OPINION, P6 INTERNATIONAL, P8 K SRINATH REDDY Patents cannot be allowed to trip up global pandemic response INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL PACKAGE PROPOSAL DRIVING BY THE WIRE Inflation looms on the horizon, but RBI must be accommodative to back economic recovery Biden to unveil massive family aid plan funded by taxing the rich UK first country to allow ‘self-driving’ cars at low speeds on motorways NEW DELHI, THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVII NO. 50, 22 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: 49,733.84 ▲ 789.70 NIFTY: 14,864.55 ▲ 211.50 NIKKEI 225: 29,053.97 ▲ 62.08 HANG SENG: 29,071.34 ▲ 129.80 `/$: 74.37 ▲ 0.30 `/€: 89.74 ▲ 0.33 BRENT: $66.89 ▲ $0.47 GOLD: `46,922 ▼ `381 IN THE NEWS RBI panel on ARCs invites views of stakeholders THE RBI committee on Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs), which will review the existing legal and regulatory framework applicable to ARCs, on Wednesday invited views and suggestions from stakeholders, reports PTI. The suggestions could be given to the committee till May 31, 2021. Second wave poses downside risks to India’s growth: S&P S&P GLOBAL Ratings on Wednesday said the second wave of Covid infections poses downside risks to India's GDP and heightens the possibility of business disruptions, reports PTI. The second wave brings in uncertainty and a drawn-out Covid outbreak will impede India's recovery, it said. ‘Covid surge to hit housing sales in April-June qtr’ HOUSING SALES will be impacted across major cities during the April-June quarter because of the rapid Covid spread, Anarock said on Wednesday, reports PTI. Already, property registrations in Mumbai have fallen. Special Feature Giving agritech a farmer-first approach Tech Mahindra’s Makers Lab is at the forefront of firms using digital technology to overcome myriad challenges faced by Indian farmers ■ eFE, P9 NICE GESTURE Serum cuts vaccine price for states to `300 Amid criticism, Centre had asked Serum & Bharat Biotech to lower rates of their jabs PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, April 28 SERUM INSTITUTE OF India (SII) — the maker of the most-used Covid-19 vaccine in the country — on Wednesday announced a cut in price of the jab it plans to sell to states to `300 per dose from the earlier `400. SII’s CEO Adar Poonawalla took to Twitter to announce the“philanthropic”gesture. “As a philanthropic gesture on behalf of @SerumInstIndia,I herebyreduce the price to the states from `400 to `300 per dose, effective immediately; this will save thousands of crores of state funds going forward.This will enable more vaccinations and save countless lives,”he said. This follows widespread criticism of its pricing policyas it has sold the initial doses of Covishield to the central government at `150 per dose. According to official sources, the central government on Mondayhad asked SII and Bharat Biotech to lower the prices of their Covid-19 vaccines amid criticism from various stateswho accused the companiesofprofiteeringduring such a major crisis. The issue ofvaccine pricing was discussed at a meeting chaired by Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba. Adar Poonawalla @adarpoonawalla (Serum CEO) As a philanthropic gesture on behalfof @SerumInstIndia, I hereby reduce the price to the states from `400 to `300 per dose, effective immediately; thiswill save thousands ofcrores ofstate funds going forward.Thiswill enable more vaccinations and save countless lives. RUNNING ON LOW (Clockwise from above) Relatives of Covid patients wait to refill oxygen cylinders outside a plant in Meerut on Wednesday; a patient waits inside an ambulance to enter a hospital in Ahmedabad; a policewoman points to a ‘no vaccine stock’ notice at a centre in Mumbai Many states have objected to the different prices for the vaccines. Lastweek,SIIhaddefended the pricing of the Covishield vaccine,sayingtheearlierprice was based on advance funding and nowit has to invest in scaling up and expanding capacity to produce more shots. The company, which manufactures the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine at Pune, had on April 21 announced a price of `600 per dose for private hospitals and at `400 for state governments andforanynewcontractbythe central government. Continued on Page 2 Maruti extends shutdown at Haryana plants by a month MARUTI SUZUKI INDIA (MSI), the country’s top carmaker,on Wednesday said it has decided to advance maintenance shutdownatitstwoHaryana-based manufacturing plants by a month amid a surge in the Covid-19 cases across the country,reports PTI. The auto major was supposed to take the shutdown at its two plants in Gurgaon and Manesarin June,but due tothe tsunami of Covid-19 cases, it decided to take it one month earlier to save oxygen for med- ical needs. MSI noted that as part of the car manufacturing process,it uses a small amount of oxygen in its factories,while relatively much larger quantities are used by the manufacturers of components. “In the current situation,we believeallavailableoxygenshouldbeusedtosavelives.Accordingly,MarutiSuzukihasdecided to advance its maintenance shutdown,originallyscheduled forJuneto1stto9thMay,”itsaid in a regulatoryfiling. ■ Report on Page 4 Shots for above 18: Glitches in app Centre allocates tocilizumab to states AS THE registration of all citizens above 18 years of age for vaccination against Covid-19 startedontheCoWINportalat 4 pm on Wednesday, many people took to social media to complain about the technical problems they faced trying to THE UNION government has madeaninterimallocationof tocilizumab among the states,asafreshlimitedstock ofthedrugusedforthetreatment of Covid-19 patients has arrived in the country, reports PTI. In a letter, QuickPicks ONGC looking for foreign partners for new fields ONGC ON Wednesday said it is seeking foreign partners for yet-to-be-developed fields in lesser prospective areas, but is shackled by uneconomic gas prices and tax structure, reports PTI. Reacting to a PTI report on the petroleum ministry asking Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to sell stake in producing oil fields to private firms, get foreign partners in KG basin gas fields, monetise existing infrastructure and hive off drilling and other services into a separate company to raise production, the state-owned firm said the ongoing discussions with the administrative ministry were neither new, nor intended to limit its role or growth. PAGE 4 Jio Platforms,Byju’s in TIME’s first list of 100 most influential firms TWO INDIAN firms, Reliance Industries' technology arm Jio Platforms and e-learning start-up Byju's, have figured in the TIME's firstever list of 100 most influential companies, reports PTI. On its website, TIME said companies shaping the future are at the heart of the first ever TIME100 Most Influential Companies. To assemble it, TIME solicited nominations across sectors including healthcare, entertainment, transportation, technology and evaluated each one on key factors, including relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition and success. PAGE 4 Centre seeks stakeholders’views on national electricity policy THE UNION power ministry has asked states and industry associations to submit their suggestions for framing the national electricity policy (NEP), 2021 within the next three weeks, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. The government has constituted a committee, led by former chairperson of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission Girish Pradhan, to come up with NEP, 2021. The committee will submit its suggested draft NEP, 2021 within two months. The last NEP was formulated in 2005, and since then, per capita power consumption has nearly doubled to the current level of 1,208 units. Share of renewable electricity has increased to 10% of overall consumption from 0.75% in the same period. PAGE 3 register themselves for the third phase of the inoculation drivethatisscheduledtobegin fromMay1,reportsPTI.Some complainedthattheportalwas not responding while others complained that it had crashed. ■ Page 2 GOING PUBLIC Zomato files for IPO, eyes `8,250 crore FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 28 ZOMATO IS LOOKING to raise upto`8,250crore($1.1billion) through an initial public offering (IPO), preliminary documentsfiledwithcapitalmarkets regulatorSebi showed. The offer comprises a fresh issue worth `7,500 crore and a `750-crore offer for sale by existingshareholderInfo Edge. The food tech start-up that mopped up $910 million from investors through 2020 and early 2021 is believed to be eyeing a much bigger valuation than the current claimed valuation of $5.4 billion. Zomato and Swiggy are today ■ Zomato’s revenue from operations grew by 98.44% y-o-y to `2,604.73 cr in FY20 ■ Losses rose by 136.14% to `2,385.6 cr ■ Average order value (food delivery) rose to `407.8 in Q3FY21 from `264.6 in Q1FY20 ■ Gross orderva- lue rose to `2,981 cr in Q3FY21 from `2,785.29 in Q3FY20 the leaders in what RedSeer estimates will be a $110-billion market by 2025. Continued on Page 2 pharma joint secretary Navdeep Rinwa and health and family welfare ministry directorRajivWadhawansaid the drug went out of stock in the country a few weeks ago due to a sudden surge in its demand. ■ Page 2 PM: India, Russia to help humanity with Sputnik teamwork PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Wednesday thanked President Vladimir Putin for Russia’s help and support in India’s fight against Covid-19 as the two leaders agreed to establish a “2+2 ministerial dialogue” between foreign and defence ministers to add further momentum to the bilateral strategic “Had an excellent conversation with my friend President Putin today.We discussed the evolving Covid-19 situation, and I thanked President Putin for Russia’s help and supportinIndia’sfightagainst the pandemic,” Modi tweeted.“Our cooperation on the Sputnik-V vaccine willassisthumanityinbattlingthepandemic,hesaid. ■ Report on Page 2 VIRUS SURGE IT companies feel the pressure REUTERS Bengaluru, April 28 Hard times IT MAJORS IN Bengaluru and othercitieshavesetupCovid-19 “war-rooms”astheyscrambleto source oxygen, medicine and hospitalbedsforinfectedworkers and maintain backroom operations for the world’s biggest financialfirms. Banks, including Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered, who run much of their global back office operations from large office parks in Bengaluru, ChennaiorHyderabad,haveput in place infrastructure to vaccinate thousands of employees and their families when age restrictions are lifted on May1. Workers at huge technology service providers Accenture , Infosys and Wipro say teams are working 13-14 Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered, have put in place infra to vaccinate thousands of employees and their families when age curbs are lifted on May 1 Accenture, Infosys and Wipro say teams are working 13-14 hours daily under growing pressure and struggling to deliver on projects as many call in sick hours daily, under growing pressure and struggling to deliver on projects as staff call in sick and take time off to care for friends and relatives. Continued on Page 2 ON A ROLL Sebi: 20% of salary of key Sensex soars, rupee rallies as staff ofAMCs to be in MF units earnings eclipse corona gloom IN ORDERTO aligntheinterest of the key employees of asset management companies (AMCs) with the unitholders of the mutual fund schemes,Sebi on Wednesday said a part of compensation of such staffers will be paid in the form units of scheme in which they have a role,reportsPTI.“Aminimumof 20% of the salary/perks/ bonus/non-cashcompensation (gross annual CTC) net of income tax and any statutory contributions(i.e.PFandNPS)of the key employees of the AMCs shallbepaidintheformofunits of mutual fund schemes in which they have a role/oversight,” it said. ■ Report on Page 10 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mumbai, April 28 THE SENSEX SOARED 790 points while the Nifty vaulted above the 14,850-mark on Wednesday as markets maintained theirwinning streak for the third session on the trot amid robust corporate results. The rupee also rose by 30 paise to close at a nearly twoweek high of 74.36 against the dollar. A strengthening rupee and short covering ahead of F&O expiry also fuelled the rally, traders said, even as the Covid-19 situation remained an overhang. Sensex surged 789.70 points or 1.61% to finish at Sensex `/$ Intra-day, April 28 50,000 Intra-day, April 28 Inverted scale 74.25 74.365 49,733.84 74.32 49,700 74.516 74.39 49,400 49,100 48,800 74.46 49,066.64 Previous close: 48,944.14 Open Close 49,733.84.Niftysurged211.50 points or1.44% to 14,864.55. Bajaj Finance was the star performer in the Sensex pack, surging 8.32%, a day after it 74.53 Previous close: 74.66 Open Close posted a 42% increase in consolidated net profit at `1,347 crore for the March quarter. Continued on Page 2 UPSWING AHEAD Commodities’ hot run not yet close to done, say Goldman, UBS BLOOMBERG April 28 THE POWERFUL RALLY in commodities that’s been a standout feature of global markets as the world emerges from the pandemic has plenty of room to run, according to Goldman Sachs Group and UBS Group AG. Raw materials will surge 13.5% in the next six months, Goldman Sachs Group said in a report, forecasting a never-seen-before jump in global oil demand and copper at a record. UBS said commodities will rise another10%.“Themagnitude of the coming change in the volume of demand — a change which supply cannot match — must not be understated,” Goldman analysts including Jeffrey Currie and Damien Courvalin said in the April 28 note. Activity levels are rising, aidedbytherolloutofvaccines, and there will also be a seasonal upswing in manufactur- Raw materials to surge 13.5% in next 6 months, according to Goldman Sachs Seasonal upswing likely in manufacturing and construction through June Commodities will rise another 10%, UBS said Unprecedented rebound in global crude demand to likely push up oil prices ing and construction through June,they said. Raw materials from oil to metals have soared thisyearas theglobaleconomyrebounded from the mauling delivered by the pandemic. Energy markets have also beenaidedbythetoughsupply curbs imposed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opce) and its allies, though these will be gradually eased from next month. Demand is so strong that marketshave“lookedthrough” the current Covid-19 crisis in India,according to Goldman. There will be an unprecedented rebound in global crude demand, underpinning a forecast for higher oil prices by the summer, the bank said. Worldwide consumption is expected to swell by 5.2 million barrels a day over the next six months, driving Brent crude to $80 a barrel, it predicted. Continued on Page 2
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