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


India bright spot amid global crisis, ideal for foreign investors, says Prime Minister

India is the best destination for global investors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on the first day of the global investor meet in Karnataka. India has been hailed as a bright spot by economists amid a global crisis. The country’s economic fundamentals are strong and the aspirations of its 1. 3 billion people provide a guarantee of domestic strength, he said, making a pitch for investment in the country.

Why it’s important: India did attract $ 84 billion in foreign direct investment last year despite global headwinds. Today, there are many more investment opportunities in infrastructure, manufacturing, and green energy. Investor interest in the country remains high.

Reserve Bank focused on keeping to inflation target of 4 percent, governor says

The Reserve Bank of India is focused on bringing down consumer inflation to the mandated 4 percent target as capital flows improve, which could ease the seemingly tight liquidity situation that Das described as transitory. A day before a monetary policy committee meeting, called to help draft an explanatory letter to the government over missing the mandated inflation target, Das referred to the epic Mahabharata to underscore the steadfastness in the panel’s approach to achieving the goal of price stability.

Why it’s important: Retail inflation has remained stubbornly high since the beginning of the year, breaching the Reserve Bank’s upper tolerance level of 6 percent for nine months. The fight against the accelerated rate of price rise in far from over.

KKR and Temasek in separate discussions to buy stakes in Manipal Health

KKR and Company and Temasek are in separate advanced talks with TPG and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to purchase their stakes in Ranjan Pai-controlled Manipal Health Enterprises at an enterprise value of nearly $ 4 billion. Temasek and KKR are also in initial talks to buy a part of the promoter group stake from Pai. Pai may continue to hold a majority stake in the hospital chain.

Why it’s important: The strong bounce back by healthcare companies after the pandemic receded has caught the interest of overseas investors. There is high potential growth in India’s private health sector.

Byju’s in early talks with TPG to raise $ 300 million in fresh funding

Edtech unicorn Byju’s has begun discussions to raise $ 250-300 million from private equity group TPG to further capitalize its business. It follows a $ 250 million fundraise from existing investors, including Qatar Investment Authority and Tiger Global. The latest move is part of a $ 500 million funding round the firm is looking to raise through convertible instruments.

Why it’s important: The fundraising efforts by India’s most valuable start-up comes after it declared audited financial numbers after a delay of nearly 18 months, and the firing of 5 percent of its staff strength to protect the health of the company.

Tax authorities to scrutinize abuse of liberalized remittance scheme by offshore betting

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has raised concerns with the Reserve Bank of India on the liberalized remittance scheme being misused for betting overseas, which is not allowed and is resulting in significant tax evasion. According to a preliminary probe by the board, several individuals and entities are misusing the remittance route to place bets on offshore betting platforms operating from tax havens.

Why it’s important: There has been a remarkable rise on online gaming in the recent past and allegations of large-scale tax evasion. Stricter scrutiny of such malpractices is expected to rise.

Government asks distressed Vodafone Idea to put in additional equity

Promoters of Vodafone Idea must infuse more funds into the country’s third-largest telecom operator before the government converts the interest on spectrum dues of Rs 16,000 crore into equity. Top executives were told about the new condition at a recent meeting. Under the option taken by the telco in January, the government will take up about 33 percent equity in Vodafone Idea following the conversion of interest on the adjusted gross revenue, payments of which have been deferred by four years. Promoters Vodafone Group Plc and Aditya Birla Group own a combined 74.9 percent stake after they infused Rs 4,500 crore as equity in March.

Why it’s important: Vodafone Idea has been trying to raise Rs 20,000 crore through a mix of debt and equity from external investors since 2020, and the latest government directive follows the distressed operator’s inability to secure funding.

Number of e-way bills declines in October after hitting high in September

E-way bills generated to transport goods within and across states in October slipped from the high of the September quarter, showed data from GSTN, the company that processes GST returns. Over 76.8 million e-way bills were raised in October, compared with more than 84 million electronic permits raised in September.

Why it’s important: Despite the decline in October, e-way bills, am indicator of consumption and production trends, has remained well above 70 million since March, showing robust goods shipments across India and seeing sustained expansion from May.

iPhone users in India likely to get access to 5G services from next week

The users of 5G-enabled iPhones will be able to try 5G telecom services from next week, both on the standalone network of Reliance Jio and the non-standalone network of Bharti Airtel. Airtel and Jio customers who download the iOS 16 Beta software update can try the service and send feedback. The final updated software will become available sometime in December.

Why it’s important: Although telecom operators have started offering 5G services in many cities, most cellphones do not yet have the required software to avail the services. This is set to change in the coming months as more companies update their software.

AirAsia sells remaining stake in India business to Air India

AirAsia Bhd has sold its remaining 16.33 percent stake in AirAsia India to Tata group-owned Air India. The development follows the acquisition of a 32.7 percent stake by Tata from AirAsia Bhd for Rs 276.29 crore in December 2020. The Malaysian conglomerate got Rs 155 crore from the sale of the remaining stake as the Tata Group took full ownership.

Why it’s important: After acquiring Air India last year, the Tata Group had made its intentions clear to consolidate its aviation businesses. It would merge AirAsia India and Air India Express. A merger of Air India and Vistara is also on the cards.

Payments firms make conflicting demands on 30 percent market share ceiling

The central government will not intervene in the matter of conflicting demands by India’s top payment providers over the issue of enforcing a 30 percent cap on the market share of apps operating on the unified payment interface. Third ranking Paytm wants the capping to be implemented by December, but market leaders PhonePe and Google Pay have approached regulator National Payments Corporation of India for an extension of the deadline by at least three additional years.

Why it’s important: an extension if the deadline looks likely since just two firms dominate the UPI network and there could be significant disruption if they are asked to stop onboarding new users or stop transactions after a certain limit.