COMPANIES, P4 INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL PRASAD TO TWITTER BROADBAND Sebi's new rules for independent directorship can help dilute promoters' control over boards ‘If you invoke US copyright act, then be cognisant of Indian laws as well’ Musk's Starlink to deliver internet almost across the world within weeks OPINION, P6 MAHESH UPPAL An MTNL, BSNL,Voda Idea tie-up can prevent telecom duopoly NEW DELHI, THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. XLVII NO. 104, 42 PAGES, `8.00 (PATNA `8.00, RAIPUR `8.00) 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: 52,482.71 ▼ 66.95 NIFTY: 15,721.50 ▼ 26.95 NIKKEI 225: 28,791.53 ▼ 21.08 HANG SENG: 28,827.95 ▼ 166.15 `/$: 74.33 ▼ 0.10 `/€: 88.39 ▲ 0.01 BRENT: $75.28 ▲ $0.52 GOLD: `46,504 ▼ `278 CABINET CALL IN THE NEWS Vodafone Idea posts `7,023-cr loss in Q4 ● BIG BITE Private funds to steer discom bailout Infra creation in focus, `1.5L cr to be used for installing 25 cr smart pre-paid meters VODAFONE IDEA ON Wednesday posted a big loss of `7,023 crore during the January-March quarter, wider than Bloomberg consensus estimate of `6,241.07 crore, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. The telecom company’s loss has widened significantly compared to the previous quarter of `4,540 crore. FE BUREAU New Delhi, June 30 A NEW BAILOUT scheme for powerdiscomsapproved bythe CabinetonWednesdayhingesa lot on private funds to step up the distribution infrastructure. Forthe`3-lakh-croreschemeto be rolled out in the five years to FY26, the Centre will fork out `97,631 crore,and the balance funds have to harnessed by the discomsviaassortedmeans,including borrowings,but ideally via public-private partnership ventures,officialsourcestoldFE on conditionof anonymity. Ofthefundstobemobilised, as much as `1.5 lakh crore will be used for installation of 25 crore smart pre-paid meters, andtheseprojectsarelikelytobe executedvia PPP.“Loss-making discoms will not have access to Fiscal deficit reined in at 8.2% on tax mop-up THE CENTRE’S FISCAL deficit in April-May touched 8.2% of the budget estimate for the fiscal 2021-22, against 58.6% a year before, as tax and non-tax revenue saw a massive spurt, driven by a favourable base, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. The government also reined in expenditure in April. Special Features An insurance company morphs into a tech business By investing in modern technology to automate customer on-boarding, policy issuances and claims assessment, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company aims to be future-proof and relevant ■ Gadgets, P7 Goqii Vital 4.0: Health buddy on your wrist Check out the two new health focused smart devices from GOQii that don’t just tell the time. They monitor various health parameters to alert you about any nascent health problems ■ eFE, P7 QuickPicks Ministries told to limit Q2 spending at 20% of BE THE CENTRE on Wednesday asked ministries and departments to scale down their Q2FY22 expenditure plans by 5 percentage points from the business-as-usual level of 25% of the full-year spending, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. The move is part of re-prioritisation of spending in the wake of second wave, and may not result in overall reduction. It could not be immediately estimated what would be the quantum of reduction in expenditure due of the rationalisation measure. PAGE 2 HDFC Bank hoping to regain lost market share in cards HDFC BANK expects to regain the lost market share and make a strong comeback once the regulator lifts the embargo on issuing new credit cards, Parag Rao, head of consumer finance, digital banking and IT, said on Wednesday, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. Without sharing details over when he expected the ban to be lifted, Rao said within three-four months of the ban getting lifted, one should expect incremental market share back to the pre-ban levels. PAGE 9 PLI scheme for steel sector: 4-15% incentives to be offered THE UNION Cabinet is likely to consider a `6,322crore PLI scheme for steel in its next sitting, reports Surya Sarathi Ray in New Delhi. The scheme will offer incentive of 4-15% to eligible companies on incremental output. The Centre pegs the scheme, to be implemented between 2023-24 and 2029-30, will lead to incremental investment of `41,000 crore and generate over 60,000 direct and around five lakh indirect jobs by 2026-27. PAGE 5 POWER PUSH Oftotal outlay of `3,03,758 cr, Centre’s share `97,631 cr till FY26 Around `1.5 lakh cr earmarked for installing 25 cr smart pre-paid meters Target to reduce AT&C losses to 12-15% and eliminate cost-revenue gap by FY25 theschemeunlesstheyworkout a trajectory for loss reduction andgettherespectivestategovernment’s nod for the same,” PowerministerRKSinghsaid. Continued on Page 2 Zomato seeks CCI approval BharatNet to be rolled out to invest in 16 states through PPP in Grofers FE BUREAU New Delhi, June 30 RESILIENT INDIA Current account swings to surplus in Covid-hit FY21 Current account balance PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mumbai, June 30 6 (% of GDP) INDIA REPORTED A current account surplus of 0.9% of GDP in the pandemic-hit FY21,against a deficit of 0.9% in FY20, data released by the RBI showed on Wednesday. The country’s current account deficit widened to $8.1 billionor1%ofGDPfortheMarch quarter,againstasurplusof$0.6 billionor0.1%oftheGDPayear ago and a deficit of 0.3% in the precedingDecemberquarter,as per the RBI data.The CAD, the gapbetweenthecountry’sover- 3.7 4 2.4 2 0 -2 -2.3 -4 0.1 -1 -2.1 Q4 Q1 Q4 Q1 Q4 Q1 FY21 FY20 FY19 all foreign receipts and payments, is an important factor representinganation’sexternal sector’s strength. Continued on Page 2 Google removed 59,000 content pieces inApr GOOGLE RECEIVED over 27,700 complaints in April this year from individual usersinIndiaoverallegedviolationoflocallawsorpersonal rights, which resulted in removal of 59,350 pieces of content,the company said in its maiden monthly transparency report, reports PTI. Google is among the first to release its monthly compliancereportincompliancewith the newITrules. ■ Page 4 Tracking monsoon FE BUREAU Stalled rains impact kharif sowing Monsoon rainfall in the country was recorded at 10% above-normal in June, with each of the four regions -East and North-East, North-West, Central and South Peninsular – reporting surplus precipitation. However, the stalling of monsoon since June 19 and the prospect of it not reviving before July 7 are seen to adversely impact kharif sowing activities. Sowing in the first three weeks of the season has remained below last year's levels in most parts of the country. Distribution of rainfall in July will determine summer crop acreage. Monsoon in June Distribution of rainfall in major states (% change from LPA*) % land irrigated** % change from LPA* Maharashtra Rajasthan East and NorthEast 3 NorthWest 14 All India 10 31 18.2 42 6 Central MP 36 43.3 UP 60 80.2 17 WB 23 Karnataka South Punjab Peninsular Haryana 4 Gujarat 12 58.8 34.2 -1 98.7 4 89.1 -13 47.1 *long period average; **As per Agriculture Ministry data released in 2019 Source:IMD SC directs NDMA to issue fresh norms for aid to kin of victims FE BUREAU New Delhi, June 30 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, June 30 THE SUPREME COURT on Wednesday directed the National Disaster Management Authority to issue fresh guidelines forproviding minimum standards of financial help to families of those who lost their lives to Covid-19. A special bench said the court cannot direct the Centre to fix a particular amount but the government can fix the strategyincludescreation,upgradation, operation, maintenanceandutilisationofBharatNet by the concessionaire who willbeselectedbyacompetitive international bidding process. ZOMATO HAS SOUGHT approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for its proposed investment in Grofers. “The notification form is being filed in relation to the proposed acquisition by Zomato of approximately 9.3% stake in each of Grofers India and HoT (Hands on Trades Private) alongwith certain rights in each of the Targets (Proposed Transaction),” Zomato said in its filing with the CCI.“The proposed transaction will have no impact on the competitive landscape in any potential relevant market in India, in any manner,” the filing added. Continued on Page 2 Detailed report on Page 4 REVISED STRATEGY THE UNION CABINET on Wednesday approved a revised implementationstrategyforthe BharatNet project by opting for public-private partnerships in 16 states to cover around 3,60,000 villages at a total cost of `29,430 crore. Of this, the Centre will provide `19,041 crore asviabilitygap funding. Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the revisedstrategyforrolloutofthe project,which aims to connect all the gram panchayats of the country via optic fibre for providing broadband services,will have two new components. First,BharatNetwillnowextend up to all inhabited villages beyondthegrampanchayatsinthe said states. Second, the revised COVID COMPENSATION ■ PPPmodewill cover around 3,60,000 villages at a total cost of`29,430 cr ■ Ofthis govtwill provide `19,041 cr as viability gap funding ■ Funds for BharatNet comes from USOFwhere `55,000 cr is lying unutilised ■ BharatNetwill now extend up to all inhabitedvillages beyond the gram panchayats in 16 states Aspecial bench says SC can’t direct Centre to fix a particular amount But govt can fix the minimum standard ofamount to be paid as ex-gratia to family members minimumstandardofamount tobepaidasex-gratiatofamily members. Continued on Page 2 No wrongdoing in Brazil deal: Bharat Biotech VACCINE MAKER BHARAT Biotech on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing in the procurement process of Covaxin in its deal with the Brazilian government, reports fe Bureau in Pune. TheBrazilhealthministry has suspended its contract with Bharat Biotech for supply of Covaxin for a month, after a whistleblower alleged that therewere irregularities in the deal. ■ Page 4
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