Work From Home
- Around 25-30% of white-collar employees in information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services sectors in the country may work from home or anywhere, perhaps permanently, even after a vaccine puts an end to the pandemic.
- Simplified guidelines for business process outsourcing and ITeS companies issued by the government last Thursday will encourage hybrid working models with a substantial number of people working from anywhere (WFA).
- In the early days of the pandemic, TCS announced that a majority of its employees would be working from home until 2025, with only 25% coming to office at any given time.
- Almost all IT-ITeS firms, including Wipro, Infosys and Tech Mahindra, are largely working from home.
- According to current industry estimates, close to 75% of the tech workforce is working from home, with only a few coming to office as and when required.
- WFH or WFA will especially benefit the real estate and jobs situation in tier II-III cities as many people in the ITeS sector are looking to settle in smaller towns, experts said.
- Women talent pool
Google Play’s Payment Mode
- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered an investigation into allegations of abuse of dominance against Google on Monday.
- The investigation will look into two of several allegations made in a complaint filed in February by an unnamed informant related to
- exclusive use of Google Pay (GPay) for buying apps and in-app purchases (IAPs) via the Play Store
- pre-installation and prominence of Google Pay on Android smartphones.
- The complaint alleges that Google, through its control over the Play Store and the Android operating system (OS), favours Google Pay over competing apps.
- This amounts to abuse of its dominant position by Google, the complaint said.
- The DG has to complete the investigation and submit a report within 60 days.
- Google also faces antitrust proceedings in the US for its alleged abuse of dominance in the search and search advertising market.
- The European Commission flagging concerns against its mandatory payment system in the Play Store while investigating a similar complaint against Apple.
NPCI – Distributed Ownership Plan
- The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is broadening ownership to include payment companies and others.
- In the past few months, the Reserve Bank of India has sought a “distributed ownership” model, as against the current bank-based ownership regime.
- State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Punjab National Bank are among main owners of NPCI.
- NPCI has asked more than 100 companies — including foreign banks, payment banks and payment system operators — to become its shareholders.
- This is the first opportunity for non-bank entities to have any meaningful “skin in the game”
- Twelve domestic banks own 82% in NPCI, which will drop to 78% after the private placement.
- It will see dilution of 4.6% of the stake held by key existing shareholders to the tune of ₹81 crore, ascribing a value of around Rs 1,800 crore to NPCI.
- The move will ensure representation for non-bank payment systems that are part of India’s burgeoning payments landscape.
BRICS Bank Membership
- Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday backed expansion of the membership of the New Development Bank at the first BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG).
- The meeting also involved discussions on the outcomes of G20 Saudi Presidency in 2020 and a digital platform to encourage infrastructure investments.
- The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – created the New Development Bank in 2014 as a multilateral development bank which will provide financial support to public and private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.
- At present the Shanghai-headquartered bank has the five countries as its members with equal shareholding and voting rights.
- All members of the United Nations can become members of the bank.
- Sitharaman supported the expansion of the membership of NDB and emphasised the importance of regional balance.
State Capex Down
- State CAPEX is also seen to have a higher growth multiplier potential than Central Budget/CPSE capex
- 14 States’ capex was down 22% on year
- While Centre’s Budget capex declined 12% on year, a conscious effort is being made by the government to ensure that the CPSEs ramp up investments.
- The curbing of capex by the states is primarily due to the acute revenue constraints they are facing.
- While the low revenue buoyancy was evident in the last year itself, the situation has aggravated due to the pandemic.
- Capital expenditure undertaken by states, which accounts for more than 60% of general government capital expenditure is generally treated as a residual and is prone to adjustment, conditional upon revenue generation.
Foreign Investment in Strategic Petroleum
- India’s share in global energy consumption is set to rise from 7% to 12% in 2050
- The nation, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer and importer, earlier this year filled its three SPRs in southern India with 5.33 million tonnes of oil when prices were low.
- To attract private investment in its SPRs, India recently allowed Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) to re-export some of its oil stored in Mangalore SPR.
- The country is building two more commercial-cum-strategic petroleum storage with capacity of 6.5 million tonnes.
- “I invite global energy players to come and invest in this project,” he said, adding India’s fuel demand has almost recovered to the pre-Covid levels.
- Last month, local sales of key fuels – gasoline, gasoil and cooking gas – in India rose compared to last year.
- India wants to cut its carbon emissions and raise the share of gas in its energy mix to 15% by 2030 from the current 6.2%.
- Companies are investing $60 billion in creating oil and gas infrastructure over five years through 2024, which includes building gas import terminals and expanding gas pipeline networks to provide last mile connectivity to households and industries.
- India is spending $20 billion to produce 15 million tonnes of compressed biogas by 2023, and has recently started supplying hydrogen compressed natural gas for 50 buses as a trial.