do chemical engineering at IIT Roorkee topping it up with post-graduate degree in management from IIM Kolkata. That’s wherehediscoveredhislove forrosogollas —which have given him a permanent sweet tooth. But no longer does Agrawal crave the traditional Mathura bedmi poori; he’s long traded that for Japanese cuisine. Continued on Page 2 US OPERATIONS FCC moves against two Chinese telcos DAVID SHEPARDSON March 18 THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission (FCC) saidWednesdayit has begun efforts to revoke authorisation for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and its whollyowned subsidiaryComNet to provide US telecommunications services. In April,the US telecom regulator issued show-cause orders warning it might revoke the operating licenses of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies – the two cited on Wednesday and ChinaTelecom.China UnicomAmericas has a two-decade old authorisation to provide US international MAKING WAVES ■ Efforts on to revoke authorisation for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and its whollyowned arm ComNet ■ In April, it issued showcause orders warning it might revoke the operating licences ■ FCC says telcos 'failed at this stage to dispel serious concerns' about their US authorisations telecommunications services. The carriers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The FCC said on Wednesday the companies “have failed at this stage to dispel serious concerns” about their US authorisations. The regulator opened a similar proceeding in December to begin revoking the authorisation of China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company, which has had US authorisation for nearly 20 years.FCC commissioner Geoffrey Starks noted many Chinese telecom carriers “also own data centers operating within the United States”. He said the FCC currently lacks authority to “address this potential national security threat”. Continued on Page 2 Ahmedabad
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