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


Proposed stake sale in IDBI Bank may hit regulatory hurdle

The proposed stake sale in state-owned IDBI Bank may run into a regulatory obstacle on the issue of minimum public shareholding. The government and the Securities and Exchange Board of India may be at odds over a minimum public shareholding in the lender. The market regulator is concerned over the low public float in the lender and the proposed strategic disinvestment.

Why it’s important: The government has sought a special dispensation from the regulator on the public float, but Sebi may be not keen on providing it because the public float is already low. This could complicate the divestment process.

Government may empower telecom regulator to impose fines

The central government may introduce a separate draft legislation to make the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India a permanent technical body like the communications regulators in the UK and the US, with powers to penalize firms that fail to meet quality standards. The draft bill will drop the controversial provisions related to the dilution of powers of the telecom regulator.

Why it’s important: Differences had emerged between the regulator and the government over deleting provisions of the Trai Act that provide checks and balances through consultation between the regulator and the telecom department that was seen as diminishing Trai’s mandate and turn it into a recommendatory body with no real powers. The differences have now seem to have been resolved.

India may establish grievance panels for social media in three months

The government will set up one or more grievance appellate committees within three months of notifying the modifications to the IT Rules of 2021. The rules prescribe shorter timelines of 24 hours for acting upon sensitive content, along with instructing intermediaries to respect rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. There is also some relief for platforms on conducting due diligence on user-generated content. The final draft of the proposed changes, which were released for public consultation in June, is likely to be notified in the next few days.

Why it’s important: The centrally appointed grievance panels is aimed at giving users of social media platforms, which include Facebook and Twitter, recourse to settle complaints other than approaching the courts, which is the only option at present.

Reserve Bank to discuss missing inflation target on November 3

The Reserve Bank of India has scheduled a special meeting of its monetary policy committee on November 3 as it has to explain to the government why it failed to achieve the mutually set inflation target for three straight quarters. Its response also has to include an estimate of when the inflation target will be achieved.

Why it’s important: Retail inflation in the country has stayed above the upper tolerance limit of 6 percent since January this year. The central bank has started raining policy rates in May but is yet to bring the rate of price rise within the mandated tolerance band.

Modi speaks with Sunak on free trade agreement between India and the UK

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and congratulated him on assuming charge and both agreed on the importance of an early conclusion of a comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement. “Glad to speak to Rishi Sunak today. Congratulated him on assuming charge as UK PM. We will work together to further strengthen our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We also agreed on the importance of early conclusion of a comprehensive and balanced FTA,” Modi tweeted after the phone conversation.

Why it’s important: Sunak is known for his pragmatic approach to boost the British economy and is expected to smoothen the irritant delaying the India-UK trade pact, which was eaelier expected to be finalized during Diwali.

Value rising in Indian market, but volumes falling, says Unilever CEO

Indian markets for fast-moving consumer goods are growing in value, but volumes are declining, Unilever CEO Alan Jope told investors after announcing September quarter results. The consumption weakness is due to the impact of inflation, particularly in rural areas, he said. Despite the weakness, Hindustan Unilever registered a volume growth of 4 percent in the three months ended September, while revenue increased 16.1 percent to Rs 15,144 crore.

Why it’s important: Weak demand in both urban and rural areas is likely to persist till inflation is tamed. A good autumn harvest may lead to some revival in consumption demand in villages.

Twitter purchase intended to help humanity, says Elon Musk

Tech billionaire Elon Musk attempted to soothe Twitter advertisers a day before the deadline to close his $ 44 billion acquisition of the social media platform, saying he was buying the platform to “help humanity” and doesn’t want it to become a “free-for-all hellscape.”

Why it’s important: Musk’s message reflects concerns among advertisers, who are Twitter’s main source of revenue, that his plans to promote free speech by trimming moderation will lead to more online toxicity and drive away users.

Renewables firm CleanMax plans to raise $ 250 million

CleanMax Enviro Energy Solutions, which supplies renewable energy to commercial establishments, is in talks with investors to raise as much as $ 200-250 million. CleanMax operates more than 600MW of large-scale solar and wind farms and supplies clean energy to corporate customers. It has installed over 600 rooftop solar projects for companies and has a rooftop solar operating capacity of more than 350MW in India, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand.

Why it’s important: The latest fundraising plans adds to the flurry of deal activity in India’s renewable energy market because investors and corporates are seeking access to green energy assets as India accelerates its energy transition goals.

Telecom authorities say no violation of net neutrality in 5G network slicing

The department of telecommunications and the telecom regulator have said network slicing, a key feature of 5G technology, will not violate principles of net neutrality. The authorities will make appropriate changes in licensing rules to allow slicing. Reliance Jio and Airtel had sought clarity on this aspect, which is important to offer private captive network services to enterprises.

Why it’s important: Giving equal access to all without throttling speed is the main parameter of net neutrality. The government feels it’s all fine if operators do not throttle speeds for consumers when they slice the network.

Amazon Data buys 54 acres in Thane for Rs 1,870 crore in biggest land deal this year

Amazon Data Services India has acquired 54 acres in Thane from real estate developer Kalpataru Group for over Rs 1,870 crore in one of the largest outright land purchases this year. Amazon has paid record stamp duty of Rs 130 crore, the most for a single deal, to register the land.

Why it’s important: Amazon is planning a huge data center on the land, which is the third such deal in recent past. Tech giants are readying for data localizations rules that the government has proposed.