QBiz: RBI to Announce Policy on 7 Feb, Intel’s Autonomous Driving
The RBI headquarters in Mumbai. 
The RBI headquarters in Mumbai. (Photo: Reuters)

QBiz: RBI to Announce Policy on 7 Feb, Intel’s Autonomous Driving

1. Seller Details Still Missing from Ecommerce Biggies’ Websites

The country’s largest online marketplaces – Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm and Snapdeal – are yet to clearly display names, addresses and other contact details of all sellers on product listings featured on their platforms, despite being mandated by the revised guidelines on ecommerce issued on 26 December.

The regulation was first announced as part of Press Note 3 by the government in March 2016.

ET has found that several product listings across the marketplaces did not display details of sellers. In some cases, their full names were also not mentioned.

(Source: The Economic Times)


2. Swiggy Buys AI Startup KINT.IO in Bid to Scale Tech Prowess

Online food delivery startup Swiggy has acquired artificial intelligence startup Kint.io for an undisclosed amount, in its first acqui-hire in the so-called deep technology space.

As part of the deal, the founding team of Kint.io will join Bengaluru-based Swiggy, which is also foraying into the hyperlocal delivery space. The Kint.io team will boost its computer vision technology and elevate consumer experience, the company said.

The maiden acqui-hire deal, wherein a company is acquired more for its manpower skills than its products or services, comes barely a few months after Swiggy secured $1 billion from Naspers and China’s Tencent Holdings, at a valuation of about $3.3 billion.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

3. Intel Ties up with States to Test Automated Driving Solutions

India is the latest test bed for Intel Corp’s automated driving solutions, with the US chip maker starting to gather data on traffic patterns, roadside behaviour and infrastructure conditions in the country.

The Mountain View, a California-based company, plans to use the data to create algorithms that could be used in India as well as overseas to promote automated driving, wherein the functions of driving and controlling a vehicle are performed by electronics and machine instead of a human driver. Intel is currently carrying out the projects in Telangana and Karnataka, which it plans to expand to Goa, said Jitendra Chaddah, director for strategic development and operations at Intel India. The company plans to prepare the algorithms to work in several local languages, he added.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

4. Lenders Drive Hard Bargain with Zee Boss Chandra, Demand Personal Guarantee

Lenders have driven a hard bargain with Subhash Chandra, asking the Zee group chairman to provide a personal guarantee for payment obligations on an "irrevocable and unconditional" basis.

The formal agreement inked between Zee and a committee of lenders (COL) gives the latter more powers and greater control over the developments at the media major. The Zee group owes Rs 13,500 crore to lenders, whose exposure is secured by equity shares of listed firms that include Zee Entertainment and Dish TV.

(Source: Business Standard)

5. Govt Asks HPCL to Acknowledge ONGC as Promoter

The government has directed Hindustan Petroleum to acknowledge ONGC as a promoter in regulatory filings in a move aimed at ending the year-long slugfest between the two companies that has obstructed synergy gains from the ₹37,000-crore acquisition deal, according to sources familiar with the matter.

HPCL management has repeatedly blocked ONGC’s attempts to assert its authority: ONGC chief can’t chair HPCL board, as he does in case of other subsidiaries, or intervene in the matters of HPCL. The cold relations between the two firms has also pushed HPCL-MRPL merger plans to the backburner, according to sources.

(Source: The Economic Times)

6. Birla Moves PMO for Relief on Voda Idea Spectrum Dues

Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has met officials in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to negotiate a deferral of payment of ₹9,500 crore to the government by way of spectrum charges this year, government officials told ET.

Officials, however, said any company-specific relief would be difficult, and pointed out that the telecom industry itself is divided over the need for any financial relief, with latest entrant Reliance Jio not being in sync with market leader Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel’s call for relief.

(Source: The Economic Times)

7. Govt Forms Panel to Vet Angel Tax

Asolution for India’s vexed angel tax may be around the corner, with the industry department setting up a panel comprising startups, angel investors and income tax officials to look into the issue.

Ramesh Abhishek, secretary in the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) who heads the panel, said a solution is expected in the next four-five days.

DPIIT on Monday held consultations with a select group of startups and angel investors at a meeting also attended by officials from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

“We had a round table on the issue of angel tax. We have got a number of suggestions. We will form a smaller working group and try to come with some solution in next four-five days,” Abhishek said after the meeting.

(Source: LiveMint)

8. Of 173 Operating IL&FS Units, Only 22 Are Fully Solvent: Report

Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) believes the group has only 22 fully-solvent entities, which can pay off their combined debt of ₹6,605 crore, according to an asset solvency test that its new management had commissioned.

However, this figure accounts for only 7% of the group’s estimated debt of ₹89,393 crore of 173 Indian subsidiaries. It also does not include the debt on the books of foreign subsidiaries and debt of domestic subsidiaries where IL&FS has no controlling interest.

The internal assessment shows that entities that hold ₹15,475 crore (18% of the total debt) cannot fully repay even senior secured financial debt, while the entities holding the remaining ₹67,313 crore (75%) can only partly meet obligations of operational and unsecured financial creditors.

(Source: LiveMint)

9. RBI to Announce Policy Before Noon on 7 Feb

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday said that it will release its sixth bimonthly policy statement before noon on 7 February, signalling a shift from the last two years. “The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will meet during 5 to 7 February 2019, for the sixth bimonthly monetary policy statement for 2018-19. The resolution of the MPC will be placed on the website at 11.45AM on 7 February 2019,” the RBI said in its press release.

The central bank did not elaborate on the reasons for the change in timing. In September 2016, just ahead of the then governor Urjit Patel’s first policy review, the RBI had decided to change the timing of announcement to mid afternoon.

Come Thursday, a majority of bank treasury heads surveyed by Mint expects RBI to announce a status-quo policy, while changing the policy stance from calibrated tightening to neutral. However, some bankers are not ruling out a 25 basis points (bps) cut before the upcoming general election. Falling inflation, along with an expansionary budget, could push the RBI to maintain the policy rates unchanged, said a section of bankers.

(Source: LiveMint)

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