OPINION, P6 MARKETS, P9 ARUNABHA GHOSH Policy must pave the path for a green-hydrogen economy in India INTERNATIONAL, P8 EDITORIAL AMID THE PANDEMIC HIGH-FLYER Independent probe into Pegasus matter needed for India's democracy to remain healthy Demand for home loans remains strong, says HDFC’s Parekh Jeff Bezos reaches space on first passenger flight MUMBAI, WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL. LXI NO. 171, 22 PAGES, `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 SENSEX: 52,198.51 ▼ 354.89 NIFTY: 15,632.10 ▼ 120.30 NIKKEI 225: 27,388.16 ▼ 264.58 HANG SENG: 27,259.25 ▼ 230.53 `/$: 74.62 ▲ 0.26 `/€: 88.04 ▲ 0.16 BRENT: $68.43 ▼ $0.19 GOLD: `48,033 ▲ `102 IN THE NEWS PFRDA: Pension money to be soon allowed into IPOs PENSION FUND MANAGERS will soon be allowed to invest in IPOs, and also in a broader list of stocks, PFRDA chairman Supratim Bandyopadhyay said on Tuesday, reports PTI. It is aiming to increase the number of subscribers looking to build a retirement corpus by 1 crore in FY22 with the increase in interest during the pandemic. Farm laws: Still open to talks, says govt in LS THE GOVERNMENT ON Tuesday refrained from giving a categorical reply to a Parliament question as to whether it was considering scrapping the farm laws in the near future, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. It, however, said in the Lok Sabha it “will remain open” to discussions with agitating farmers to resolve the issue. BBNL invites global bids for BharatNet SPECIAL PURPOSE VEHICLE BBNL on Tuesday invited bids for `19,041-crore BharatNet project to roll out high-speed broadband services in the rural areas across 16 states, reports PTI. The government will only provide viability gap funding under the project. MORE ON THE PLATE ● SNOOPGATE New raise puts Swiggy valuation at $5.5 bn SoftBank among slew of investors; chunk of $1.25 bn raised to be used for non-food delivery segment The investment marks SoftBank’s first bet in the Indian online food delivery space Bulk of the capital to be used for building nonfood businesses, especially grocery service ASMITA DEY New Delhi, July 20 FOOD DELIVERY PLATFORM Swiggy on Tuesday said it has closed a chunky $1.25-billion funding round led bySoftBank Vision Fund 2 and existing backer Prosus. The investment increases the valuation of the start-up firm to $5.5 billion from the $3.3 billion it had achieved in its last big funding round in 2018. The fundingincludes a first tranche of $800 million infused bya clutch of investors whichthefirmhadannounced internally in April and a fresh The company expects target segment for convenience to hit 500 million users in next 10-15 years This is Swiggy’s biggest funding round; it had raised $1 billion in December 2018 $450 million investment made bySoftBankVision Fund 2 which is making its first bet in the Indian online food delivery space. “SoftBank has chosen to back Swiggy for its more formidable non-food delivery play.It is morphing into a con- venience app and it is expected that a major chunk of the company’s revenues will comefromthenon-fooddelivery segment going forwards,” one of the sources in the know said. Continued on Page 2 Wipro to invest $1 billion to boost cloud capabilities WIPRO ONTUESDAYannouncedthelaunch ofWiproFullStrideCloudServicesandsaidit will invest $1 billion in cloud technologies, capabilities, acquisitions and partnerships over the next three years, reports fe Bureau in Bengaluru. Wipro employs over 79,000 cloudprofessionals.Overthepast12months, Wipro has announced significant cloud- related wins with Telefónica Germany/O2, Verifone,andE.ONinadditiontoMETROAG. “With our $1-billion investment in cloud capabilities, and the launch of Wipro FullStride Cloud Services,we are in a farstronger position to simplify,orchestrate and accelerate the cloud journey for our clients,”Wipro CEO & MDThierryDelaporte said. ■ Page 4 ● RIL DEAL Special Feature Amazon in SC: Future can’t Should excess cash holdings ignore arbitrator’s order with firms worry shareholders? FE BUREAU Dividend ` ` Hold cash Buy-back Investors need not worry as cash is conserved by companies for potential growth opportunities in the near future. Firms with high debt equity ratio tend to have higher cash holdings ■ Personal Finance, P7 QuickPicks Govt seeks House nod for extra spending of `1.87 lakh crore THREE WEEKS after rolling out a relief package to mitigate the Covid-19 blow, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday sought Parliamentary clearance for a gross additional spending of `1.87 lakh crore during the current fiscal, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. However, the net cash outgo is reined in at just `23,675 crore, as a substantial chunk (`1,63,527 crore) of the extra spending will be met through savings from expenditure compression across several ministries, and enhanced receipts and recoveries. The net outgo is dominated by expenditure proposals for the health sector. PAGE 2 BSES to get 510 MW green power from SECI for Delhi EVEN AS the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) allowed Delhi's power distribution company BSES to approach the Union power ministry for deallocating 621 MW of electricity supply from NTPC’s Dadri-I generating station earlier in the month, the Reliance Infrastructure-led company on Tuesday said BSES discoms have inked power sale agreements with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to procure 510 MW of solar and bundled hybrid power, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Hybrid power is a bundled mix of solar and wind-based electricity, and the BSES contract will include 300 MW is solar power and 210 MW hybrid capacity. PAGE 5 SIAC had passed an interim award in favour of Amazon barring Future Retail from concluding its deal with RIL New Delhi, July 20 AMAZON ON TUESDAY told the Supreme Court that Future Group deliberately chose to ignore and disregard Singapore emergency arbitrator’s (EA) order restraining it from going aheadwithitsdealwithReliance Retail.Thecompanysaidsubsequent to disregarding the EA’s interim order, Future Group is “trying to camouflage its weak arguments” by using the word “nullityagain andagain”. Opening its arguments before abenchledbyJusticeRF Nariman,seniorcounselGopal Subramanium, appearing for Amazon, argued that there is Future has claimed it wasn't party to the agreement under which Amazon had invoked arbitration proceedings no provision in theArbitration and Conciliation Act that prohibits the concept of an EA. Continued on Page 2 ● SERO SURVEY Nearly 68% of Indians have Covid antibodies FE BUREAU Pune, July 20 THE FOURTH ROUND of the nationalserosurveyreportputs the overall sero-prevalence in the country at 67.6%, leaving some 400 million or a third of the population still susceptible to the Covid-19 infection, the government said onTuesday. Children were included in the national survey for the first timeandwhilethosebetween6 and 9 years of age showed a 57.2% sero-prevalence, for thosebetween10and17years, this was 61.6%, according to the Indian Council of Medical 85% of healthcare workers surveyed had Covid antibodies 77.6% Highest sero prevalence, seen in population aged 45-60 years Research (ICMR). The government said 85% of the surveyed healthcare workers had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 while a tenth remains un-vaccinated. Continued on Page 2 Pegasus row rocks LS as Oppn raises hue and cry PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, July 20 THE PEGASUS SNOOPING controversy rocked the Lok SabhaproceedingsonTuesday, leading to continued disruptions and repeated adjournments of the House. Soon after the House assembled at 3 pm,the opposition members again started raising slogans on the Pegasus snooping issue, forcing the chair to adjourn the House for the day.The Lok Sabha will now meet on Thursday after the Eid holiday. This was the second day of the Monsoon Session that the House could not transact any legislative business. Continued on Page 2 ‘BEING PRUDENT’ Little room for big fiscal expansion: Finance secy Says revenue receipts to exceed BE, capex best tool to promote growth PRASANTA SAHU New Delhi, July 20 THE SCOPE FOR a big fiscal expansionis‘limited’inthecurrent financialyear,finance secretary TV Somanathan told FE onTuesday.Evenwiththerelief package announced recently, the fiscal cost of which is estimated at around `1.5 lakh crore,the fiscal deficit target of 6.8% of GDP for 2021-22 would be adhered to, given the possibility of revenue receipts exceeding the budget estimate and expenditure rationalisa- "We may not necessarily see a larger fiscal expansion this year (than what the fiscal deficit target of 6.8% of GDP entails)... there could be a small increase in the deficit though, possibly to 7%. Cash transfers when the economic activities are suppressed primarily lead to savings, rather than consumption.” —TV SOMANATHAN, FINANCE SECRETARY tion being undertaken,he said. Accordingtotheofficial,evenif some more relief measures are unveiledinthewakeofthethird Covidwave,the deficit could be reined in at 7% orthereabouts. The secretary’s assessment discounts chances of additional substantive stimulus or relief packages through the course of the current fiscal. In FY21,the Centre had ended up reporting a fiscal deficit of 9.3%, the highest since 199091,againstoriginallyprojected 3.5% (BE),thanks to a series of stimulus packages andwelfare measures, including cash transfers announced in the wake of the pandemic. Continued on Page 2
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