RBI extends ?60,000cr ($8,070m) credit line to Yes Bank. Twitter to ban tweets spreading misinformation about coronavirus. Government considering $1.6bn rescue package for aviation industry. European Central Bank launches new bond purchases worth €750bn ($821bn). Reserve Bank of Australia cuts rates, resorts to quantitative easing. RBI to buy Government bonds in open markets.
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“Extraordinary times require extraordinary action,” European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said as she launched new bond purchases worth €750bn ($821bn) at an emergency meeting yesterday. This is the latest move by Brussels in its bid to stop a pandemic-induced financial rout shredding the Eurozone’s economy. [Reuters]
The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut interest rates to a record low of 0.25% and said it would buy Australian government bonds in its first-ever quantitative easing programme and provide a three-year funding facility to provide cheap loans for Australian banks.
In resorting to quantitative easing, the Central Bank has turned a direction it didn’t even during the Great Recession and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. [The Guardian]
On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve rolled out its third emergency credit programme in two days. This new facility will offer “support for the flow of credit to households and businesses” by ensuring the $3.8tr money market mutual fund industry can sell its holdings of US Treasury bonds and other high quality assets at full value if investors ask to withdraw their cash. [Reuters]
The Reserve Bank of India will also buy bonds in the open market for a total of ?10,000cr ($1.3bn) on Friday to try to keep all market segments liquid and stable.
"With the heightening of COVID-19 pandemic risks, certain financial market segments have been experiencing a tightening of financial conditions as reflected in the hardening of yields and widening of spreads," the RBI said in a statement. [NDTV Profit]
Fakes in the Age of Corona
If you’re an active Twitter user, two things will seem obvious to you. One, the coronavirus pandemic has already taken many lives, infected thousands, and crippled entire economies. And two, many accounts on Twitter are harming the fight against the virus by spreading misinformation and fake cures.
Now, Twitter has updated its safety policy to prohibit tweets that “could place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19.” The new policy bans tweets denying expert guidance on the virus, encouraging “fake or ineffective treatments, preventions and diagnostic techniques” as well as tweets that mislead users by pretending to be from health authorities or experts.
In its blog post, Twitter said that it will “require people to remove Tweets” if they violate the updates policies. Those tweets that claim social distancing or washing your hands are ineffective or don’t work will be taken down altogether. [TechCrunch]
The War Against Fakes
Regional language content startups are now bridging the information gap in India by educating non-English-speaking people about the pandemic.
Josh Talks, Vokal, Lokal, NoticeBoard, Youth Ki Awaaz, DailyHunt, and Trell among others are making and sourcing content from authentic, verified sources, and partnering with local bodies and health agencies to ensure accuracy.
All this content in regional languages reaches a wider audience amongst India’s burgeoning non-metro internet-connected population, who may not be adept at English and thus could miss out on vital information on sites like Twitter or Facebook. [ET Tech]
Here's something nobody would be shocked over: India's telecom industry is likely heading towards a duopoly.
Ever since Reliance Jii entered the scene and disrupted everything with it's dirt-cheap rates, the price war that followed narrowed and consolidated the sector bringing down the scene to three main players - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Airtel and Jio.
Then came the Supreme Court's AGR verdict, and the debt burden is such that Vodafone has warned it may leave its India business altogether.
COVID-19 has made India Inc endorse working from home - and we may have to brave for slower data speeds due to this.
Experts and analysts say existing telecoms infrastructure belonging to Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Jio may be ill equipped to handle any sudden countrywide upsurge in home internet consumption, given the continuing spectrum crunch, low fiberisation levels and poor wired broadband penetration. [ET Tech]
To relieve the ailing aviation industry, India is reportedly planning a rescue package worth as much as $1.6bn. The coronavirus pandemic has hurt the sector as flights have been cancelled and air travel halted in light of new restrictions imposed by governments around the world to contain the virus's spread. [Reuters]
Throw a Line
The RBI has extended a credit line of ?60,000cr ($8,070m) to Yes Bank as it resumed full-service operations on Wednesday. The line of credit was reportedly to ensure that the bank is able to meet its obligations to depositors.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday had said the regulator was ready to offer liquidity if required.
“Yes Bank has enough liquidity to meet any requirements. If required, the RBI will provide necessary liquidity support to it,” he said. “Never in the history of banks (in India) have depositors lost money. The point is, depositors’ money is absolutely safe,” Das had said. [BS]
Fat 40% Off!
Fares on ride-hailing platforms such as Uber, Ola and Meru have hit rock bottom as demand for these services fell nearly 50% over the last two weeks in the wake of the spread of coronavirus and the subsequent measures adopted by the Government and companies to contain its further proliferation.
Meru has slashed fares on all rides by a flat 40% to attract users. Uber and Ola also have their fares touching the minimum threshold on back of low demand. [ET Tech]
Flight to Delivery!
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed Google-backed hyperlocal delivery provider Dunzo and Bengaluru-based drone maker Throttle Aerospace Systems to test their long-range drone delivery solutions, by as early end-April.
The companies have been reportedly approved to conduct experimental beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations for remotely piloted aircraft or drones.
However, they still need the approval of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which may take up to 10 days. [Entrackr]
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