OPINION, P2 MIND & GAMES If you feel left out, here are tips for enjoying—or at least tolerating—the burn Page 10 Modi thought and its consequences IDEA EXCHANGE ‘Identity politics was always there... question of how you play it up... SCs in Bengal most crucial factor’ Page 9 CAN’TTAKE THE HEAT? ATASTE FOR SPICY FOODS CAN BE LEARNED ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM Prashant Kishor SPOTLIGHT Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM VOL. XX NO. 22 THE POLITICS OF FASHION FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY NEW DELHI SUNDAY, APRIL 4, 2021, 14 Pages, `10 (Patna `10, Raipur `10) 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 , WHAT'S INSIDE Alastair Lewis ‘Only tackling vehicles wouldn’t solve the air pollution problem in India’ ■ EXPRESS ADDA, P5 FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 3 and the total amount due by telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices is back in the SupremeCourt,whichwillnow have to decide on the matter. Last year in September, the Supreme Court had ordered thatthecompaniesneedtopay their dues over a 10-year period,afterpaying10%ofthe dues upfront by March 31, 2021.Thereafter,the deferred payment cycle would run till 2031with the 10% amount to bepaidbyMarch31everyyear. However, none of the three companies paid the 10% of the due amount on March 31, 2021. The reasoning of the companies is that whatever they have paid so far is more ‘I don’t believe in this business of either religion or regionalism’ ■ WORDS WORTH, P4 Laura Spinney ‘Covid-19 might buck trend of historically forgetting pandemics’ ROHNIT PHORE Suez Canal backlog ends, days after giant vessel freed ALL SHIPS stranded by the grounding of the giant container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal in March had passed through the canal by Saturday, ending the backlog that built up during the blockage, the canal authority said, reports Reuters. The last 61 ships, out of 422 ships that were queuing when the vessel was dislodged on Monday, passed through the vital trade artery on Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority said. PAGE 11 Amazon admits issue of drivers urinating in bottles in apology K O C H I , TELECOM TANGLE ■ Telcos said the calculations made by DoT had errors like double counting, not considering payments already made, not adjusting for interconnect payments, etc 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 COVID SURGE Another new high for India, 89,129 daily cases reported ● Highest number in over six months; 714 deaths PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, April 3 ■ In February last week the SC had agreed to hear the telcos' petitions but it has so far not given a date ■ Total dues of Bharti as per the DoT is `43,980 crore, and before the SC's final order, it had paid `18,004 crore ■ Dues of Vodafone stood at `58,254 crore and it had paid `7,854 crore ■ Tata Teleservices had `16,798 crore due and it had paid `4,197 crore than 10% so they were not required to pay anything extra by the March 31 deadline. For instance, the total dues of Bharti as per the department of telecommunications is `43,980 crore and before the SC’s final order, it had paid `18,004 crore. Similarly, the total dues ofVodafone stood at ` 58,254 crore and it had paid `7,854 crore. In the case of K O L K A T A , Tata Teleservices, the total amountis`16,798croreandit had paid `4,197 crore. However,theDoT’sinterpretationoftheorderisdifferent.It said that the apex court did not mean10%ofthetotalduesbut 10% of the balance dues,so the operatorswererequiredtoshell out additional amount. Continued on Page 11 INDIA ON SATURDAY recorded 89,129 new Covid-19 cases in a day, the highest daily rise in around six-and-half-months, taking the nationwide tally of infections to over 1.23 crore, according to the Union health ministrydata on Saturday.The death toll increased to 1,64,110with 714 more fatalities in a day, also the highest since October 21. The jump in casesreportedonSaturdaywas the highest since September 20 last year when 92,605 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours. Corresponding to the rapid surge in cases, the number of activecasestoohaveregistered a steady increase for the 24th day in a row, with the tally reaching 6,58,909, which is 5.32% of the total infections. The recovery rate has further dropped to 93.36%, the data stated.The active caseloadwas the lowest at 1,35,926 on Feb- A health worker collects a sample from a passenger at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj terminus, Mumbai, on Saturday Nationwide tally of infections Over 1.23 crore Total death toll Active cases 1,64,110 6,58,909 Total recoveries 1,15,69,241 Recovery rate Case fatality rate 93.36% 1.32% ruary 12 and comprised 1.25% of the total infections. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,15,69,241, while the case fatality rate has dropped to 1.32%, the health ministry data stated. PTI The numberof dailycoronaviruscases peaked inSeptemberlastyearwith 97,894infections being reported on the 17th day of the month, after which India began witnessing a gradual decline in cases. India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16 last year. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October11,crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20. The one-crore markwas breachedon December 19 last year. Continued on Page 11 SWEET BIZ Dairy majors foray into packaged mithai DEVIKA SINGH New Delhi, April 3 QuickPicks H Y D E R A B A D , AGR matters back in Supreme Court THE ISSUE OF furtherpayment Amarinder Singh C H E N N A I , READ TO LEAD STANDOFF ● DoT, telcos differ in calculation of dues pending; court to decide ■ LEISURE, P8 ODD & EVEN C H A N D I G A R H , Politicians’ fashion choices often become a window to their philosophy Pages 6-7 DAIRY BRANDS SUCH as Amul and Mother Dairy have been expanding their presence in the mithai segment in a bid to tap the increased consumption of packaged foods in the country.Amul has introduced over 13 products in the categorysincetheonsetofthepandemic and has also expanded its retail presence. Likewise, Mother Dairy, which onlyhad milk cake in its sweetsportfolio,launchedfour moreproducts—orangemawa barfi, frozen rasmalai, gulab jamun and rasgulla —before Diwali last year. The company furtherexpanded the category in Januaryand added Mathura peda and mewa atta laddoo to it. Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation’s brandAavin,too,had launched AMAZON.COM HAS apologised to US Representative Mark Pocan, admitting to scoring an “own goal” in its initial denial of his suggestion that its drivers were sometimes forced to urinate in bottles during their delivery rounds, reports Reuters. Its admission came a week after the Democrat criticised Amazon’s working conditions. PAGE 11 products such as Bombay badam halwa, chocolate nuts burfi, Bombay mundiri halwa, chocolate kaju katli, and pista nuts burfi last year. Though the market for packaged sweets remains largely unorganised in India, the larger consumer trend towards packaged foods in the wakeoftheCovid-19pandemic has given it a boost. Mother Dairy, for instance, used to sell 3,000 kg of its milk cake per month before the pandemic, which has grown by four-five times in the last oneyear. According to Rajat Tuli, seniorprincipal,consumerand retail practice, Kearney, the market for traditional Indian sweets is sized at `60,00065,000 crore, of which organised players have only a 5-7% share.Alargeshareoftheorganised market is captured by snacks brands such as Haldiram’s and Bikano,as per industry estimates. The dairy players draw less than 2% of their sales from the packaged sweets category,saysources. Continued on Pg 11 POLL POSITION (Clockwise from above) home minister Amit Shah in Tamil Nadu, TMC leader Yashwant Sinha at a press conference in Kolkata and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Purameri, Kerala, on Saturday PTI GAINING SPEED LCVs outrace HCVs in sales post-lockdown VIKRAM CHAUDHARY New Delhi, April 3 ASLOCKDOWNSACROSS India started to ease lastyearand economicgrowthstartedpickingup pace month-on-month, the commercial vehicle (CV) goods carriersegment—hitamongthe hardest within the automotive space — too started growing. However,withintheCVsegment, salesoflightcommercialvehicles (LCVs) are picking up fasterthan those of medium & heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCVs), according to data by the Society of IndianAutomobile Manufacturers(SIAM)andcompanies. For instance,in August and September2020,whilesalesof Tata Motors’ M&HCVs con- On a light track ■ M&HCV goods carriers contracted 47.11% during April-December 2020 ■ LCV goods carriers contracted just 24.65% during the same period tracted 29% year-on-year, salesofitsintermediate&LCVs (I&LCVs) contracted just 20%. When the turnaround started October 2020 onwards, the company’s M&HCVs have grown about 15% (Oct ’20 to Feb ’21; to 36,296 units from 31,553 units a year earlier). Continued on Page 11 With WFH an option, vacation homes near big cities get popular ● HNIs, NRIs fuel demand for second homes RISHI RANJAN KALA New Delhi, April 3 COVID GAVE A fresh lease of life to the otherwise flat market forvacation homes in India as a growing number of NRIs, HNIs and high-income professionals are exploring luxury padswithindrivingdistanceof metros and nearby holiday destinationssuch asLonawala, Panchkula, Alibaug, Panjim, Karjat, Kasauli, Shimla and Dehradun,among others. Analysts opine that Covid left a deep impression on the well-off homeowners in metros, who are reviewing their options about investing in vacation homes in smaller towns for living and working from there for long durations, without compromising on work or family life. DLF’s chief marketing officerKaranKumarattributesthe demand for holiday homes being fuelled by HNIs, NRIs and C-suite corporate professionals.Especiallywith respect to NRIs, the economic uncertainty amid Covid helped real estate emerge as a resilient Second/vacation homes near top metros (` per sq ft) ■ Bengaluru ■ Chennai ■ Mumbai ■ Pune ● Nandi Hills ● Mahabalipuram ● Alibaug ● Lonavala ● Jigani near ● Kovalam Main Road ● Karjat 4,000-8,000 5,000-7,500 6,000-11,000 Bannerghatta National Park 4,000-7,000 on East Coast Road with beach-front properties ■ Hyderabad ● Srisailam Highway Source: Anarock Property Consultants, Industry investment asset amid diminishing returns from mutual funds and stock market. “While Dehradun, Kasauli and Shimla have always been 4,000-6,500 popular for quick getaways from Delhi NCR,cities close to these hill stays have also got a major boost, for example New Chandigarh, Panchkula, etc,” 6,000-12,000 4,000-7,000 6,000-11,000 ● Lavasa 5,000-9,000 ■ Delhi ● Kadthal 3,000-5,000 ● Kasauli 4,000-10,000 he added. Ashish R Puravankara, managing director of Bangalore-based Puravankara, agrees that Covid altered peo- ● Nanital/Bhimtal 3,000-9,000 ple’s behaviour and perception.“BeithillsnearDelhi,Lonavala near Mumbai or Goa. These hill stations and coastal destinations have seen a surge in demand for homes.As markets eased back into action, there has been a surge in customerslookingto buyasecond home for vacations and weekend getaways. We at Puravankara sawthiswith ourmarquee project in Goa, Adora De Goa. In the past six-eight months, we sold close to 100 units,”he noted. Boutique developer Silverglades, which has luxury projects near Gurgaon and Kasauli, said vacation homes are here to stay.“Our Kasauli project is an exclusive luxury project with 40 units.We have had enquiries for 20-30 units andhavesold12.Thepriceisin range of `2-5 crore,” Silver- New Delhi glades CEO Anubhav Jain said. Inthe company’sTarudhan Valley golf resort (Manesar), which offers farm houses and villas, the company sold two farms and three villas.“States like Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are increasingly preferred for stacation homes,”Jain explained. Pointingouttrendsinvacation homes,Anarock Property Consultants vice-chairman Santhosh Kumar said many prefer to buy such properties within driving distance of their primary unit so that travel restrictions (inter-state) do not play spoilsport. Continued on Page 11
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.