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economic news of india - world economic news - economics news for students - indian economy news


Coronavirus theatens to leave behind (Al)mighty legal mess

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Over long telephone calls, lawyers are explaining hassled business honchos one of the grim truths of the Indian law: the expression 'force majeure' -- an act of God that most would immediately associate with Covid19 -- does not exist in the statutes.Unlike in countries like Germany and France where the term is coded in civil laws, the Indian Contract Act – the 148-year old legislation which determines the circumstances in which promises in a contract shall be legally binding -- is silent on the term `force majeure'. Though the Act allows an agreement for performing an 'impossible' act to be considered void, court outcome of disputes have varied from case to case, depending on the facts of each.And, even if the term 'force majeure' -- or, superior force in Latin -- is mentioned in a contract between two parties, `epidemics' or `pandemics' are rarely, if ever, included in the definition of 'force majeure' which typically covers catastrophes like earthquake, flood, and war."Inevitably, all contracts will be put to litmus test... Very few contracts in India includes pandemic as a force majeure event as such events are never anticipated. This will affect many. Some impacted by the lock-down may also be affected as acts of government may not be under the terms of force majeure. It all depends on terms between the parties," said Ashish Pyasi Associate Partner Dhir and Dhir Associates.It appears that despite the overwhelming nature of the COVID19 outbreak, there could be slew of disputes, even litigations, in trade and businesses well after the world is free of the lethal virus. This, according to industry circles, could spread across sectors: cross-border trade, real estate, EPC (engineering, procurement & construction), plain joint-venture agreements as well as M&A deals."We are receiving several queries from players across sectors. While some of the cases may get amicable resolved, in others litigation is inevitable. We are approaching each case on its own merit. The sustainability of the claim would depend on the language of the force majeure clause and the facts of each case. In the absence of a FM clause in a contract, one would have to test the case in the backdrop of section 56 of the Contract Act," said Kingshuk Banerjee, Partner at the law firm Khaitan & Co.In cases, where contracts do not have a force majeure clause, Sec 56 of the Contract Act comes into play; it deals with `frustration of contract' – a situation where fulfilling a contract becomes impossible or unlawful after the execution of the contract. Traditionally, courts have chosen a narrow interpretation of the law in ruling on disputes where Section 56 had kicked in. "The threshold to invoke the 'doctrine of frustration' is formidably higher than that of force majeure. It has to pass judicial tests and proving frustration is more difficult than proving force majeure," said Anirudh Gotety, Associate at L&L Partners.There are chances where companies may face allegation that it has used the COVID19 situation to wriggle out of payment or performance. Businesses will then have to demonstrate it was indeed hit by the massive disruptions caused by the pandemic outbreak and, not by financial difficulty and general slowdown. According to Anoop Narayanan, Principal, ANA Law Group, "It's time for people to start preparing to enforce or defend contracts. The force majeure clause of every contract will have certain compliance requirements as well such as the obligation to issue notice to the other party. Similarly, a party unable to form a contract must compile evidence on the steps taken to mitigate, and also adequate proof on how Covid-19 has impacted its ability to perform the contract."

3% of GDP: What tax reliefs may cost India

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Taxation experts have welcomed the measures announced by the government, saying these steps will add up to 2-3 per cent of GDP but will go a long way in addressing the issue of liquidity and deferment of payment obligations. The government on Tuesday came out with a slew of relaxation in tax and payment compliances by reducing the quantum of penalties, extending the deadline to make clear the dues among others to help the public and corporates. Some of the key measures include extension of tax filing/returns and accordingly all tax due arising between March 20, 2020 and June 29, 2020 now stand extended to June 30, 2020. This is across income tax and GST, and would apply to all return filings, replies/appeal filings, and other compliance documents. For delayed payments, interest rates have been reduced to 9% under both income tax and GST. Welcoming the measures, Deloitte said these measures will help ease the compliance pressure on businesses and individuals and provide necessary relief to critical sectors in view of the Covid outbreak. Many analysts have said the lockdowns will shave off as much as Rs 9 lakh crore of the GDP. Gokul Chaudhri of Deloitte India said, "These steps will certainly give a lot of confidence to corporates and different sectors of the economy. The relief measures and easing of compliance deadlines will enable businesses to sustain themselves in the current atmosphere and is likely to have a positive impact on economic activities and more importantly remove uncertainty in the system. "From the tax point of view, the reliefs like tax breaks, accelerated depreciation, reliefs on payrolls, payments-weighted deduction, relief on contribution to PF will add up to 2-3 percent of GDP, which is much needed to help address the issue of liquidity and deferment of payment obligations," he said. The move to ensure 24/7 trade facilitation at ports through the customs will not only promote ease of doing business but also ensure smooth flow of trade, he added. Jiger Saiya, partner and leader for tax and regulatory services at BDO India, said the extension to the Vivad Se Vishwas scheme will go a long way in making the entire scheme a success as in the original form it was an impossibility to attain the objective. "With the extension, taxmen will now have time to clarify more aspects and taxpayers will have reasonable time to evaluate and seek settlement of tax disputes, under the scheme," Saiya said. Veena Sivaramakrishnan of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co said the tax measures are a step in the right direction and indicate more such practical measures to come in the future. KPMG India's Rajeev Dimri said the various tax reliefs announced by the finance minister would provide the much needed succor to all in these unprecedented times. Naveen Aggarwal of KPMG said extension of the deadline under Vivad Se Vishwas from March 31 to June 30 without paying additional tax of 10 per cent is a welcome move and is in line with the representations made by taxpayers and industry forums. This would help companies save for possible financial difficulties faced by companies in this crises. On the IBC changes, Manish Aggarwal of KPMG said changing the operative sections of the IBC will help avoid large scale insolvencies. The government also needs to consider sector specific measures to address the cash flow & liquidity enhancement measures to help businesses withstand this period. Stopping the process towards insolvency is necessary but not a sufficient condition to address fundamental issues facing the businesses now. Rajesh Narain Gupta, managing partner of SNG & Partners the measures announced will lead to a positive direction and will give a boost to trade and commerce.

Trump's own business is under Covid cloud

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As if presiding over the threatened destruction of the US economy by the coronavirus pandemic is not enough, President Donald Trump is watching another more personal business meltdown: the Trump Organization hotel, golf course and real estate business that made him a billionaire.His five-star US and Canadian hotels with more than 2,200 rooms are mostly empty, his golf courses in the United States, Scotland and Ireland are under pressure to close, and his cherished "Southern White House" -- the beach-front Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida is shuttered.Like other hotels around the world, Trump's have been forced to lay off most workers -- and face the fact that the $435 million in revenues that the Trump Organization reported in 2018 is likely to plummet this year.How severe that would be to a family-controlled business notoriously untransparent about its finances is unknown.And it has raised questions over whether Trump's concerns about his own company are shaping his response to the crisis: whether part of the giant $2 trillion economic rescue plan agreed overnight Tuesday in Congress will end up helping his hotel and resort businesses, and whether his push for a quick end to the coronavirus lockdown is to save the company."Our country -- it's not built to shut down," Trump said Tuesday, calling for an end to restrictions by the second week of April. "You can destroy a country this way by closing it down." Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that the economic rescue package won't be used to support Trump companies."We wrote a provision, not just the president but any major figure in government, cabinet, Senate, congressman, if they or their family have majority (of a company), they can't get grants or loans," he told CNN.Neither Trump nor his sons who directly oversee the company have detailed the financial damage they face.But it is clear: the nameplate hotels in New York, Washington, Chicago, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Hawaii are virtually empty.Likewise, his golf resorts are being ordered to lock up, even in remote Scotland. On Monday the Scottish Golf organization urged "all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice." "It's hurting me and it's hurting Hilton and it's hurting all of the great hotel chains all over the world," Trump said Saturday.Yet the Trump Organization refuses to completely shut his main hotels."The hotel is open, the restaurants are closed, the spa is closed, the pool is closed," a receptionist at the Trump International Hotel & Tower on Central Park in New York told AFP, not giving her name."There's a Whole Foods across the street. We can get something for you and bring it to your room," she suggested.John Boardman, head of the Washington branch of the Unite Here labor union, said the Trump International in Washington was still operating despite sweeping staff layoffs."It doesn't make sense for them to stay open. The hotel has like three percent occupancy," said Boardman."He may not be shutting it down just to be able to say they are still operating."Since entering office, Trump has fended off pressure and lawsuits that alleged he was profiting from his properties while president.Business executives, diplomats and Middle Eastern kings seeking his favor stayed at his hotels, especially the Trump International just blocks from the White House.The Washington Post has reported on the huge amounts Saudis have paid to book up Trump hotel wings, and the high rates he charges his own Secret Service contingent when he travels to his own properties, including tens of thousands of dollars for golf carts.Several lawsuits have accused him of profiteering from his office -- against the US constitution's "emoluments" clause -- but none have stuck.But now much of that is moot, with the spread of COVID-19 forcing the country's hotel industry into crisis. Last week the industry, which provides jobs for some eight million people, asked the White House for $150 billion in support.Many were wondering whether part of the bailout -- a proposed $500 billion discretionary fund to support businesses that will be run by the US Treasury without public reporting -- would be deployed to aid Trump's hotels along with the rest of the industry."Now more than ever, it is crucial that the American people know that the president is acting in the public's best interest and not for his own personal financial gain," Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, said.

Government likely to launch Covid path-tracing app

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Bengaluru: Coming soon — a Covid tracker app from the government in English and all major Indian languages. The government is likely to launch a smartphone application to help users check if they crossed paths with patients who tested positive for coronavirus.The contours of the app, government officials told ET, is currently being examined by a committee, after separate efforts by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) and the Niti Aayog, the government's policy think-tank. These officials spoke off record.Both apps – the one developed by MeitY, and the other, by the Niti Aayog, officials said, were being beta-tested and examined in detail at a Wednesday meeting of the committee. "It was ultimately decided that both teams should take the best of both apps," a MeitY official told ET on condition of anonymity. This app, the official added, is likely to be launched in "one or two days". It is likely to be rolled out in all Indian languages.Over the last few days, MeitY had been testing an Android-based app called 'Corona Kavach', which would help users check if they crossed paths with patients who tested positive for coronavirus. ET has reviewed a version of the app, currently available as an Android application package, or APK.74820695 The app, Meity officials added, will use the phone number of the user, along with the location data of the smartphone, and match his/her movements with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data on the backend. The ICMR data already has the movements of patients who have tested positive for the virus. For nearby tracking, Kavach uses Bluetooth technology, according to the official, which is similar to the open-source, TraceTogether app developed by the Singapore government.Feedback from Beta TestersThe Niti Aayog, on its part, has also been undertaking similar efforts. In a widely circulated WhatsApp forward among technology professionals, the think-tank sought "support and feedback" from beta testers.The message, which ET has accessed said, "Government of India has been working on effectively tracking the spread of COVID-19 through technology. To achieve this, we have developed a mobile application that actively traces if you have crossed paths with someone, even unknowingly, who later tests COVID-19 positive."This unnamed app, according to sources, was beta tested by at least 10,000 users — both on Android and iOS. ET couldn't confirm if this iteration of the Niti Aayog app is part of the co-development effort. When contacted by ET, Niti Aayog officials said it would be too early to say what form the app will take.The soon-to-be-launched "official" app, sources say, is likely to address some key issues around user privacy and scalability. "The biggest challenge for us is scalability. We have to ensure that it should work as effectively when millions of users are using the app," said the MeitY official."It might work very well in a lockdown because your location doesn't change. But we have to test for all scenarios, especially a post-lockdown one," the official added.

Govt takes steps to keep banks running

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Kolkata: The Centre is making sure that banking services are up while the country goes into a lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus. The Department of Financial Services has told the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to ensure that all electronic and digital payment modes and channels function unhindered. It has directed Indian Banks' Association (IBA) to coordinate with banks to ensure cash availability in ATMs. The department has also written to every state to ensure the mobility of bank employees to overcome the difficulties they face in reaching the branches. Several bank employees could not make it to offices as public transport came to a halt. In a letter dated March 24 to chief secretaries of states and union territories, it has requested to permit bank staff, RBI staff, NPCI staff and cash logistics companies to travel during the lockdown. ET has seen a copy of the letter. Several banks are keeping bank branches open cluster-wise and rotating staff to keep the risk of spreading the virus under check. For example, banks in West Bengal have adopted a cluster approach in metro, urban and semi urban centers under which a single branch of a particular bank within a 5 km radius will remain open from 10 in the morning to 2 pm in the afternoon. Rural branches will remain open on alternate days. "Employees responsible for providing basic banking services like cash deposit and withdrawal are asked to come on a rotation basis," UCO Bank CEO AK Goel said. Covid-hit sectors can hurt banks with exposureThe outbreak of Covid-19 could bring the already struggling banking sector to its knees as India enters a 21-day national lockdown. The sectors which are most affected are aviation, tourism, shipping, hotels, MSME, manufacturing, transport, commercial vehicle and real estate. ET takes a look at the banking sector exposure to these segments.74820545

Coronavirus Pandemic: Healthcare professionals take to social media to express their despair

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Bengaluru: "Time to start shaming non-medical people who are asymptomatic (and) wearing N 95 masks," Somya Gupta, a doctor in Meerut, tweeted on Tuesday. Gupta told ET the tweet was borne out of the sheer frustration of seeing a patient's attendant wearing an N95 mask, even as she and her colleagues have to make do with a limited supply of regular surgical masks, which is inadequate protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Like Gupta, healthcare workers across the country are taking to social media to express their despair about the shortage of protective gear and the discrimination they have to face, even as they remain at the frontlines of India's battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.74819036 "Is this our fault that we chose to work and study in Government of Chhattisgarh run Medical colleges?? As a doctor we are not given a mask and protective gear… Request a speedy redressal," Dr Mainak Bardhan from Chhattisgarh had tweeted. "At the very least, as frontline workers, we expect N95 masks and protective gowns from the government. Instead, we are being asked why we need masks for asymptomatic cases," says Bardhan, who is completing his internship at Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital in Raipur. Bardhan says senior doctors have gone to the extent of asking him why he could not buy his own masks. On Monday, ET reported that the textiles ministry, in its meeting, had acknowledged that there was a shortage of body coveralls and N-95 masks in the country. On Tuesday, government announced it would set aside ₹15,000 crore to purchase equipment necessary to fight Covid-19, such as ventillators, personal protective equipment and masks. Others are using social media to expose the discrimination they are being subject to outside hospitals. In a widely shared Facebook post, a house surgeon in MGM Hospital in Warangal, Telangana said: "..many doctors in the city were asked to vacate their rented homes by their owners… one owner said that we were DIRTY… Did I study 14 hours a day for this?" Social media users are lending a sympathetic ear to this anguish. After Dr Sanjibani Panigrahi tweeted that she was a government doctor being threatened by her housing society in Surat, she told ET her local MLA, Harsh Sanghavi, got in touch with her and assured her that he would help her. "He gave me the police commissioner's number and told me that if anyone threatened or harassed me I could reach out to him," says Panigrahi. The desperate state of affairs is also inspiring people to try and crowd-fund the shortfall of safety equipment for healthcare workers, who are being compared to soldiers sent into battle without protection. This includes producer Manish Mundra, who had tweeted that he would be arranging for ventilators, pledging ₹3 crore for the cause and reaching out to domestic manufacturers. Crowdfunding platform Ketto had also tweeted that it could set up a fund-raiser to help raise money for protective gear and equipment necessary to tackle Covid-19. Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, former president of Indian Medical Association, says that while the situation of doctors is bad because of the lack of sufficient masks and gowns, it is even worse for nurses, ward boys and ASHA workers, who have been deployed for contact tracing. "Clapping is very nice but (providing protective equipment) is what needs to be done — it's more important," says Dr Wankhedkar, referring to the prime minister's call to citizens to show appreciation for doctors by applauding at 5 pm last Sunday.

Morgan Stanley’s Desai explains why mkt may have bottomed out

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You have said that volatility has not peaked yet. What is your latest view on the situation?We put out a note yesterday morning, citing a comparison of this bear market with historical bear markets. When I looked at the metrics, the sentiment and historical VAR, I looked at the change and realised that volatility is where the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is, where valuations like price to book, equity and bond yield gap are. Almost everything is hitting a new low. A lot of it has passed the bear market lows. The metrics are telling me that we have hit a bear market trough. Of course, there are some imponderables and as usual, every bear market is different. The imponderables are usually different and that is where we do not have a comparison with the past. We needed to note three things: a) This market has not really spent enough time around its lows and usually bear markets last for at least six months if not more. 12 months is par for the course. This one is just two-month-old. The price decline is around 40 per cent which is a little shy of what other bear markets have done, which has been around 50 per cent, . The Great Financial Crisis (GFC) was 60 per cent. So, we have not seen that duration. We have also not seen a peak in volatility. It seems like it is peaking because it has gone past the GFC high, but until it actually peaks, I do not think we can have complete confidence that the bear market trough is upon us. So a lot of metrics are telling us that but these are the couple of things that are not yet satisfied. The imponderables around this particular bear market are two-fold. One is of course the impact of the virus and how it spreads. To that extent, what we got from the Prime Minister yesterday was extremely good news because if we are locking down this country for 21 days -- we see it has been implemented so far with great seriousness. We will be in a position to manage the community spread phase of the virus pretty well. So far, the numbers have been pretty well contained and hopefully they stay that way. We will also have to look at world data because the virus has to be contained in other parts of the world and that will impact how share prices behave in the near term. The second and most important thing is policy action. We have not really got much except for some changes on regulations and reporting requirements yesterday and a little bit of liquidity infusion from the RBI and of utmost importance now is to get this policy action going because there is a severe economic impact of this. The more time we spend doling out that action, the greater will be the pain in the economy. These are my thoughts. On the policy front, we keep hearing that it is going to be coming soon. If we do see an aggressive fiscal stimulus plan coming in from the government, will it help mitigate the economic impact that we are foreseeing for the next six to nine months?There are three things that need to happen. First, you have to protect the banking sector because that is where the pain is the worst. Manufacturing companies will lose a month, two months, or three months of production. They will be back on their feet and they will basically have lost one quarter of earnings. At worst, that is not going to impede their ability to do business after that. However, if financial firms start facing losses on their loans very quickly, they can face terminal positions because after all, they have the ability only to take a 10 per cent drawdown on loans and then they run out of capital. It is of utmost importance that the financial sector is protected and to that extent, the forbearance for all corporate loans is important for the next one year at least. We should not be looking at how these NPAs are reported. So, forbearance is one important step in the RBI domain. The RBI of course will couple this with rate cuts and with more liquidity to keep the market going. Second, the public sector banks have been infused with capital over the past several months and are also sitting on a large deposit base and a much lower credit to deposit ratio. They need to be urged, almost instructed to lend money to stressed sectors. We need to see the loan growth accelerate and it should be monitored on a weekly if not a daily basis and that number should go to 15-20 per cent so that we know that credit is going out. This will allow businesses to support their existing cost structure. They do not need to fire people because otherwise, businesses start losing cash and they will have to take extreme steps with respect to fixed costs. Third. we have a low oil price. Hopefully, it will continue for a while. We can hike taxes there very quickly and take that money and give it to sectors that are stressed; give it to MSMEs, the auto sector, the aviation sector, where there is direct impact from the virus. There are lots of other suggestions that are coming out but I will stop here because I think there is a fair bit that the government can do. A fiscal constraint should not be of any consideration right now because in all likelihood, this is a temporary infusion of money into the system. We can keep aside all fiscal concerns right now and act on the economy and then come back to worry about the fisc later. How does one model a sector like IT completely dependent on manpower? IT services are not essential services. The mix is anywhere between 70 to 30 onsite versus offshore. A lot of offshore business now goes down the tube. What happens to sectors like IT which perhaps is not prepared for a lockdown?I am reading the government's press release and IT and IT enabled services have been identified as essential services. You are in a position to actually start a server and a lot of these companies are extremely sophisticated and have very good systems for work from home. I do not see why they cannot continue functioning. Just productivity may drop a bit. I have been working from home for the past several days and there is some drop in productivity, but it is not zero. A lot of these firms are actually very enabled. In fact, I would worry more about small and medium size businesses which do not have the concept of work from home and which have to interact with the customer on the ground. IT is always interacting with the customer over the wire and so I do not think they are that hurt. It is a separate problem how the business comes in because their customers are located in places which are far more severely affected by the virus than we are like the US, Europe and it is quite possible that business may slowdown, new business may not come in and to that extent there will be some impact on earnings and revenues. That is certainly an issue but I do not think the ability to execute current business has been impeded a great deal. Which are the pockets of the market or the economy where you think disruption is temporary and demand will come back? Also which are the pockets, companies or businesses where we are in for a long winter and this disruption will continue? That is a very hard question for me to answer. Frankly, we do not know how people will react and how long this virus problem will linger. The way we can think about it is firstly how long it goes on because the longer it continues, the longer will be its memories and the shorter it is, the shorter will be the memories. For example, say we win this battle on 13th April and on 14th April by the actions of the government, we are business as usual after the expiry of 21 days. I think the memory of the virus will fade very quickly. As such we have not faced that much casualty or medical problems. We will be quickly back on our feet. Now the opposite example is suppose this does not actually get solved by the middle of April and lingers on for longer and suppose there is flare up in cases due to a community spread. That will leave the memory imprinted with more fear and then the recovery will take longer. So depending on what happens, you will know which businesses are affected now. For example, the travel industry will take a little while to come back. People will be hesitant in the beginning to travel and you can see that in the share prices. I don't think we need to think much about this. This is like the corporate governance episode that India faced in 2009, when people called me and asked which are the companies facing corporate governance issues in India? I said, look at the screen. All the stocks that are deeply in red are the ones that the market has judged have corporate governance issues. The market is pretty good about this. Financials lead the pack where the share price damage is the maximum.. In financials, it is not that the damage has already happened but the risk that has happened is very high and the market has singled out financials. If the problem is mitigated by the middle of April, then you would also see the biggest bounce in financials and then you can see the travel related businesses and the ones that require people to move around are the ones still in pain. The usual consumer businesses should be back. There is a possibility that industrials may take a little while because it will be some time before companies actually get their act together and put capex in place. Therefore industrials may actually see some delay in order and may be that would not happen now before 2021. That is the way to think about it. We can never be sure about how this will all pan out until we know the worst moment of the virus is behind us. The worst moment for the market may be behind us, but for the virus it may not be. Is there a case to be made that financial markets have reacted well in advance and there is a serious case to be made that markets may actually bottom out early and the economy may not bottom out so that we will not get good news on the economy front but we may start getting good news on the stock prices front?That has always been the case with share prices. Markets tend to discount the future and they tend to second guess it and the crowd acts very smartly in most of these circumstances. The share prices are going to put the bottom well before the economy. When and where that bottom happens is always hard to tell. The strategy has to be that prices are kind of destroyed right now. You make a second guess about what long term cash flows are and there are lots of stocks out that are screaming buys. That is why I am of the view that we may be skirting the bear market trough just on the basis of how share prices are, rather than making a forecast of what is going to happen with the virus and the economy in the next six months. Which are the other stocks which are screaming buys?Financials is right on top of the list; the second would be consumer discretionaries. Discretionary consumption will come back and there will be pent up demand. That demand is not lost. The demand is lost wherever there is an element of time involved. For an airline, it's demand which is permanently lost because of expiry of time. But discretionary consumption will come back because people still need to consume autos and they need to do a lot of other stuff which they have not done in the last one month. We may want to do so for the next one month or so. So, that is the other space. I like energy. It looks like oil prices are going to remain low for a while and Indian energy companies are benefiting from that. Industrials is where you want to be a little bit more cautious. If you are running a portfolio and you need to fund all this, then I would use technology to fund it because the Indian economy will snap back if things do not get worse from here. Technology may underperform in that event. The work that I did going back in time shows that Indian EPS growth outperforms the world EPS growth in all bear markets. We tend to be far more defensive because most bear markets are created around global factors whether it is GFC, whether it was the tech bubble burst, 9/11 or whether it was the Asian financial crisis. All major bear markets in India brought upon us were by global factors and in those bear markets, we tend to outperform fundamentally because we are relatively unaffected by these things due to our inward looking economy.

Nifty50 tops 5-day EMA; charts suggest relief rally to continue

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NEW DELHI: Nifty50 on Wednesday gained for the second straight session, the first time since February 12-13. The index formed a long bullish candle on the daily chart. The 50-pack index not only closed above its 5-Day EMA of 8,254, but also bridged the bearish gap in the 8,159-8,178 zone, which analysts say is a positive sign. Nifty has surpassed the 5-Day EMA, which was not crossed during the entire correction, said Amit Shah, Technical Research Analyst at Indiabulls Securities. "A phase of relief rally seems to be unfolding. Once the index sustains above the 8,300 level, one can expect a larger recovery towards 9,000 level," Shah said. For the day, the index closed at 8,297.80, up 496.75 points or 6.37 per cent. It was the biggest one-day gain for the index in nearly 11 years. "After showing a positive divergence on the daily chart, the index managed to catch a bull stream. If the index manages to hold above 8,200, we may see some more upside towards immediate resistance in the 8,500-8,700 zone. Support is seen at 8,150-8,000," said Rohit Singre of LKP Securities. Mazhar Mohammad of Chartviewindia.in advised traders with high risk appetite to make use of any dip in the 8,000-7,900 range to create fresh long positions with a stop below 7,700, for a target of 8,700.

Government likely to launch Covid path-tracing app

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Bengaluru: Coming soon — a Covid tracker app from the government in English and all major Indian languages. The government is likely to launch a smartphone application to help users check if they crossed paths with patients who tested positive for coronavirus.The contours of the app, government officials told ET, is currently being examined by a committee, after separate efforts by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) and the Niti Aayog, the government's policy think-tank. These officials spoke off record.Both apps – the one developed by MeitY, and the other, by the Niti Aayog, officials said, were being beta-tested and examined in detail at a Wednesday meeting of the committee. "It was ultimately decided that both teams should take the best of both apps," a MeitY official told ET on condition of anonymity. This app, the official added, is likely to be launched in "one or two days". It is likely to be rolled out in all Indian languages.Over the last few days, MeitY had been testing an Android-based app called 'Corona Kavach', which would help users check if they crossed paths with patients who tested positive for coronavirus. ET has reviewed a version of the app, currently available as an Android application package, or APK.74820695 The app, Meity officials added, will use the phone number of the user, along with the location data of the smartphone, and match his/her movements with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data on the backend. The ICMR data already has the movements of patients who have tested positive for the virus. For nearby tracking, Kavach uses Bluetooth technology, according to the official, which is similar to the open-source, TraceTogether app developed by the Singapore government.Feedback from Beta TestersThe Niti Aayog, on its part, has also been undertaking similar efforts. In a widely circulated WhatsApp forward among technology professionals, the think-tank sought "support and feedback" from beta testers.The message, which ET has accessed said, "Government of India has been working on effectively tracking the spread of COVID-19 through technology. To achieve this, we have developed a mobile application that actively traces if you have crossed paths with someone, even unknowingly, who later tests COVID-19 positive."This unnamed app, according to sources, was beta tested by at least 10,000 users — both on Android and iOS. ET couldn't confirm if this iteration of the Niti Aayog app is part of the co-development effort. When contacted by ET, Niti Aayog officials said it would be too early to say what form the app will take.The soon-to-be-launched "official" app, sources say, is likely to address some key issues around user privacy and scalability. "The biggest challenge for us is scalability. We have to ensure that it should work as effectively when millions of users are using the app," said the MeitY official."It might work very well in a lockdown because your location doesn't change. But we have to test for all scenarios, especially a post-lockdown one," the official added.

Covid 19: B-schools defer summer internships as cos unable to on-board

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MUMBAI: Leading business schools including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are considering deferring student internships, which were due to start in April, to as late as October-November amid the lockdown forced in several parts of the country by the spread of Covid-19.B-school managements are discussing the options available with host companies, said officials and human resource heads of companies. A delay in internships may have an adverse impact on student placements, they said, since most firms offer students full-time positions based on the internships (pre-placement offers or PPOs). Although some of the leading IIMs, such as those in Ahmedabad and Kozhikode, have requested the companies to be more flexible, including in offering virtual projects, internships are unlikely to start next month as many companies are in a firefighting mode, said people aware of the matter."We have written to the directors of the institutes to work out an alternate plan. One of the suggestions we have made is to conduct the internships in October," said Prince Augustin, executive vice president, group human capital and leadership development at Mahindra & Mahindra.MBA students are required to complete an eight-week industry internship in summer, when students go to companies and work on projects. The summer internship process is crucial because many firms hire strictly through the PPO route. They take in interns and after going through their work for the two months, make them a pre-placement offer. Many of the companies then do not hire from campuses during final placements.A delay in student internships will also force the institutes to rework their class schedules. "We are working out to see how we adjust our calendar. We have asked companies to offer some flexibility," said Debashis Chatterjee, director, IIM Kozhikode. "We are considering if eight weeks of internship can be adjusted to seven weeks or if we can operate on different modes, such as if some projects can be done digitally."Human resource heads said companies are busy figuring out how to maintain day to day functioning and that with majority of the staff working from home, having summer interns to work on projects will not be possible till some stability is reached.IIM Ahmedabad said that while some recruiters have adapted their internship model to a virtual (remote working) mode, other firms have written to the institute regarding a delayed internship start date."To such firms (that want to delay), our strong recommendation is to not to wait for things to get normal before starting the internship. All firms are requested to start the internship as planned in the first week of April in a virtual mode," Amit Karna, chairperson of the placement committee at IIMA, wrote in a recent letter to recruiters. The institute also requested potential recruiters to treat student interns on a par with employees in terms of policies and to allow them to work from home and take their consent for work-related travel.However, most companies said it would not be possible to on-board interns anytime soon. "Even if I onboard a student intern, they will have absolutely no idea of what they have to do…remote on-boarding is absolutely impossible to do with interns," said SV Nathan, chief talent officer, Deloitte India.

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