OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P2 INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL FINMIN-SPEAK COVID COST Budget allocation for vaccine doesn’t inhibit govt from using funds Nepal PM Oli loses confidence vote amid surging pandemic India needs centralised vaccine procurement Fighting bio-weaponisation needs strengthening of UNBWC, stringent trade action against errant countries MUMBAI, TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. LXI NO. 110, 12 PAGES, `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: 49,502.41 ▲ 295.94 NIFTY: 14,942.35 ▲ 119.20 NIKKEI 225: 29,518.34 ▲ 160.52 HANG SENG: 28,595.66 ▼ 14.99 `/$: 73.35 ▲ 0.16 `/€: 89.22 ▼ 0.44 BRENT: $69.07 ▲ $0.79 GOLD FUTURE: `48,025 ▲ `274 GOVERNMENTHEADHUNTER PESB on Monday selected Arun Kumar Singh as the next chairman and managing director of BPCL, in signs that the privatisation of the state-run firm may be delayed, reports PTI. Special Feature Liquid funds ` ` ` ` ` ` market-linked Short-term Long-term ` SIP % Talks onwith Pfizer, Moderna, J&J to facilitate imports FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 10 ■ SII, Bharat Biotech ramp up HAVING COME UNDER fire from the Supreme Court over its revised vaccination Covid19 strategy,theCentre hastold the top court in an affidavit that the policy is not only“just and non-discriminatory” but would enure that all citizens havetheoptionofgettingtheir shots free, uniformity in pricing for the states and that the vaccine manufacturers do not unduly enrich themselves out of public money. It, however, argued against the use of statutory provisions like compulsory licensing to influence pricing ofvaccines by the two domestic firms — Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech —, saying given the financial risk the firms have taken,negotiatedpricingwould beaprudentapproach.Anyway, the people as ultimate beneficiary of the vaccination would not be adversely impacted by this as ‘all states’ have announced free vaccination to all eligible population (those above 18years of age),it noted. The Centre also said that theprioritisationofagegroups for vaccination and a stepwise, layered approach followed was in sync with international practice and the World Health Organisation’s Risks in market-linked investments ■ Sputnik-Vexpected to increase production from 30 lakhs to 1.2 crore doses/month byJuly ■ Compulsory licensing for vaccines not possible due to unavailability of raw materials Centre says no room for ‘judicial interference’, as strategy driven by experts;wisdom ofexecutive should be trusted guidelines. The Centre also vowed to speed up the pace of vaccination by making available to Indian people prophylactics from othervaccine producers like Pfizer, Moderna andJ&J,allofwhichitisintalks with. It also submitted that against approval from DCGI, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has elrady imported the first consignment of 1.5 lakh Sputnik doses. On the Centre getting vaccine at a lower rates than the states,thegovernmentsaidthis is because it has placed much largerordersthanthestatesand private hospitals. Continued on Page 2 ALL HANDS ON DECK People gather at a vaccine centre (top left) during the third phase of the pan-India inoculation drive in Patna; volunteers pack food for patients at a community kitchen in Kozhikode (top right); an Oxygen Express train carrying around 11 tankers reaches Delhi Cantonment on Monday Mumbai seeks to import millions of vaccines to avert virus wave DHWANI PANDYA Mumbai, May 10 AUTHORITIES IN MUMBAI are seeking to import millions of vaccine doses to help avert a third potential coronavirus wave.The municipal corporation is in talks with the state governmenttoallowittoinvite bids from global manufacturers, commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said in an interview on Monday. “The state government tender might be very huge, like 40 million, and no foreignsuppliercanmatchthat kindofnumber,butifIjustfloat 5 million vaccines, bids may come up from two-three companies,” he said.“I am working on that and it’s a matterof days thatwewillfinalisesomething.” Mumbai is open to any approved vaccine — be it Russia’s Sputnik, ones from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, orthe formula from Pfizer.The citywillalsopaythefirmsextra to maintain a cold chain or other necessary logistics, Chahal said. Continued on Page 2 Yamaha to suspend production at two plants OLA FOUNDATION, THE philanthropic arm of ridehailing company Ola, on Monday announced its partnership with GiveIndia to provideconsumerswithoxygen concentrators, for free through the Ola app, reports fe Bureau in Chennai. YAMAHA MOTOR SAID on Monday it will temporarily suspend its motorcycle production at two plants to protect employees from the Covid surge,reports Reuters. The plants in Surajpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu) will halt production URBAN SETBACK Jobless rate (%) 10 9.5 8.67 Theride-hailingcompany will roll out the service in Bengaluru from this week with an initial set of 500 oxygen concentrators. Ola and GiveIndia will scale it up across the countrywith up to 10,000 concentrators in the coming weeks. ■ Page 4 Against the grain End of MSP? Far from it, rabi wheat purchases at brisk pace The country is geared up for record wheat procurement at MSP in the current rabi season. And 66% of the payments are made to farmers in Punjab and Haryana, the two states which are at the forefront of the agitation against the new farm laws, which, the agitators fear, could destroy the MSP system 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22^ 6 4 4.66 Jan 17, 2021 Procurement in current rabi season (` crore) Dec 27,2020 Week ended Payment to farmers @MSP (` cr) 35,014 22.96 50,099 30.83 62,113 35.80 62,799 34.13 75,056 38.99 66,755* 33.80* ^Current; *As on May 9 in on-going season; `49,965 crore transferred to farmers via DBT; there is a time lag of 48-72 hours between procurement and payments, the bulk of the procurement occurs in April-May 2 0 Million tonne May 9, 2021 Source: CMIE static — it was at 7.29% for the week ended May 9 compared with 7.35% a week earlier and 8.58% in the week ended April 4. Continued on Page 2 QuickPick IndiGo board approves raising `3,000 crore through QIP INTERGLOBE AVIATION, parent of the country's largest airline IndiGo, on Monday said its board has approved raising up to `3,000 crore through sale of shares to institutional investors, reports PTI. The fund-raising, which will be done via issuance of equity shares through QIP, comes at a time when the airline industry is facing significant headwinds due to Covid that has resulted in falling passenger demand and low occupancy in flights. Punjab 21,588 Dues to farmers Actual payments Haryana 11,784 thus far Million tonne 25,418 15,958 12.9 8.1 Bharat Biotech begins direct supply of Covaxin to 14 states PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, May 10 DRUG FIRM ELI Lilly and CompanyonMondaysaid it has inked voluntary licensing agreements with Indian drug firms — Sun Pharma, Cipla and Lupin — toexpedite availabilityof its arthritis drug Baricitinib for treatment of Covid-19 patients in India,reports PTI. The company “has issued royalty-free, nonexclusive voluntary licencestoestablished Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers of generic medicines, Cipla, Lupin and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, who are collaborating with Lilly to accelerateandexpandthe availability of Baricitinib in India”, Eli Lilly and Company said in a statement. ■ Page 4 Suchitra Ella, Bharat Biotech joint MD BHARAT BIOTECH HAS commenced direct supply of its Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ to 14 states, including Delhi and Maharashtra,with effect from May 1, according to the company’sjointmanagingdirector Suchitra Ella. The Hyderabadbased firm has started supplying its Covid-19 treatment vaccine to the states based on the allocations received by the central government. “Bharat Biotech confirms direct supplies of COVAXIN to the following state govt's since 1/5/21, based on the allocations received by GoI.Requests have been received from other states, & will be processed for distributionbasedonavailabilityofstocks24x7,”Ellatweeted. The company is supplying vaccines to Andhra Pradesh, LOCKDOWN BRAKE Auto sales skid in Apr,outlook muted FE BUREAU Chennai, May 10 AUTO SALES DECLINED across categories in April and outlookremainsbleakwiththe second wave of the Covid triggering lockdowns across several states leading to closure of majority of dealerships. As a result,automanufacturerslike Maruti Suzuki India, Hero MotoCorp and others have not only advanced their annual maintenance shutdowns but also extended them. If the lockdowns stretch for long with several states extending the deadlines,company executives and analysts say that manufacturers would have no option other than furtherextending the shutdowns and curtail production. All-India vehicle registrations Apr '19 13,38,278 8,65,134 2W 3W 48,722 21,636 CV 36,984 38,285 78,630 51,436 If the retail sales numbers for April announced by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (Fada) on Monday is seen, it points towards such a scenario. Though April sales numbers cannot be compared to the same month of last year because back then there was a nation- Apr '21 y-o-y (%) -35.35 -55.59 2,36,188 2,08,883 PV Tractor Bharat Biotech confirms direct supplies of COVAXIN to the following state govt's since 1/5/21, based on the allocations received by GoI. Requests have been received from other states, & will be processed for distribution based on availability of stocks 24x7 Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir,Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Continued on Page 2 ● ACQUISITION -31.83 Blackstone buys Embassy parks for `5,200 crore FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 10 wide lockdown, the numbers were down across categories on a month-on-month basis. Compared to the same month in 2019, which was also not a good year for auto sales, numbers saw decline across categories,minus the tractors. BLACKSTONE ON MONDAY said it has acquired Embassy Industrial Parks,a jointventure of Warburg Pincus and Embassy,whichcontrols22million sq ft of largely Grade-A warehousingspaceacrossmajor industrial hubs,including Bengaluru and Delhi. The deal is worth around $700 million, or roughly `5,200 crore at Monday’s exchange rate. Embassy IndustrialParks’warehousesare located across major industrial hubsandareleasedtoleadingecommerce and retail players. Continued on Page 2 Detailed report on Page 4 -11.56 « Pan India wheat procurement (April-March) 8 FE BUREAU between May 15 and 31, a spokesman for the Japanese company said.A decision on whether the plants will resume production in June will be made after assessing the situation.He didn’t saywhethercaseshadbeenreportedat eitherof the plants. JAB TRACK Eli Lilly in pact with Sun, Cipla, Lupin for Covid treatment in India « At 8.7%, joblessness at 19-week high INDIA'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE touched a 19-week high of 8.67% in the week ended May 9, reflecting the economy's increasing inability to generate jobs.The state of joblessness has been more acute in cities and towns — urban employment rose 164 basis points to aworrisome 11.72% in the latest week under review, compared with the previous week. There has in fact been a steady increase in unemployment in recent months — the relevant rate rising to a fourmonth high of 7.97% in April compared with 6.5% in March,6.89% in Februaryand 6.52% in January. According to the data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the rural unemployment rate remained nearly production to 6.5 cr/per month and 2 cr/per month, respectively Ola to provide oxygen concentrators for free Lower the risk while investing in marketlinked products by optimal diversification and opting for SIP ■ Personal Finance, P7 SURYA SARATHI RAY New Delhi, May 10 Differential pricing to create incentivised demand, affordable prices ofvaccines « Govt names Arun Kumar Singh as BPCL chairman Uniform distribution ofvaccine among states on equitable and rational criteria 3.52 -34.58 11,85,374 FITCH RATINGS WARNED that India's slow pace of vaccination could mean that it remains vulnerable to further waves, reports PTI. "We expect the shock to economic activity from the latest wave to be less severe than in 2020,” it said. Centre tells SC given all states announced ‘free vaccines’, negotiated pricing with firms won’t hit patient-consumer 17,38,802 Economic activity down in April and May, says Fitch ‘Vaccination strategy equitable and just’ « « « THE GOVERNMENT ON Monday ruled out the possibility of free foodgrains to migrants, saying there is no panic situation and no complete national lockdown unlike last year, reports PTI. However, it has started distributing additional free grains again under PMGKAY for May and June to 80 crore ration cardholders. COVID-19 « IN THE NEWS Govt rules out free grains for migrants this time Total ● CYBER THREAT MOONWALK SpaceX accepts dogecoin as payment for lunar mission Colonial Pipeline hackers new but experienced REUTERS May 10 SPACEX WILL LAUNCH the “DOGE-1MissiontotheMoon” in the first quarter of next year, with Elon Musk’s commercial rocket company accepting the meme-inspiredcryptocurrency dogecoin as payment.“SpaceX launching satellite Doge-1 to the moon next year — Mission paid forin Doge — 1st crypto in space — 1st meme in space”, Musk said in a tweet. GeometricEnergyCorpora- SpaceX launching satellite Doge1 to the moon next year – Mission paid for in Doge – 1st crypto in space – 1st meme in space — ELON MUSK tion announced the dogecoinfundedmission earlieronSunday, with the statement not disclosing the mission’s financial value. “This mission will demonstratetheapplicationof cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation forinterplanetarycommerce,” SpaceXvice-president of commercial sales Tom Ochinero was quoted as saying in the statement released by Geometric Energy. Musk said on Twitter in April that SpaceX was going to put a “literal Dogecoin on the literal moon”. Dogecoin lost more than a third of its price on Sunday, after Musk called it a ‘hustle’ during his guest-host spot on the Saturday Night Live comedy sketch TV show. Musk’s tweets this year turned the once-obscure digital currency, which began as a social media joke,into a speculator’s dream. Continued on Page 2 RAPHAEL SATTER May 10 THE RANSOMWARE GROUP linked to the extortion attempt that has snared fuel deliveries across the US East Coast maybe new,but that doesn’t mean its hackers are amateurs. Who precisely is behindthedisruptiveintrusion into Colonial Pipeline hasn’t been made officially known and digital attribution can be tricky, especially early on in an investigation.AformerUSofficial and two industry sourceshavetoldReuters thatthegroupDarkSide is among the suspects. Cybersecurity expertswhohavetracked DarkSide said it appears to be composed of veteran cybercriminals who are focused on squeezing out as much money as theycan from theirtargets. Continued on Page 2
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