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Top of the Morning ☕: Who is offering aid to Future Group?

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Top of the Morning ☕: Who is offering aid to Future Group? 1
Monday, 24 Jan 2022
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Over the weekend, you must have made countless payments online—ordering in mouthwatering pizza and grocery, paying for music subscriptions, and booking a getaway in February. That’s awesome but the government now wants people even in remote villages to make such payments—the final frontier of India’s digital payments story. The National Payments Corp. of India appears to be working towards that. The body is testing a solution that will allow UPI-based payments without an active internet connection. Call it ‘UPI Lite’.

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We have more mouthwatering news. Believe it or not, India has become the largest exporter of pickling cucumber! Scroll down. Also, don’t miss our pieces on Amazon’s offer to Future Group, Essel’s dues, crude prices, and two closed paper mills in Assam.

Meanwhile, key data releases are expected this week. The US Federal Reserve will convene to decide the course of action on inflation while the International Monetary Fund will release its updated economic outlook.

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The main stuff

Amazon offers financial aid to bail out struggling Future Group

Amazon.com Inc. has offered financial support to bail out the debt-laden Future Group on the condition that the group calls off the ₹24,713 crore transaction with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries. Amazon was responding to a plea by Future Retail’s independent directors for emergency funding of ₹3,500 crore by Monday. In a 22 January letter, the US e-commerce giant said it is interested in pursuing a 30 June 2020 term sheet signed between Samara Capital, Future Retail and the promoters of the Indian retailer to acquire all retail assets of Future Retail, reports Anirudh Laskar. Read more.

Sebi likely to issue consultation paper on rating of ESGs

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has started work on having standardized norms for companies on the environment, social and governance factors, a move to guide investors take better investment decisions. The regulator is expected to soon issue a discussion paper outlining regulatory and supervisory approaches for ESG ratings. The paper will seek to address two core issues—arriving at a standard definition for ESG factors and rating them, and avoiding conflicts during such ratings. Jayshree P. Upadhyay reports. Read more.

Lenders may ask Essel’s Chandra to pay dues from non-compete fee

Financial creditors of Essel group may ask chairman Subhash Chandra to settle their dues with the ₹1,100 crore non-compete fee that he stands to receive from Sony Group, three people aware of the matter said. If Chandra refuses to pay, some of Essel’s banks and non-banking financial companies plan to oppose a company court approving the proposed Zee-Sony merger. Gopika Gopakumar has the details. Read more.

Lives on the brink when run of the mill ends (premium)

Two paper mills in Assam have been shut for years together, forcing their unpaid employees to struggle and their surrounding ecosystem into decline—it has affected the livelihoods of around 400,000 people in the bamboo industry of the region. Production became unviable after the mills suffered a series of setbacks from 2007, including raw material and fuel shortages. The mills face liquidation under the IBC but there is little interest from bidders, writes Nabarun Guha Read more.

How high crude prices will impact the Indian economy

Geopolitical tensions have created fresh fears of oil supply disruptions, resulting in high crude prices. According to Goldman Sachs, crude prices are likely to breach the $100/bbl mark in the third quarter of 2022. This isn’t good news for India since she imports 85% of the domestic oil requirements. Already, India’s oil import bill has more than doubled to $71.1 billion between April and November 2021. A $10 per barrel increase in crude raises India’s inflation rate by around 50 basis points and widens the fiscal deficit by about 40 basis points, explain Rituraj Baruah and Subhash Narayan. Read more.

India becomes largest exporter of pickling cucumber

India has emerged as the largest exporter of gherkins or pickling cucumber, a member of the gourd family, with outbound shipments crossing $200 million in 2020-21. During the year, India shipped over 2,23,000 tonnes of cucumber and gherkins—also known as cornichons—worth $223 million. Gherkin cultivation, processing and exports started in India during the early 1990s with a modest beginning in Karnataka and later extended to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Nearly 15% production of the world’s gherkin requirement is now grown in India. Read more.

Elsewhere…

Global business news

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The UK said it has exposed a plot by Russia to install a friendly government in Ukraine, supporting an earlier US assessment suggesting that the Kremlin is laying plans to oust its neighbor’s leadership. The allegations by the British Foreign Office, come in the midst of warnings that Russia could invade Ukraine with the around 100,000 troops it has gathered near the border.

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The outlook for economic growth in the US in the first quarter and 2022 is darkening amid the latest wave of covid-19, as consumers grapple with high inflation and businesses juggle labour and production disruptions. Forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this month slashed their expectation for growth in the first quarter by more than a percentage point, to a 3% annual rate from their forecast of 4.2% in the October survey.

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After relocating to Zurich last spring to run Credit Suisse Group AG as chairman, António Horta-Osório flew to London and Lisbon for work meetings and business events, then spent time with his family at homes there. On multiple occasions, a private plane paid for by Credit Suisse dropped him off on a Thursday and returned empty to Switzerland. By Monday, a plane picked Horta-Osório up for work in Zurich. The empty private jet flights hastened his downfall.

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About a fifth of the S&P 500 and nearly half the Dow Jones Industrial Average are set to provide their quarterly updates starting Monday. Tech giants including Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. are among the companies headlining a busy earnings week that comes as investors look for reassurance after the Nasdaq notched a 12% decline to start the year.

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The last-place team in the English Premier League was at practice last week when the Burnley players noticed that things were a little sparse. There was more space in the locker room, fewer familiar faces running drills. Even picking teams for small-sided scrimmage was suddenly a challenge. That’s because only 10 members of Burnley’s 25-man squad were healthy enough to show up. The rest were waylaid by injuries and a nasty Covid-19 outbreak that is turning the club’s season into an endless waiting game.

e-paper
News in numbers
₹20 lakh

The fine imposed on Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for violating safety norms by neglecting runway maintenance.

445

Infrastructure projects, each entailing investment of ₹150 crore or more, hit by cost overruns.

69
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The number of passenger trains whose schedules were affected due to the derailment of a goods train in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, on Friday.

88.2 mm

The cumulative precipitation so far in January 2022 in Delhi, the highest for any January since 1950, according to the India Meteorological Department.

72

The number of covid-19 positive cases among 2,586 Winter Olympics Games-related personnel who arrived in China between 4 and 22 January.

howindialives.com
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Chart of the day
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The number of daily new covid-19 cases in India has stayed within the 300,000-350,000 range for four straight days. However, the test positivity rate has risen over the last week, from 13% to 16%, indicating that the third wave peak is far from here. Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal are the only four states where this rate has declined in the last seven days.

Lounge recommends

Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh

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“I thought I was collecting stories about how women see Shah Rukh Khan and his films. In fact, I was collecting narratives of how they saw themselves and those around them.” This is the crux of Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh, an ambitious and impassioned non-fiction book that looks at the lives of women in India through the lens of their fandom. Shrayana Bhattacharya, a senior economist at the World Bank, spoke to women across economic strata for 15 years about love, work, agency, and the actor whose films offer everything from diversion to comfort and encouragement. Go deeper.

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WHAT THE FACT

The playing cards company

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Nintendo’s headquarters (1889–1950s) and workshop in Kyoto. (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

In 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi began manufacturing and selling Japanese playing cards called Hanafuda, in Kyoto, Japan. Over the next several decades, the company tried out many businesses—western playing cards, Disney character playing cards, cab services, love hotels, a TV network, and even a food company selling instant rice. The company eventually exited these ventures. Today, we know the company as the video gaming giant, Nintendo Co.

Contributed by katanaThebizdom

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Written and edited by Goutam Das. Produced by Nirmalya Dutta. Send in your feedback to newsletterskatanalivemint.com.

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