BQuick On Sept. 16: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.
1. India’s New Parliament Building, Brought To You By The Tata Group
Tata Projects Ltd. has won the contract to construct a new parliament building at a cost of Rs 861.90 crore, officials told Press Trust of India.
The Tata Group company edged out Larsen and Toubro Ltd., which had submitted a bid of Rs 865 crore, they said.
The new parliament building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista Redevelopment project, and it is expected to be completed in 21 months.
The existing parliament building will continue to function during the entire period of execution of the project.
2. Airlines Seek $1.5-Billion Lifeline
Airlines in India are seeking at least $1.5 billion as an interest-free credit line from the government, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, as lockdowns and restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic hit demand for air travel.
The carriers in what was until recently the world’s fastest-growing aviation market are also seeking to defer loan repayments by six months, without these borrowings getting classified as “non-performing,” Puri said in a written reply in parliament.
Local airlines have asked the government to include jet fuel in the goods and services tax, and abolish excise duty on aviation turbine fuel, the minister said.
India is yet to announce any meaningful monetary package for the aviation industry, unlike many other countries.
3. RBI’s Das Looks To Avoid Ghosts Of The Past
The Reserve Bank of India’s recent framework for stressed asset resolution is intended to provide relief to viable businesses hit by the Covid crisis, while avoiding a repeat of high levels of non-performing assets seen after previous restructuring exercises. That’s according to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, who spoke at a conference organised by FICCI.
The purpose of constituting a committee under veteran banker KV Kamath to recommend sector-wise thresholds for restructuring was to ensure a revival of businesses that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic substantially and are now facing cash-flow problems.
The focus of the framework is to assist businesses which are otherwise viable but are facing problems. The emphasis is to enable these companies to come back to normalcy and resume activity.Shaktikanta Das, Governor, RBI
Das said while designing the framework, the RBI had kept in mind depositor interests and the stability of the financial sector.
Das said that while there are some indications of stabilisation of economic activity in the second quarter, the recovery is “not yet fully entrenched.”
4. Nifty Nears Three-Week High; U.S. Stocks Rise Ahead Of Fed
Indian equity markets ended higher for the second straight day, with gains led by auto, pharma and real estate stocks.
The S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.66% higher at 39,302.
The NSE Nifty 50 gained 0.7% to end at 11,604.
Both indices ended at the highest level in nearly three weeks.
Broader markets were subdued in today's session after two days of outperformance.
Follow the day’s trading action here.
Stocks rose with Treasuries and the dollar slipped on speculation the Federal Reserve will keep its dovish stance to lift the world’s largest economy from a pandemic-induced recession.
The S&P 500 extended gains into a fourth day, led by energy producers and banks.
Fed officials, who recently unveiled a more relaxed strategy on inflation, have an opportunity Wednesday to back up the plan with details as they look to boost the recovery.
West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 2.7% to $39.33 a barrel.
Get your daily fix of global markets.
5. Why Neither Bulls Nor Bears Bother Vijay Kedia
Investors should focus on picking individual stocks that they think will perform well instead of being fixated on which direction the market is moving, according to Vijay Kedia.
“I don’t look at the market or whether the index is up or down; whether it’s a bull market or a bear market or a fox market or a dog market, I don’t care about it,” Kedia told BloombergQuint.
The key, Kedia said, is to look at ideas, products and services that will be most consumed, and the sustainability of the field you’re betting on.
Watch the full interview with Kedia to get insights into the market veteran's investment philosophy.
6. Supreme Court Rules In Vedanta’s Favour In 2011 Arbitration Award
The Supreme Court rejected the government’s plea challenging the enforcement of a $499-million arbitral award in favour of Cairn India (now acquired by Vedanta Ltd.) and Videocon Industries Ltd.
The three-judge bench headed by Justice S Abdul Nazeer did not agree with the government’s view that the award was against the public policy.
The award in contention stemmed from the ruling of a foreign arbitration tribunal based in Malaysia that allowed Vedanta and Videocon Industries to recover $499 million in cost for development of the Ravva oil and gas fields located in Andhra Pradesh.
Under the Indian law, a foreign arbitration award can be challenged on the grounds of it being against the public policy of India.
India’s top court also declined to interfere with the arbitration tribunal’s decision.
7. Freedom Of Speech Vs Trial By Media
“The investigative docuseries explores the greed, fraud and corruption that built up—and ultimately brought down—India’ most infamous tycoons.” That’s how streaming service Netflix describes ‘Bad Boys Billionaires’, which revolves around the life of Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy, Ramalinga Raju and Vijay Mallya.
The description of the series and its trailer was enough for courts in Bihar and Hyderabad to direct a stay on the Sept. 3 release.
Subrata Roy’s Sahara group and Ramalinga Raju approached the court claiming that the release will prejudice the pending court cases and were granted a temporary injunction in their favour.
The interim orders in both cases discuss the question of freedom of speech versus an individual’s right to protect his reputation.
Experts are divided on the approach courts must take while answering this.
8. Your Guide To Loving Indian Media Again
Self-styled media experts who talk through their television remotes to announce dramatically, ‘Indian journalism is dead’ should tear their eyes away from the daily spectacle that unfolds on prime-time propaganda to see the independent news organisations that are springing up everywhere, writes Priya Ramani.
For a while now independent media startups have together provided coverage of real issues and a democracy under threat.
Now there’s another generation of media startups doing their bit to keep journalism alive.
Can their efforts reach and impact brains being rewired by the relentless, addictive drip of social media?
Here's a look at Indian media startups that doing their bit to keep journalism alive.
9. India's Covid-19 Cases Cross 50-Lakh-Mark
India’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 50-lakh-mark as the deadly pathogen spreads unabated in the world’s second-most populous nation.
The country added 90,123 fresh infections in the last 24 hours taking the total count to 50,20,359, according to health ministry's data.
This includes 39,42,360 recoveries and 82,066 fatalities.
In the last 24 hours, 82,961 patients recovered and 1,290 have succumbed to the disease.
The number of active cases in India stood at 9,95,933.
Experts agree that at this point the virus is pretty much out of control in India. More details here.
The pressures of the pandemic have fallen hardest on developing countries with weak governments. They’re struggling to determine who is being infected and why, and to mitigate the economic impact of lockdowns and social distancing measures. If dealing with Covid-19 is stressing those states, however, the effort required to end the pandemic may exhaust them, writes Mihir Sharma.
One critical challenge will be storage and transportation.
Managing a regular vaccine cold chain is enormously difficult. First-choice storage machinery — ice-lined refrigerators — can cost up to thousands of dollars.
Off-grid, solar-driven refrigerators, which might be needed in countries with unreliable power supply, are even more expensive.
Done right, a large network of refrigerated storage and transport created for the pandemic could have wider uses.
This is where India can step in and take the lead.
10. Secret Tibetan Military Force Raises Stakes In India-China Clash
At a funeral last week in the mountains of northern India, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top aides paid respect to a Tibetan soldier killed on the front lines of deadly clashes with China.
Surrounded by troops waving the flags of both India and Tibet, Ram Madhav laid a wreath before the coffin during a ceremony that gave the deceased man full military honors.
In a now-deleted tweet, the national general secretary of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said he hoped the soldier’s death would lead to peace along the “Indo-Tibetan border.”
The rare recognition of a secretive Indian military unit with Tibetan soldiers by itself threatened to escalate a border dispute that has killed dozens since May.
Even more significant was the suggestion that India questioned China’s sovereignty over Tibet -- a red line for Beijing.