Morning Scan: All the big stories to get you started for the day


Bids for 5G spectrum touch Rs 1.49 lakh crore with Rs 4,000 crore top-up

The government raised another Rs 4,000 crore on the second day of the 5G spectrum auctions, taking its proceeds from the sale to Rs 1. 49 lakh crore. The first day ended after four rounds, which had seen bids worth Rs 1. 45 lakh crore. The government expects the sale to close on Thursday.

Why it’s important: Reliance Jio is the only buyer of the 700 MHz band, putting it ahead in the race to provide coverage in far flung areas. It will force Airtel to bid for the same band in the next auction.

SpiceJet allowed to operate only 50 percent flights for eight weeks

India’s civil aviation regulator has directed budget airline SpiceJet to operate only 50 percent of its flights for eight weeks. The order is unlikely to have any commercial impact because it is operating less than 50 percent of the flights it had filed for the summer schedule. The airline said as much in a statement.

Why it’s important: The unprecedented action follows an unusually high number of incidents involving the airline, raising safety concerns. Other airlines have also reported numerous technical snags in the recent past, and the regulator has initiated safety audits.

Supreme Court upholds of anti-money laundering law, says it’s not arbitrary

The Supreme Court has upheld the powers of the Enforcement Directorate to arrest, attach property and search and seize under the Prevention of Money Laundering Ac, saying the law is not arbitrary. The apex court’s order comes at a time when the directorate is facing allegations of abuse of power to target the government’s political adversaries.

Why it’s important: The ruling has raised new fears and anxieties in political and business circles it was expected that the court would review and rein in the Enforcement Directorate’s powers.

Government announces massive bailout package for BSNL

The cabinet has cleared a Rs 1.64 lakh crore ($ 20 billion) rescue package for state-run telecom operator BSNL. The bailout package includes conversion of spectrum dues into equity, funding to support network expansion, debt restructuring with sovereign backing and viability-gap funding for rural wireline operations, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

Why it’s important: The huge investment underlines the government’s intention of retaining one state-run business in strategic sectors. The telco has been steadily losing ground to private sector rivals and has been bleeding for several years.

Citi group chief says India poised to become poster child of global economic growth

India is uniquely positioned to realize the potential of a superpower as it has put in place the building blocks that can also make it a poster child of global economic growth, Citigroup chief executive Jane Fraser said in an interview.

Why it’s important: As the world economy struggles to regain ground after the pandemic shock, India is expected to lead the charge for growth among the major economies. Its fundamentals remain strong despite recent headwinds.

Central government’s capex outlay in first quarter close to Rs 1.5 lakh crore

The central government’s capital expenditure outlay for the June quarter of 2022-23 could be close to Rs 1.5 trillion. As a percentage of full-year capex budget estimates of Rs 7.5 trillion, it could be at similar levels to the trends in the past few financial years.

Why it’s important: Capital spending is expected to pick up in the second quarter, when the bulk of the long-term capex loans to states are expected to be expended. The capex is expected to boost a fledgling economic recovery.

Corporate spending on social responsibility more than mandated

More businesses are spending more than the mandated level on corporate social responsibility programs. Not only have companies spent more than required, but the number of corporates who have spent less than the government-mandated norm has also shrunk significantly, latest official data released for the year ended March 2021 show.

Why it’s important: The increasing spends on CSR indicate company boardrooms no longer consider pursuing such projects at odds with maximizing shareholder value.

Maruti’s net profit more than doubles in first quarter on low base

Maruti Suzuki India has reported over a twofold jump in its consolidated net profit in the quarter ended June. Net profit rose to Rs 1,013 crore, mainly due to a low base in the year-ago period when the company had posted profits of Rs 440.8crore, when production was hampered by pandemic-related disruptions.

Why it’s important: Growth of car and two-wheeler sales has been sputtering for the past several years in India. A revival of the auto sector is essential for the country’s economic recovery.

Venture capital firms holding back despite huge funds at disposal

Six months into 2022, despite raising a record $ 4. 7 billion compared to $ 2 billion last year for investing in startups alone, over a dozen venture capital firms, including Lightspeed and Sequoia, have closed fewer deals in the first half versus the same period in 2021.

Why it’s important: The caution in entering into new deals emphasizes fears of a funding winder by startups, which have already started tightening their belts.

New credit cards for small firms expected to ease cash flow

Small businesses could be offered a credit card with a Rs 1 lakh limit. The cards will be offered by SIDBI to micro, small and medium enterprises registered on the Udyam portal. They will pool together all the credit schemes available for small businesses, including interest subvention, in addition to offering collateral-free loans of up to Rs 1 lakh.

Why it’s important: The MSME sector in India was already troubled when the pandemic dealt it another crippling blow. Small businesses can use all the help they can get. The sector is crucial for India’s economic health.