Govt announces creation of alternative investment fund worth INR25,000cr to revive stalled housing projects. IndiGo announces code share agreement with Qatar Airways. Former Twitter employees charged with spying. Uber to become an ad platform.
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Sharing is Caring: Private domestic airline, IndiGo and Qatar Airways today signed a code share agreement.
What Does This Mean: As part of the agreement, Qatar Airways will place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha-Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad starting today.
The agreement is likely to strengthen the company’s international operations and boost economic growth in India by bringing in more traffic for trade and tourism through seamless mobility. NDTV Profit
Air India is auctioning about 38 of its real estate assets in a bid to raise funds. These also include assets that have been put on sale multiple times but failed to attract bidders. However, this time around, Air India has lowered the reserve price of some of these properties, especially those in Tier 1 cities, to attract buyers.
The properties on the block include flats at Asian Games Village Complex in New Delhi, flats in Kolkata’s Golf Green area, residential land in Mumbai’s Bandra, Khar and Prabhadevi areas, a holiday home in Lonavala, flats at Chennai’s Besant Nagar, apart from flats in Bengaluru and Mangaluru. The airline is also offering to sell properties in Nashik, Pune, Gwalior, Thiruvananthapuram and Bhuj in the upcoming auction.
Good to Know: Air India’s plan to monetize its real estate is part of a turn around plan approved by the government in 2012. The airline was then directed to raise INR500cr every year from monetizing real estate. Unfortunately, however, the state carrier has missed this target every year since 2012. Livemint
Busted!: US Federal prosecutors have charged two former Twitter employees and a Saudi Arabian national with spying on some users of the social-media platform who were critical of Riyadh and providing that information to the kingdom’s officials.
The complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco accuses former Twitter employees Ahmad Abouammo, Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Almutairi of acting as illegal agents of a foreign government. Abouammo was accused of trying to obtain personal information about Saudi Arabia’s critics. Alzabarah allegedly used employee credentials between November 2014 and May 2015 to obtain email addresses, dates of birth and other information about people who had published posts critical of the Saudi royal family, prosecutors said. CNBC
Indian IT giant Infosys has hired PwC to investigate two whistle-blower complaints alleging financial malfeasance against CEO Salil Parekh and CEO Nilanjan Roy. ET
Much Needed: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday announced the creation of an alternative investment fund (AIF) worth NR25,000cr to help revive over 1,600 stalled middle and low-income RERA registered housing projects across top cities in the country.
Projects declared as non-performing assets and those which are undergoing insolvency at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to be considered for financing. However, those which have already got orders from NCLT for liquidation will not be considered.
The government will put in INR10,000cr in this AIF while SBI and LIC would provide INR15,000cr, taking the total size. The move is likely to bring momentous relief to homebuyers and businesses across the country. Moneycontrol
Six-Pack Ads: Uber is branching out (again). After announcing a foray into fintech, the ride-hailing giant is reportedly eyeing the ads business.
TechCrunch recently spotted a job listing by Uber Eats for an Ads Lead “to lead the team and efforts responsible for creating a new ads business that enables eaters to discover new foods and restaurants to grow their customer base”.
Selling ad space on its food delivery app to restaurants could help the company improve margins on Eats. It could also help increase overall revenue and cut losses at a time when Uber's share price is faltering (after its uninspiring IPO) and its post-IPO stock lock-up period expires. TechCrunch
What Will Google Decide?: Recently, Twitter announced that it would ban all political ads on its platform. This followed the very heated debate surrounding Facebook’s reluctance to fact-check political ads on its platform, something that drew the ire of US Congress members, who voiced the same when Mark Zuckerberg testified on Capitol Hill.
Now, Google too is apparently mulling changing its policies on political advertisements. It is unknown if the tech giant is considering an all-out ban like Twitter’s or an advanced filter option. A decision was expected this week but it was reportedly delayed. Hindu BusinessLine
What Makes an Ad an Ad?: Twitter has banned political ads. Google might follow suit. People are calling on Facebook to do the same. And everyone seems to have an opinion on the issue. And if such a ban is enacted, the central question is a simple-yet-complicated one: What criteria define a political ad? Here’s a perspective.
The Circle of Life and Debt: China’s distrust of the US might be at an all-time high but of late, it is willingly importing one particular American idea – bankruptcy courts.
For years, keeping social stability in mind, failing companies were propped up via capital from the government or loans from state-run banks. Whatever the country had akin to bankruptcy legislation was routinely ignored by courts due to concerns over social unrest that could follow any large-scale lay-offs – which could threaten or put into question the primacy of the Communist Party.
But as the number of failing companies rises, the economy slows, and government coffers run dry, continuing such frequent bailouts has become an unsustainable affair. This has led to Beijing embracing bankruptcy and doing something it hasn’t been comfortable with for a long time: letting its companies fail. WSJ
Tariff Crops: Meanwhile, across the Pacific, the US government collected the highest amount of tariffs in its history. In September, Americans paid a total of $7.1bn in import taxes. This was 59% higher than the previous month and the most in the country’s history.
This sharp increase is a product of the US-China trade war, particularly the duties slapped on $111bn worth of Chinese imports on September 1, which affected far more consumer products than in the previous rounds of escalation. Business Insider
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