OPINION, P6 HARSH V PANT COMPANIES, P4 India did well to take a balanced approach on the Sri Lanka crisis BACK PAGE, P16 EDITORIAL NEW SOLUTIONS IN THE NEWS IndiGo's handling of a specially-abled flyer mirrors India’s general apathy towards disability rights TCS looks to leverage rapid digitalisation drive across retail sector Rajiv Kumar: The quintessential consensus builder CHENNAI/KOCHI, SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2022 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL XLIII NO. 313, 16 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: 52,793.62 ▼ 136.69 NIFTY: 15,782.15 ▼ 25.85 NIKKEI 225: 26,427.65 ▲ 678.93 HANG SENG: 19,898.77 ▲ 518.43 `/$: 77.45 ▼ 0.02 `/€: 80.34 ▲ 0.39 BRENT: $109.89 ▲ $2.44 GOLD: `50,275 ▼ `693 IN THE NEWS Exports jump 31% in April, imports surge too MERCHANDISE EXPORTS HIT $40 billion in April, which is a record for the first month of any fiscal, having jumped 30.7% from a year before, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. However, imports jumped at a faster pace of 31% to $60.3 billion, widening the trade deficit . Swiggy to acquire Dineout for $200 million FOODTECH MAJOR SWIGGY on Friday marked its entry into restaurant SaaS play with its long-awaited acquisition of Dineout, which offers table reservation restaurants software management tools, reports Salman SH in Bengaluru. Credit to NBFCs allowed in certain priority sectors THE RESERVE BANK of India on Friday permitted banks, including small finance banks, to continue providing credit facility to NBFCs for the purpose of on-lending to certain priority sectors, reports PTI. IMD, Skymet see early monsoon arrival in Kerala THE MONSOON WILL likely hit the Kerala coast by May 26, five days ahead of “normal onset date” of June 1, Skymet said on Friday, reports Sandip Das in New Delhi. The IMD predicts the onset on May 27. Special Feature Is the new C-Class as good as the S-Class? Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers you similar comfort as the S-Class, but has limited space ■ Motobahn, P8 DEADLOCK OVER LOWER IMPORT TARIFF MODEST EARNINGS AND MISSED ESTIMATES Tesla puts its India SBI numbers singe BSE Bankex entry plan on hold FE BUREAU Mumbai, May 13 Govt wants EVs to be made in India FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 13 TESLA INC HAS put on hold planstosellelectriccarsinIndia, abandoned a search for showroom space and reassigned some of its domestic team after failing to secure lower import taxes,Reuters reported. This follows the Narendra Modi government sticking to its stand that it could consider a concessional tax rate structure for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers such as Tesla only if these firms give an undertaking on local manufacturing or at least on assembling and sourcing here. On April 26, Union minister for highways and transport Nitin Gadkari reiterated the government's position by saying that while Tesla was “welcome to set up shop in India, make cars here for sale and export them, making in China and selling here is not a good proposition”. Currently, imports of com- Abandons search for showroom space, reassigns some ofits domestic team Teslawanted to first test demand by selling EVs imported from US and China, at lower tariffs Fake accounts: Musk defers $44-billion Twitter deal NIVEDITA BALU & KENNETH LI May 13 pletelyknocked downvehicles attract a 15% customs duty, semi-knockdown ones 30% and full-throttle vehicles are subjected to 60-100% duty depending on the value. ELON MUSK TWEETED on Fridaythathis$44-billioncash deal for Twitter Inc was “temporarilyonhold”whilehewaits for the social media company to provide data on the proportion of its fake accounts. Twitter shares initially fell more than 20% in premarket trading, but after Musk sent a second tweet saying he remained committed to the deal, they regained some ground. The shares were down 10% to $40.50 in morning trading on Friday, a steep discount to the $54.20 per share acquisition price. Musk, the world’s richest person, decided to waive due diligence when he agreed to buy Twitter on April 25, in an effort to get the San Franciscobased company to accept his “best and final offer”. Continued on Page 2 Continued on Page 2 ■ But New Delhi wants Tesla to commit to manufacturing locally before lowering tariffs Import tariffs can run as high as 100% on imported vehicles AFTER PLUMMETING 1,255 points on Thursday, the BSE Bankex lost further ground on Friday as it fell 498 points,wipingoutatotalmarketcapitalisation to the tune of `1.1 trillion. The slide on Friday began after State Bank of India (SBI)’s netprofitof`9.113.53crorefor Q4FY22 missed Bloomberg estimatesof`10,180crore.The net interest margin saw only a slight sequential increase. While the lender’s slippages rose to `2,845 crore from `2,334 crore in the December 2021 quarter, the gross nonperforming asset (NPA) ratio narrowed53bpssequentiallyto 3.97% and the net NPA ratio declined32bpsto1.02%.However,itsetaside`3,260croreas badloanprovisions,around5% higherthanthequantuminthe BSE Bankex Intra-day SBI Open 39,750 39,662.07 Open 475 39,319.66 39,400 Intra-day on BSE (`) 485 Open 472.15 PNB 32.0 Open Open 31.1 470 465 455 Close 38,739.84 38,350 38,000 Close 38,241.42 May 12 May 13 December 2021 quarter. The stock ended the session lower by3.8% at `445.05. The sentiment in banking stocks had already been hit on ThursdayafterPunjabNational Bank (PNB) reported a poor set of earnings with a 65% y-o-y dropinnetprofitsduetoa35% 31.70 Open 30.2 29.3 39,050 38,700 Intra-day on BSE (`) 445 Close 462.45 Close 445.05 435 May 12 May 13 increaseincreditcosts.Theslippages jumped sharply to around 6% annualised, meaningfully outpacing recoveries. The net interest income (NIM) was up by a muted 5% y-o-y. The stock crashed to `28.60 at closeonThursdayfromtheprevious close of `33.1. 29.70 28.4 Close Close 27.5 29.30 28.60 May 12 May 13 SBI profit rises 41% in Q4, but misses estimates ● ALSO SEE, PAGE 7 Continued on Page 2 LIC IPO: Issue price fixed Exodus continues: Future Retail CFO Toshniwal quits at upper band of `949 THE GOVERNMENTHAS fixed the issue price of LIC shares at `949apiece,theupperend of the IPO price band, fetching the exchequer around `20,557 crore, reports PTI. The country’s largest insurer will list itself on the bourses on May 17,following the initial share sale offer which was oversubscribed nearlythreetimestheissuesize. The IPO closed on May 9 and shares were allocated to bidders on May12. The government sold over 22.13 crore shares or a 3.5% stake in LIC through the IPO at a price band of `902949 a share. DEBT-LADEN FUTURE RETAIL’S(FRL’s)chieffinancialofficer CP Toshniwal has quit, effective May 12, joining the list of executives who have quit the Kishore Biyani-controlled Future Group companies, reports feBureauinMumbai.Accordingly, he has ceased to be CFO, FRLsaidinaregulatoryupdate, but did not provide further details.Earlier in March,FRL’s CEO Sadashiv Nayak had quit, seven months after he was appointed.Also,on Thursday, Kishore Biyani’s daughterAshniBiyaniresigned asMDofFutureConsumer,citing personal reasons.Page 5 800-ACRE SITE IN HARYANA FINALISED Maruti to invest `11k cr in Sonepat plant phase I FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 13 MARUTI SUZUKI INDIA (MSI), thecountry’slargestpassenger vehicle manufacturer, on Friday said it will invest `11,000 crore in the first phase of its new manufacturing facility in Haryana.The company on Friday completed the process of allotment of an 800-acre site at IMT Kharkhoda in Sonepat district with HSIIDC (Haryana State Industrial and InfrastructureDevelopmentCorporation), the company said in a statement. The newplant’s first phase, withamanufacturingcapacity of 250,000 units perannum,is expected to be commissioned by 2025, subject to administrative approvals. “The sitewill have space for capacity expansion to include more manufacturing plants in 250,000 units per annum capacity expected by 2025 700,000 units present capacity at Gurgaon plant 100,000 units capacity expansion at Manesar plant last month 800,000 units present capacity at Manesar plant the future,”the company said. Last month, Maruti had approved expansion of its capacity at the Manesar plant by 100,000 units. Thiswouldbecompletedby April 2024with an investment of `161 crore. At present,Maruti’s Manesar plant has an installed annual production capacity of 800,000 units, while it is 700,000 units for the company’s Gurgaon plant. Suzuki Motor Gujarat’s plant has an installed annual production capacity of 750,000 units. Thus, in total, the Maruti and SMG plants have a capacity of 2.25 million units. HIGHER LEGAL RISK FOR THIRD-PARTY CONTENT Social media firms to contest more curbs INDU BHAN & KIRAN RATHEE New Delhi, May 13 SOCIAL MEDIA FIRMS plan to challenge any change in law brought in by the government totightenintermediaryguidelines.The changeswould lower the immunitygrantedto firms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, and over-the-top players like Netflix, Amazon PrimeVideo,etc,underSection 79oftheInformationTechnologyAct for hosting third-party contentanddata.Insuchascenario, such firms could face higherlegal risks.Government sources had earlier this week indicatedthatanewlaw—Digital IndiaAct — is in the works. Executives of these firms said that thoughthe final decisionwould depend on the contours of the newlaw,one thing is certain, it would lead to increased litigation as the current provisions are draconian enough and do not merit further tightening. The legal fraternity, while ■ New Digital India Act is in the works to tighten norms further ■ Legal fraternity feels light touch regulations fine, shouldn't be overkill ■ They see increased litigation as current provisions are draconian enough Action by social media firms to depend on the contours of the new law acknowledging that there should be a measure of accountability on the part of social media firms, also maintains that regulations should be a light touch. Last year, the government had brought about changes in the law by tightening clauses like Section 69A of the ITAct. Under the changes, Social media firms were asked to appoint grievance redressal officers in the country and resolve consumer grievances within a specific time period, as well as have designated nodal officers forcoordination with the government over law and order matters. The companies maintain that these changes are stringent enough to take care of government’s concerns and if theyhave compliedwith them why should they be subjected to further harsher measures. Under the changes brought inlastyear,ifsocialmediafirms fail in compliance of anyoftheprovisions,theirexecutivescanfacecriminalliability and face a jail term for a maximum period of seven years, a provision which was not there earlier.Nowonder,legalexperts are also cautioning the governmentagainstgoingforoverkill. “The validity of Section 79 of the IT Act, often referred to as safe harbourprovisions,has been upheld by the Supreme Court in the Shreya Singhal case in 2015,” Ruby Singh Ahuja, senior partner, Karanjawala and Company,said. Continued on Page 2 CHENNAI/KOCHI
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