BQuick On Oct. 29: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

Top news, must-read stories and columns—all served up in less than 10 minutes.

Commuters are silhouetted at a train station platform (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)  
Commuters are silhouetted at a train station platform (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)  

This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.

1. Mistry's Divorce Offer To The Tatas

The Mistry-family owned SP Group has proposed a plan of separation from Tata Sons Pvt. involving shares of listed Tata Group companies, to end the decades-old partnership between the two.

  • This plan follows the SP Group’s announcement in September that a given the four-year long legal battle between the Mistry family and Tata Group the “mutual co-existence of both groups at Tata Sons would be infeasible”.
  • Hence, the SP Group has proposed a share swap in an application filed with the Supreme Court, where the case is currently pending.

Find out the details of SP Group's proposal.

2. India To Extend Cap On Airfares

The Civil Aviation Ministry has extended the cap on airfares by another three months as the airline industry is yet to recover from the disruption caused by the pandemic.

  • “The fare cap on flights within India which was in place until Nov. 24 has been extended by three more months,” Hardeep Singh Puri, civil aviation minister, told reporters on Thursday evening.
  • The ministry will review the situation later.
  • The airfares have been categorised in seven bands based on the duration of flight.

Puri said around 1.8 lakh Indians are now flying daily.

3. Maruti Suzuki Is Back In The Black

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. swung back to profit as demand for its small cars improved after India eased its stringent lockdown curbs.

  • Net profit of India’s largest carmaker rose 1% year-on-year to Rs 1,371 crore.
  • Revenue rose 10% to Rs 18,744 crore.
  • Ebitda margin stood at 10.3% against 9.5%.

Demand recovery and improvement in supply conditions helped the carmaker. More details here.


Related Coverage

4. Core Sector Output Falls Again, Fiscal Deficit Widens Further

Contracting for the seventh consecutive month, the output of eight core infrastructure sectors dropped by 0.8% in September, mainly due to decline in production of crude and cement.

  • The production of eight core sectors had contracted 5.1% in September 2019, data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry showed on Thursday.

The decline in output was lowest since March.

India’s fiscal deficit touched 115% of the budgeted target in the first half of 2020-21 as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to hurt government’s revenue while expenditure remained close to the same level last year.

  • The gap between revenue and expenditure stood at Rs 9.14 lakh crore during April-September.
  • Revenue deficit was at 125% of the budgeted target of Rs 6.09 lakh crore.

The government’s tax revenue, too, continued to drop.

5. U.S. Economy's Record Expansion; Crude Slumps Again

U.S. investors remained on edge despite record economic expansion, as investors kept a wary eye on growing coronavirus infections.

  • Just as the second-quarter plunge in output was the biggest in seven decades, so too was the recovery: U.S. gross domestic product grew 7.4% from the prior period, a quarterly gain that equals an annualized pace of 33.1%.
  • The S&P 500 Index fluctuated, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 outperformed ahead of earnings reports from Apple Inc., Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. due after the close.
  • WTI crude declined 6.1% to $35.11 a barrel.
  • The euro slipped for a fourth session as the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged while saying that December forecasts may allow it to recalibrate its pandemic stimulus programme.

Get your daily fix of global markets.

Nifty Ends Strong October Series With Cuts

Indian equity markets closed the October F&O series on a subdued note, ending with losses for the second day in a row.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.43% lower at 39,749.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 index, after fluctuating between gains and losses, ended 0.5% lower at 11,670.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

8. Exclusive: India May Tweak Rules To Catch GST Evaders

India plans to increase the time limit to prosecute evaders of goods and service tax, according to a senior official, at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is looking to ease taxation rules to prevent harassment and improve business sentiment.

  • Under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, if there’s a loss to the exchequer of over Rs 5 crore under Section 132, then the tax authorities have powers to arrest company officials. Sections 132 (1)(e) and 132 (1)(i) of the CGST Act provide for a prison term of up to five years and a fine.
  • The time limit for initiating prosecution, however, is derived from the Criminal Prosecution Code, 1973.
  • To remove these limits, the government proposes to insert Central GST laws in the Economic Offences (Inapplicability of Limitation) Act, 1974, the official quoted earlier said on the condition of anonymity as details aren’t public yet.

Read this BQ Blue Exclusive to find out the impact of the proposed changes.

9. Fevicol, Araldite To Be Glued Together

Shares of Pidilite Industries Ltd. posted the highest intraday jump in three months after the maker of Fevicol adhesive signed a pact to acquire Huntsman’s India unit, which makes Araldite.

  • Pidilite has entered into an agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Huntsman Advanced Materials Solutions Pvt.—a subsidiary of Huntsman Corp. that houses the company’s consumer adhesive business—for Rs 2,100 crore, according to an exchange filing.

Here are the contours of the deal.

10. As India’s Covid Tally Crosses 80 Lakh, It Prioritises Vaccine Rollout

Coronavirus cases in India crossed the 80-lakh mark amid a reopening economy and seasonal festivities.

  • The pace of increase, though, has reduced with the country adding less than 50,000 fresh Covid-19 cases for four straight days.

Track all coronavirus related news updates in India, here.

Health Workers To Get The First Shot

India’s front line health workers will be the first to be inoculated once an effective vaccine is available, according to a senior Indian official involved in immunization planning.

  • Three vaccines are currently at different stages of development in the country so far and a safe candidate is expected early next year, said Dr. Vinod Paul, member of the federal government planning organization Niti Aayog and the head of a panel advising the prime minister’s efforts to produce and roll-out the inoculation.

A detailed plan for distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is being prepared.