OPINION, P6 COMPANIES, P4 INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL PANDEMIC PAIN ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN FINANCING OYO looks to raise $600 million in debt amid virus surge Sarkozy a no-show as second criminal trial begins in Paris Allow banks a wider recast of loans, it will help small businesses Present ice loss is just the tip of the iceberg, a lot worse is in store sans drastic green action NEW DELHI, FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVII NO. 69, 14 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 IN THE NEWS Deadline to file ITR extended by two months THE GOVERNMENT on Thursday extended the due date of filing income tax (I-T) returns for 2020-21 for individuals by two months till September 30, reports PTI. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has also extended the ITR filing deadline for companies by a month till November 30. In a circular, the CBDT said an extension of time limits is being given "to provide relief to taxpayers in view of the severe pandemic" SUUTI stake sale in Axis Bank fetches `4,000 cr KICK-STARTING DISINVESTMENT in FY22, the Centre has raised around `4,000 crore on Thursday by selling 1.95% from the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India or SUUTI’s holding in Axis Bank, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Prior to the OFS, SUUTI held a 3.45% in Axis Bank.SUUTI had proposed to sell up to 3.6 crore equity shares, representing 1.21% of paid up equity share capital of Axis Bank. FB got 40,300 govt requests for user data in six months FACEBOOK HAS said it has received 40,300 requests from the government for user data in the second half of 2020, reports PTI. This was 13.3% higher from the January-June 2020 period when India had made 35,560 total requests, according to Facebook's latest Transparency Report. It restricted access to 878 items in India during the period in response to directions from the IT ministry for violating Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000. Special Feature COMBATTING COVID India to scale up daily testing to 45 lakh/day by end June More testing along with isolation and treatment can bring down positivity rate to 5%, says ICMR chief Bhargava FE BUREAU Pune, May 20 THE COVID-19 TESTING capacity in the countrywill be increased to 45 lakh tests a day by June 30, Balram Bhargava,director-general,Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), said at a media briefing on Thursday. Currently,20 lakh tests are conducted daily and this will be increased to 25 lakh tests a day by May 31 and 45 lakh by June end. A ferocious second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic had seen positivityrate hit 23% in mid-April, though this has now dropped to 13%. More testing togetherwith isolation and treatment, Bhargava said, would help bring down the positivity rate to 5% and control transmission. Compared with just eight lakh tests a dayin earlyMarch, a record 20 lakh tests were carried out on May 18 and 19.As on May 20, the country had conducted 32 crore Volunteers work inside a ‘war room’ set up by BMC to monitor the availability of beds at Covid-19 hospitals and assign them to people with severe symptoms, in Mumbai cumulative Covid-19 tests The ICMR DG has called for rationalising RT-PCR tests and scaling up testing using Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) since results are available immediately. ICMR has validated 105 RAT test companies and approved 41 of them for enhancing RAT testing; of these 31 are local companies. The first home testing kit has been approved by ICMR and three more could be approvedwithin aweek,Bhargava said. Continued on Page 2 Ashwin Suresh, founder, Pocket Aces, talks about the potential in live game streaming, and why his company is yet to join the regional content bandwagon ■ BrandWagon, P7 Mylab launches India’s first self-test kit for Covid-19 GEETA NAIR Pune, May 20 INDIA’SFIRSTSELF-USECovid19 test kit from Mylab Discovery Solutions has received approvalfromtheIndianCouncilforMedicalResearch(ICMR). This test kit will allow peopletocarryoutCovidtestsat home. This is a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) that symptomatic individualsandimmediatecontacts of laboratory confirmed positive cases can use. The test can be purchased withoutaprescriptionoverthe counterfrom local pharmacies and online. Mylab’s self-test kit, CoviSelf,will help in reducing the testing burden across diagnostic labs in India and reduce the time taken to detect Covid19 infections,Hasmukh Rawal, founder and MD of Mylab DiscoverySolutions,said. ■ Detailed report on Page 4 Notify ‘black fungus’ as an epidemic: Govt to states Cipla launches RT-PCR testing kit 'ViraGen' Bharat Biotech to make 200 m additional Covaxin doses THE GOVERNMENT on Thursday asked state governments to notify mucormycosis as an epidemic, reports fe Bureau in Pune. The mucormycosis fungal infection has been spreading across the country with the number of infections growing in Maharashtra, Telangana, Rajasthan and Delhi. ■ Page 2 DRUG MAJOR Cipla on Thursday announced the commercialisation of its RT-PCRtest kit‘ViraGen’forCovid-19 in India,in partnershipwith Ubio Biotechnology Systems, reports PTI. The company will commence supply of the Covid-19 virus detection kit from May 25,2021. ■ Page 4 BHARAT BIOTECH on Thursday said it plans to produce additional 200 million doses of Covaxin at its subsidiary’s Ankleshwar (Gujarat) based facility, taking the overall production volume of the vaccine to 1 billion dosages per annum, reportsPTI.Theplantwillstartrollingout thevaccine from the fourth quarter. ● NEW CHALLENGES Ensure market processes not undermined: FM to CCI PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, May 20 THE COMPETITION COMMISSION of India (CCI) should take “extra care”and ensure that no “omission or commission” result in undermining of marketprocessesasbusinesseslook for revival after the pandemic, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said onThursday. Addressing a virtual event to commemorate the 12th annual day of the Competition Commission of India Nirmala (CCI),the min- Sitharaman ister also appreciated the efforts taken by the regulator over the years and urged it to continue with a pro-active approach. The CCI has the mandate to ensure fair competition in the market across sectors and also has powers to clamp down on anti-competitive practices. “I would also want to just mention, not in a left-handed waybut certainlymention that knowingly or unknowingly, no omission or commission should result in the market process getting undermined. Continued on Page 2 BRENT: $65.95 ▼ $0.71 GOLD: `48,387 ▼ `287 LABOUR UNREST Strikes, lockouts down in Modi era SURYA SARATHI RAY New Delhi, May 20 THE PACE of formal job creation fell yet again in 2020-21, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. While it declined by 21% in 2019-20 over the previous year, the 2020-21 fiscal also saw a 22.56% decline in the number of new subscribers joining in the retirement scheme run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) over 2019-20. However, cumulative net payroll addition to the EPFO’s subscribers’ base remained static at 77.08 lakh in 2020-21. PAGE 2 HDFC Bank credit card base shrinks by 3 lakh in Dec-Mar THE RESERVE Bank of India’s (RBI) embargo on sourcing of new credit card customers by HDFC Bank may have started to affect the lender’s card base, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. As per data released by the central bank, the number of credit cards outstanding at HDFC Bank fell by about 3.23 lakh between December 2020 and March 2021 to 1.5 crore. It was not immediately clear whether the card base shrank due to a churn in cards or a conscious weeding out of inactive cards by the bank. PAGE 9 Wallets, cards to be made interoperable FE BUREAU Mumbai, May 20 THE RESERVE BANK of India (RBI)hasmandatedthatallprepaid payment instruments (PPIs) or wallets that are fully KYC-compliant be made interoperable by March 31, 2022. The central bank announced this through a notification issuedlate onWednesday. “It shall be mandatory for PPIissuerstogivetheholdersof full-KYC PPIs (KYC-compliant PPIs) interoperability through authorised card networks (for PPIs in the form of cards) and UPI(forPPIsintheformofelectronicwallets),” the notification said. Interoperability shall be mandatory on the acceptance sideaswellanditwillbeenabled Mandatory for PPI issuers to give holders of full-KYC PPIs interoperability via card networks & UPI ■ Interoperability mandatory on the acceptance side aswell ■ Cash withdrawals capped at `2,000 per transaction with overall limit of `10,000 per month per PPI by March 31, 2022. PPIs for masstransitsystems(PPI-MTS) shall remain exempted from interoperability,while gift PPI issuers have the option to offer interoperability. Continued on Page 11 ZHANG YIMING ANNOUNCED he willstepdownasCEOofTikTok-owner ByteDance,sayinghelackedthesocial skillstobeanidealmanagerandnaming his college roommate Liang Rubo ashissuccessortonavigatearisingtide of BigTech regulations. In a surprise announcement to employees on Thursday,first reported by Reuters and later disclosed by the company,Zhangsaidthechangewould enable him“to have greaterimpact on longer-term initiatives”. He will move toa“keystrategy”positionattheendof theyear,ByteDance said. ■ ZhangYiming,who turned ByteDance into a social media force, said in a memo he lacked the skills ofan ideal manager ■ He named his college roommate and long-time colleague Liang Rubo as his successor ■ Zhang owns 20-30% ofByteDance and holds over 50% ofvoting rights The 38-year-old will be succeeded byLiang,along-timecolleagueandthe current head of human resources at ByteDance,one of the world’s biggest 415 Persondays lost 4,00,40,204 2,88,76,049 Industrial lockouts 531 273 *Narendra Modi 1.0 government assumed office on May 26, 2014 Source: Labour ministry are not immediately available for the January-May 2014 period, yet it is unmistakable that a declining trend in the number of labour agitations started afterModi took charge. Continued on Page 11 THE MINISTRY of Electronics and IT (MeitY) is going to come out with incentive schemes for setting up displayand semiconductorfabrication units in the country in the next six months, reports Kiran Rathee in New Delhi. AccordingtoMeitYsecretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney, the government is already doing the preparatory work and talking to the industry about the support required to set up the fabs. ■ Report on Page 3 PRESERVING PROFITS ● BAD DEBT Lenders likely to transfer 80 large NPA accounts to new bad bank Eateries launch own ordering websites PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, May 20 Zomato and Swiggy,they are of the view that having direct ordering capabilities will help them save on the commission charges payable to the aggregators,which can sometimes go up to as much as 30% of the ordervalue. BANKS ARE LIKELY to transfer about80largeNPAaccountsfor the resolution to NationalAsset Reconstruction Company (NARCL),whichisexpectedtobe operationalbynextmonth. NARCL is the name coined forthe bad bank announced in Budget 2021-22. A bad bank refers to a financial institution that takes over the bad assets of lenders and undertakes resolution. The size of each of these NPA accounts is over `500 crore and the banks have identified about 70-80 such accounts to be transferred to theproposedbadbank,sources said. It is expected that NPAs over `2 lakh crore will move outof the booksofthebanksto the bad bank,they added. The company will pick up thoseassetsthatare100%providedforbythe lenders. Finance minister Nirmala SitharamaninBudget2021-22 announcedthatthehighlevelof provisioning by PSBs of their stressed assets calls for measurestocleanupthebankbooks. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 ASMITA DEY New Delhi, May 20 PANDEMIC-HIT RESTAURANTS, which have been forced to bank on deliveries to sailthroughtheCovidcrisis,are launching their own ordering websitesandservicingdeliveries independently in a bid to reduce dependence on aggregatorslikeZomatoandSwiggy. A clutch of restaurants under the aegis of NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India) has partnered with tech companies DotPe and Thrive, which are providing them the technology support to build their own ordering links and enabling their discovery on Google and various social media platforms. While restaurants do acknowledge the wide reach of Direct ordering enables restaurants to offer personalised services to customers Some restaurateurs say Zomato & Swiggy can cater to a radius of only 7-10 km When ordered directly, eateries need not pay commission as is the casewith aggregators ByteDance founder to give up CEO duties HANDING OVERTHE BATON Labour strikes 579 Sops soon for semiconductor units ‘NOT VERY SOCIAL’ ECHO WANG & YINGZHI YANG May 20 2011-13 (UPA-II) 2014-Aug 2020 (NDA*) SWEEPING LABOUR REFORMS unleashed by the Narendra Modi government may be yet to take effect due to dithering by many state governments and the Covid-19 pandemic,butstrikesandlockouts have seen a steep decline during his ongoing tenure, leading to increased labour productivity and ease of doing business,official data reveal. In over six years spanning the Modi 1.0 and 2.0 governments (up to August 2020), person days lost due to labour unrest and industrial lockouts were only 2.89 crore, while the previous UPA-II government saw loss of over 4 crore person days in just three years (2011-2013). Of course, the Modi 1.0 government assumed office in May26,2014; segregated data RBI MANDATE QuickPicks Number of new subscribers to EPFO falls 23% in FY21 ‘Regional markets won’t drive pureplay growth’ `/$: 73.11 ▲ 0.06 `/€: 89.10 ▲ 0.25 ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE SENSEX: 49,564.86 ▼ 337.78 NIFTY: 14,906.05 ▼ 124.10 NIKKEI 225: 28,098.25 ▲ 53.80 HANG SENG: 28,450.29 ▼ 143.52 private tech companies with an estimated value of about $300 billion in recenttrades.Themanagementshakeup —ByteDance’s biggest since its launch in 2012 — comes as Chinese regulators are increasing scrutiny of thecountry’sbiggesttechnologyfirms. In April,they handed e-commerce giantAlibabaGroupwitha$2.8-billion fineforanti-competitivepractices,and lastyearsuspendedfintechaffiliateAnt Group’sIPO.Anti-trustregulatorshave also told Tencent Holdings they are preparing to fine the gaming giant as much as $1.55 billion, Reuters reported that lastmonth. Continued on Page 2 New Delhi
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