Wholesale inflation climbs to 3.1% in January. SEBI bans portfolio managers from charging upfront fees. Debasish Panda appointed as the Finance Secretary. Huawei charged by US prosecutors with trading state secrets.
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Up and Up
India’s wholesale inflation rose to 3.1% in January, Ministry of Commerce and Industry data has shown. Measured in terms of wholesale price index (WPI), wholesale inflation rose to 2.59% in December 2019 and to 2.76% in January last year.
The build-up inflation during the ongoing 2019-20 FY rate was at 2.5%, against 2.49% in the corresponding period a year ago, as per the data. [Indian Express]
Skynet Wants Your Job
David Lipton, the IMF’s Deputy First Managing Director, has warned that automation can lead to 9% of workers in India becoming unemployed. He added that a 6-7% annual economic growth can help those negatively affected by the automation wave. Globally, Lipton said, 14% of the workforce, or 375m workers, could lose their jobs to automation. [BS]
The markets regular, SEBI has banned portfolio managers from charging upfront fees from clients either directly or indirectly.
Brokerage should be charged at actual to clients as expense.
Portfolio management services (PMS) providers can continue to charge annual fees, as a percentage of the investor's corpus.
“Operating expenses excluding brokerage, over and above the fees charged for portfolio management service, shall not exceed 0.50% per annum of the client’s average daily assets under management,” SEBI said in a circular on Thursday.
The circular comes on the back of several other regulations affecting PMS which have been introduced by the regulator over the last couple of months such as raising the minimum ticket size for PMS from ?25L ($35,104) to ?50L ($. The circular will become effective 1 May. [Deccan Herald]
Read SEBI's official circular here.
Breaking it Down
Here's a handy tweet, which gives the highlights of the circular.
Senior IAS officer Debasish Panda has been appointed as the new Finance Secretary to replace Rajiv Kumar, who superannuates this month end. [ET]
Senior bureaucrat Rajiv Bansal was appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India.
Bansal at present Additional Secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas. [Business Today]
In a major setback for the telecom companies, the Supreme Court today rejected a plea by telecom operators seeking more time to settle AGR dues and began contempt proceedings against the companies.
The court summoned Managing Director, Director of all telcos on March 17th to explain why these dues were not deposited despite orders and why contempt action must not be taken against them for non-compliance of order.
Earlier on January 16th, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had dismissed review petitions of telecom firms seeking review of its earlier order asking them to pay ?1.47tr in statutory dues by January 23rd, saying it did not find any "justifiable reason" to entertain them. [Livemint]
Shares of Voda Idea plunged 25% on the news, while Airtel share price gained 4%.
Vodafone Idea reported widening of losses to ?6,438.8cr ($904m) in Q3 vs ?5,004.6cr ($702m) a year ago, on the back of concerns about the telecom operator’s ability to remain in business.
Staring at statutory dues of ?53,000cr ($7,442m) it needs to pay to the government. Confronted by these liabilities - ?24,729cr ($3,472m) of spectrum dues and another ?28,309cr ($,3975m) in licence fee—it had previously warned of shutdown if no relief was granted. [Firstpost]
A federal judge in the US has agreed to temporarily block Microsoft from beginning work on the Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract. This is an early court victory for Amazon, which has accused the Trump administration of intervening in the contract-bidding process in favour of Microsoft due to grudges between the President and Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, a publication Trump accuses of being biased against him. [NYT]
Feel the Charge
Federal prosecutors in the US have charged Huawei and two of its subsidiaries with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to steal trade secrets. This ramps up pressure on the telecommunications giant, which has come under fire by the Trump administration for allegedly using its networks around the world to spy for the Chinese Communist Party. [WSJ]
Microsoft will create a separate business unit within large IT companies, in a drive to accelerate its India business. This is called the ITeS 360 solution, in which the business unit helps IT companies in selling Microsoft offerings over the cloud to their customers around the world. [ET Tech]
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