OPINION, P6 MARKETS, P10 K SRINATH REDDY There are many curious aspects to AstraZeneca vaccine-clotting link INTERNATIONAL, P8 SUNIL JAIN DAS-SPEAK CLINICAL BUY Difficult to expect vaccine makers to invest in fighting new strains sans pricing freedom and/or govt grants Banks told to push credit flows, remain watchful of evolving situation Microsoft to buy Nuance for $19.7 bn in healthcare bet NEW DELHI, TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVII NO. 36, 18 PAGES, `6.00 (PATNA `6.00, RAIPUR `7.00) P U B L I S H E D F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K ATA , L U C K N O W, M U M B A I , N E W D E L H I , P U N E SENSEX: 47,883.38 ▼ 1,707.94 NIFTY: 14,310.80 ▼ 524.05 NIKKEI 225: 29,538.73 ▼ 229.33 HANG SENG: 28,453.28 ▼ 245.52 `/$: 75.06 ▼ 0.31 `/€: 89.34 ▼ 0.45 BRENT: $63.74 ▲ $0.79 GOLD: `46,232 ▼ `52 MANIC MONDAY MARCH QUARTER IN THE NEWS Sebi slaps `25-cr fine on Yes Bank in AT-1 bonds case It’s a $9.2-billion order win for TCS FE BUREAU Mumbai, April 12 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mumbai, April 12 Sensex EQUITY BENCHMARK SENSEX plummeted 1,708 points onMondayfollowinganacrossthe-board selloff as spiking Covid-19 cases in the country spookedinvestors.The30-share BSEindexsank1,707.94points or 3.44% to end at 47,883.38. Similarly,thebroaderNSENifty plunged 524.05 points or 3.53% to finishat 14,310.80. IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, tanking over8 percent,followed by Bajaj Finance, SBI, ONGC, Titan, M&M, Bajaj Finserv, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. Dr Reddy’s was the sole gainer, climbing over 4%. “Domestic equities reminded the bloodbath of March 2020 as record rise in Covid cases and possibility of lockdowns in several states dented investors’ sentiments,” said 49,000 Meals banned in domestic flights under 2 hours AIRLINES ARE NOT permitted to serve meals in domestic flights that have a duration of less than two hours, with effect from Thursday, the civil aviation ministry said on Monday, as coronavirus cases continue to spiral, reports PTI. Sushil Chandra to take charge as new CEC today Q3FY21 (` crore) Q4FY21 % chg 9,246 8,701 11,734 11,184 43,705 Revenue Operating Net profit income 42,015 TCS ON MONDAY reported a strong set of numbers for the March quarter announcing orderwinsworthastupendous $9.2 billion. Revenues in constant currency terms rose 4.2% sequentially to `43,705 crore while margins expanded by20 basis points to 26.8%,despite wage hikes. The software services major reported an ebit of `11,734 crore ebit while net profits came in at `9,246 crore, slightly lower than estimates. Free cash flows at the end of March stood at `37,968 crore. Managing director and chief executive officer Rajesh Gopinathan said the company was well-positioned to exploit the multi-year tech services opportunity even as it contin- Report card « SEBI ON MONDAY imposed a penalty of `25 crore on Yes Bank in the matter of misselling the lender's AT-1 bonds a few years ago, reports PTI. Sebi also fined two individuals who were part of the private wealth management team at the time ofviolation. Yes Bank and certain officials devised the "devious scheme to dump the AT-1 bonds on their hapless customers", the regulator noted. Markets nosedive on Covid surge (Number of daily cases) 4 5 Operating margins (%) ELECTION COMMISSIONER SUSHIL Chandra was on Monday appointed as the next chief election commissioner succeeding Sunil Arora, reports PTI. Chandra will take charge on Tuesday. Special Features Corporate bond funds find favour with investors Corporate bond funds can be ideal for investors with a longer-term investment horizon, but they should look at the portfolio of these funds from a credit risk & duration risk perspective ■ Personal Finance, P9 Tata Power’s primed for clean and sustainable growth Sunrise sectors powering growth; huge scope for firm to improve its ESG rating given realignment of its business model; TP raised to `120 from `95; ‘Buy’ rating maintained ■ Investor, P9 QuickPicks Unemployment rate at 15-week high of 8.58% INDIA’S UNEMPLOYMENT rate galloped to a 15week high for the week ended April 11 to 8.58%, largely due to a sudden 260 bps rise in urban employment rate to 9.81% over the week, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Rural unemployment, however, eased to 8% for the week ended April 11 from 8.58% in the previous week, data put out by the CMIE showed. Urban unemployment rate ebbed to 7.21% for the week ended April 4 from its recent peak of 8.84% for the week ended January 31. PAGE 2 Flipkart ties up with Adani to ramp up supply chain, tech infra FLIPKART ON Monday said it has entered into a commercial partnership with the Adani Group to strengthen its logistics and data centre capabilities, and create about 2,500 direct jobs, reports PTI. In this two-pronged partnership, Flipkart will work with Adani Logistics, a wholly-owned arm of Adani Ports and SEZ, to strengthen its supply chain infrastructure and further enhance its ability to serve its rapidly growing base of customers, a statement said. PAGE 4 Agri credit growth hit a near 4-year high in February: RBI AGRI CREDIT growth hit a nearly four-year high of 10.2% year-on-year (y-o-y) in February 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its monetary policy report for April 2021, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. This is the fastest credit growth in the segment since February 2017. Overall credit growth picked up in H2FY21, led by medium industries and the agri segment. However, housing loan growth slowed down and affected the pace of retail growth. PAGE 10 1,80,000 6.3 26.6 26.85 25 1,20,000 TCS (Intra-day on BSE (`), April 12 3,380 3,330 3,330 90,000 3,241.45 60,000 3,280 3,230 3,180 1,70,100 1,50,000 bps 30,000 Previous close: 3,322.20 Open Close ued to dominate traditional areas and was gaining share in the growth and transformation opportunity. Continued on Page 2 ONGC invites bids for KG offshore gas ONGC HAS FLOATED the tenderforprospectivebuyers to bid for gas supplied from its KG-DWN-98/2 field located in the east coast Krishna Godavari offshore field, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. ONGC will sup- Covid cases surge ply two million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd)gasfromthefieldto the Odalarevu onshore terminal in Andhra Pradesh, and buyers can book contracts for three to five years, starting June 30. ■ Page 2 ● MORE WOES IIP falls 3.6% in February, CPI inflation hits 4-month high in March FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 12 A CONTRACTION IN industrial output widened to 3.6% year-on-year in February from 1.6% in the previous month, while retail inflation in March scaled a four-month peak of 5.52%, according to the official data released on Monday. This will add to the woes of policy-makers and complicate RBI’s task at a time when risks toeconomicgrowthfromasecondwave of cases mount,amid fears of further lockdowns in keystates like Maharashtra. Intermediate goods, primarygoodsandinfrastructure goods — the segments that haveperformedbetterthanthe rest in recent months—have contracted by 5.6%,5.1% and 4.7%,respectively,inFebruary. Importantly, before the latest drop, infrastructure/construction goods had recorded expansionineachmonthsince August 2020,driven primarily by elevated government spending.Incontrast,acontraction in capital goods and consumer non-durables narrowed to -4.2% and -3.8%, respectively,inFebruaryfrom-9%and -5.4% in the previous month. Continued on Page 2 0 1 Jan 30, 2020 April 11, 2021 COVID UTSAV Even as the country is in the middle of the 4-day Tika Utsav, Covid-inappropriate behaviour continues, ranging from the Kumbh in Haridwar (top left) to election rallies in West Bengal (bottom left) while, fearing a lockdown, workers in Mumbai gather at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to board outstation trains Sputnik receives panel nod for emergency use ■ Night curfew DCGI to take final call; if approved, to be third vaccine in the country PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, April 12 AN EXPERT PANEL of India’s central drug authorityhas recommended granting approval to Russian Covid-19 vaccine SputnikVforemergencyusein the country with certain conditions,sources said. The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Monday took up the applicationofDrReddy'sLaboratories seeking emergencyuse authorisation for Sputnik V. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) will take a Three jumbo hospitals to come up in Mumbai imposed in Haryana ■ Rise in passenger rush for outstation trains from Mumbai ■ Offices, metro, bus services to operate at 50% capacity in Delhi IN VIEW OF a sharp rise in Covidcases,theMaharashtra government has decided to set up three jumbo field hospitals in Mumbai in the next fivesix weeks, city civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Monday, reports PTI. Each of these medical facilities will have a capacity of 2,000 beds, including 200 ICU beds and 70% oxygen beds,andtheywillbesetup atthreedifferentlocations. Chahal said they have also requestedcertain4-and5star hotels to create CCC2 facilities (Covid care centres), which will be “dovetailed and run by professionals from major private hospitals”. ■ Page 2 final call on the recommendation. If approved, it will be the third Covid-19 vaccine to be available in India. Continued on Page 2 In the slow lane FE BUREAU Pandemic, slowdown hit auto sales in FY21 Auto sales across segments declined during April-March 2021 compared to the previous years. "On the sales front, a deep structural slowdown in the industry even before the pandemic, combined with the impact of Covid in 2020-21, has pushed all vehicle segments back by many years. Recovery from here will require time and efforts, by all stakeholders," SIAM president Kenichi Ayukawa said. PVs April-March FY20 FY21 27,73,519 M&HCVs 2,24,428 1,60,688 LCVs 4,93,165 47,883.38 48,000 47,500 47,000 7,17,593 5,68,559 3-Wheelers 6,37,065 2,16,197 2-wheelers 1,74,16,432 1,51,19,387 -28.4 Close Binod Modi,head — strategyat Reliance Securities. Concerns of possible reversal in economic momentum and earnings recovery made investors risk-averse and huge selloff led to the erosion of nearly`9lakh croreininvestor wealth,he added. Continued on Page 2 `/$ 32,000 74.6 Prev close: 32,448.05 31,500 31,637.9 31,000 Prev close: 74.7462 30,792 74.8 75.0575 75.0 30,000 29,500 (Inverted scale) 74.9637 30,500 Open Close 75.2 Open Close TELECOM PLI Higher investments, better the chances KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, April 12 Incentive structure: THE DEPARTMENT OF telecommunications(DoT)has framed the draftguidelinesfor the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for telecom equipment in such a manner that companies committing higher investments would stand betterchances to qualify forit.Thisinawaycouldleadto a bidding war amongst different gear manufacturers and only the highest bidders may get selected to avail of the incentives. So far, leading global telecom equipment manufacturers like Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson, Jabil,andcontractmanufacturers, Flex, Dixon Technologies and Foxconn have indicated their desire to apply for the scheme.According to the draft guidelines, these companies would have to commit investments over and above the base thresholdandiftheoutlaygets Year 1 6 Year 2 6 6 IN A RELIEF to Vedanta, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the NGT’s last month’s order that stalled operations of its mining plant at Dharbandora in Goa for lack of mandatory envi- -17.3 -20.8 -66.1 -13.2 Open MSME Others (%) Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 ■ MSMEs need to make `10-cr incremental investment over five years 4 4 5 5 5 7 7 ■ Other firms need to invest `100 cr incrementally over five years ■ Incremental output of `2.4L cr expected over five years, of which `2L cr will be for exports ■ To bring investment of over `3,000 cr, generate huge direct, indirect employment and taxes exhausted if a couple of them commit higher amounts then chances are there that some mayget left out. Continued on Page 2 Apex court stays NGT order stalling Vedanta’s mining ops at Goa plant -2.2 4,07,871 Total CVs % change 27,11,457 48,956.65 48,500 Bank Nifty COVID-19 Automobile wholesales (units) Prev close: 49,591.32 Source: Siam data ronmentalclearance,reports Indu Bhan in New Delhi. While staying the order, the SCalsosoughtresponsefrom Goa Foundation, an NGO, which had challenged the operations. ■ Page 4 ● INTERVIEW: DR SS SANDHU, CHAIRMAN, NHAI ‘We have saved `30,000 cr via conciliation, FASTag boosting toll receipts’ Despite the pandemic and resultant periods of lock-down, the National HighwaysAuthority of India (NHAI) ended FY21 withall-timehighhighwayconstruction and capital expenditure. Awards of new projects in theyearwasalsoatathree-year high. The authority is yet to fix the targets forthe current fiscal, but these are expected to be ambitious too. NHAI chairman Sukhbir Singh Sandhu discusses the road map forthe currentyearandaheadwithSurya Sarathi Ray.Excerpts: How has FY21 been for NHAI in terms of award of new highway projects, construction and capital outlay? NHAIhasawarded141projects with combined length of 4,788 km in 2020-21, the highest in the last three years, compared with 3,211 km in 2019-20 and 2,222 km in 2018-19. Of the total projects awarded,twowereunderbuildoperate-transfer (Toll) model forahighwaylengthof132km, 69 projects (2,609 km) were through the hybrid annuity model (HAM) and the balance 70 projects (2,047 km) were through the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model. The capital cost of the projects awarded in 2020-21 amounted to `1,71,226 crore, thehighestever,comparedwith `81,324 crore in 2019-20 and `64,009 crore in 2018-19. Despite the fact that construction came to a halt in April due to the lock-down, NHAI set a new record by building 4,192 km of national highways in 2020-21. This was about 5% higher than the construction in 2019-20 and 24% more than the level achieved in 2018-19. If counted by lane kilometre, NHAI has constructed 18,500 lane km (50 lane km/day) during 2020-21, 40% more than in 2019-20 and 91% more in 2018-19. Capital expenditure by NHAI for development of highway infrastructure reached an all-time high of `1,28,000 crore during 202021, 23% higher compared to such spending in 2019-20. What are the steps taken to ensure construction quality? New Delhi NHAI is committed to adhere to the highest quality standards during construction of projects. Recently, we have introduced independent inspection of the ongoing national highways projects,by involving reputed retired government officials. As many as 111 of such projects have been identified so far.These inspectionswill be held in addition to the regular inspection of the projects by NHAI officials. Continued on Page 2
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