Today’s Essential News: What You Need to Know Now


The Morning Scan: All the big stories to get you started for the day brings together the top newspaper stories to keep readers up to date on current affairs. Among the stories, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have drastically cut India’s growth forecast for 2023-24 to 6.3 and 6.4 per cent respectively due to global economic slowdown, higher interest rates and elevated oil prices. Furthermore, Reliance Industries recently managed to obtain an additional credit line of $2 billion from 18 banks taking the total loan size to $5 billion.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Board of India is planning to devise a framework for contarian investments, which tailors the regulatory requirements for asset management companies that invest in exchange-traded funds, index funds, and similar passive-only portfolio products. The move will reduce compliance requirements and remove certain limitations on net worth and experience.

LIC is also making headlines with its upwards of Rs 65,500 crore gain in market value from the top 10 publicly traded companies in the year ended March 31. The contrarian approach seen by India’s largest investor in public markets has enabled the insurer to register gains regardless of a market decline, which many fund managers struggle to replicate.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Zinc is unlikely to carry out the proposal to purchase Vedanta’s global zinc business for $2.98 billion in cash due to the opposition from the government. Additionally, the market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board, has made a presentation to India’s Supreme Court about Adani-Hindenburg issue that pertains to disclosure of related party transactions among other concerns.

Last but not least, in order to stimulate exports, the government has cut the windfall tax on selling domestic crude oil to zero, and halved the export duty on diesel to 50 paise per liter. However, if oil prices start to rebound again, the duties may come back. On top of this, the UK’s proposed carbon tax is another sticking point that could hinder the India-UK free trade agreement as it will impose high tariffs on imports with higher carbon footprints.

On the flip side, a larger number of companies are now paying directors sitting fees of Rs. 1 lakh per board meeting as compared to the pre-COVID era. This is the highest amount permitted under the rules, and the higher amount of board meetings amid the receding pandemic could see the ceiling on the fees being raised.

Reliance Industries is the largest private sector entity in India with a market capitalisation of Rs. 13.45 lakh crore in 2021 and has operations spanning multiple sectors. Founded by Dhirubhai Ambani in 1966, Reliance Industries is now owned by his sons Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani. During FY 2021, Reliance Industries’ consolidated revenue reached Rs. 1575 billion, a 9.8 per cent increase from the previous year. The conglomerate recently obtained $5 billion from a syndicated loan from more than 70 banks and financial institutions.

Madhabi Puri Buch is Chairperson of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) appointed for the position on March 23, 2020. She holds a Masters Degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, where she was also a University topper. Ms. Puri Buch has held numerous important positions in the past including Executive Director, State Bank of India; Joint Secretary & Chief General Manager, Punjab National Bank; and In-charge of Sandesha, a Government of India inquiry into the affairs of Madhavpura Mercantiel Cooperative Bank. As SEBI Chairperson, she made a presentation to the six-member Supreme Court committee on Adani-Hindenburg issue on January 25, which covered topics about disclosures on related-party transactions as well as policy for regulated short selling.