OPINION, P6 AKHILESH TILOTIA ECONOMY, P2 India must attract green funds from firms, other nations NATION, P3 EDITORIAL START-UP SUMMIT CBI CHARGESHEET On freeing up the MFI space, caution must match intent; need to rethink income-caps for loans, etc Modi calls for repair and prepare of economy, health infrastructure Firms owned by Choksi siphoned off over `6,345 cr from PNB CHENNAI/KOCHI, THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XLII NO. 345, 16 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: 52,501.98 ▼ 271.07 NIFTY: 15,767.55 ▼ 101.70 NIKKEI 225: 29,291.01 ▼ 150.29 HANG SENG: 28,436.84 ▼ 201.69 `/$: 73.33 ▼ 0.01 `/€: 88.91 ▼ 0.02 BRENT: $74.13 ▲ $0.14 GOLD: `48,217 ▼ `228 IN THE NEWS Brent hits new high near $75 on rise in demand OIL GAINED FOR a fifth day on Wednesday, climbing towards $75 a barrel to its highest since April 2019, supported by a recovery in demand and a drop in US crude inventories, reports Reuters. Brent crude was up 15 cents, or 0.2%, at $74.14 a barrel by 1330 GMT, and earlier reached $74.73, the highest since April 2019. Green hydrogen: MNRE considers buy obligations TO KICK-STARTA domestic hydrogen ecosystem in the country, the Union ministry of new and renewable energy has circulated a draft Cabinet note for inter-ministerial consultation to put green hydrogen consumption obligations on fertiliser producers and petroleum refiners, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Exports up 46% to $14 bn during June 1-14 INDIA'S EXPORTS ROSE 46.43% to $14.06 billion during June 1-14 on account of healthy growth in shipments in sectors such as engineering, gems and jewellery, and petroleum products, reports PTI. ZERO TOLERANCE $100 billion domestic IT firms look to save via job cuts mostly in salaries annually 9 million low-skilled services and BPO roles; of these, 30% or around 3 million will be lost Credit incentives to boost health care infra in the country It is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines. SIDDHARTHA SINGH New Delhi, June 16 —RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD, RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD Foreign entities need to follow the law of the land FE BUREAU New Delhi, June 16 COMMUNICATIONS AND IT minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday came down heavily on Twitter for choosing the “path of deliberate defiance” by not complying with the intermediary guidelines notified by the government. In a series of tweets and a post on thehomegrownmicroblogging platform, Koo, Prasad said that if any foreign entity believes it can portray itself as the flag bearerof free speech in India to excuse itself from complying with the law of the land, then such attempts are misplaced. “There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simplefactofthematteristhat Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the May 26,”Prasad said. He asserted that Twitter was given multiple opportunities to comply with the rules, but deliberatelychose the path of non-compliance. The government’s position is that Twitter being a significant social media intermediary was legally required to complywith the newIntermediary Rules by May 25, 2021, after the expiry of three months’time giventoallintermediariespostthenotification of the rules,but it did not do so. Continued on Page 2 ● LOW BASE Advance ‘IT firms set to slash 3 million jobs by 2022’ taxes rise 146% in Q1 WITHAUTOMATIONTAKING place at a much faster pace across industries especially in the tech space,domestic software firms that employee over 16 million are set to slash headcounts by a massive 3 million by 2022, which will help them save a whopping $100 billion mostlyin salaries annually, says a report. Govt may give health a `50,000-cr check Twitter deliberately chose to defy new IT rules, says Prasad AUTOMATION PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mumbai, June 16 INFRA PUSH The domestic IT sector employs around 16 million, of them around 9 million are employedinlow-skilledservices and BPO roles, according to Nasscom. Of these, 9 million low-skilled services and BPO roles, 30% or around 3 million will be lost by 2022,principally driven by the impact of robot process automation or RPA. Roughly 0.7 million roles are expected to be replaced by RPA alone and the rest due to other technological upgrades and upskilling by the domestic IT players,whileittheRPAwillhave theworst impact in the USwith a loss of almost 1 million jobs, according to a Bank of America report onWednesday. “TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL, Tech Mahindra and Cognizant and others appearto be planning for a 3 million reduction in low-skilled roles by 2022 because of RPA upskilling, the report says. QuickPicks Mitra fears SAIL’s Bengal units being sold off, writes to Pradhan WEST BENGAL finance minister Amit Mitra has alleged that SAIL’s Durgapur plant and the Burnpur IISCO steel unit are being stripped of assets as part of a plan by the Centre to eventually sell them off, reports fe Bureau in Kolkata. “I am deeply apprehensive that these two massive plants in Bengal would either be asset stripped or be sold off in the name of disinvestment," Mitra wrote in a letter to Union minister Dharmemdra Pradhan. PAGE 2 RIL AGM may unveil prices of Jio-Google smartphones THE AGM of RIL to be held next Thursday could give clarity on pricing, features and tariffs of JioGoogle phones, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. At the AGM last year, RIL had announced that Google would partner with Jio to design an operating system to bring out an affordable entry-level smartphone, which Mukesh Ambani said was a step in making India “2G-mukt”. PAGE 4 NHAI to mop up `15,000 cr via asset monetisation this fiscal THE NATIONAL Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has set a target to raise around `15,000 crore through monetisation of its operating assets through toll-operate-transfer (TOT) and Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) routes in the current fiscal, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. PAGE 2 Robust mop-up (` crore) 48,917 28,780 11,714 Q1 FY20 Q1 FY21 Q1 FY22 FE BUREAU New Delhi, June 16 THE CENTRE'S NET direct tax collections stood at `1,85,871 crore as on June 15 this fiscal, double the level in the year-ago period, thanks to a low base, a pick-up in exports,better complianceandlowerrefunds.Advance tax collections in the first quarter of FY22 were `28,780 crore,up 146% year on year,as the June 15 deadline passed. Ofcourse,asthechartshows, the collections, a reflection of corporate profitability, are still way below the level FY20, the year before Covid ravaged the economy. Taxpayers have to deposit 15% of theirestimated annual taxes as advance tax in the first quarterof a fiscalyear. Thenetdirecttaxcollections include corporation tax (CIT) at `74,356 crore and personal income tax (PIT),including security transaction tax (STT), at `1,11,043 crore as on June 15. BIDEN MEETS PUTIN Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden attend a meeting at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday COVID-19 Govt defends 12-16 week gap for Covishield doses Earlier, interval between two doses of the vaccine was 6-8 weeks FE BUREAU Pune, June 16 THE GOVERNMENT ON Wednesdaydefended the decision to increase the interval between two doses of the Covishield vaccine from12 to 16 weeks saying it was based on a fundamental scientific reason regarding behaviour of adenovector vaccines. This was a unanimous decision taken by the Covid-19 Working Group and Standing Technical SubCommittee (STSC) of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). The government was responding to reports which suggested the decision to increase the gap between two ■ Gap based on a fundamental scientific reason regarding adenovector vaccines’ behaviour ■ Says itwas a unanimous decision taken by the Working Group and NTAGI ■ Centre responds to reports suggesting some dissent among technical experts ■ Dissenting members had reportedly pointed to lack of data to support extension of the gap beyond 12 weeks dosesofCovishieldvaccinefrom 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks was not unanimous and that there had been some dissent among technical experts overthis. Continued on Page 12 EU nod to Sputnik V likely in two months RUSSIA'S RDIF SOVEREIGN wealth fund expects to receiveapprovalfortheSputnik V vaccine against Covid19 from the European Medicines Agency within two months, the Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.Reuters reported earlier on Wednesday that EU approvalforSputnikVwillbe delayed because a June 10 deadline to submit data was missed,citing sources. Most drugs for treating adult patients not recommended for kids: Govt guidelines PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, June 16 DRUGS SUCH AS ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, favipiravir and antibiotics like doxycycline and azithromycin prescribed for adult Covid-19 patients have not been recommended for treating children, according to a government guidelineissuedonWednesday. In anticipation of likely intermittent surges in the number of Covid-19 cases,the government has come out with guidelines for operationalising Covid-care services for children. The recommendations include augmenting existing Covid care facilities to provide care to children with acute coronavirus infection. Once vaccines are approved for children,those with comorbid conditions having more severemanifestationsandpooreroutcomesshouldbeapriority group forimmunisation. Continued on Page 13 No respite FE BUREAU Adani shares continue to tumble Shares of Adani group companies fell again on Wednesday, adding to their losses stemming from a media report that said accounts of three foreign investor funds that own stocks had been frozen. Shares of Adani Total Gas, Adani Transmission and Adani Power hit their lower circuit limits Adani Total Gas Adani Power Adani Transmission Share price on BSE (`) 1,700 Share price on BSE (`) 175 Share price on BSE (`) 1,675 1,630 150 1,600 1,560 125 1,490 100 1,420 1,440.55 1,350 Continued on Page 2 June 1, 2021 1,394 June 16 127.25 1,525 95.40 1,450 1,500.40 75 1,375 50 1,300 June 1, 2021 June 16 1,369.35 June 1, 2021 June 16 THE GOVERNMENTISconsidering offering as much as `50,000 crore of credit incentivestoboost healthcare infrastructure in the nation hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter. The programme will allow companies to access funds for ramping up hospital capacity or medical supplies with the government acting as a guarantor, said the people, who asked not to be identified citing rules. The focus of the programme is likely to be on strengthening Covid-19- Companies can access funds to ramp up hospital capacity or medical supplies with govt as a guarantor Focus to be on bolstering Covid-related health infra in smaller towns ■ Govt's loan guaranteeswill complement the central bank’s efforts last month ■ RBI announced on-tap liquidity window for banksworth `50,000 cr relatedhealthinfrastructurein smaller towns,they said. A finance ministry spokesperson could not be immediatelyreached forcomment. Continued on Page 2 P&K fertilisers: Cabinet nod to 140% hike in subsidy to cost govt `15,000 crore The CCEA on Wednesday approveda140%increasein thesubsidyondiammonium phosphate (DAP) for the ongoing kharif season, a move that could inflate the fertiliser subsidy bill for the current fiscal by `14,775 crore, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. With this decision,the subsidy on DAPwill riseto`1,200/bagorhalfthe rateatwhichfarmersbuythe nutrient. ■ Page 2 FUNDRAISING Valued at $4 billion, BrowserStack joins the unicorn club FE BUREAU New Delhi, June 16 SOFTWARE TESTING PLATFORM BrowserStack on Wednesday said it has raised a fresh $200 million in funding led by Bond at a valuation of $4 billion,joining the growing league of homegrown unicorns. Founded in 2011 by RiteshArora and NakulAggarwal,the company runs offices in Mumbai, New York, Dublin and San Francisco. The investment, which is part of the SaaS (software-asa-service) start-up’s series B financial round, also saw participation from Insight Partners and existing backerAccel. BrowserStack will deploy the capital to fund strategic acquisitions,expand its product offerings and build on ■ Software ■ Funding is part testing platform ofsoftware-asraises a fresh a-service startup’s series B financial round in funding led ■ To deploy by Bond capital to fund ■ Investment strategic also saw acquisitions, participation expand its from Insight product Partners and offerings existing backer Accel $200 m its growth. In 2018, the start-up had secured $50 million in series A funding from Accel. Continued on Page 2 Apna raises $70 m from Tiger Global, others HIRING PLATFORM APNA has raised $70 million from Insight Partners and Tiger Global in the series B round, valuingthecompanyat$570 million, reports fe Bureau in NewDelhi. “Existing investors that include Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, GreenoaksCapitalandRocketship VC have also participatedintheround,Apnasaid in a statement. With this investment, Apna has now raisedover$90millionandis now valued at $570 million, the companysaid. ■ Page 4 ROAD TO RECOVERY Malls and restaurants pin their hopes on faster vaccination ASMITA DEY New Delhi, June 16 WITH MALLS AND restaurants opening up in several states and districts,owners are hopeful of faster recovery this time round compared to the post first wave of Covid, but maintain that the pace of vaccination holds the key to their businesses returning to normal.The consensus is that that if the pace ofvaccination picks up and a third wave is averted, normalcy in business can return between July and September. Gurvineet Singh, CEO at Thane-based Viviana Mall, said it took the company nearly 45-50 days to reach 50% of the pre-Covid footfalls when it resumed operations in September last year post the first lockdown. This time, the mall managed to reach the same numberin seven days.In fact, the firm hit as much as 75% of the pre-Covid sales over the weekend ended June 13, helped by an increase in ILLUSTRATION: ROHNIT PHORE average spend per consumer. If a shopper earlier spent `1,000 on an average, he is spending `1,600 now. Among product segments, electronics has already seen a near 100% recovery while departmental stores and active wear categories are clocking significant sales. Formal wear is also finding takers due to the reopening of some offices in Mumbai and Thane,Singh told FE.Recovery of restaurants, however, has been restricted due to the cap on seating capacity.“If there is no third wave and the process of vaccination gains speed,we can see normalcy as early as July,” Singh said. To woo more shoppers, Viviana Mall is incentivising consumers who have got at least one dose of vaccination. A quick recovery will also help some malls support their staff,many of whom had been temporarily taken off payrolls due to stretched finances. Continued on Page 2 CHENNAI/KOCHI
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