OPINION, P6 SHYAMAL MAJUMDAR COMPANIES, P4 India badly needs a national litigation policy ECONOMY, P2 EDITORIAL ARPU IMPROVES TO `124 NEW-AGE PACTS FOR BETTER TRADE Rupee fall is a concern, but should not stoke panic; it is still over-valued in terms of REER Vodafone Idea narrows losses to `6,545 crore in Q4 on tariff hikes FM asks industry to form JVs with UAE firms, tap FTA with Australia CHENNAI/KOCHI, WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2022 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL XLIII NO. 310, 22 PAGES, `10.00 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: 54,364.85 ▼ 105.82 NIFTY: 16,240.05 ▼ 61.80 NIKKEI 225: 26,167.10 ▼ 152.24 HANG SENG: 19,633.69 ▼ 368.27 `/$: 77.33 ▲ 0.14 `/€: 81.49 ▲ 0.07 BRENT: $105.52 ▼ $0.42 GOLD: `51,128 ▼ `143 IN THE NEWS Gold scheme: Minimum deposit may be slashed THE GOVERNMENT IS weighing a proposal to slash the minimum deposit requirement under its gold monetisation scheme in phases to induce a large number of people to park their idle holdings with banks, reports Banikinkar Pattanayak in New Delhi. ArcelorMittal also ‘evaluating’ bids for ACC and Ambuja HOSTING THIRD-PARTY CONTENT ADANI, ULTRATECH IN THE RACE TOO Equity MF inflows fall 44% in April to `15,890 crore NET INFLOWS INTO equity-linked schemes declined 44% month-onmonth to `15,890.38 crore in April against `28,463 crore in March, amid uncertainty in the equity markets and new fund offer allotment, reports Ruchit Purohit in Mumbai. Sebi amends norms for draft filing fees paid by InvITs SEBI ON TUESDAY amended norms for draft filing fees paid by InvITs, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. InvITs are required to pay non-refundable filing fees of 0.1% in case of initial offer and 0.05% in case of rights issue of the total issue size. Special Features Whyyou need to buy home insurance Review home insurance requirement annually so that your home is not underinsured ■ Personal Finance, P7 Building system to raise insurance penetration Riskcovry is using a plug-and-play model to streamline insurance distribution in India ■ eFE, P7 Holcim bid: JSW offers $7 bn Social media firms to face higher legal risks JSW Group intends to put in RAJESH KURUP Mumbai, May 10 THE RACETOacquireHolcim’s India assets — Ambuja CementsandACC—issettosee a stiff contest between Adani and JSW Group. Speaking for the first time on his interest to acquire Holcim’s India assets, Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of JSW Group, said that the group intendstoplacea$7-billionbid to acquire a controlling stake. In an interviewto Financial Times, Jindal said that the group intends to put in $4.5 billionfromitsownkitty,while the remaining $2.5 billion would be raised from private equity (PE) players. He, however, did not dis- $4.5 Remaining $2.5 billion billion from its own kitty close the names of the PE firms, but added that winning a 63% stake in Ambuja would be a“game-changer”. So far, market sources have indicatedthatAdaniGrouphas madeanofferofmorethan$10 billion.The Aditya Birla Group, whoseUltraTechCementiscurrentlythe market leader,is also understoodtobeintheracebut may require approval from the Competition Commission of India because of its market to be raised from PE players share in the western region. In casethisgoesahead,itmayhave to shed some of its capacity in this region. Meanwhile,ArcelorMittalis also reported to have shown interest in Holcim’s assets. Holcim holds a 63.1% stake in Ambuja Cement and a 4.48% stake in ACC, while Ambuja — Holcim’s flagship entity in India – holds a 50.05% stake in ACC. EarlierinApril,sourcesclose Jindal says winning a 63% stake in Ambuja would be a 'game-changer' to the development had told FE thatJSWGrouphadassurances for funds of up to $11 billion from lenders and PE firms. Continued on Page 2 JSW Steel to put Italian units on sale over revival failure ● ALSO SEE, PAGE 4 Unfair practices: Ola, Uber asked to make pricing transparent FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 10 THE GOVERNMENT HAS warned cab aggregators, including Ola and Uber, of strict action unless they improve their systems, bring more transparency in pricing and redress rising consumer complaints. At a meeting with cab aggregators on Tuesday, the consumer affairs ministry and the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) said therewillbe“zerotolerance”towardsthe “unfair trade practices”of these ridehailing platforms. According to sources, the cab aggregators were also told to abide by the ‘ecommerce’ guidelines issued by the ministry under which transparency of pricing is a must. The CCPA, source said, may bring separate guidelines for these firms.The cab aggregators were also told not to impose any hidden charges in the form of Covid fees,etc. Continued on Page 2 New law set to increase accountability ■ Over-the-top players like Netflix, Amazon, etc, also set to see tighter norms KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, May 10 THERE'S SOME BAD news in store for social media firms as thegovernmentplanstotighten intermediaryguidelinesinsuch a manner that the immunity granted to them from legal liabilities for hosting third-party contentmaygetdiluted.Insuch ascenario,firmssuchasTwitter, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, and over-the-top players like Netflix,Amazon,etc,commonly referred to as intermediaries, mayface higherlegal risks. A new law — Digital India Act—intheworks,whichwould incorporateallaspectscovering cybersecurity,socialmedia,digital services,personal data protection, etc, sources in the government said. Currently,Section 79 of the ITActprovidesanintermediary status to social media companies.This status provides them exemptionsandcertainimmunity from liabilities for any third-party content and data hosted by them. It’s only when these firms fail to remove or block any content as directed ■ Intermediary status provides social media firms certain immunity from liabilities ■ Digital India Act to cover cyber security, social media, personal data protection, etc Currently, Twitter, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, etc, face penal action over failure to remove or block any content by the government that they are liable to face penal action, which maysee theirexecutives being jailed also. Sources said that there’s a thinking in the government thatthesafeharbourprovisions underwhichintermediariesare exempt from legal liabilities is changing across the world and India should not lag behind. However, no fixed timeline or newer provisions replacing the existing ones have still been finalised.“Thepointisthatwhat isapplicableinanalogueworld, should be applicable in digital world...we have to have accountability on social media because it is affecting our society,oursociallife,ourfamilylife, our personal life,etc…there is a consensus on the issue,” said a government source. Last year, the government had brought about a comprehensivesetofnewguidelinesas part of the IT Act to regulate socialmediafirmsandover-thetopplatformslikeNetflix,Amazon Prime Video, and standalone digital media outlets. Continued on Page 17 EMPLOYEES AND VENDORS SACKED BharatPe to claw back shares from Grover FE BUREAU Bengaluru, May 10 PAYMENTS START-UP BHARATPE, which has been witnessing a tussle between promoters and investors, on Tuesday said it has decided to clawback formerfounderAshneerGrover’s restricted shares in the company. The company has also terminated several employees and vendors as well as filed criminal cases against them for misconduct. “If required, the company will be filing criminal cases against some of these employees for misconduct and act of cheating committed by them against the company,” BharatPe said in a statement. “Manyvendors involved in malpractices,such as incorrect or inflated invoices,have been blocked from furtherbusiness with the company... the com- 8.5% stake currently held by Grover in BharatPe, of which 1.4% is not vested BharatPe alleged embezzle ment of funds by Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover pany has already issued legal notices to these vendors to recoverthe amount andwill be filing civil or criminal cases against them in the coming days,”it said. Further, BharatPe said it was introducing a new vendor procurement policy to mitigate any risk of employees indulging in suspicious transactions to personally benefit from them. These developments come after the conclusion of a twomonth long corporate governance review carried out by Alvarez & Marsal, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and PwC. Without naming Grover, the company said necessary action has been initiated “against the former founder to claw back his restricted shares as per the shareholders’ agreement. It will take all steps to enforce its right under the law”. Continued on Page 2 TRADE IN THE TIMES OF WAR Imports from Russia jump 3x since Ukraine BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, May 10 INDIA’S IMPORTS FROM Russia witnessed a more than three-fold jump to $4.67 billion from a year before since the Ukraine conflict began on February 24, despite pressure from Western nations. The surge in shipments from Russia is thanks to New Delhi's efforts to strike good deals with Russian suppliers to tide over a growing shortfall of crude oil and other inputs like coal and fertilisers. However, the country’s exports to Russia crashed 57% year-on-year to just $266 million during this period,mainly due to logistics and payment issues in the aftermath of WesternsanctionsonMoscow, sources familiarwith the matter told FE. Between February 24 and May 8, India’s purchases of crude oil from Russia jumped 393% to $1.86 billion, while Imports from Russia ($ million) Feb 24-May 8, 2021 Feb 24-May 8, 2022 Crude oil 377 1,858 Exports to Russia ($ million) Feb 24-May 8, 2021 Feb 24-May 8, 2022 Drug 102 formulations, 60 biologicals Coal, coke and briquettes, etc 167 630 Telecom instruments Petroleum products 204 560 Iron and steel Pearl, precious stones, etc 185 143 Total* 1,508 43 Fertilisers 376 4,671 40 32 14 32 23 Marine products 2 Bulk drugs, drug intermediates 21 17 Total* 621 266 *Including other products those of petroleum products surged 175% to $560 million, said one of the sources, citing preliminary data. Similarly, imports of coal, coke and briquettes, etc, climbed 277% to $630 million, and fertiliser purchases saw a multi-fold jump to $376 million from $43 million. Of course, the growth in importvalueisaidedbyarisein global commodity prices in recent months and a relatively lowbase.Tradesourcessaidtidy chunksofthesepurchaseswere contracted before the war had begun in late February. They said, apart from oil and petroleumproducts,thesurgeincoal imports would continue unabated especially during the summer,asapowercrisislooms over a vast swathe of the country.Three-quarters of the electricity produced in India uses coal and the country imports just under a quarter of its annualconsumptionoftheraw material. Similarly, fertiliser imports from Russia, too, may continue, as crisis-ridden Ukraine, another supplier to India,isn’t in a position to ship outthekeyfarminput.Thegovernment,too,isseekingtokeep local supplies steady ahead of the Kharif sowing season. Importantly, the surge in imports from Moscow suggestsNewDelhi,anetimporter of commodities,has remained steadfastinitscommitmentto chart its own path. Continued on Page 2 CHENNAI/KOCHI
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