QBiz: CPI Inflation Drops to 2% On Falling Food Prices & More

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Retail inflation in India dropped further in January on falling food and fuel prices.
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1. CPI Inflation Eases Further To 2% on Falling Food Prices

Retail inflation in India dropped further in January on falling food and fuel prices. The inflation rate for services like education and health also fell, bringing down the level of core inflation, after excluding volatile items like food and fuel.

Retail inflation stood at 2.05 percent in January 2019 compared with a revised 2.11 percent in December 2018, according to data by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation. A Bloomberg poll of 38 economists had estimated inflation at 2.5 percent for January 2019.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

2. JSW Steel Declared Winning Bidder for Bhushan Power & Steel

JSW Steel Ltd has been declared as the winning bidder for Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd, after the committee of creditors sent a letter of intent to the Sajjan Jindal-owned company, three people in the know told BloombergQuint.

JSW Steel has accepted the bid and the resolution professional will now approach the National Company Law Tribunal for the final approval this week, they said requesting anonymity.

According to the plan submitted by JSW Steel, the company has offered an upfront payment of Rs 19,300 crore to financial creditors of Bhushan Power & Steel, as compared with dues more than Rs 46,000 crore. Operational creditors will be paid Rs 350 crore, against their claims worth Rs 621 crore.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

3. Individuals With Income Up To Rs 9.5 Lakh to Gain From Tax Rebate, Says Piyush Goyal

Stressing that tax concessions have been provided with a view to help poor and middle class people living on a tight budget, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that now individuals earning up to Rs 9.5 lakh can escape liability by taking advantage of saving schemes.

Replying to the debate on the Finance Bill in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, 12 February, the minister said that he did not propose any change in the tax rate but only provided few rebates which will boost spending and help the economy.

The Finance Bill, which contains tax proposals, was passed by the Lok Sabha with voice vote, completing the budgetary process in the lower house.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

4. New Tariff Regime: TRAI Gives TV Viewers up to 31 March to Choose Channels

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on Tuesday, 12 February, extended the deadline for cable TV subscribers to shift to the new tariff order regime till 31 March. In the meantime, distribution platform operators (DPOs) have been asked to either continue the new packs, or migrate the consumers to the ‘Best Fit’ pack.

“The ‘Best Fit Plan’ shall be designed based on Consumers’ usage pattern, language spoken and popularity of channels. It should preferably be a blended combination of various Genre, while making ‘Best Fit Plan’ for a subscriber, DPOs should ensure that payout per month of the ‘Best Fit Plan’ generally does not exceed the payout per month of existing tariff plan of the subscriber,” the regulator notified DTH and cable operators.

(Source: Business Standard)

5. Swiggy Stores to Take on Online Grocers Grofers, Bigbasket and Dunzo

Food-delivery start-up Swiggy on Tuesday, 12 February, said it would deliver groceries through its new service, Swiggy Stores. The Naspers-backed firm has recently raised $1 billion. The foray into hyperlocal deliveries will place it in competition with Amazon and Flipkart as well as online grocers such as BigBasket, Grofers, and Google-backed Dunzo.

Swiggy is already piloting the initiative in Gurugram. For this, it has tied up with 3,500 local stores and merchants such as Ferns N Petals, Le Marche, Needs Supermarket, Licious, Zappfresh, TheMomsCo, Apollo, and Guardian Pharmacy.

(Source: Business Standard)

6. CCI Probing Accusations of Google Abusing Android to Block Rivals: Report

India's antitrust commission is looking into accusations that Alphabet Inc's unit Google abuses its popular Android mobile operating system to block its rivals, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has for the past six months been reviewing a case similar to one Google faced in Europe that led to a fine of 4.34 billion euro (5 billion dollars) by antitrust regulators last year, three of the sources said. Google has challenged that order.

(Source: Business Standard)

7. Airtel Tops Data Speed Charts, Reliance Jio’s Coverage The Widest in Jul-Dec 2018: Report

Data speed on Bharti Airtel network was the fastest and Reliance Jio network coverage was the highest during the July-December 2018 period in 15 cities across the country, according to a report released by telecom network research firm Ookla.

“Airtel was the fastest mobile operator in India during third and fourth quarters of 2018, regardless of whether a customer was on LTE or not,” the report said. Airtel topped the speed chart with a score, an average of several download and upload sessions, of 10.34 across all network categories and even in the 4G segment with score of 11.23.

Vodafone followed Airtel in both the segments with average respective scores of 8.19 and 9.13, Jio with 7.11 each and Idea Cellular with 6.2 and 7.02 scores, respectively.

(Source: Financial Express)

8. TPG Capital, Manipal in Exclusive Talks to Acquire Medanta

US-based private equity firm TPG Capital and India’s Manipal Group have jointly entered into exclusive negotiations with heart surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan and other investors to buy a controlling stake in hospital operator Medanta, said two people aware of the development, requesting anonymity.

“The TPG-Manipal combine is in advanced stages of negotiations and they recently entered into exclusive talks. They are currently conducting a due diligence on the asset. They have a three-month exclusivity period, so Medanta will not be talking to any other buyer during this period," said the first person cited above.

(Source: Livemint)

9. Air India Asks Govt to Re-finance Rs 20,000 Cr Debt by 31 March

Air India, which has transferred interest payment liabilities of Rs 29,000 crore of its total debt to a special purpose vehicle (SPV), has suggested that the government refinance Rs 20,000 crore debt by 31 March.

The move, if successfully implemented, will significantly reduce interest payment on these loans, a senior official of the airline said on Tuesday.

The airline transferred its interest payment liabilities on debt to the SPV in October and is awaiting bank approvals for transferring debt of up to Rs 29,000 crore to the SPV.

(Source: Livemint)

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