OPINION, P6 DAVID FICKLING NATION, P12 Inequity of vaccine supply to nations is a real crisis COMPANIES, P4 SUNIL JAIN GOYAL-SPEAK VIRUS WOES Good call to free vaccine pricing; price caps help one lot but dwindling supplies hurt those who don’t get access ‘Startup India seed fund scheme to support domestic entrepreneurs’ India needs to get more vaccines, boost output, says Chandrasekaran AHMEDABAD, TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XV-270, 14 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: 47,949.42 ▼ 882.61 NIFTY: 14,359.45 ▼ 258.40 NIKKEI 225: 29,685.37 ▲ 2.00 HANG SENG: 29,106.15 ▲ 136.44 `/$: 74.88 ▼ 0.52 `/€: 90.14 ▼ 1.07 BRENT: $66.58 ▼ $0.19 GOLD: `47,475 ▲ `454 IN THE NEWS Farmer unions defer plan to hold Parliament march FARMER UNIONS have decided to defer their plan to hold a march to Parliament amid the second wave of Covid-19, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. However, the unions have called upon farmers who have finished harvesting winter crops to return to protest sites on different Delhi border points. “A decision (on whether to call off the protest) will be taken at the appropriate time, but it (protest) has not been cancelled,” said Ashish Mittal, a leader of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (United Farmers’ Front). Centre’s nod to 6-month visa for Chinese execs TO ADDRESS the issue of electronics companies facing skilled manpower shortage due to delays in getting visas for Chinese personnel, the government has decided to give sixmonth business visas to those executives who need to come for commissioning, installation, expansion, quality control, and maintenance of the manufacturing units, reports Kiran Rathee in New Delhi. Several companies had earlier written to the ministry of electronics and information technology to help them secure visas for Chinese engineers. Power industry seeks priority vaccination WITH THE recent spike in Covid-19 cases, the power industry has requested the government to treat all operational staff of the generation, distribution and transmission companies as priority category for vaccination, reports Anupam Chatterjee in New Delhi. In a letter to Union power minister RK Singh, the Association of Power Producers said many of its members across the supply value chain have reported large number of cases among their operating staff. ● ON THE RISE Unemployment in urban India surges to 10.72%: CMIE FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 19 VOTE FOR CORONA Even as India’s daily Covid-19 count crosses 2.8 lakh, politicians across the political spectrum continue to hold political rallies; defence minister Rajnath Singh (top), home minister Amit Shah (top right) and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee SHOT IN THE ARM Everyone above 18 can get Covid vaccine from May 1 Vaccine makers can release 50% supplies directly to states, in open markets FE BUREAU New Delhi April 19 THE GOVERNMENT ON Mondayannounceda‘liberalisedand accelerated’Covid-19 vaccination programme beginning May 1,where all above 18 years ofagewillbeeligibletobevaccinated.Also, vaccine manufacturers have been empowered to release up to 50% of supplies directly to state governments and in the open market at predeclared prices, a move that Covid cases surge Nirmala Sitharaman finance minister (Number of daily cases) 3,00,000 2,75,063 2,50,000 2,00,000 1,50,000 1,00,000 50,000 0 1 Jan 30, 2020 Apr 18, 2021 would boost availability of the prophylacticsto the people. The move comes amid a rapid surge of the Covid-19 cases,which has stretched the Spoke on telephone with each of the following business/ Chamber leaders. Took their inputs on industry/Association related matters. Informed them that GoI at various levels from @PMOIndia is responding to #Covid management. Working together with states for lives and livelihoods. capacity of many states and cities, including the national capital,indealingwiththecrisis. Continued on Page 2 Ex-PM Manmohan Singh tests positive, admitted to AIIMS UK puts India on travel ban ‘red list’; BoJo cancels visit FORMER PRIME minister Manmohan Singh tested positive for Covid-19 and was admitted to AIIMS with a mild fever on Monday afternoon, reports PTI. Singh, 88, has been admitted to the AIIMS trauma centre here, which is a dedicated Covid facility, sources said,adding his condition is stable. BRITISH PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his planned visit to India next week due to the coronavirus situation there, Downing Street announced on Monday, the dayitwas also confirmed that the country has been added to the UK’s Covid-19 travel ban“red list”. Delhi goes into 6-day lockdown as cases keep climbing DELHI CHIEFMINISTER Arvind Kejriwal announced a six-day lockdowninthenationalcapital from10pmonMondaytill5am onApril26andsaiditwasnecessarytodealwiththerisingnumberofCovid-19casesasthecity’s health system was stretched to itslimit,reportsPTI. The announcement,which came at the end of a weekend curfew,boughtbackmemories of last year’s lockdown and triggeredusualresponsesfrom people — migrant workers rushingto railwaystationsand bus terminals in a bid to return home, residents flocking to markets to stock up on essentials, and tipplers joining in long, serpentine queues outside liquor stores. Meanwhile, the Allahabad HighCourtonMondaydirected the Uttar Pradesh government to impose a week-long lockdown in Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur Nagar, Varanasi and Gorakhpur. ■ Report on Page 2 FUND-RAISING Special Feature Loan against property: Five mistakes to avoid Factor in processing charges and disbursal time when applying for a loan against property. And go for a floating interest rate as it does not attract pre-payment charges ■ Personal Finance, P9 QuickPicks E-comm firms brace for challenges as more states impose restrictions WITH MORE states imposing mini-lockdowns and tightening restrictions to tackle the surge in coronavirus infections, e-commerce companies are again bracing for operational restrictions, reports Asmita Dey in New Delhi. Although they are better equipped to deal with the crisis this year than in 2020, a varying set of regulations mandated by individual states has made the task arduous. Delhi, for instance, has not allowed inter-state movement of non-essential goods. PAGE 4 Cross-border electricity trade begins in spot markets THE INDIAN Energy Exchange (IEX) on Monday said it has commenced cross-border trade on its platform, marking the maiden initiative for Indian exchanges to expand their markets beyond the country, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. According to sources, Nepal started the cross-border power purchase through the spot market on April 17, booking one million units through the ‘day ahead market’ (DAM) trading mechanism. Valued at over $2 billion, Druva raises fresh $147 million FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 19 CLOUD DATA PROTECTION and management platform Druva on Monday said it has raised a fresh $147 million from a clutch of investors led by Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Neuberger Berman at a valuation of over $2 billion.Existing backersViking Global Investors and Atreides Management also 7K-8K 4K-5K ~1,200 ~500 40+ ~10 5 yrs Now ago 5 yrs Now ago Founded Raising funds 5 yrs Now ago Raising late stage funds There are 7K-8K Indian SaaS start-ups currently (vs 4K-5K in Dec 2015) Source: Tracxn, Bain India SaaS report 2020 participated in the funding round.TheSaaS(software-as-aservice)start-uphasraisedclose to$500millionincapitalsofar. AccordingtoIDC,theglobal SaaS market is expected to cross $276 billion by FY24. Nasscom estimates the revenue for pure play Indian SaaS companies could increase sixfold to $13-15 billion by FY25 from $2.5 billion in FY20. Continued on Page 2 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN urban India has been on the upswingsincethebeginningof the current month. From 7.21% on April 4, it jumped to 9.81%fortheweekendedApril 11 and further to 10.72% for the week ended April 18, CMIE’s latest data showed. This reflects a shift in the burden of job losses to urban India, reversing the trend of rural India largely bearing the brunt of Covid-induced strain on employment. The overall unemployment rate was marginally down to 8.4% for the week ended April 18 compared with 8.58% a week ago.The rural unemployment rate, which had been on the upswing for the entire monthofMarch—from5.86% on March 7,it rose to 6.17% on March 14,6.41% on March 21 andto8.58%onApril4—fellto 8% on April 11 and further to 7.31% onApril 18. Mahesh Vyas, MD & CEO, CMIE,recently told FE six million of the 10 million salaried jobs lost due to the pandemic — March level against the average of 2019-20 — were from the rural sector. MONDAY MAYHEM Markets crash on pandemic worries Sensex PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mumbai, April 19 THE SENSEX PLUNGED 883 points while the Nifty crashed below the 14,400-level on Monday as the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country triggered an acrossthe-board selloff. Freshlockdownsannounced bysomestateshavestokedconcerns over the economic recovery,whileanothersharpdropin the rupee also weighed on risk appetite,traders said. After crashing over 1,469 points in early trade, the 30share BSE Sensex pared some initial losses to close at 47,949.42,down882.61points or1.81%.Similarly,thebroader NSENiftytanked258.40points or1.77%tofinishat14,359.45. PowerGrid was the top loser in the Sensex pack, slumping 4.17%, followed by ONGC, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Bank, 47,750 47,500 47,250 47,000 Previous close: 48,832.03 Open Bank Nifty Close Intra-day, April 19 31,500 31,200 30,900 31,208.40 30,993.45 30,600 30,300 30,000 Previous close: 31,977.45 Open Close L&T, Bajaj Finserv,Asian Paints andM&M.OnlyDrReddy’sand Infosys managed to end in the green,rising up to 1.58%. Continued on Page 2 `/$ Intra-day, April 19 74.70 6.10 6.09 6.079 74.78 Intra-day, April 19 Inverted scale 74.788 74.86 6.08 6.07 6.078 6.06 74.878 74.94 75.02 6.05 Previous close: 6.088 Open Close RELIANCE DEAL 75.10 Previous close: 74.355 Open Close ● GREENER TRACKS SC stays proceedings before Delhi HC in Amazon-Future case THE SUPREME COURT on Monday stayed all proceedings before the Delhi High Court related to the enforcement of the Singapore Emergency Arbitrator’s interim award restraining the `24,713-crore deal between Future Retail and Reliance Retail. The matter was being heard by a single judge as well as a division bench of the Delhi high court. After the orders of the single-judge bench were stayed by the division bench, Amazon, which is opposing the deal, had moved the SC. The process was on in the HC even though the main issue was before the apex court,which had pronounced that while the hearings relating to the Future-Reliance deal will continue before the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), no final order can be passed before it disposes of the matter. On Monday, while staying the proceedings in the HC, a bench led by Justice RF Nariman fixed May 4 for hearing in the matter and asked all 47,949.42 48,000 47,940.81 10-year bond yield (%) Continued on Page 2 FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 19 Intra-day, April 19 48,250 2021 Delhi HC’s single judge Feb directs Future Group to 2 maintain status quowrt deal HC’s division bench lifts stay; Feb allows regulatory agencies 8 Railways eyes solar investments worth `90,000 cr NIVEDITA MUKHERJEE New Delhi, April 19 the parties to complete the pleadings. Monday’s order came on Amazon’s petition which had challenged the division bench’s March 22 order. THE INDIAN RAILWAYS is looking at drawing an investment of about `90,000 crore in the setting up of 20 gigawatt (GW) of solar projects on the land parcels in its possession.This is in line with the transporter’s plan to increase the sourcing of green power to the extent of meeting its full-traction energy requirement and become carbon-neutral by 2030. The Railway Energy Management Company (REMCL), an arm of the railways, has charted out a plan to invite bids from solar developers, with the guarantee that power generated will be fed to Central/state grid or directly to the transporter’s 25 kV AC traction system. The Indian Railways (IR) has 51,000 hectares of land suitable for the requirement and the identified land parcels will be leased to REMCL, which will then offer these to solar power developers on lease for a period of 25 years. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 to examine the deal Feb Amazon moves 11 SC to block the deal SC bars NCLTfrom passing final orders on Feb amalgamation scheme 22 between Future and Reliance Retail Single judge ofHC passes Mar detailed order, restraining 18 Future from going ahead with the deal Mar Delhi HC's division bench 22 stays the order Apr 7: Amazon moves SC against division bench order ● TURNING TO PHILANTHROPY LOSING CONTROL Under scrutiny,Tencent’s Amid rising pressure,Ant explores ways for Ma exit Ma pledges billions in aid JULIE ZHU Hong Kong, April 19 ANT GROUP IS exploring options forfounderJack Ma to divest his stake in the financial technology giant and give up control, as meetings with Chinese regulators signalled to the company that the move could help draw a line under Beijing’s scrutiny of its business, according to a source familiar with regulators’ thinking and two people with close ties to the company. Reuters is for the first time Another option would be to transfer his stake to a Chinese investor affiliated with the state The company had hoped Ma's stake, worth billions of dollars, could be sold to existing investors inAnt or its ecommerce affiliateAlibaba Group Holding without involving any external entity During talkswith regulators,Jack Mawas told hewould not be allowed to sell his stake to any entity or individual close to him, andwould instead have to exit completely reporting details of the latest round of meetings and the discussions about the future of Ma’s control of Ant, exercised through a complicated structure of investment vehicles. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Ma had offered in a November meeting with regulators to hand over parts of Ant to the Chinese government. Officials from the central bank, People’s Bank of China (PBOC), and financial regulator China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) held talks between January and March with Ma and Ant separately. Continued on Page 2 BLOOMBERG April 19 TENCENT FOUNDER Pony Ma pledged$7.7billiontowardcuring societal ills and lifting China’s countryside out of poverty,echoingXiJinping’spriorities at a time Beijing is tighteningitsgriponinternetgiants. The billionaire chief executive officer on Monday pledged to set aside 50 billion yuan for a “sustainable social values”programme, in what would be one of China’s largest corporate charity initiatives. Tencent promisedtotackleaplethoraof issues from renewable energy and scientific education to health care and rural revitalisation—acentrepieceofXi’soverarching policyframework. Continued on Page 2 Ahmedabad
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