BQuick On Sept. 18: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes    
An attendee walks through convention halls. (Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

BQuick On Sept. 18: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes   

This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.

1. Google Vs Paytm

Paytm remained unavailable for Android users for several hours on Friday after Google pulled it citing violation of gambling policy. The app returned to Play store by evening after the payments firm complied.

  • India’s most-valued startup's app was found violating the gaming policy in the country, according to a Google spokesperson.

  • The app then remained unavailable for Android subscribers who use Paytm for mobile, DTH and utility payments, bookings flights and trains and much more. The payments firm has 350 million users in India.

  • Paytm First games, a fantasy gaming platform, is still not available on Google Play.

The app was removed because it had launched a campaign called Paytm Cricket League on the Paytm App.

2. New Margin Rules: An Operational Nightmare?

Stock exchanges say the new margin system rolled out from Sept. 1 has stabilised. At least one category of investors doesn’t agree.

  • Foreign corporate bodies, foreign individuals, hedge funds, domestic portfolio managers, alternative investment funds and non-bank lenders, together categorised as non-institutions, have seen transaction cost increase since the new rules kicked in.

  • Starting this month, the regulator banned pooling of client securities by brokers to prevent their misuse.

  • Besides, all trades require upfront margins before execution.

Find out why the new rules have become a new headache for portfolio managers and hedge funds.

3. Volatile Friday For Indian And U.S. Markets

India’s small-cap stocks capped their best week in about a month even as the main indexes fell Friday, helped by a regulatory order that prescribes mutual funds to widen exposure to small and mid-sized companies.

  • The S&P BSE Small Cap Index slid 0.3% to 15,299.98, though it posted a weekly advance of 5.1%.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.3%, after a volatile last hour of trade, to close little changed for the week.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

6. Anil Agarwal’s Ambitious Turnaround Fund

Indian commodities tycoon Anil Agarwal, who made a fortune buying state companies and fixing them up, is preparing to raise an investment fund targeting turnaround opportunities in the country, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.

  • Vedanta Resources Ltd.’s billionaire founder is working with Centricus Asset Management Ltd. on the plans, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

  • They have started approaching potential investors for the proposed India Direct Investment fund, which will buy stakes in government companies being sold as part of the country’s Rs 2.1 lakh crore divestment programme, the people said.

  • The fund will also target companies restructuring under India’s bankruptcy regime, the people said.

Agarwal is seeking to find the gems among the dozens of companies being sold and tap his industry connections to turn them around.

7. India Ratings Cuts Banking Outlook To Negative

India Ratings & Research has lowered its outlook on India’s banking sector to negative from stable for the last six months of the ongoing fiscal.

  • The revision is largely owing to public sector banks, forming bulk of the Indian banking sector, as the ratings agency expects a rise in restructured assets and weakness in their financial profile.

  • In case of private banks, it continues to have a stable outlook.

  • According to India Ratings, most public sector banks are expected to report a net loss in FY21.

A spike in stressed assets and higher credit costs are other reasons why banking could come under stress.

8. $7 Billion E-Commerce Opportunity

Online sales are expected to grow at its fastest pace in the upcoming festive season as the number of shoppers are likely to nearly double as the pandemic fuels an e-commerce boom.

  • Festive sales are expected to almost double to touch $7 billion in gross merchandise value, or gross sales, up from $3.8 billion in GMV clocked during the sale season last year, according to a report from internet research firm Redseer Consulting.

  • The number of shoppers thronging websites to buy everything from apparel to electronics is expected to nearly double from 28 million to about 50 million users in the first festive season sale.

The surge in shoppers comes as more first-time users have come online, with Covid-19 accelerating digital adoption.

9. Government’s Version Of Amazon Helps Save $1 Billion

The Indian government’s move to shift a part of its $400 billion public procurement to an online market platform has already saved the administration about $1 billion so far at a time when it’s trying to rein in its fiscal deficit, according to a government official.

  • The four-year-old Government e-Marketplace or GeM, often referred to as the government’s Amazon.com, helps ministries and state companies connect with sellers across the country to buy computers, cars, chairs and millions of other products and services at the lowest possible price.

  • “Every penny saved is a penny added to the topline. It’s an addition to the government’s kitty,” Talleen Kumar, GeM’s chief executive officer, said in an interview Wednesday.

India spends about 18% of GDP on procurement but only about a quarter of it can be bought on the e-marketplace

10. Modi Defends Farm Bills Amid Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stoutly defended farm sector reform bills, asserting that they will act as a "protection shield" for farmers and accused those opposing the measures of standing with middlemen and "deceiving" and "lying" to peasants.

  • With opposition parties dubbing three bills, passed by Lok Sabha and now to be tabled in Rajya Sabha, as "anti-farmers" and the BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal quitting his government to protest them, Modi refuted their criticism, saying these laws will unshackle farmers by allowing them to sell their produce anywhere by negotiating a better price.

Modi asserted that no government has done as much for the farming community as the BJP-led NDA had.

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