OPINION, P2 FE LINES EXPRESS ADDA Inequity and injustice writ large Wild,wild world ‘WE ARE STILL IMPROVING’ Some new initiatives are in place for conservation of endangered species Page 6 At the recent e.Adda, Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra and bronze medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia spoke on life after their medals, among other things Page 9 ACROSS THE AISLE , P CHIDAMBARAM WORDS WORTH Follow us on Twitter & Facebook. App available on App Store & Play Store WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM VOL 14 NO. 29 WHENTRUMP FIDDLED K O C H I , CONGRESS INFIGHTING ‘Humiliated’, Capt quits as Punjab CM ● Says won’t accept Sidhu as chief minister ■ SPOTLIGHT, P5 When content pays In this digital age, given a boost by the pandemic, content creation is becoming a lucrative career. We seek out the people behind the screens and how they are capitalising on the demand for content ■ LEISURE, P7 Debutant heroes India’s first-time directors fly high at the 46th Toronto International Film Festival ODD & EVEN ROHNIT PHORE US court sets aside proposed Trump-era rule on H-1B visa A US federal judge has struck down a proposed Trump-era rule that aimed to replace the current H-1B cap lottery system with a wage-level-based selection process. Judge Jeffrey S White of the US District Court for the Northern District of California vacated a Trump-era H-1B cap selection regulation on the grounds that then-Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was not lawfully serving in his role at the time the regulation was promulgated. PAGE 12 Airlines can run 85% of pre-Covid domestic flights: Govt Continued on Page 12 maximum of 85% of their pre-Covid domestic flights instead of the 72.5% allowed to date, the ministry of civil aviation stated on Saturday. The carriers have been operating 72.5% of their preCovid domestic flights since August 12, according to the ministry’s order. Between July 5 and August 12, the cap stood at 65%. Between June 1 and July 5,the cap was at 50%. The ministry issued a fresh order on Saturday, in which it modified the August 12 order. Saturday’s order also noted that the 72.5% capwill remain inplace “until further order”. When the government had resumed the scheduled domestic flights on May 25 last year after a two-month break, the ministry had allowed the carriers to operate not more than 33% of their pre-Covid domestic services. The cap was gradually increased to 80% by December.The 80% cap remained in place till June 1. CRICKET CONGRESS VETERAN AMARINDER SinghonSaturday resigned as chief minister of Punjab, declaring that he feels “humiliated”and said hewon’t acceptstateCongresspresident Navjot Singh Sidhu as the next CM or the party face in the Assembly polls. The development has come amid a power tussle that polarised the ruling party in the state headed for elections in just about four months. Sidhu was made the stateCongresschiefearlierthis year despite opposition by Amarinder Singh. “I feel humiliated,” AmarinderSinghtoldreporters outsidethePunjabRajBhawan after submitting his resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit. “I have resigned, let them make anyone (next CM),” he said. The Congress leader, however,inanotherinteraction with the media said he won’t accept Navjot Singh Sidhu as Captain Amarinder Singh hands over his resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit at the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh on Saturday chief minister, describing him as “a total disaster”. The man whocouldnothandleoneministry,can neverrun entire Punjab,hesaid.IfSidhuismadethe face of the Congress for the Punjab polls,Singh said he will oppose him“tooth and nail”. Earlier in the dayafter submitting his resignation,when asked about his next course of action, Singh told reporters, As more consumers are exploring video OTT (overthe-top) content, ZEE5 is tapping into the opportunity to expand its portfolio of regional content, a segment that attracts a considerable proportion of Indian viewers. Asaresult,theOTTplatform is planning to significantly add to its slate of Telugu and Tamil originals in the coming months.“We have already initiatedproductionofseveraloriginalsforTeluguandTamil.Wewill be doubling down on Telugu starting December and scale it up significantly between JanuaryandMarch.Thenextstopwill be Bengali content,” Manish Kalra, chief business officer at ZEE5 India,told FE in an interview. The firm also recently made its foray into the Punjabi content space to build on the platform’s reach that currently stands at about 7 million daily active users (DAU). The local Punjabi-speaking audience, if catered to adequately, can give access to a sizeable market of over3 crore users. “Punjab is one of the most highlypenetratedinternetmarkets in the country.In terms of OTT content, the target audienceishighlyunderserved,”said PTI “There is always an option and I will use that option when time comes”. “I have been in politics for the past 52 years and I have been a chief minister for nine-and-a-half years. I will talk to my colleagues, supporters,”he said.The resignation has been accepted by the Governor. IPL resumes in UAE four months later REUTERS Dubai, September 18 MORETHANFOUR monthsafter NATIVE CONTENT ■ ZEE5 planning to add more meat to its kitty of Telugu and Tamil originals ■ It will double down on Telugu starting December ■ The next stop will be Bengali content ■ The firm recently made its foray into the Punjabi content space (in million) M U M B A I , Dec 2019 Reliance Jio Bharti Airtel 38.76 N E W D E L H I , P U N E Dec 2020 VodaIdea 11.41 BSNL 48.36 Vodafone Idea was the only operator to end calendar 2020 in negative zone 0.59 Net additions Source: Trai LOSING GROUND Despite relief,VI revival uphill battle WFH EFFECT PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Chandigarh, September 18 ASMITA DEY New Delhi, September 18 FINANCE MINISTERS OF Opposition-ruled states have demanded that the GST compensation cess regime be extended beyond June 2022. Briefing reporters after the 45th GST Council meeting in Lucknow on Friday, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the regime of paying compensation to states for revenue shortfall resulting from subsuming their taxes such as VAT in the uniform national tax GSTwill end in June next year. However, the compensation cess, levied on luxury and demerit goods, will continue to be collected till March 2026 to repay the borrowings that were done in 202021 and 2021-22 to compensate states for GST revenue loss.PAGE 3 LIFTING THE CAP AIRLINES CAN NOW operate a For OTTs, regional flavour gets stronger Oppn-ruled states demand GST compensation extension L U C K N O W , PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, Sept 18 LOCAL GETS VOCAL QuickPicks K O L K A T A , 118.7 H Y D E R A B A D , 118.2 C H E N N A I , 284.3 WHAT'S INSIDE C H A N D I G A R H , 332.6 B E N G A L U R U , 338.7 F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , 327.3 P U B L I S H E D READ TO LEAD 408.8 SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2021, 16 Pages, `10 370 FINANCIAL EXPRESS ON SUNDAY MUMBAI What the White House was doing when Capitol was attacked Page 4 the COVID-19 outbreak halted the world’s richest Twenty20 tournament,theIndianPremier League resumes in Dubai on Sundaywith a mouth-watering clashbetweentheIPL’stwomost successfulfranchises—Mumbai and Chennai.With India grappling with a surge of COVID-19 cases,theeight-teamleaguewas suspendednearitshalfwaystage in May after two franchises reportedseveralpositivecases. ■ 30%-40% of the OTT giant's content investments will be allocated to the regional content category Kalra.ZEE5 will initially stream Punjabi movies backed by Zee Studiosfortheusersandsubsequentlylaunch originals. Kalra said 30%-40% of the OTT company’s total content investments will be allocated to the regional content category going forward. As of last year, regional content’s share of total investments stood at less than 15%. The rest of the league was subsequently shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which also hosts this year’s Twenty20 World Cup in October-November.Theactionbegins with five-time champions MumbaiIndiansresumingtheir bid for a third successive title against three-time winners Chennai Super Kings led by former India captain Mahendra SinghDhoni. Continued on Page 12 Continued on Page 12 allow VIL to continue as a going concern but absence of relief on balance sheet or profit or loss may rule out any meaningful equity value creation.Moreover,VIL may continue to lose subscribers as it remains behind Bharti and Jio on network capabilities (4G/5G) and service offerings (subsidised handsets,bundled plans,etc). Our calculations suggest that VIL may require Arpus (average realisation per user) of `300-500 at different levels of subscriber base to manage its liabilities even after converting deferred amount to equity post four years of moratorium,” Kotak Institutional Equities said in its report. ● Must stabilise subscriber base after major migration to Bharti, Jio KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, September 18 THE TELECOM REVIVAL pack- age may have provided relief to financially stretched Vodafone Idea (VIL), but the telecom playermayremain a fragile entity with a declining subscriber base given its inability to catch up with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio on network capabilities and service offerings. “The relief measures may Continued on Page 12 Dying category of tablets gets revived as demand increases ● India’s PC shipments shoot to 5-year high of 4.1m units RISHI RANJAN KALA New Delhi, September 18 INAFIRST since2016,India’sPC shipments topped 4.1 million units in April-June 2021, signalling the market’s return to pre-Covid levels as work from home (WFH), remote learning and the ongoing digital transformation across industries boosted demand, market research firm Canalys said. The pandemic not just heightened the demand for notebooks and desktops, but also resurrected the dying category of tablets, which reported theirbest quarter(Q2 2021) in the last five years. PC shipments in India grew 43% year on year (YoY) in Q2 2021 to reach 4.1 million units, comprising half a million desktops, 2.5 million notebooks and 1 million tablets. Almost all categories grew by double-digit percentages YoY,mainly due to a lacklustre performance in Q2 2020,when the entire country PC shipments Q1 2019-Q2 2021 Shipments (million) Desktops Notebooks % y-o-y growth (RHS) Tablets 5 80 68 4 43 40 3 11 20 2 0 1 0 60 -18 Q1 -11 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 2019 Source: Canalys PC analysis -20 Q2 Q3 2020 was under lockdown, braving the first wave of Covid. “Shipments of notebooks, thelargestcategorybyvolume, grew 43% over Q2 2020. Tablets also had one of their best quarters since 2016,with 52% year-on-year shipment growth. Desktop shipments were up by 23%,” the market research firm added. Canalys research analyst AshweejAithal said the market has finally returned to preCovid shipment levels.“While desktops and notebooks haven’t really seen a major bumpinshipments,tabletsare in much higher demand than before, resurrecting what was a dying category in India. Due credit for that should be given to remote learning, as well as Q4 Q1 Q2 -40 2021 the accelerated digital transformation of multiple industries and processes.” For the second half of the year, he said Canalys is positive about the Indian PC market,as major government and educational tenders, which were put on hold due to the Covid Delta variant wave, are now re-tendered. However, compared to Western markets, long-term demand in India remains low. While Covid has helped move the needle slightly when it comes to PC penetration,it has beenunabletogeneratealotof demand,asvastportionsofthe population still regard PCs as a luxury,not a must-have. Continued on Page 12 RISHI RANJAN KALA New Delhi, September 18 SOUTH INDIAN CITIES of Ban- galore, Chennai and Hyderabad dominated the domestic office space leasing market with rentals appreciating in double digits between FY18 and FY21,while their peers in 78 63 78 123 57 51 50 60 75 77 100 68 Average office rentals (`/sqft/month) FY18 FY19 FY21 FY20 125 150 54 west and north India — Mumbai and Delhi — saw office rentals remaining largely flat. As per Anarock Property Consultants, between FY18 and FY21, office rentals in each of these southern cities have shown double-digit growth. In this period, office rentals in NCRremained stagnant, while Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune saw a mere 2% and 8% rental growth,respectively. Average monthly office rentals in Bengaluru rose by 15% to `77 per sq ft in FY21 compared to `67 per sq ft in FY18. Similarly, rentals in 67 ● NCR, Mumbai figures remain flat for past couple of years 125 Office buzz gets louder in B’luru, Chennai, Hyd with double-digit rise in rentals 25 0 Bengaluru Chennai Hyderabad MMR Pune NCR Source: Anarock Property Consultants Chennai rose from `54 per sq ft in FY18 to `60 in FY21, growing at 11%. Average rentals in Hyderabad grew by 12% from `51 per sq ft in FY18 to nearly `57 in FY21. The MMR witnessed just 2% growth in average office rentals between FY18 and FY21 — from `123 per sq ft per month in FY18 to `125 in FY21.Delhi NCRremained flat at `78 per sq ft in both years. “IT-ITeS is largely driving office demand in the country since the past few years. Almost 48% of the net office absorption of 21.32 million sq ft (MSF) in FY21was bythe ITITeS sectors alone. And these IT companies largely prefer to expand in IT-dominated cities that include Bangalore,Chennai and Hyderabadwhich have ample talent pool and resources,”Anarock chairman Anuj Puri said. Another factor is the already high prevailing rentals in MMR, leading to less scope for growth, Puri said,adding,“Moreover,what we also saw in both MMR and NCR office markets in last few years was that due to high prevailing rentals in CBD areas,several companies preferred to move to the SBDs or even the PBDs (peripheral business districts).” Resultantly, prices in the CBD areas remained more or less the same. In contrast, in the southern markets many large IT parks came up in the SBD areas only, causing less pressure on the CBDs, he pointed out. The main southern office market has also overtaken other regions in terms of net absorption. Among the top seven cities,Bangalore,Hyder- abad and Chennai saw their share of total office leasing increase to 66% in FY21 (against 47% in FY18). The net office absorption in FY21 in the top cities was 21.32 MSF, and these three southern cities absorbed around 14.06 MSF. MMR and Pune absorbed 4.56 MSF (21%) and NCR 2.3 MSF (a mere 11% share.) In FY18, 31.15 MSFof office spacewere leased in the top seven cities. Of this net absorption, the southern cities collectively accounted for 47%, the western region 33% and the northern region 17%.
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