OPINION, P2 EXPRESS ADDA ‘Citizens can question government but can’t take law into their hands’ Page 8 We had wings, learned to fly FE LINES With people being online more often, it is increasingly important to follow social media etiquette Page 6 YOGI ADITYANATH ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM Best face forward SPOTLIGHT Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM Vol. XX No. 35 HEAR, HEAR! FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY NEW DELHI SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2021, 14 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 C H A N D I G A R H , Gym from home With the threat of the virus still at large and easy access to online training sessions, workout-at-home has become the pandemic fitness trend, leading to a sharp boom for the virtual fitness industry and diverse offerings for consumers ■ WORDS WORTH, P4 Life in verse A record of the cataclysms through which we have lived, loved and lost, as much an exercise in catharsis ROHNIT PHORE C H E N N A I , READ TO LEAD H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K A T A , 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 PHASE 3 TRIAL Covaxin found to be 77.8% effective ● Data safety monitoring board has not reported any safety concerns related to vaccine ■ LEISURE, P7 ODD & EVEN What goes into the making of audiobooks and what makes them tick? Page 5 ■ Demonstrated 65.2% FE BUREAU Pune, July 3 HOMEGROWN MAKER Bharat TRIAL DATA VACCINE Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, demonstrated an overall 77.8% efficacy against the disease in the largest Covid Phase III clinical trials carried out in the country. Covaxin has also demonstrated 65.2% protection againsttheDeltavariant.Itwas 93.4% effective against severe symptomatic Covid-19 while protection against asymptomatic Covid-19 was at 63.6%. The company announced safety and efficacy analysis data from Phase III clinical trials of Covaxin on Saturday. Covaxin was developed by BB withIndianCouncilofMedical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. Covaxin was well tolerated and the data safetymonitoring board has not reported any safety concerns related to the vaccine.The overall rate of adverse events in Covaxin was lower than that seen in other protection against Delta variant ■ It was 93.4% effective against severe symptomatic Covid-19 ■ Protection against asymptomatic Covid-19 was at 63.6% Covid-19 vaccines with less than 0.5% of the subjects experiencing serious adverse events. Bharat Biotech has so far not sought indemnity for Covaxinfromthegovernment. Krishna Ella , CMD, Bharat Biotech, said this was the largest clinical trial done in the developing world world and was next onlyto the US and UK with 25,800 subjects, 26 sites and one lakh RTPCR used on volunteers with a staff of 1,129. The 93% efficacy against severe disease resulted in reduction of hospitalisation, and in case of asmyptomatic Covid-19 disease,it limited infection and transmission, Ella said. COVID IMPACT Balram Bhargava, secretary, department of health research,and directorgeneral, ICMR, said Covaxin worked well against all variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 (Delta, Kappa, Alpha,Beta,Zeta and Gamma). Bhargava said they had delivered a vaccine of the highest international standards that would not onlybenefit Indians but also protect the global communityagainst the deadly virus. The making of this vaccine entirely on Indian soil was a matter of great pride to every Indian, Priya Abraham, director,NIV,said. Suchitra Ella, joint managing director, Bharat Biotech, highlighted the fact that they worked through the pandemic, lockdowns, unprecedented number of physical challenges, stress and continuous operations to complete the clinical trials in a year. Bharat Biotech is now conducting additional clinical trials to establish safety and efficacy in children in the 2-18 year age group. A clinical trial to determine the safety and immunogenicity of a booster dose is also in process. Covaxin has received emergencyuse authorisations in 16 countries and is in discussions with WHO to obtain emergency use listing. BB expects to have capacity to make one billion doses by end of 2021. The country has till date administered 4.20 crore doses of Covaxin. CHANGE OF GUARD Newly-appointed Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami (centre) being felicitated by his predecessor Tirath Singh Rawat (left) and other party leaders, in Dehradun, on Saturday. Dhami is a two-time MLA from Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar district PHOTO: PTI RAFALE ISSUE France begins probe into deal with India: Report PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, July 3 A FRENCH JUDGE has been appointedtoleada“highlysensitive” judicial investigation into alleged “corruption and favouritism” in the `59,000crore Rafale fighter jet deal withIndia,Frenchinvestigative website Mediapart reported. Followingthedevelopment, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come forward and order a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal. “Corruption in the Rafale deal has come out clearly now. The stand of the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi has beenvindicatedtodayafterthe French government has ordered a probe,” he told reportersatapressconference. TheBJP,inturn,allegedthat Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is being used as a “pawn” by rival defence companies and claimed that he and his party keep raking up allegations of corruptionintheRafaledealin an attempt to“weaken”India. At a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also played down the appointment of a judge in France to lead a judicial investigation into the deal, saying the development was outcome of a complaint by an NGO and should not be seen as a matter of corruption. Continued on Page 11 BHARATNET PROJECT Bleak housing market DoT to float tender to invite pvt players scene: Credai survey ● DCC to discuss QuickPick RISHI RANJAN KALA New Delhi, July 3 Appointing interim resident grievance officer soon: Twitter TWITTER HAS TOLD the Delhi High Court that it is in the “final stages" of appointing an interim chief compliance officer and an interim resident grievance officer under the new IT Rules. In the meantime, grievances raised by Indian users are being looked into by a grievance officer, it said in an affidavit submitted in response to a plea by lawyer Amit Acharya, in which he claimed non-compliance of the Centre's new IT Rules by the platform. The micro-blogging site has also said it may fall within the definition of a "significant social media intermediary" under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The rules seek to regulate dissemination and publication of content in cyber space, including social media platforms, and were notified in February by the central government. Twitter said in "substantial compliance" with Rule 3(2) and Rule 4(1)(c) of the new IT Rules, it did appoint an interim resident grievance officer. However, even before steps could be taken to completely formalise the arrangement, the interim resident grievance officer withdrew his candidature on June 21, it said and denied that it has not complied with the intermediary guidelines. In his plea, Acharya said he came to know about the alleged non-compliance when he tried to lodge a complaint against a couple of tweets. Twitter has argued that the plea is not maintainable as a writ petition and that Acharya moved the court "prematurely" without waiting for the redressal of grievance. AFTER A DECENT recovery in housing sales during the last two quarters of FY21, the momentumseemstobeebbing, as a nationwide survey of real estate developers by industry association Credai reveals that 95% customers have postponed their purchase decision duetothesecondandmorevirulentwave of Covid infection. The first national developer survey by an industry body to analyse the after-effects of the pandemic’sdeadlysecondwave furtherpaintsagrimpicturefor the country’s second-largest employmentgeneratingsector. About 90% of the developers feel the impact of second wave on their business is far more intense than the earlierwave. Over 95% developers participatinginthesurveyfeltthat there will be project delays if urgent relief measures are not injected.The delays are attributed to several factors —92% developers experiencing labour shortages at sites and CRUDE REALTY Developers fear project delays due to factors like labour shortages and longerwaiting time for project approval Sharp increase in cost ofconstruction material is a major concern, especially for cement, steel, aluminium, copper, PVC and plastic Developerswho availed project finance are facing issues ofservicing the existing loan Measures like stamp dutywaiver, input tax credit on GSTand loan restructuringwill help 83% developers getting by with less than half the workforce. Also, more than 82% developers said they are facing project approval delays. Continued on Page 11 RFP proposal and concessionaire agreement Building a on July 5 connection ■ Total cost is pegged at `29,430 crore, of which the government will provide `19,041 crore as viability gap funding ■ The DoT aims to connect KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, July 3 3.6 lakh villages in 16 states under PPP mode in 18 months THE DEPARTMENTOF telecom- munications(DoT)issoongoing to come out with a request for proposal(RFP)ortenderinviting private players to participate in theBharatNetprojectunderthe publicprivatepartnership(PPP) model.The Digital Communications Commission (DCC), which is an inter-ministerial panel and highest decisionmaking body of DoT, is scheduledtodiscusstheRFPproposal and concessionaire agreement on July 5.The DoT aims to connect3.6lakhvillagesin16states underPPPmode in 18 months. As per officials, all the 6 lakh villages in the country will be connected with optical fibre by August 2023. The Union Cabinet had earlier this ■ So far, about 1.56 lakh of ■ As per officials, all the 6 lakh the 2.5 lakh village panchayats have been connected with fibre broadband villages in the country will be connected with optical fibre by August 2023 week approved a revised implementation strategy for the BharatNet project by opting for PPP mode in 16 states to cover around 3,60,000 villages at a total cost of `29,430 crore.Of this,the government will provide `19,041 crore as viability gap funding. Sofar,about1.56lakhofthe 2.5lakhvillagepanchayatshave been connected with fibre broadband.As earlier reported by FE,with this additional allocation of `19,041 crore for BharatNetproject,thetotalout- lay for it has increased to `61,109 crore,which includes thealreadyapprovedamountof `42,068 crore in 2017. However, this does not strain the government’s finances in any way,as funds for BharatNet are providedfromtheuniversalservice obligation fund where around `55,000 crore is lying unutilised.Telecom operators contribute5%oftheiradjusted gross revenue to the USO fund. The states to be covered under the revised plan are Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland andArunachalPradesh. DoT is also working on various revenue-sharing models that can be used in partnering withprivateplayers.Afewyears back, Niti Aayog had recommended that the PPP model should be adopted for BharatNet,andeversincetheAayoghas been working with DoT to finalise a strategy. In 2016,the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had also recommended PPP model for the project. But the recommendations were not takenupbytheDoT.Theproject was originally conceived in October 2011 by the UPA government,withanaimtoprovide 100megabitpersecond(mbps) speed to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through optic fibre. After NDA government came to power, it set up a committee to re-examine the project and suggest ways to expedite it. Continued on Page 11 Entry-level hatchbacks losing market share; expect to see even fewer models VIKRAM CHAUDHARY New Delhi, July 3 ENTRY-LEVELHATCHBACKS — cars shorter than 3,600 mm in lengthandenginesmallerthan 1.0-litre — continue to lose traction amongst customers because of which manufactur- FY19 13.6 FY20 FY21 10.6 9.8 11,98,551 (unit sales) es) Total PV sales 1,19,390 27,11,457 2,66,994 27,73,519 The hatchback shrinks 2,94,577 five months of CY2021. Analysts maintain that the drop in share was expected, with first-time car buyers choosing either a sub-4 metre sedan or a sub-4 metre utility vehicle (UV), and even cars above `10 lakh. In FY21, the share of sub-4 metre UVs increased to 20%, from 15.6% in FY20; even the shareofmidsize,expensiveUVs (`10-20 lakh price range) increased from 10.1% in FY20 to 11.8% in FY21. “Cars are aspirational products,”said an analyst who did not wish to be quoted. “Look at what happened with 33,77,389 ers have also slowed down on new models and variants. InFY19,hatchbacksformed 13.6% of passenger vehicle (PV) sales,and had five popular models — Maruti Suzuki Alto, old Wagon R, Hyundai Eon, Renault Kwid andTata Nano. In FY20, their share dropped to 10.6%, with Tatas discontinuing the Nano and Hyundai the Eon, and Maruti Suzuki discontinuing the old Wagon R,but launching the SPresso. In FY21, the share furtherdroppedto9.8%,withjust three models (Alto, S-Presso and Kwid), and marginally increased to 9.9% in the first 4,60,772 ● No all-new product under development in this space by any carmaker Entry-level evel car sales es % share hare Jan-May 2021 9.9 Source: SIAM the Nano. A car is much more a vehicle that takes you from point A to B.” Saket Mehra, automotive leader and partner, Grant Thornton Bharat, told FE that even as the mini-segment (entry-level hatchbacks) declinedinFY21,thepremium segment grew. “Within UVs,models priced up to `20 lakh saw robust growth — those of Kia grew 9%, Maruti Suzuki (10%), Hyundai (17%), MG Motor (36%) andTata Motors (48%). As an aggregate, UVs posted strong sales (12.13%) and production figures (4.04%) as compared to the previous fiscal,”he said. Easy financing options available in the market have helped car buyers proactively consider pricey cars — the EMI difference between a sub-4 metre UV and an entrylevel hatchback works out to be just about `3,000, said a banking expert. “With better in-car fea- New Delhi tures offered and ease of financing alternatives, car buyers are upgrading to midsize sedans,compact SUVs or premium hatchbacks. For first-time buyers, capable alternatives to entry-level hatchbacks are also found in the used-car market,” said Mehra. Som Kapoor,partner,automotive sector,EY India,added that initially hatchbacks were the first car for most Indian buyers,followed byentry-level sedans, and now compact SUVs are taking that place. Continued on Page 11
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