OPINION, P6 COMPANIES, P4 BIBEK DEBROY & ADITYA SINHA Jal Jeevan Mission sets the template for public accountability INTERNATIONAL, P8 SHOBHANA SUBRAMANIAN CHANGING TIMES CHARGING AHEAD OTT could see exponential growth in 2021; with Covid resurgence, expect more direct-to-OTT releases Our automation strategies got a boost in last 1 yr: IOC chief Tesla delivers 184,800 cars in Q1 on strong reception in China NEW DELHI, SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVII NO. 28, 12 PAGES, `10.00 (PATNA `10.00, RAIPUR `9.00) 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: 50,029.83 ▲ 520.68 NIFTY: 14,867.35 ▲ 176.65 NIKKEI 225: 29,388.87 ▲ 210.07 HANG SENG: 28,938.74 ▲ 560.39 `/$: 73.11 ▲ 0.27 `/€: 86.22 ▼ 0.44 BRENT: $63.13 ▲ $0.39 GOLD: `44,741 ▲ `747 (All as on Apr 1) HOME & ABROAD IN THE NEWS ‘New forecast strategy planned for monsoon’ COVID-19 Premium bikes more popular Continued on Page 2 Wholesale despatches 2,02,155 % chg (y-o-y) « « Honda Motorcycle 72 March ‘21 « « Hero MotoCorp 94,103 3,95,037 March ‘20 « SUZUKI MOTOR Gujarat (SMG), a 100% subsidiary of Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation, has commenced production from third unit at its Ahmedabadbased manufacturing facility, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said on Friday, reports PTI. 2,45,716 Suzuki starts production at third Gujarat unit 5,44,340 3,16,685 Domestic sales (units) « COAL INDIA’S (CIL) output declined 1% annually to 596.2 million tonne (MT) in FY21, mainly due to lower demand from power plants in the fiscal amid reduced electricity requirement, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. This is the second year in a row when the coal behemoth reported a decline in production. 60,173 CIL output falls for second year in a row in FY21 32,630 AS EXPECTED, WHOLESALE despatches of two-wheelers surged in March,helped bythe low base of 2020 when despatches were adversely impacted by the impending transition to BS-VI and the nationwide lockdown towards the end of the month. Nonetheless, 2020-21 will go down as a bad year with despatches falling due to impact of the pandemic; at Hero, despatches were down 10% y-o-y while at HMSI theyweredown18%y-o-yand at Royal Enfield and BajajAuto by 13%. Several costs — relating to inputs and regulation — have madevehicles more expensive and beyond the reach of many. Asanalystsandmanufacturers observe, there seems to be a move to premiumisation. Sudarshan Venu, joint MD, TVS Motor Company, confirmed there has been a definiteshifttopremiumisationof products. However, for the trend to gain ground, manufacturers will need to invest heavily in technology. 1,81,393 FE BUREAU Chennai, April 2 98,412 A NEW FORECASTING strategy has been planned for monsoon this year, secretary in the ministry of earth sciences M Rajeevan said on Friday, reports PTI. Rajeevan also said that he has reviewed the preparations for monsoon forecast. TVS Motor Bajaj Auto Royal Enfield 61 115 Source: Company data 84 84 At 81,466, daily cases hit six-month high Death count touches 469 in 24 hours, highest since Dec 6 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, April 2 INDIA RECORDED THE highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases in six months with 81,466 newinfections in a span of 24 hours, taking the Covid-19 tally of cases to 1,23,03,131,according to the Union health ministry data updated on Friday. The single-dayrise in cases is the highest recorded since October 2, 2020, while the death toll increased to 1,63,396 with 469 daily new fatalities, the highest since December 6,the data updated RAPID RISE Huge spike in Covid-19 cases 1,00,000 81,466 80,000 60,000 40,000 31,118 15,510 20,000 0 Dec 1, 2020 at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase for the 23rd day in row, the active cases have increased to 6,14,696 comprising 5% of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 93.67%, the Mar 1, 2021 Apr 2, 2021 data stated. As many as 81,484 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on October 2 while 482 daily deaths were registered on December 6. Continued on Page 2 Treatment needs priority as Covid is here to stay: Guleria Restaurants, bars, malls to be shut for a week in Pune SINCE “WE have to live with Covid-19”, research for developing more treatment optionsfortheinfectedpeopleshouldreceive the same priority as vaccine development, Randeep Guleria, director of Delhi’s AIIMS said at the Indian Express Idea Exchange, reports fe Bureau in NewDelhi. ■ Page 3 ASTRINGENT12-hourcurfewhasbeenimposed across Pune district for seven days.The curfew will be imposed fromApril 3 between 6 pm and 6 am, reports fe Bureau in Pune.The district administration on Friday announced all malls, bars, restaurants, cineplexes and bus services wouldbeshutforthenext7days. ■ Page 3 US CALL Opec+ to ease oil curbs from May ALEX LAWLER, RANIA EL GAMAL & VLADIMIR SOLDATKIN London/Dubai/Moscow, April 2 OPEC+ HAS AGREED to gradually ease its oil output cuts from May, after the new US administration calledon Saudi Arabia to keep energy affordable for consumers. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, together known as Opec+,which has implemented deep cuts since a pandemic-induced oil price collapse in 2020, agreed to ease production curbs by 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May, another 350,000 bpd in June and further400,000 bpd or so in July. Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, confirmed the groupwould boost output bya Riding a Royal Enfield to a city of royal palaces To see how comfortable the Meteor 350 is on long rides, we ride it for 600 km from Delhi to Jaipur and back—it's easy to ride on well-paved roads, but is it as planted on gravel? ■ Motobahn, P9 AMIDTENSIONSwith Saudi Arabia over oil production cuts,India has asked its state refiners to review contracts they enter into for buying crudeoilfromthenationand negotiate more favourable terms, a top official said, Buy to have minimal impact on JSW Steel’s earnings But acquisition will up net debt by ~9%; deal offers firm footprint in eastern India, besides scope for brownfield expansion; ‘Buy’ rating retained with target price of `510 ■ Investor, P9 QuickPicks Senior-most deputy governor BP Kanungo retires from RBI AGAINST EXPECTATIONS of getting a second extension, the senior-most deputy governor, BP Kanungo, retired from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the completion of his one-year extension on Friday, reports PTI. Kanungo joined RBI in 1982 and was in charge of currency management, external investments, operations, payment, and settlement system, among others, during the four-year term as the deputy governor, which began in April 2017. Pension scheme for low-wage earners loses steam FRESH ENROLMENT under the voluntary, central sector Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM) scheme that guarantees a monthly `3,000 pension from the age of 60 years for domestic workers, rickshaw pullers and other low-wage earners reached its nadir to only 1,30,120 in 2020-21 from 15,91,964 a year earlier, indicating the income loss suffered by the unorganised sector workers due to the pandemic, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. PAGE 2 Hiving off O2C business: RIL gets shareholders’ approval BILLIONAIRE MUKESH Ambani's Reliance Industries on Friday said it has secured approval of its shareholders and creditors for hiving off its oilto-chemical (O2C) business into a separate unit, reports PTI. As per directions of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the company convened meetings of equity shareholders, lenders and unsecured creditors for consideration of a resolution for transferring the O2C business to a separate subsidiary - Reliance O2C Limited. PAGE 4 The rulingwill give telemarketers, firms and political parties freer rein to use computer systems to call or text mobile phones without first getting consent Comment text mobile phones without first getting consent. Continued on Page 2 US, Iran to hold indirect nuclear talks NEGOTIATIONS ON how to bring both the United States and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will take place among all parties in Vienna nextweek,buttherewillbeno direct talks between Iran and the US, the participants agreedinavirtualmeetingon Friday,reportsNYT.Restoring phasing out its extravoluntary cuts byJuly,which will add 1 million bpd Saudi energy minister adds output levels could still be adjusted at the next meeting onApril 28 total of 1.1 million bpd byJuly. In addition, Saudi Arabia said it was phasing out its extravoluntarycuts byJuly, a move that will add 1 million bpd. Continued on Page 2 reportsPTI.Thegovernment has told Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleumtolookforoilsupplies from outside West Asian region and use collective bargaining power to get favourable terms. ■ Page 2 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, April 2 closer.The logical step after such closeness is a full merger of Congress and the Left.They can call the new party CCPComrade Congress Party.” “Because they are twins, UDF lacks the ability and willingness to defeat LDF. No wonder there is a surge in support in favour of NDA,” Modi said. FRANKLIN TEMPLETON MUTUAL Fund on Friday said its commitment to India remains ‘steadfast’ and the fund house has no plans to exit its operations in the country. This comes following media reports suggesting intervention by the fund house’s US-headquartered parent seeking the diplomatic route for a“just and fair”hearing bymarket regulatorSebi in the investigation pertaining to six wound-up debt schemes. According to the reports, Franklin Templeton had threatened to exit India if it was not given a fair hearing. In a letter to investors Franklin Templeton Asset Management (India) Pvt Ltd President Sanjay Sapre said, “we have no plans to exit our India business. Any speculation suggesting otherwise, or any rumours around sale of business in India are incorrect and simply that-rumours”. He reiterated that Franklin Templeton’s commitment to India remains steadfast. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 Comment TheTelephone Consumer ProtectionAct in US allows penalties as high as $1,500 for every unwanted call or text Like ■ SaudiArabia says it is also No plans to exit India business, says Franklin Templeton GREG STOHR April 2 Like per day in May ● CLEARING THE AIR US apex court limits robocall ban, backs FB THE US Supreme Court limited the reach of the decadesold federal ban on robocalls, siding with business groups and throwing out a lawsuit that accused Facebook of repeatedly sending unwanted text messages. The unanimous decision, whichoverturnedalowercourt ruling, said a key provision in the1991TelephoneConsumer Protection Act applies only to calling systems that use a random or sequential number generator, an approach that Facebook told the court has become all but obsolete. The ruling will give telemarketers, companies and political parties freer rein to usecomputersystemstocallor 350,000 barrels Review Saudi contracts: India to refiners UNWANTED TEXTS Special Features Opec+ agrees to ease production curbs by thenuclearagreementwould signifyamajorimprovement in the estranged relationship betweenIranandtheUS.How tosequencethereturnofboth countries to the terms of the deal has been a complicated political and technical question,withbothsidesinsisting the othermove first. ■ Report on Page 8 BATTLE OF BALLOTS (Clockwise from above) BJP candidates Srabanti Chatterjee, Babul Supriyo and Payel Sarkar during a roadshow; PM Narendra Modi campaigns with NDA allies in Madurai; BJP chief JP Nadda campaigns in Bajali, Assam KERALA POLLS UDF-LDF‘twins of misgovernance, corruption, communalism’: Modi PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Thiruvananthapuram, April 2 CONTINUING HIS ATTACK on the ruling Left and the Opposition Congress-led UDF,Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Friday described the two fronts as twins of misgovernance,corruption and political violence, among others. “UDF and LDF are twins.They are twins of mis- governance,corruption,political violence, communalism, casteism,cronyism,nepotism and more,”Modi said addressing his second election rallyin Kerala on Friday. Citing the alliance between the Congress and Left parties inWest Bengal,he said: “The political picture in West Bengal is clear to everyone.Election after election, Congress and Left are getting ● INTERVIEW: SURENDRA ROSHA, Group general manager & CEO, HSBC India ‘India a key market, our numbers here speak for themselves’ HSBC group will invest $6 billion in India, a key market for the group, over the next five years.Surendra Rosha,Group general manager & CEO, HSBC India, tells Malini Bhupta the bank offers a unique proposition to its international customers in India, as also Indian businesses on their needs overseas.Edited excerpts: The pandemic has been a big disruptor. How has it impacted banking globally? The global economy suffered a severe contraction on account of the pandemic and the banking sector was obviously not immune to it. Of the many things the pandemic led to, most significant was that it forced businesses to think differently and work around constraints to find the wayforward.It helped to build up a certain degree of flexibility and resilience in a short span, which might have been difficult in regular times. It also accelerated the move towards all things digital.Our clients across segments increasingly transitioned towards digital adoption.This ensured that our servicing abilities were not compromised on account of the lockdown and social distancing.I believe that a substantial part of our banking activities could eventually move towards digital, self-serve models. The pandemic also resulted in a greater focus on global supply chains and supply chain resilience became a key metric for many management teams and boards.The reshaping of global supply chains also brought into sharp focus India’s role in global manufacturing.Even priorto the pandemic, we had been actively engaging with the Government of India on the New Delhi reform initiatives, as also to understand how ecosystems and supply chains are evolving. This has helped unearth sectorswith growth potential, wherewe can help nurture the ecosystem. We aim to play a pivotal role in supporting anchor corporates and their suppliers’ ecosystem to strengthen their supply chains, including exploring (and executing) the transition to India. Continued on Page 2
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