OPINION, P6 COMPANIES, P4 RENU KOHLI The new DFI’s sources of finance raise some concerns INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL DESPITE COVID GLOBAL GROWTH SC is right to caution taxman on attaching assets in GST, this is draconian and needs to stop Strong growth in new seller addition in India: Amazon India head Major economies must inject 'significant' support, says Yellen KOLKATA, FRIDAY, APRIL 9, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. 30 NO. 135, 12 PAGES, `6.00 (NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN `10.00) 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: 49,746.21 ▲ 84.45 NIFTY: 14,873.80 ▲ 54.75 NIKKEI 225: 29,708.98 ▼ 21.81 HANG SENG: 29,008.07 ▲ 333.27 `/$: 74.61 ▼ 0.05 `/€: 88.52 ▲ 0.07 BRENT: $63.12 ▼ $0.04 GOLD: `46,189 ▲ `360 RIL’s Ambani to appeal against Sebi penalty RIL CHAIRMAN MUKESH Ambani will appeal against the fine imposed by Sebi over alleged irregularities in a two-decade-old share issue in the company, the firm said on Thursday, reports PTI. RIL had issued debentures with convertible warrants in 1994 and allotted equity shares against the warrants in 2000. NOTING THAT ADMINISTRATION was appearing lax in many states amid a rising number of Covid cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged chief ministers to strengthen theirefforts forthe next 2-3weeks to check the spread of the virus on a “war-footing”. He also called forobserving avaccine festival between April 11-14 to inoculate the maximum number of eligible beneficiaries. In his interaction with chief ministers to discuss the Covid19 situation and the ongoing vaccinationdrive,Modiasserted that the country had much more resources to dealwith the virus than before and the focus should be on micro-containment zones.“There is a need to improve the governance system.I understand that because of the one-year battle, the system can experience tiredness and there can be laxity, but we must tighten it for 2-3 weeks and strengthen the governance,” he said. Modi emphasised on ‘Test, From left: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives the second dose of vaccine at AIIMS in New Delhi; Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray receives the second dose in Mumbai and a notice about the shortage of coronavirus vaccine in Mumbai on Thursday ■ 60-hour weekend lockdown in all Madhya Pradesh cities ■ Night curfew in Noida, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, three major cities in Uttar Pradesh ■ Curbs again from April 10, says Tamil Nadu govt Track,Treat’,Covid-appropriate behaviour and Covid managementtocontainthevirus.Along with public participation, our hard-working doctors and ● PEPSICO CASE Special Feature ‘For new brands, our strategy will always be digital-first’ Varun Alagh, co-founder & CEO, Honasa Consumer, on creating visibility and demand for Mamaearth in stores, and the market for niche personal care products in India ■ BrandWagon, P9 QuickPicks DoT moves apex court to recover Videocon’s AGR dues from Bharti THE DoT on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking to recover Videocon’s AGR dues of `1,376 crore from Bharti Airtel, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. DoT said it had raised the demand as per the SC’s September 1 judgment. DoT had raised the demand to Bharti to pay AGR dues of Videocon, which had traded its entire spectrum to Airtel in 2016. PAGE 5 Dassault Aviation rejects fresh corruption charges in Rafale deal DASSAULTAVIATION on Thursday rejected fresh allegations of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal with India, reports PTI. It said no violations were reported in the frame of the contract, days after a French online journal alleged that it had paid nearly one million Euros to an Indian middleman. PAGE 3 ■ Migrants SC strikes down provision in tax law limiting extension of stay orders FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 8 TERMING IT “ARBITRARY and discriminatory”, the Supreme Court has partially struck down a provision of the income tax law that did not allow further extension of stay on assessment beyond 365 days even if the assessee was not responsible for any delay in hearing of appeals before a tribunal. While upholding the Delhi High Court’s May 2015 judgment that ruled in favour of assesses,a Bench led by justice RF Nariman said that “...there can be no doubt that the third proviso to Section 254(2A) of theIncomeTaxAct,introduced by the Finance Act, 2008, would be both arbitrary and discriminatory and,therefore, liable to be struck down as offending Article 14 of the Constitution of India”. ‘Maharashtra to get 17 lakh doses after April 15’ leaving Gujarat on lockdown fear ■ New Zealand suspends travel from India for now New cases 1,60,000 INAFACEBOOKlive,Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday reiterated that the state requires 40 lakh vaccine dosesperweek,andmadeit clear that the vaccination drive was not an issue of conflictbetweentheCentre andthestate,reportsPTI. He said the state on Thursday received7.5 lakh doses.“Today, after I spoke to the Union health minister,I was told that we will get 17.5 lakh doses afterApril 15,”Tope said. He also pointed out Uttar Pradesh was given 48 lakh doses, Madhya Pradesh 40 lakh and Gujarat 30 lakh doses. 1,26,789 With an R0 of 1.41, last seen in May 2020, 1,20,000 infection levels are not going to subside soon 80,000 40,000 0 1 Jan 30, 2020 Apr 07, 2021 health-care staff have helped a lot in handling the situation and are still doing it,he said. Continued on Page 2 NEW FUNDING Valued at $2.1 bn, Mohalla Tech enters unicorn club FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 8 MOHALLA TECH, WHICH owns social media platform ShareChat and shortvideo app Moj, has raised a fresh $502 million in funding at a valuation of $2.1 billion. With this investment which was led by LightspeedVentures andTiger Global, the company has joined the league of unicorns. Other investors, including Snap, Twitter and India Quotient, also backed the latest financial round. The firm will deploy the fresh capital to grow its user base, improve platform safety features besides “doubling down on tech initiatives”, it said in a statement. Moj and ShareChat jointly have about Continued on Page 2 Startups who turned unicorn in 2021 1* 2.1 Cred « 35.3 11,95,445 3-wheeler 77,173 50.7 38,034 RETAIL SALES OF automobiles remained weak in March with registrations declining a sharp 28.64% y-o-y,despite a helpful base effect. Barring passenger vehicles and tractors, all other categoriesofvehicleswitnessed falls in high double digits. Between April 2020 and now, retail sales have reported anincreasejustonce,inDecember 2020. Two-wheeler sales have been falling consistently for the last several months and expectations that March might see a modest growth,have been belied. Analysts attribute the muteddemand,particularlyfor entry-level bikes, to the loss of jobs and incomes of the middle and lower income groups, following Covid as also the higher prices of thevehicles and fuel. WhileAprilhastraditionally been a good time for auto sales giventheconfluenceofthewedding season and some festivals — Ugadi, Vishu, Gudi Padwa, Baisakhi and Poila Boishakh — the Federation of Automobile Dealers(Fada)hasputoutacautious forecast given the second Passenger vehicles 2,17,879 Tractor 53,463 29.2 69,082 Commercial vehicles 1,16,559 42.2 67,372 All India vehicle registration Mar’20 Mar’21 Source Fada wave of Covid threatens to disrupt the environment. Two-wheeler sales continuedtoslideinMarch,declining 35.26% y-o-y to 11,95,44 units while sales of commercial vehicles also slipped 42.2% y-o-y to 67,372 units. Continued on Page 2 FE BUREAU Rupee plunges to near 5-month low The rupee weakened further by 11 paise against the US currency to close at its weakest level in nearly five months on Thursday amid fears that a rapid resurgence of Covid cases in the country can disrupt economic recovery. Logging its fourth straight session of losses, the domestic currency settled at 74.58 to the US dollar — the lowest level for the rupee since November 13, 2019. Meanwhile, the benchmark bond yield closed at 6.031%, down from Wednesday's close of 6.081% 10-year bond yield (%) `/$ Intra-day, April 8 6.08 74.00 6.077 Intra-day, April 8 Inverted scale 74.409 74.22 6.031 74.608 74.44 74.66 6.02 74.88 Previous close: 6.081 Open 75.10 Close Previous close: 74.556 Open Close 2.2 PharmEasy 1.5 Digit Insurance Infra.Market 1.9 1 Innovaccer Five Star Business Finance Gupshup 1.3 1.4 1.4 *over $1 billion; Source: Company 280 million users, the company claims. Continued on Page 2 Bureau in NewDelhi. The US-headquartered company,whichhasasignificantpresenceinIndia,isthe tenth firm to join the local unicorn club so far this calendaryear. ■ Page 4 ON THE MOVE Tesla scouting for locations to open showrooms in India ADITI SHAH & ADITYA KALRA New Delhi, April 8 TESLA IS SCOUTING for locations to open showrooms in threeIndiancitiesandhashired anexecutivetoleaditslobbying andbusinesseffortsaheadofits plannedentryintothecountry, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters. Tesla in January registered a localcompanyinIndia,whereit is expected to import and sell the Model 3 sedan byas earlyas mid-2021,seekingtotargetrich customers in a niche market. Revving up ■ Tesla scouting for 20,00030,000 sq ft each to open showrooms and service centres World's mostvaluable automaker by m-cap is eyeing New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru ■ Manuj Khurana, a former executive of Invest India, to lead its policy and business development efforts The world’s most valuable automaker by market capitalisationislookingforcommercial properties as large as 20,00030,000sqfteachtoopenshow- SOCIAL MEDIA GIANT Twitter on Thursday launched an emoji for the MilkTeaAlliance,a global online prodemocracy movement that has united anti-Beijing campaigners in Hong Kong and Taiwan with protestersinThailand,Myanmarandbeyond. Activists welcomed the announcement of the emoji — a white cup set against a background of three colours representing different shades of milk tea in Thailand, HongKongandTaiwan—forthefirst anniversary of the movement. TheMilkTeaAlliancesprangfrom Awhite cup set against a background of three colours representing different shades of milk tea in Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan Move-meant ■ Global online pro-democracy movement has united antiBeijing campaigners ■ More than 11 million Tweets featuring #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag seen over the past year ■ Previously, social media giant launched emojis for #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements several weeks Continued on Page 2 Twitter launches ‘Milk Tea Alliance’ emoji What's the emoji ■ Global property consultant CBRE has been surveying places for rooms and service centres in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru,three sources said. ANTI-BEIJING PATPICHATANAKASEMPIPAT Bangkok, April 8 28.4 2,79,745 Covid blues 6.00 Meesho %, y-o-y 18,46,613 FE BUREAU Chennai, April 8 6.04 2.1 ShareChat Gupshup raises $100 million, turns unicorn CONVERSATIONAL MESSAGING PLATFORM Gupshup announced that it has raisedafresh$100millionin funding from Tiger Global Management at a valuation of $1.4 billion, reports fe Continued on Page 2 2-wheeler While PV sales rose 28%, two-wheeler sales fell 35% 6.06 Valuation ($ billion) Groww FINANCE MINISTER NIRMALA Sitharaman has pitched for an extension of the Debt Service SuspensionInitiative(DSSI)by sixmonthsthroughDecember 2021 to continue support to vulnerable economies in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. In April last year, the G20 nationswereaskedbytheWorld BankandtheIMFtosetupDSSI. Itsaimwastosupportcountries utilise their resources in protecting the lives aswell as livelihoods of millions of vulnerable people in these nations. The DSSIhasdeliveredabout$5billioninrelieftomorethan40eligible countries since was made operationalonMay1,2020.Initially, the debt service suspension period was to expire on December31,2020.However,it was then extended through June 2021. Participating in the second G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting, Sitharaman had focussed on policy responses to global challenges to bring back sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, according to an official statement. Retail auto sales down 29% in Mar « THE GOVERNMENT IS expected to invite bids for the PLI scheme for solar module manufacturing in the next two weeks and beneficiaries will be identified in July, a senior government official said, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. To reduce the country’s import dependency, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the `4,500-crore solar PLI scheme. FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 8 For now, vaccinate everyone over 45; India’s jab strategy is not different from that of most countries, says PM PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, April 8 ‘Extend debt service suspension by 6 months’ DOWNHILL « Govt to invite bids for solar PLI in two weeks ‘Don’t focus on just vaccine, test-track-treat to beat Covid’ ● FM TO G20 « PUNJAB FINANCE MINISTER Manpreet Singh Badal on Thursday said the state government has "no choice" but to implement the Centre's mandated instruction on direct bank transfer of MSP to farmers from the current season, reports PTI. He said the Centre rejected Punjab's demand to give more time to implement DBT. PM-SPEAK « IN THE NEWS Punjab to roll out DBT for farmers from April 10 a Twitter war that flared after Chinese nationalists accused a young Thai actor and his girlfriend of supporting democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwanese independence. Use of the hashtag peaked again in Februaryafterthe militarycoup in Myanmar, where protesters using the hashtag rallied regional support. “We have seen more than 11 million Tweets featuring the #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag over the past year,” Twitter said in an announcement that pushed the hashtag to among the top trending in Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan on Thursday. Continued on Page 2 Kolkata
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