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QBiz: Nilekani Defends Infosys; Rs 25K Cr AIF For Housing Projects

1. Nilekani Invokes God in Spirited Defence of Infosys Management

Infosys Ltd chairman Nandan Nilekani on Wednesday, 6 November, defended the company’s co-founders and management over the recent whistleblowers’ allegations, assuring necessary steps will be taken if an investigation substantiates claims of misgovernance.

Infosys, he said, was committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and has responded responsibly and complied with applicable laws and best practices.

“Infosys has strong processes; even God can’t change the numbers of this company. Our finance team is feeling insulted by these allegations. But I don’t want to bias the investigation," Nilekani, a co-founder of the company, said at an analysts’ meet.

(Source: Livemint)

2. Govt Clears Rs 25,000 cr AIF to Complete Stalled Housing Projects

The Cabinet on Wednesday, 6 November, cleared the structure of the proposed exclusive alternate investment fund (AIF) for the real estate sector with an initial corpus of Rs 25,000 crore, more inclusive terms and a commitment to continue to provide more budget funds, in addition to the initial Rs 10,000 crore, as and when demand arises.

Since the September announcement of the plan, State Bank of India and LIC have agreed to contribute a total of Rs 15,000 crore to the AIF, the mandate of which is to enable completion of the stuck, liquidity-starved housing projects, mainly those in the affordable and middle-income categories.

(Source: Financial Express)

3. China Says RCEP Countries Committed to Work With India to Resolve Trade Deal Issues

China on Wednesday, 6 November, played down India’s decision not to join the mega Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal, saying the members of the grouping are prepared to work together to address New Delhi’s concerns. Chinese Vice-Commerce Minister and top trade negotiator Wang Shouwen also expressed confidence that the differences would be resolved by the end of this year.

Fifteen nations from the Asia-Pacific region – the 10 ASEAN nations plus Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – agreed on the outline of the trade pact on Monday.

(Source: PTI)

4. DHFL Auditors Filed a Fraud Complaint With MCA in August

Auditors of Dewan Housing and Finance Corp Ltd filed a fraud complaint with the corporate affairs ministry as early as August, a crucial piece of information that the lender’s management withheld from bank and shareholders, two people with direct knowledge said.

The ministry has since ordered the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to probe the case. The reference by statutory auditors Deloitte Haskins and Sells and Chaturvedi and Shah was made under Section 143(12) of the Companies Act, 2013 that mandates them to inform the ministry if they suspect fraud, one of the two people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

(Source: Livemint)

5. Khadi Producers Long Wait Finally Over, Government Move to Ease Exports

Commerce ministry, in order to exclusively categorise khadi products in exports, issued a Harmonized System (HS) code to separate from the general textile products. HS code is a six-digit identification code developed by the World Customs Organization and is used by customs officers to allow products to cross international borders.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena, in a statement by MSME ministry on Wednesday, said because Khadi didn’t have its exclusive HS code earlier, the export data for khadi used to come under the textile head. The HS code will help in planning export strategies, he said.

(Source: Financial Express)

6. FM Sitharaman to Review State of Economy at FSDC Meeting on Thursday

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will review the state of the economy at a meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) on Thursday, 7 November, to be attended by sectoral regulators, including RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das. The FSDC is the apex body of sectoral regulators, headed by the finance minister.

According to sources, the meeting will take stock of various measures taken by the government to boost the sagging growth which hit a six-year low of 5 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal.

The meeting will review the current global and domestic economic situation and financial stability issues, including those concerning banking and NBFCs, sources added.

(Source: PTI)

7. Tata Steel Reports Pre-Tax Loss of Rs 6.5 Crore, Net Sales Down 15.4 Percent

Tata Steel reported a loss of Rs 6.54 crore before tax on a consolidated basis in the September quarter (Q2) against a profit of Rs 5,411 crore in the corresponding period last year, mainly due to a fall in realisations across geographies.

The loss is after exceptional expenses that include gain on non-current investments, restructuring and other provisions, totalling Rs 33.56 crore for Q2 versus a gain of Rs 163.77 crore in year ago quarter. Even if these are excluded, the company's managed a pre-tax profit of only Rs 27.02 crore in Q2. Net sales stood at Rs 33,954 crore in the period under review, down 15.4 percent from last year as realisations declined significantly amid weak demand in the domestic market.

(Source: Business Standard)

8. Delhivery Shopping for B2B Operations, in Talks With Blue Dart, Gati

Logistics startup Delhivery Pvt Ltd has held early-stage talks with Blue Dart Express Ltd and Gati Ltd to acquire their B2B operations said two people aware of the matter.

Gurugram-based Delhivery is one of India’s newest unicorns, valued at USD 1.5 billion in March when it raised USD 413 million in a Series F round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, along with existing investors Carlyle Group and Fosun International. In September, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought an 8 percent stake in Delhivery for USD 115 million from an existing investor.

(Source: Livemint)

9. Long Winter Ahead for Truck Makers as Rentals Drop 3-4 Percent After Festivities

Truck makers are bracing for a long winter ahead as average rentals on most key trunk routes dropped 3 to 4 percent in the first week of November after the recent festive spike.

The data from the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training, a Delhi-based think tank, shows average freight rates on a return trip across regions were down to Rs 85,500 during the first five days of November, compared to Rs 88,450 at the end of October.

Truck sales are likely to remain depressed for the most part of the year as economic activity remains subdued, according to analysts.

(Source: Business Standard)

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