QBiz: SC Denies Tata, Adani Tariff Relief; Jio Unveils New Offer

The Quint’s compilation of business news from dailies across India.

5 min read
SC on Tuesday disallowed compensatory tariff to Tata and Adani in five-year power plant issue. Representational Image. (Photo: iStock)

1. SC Pulls the Plug on Tata, Adani Power Tariff Relief

In a blow to Tata Power and Adani Power, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday disallowed them any relief in the contentious five-year issue of compensation to their respective power plants.

The order sets a precedent for the power sector that consumers should not bear the cost of any change in international regulations. At the same time, the future of power plants using imported coal becomes bleaker.

The matter pertains to Tata Power’s 4,000-Mw Ultra Mega Power Plant and Adani Power’s 1,980-Mw plant at Mundra, based on imported coal, sourced from Indonesia.

The case was being fought between the two companies and the state utilities of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana.

2. Reliance Jio Unveils New Offer Priced at Rs 309 for Prime Members; Bharti Airtel Sees Red

After regulator TRAI nixed its complimentary offer, Reliance Jio on Tuesday announced a new plan of 1GB 4G data daily for 3 months at Rs 309 for its Prime members but rival Airtel dubbed the offer “old wine in a new bottle”.

Announcing its new offer, Jio said that under the Rs 309 plan it would provide “unlimited SMS, calling and data (1GB per day at 4G speed) for 3 months on first recharge”. For Rs 509, the company is offering unlimited SMS, calling and double the data (2GB per day) for 3 months on first recharge.

The new plans with benefits for Jio Prime members is aimed at encouraging subscribers to “live the digital life without restrictions”, Jio said in a statement.

3. Mukesh Ambani Says Reliance Industries to Invest in Punjab in Big Way

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday promised a slew of investment initiatives for the development of Punjab across a wide spectrum of sectors. These included free WiFi to government educational and health institutions, employment for youth, and training of sports people for the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Ambani extended these offerings to the state government during a meeting with a Punjab government delegation at Mumbai.

During his meeting with the state delegation, the RIL chairman emphasised the need for steps to boost the earnings of farmers, besides providing jobs for youth. Acting on a request from the state government, Ambani agreed to provide free WiFi connectivity in all government schools, colleges and health institutions.

4. Vedanta, Cairn India Complete Merger to Form $15.6-Billion Market Cap Entity

The merger of cash-rich oil producer Cairn India into its debt-ridden parent Vedanta Ltd is now complete, the two firms announced on Tuesday.

"This merger consolidates Vedanta's position as one of the world's largest diversified natural resources companies, with world-class, low-cost assets in metals and mining and oil and gas," a joint statement by the two firms said.

After absorbing its cash-rich subsidiary, Vedanta will have a larger pro forma market capitalisation of $15.6 billion and higher free float of 49.9 percent.

The two companies announced plans of the merger in June 2016, which would give the metals and mining company Vedanta access to Cairn India’s cash, helping it cut debt.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

5. Armed with Rs 9,000 Crore, Flipkart Eyeing New Businesses to Take on Alibaba and Amazon

Armed with Rs 9,000 crore from its biggest round of funding, Flipkart is setting sights on new businesses that will pit it against Alibaba, even as India’s largest e-tailer deepens investments in its core business to outflank Amazon in one of the world’s most hotly contested e-commerce markets.

Flipkart will use the capital from Tencent, eBay Inc and Microsoft to grow its payments arm PhonePe, expand its portfolio of private labels and relaunch key categories such as furniture and and grocery.

“We will work with eBay to grow the lucrative cross-border commerce business, and will partner with Tencent on the payments business,” group CEO Binny Bansal told ET. His aim is to turn a profit in the core online retail business within two years.

6. Chidambaram Asks Centre to Push GST to 1 Oct

Former union finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday opined that the Centre's effort to roll out the Goods and Service Tax (GST) law by 1 July was "impractical and undesirable" and asked the government to push the date to 1 October.

"The goal of 1 July is impractical as well as undesirable. Millions of micro, small and medium enterprises have to adjust to the new regime. Many of them may simply have no in-house talent or in-house skill to comply with the provisions of the GST law and not make mistakes," Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram also cast doubt on the efficiency of the GST-Network (GSTN), the I-T backbone of the tax regime.

7. NABARD May Raise Up To Rs 10,000 Crore In FY18 For Modi’s Housing For All Scheme

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) may raise Rs 7,000-10,000 crore this financial year to support the central government’s rural housing for all programme – Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, a senior executive said.

The funds, which will be raised through debt instruments, will be given to a wholly owned special purpose vehicle of the Government of India, the executive said on the condition of anonymity since discussions on the proposed move are still ongoing. The lender is in talks with the ministry of rural development, the executive said.

The Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, which was launched in July 2015, aims to provide housing for all by 2022.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

8. Auto-Makers Stuck with 1.2 Lakh BS-III Vehicles Worth Rs 5,000 Cr

Despite frantic attempts to liquidate their stocks of BS-III vehicles in the last three days of March, automobile companies are saddled with an inventory of 1.2 lakh such vehicles, worth Rs 5,000 crore, across the country.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), automobile companies offered discounts to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore in the last three days of March, after the Supreme Court imposed a ban on sales of BS-III vehicles from 1 April.

“The first option is to export these vehicles to other markets, which some companies have already done; the second option is to bring back the vehicles that had already reached dealers before the Supreme Court’s order. But that would be very expensive,” Sugato Sen, Deputy Director-General, SIAM, told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.

(Source: The Hindu, Business Line)

9. Indians in Demand Despite H-1B Noise, Say US Universities

Presidents of the top US universities have recently assured international students, particularly those from India in high-tech courses, that they are still in demand by top American industrial and business enterprises notwithstanding the recent noises to change H-1B visa norms, according to an Indian-origin CEO and president of Michigan-based top technological university.

“The Indian students in US universities have no reason to get unduly perturbed if they are seeking placements in America after finishing their courses. Top American firms are keen to employ Indian students like before, notwithstanding noises over changes in US visa norms”, Indian-origin president and CEO of Lawrence Technological University Virinder K Moudgil, currently on a visit to India, told ET.

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