Govt Revives Air India's Disinvestment Process, US China Seek Trade Pact, Govt Tightens Noose Around Unregulated Deposit Schemes et al.

Governemnt revives Air India's disinvestment process. US China seek broad outline for trade pact. Govt tightens noose around unregulated deposit schemes. Economic expansion uneven, says Federal Reserve Chief.

 

Now to Today's Top Business News Stories in Our End Of Day Wrap Up:

 

 TECH


India's antitrust commission probes Google for android abuse. Mixed reactions over proposed regulations on online payment gateway providers.


 
Not Fair: India's antitrust commission is looking into accusations of Google abusing its Android mobile operating system to block its rivals. Android, used by device makers for free, features on about 98% of the smartphones sold in India in 2018.

Watching Closely: As per a report by Reuters, the Competition Commission of India is reviewing a case similar to one Google faced in Europe wherein the giant had abused its market dominance since 2011 to force manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser, together with its Google Play app store on Android devices.
 

Nothing New: This news comes only a year after the Indian antitrust watchdog had imposed a fine of $19m on Google for "search bias" and abuse of its dominant position. 
 

Mixed Reaction: RBI’s intention to regulate payment gateway service providers has received a mixed response from industry players. Read more on the matter here.

 

AIRINDIA
 
Government proposes 100% sale of Air India ground handling unit.


Selling Out: The government is attempting to divest its stake in Air India by selling 100% of its stake in Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIASTL), the subsidiary which does its ground handling work. 
 

What’s The Plan?: Government seeks to offload 98% of its stake in the subsidiary through strategic sale and the remaining 2% would be offered to AIATSL’s employees.
 

Conditions Apply: An entity or individual interested in bidding for AIATSL will need to have a minimum net worth of INR200cr and does not require any prior experience in ground handling activities in order to participate in the bidding process.

Extreme Measures: Air India’s pilot union in its Central Executive Committee meeting passed a resolution to go to any extent including a strike, if needed be, to safeguard the interests of its pilots.
 

Backstory: The news comes days after Air India pilots had announced that they would not be following any changes in the duty roster system since they had not received the flying allowance (70% of the total pay package).

 

TRADEWAR

US China seek broad outline for trade pact. Chinese President to meet with US delegates on Friday.                      

In Talks: Chinese and US negotiators to meet on Friday to negotiate a broad outline of a trade agreement between the two countries ahead of the March 1 deadline.

Let it Slide: President Trump expressed his willingness to delay next month’s deadline for resolving the US China trade conflict if negotiations with Beijing progressed smoothly.

No Time: If the two sides fail to reach a compromise or don’t agree to extend the deadline, US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will jump to 25% from 10% from 12:01 a.m. March 2.

Final Call: Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled to meet key members of the US trade talks delegation, including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in Beijing on Friday.

 

MONEY

Govt tightens noose around unregulated deposit schemes. Additional Bharat-22 ETF to go on sale.

All Clear: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared amendments to the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme Bill, 2018, to check illicit deposit schemes.

The Bill would ban unregulated deposits, by making them an offense ex-ante, rather than the existing legislative-cum-regulatory framework, which comes into effect ex-post with considerable time lags. The move puts a ban on deposit takers promoting, operating, or advertising an unregulated scheme.

What You Need to Know: The development comes in the backdrop of the ongoing CBI probe into the Saradha ponzi scam.

Big Money: The government is set to launch an additional offering of Bharat-22 ETF on February 14 whose sale is expected to raise around INR4,000cr.

The proceeds from the ETF sale would help the government move towards meeting the INR80,000cr disinvestment target for the current fiscal.

Let it Go?: Bharat 22 ETF has lost 8.51% since its launch on 17th November 2017 to date. Read more on why you should stay away here.

 

GLOBAL

Economic expansion uneven, says Federal Reserve Chief. China backs Venezuela opposition in a bid to protect investments.
 

Uneven Expansion: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, during a visit to Mississippi, expressed his concerns over economic expansion not being evenly shared in many parts of the US. Read more of his opinions here.
 

Switching Sides: China has been holding talks with Venezuela’s opposition party to safeguard its investments in the country.

Zoom OutChina has lent Venezuela more than $50bn in exchange for oil supplies since 2007 but repayments have dwindled since President Maduro took office in 2013. Read more on the matter here.

No Way: Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro has time and again resisted pressure at home and abroad to cede power to opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

 

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