#1. New company formation slowest in four years in 2021-22
In FY2021-22, India created the least number of companies in four years at 96,657. The fiscal year saw an annualized 30 percent decline in aggregate company formation. There was a shrinkage in firms involved in the manufacturing of food products and beverages, health and social work, retail trade, computers and real estate, sectors that had seen an exceptional surge in new companies in 2020-21, according to Prime Database.
Why it’s important: Sectors that benefit from the end of restrictions to mobility and operations, such as agriculture, transport and travel, hotels and restaurants, construction, and machinery and equipment, led the list of segments opening new establishments in 2021-22, indicating the reopening of the economy.
#2. Future lenders await debt distribution plan of Reliance
Creditors of Future Retail are yet to receive a plan spelling out the distribution of the proceeds from the proposed slump sale of the group’s assets to Reliance-linked entities. The distribution plan would spell out the quantum of debt on the books of the Future Group that would be absorbed by Reliance and the amount which will stay with Future Enterprises. Shareholders and creditors are scheduled to vote on the scheme on April 20-21.
Why it’s important: A distribution plan endorsed by Reliance will be critical for lenders. The voting is scheduled amid lenders seeking recovery of their dues in the bankruptcy court, and a warning from Amazon that holding the meeting will violate an injunction on the sale of Future’s retail assets.
#3. Extreme poverty declined sharply in India in 2011-19
Extreme poverty in India declined by 12.3 percentage points to 10.2 percent in 2019 from 22.5 percent in 2011, a working paper of the World Bank (WB) has found. The paper, authored by economists Sutirtha Sinha Roy and Roy van der Weide, showed the reduction in abject poverty in rural areas was more than in urban areas. Rural extreme poverty dropped by 14.7 percentage points during this period, while urban deep poverty fell by 7.9 percentage points.
Why it’s important: The findings come in the heels of another working paper at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that found that India has practically eliminated abject poverty through food hand-outs by the government.
#4. Tax assessments can be reopened on big, unexplained expenditure
Tax consultants have started receiving calls from corporate and individual clients over concerns that the income tax (I-T) department will send out more notices if the department gathers evidence that a taxpayer had an unexplained expenditure and may reopen the assessed return. The new provisions are effective from April 1.
Why it’s important: Unexplained expenditure includes money spent on a big event, expensive assets, and so on. Even if there is any unexplained entry in the books, it could lead to a reassessment of the return.
#5. Maruti says cheap, affordable electric vehicles not possible by 2025
Although Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) will launch its first locally made electric vehicle (EV) by 2025, it won’t be in the small and affordable segment, according to Hisashi Takeuchi, the new chief executive and managing director. A small electric car is a distant prospect for the firm due to issues such as battery costs and charging infrastructure, he said.
Why it’s important: India’s top carmaker has been seen reluctant to swiftly enter the EV segment. The government has been aggressively promoting electric mobility to hasten India’s energy transition away from fossil fuels.
#6. Lenders warm up to infra loans after bad loan experience
Indian banks are warming up to medium and large infrastructure projects once again. Infrastructure loan demand is the highest from sectors such as roads, ports, and airports, which receive a government push. Bankers are evaluating two large road projects — Ganga Expressway in Uttar Pradesh and Versova-Bandra Sea Link in Mumbai — that together require loans worth Rs 110 billion.
Why it’s important: The infrastructure sector saw many loans going bad in the past several years, harming the balance sheets of lenders. A renewed interest in providing such loans again will spell good news for the country’s economic recovery.
#7. Smaller enterprises might get priority in bankruptcy resolutions
Millions of India’s small businesses may be ranked above unsecured financial creditors in the bankruptcy resolution process if a policy proposal by the ministry for micro, small and medium enterprises is approved. The new draft policy for medium and small enterprises (MSMEs) proposes priority payment of dues over all other unsecured payments after settling dues of employees when a company enters insolvency.
Why it’s important: MSMEs are at present categorised as operational creditors, the lowest on the priority list when creditors’ dues are settled. It will be a huge relief for MSMEs if there’s a change in policy. If MSMEs can recover a portion of their dues, their liquidity position will improve.
#8. Crypto exchanges facilitating peer to peer deals, direct deposits
Several cryptocurrency exchanges are facilitating peer-to-peer deals while some platforms are directly accepting deposits from coin buyers. In a P2P transaction, the exchange, after receiving an order from a buyer, shares the seller’s bank account details with the buyer. The buyer then directly transfers funds to the seller while the seller moves the cryptocurrency lying in her wallet with the exchange to the buyer’s crypto wallet. The exchange connects the buyer and seller, but the money does not flow through the exchange.
Why it’s important: The crypto bourses are trying to overcome the restrictions imposed by banks and payment companies amid the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) voicing its reservations on virtual digital assets. Such manoeuvres will continue till the government steps in with guidelines to regulate the market.
#9. Video-sharing platform Chingari in talks to raise funds at a valuation of $1 billion
Tech4Billion Media is set to raise $200 million at a valuation of $1 billion, which will catapult the operator of video-sharing platform Chingari into India’s league of startup unicorns. Chingari will raise the fresh capital at a robust valuation because of the successful listing of its social token GARI on several cryptocurrency exchanges last month.
Why it’s important: Last year saw a surge in funding and valuations in India’s startup ecosystem, with 42 startups turning unicorns. The first quarter of 2022 has already witnessed 14 companies emerging as unicorns.
#10. Opportunities open for Indian tea firms as Sri Lankan crisis continues
As the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the world´s largest exporter of orthodox tea, continues, tea producers in India are looking to cash in on the opportunity to seize the market. The country´s largest tea growing company, McLeod Russel India, expects orders to come in from July. McLeod Russel is well placed because it has the capacity for orthodox tea. Amalgamated Plantations Private, carved out of erstwhile Tata Tea, will consider other options if it sees opportunity for direct exports.
Why it’s important: The tea industry in Sri Lanka is in deep crisis which significantly lower production. India tea producers will look to step into the breach.Disclaimer: Moneycontrol is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.