OPINION, P2 MIND & GAMES A team of international researchers has assembled an atlas of microorganisms present in 60 cities around the world A bigger calamity awaits us FE LINES Recent research suggests bees can be trained to smell and detect coronavirus Page 6 SUBWAY SWABBERS FIND A MICROBE JUNGLE AND THOUSANDS OF NEW SPECIES ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM The secret of bees Page 10 SPOTLIGHT Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM VOL. XX NO. 30 ANALTERNATE WORLD FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY NEW DELHI SUNDAY, MAY 30, 2021, 16 Pages, `10 (Patna `10, Raipur `10) 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 , WHAT'S INSIDE ■ LEISURE, P7 A marketing makeover In the postpandemic world, digital marketing has become a must for every company, with influencers and social media sites becoming the new tools to promote business C H E N N A I , READ TO LEAD H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , A book outlines six principles which can be applied to any firm that wants to be competitive ROHNIT PHORE L U C K N O W , Free education, `10-lakh corpus for Covid orphans Pension for dependents THE GOVERNMENT ON PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, May 29 The power of six K O L K A T A , NEW SCHEME ● PM announces benefits under PM-CARES for Children scheme ■ WORDS WORTH, P4 ODD & EVEN C H A N D I G A R H , Alternativism is the crying need of the hour to fight climate change Page 5 ON THE EVE of his government’ssecondanniversaryinits second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announcedanumberofwelfare measures for children who lost their parents to Covid-19, including ensuring a corpus of `10lakhwhentheyturn18and providing fortheireducation. Chairing a meeting to deliberate on steps which can be taken to support such children, he said they will be supported under the “PM-CARES for Children” scheme. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement that fixed deposits will be opened in the names of such children, and the PM-CARES fund will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh foreach of them when he or she reaches 18 years of age. This corpus will be used to Health workers give vaccine doses to elderly persons at a drive-in vaccination centre in Nagpur on Saturday PTI New case count lowest in 45 days THE SINGLE-DAY riseincoro- naviruscaseswasrecordedat 1,73,790, the lowest in last 45 days, taking India's total tally of Covid-19 cases to 2,77,29,247, as per official data, reports PTI in New Delhi. The daily positivity give a monthly financial support or stipend from 18 years of age for the next five years to take care of his or her personal requirements during the period of highereducation.On reaching the age of 23 years, they will get the corpus amount as one lump-sum for further declined to 8.36%, remaining below 10% for five consecutive days, while the weekly positivity rate dropped to 9.84%, it said. The death toll climbed to 3,22,512 with 3,617 dailydeaths. personal and professional use. While announcing these measures, Modi emphasised that children represent the country’s future and the government will do everything possibletosupportandprotect them so that they develop as strong citizens and have a GAME ON ● Sales of buses at all-time low, unlikely to pick up anytime soon bright future. Continued on Page 16 REMDESIVIR ALLOCATION TO STATES STOPPED PAGE 16 NOTIME FOR PETTY POLITICS: KEJRIWALPAGE 16 ● From generous leave policies to vaccination, all help extended FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 29 AT A TIME when the country is in the grip of a deadly second wave of the pandemic that continues to claim thousands of lives on a daily basis and people are struggling to maintain sanity, Indian companies have extended a helping hand to their employees. Firms are rejigging work calendars, making schedules more flexible and devising generous leave policies.Workplaces are also leveraging their network and partnerships to provide medical and other emergency services to their staff besides offering financial support. Flipkart, for instance, has introduced a Covid care leave policythatallowsemployeesto take up to 28 calendar days of paid leave for self-care and healing. The company’s staff can alsoapplyforbereavement leave underits time awayfrom US SECRETARY of state Antony Blinken has said that he had a productive meeting with visiting external affairs minister S Jaishankar during which they discussed bilateral ties, Covid-19 relief efforts, the India-China border situation and Afghanistan, and vowed to work together to address areas of shared concern, reports PTI. Jaishankar, the first Indian Cabinet minister to visit the US since Joe Biden became President on January 20, met Blinken on Friday. PAGE 11 Amazon pressed for racial equity review after strong vote tally AMAZON.COM INC should review how it is addressing racial justice and equity after a shareholder proposal on the topic won strong backing, New York state’s top pension official said on Friday, reports Reuters. A filing on Friday showed 44% of votes cast supported a call for a review of the company’s impact on equity, diversity and other areas proposed by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli at Amazon’s annual meeting on May 26, a high total for such a measure. DiNapoli said the measure would have received a majority but for the 14% stake held by CEO Jeff Bezos, a sign of investor dissatisfaction at the leading online retailer. PAGE 11 ■ The decision was taken considering the monsoon season in India during the months of September-October ■ This is the second year in a row that the IPL will be held in the UAE ■ The decision to resume IPL should spell relief for official broadcaster Star India that banks on the advertising revenues earned from the game The decision to resume IPL should spell relief for official broadcasterStarIndiathatbanks on the advertising revenues earnedfromthegametorecoup theheavyinvestmentsitmadeto acquiretheIPLmediarights. Continued on Page 16 VIKRAM CHAUDHARY New Delhi, May 29 Goods carrier 40,016 7,322 1,84,412 1,53,366 Chg (%) LCVs 81.7 16.8 45,814 Passenger carrier 12,088 « Passenger carrier FY21 73.6 Flipkart has Covid care leave of up to 28 days and will cover vaccination cost for staff and 5 dependents each Byju’s has `20-cr fund to cover medical expenses for staff and dependants, besides more Covid leave Swiggy has fourday work week for May, besides Swiggy shield app and employee support hotline Oyo Hotels & Homes has fourday work week for May and June and flexible infinite paid leave upGrad is distributing oxygen concentrators in Mumbai, NCR, Bengaluru among needy staff work policy. The firm has enabled employees to seek an advance on their salaries to address medical emergencies or any unexpected expenses on an urgent basis. Continued on Page 16 AN EIGHT MEMBER group of July is traditionally the period when schools buy buses, but both in 2020 and 2021 that buying all but stopped. “Transportation is a service that schools provide to students and staff. But many schools are realising that owning a bus is not a good investment due to associated issues such as maintenance and parking, and hiring makes more sense. While that indirectly leads to sales of buses, transportation may not be on the top of schools’agenda once they reopen,”he said. Continued on Page 16 Continued on Page 16 Goods carrier 3,95,783 11.5 Source: SIAM sibility, could be a washout for this sub-segment. Major buyers of buses and mini-buses in India are state transportundertakings(STUs), schools, offices, private transporters and contractors who service schools, corporates, hotels,etc.Withschoolsclosed, work from home likely to be a permanent feature at some corporates,and tourism activity not expected to pick-up for some time, sales of buses may remain muted. Delhi-based educationist and the director of Ahlcon Group of Schools Ashok Pandey told FE that March to FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 29 ministers(GOM)ledbyMeghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma will examine the need for reduction of or exemption from Covid vaccines and other related healthcare items from goods and service tax (GST). “In pursuant of the decision of the GST Council at its 43rd meeting on May 28, 2021, a groupofministers hasbeenconstituted to examine the issue of GST concessions/ exemption to Covid relief material.The GOM shall examine the need for GST concession and make recommendations on Covid vaccines, drugs and medicines for Covid treatment and testing kits for Coviddetection,”accordingtothe GOM’stermsofreference. “(Toexamine)medicalgrade oxygen,pulse oxymeters,hand sanitisers, oxygen therapy equipment such as concentrators,generatorsandventilators, PPE kits, N95 masks, surgical masks, temperature checking equipmentandanyotheritems requiredforCovidrelief,”itsaid. 4,47,351 WHILE ALL SEGMENTS of the automotive sector have been negativelyimpacted due to the pandemic,the passengercommercial vehicle (CV) segment has been hit particularly hard. According to FY21 sales data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), sales of passenger medium and heavy CVs dropped 81.7% year-on-year and those of passenger light CVs dropped 73.6%, even as the goods counterparts of these sub-segments dropped just 16.8% and 11.5%. While goods CVs appear to be coming out of recession — until the secondwave hit,their month-on-month sales were rising consistently — analysts argue that passenger CVs (buses and mini-buses) will take a very long time to recover,andCY2021,inallpos- HELPLINE Sangma-led GOM to examine GST cut « M&HCVs FY20 « Domestic sales (Units) « Held productive meeting with Jaishankar, says Blinken Ready for the show P U N E COVID RELIEF ITEMS « QuickPicks Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturdaysaid the remaining matches ofthetheIndianPremierLeague (IPL)forthisseasonwillbeheldin theUnitedArabEmirates(UAE). “The decisionwas taken at a special general meeting held virtually,wheremembersunanimously agreed to resume IPL,” the BCCI said in a statement. The matches are scheduled to be held during SeptemberOctober as indicated by the board.The decision to shift the tournament to a different country was taken “considering the monsoon season in India during the months of September-October,” BCCI said.News agencyPTI reported that the matches are likely to be played between September 18 and October 10. On May 4, the BCCI announced the suspension of IPL in India after few participants contracted the coronavirus. The tournament had commenced on April 9 and was earlierscheduled to end on May 30. This is the second year in a row that the IPL will be held in theUAE.TheentireseasonofIPL 2020wasplayedinthecountry. D E L H I , Corporates show a big heart for staff with Covid Rest of IPL matches A washout year for passenger to be played in UAE commercial vehicle segment THE BOARD OF Control for N E W FIRM INITIATIVES BUMPY RIDE FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 29 Saturday announced pension for dependents of thosehavinglosttheirlives due to Covid-19, among otherbenefitsforthefamilieswholosttheirearning memberstothepandemic, reports PTI in NewDelhi. Besides family pensions, insurance benefits under the Employees’ Deposit-LinkedInsurance (EDLI) scheme have been enhanced and liberalised. BenefitoftheEmployee State Insurance Corporation(ESIC)pensionscheme for employment-related death cases is being extendedtoeventhosewho have died due to Covid,the PMOsaidinastatement. M U M B A I , Audio streaming gains popularity as homebound listeners seek variety ● Consumption of podcasts has increased during the pandemic ASMITA DEY New Delhi, May 29 THEPLAYAROUND contentand originals that has largely been equated with video-streaming platforms is fast gripping the audio streaming space. Companies are building on theirslateofpodcasts,asegment that is increasingly finding favourwith more users.Players are curating exclusive podcasts ororiginalsincollaborationwith theirnetworkofcreators,aswell as getting licensed content. While podcasts have been gaining ground for some time now, theirconsumptionhasincreased during the pandemic as homebound consumers experimented with varied content.A dip in fresh movie releases may havealsoprompteduserstoshift topodcaststhatspangenres. Spotify, for instance, today hasmorethan30originalpodcasts in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Hindi and English podcasts have been the most popular on the platform.“The curiosity around non-music audio has increased over the year.Listeners are increasingly shifting to podcasts, consuming content around self-motivation, fiction, thriller, horror, mythology, and education,” a companyspokespersontoldFE. The firm attributes the growthofpodcaststothesurge in India’s creator community from across cities.“This boom is supported bythe availability and ease of using podcast creation and distribution tools such as Anchor, leading to increased creation and con- ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE sumption of content across languages,” added the spokesperson. JioSaavn, which has already managed to build a library of podcasts covering 500 hours of original content across languages, is investing in shorter format podcasts, especiallythosethatare in sync with the present times to get more users to tune into the segment. Onesuchpodcastitrecently produced is Working From Home. The strategy may have worked;thefirmclaimstohave seen a four-time increase in paid subscriptions lastyear. “In 2020, with the lockdown,wenoticedlistenerswho had historicallynot tuned into podcasts experimenting with the medium. In 2021 we are likely to see people turning to podcasts forhyperspecific reasons — to learn a particular subject,self improvement,ondemand content, content acrossvarious genres,etc,”said a company spokesperson. Spotify and JioSaavn have also deftly enabled users to socialise via their platforms. They have introduced features New Delhi allowing users to share podcast episodes and music tracks with their contacts through social mediaplatformslikeInstagram. Wynk licenses audio content from podcast creation platform Hubhopper and has added about 4,000 podcasts with 40,000 episodes to complement its music library that hosts nearly 14 million songs. The Airtel-owned streaming platform that has over 72 million monthly active users said listenersareturningtopodcast genreslikehealthandwellness and spirituality. Continued on Page 16
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