Telecom turmoil, Trump’s India visit and more in the news

The government on February 17 received Rs 14,697 crore from three companies towards their AGR dues, even as the Supreme Court dismissed Vodafone Idea’s plea seeking relief from invocation of its bank guarantee. With the company staring at closure in the absence of a relief, its chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and CEO Ravinder Takkar met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash the next day. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allayed industry’s concerns around the likely impact of the novel Coronavirus outbreak in China on India’s trade and said “immediate measures” to address the challenges would be announced. In the days running up to US President Donald Trump’s maiden official visit to India, extensive preparations are being made in Ahmedabad, where he will address a large gathering at the newly-built Motera cricket stadium.

Business Standard
22nd February

  • A day after the Supreme Court dismissed Vodafone Idea’s plea, its chairman Birla and CEO Takkar met telecom secretary Prakash to seek relief from coercive action. These talks were critical for Vodafone Idea to stay in business after the SC denied it any protection from its bank guarantee being invoked by the DoT if it failed to pay up its adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.
  • Days before US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad for a ‘Howdy Modi’-like show and flies with his team to New Delhi for a round of hard talk, the list of members of Trump’s business delegation remains under wraps. But sources say there are around 15 CEOs representing sectors ranging from finance and banking to information technology and retail.
  • At a time when the global economy and financial markets are grappling with the spread of the novel Coronavirus epidemic in China analysts believe India could stand to benefit over the longer term as companies look at setting up alternative manufacturing bases. In the short term, however, there could be some supply-chain disruptions.
  • Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has said it is consolidating its media and distribution business spread across multiple entities under the Network18 umbrella Under the scheme of arrangement, TV18 Broadcast, Hathway Cable & Datacom, and DEN Networks will merge into Network18, with the appointed date for the merger being February 1.
  • The Centre will pay out goods and services tax (GST) compensation to states for the October-November period before the next GST Council meeting, tentatively scheduled for March 14. “Nevertheless, states are expected to raise the issue over delay in release of compensation as they are facing revenue stress and need to close books for 2019-20 in March,” said a government official.
  • Directors of private limited companies are being slapped with tax notices holding them liable for dues/disputes pending at the company’s end. The number of such notices is learnt to have risen exponentially over the past few weeks. This is on the back of mounting pressure on tax officers, with the end of the financial year approaching.
  • The economic slowdown is beginning to reflect in the salary hikes of India Inc The average salary increase in 2020 is projected to be 9.1 per cent, the lowest in a decade, according to the 24th edition of Aon Plc’s annual salary increase survey. In 2018 and 2019, companies increased average salary by 9.5 per cent and 9.3 per cent, respectively. After the financial crisis of 2008, the average hike had slumped to 6.6 per cent.

Disclaimer: This information is from a third party—Business Standard—offered through a tie-up to Kotak Securities customers for free for life. The third party content is not created or endorsed by any business offering products or services through it. The provision of this third party content is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute a research call, recommendation or solicitation to purchase or sell any security or make any other type of investment or investment decision. Also, the views and opinions stated in the content belong to Business Standard. Kotak Securities does not uphold nor promote any of the views. These reports do not, in any way, qualify as a Kotak Securities research report.

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.

Want to get this in your email?