India banned 59 apps including TikTok linked to China; GVK Group promoters were charged with siphoning off funds; Vodafone Idea said its future depends on a Supreme Court verdict; Carlyle said it will buy a 25 per cent stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd’s data centre arm for $235 million. Here is more on what made news this week.
- The ban on dozens of Chinese apps following a border clash between the two nations has possibly derailed a $1 billion India expansion plan of China’s ByteDance, while also sparking an uproar from users of its popular TikTok video app. China’s foreign ministry said it was “strongly concerned” about India’s decision to ban the apps.
- Federal investigators booked Venkata Krishna Reddy Gunupati, chairman of the GVK Group, and his son G V Sanjay Reddy, Managing Director of Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), for alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 705 crore in running of the airport. The group's promoters misused MIAL's reserve funds to finance their companies, investigators alleged.
- Goods and services tax (GST) collections got a leg-up in June with a mop-up of Rs 90,917 crore, as against Rs 62,009 crore in May and just Rs 32,294 crore in April. The June figure signalled some green shoots appearing in the economy after a lockdown to contain the coronavirus was eased.
- The Indian Railways is inviting private players to operate 151 passenger trains, expecting to see investments worth Rs 30,000 crore. The private trains will run in more than a hundred routes and each of them will have a minimum of 16 coaches, said the Railways.
- Carlyle will buya 25 per cent stake in telecom firm Bharti Airtel Ltd’s data centre arm for $235 million, the US private equity group said as it taps into the rapid growth of digital services in India. The acquisition, by an affiliate of Carlyle, will give Airtel’s Nxtra Data Ltd an enterprise valuation of about $1.2 billion, the companies said in a statement. Airtel will hold the remaining 75% stake in Nxtra.
- The Kishore Biyani-led Future group has zeroed in on SBI General to sell its majority stake in the general insurance joint venture, and on Premji Invest for its life insurance venture stake, Business Standard reported. The Future group holds 51 per cent in the general insurance business, while the rest is owned by Italy’s Generali group.
- Vodafone Idea said that its ability to continue as a going concern depends on the Supreme Court giving it a favourable verdict in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter. The telecom company, which is estimated to have AGR-related dues of more than Rs 46,000 crore, posted a pre-tax loss of Rs 11,742 crore in fourth quarter FY 2020 due to one-off expenses.
A few links for further reading
Hard path to growth
The signals for the economy are not positive: overall demand is yet to pick up; the share of total exports in India’s GDP is declining, and industrial output pattern remains worrying.
Small savings scheme
Investors breathed a sigh of relief when the government announced that interest rates on these instruments would not be revised for the fourth quarter of the calendar year.
Invest and emigrate
The great Indian dream of settling abroad is achievable if one has a few crores to invest. Rich nations offer a variety of investment options in a quid pro quo arrangement: immigrants get a better quality of life and revenue from them helps these countries’ finances. Wealthy Indians, troubled by polluted cities and the red tape holding up entrepreneurship, may want a quick ticket out of the country. Sanjay Kumar Singh lists a range of options: from a Canadian province’s investor programme to America’s US EB-5 plan.