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Reliance Jio trumps Airtel in March; adds over 7.9 million mobile subscribers: TRAI

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Reliance Jio trumped Bharti Airtel in net subscriber addition in March, and Vodafone Idea also showed a positive net addition for the second straight month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) data released on Friday showed.

While Reliance Jio added 7.92 million wireless users in March, Airtel followed with 4.06 million net subscriber addition. Vi recorded a net addition of 1.09 million net subscribers.

In terms of total subscriber’s base, Reliance Jio topped the chart with 422.2 million subscribers, followed by Airtel at 352.39 million and Vi at 283.71 million. BSNL’s total subscriber base stood at 118.63 million, the March data showed.

In the wireless category, Reliance Jio’s market share stood at the highest 35.81 per cent, followed by Airtel at 29.84 per cent and Vi at 24.02 per cent.

The number of active wireless subscribers as of March 2021 stood at 993.92 million. Around 12.74 million subscribers submitted their requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in March.

According to the monthly subscriber data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the total number of telephone subscribers in India increased to 1,201 million at the end of March 2021, a monthly growth rate of 1.12 per cent.

“The monthly growth rates of urban and rural telephone subscriptions were 0.92 per cent and 1.37 per cent respectively during the month of March-21,” TRAI said in a statement.

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Fevicol turns Ronaldo’s Coca-Cola snub into an advertising moment

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In a social media post, Fevicol put up an image of a setting similar to the Ronaldo press conference. In front of a blurred background is a mic, an empty chair and two bottles of Fevicol
Cristiano Ronaldo’s gesture of removing two Coca-Cola bottles from the table during the press conference after Portugal’s 3-0 win against Hungary wiped off $4 billion from the company’s market value. Netizens were split over this incident — some cheered, some jeered. And then there was Fevicol, who saw the incident as a good advertising opportunity and went for it.
In a social media post, Fevicol put up an image of a setting similar to the Ronaldo press conference. The background, though blurred, is somewhat similar to what appeared in the press conference. In front of that is a mic, an empty chair and two bottles of Fevicol. “Na bottle hategi, na valuation ghategi (neither the bottle will move, nor valuation will dip),” read the caption below the image.
The caption is a nod to Fevicol’s campaigns that aim to highlight the strength of the adhesive. The logo — of a weight being binded by Fevicol, and being pulled in opposite directions by two elephants — too reiterates the idea.

The advertisement cracked up netizens. One user said that even “Ronaldo can’t move it,” while others called it a masterpiece.
After the UEFA Euro 2020 match against Hungary on Tuesday, Ronaldo during the press conference took his seat, slided the Coca-Cola bottles far away from himself, picked the water bottle placed in front and said “agua”. It was apparent from the video that the footballer was urging people to drink water instead of aerated drinks. The company lost $4 billion off its market value and shares dipped by 1.6 per cent.
Coca-Cola said in a statement, “Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences.” The spokesperson further said that people have different “tastes and needs”.

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Sputnik vaccine soft launch expanded to metros including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata; commercial launch soon

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Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which soft-launched the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V in Hyderabad, has expanded the pilot presently in the final leg to other cities, including New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.
Dr Reddy’s said the registration on CoWIN is not open for the public, adding presently it being a limited pilot phase and will become open once the commercial launch is commenced.
Stating the limited pilot soft-launch of the Sputnik V vaccine in India that was initiated by the company in Hyderabad on May 14 has now been successfully scaled up to other cities such as Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi, Baddi, Chennai, Miryalaguda and Kolhapur, Dr Reddy’s said more cities will follow in the next few days.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which is in a pact with Russian Direct Investment Fund to sell the first 125 million people doses (250 million vials) of SputnikV in India, recently received nearly three million doses of Sputnik V.

The pilot has allowed Dr Reddy’s to test the cold storage arrangements of -18C temperature in the cities, COWIN integration, track and trace and other logistical arrangements ahead of the commercial launch, PTI reported the release as saying.
Dr Reddy’s said the adequate number of cold chain units is being deployed, adding the last mail arrangement is being validated at every partner hospital to ensure seamless storage and handling of the vaccine.

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Centre issues guidelines for employees for office attendance

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From Wednesday, central government employees will have to work from office on all working days till June 30, Live Hindustan, Hindustan Times’ sister publication has reported. The direction is a part of new guidelines issued by the Union government for its staff, and is applicable to all central ministries and departments.
 
According to the guidelines, of the officers below the rank of under secretary, 50% will work from office, while the remaining 50% will work from home.
 
The first shift will be from 9am-5:30pm, the second between 9:30am and 6pm, while the third and final one will begin at 10am and get over at 6pm. However, staff members who are specially abled or pregnant can continue to work from home., officials who live in areas declared as containment zones will continue to work from home till the time the area is excluded from the list of containment zones.

Additionally, the guidelines mandate a strict compliance with all Covid-19 norms. Employees have been directed to frequently wash and sanitise their hands, wear masks and follow social distancing at all times. Any violation or laxity in this regard will be taken seriously, employees have been warned.
 
Earlier this month, Union minister Jitendra Singh said that the Centre has extended ‘flexy’ attendance option for its employees till June 15.
 
As the deadly second wave of Covid-19 is declining, several state governments have announced relaxations in lockdown or lockdown-like restrictions which were imposed to contain the spread of the disease. These relaxations include directing at least 50% government officials to come to office for work. Private offices, too, have been allowed to function with 50% staff, though they have been recommended to continue with the work from home mode or, if calling employees to office, do so in staggered shift timings to avoid crowding in offices.

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Indians back to buying made-in-China goods

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Just over a year after the India-China Galwan valley clash, 43 per cent Indian consumers have said that they did not buy any Made in China product in the past 12 months. This is a sharp dip in the number of Indians who had maintained this stand in November 2020, which was 71 per cent. But as time passed, many Indian purchasers are back to their favourite cost-effective products, raising concerns about whether Indian manufacturers can offer the same products at cheap rates.
Revelations from a recent survey to understand where Indian consumers stand a year later on their resolution to not buy Chinese products, show their purchasing choices.
The survey was held online by LocalCircles – a community social media platform. It also shows that of those Indian consumers who purchased China products, 60 per cent bought only 1-2 items while 70 per cent of them did so because they felt that the products offer value for money. The survey had around 18,000 responses from over 200 districts of India.

“This is encouraging, given that the common Indian had a very difficult year economically and finances were stretched. Also, majority of the Indian consumers who purchased Made in China products did so because they are the cheapest available option. However, 40 per cent of the people also highlighted their uniqueness and 38 per cent highlighted their quality as a differentiator. This is something the government of India and Indian manufacturers and MSMEs must act upon,” said Sachin Taparia, founder of LocalCircles.
He added, “While escalations like the one in 2020 give a reason to consumers to boycott Chinese and buy Indian made products, consumers generally will only stay with them if the cost-quality-uniqueness and service equation is ahead of the Chinese products.”
Post the attack on Indian soldiers in Galwan valley, many Indians had expressed their intent to boycott Chinese made products. Atmanirbhar Bharat to drive economic recovery post the 2020 lockdown coincided with this.

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Adani Group enters cement business, incorporates Adani Cement Industries

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Adani Enterprises Ltd on Saturday said it has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary namely Adani Cement Industries Ltd (ACIL) on June 11.
Adani Group, which has presence in ports, airports, power, gas distribution, among others, is set to enter the cement business.
Adani Enterprises Ltd on Saturday said it has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary namely Adani Cement Industries Ltd (ACIL) on June 11.
ACIL, which has an authorised share capital of Rs 10 lakh and a paid-up share capital of Rs 5 lakh, is yet to commence its business operations, Adani Enterprises said in an exchange filing.

“ACIL is incorporated in India and registered with the Registrar of Companies, Gujarat at Ahmedabad on 11 th June, 2021 and is yet to commence its business operations,” the filing said.
The company will carry on business as manufacturers, producers, processors of all types of cements, it added.
As per some reports, the Adani Group has also started initial discussions to hive off its airport business from holding firm Adani Enterprises Ltd.
The Gautam Adani-led group will likely raise $500 million through a private placement of shares in Adani Airports Holdings prior to an eventual IPO (initial public offering).

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BookMyShow lays off 200 employees as Covid hits business

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BookMyShow has laid off 200 employees as the company’s online ticket booking service suffered a severe blow due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
BookMyShow, a popular online platform for booking film tickets and entertainment events, has laid off 200 employees, making the second major round of job cuts at the company since it let go of 270 people during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The recent round of layoff is a result of the second Covid-19 wave, which has severely impacted BookMyShow’s business.The company’s co-founder and chief executive Ashish Hemrajani said on Thursday that 200 of the “most incredibly talented and performance-driven individuals” were laid off. He also urged people across industries to give him leads on vacancies for them.
“Covid-19 has taught me many lessons and I learnt another one today. As we let go of 200 of the most incredibility talented and performance-driven individuals, each and every one has messaged, thanking me for the opportunity, the love for BookMyShow and asking me if they could help,” he said.

“These 200 folks were handpicked and curated over years and had surrounded themselves with the highest values of culture, performance and empathy. As the day passed, I had two thoughts, one of managing optics or two – just doing the right thing,” he said.
“And for me, finding each of them a new home, where a new journey can begin, was the easy choice. So if you have leads, please DM me & we will do the needful. They will contribute incredibly to the growth of your wonderful firms. I’m sure we will all come out stronger,” he added.
It may be noted that BookMyShow makes 65 per cent of its revenues from movie ticketing and online ticket booking. However, the pandemic severely impacted its operations as cinema halls mostly remained shut. In view of the situation, BookMyShow has started pay-per-view movie streaming, but it is still at an early stage.

 

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Tata  Digital  to  acquire majority  stake  in  e-pharmacy 1MG

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The investment in 1MG strengthens Tata’s ability to provide superior customer experience and high-quality healthcare products and services in the e-pharmacy and e-diagnostics space.
Tata Digital Ltd, the company that houses the Tata group’s digital assets, on Thursday said it is set to acquire a majority stake in online pharmacy 1mg Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
The investment is in line with Tata group’s vision of creating a digital ecosystem that addresses consumer needs across categories in a unified manner, it said in a statement.
This is Tata Digital’s second major investment in an Indian startup this week. On Tuesday, the company announced a $75 million investment in fitness startup CureFit and named its co-founder Mukesh Bansal as president of Tata Digital.
The current deal is a primary and secondary share sale worth $250-$270 million, with other existing investors also infusing capital along with Tata Digital, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity. Of the total deal, $160 million will be in the form of primary infusion into the company.

Post the fund infusion, Tata Digital is expected to own almost 60% in 1mg and will increase its shareholding in the e-pharmacy startup in the coming months, the person said.
1mg’s early investors Sequoia Capital India and Omidyar Network India will exit the firm in the next two months, said a second individual with direct knowledge of the discussions. A secondary round will take place as part of this deal in the coming months, this person said.
With the fundraising, 1mg’s valuation is expected to cross $450 million, from close to $270 million before the deal, both the people cited above said.
The investment in 1mg strengthens Tata’s ability to provide superior customer experience and high-quality healthcare products and services in the e-pharmacy and e-diagnostics space through a technology-led platform,” said Pratik Pal, chief executive of Tata Digital.
Tata Digital added that e-pharmacy, e-diagnostics and teleconsultations are critical segments and will form a key element of the digital ecosystem that the company is building.

 

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Adani Group plans to hive off airport business, launch IPO

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Synopsis
The conglomerate is expected to raise $500 million through a private placement of shares in Adani Airports Holdings before an eventual initial public offering.
The Adani Group has begun preliminary talks to separate its airport business from holding entity Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) as a first step toward listing the unit, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The conglomerate is expected to raise $500 million through a private placement of shares in Adani Airports Holdings before an eventual initial public offering. Adani controls Mumbai airport, India’s second busiest, as well six regional facilities, and is targeting a valuation of Rs 25,500-29,200 crore ($3.5-4 billion) for the business.
Discussions were held between top company officials and potential investment bankers. At least half a dozen global banks and a bunch of domestic bankers have met top officials recently,” said one of the people cited above. “However, the group is awaiting better air passenger numbers as the Covid pandemic significantly reduced passenger traffic. They would like a year-end listing.”

In the three-five year plan, we would have a total capex in the airports of about ?30,000 crore estimated and the debt from that will be approximately ?20,000-21,000 crore,” Adani Enterprises CFO Robbie Singh said on an investor call in May.
“They are cash-making businesses and they already operate. They have their own capacity to borrow, so from our point of view, our commitment is to the equity portion of the airports, of which a majority of what equity was required we’ve already invested.”
Adani doesn’t see a significant commitment of equity beyond what’sneeded for the development of Navi Mumbai airport “and some equity that is required for the next three years possibly when we take over,” he added.
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EPFO Members Likely To Get 8.5% Interest By Next Month

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Sources with the EPFO said that the interest amount is likely to be credited in the accounts of subscribers by next month.
With the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) having finalised the interest rates on provident fund deposits for 2020-21 at 8.5 per cent, the retirement body is likely to credit the interest amount in the accounts of its subscribers by July, 2021. Sources with the EPFO said that the interest amount is likely to be credited in the accounts of subscribers by next month, however the exact date is not yet clear.

EPFO had, during the meeting of its Central Board of Trustees in March 2021, decided to keep the interest rate for 2020-21 unchanged at 8.5 per cent. In 2019-20 also the interest rate was at 8.5 per cent.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, EPFO had cut down the interest rate to a seven-year low of 8.5 per cent for 2019-20 in last March. In 2018-19, the rate of interest was 8.65 per cent, while it was 8.55 per cent in 2017-18.
The EPFO’s trustees meet every year in March to finalise the interest rate for the ongoing fiscal after evaluating its deposits.

 

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