A round-up of the biggest articles from newspapers.
Govt to make law on drugs stronger
The Union government is planning to strengthen the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, by way of stricter enforcement provisions, especially to curb the spread of illicit drugs through the ‘dark web’, The Economic Times reported.
Why it’s important: The Union Home Ministry wants administrative control of the Act.
The inter-ministerial talks initiated on proposals.
Now, this is the domain of the revenue department in the finance ministry.
The move is based on the fact that it’s MHA that has to coordinate with State governments on enforcement and taking investigations forward.
The move to amend the law on the drug trade and use comes amid high-profile arrests and ‘drug ring’ busts in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Banks seek govt guidance on new US rules on sharing customer details
Banks expressed their concerns over the mandatory sharing of customer details with US authorities, The Economic Times reported.
Why it’s important: The Indian Banks’ Association has approached the government for guidance in this regard.
Under the expanded National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of the US, which took effect on January 1, banks are mandated to share details.
Banks say new regulations will raise costs and compliance shortfall can have serious implications.
The NDAA incorporates parts of the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2019, significantly enhancing the reach of authorities over foreign banks if they have a correspondent account with an American financial institution.
Shriram Transport, Hero FinCorp to raise $600 mn overseas
Shriram Transport Finance and Hero FinCorp (HFCL) are mulling to raise up to $600 million through a syndicated offshore loan, The Economic Times reported.
Why it’s important: This is due to the high demand in the logistics space.
Revival in the economy is the rising demand for loans with the busy season coming up.
Loans may be offered on three-year or five-year maturities.
They would be priced after adding a spread over the LIBOR.
Shriram Transport is looking to raise long-term money with a five-year maturity.
This will put the firm in good stead in the busy business season.
Hero FinCorp likely to raise anything between $100 million and 200 million.
Shriram Transport may raise up to $400 million.
GlobalBees, Lenskart’s new D2C unit to turn unicorns
Lenskart and GlobalBees are in separate talks to raise funds, Mint reported.
Why it’s important: The move will make the direct-to-consumer platforms new unicorns.
This underscores the robust investor interest in the evolving D2C space in India.
Online eyewear retailer Lenskart plans to launch the D2C platform and carve it out as a separate unit.
It is planning to raise an undisclosed fund from New York-based Falcon Edge.
Thrasio-style investment venture GlobalBees is planning to raise $300 million in a round by SoftBank and ChrysCapital.
LIC may back Zee-Sony merger
Life Insurance Corp. of India favours the proposed merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd with Sony Pictures Networks India, Mint reported citing sources.
Why it’s important: LIC is the largest local shareholder of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd with around 5%.
LIC’s vote is crucial for the Zee-Sony merger deal.
If LIC does endorse the merger plan, it may also influence how Zee’s public shareholders vote on the proposal.
The primary objective of LIC is to create value for policyholders and shareholders.
Govt panel to chalk out new tobacco tax policy
The Union government has set up an expert group to chalk out a comprehensive tax policy, Mint reported.
Why it’s important: The new policy is supposed to cover all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, from a public health perspective.
The nine-member panel is led by a senior health ministry official and will have experts from different departments.
The main plan is to have a roadmap for reducing tobacco demand according to WHO’s planning.
Tobacco products are in the 28% GST slab, other than tobacco leaves, which are taxed at 5%.
Tobacco products also attract a heavy burden of cess under the sin goods category.
Green fuels to power Adani Petrochem unit
Adani Enterprises to offer a range of green fuels and use its existing supply chains and renewable energy units for their production and transport, Business Standard reported.
Why it’s important: The company plans to produce green hydrogen, green methanol, green ammonia and green fertiliser.
Adani to reach out to different sets of buyers for each fuel.
It is also eyeing government business in the field of green hydrogen and fertilisers ventures.
According to the plan, Adani will supply green methanol to run a select fleet of Ashok Leyland.
It is also in consultations with shipping companies to procure green hydrogen at Mundra Port.
SP group eyes Rs10,000 crore from the asset sale, puts textile unit on the block
The Shapoorji Pallonji group has put its textile unit in Karnataka on sale to raise funds, Business Standard reported.
Why it’s important: It is planning to raise Rs 10,000 crore from asset sales by March next year.
The Shapoorji Pallonji group has sold its stakes Eureka Forbes and Sterling and Wilson Solar recently.
The sale of Eureka Forbes will fetch a net inflow of Rs 3,000 crore to the group flagship, Shapoorji Pallonji Construction Pvt Ltd.
The group is also selling part of its real estate portfolio, including land bank at Gokak textile unit, to raise an additional Rs 1,000 crore.
The rest of the funds will come from the proceeds of the S&W Solar stake sale to Reliance Industries.
Sovereign Wealth Fund flows to increase on crude price jump
The jump in oil prices is expected to boost the inflow of sovereign wealth funds into Indian markets, Business Standard reported.
Why it’s important: The assets under custody of SWFs in Indian equities totalled Rs 3 trillion as of September 30.
Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Norway, and Canada invest significantly through SWFs in India and across the globe.
Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global had an India allocation of $12.4 billion at the end of 2020.
As the higher oil prices provide huge funds for these countries, it may see some incremental rise inflows to India.