Mistry opens news front against Tatas, Biyani reveals why he had to sell retail chain

Future Group founder Kishore Biyani said he had to exit the business in the face of mounting debt and revenue loss triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s top law officer has told the government it should not challenge at another forum the Vodafone tax arbitration ruling by an international tribunal. India’s economy will contract by a 10.3% this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, said the International Monetary Fund. The government announced a stimulus aimed at bolstering capital expenditure and stimulating consumer demand during festivals. Here is more on what happened this week.

Business Standard
17th October

  • The country’s top law officer has told the government it should not challenge an international tribunal's ruling in favour of Vodafone in an arbitration case. Attorney General K Venugopal is of the view there is no point in dragging the matter when India is building its image as a business-friendly country.
  • The Shapoorji Pallonji Group has hit out at the Tata Sons over the Parliament redevelopment project. The Mistry family group, which has been engaged in a lengthy corporate battle with the salt-to-software conglomerate after Cyrus Mistry was removed as Tata Sons chairman in a boardroom coup four years ago, has alleged misconduct in the project’s bidding process.
  • Future Group founder Kishore Biyani said the retail chain lost Rs 7,000 crore in revenue when the coronavirus pandemic struck and stores were closed, forcing him to sell his business to Reliance Industries. “Rent and interest did not stop even if sales took a hit (due to the pandemic). No company could have survived losing so much money," he said.
  • Maruti Suzuki India plans to introduce a slew of new SUV models over the next couple of years as it seeks to straddle the segment with multiple product offerings at varied price points, Business Standard reported. Starting mid-2021, the car market leader is set to launch five new SUVs—one every six months—till 2023.
  • India’s economy will contract by a 10.3% this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund said, the biggest slump of any major emerging nation and the worst since independence. The organisation added that the country´s economy might rebound with an 8.8 per cent growth rate in 202122, higher than the 6 per cent it forecast earlier.
  • The government announced a stimulus aimed at bolstering capital expenditure and stimulating consumer demand during festivals, estimating a Rs 73,000-crore boost by the end of this financial year. The measures included giving money into the hands of central government employees; a limited hike in its capital expenditure; and interest-free loans to states for funding projects.
  • Johnson & Johnson said its Covid-19 vaccine study has been halted due to an unexplained illness in a trial participant. News of the halt comes after AstraZeneca Plc temporarily stopped tests of its vaccine after a trial participant fell ill. That study has resumed in a number of countries but remains halted in the US.

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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.

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