Rs 20-trn stimulus gets going, Maruti seeks time, InterGlobe eyes Australian airline, and more

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs 20 trillion fiscal and monetary package to support the economy. InterGlobe Enterprises, the parent of IndiGo, evinced interest in Australia’s second-largest airline. Maruti Suzuki sought time to resume "normal production". India may defer till September a new levy known as Google tax and imposed on e-commerce companies that do not have permanent establishments in the country. Here is more on what made news this week.

Business Standard
16th May

  • The Finance Minister announced measures worth nearly Rs 5.94 trillion for small businesses, taxpayers, shadow banks, and others as part of a stimulus to help India’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic. The measures are part of a Rs 20 trillion fiscal and monetary package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support the economy, which has been battered by a lockdown to curb the virus’ spread.
  • Maruti Suzuki said it will take time to resume "normal production", as it solves issues like labour scarcity and working by measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “There is too much of uncertainty currently to predict when there will be a recovery,” said R C Bhargava, the company’s chairman.
  • The finance ministry may defer till September the new equalisation levy, also known as Google tax, on e-commerce companies that do not have permanent establishments in India, government sources told Business Standard. E-commerce giants such as Amazon, Netflix and Flipkart potentially have to pay the additional levy of 2 per cent from April 1.
  • InterGlobe Enterprises, the parent of Indian airline IndiGo, has evinced interest in Virgin Australia, Australia’s second-largest aviation company that’s under bankruptcy administration. InterGlobe, owned by Rahul Bhatia, has appointed an Australian consultant for the process. IndiGo isn’t involved in the process.
  • India is likely to set a 10 per cent ‘beneficial ownership’ cap for foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing from China and six other bordering countries. Beyond this, a government nod would be required for any investing entity or individual from these nations. The move will help the government protect Indian firms from hostile takeovers.
  • US-based Gilead Sciences said that it has signed non-exclusive licensing agreements with five generic drug makers in India and Pakistan to expand the supply of antiviral drug remdesivir, a re-purposed Ebola drug seen as a potential therapy for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Cipla, Hetero Labs, Jubilant Life Sciences, Mylan, and Pakistan-based Ferozsons Labs will manufacture and sell remdesivir in 127 countries. 
  • British telecom giant Vodafone PLC, which owns a majority stake in Vodafone Idea, blamed losses related to its Indian arm on the adverse judgments by the Supreme Court. It has decided to value its Vodafone Idea shares at zero. The British operator said it would have an additional potential exposure of Rs 8,400 crore for the contingent liabilities of the Indian telecom company.

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A few links for further reading

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