Govt’s total receipts at Rs 12.82L cr in Apr-Jan

NEW DELHI: The government’s total receipts during April 2019-January 2020 period of current fiscal stood at Rs 12.82 lakh crore, while total expenditure for the said period was Rs 22.68 lakh crore.
The government of India has received Rs 12,82,857 crore up to January 2020, an official statement said.
Tax revenue stood at Rs 9,98,037 crore, while non-tax revenue stood at Rs 2,52,083 crore. Non-debt capital receipts stood at Rs 32,737 crore, which includes Rs 18,351 crore of disinvestment proceeds, the statement added.
Besides, Rs 5,30,735 crore has been transferred to state governments as ‘Devolution of Share of Taxes’ by the centre in the period under consideration, which is Rs 11,003 crore lower than the previous year, the statement added.
Under tax devolution, the share in central taxes is distributed among states based on a formula.
Meanwhile, total expenditure incurred by the central government stood at Rs 22,68,329 crore out of which Rs 20,00,595 crore is on revenue account and Rs 2,67,734 crore is on capital account.
Out of the total revenue expenditure, over Rs 4.71 lakh crore is on account of interest payments and over Rs 2.62 lakh crore is on account of major subsidies.
India’s fiscal deficit in the first 10 months through January stood at Rs 9.85 lakh crore or 128.5 per cent of the revised budgeted target for the current fiscal year, according to government data released on Friday.
Earlier this month, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had raised fiscal deficit target to 3.8 per cent of the GDP from 3.3 per cent pegged earlier for 2019-20 due to shortfall in revenue collection.

Fiscal deficit touches 128.5% of budget estimate

NEW DELHI: India’s fiscal deficit touched 128.5 per cent of the whole year Budget target at January-end, said the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Friday.
The deficit during the same period in 2018-19 was 121.5 per cent of that year’s Revised Budget Estimate (RE).
In actual terms, the fiscal deficit or gap between the expenditure and revenue stood at Rs 9,85,472 crore. The government had targeted to restrict the fiscal deficit at Rs 7,66,846 crore during the year ending March 31, 2020.
While presenting the Union Budget to Parliament earlier this month, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had raised fiscal deficit target to 3.8 per cent of the GDP from 3.3 per cent pegged earlier for 2019-20 due to revenue shortage.
As per the CGA data on monthly accounts, revenue receipts during April-January were at Rs 12.5 lakh crore or 67.6 per cent of the RE for 2019-20. This compares with 68.3 per cent of the RE in the previous fiscal.
Total receipts were at 66.4 per cent of RE as against 67.5 per cent in the year-ago period.
The CGA further said that total expenditure at January-end was Rs 22.68 lakh crore or 84.1 per cent of RE, higher than 81.5 per cent in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.

AGR dues: Bharti Airtel pays additional Rs 8,004cr

NEW DELHI: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Saturday said that it has made additional payment of Rs 8,004 crore towards adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the department of telecom (DoT).
The payment of Rs 8,004 crore is in addition to Rs 10,000 crore the company paid on February 17, 2020 in compliance to the Supreme Court judgement, it said in a regulatory filing.
The company said it calculated the liabilities on self assessment basis till December 31, 2019 and the payment includes interest up to February 29, 2020.
The company has carried out self assessment from FY 2006-07 up to December 31, 2019 and interest thereon up to February 29, 2020 in line with the AGR judgement, Bharti Airtel said.
“Accordingly the company paid an additional amount of Rs 3,004 crore towards the full and final amounts due over and above ad-hoc amount of Rs 10,000 crore paid on February 17, 2020 on behalf of Bharti Group of companies,” the filing said.
The payment included liabilities on Bharti Airtel, Bharti Hexacom and Telenor India.
“We have also deposited an additional amount of Rs 5,000 crore, as an ad-hoc payment (subject to the subsequent refund/adjustment to cover differences, if any arising from the reconciliation exercise with the DoT,” Airtel said.
According to DoT estimates, Airtel owed nearly Rs 35,586 crore, including licence fee, spectrum usage charges with interest on unpaid amount, penalty and interest on penalty till July 2019.
“Based on the aforesaid payment we have now complied with AGR judgement and the directions in the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated October 24, 2019,” the company said.

What’s the deal with socially responsible investing?

Socially responsible investing — also know as ethical, green or sustainable investing — is the new buzzword in the financial world.

A growing number of institutions and individual investors seem to want to invest according to ethical principles, and the financial industry has been happy to oblige.

Today, investors can choose from a smattering of investment options that carry some variation of the sustainable label.

READ MORE: The next recession will be a first for robo advisors. Are they ready?

By one tally, sustainable investing has now grown to an eye-popping $31 trillion globally, and it’s easy to see why.

The industry’s pitch is very persuasive: sustainable investing is as good for your wallet as it is for your conscience.

But are sustainable investment products as good a deal as the hype would suggest?

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Investing with robo-advisers during recessions

Investing with robo-advisers during recessions

Does sustainable investing pay off?

Whether investing sustainably means sacrificing financial returns is the subject of debate among analysts and investment advisors.

Benjamin Felix, portfolio manager at Ottawa-based PWL Capital, for example, says both the data and the theory point to sustainable investments having lower expected returns.

As more and more investors buy up the stocks of companies deemed to be “good,” they push up the price of those shares, which necessarily reduces the returns investors can expect in the future, Felix said.

And because sustainable investors are guided by moral principles rather than mere financial metrics, they are less likely to ditch their underperforming sustainable stocks, which means their shares will stay overpriced.

READ MORE: Robot vs. human: When you should invest with robo advisors

Sustainable investors also necessarily have fewer investments to choose from, something that limits their ability to diversify their portfolios and diminish the risk tied to any one company or industry, Felix noted.

In addition, opting for sustainable investments often comes with higher fees, which eats further into returns, he added.

Money 123: Canadians could be losing a lot to investment fees

Money 123: Canadians could be losing a lot to investment fees

Tim Nash, an independent financial planner and founder of Good Investing, offers a different take. A preference for sustainable companies, he argues, steers investors away from corporations that may become the target of government sanctions or consumer boycotts.

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Felix agrees that a company’s track record on issues like the environment and human rights can have an impact on the corporate bottom line. However, he believes the market is already quite good at pricing in those risks.

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But Nash thinks sustainable investors are, in general, quicker to recognize that sustainability issues can have an impact on profits.

They are “ahead of the curve in recognizing these intangible values both on the upside, in terms of reputation, customer acquisition and employee attraction and retention … and also from the risk side.” 

And while sustainable investing does come with less diversification and often higher fees, there are still plenty of investment options to choose from, Nash says.

Money 123: Should you use a robo-advisor to invest?

Money 123: Should you use a robo-advisor to invest?

Are sustainable investments actually sustainable?

Felix’s biggest reservation about sustainable investing is the criteria the industry uses to quantify sustainability, otherwise knows as ESG metrics.

The “E” stands of “environmental,” reflecting corporate conduct on issues such as carbon emissions and water pollution. “S” is for “social,” which looks at factors such as how a company manages its workforce and the labour practices in its supply chain.

The “G,” finally, stands for “governance,” or how a company governs itself, which includes issues such as who sits on the board of directors and how executives are compensated.

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With a number of data providers compiling their own ESG ratings and indices, there are a number of different definitions and methodologies out there, Felix says. This can lead to confusion for both companies and investors, he adds.

How COVID-19 may impact your pocketbook

How COVID-19 may impact your pocketbook

“If companies are not clear on what ‘socially responsible’ means and what’s going to be rewarded, then it’s going to really [be] for them to know what to do to get a better rating,” he said.

On the investor side, some may not realize that plenty of investment products sold as sustainable involve exposure to oil and gas companies, Felix notes.

“You better know that what you’re investing in is actually reflecting your views and values because there’s a good chance it’s not,” he said.

Nash believes that ESG investment products, as imperfect as they may be, still help move the needle in the right direction. But he agrees with Felix that investors shouldn’t buy into sustainable investments without looking under the hood.

“Don’t do it blindly,” he said. “You need to do your homework.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Coronavirus ‘once-in-a-century’ pathogen: Bill Gates

CHICAGO: Philanthropist Bill Gates on Friday urged wealthy nations to help low and middle-income countries strengthen their health systems in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, which Gates said has started to behave like a “once-in-a-century” pathogen.
“By helping countries in Africa and South Asia get ready now, we can save lives and also slow the global circulation of this virus,” Gates, the former chairman and chief executive of Microsoft Corp, wrote in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The novel coronavirus that first emerged in China and has now spread to 46 countries is much harder to stop than similar viruses that caused the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Gates wrote. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already pledged $100 million to fight the outbreak.
Gates’ plea was echoed on Friday by the World Health Organization (WHO), which said the risk was very high that the virus would spread and have a global impact.
The WHO implored governments to swing into action to contain the virus before it becomes widespread. Such actions could slow the virus, giving nations more time to prepare, officials said.
“Health systems around the world are just not ready,” Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program, told a news briefing.
Gates said the world needs to invest in disease surveillance and better technology to accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines and drugs.
Besides technical solutions, Gates called for better diplomatic efforts to drive international collaboration and data sharing, and increased government spending on drugs and vaccines that would give private companies incentives to take up such efforts.

World’s richest lose $444bn after hellish week for markets

NEW YORK: Last week was an expensive one for most investors, even for billionaires.
The combined fortunes of the world’s 500 richest people fell by $444 billion as the coronavirus continued to spread — and spread fear — rattling equity markets worldwide. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 12%, the biggest five-day slide since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, in a rout that vaporised more than $6 trillion from global stocks.
The drubbing more than erased the $78 billion in gains that the 500 wealthiest people had amassed since the start of the year through last week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The world’s three richest people — Inc’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates and LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault — incurred the biggest losses, with their combined wealth dropping about $30 billion.

Elon Musk, the world’s 25th-richest person, rang up the fourth-largest weekly loss — $9 billion — as shares of his Tesla Inc slid after a steep climb to start the year. He’s still up $8.8 billion in 2020 and has a net worth of $36.3 billion.
Health officials are struggling to contain the virus, which can cause a potentially deadly pneumonia-like illness in a minority of patients and spread from others who look healthy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has thus far refrained from declaring it a pandemic.
About 80% of billionaires on Bloomberg’s wealth ranking are now in the red this year, including those whose businesses have been swept up in the global drama. Carnival Corp chairman Micky Arison lost $1 billion this week as the world’s largest cruise-line operator held tourists aboard one of its ships in Japan, where at least five passengers have died.

Premji, Nadar lose nearly $1.5bn each as markets crash

BENGALURU: The stock market crash this week has weighed heavily on some of the biggest names in the IT sector, reducing the net worth of their holdings drastically in certain cases.
Since last Thursday, $3.2 billion has been wiped off from the promoters’ holdings of companies such as HCL, Wipro and Infosys. If this were to include TCS, which is held by Tata Sons, the loss balloons to $9 billion.
HCL’s Shiv Nadar and Wipro’s Azim Premji are the biggest losers in the market rout, with the net worth of their holdings being shaved off by $1.6 billion and $1.4 billion respectively. This is because both hold a sizeable chunk of the companies personally and through various investment arms.
Nadar holds about 60% and Premji still controls 74%. The shares of these two companies were the worst affected IT stocks in the last trading week. HCL lost nearly 12% over the week to close at Rs 534 on Friday on the BSE, while Wipro lost 10% to end at Rs 221.
IT stocks have fallen sharply despite a depreciation in the rupee against the dollar (which benefits this export industry) because of fears of a global recession arising from the coronavirus epidemic. A recession could make clients of IT services companies cut their technology spends.
L&T-controlled Mindtree, and Tech Mahindra also reported sharp falls – 9% and 10.3% respectively – but the change in value of promoters’ holdings was relatively negligible. N Krishnakumar, who holds 3.7% in Mindtree, lost $8 million over the past week, dragging the value of his holding to about $80 million.
N R Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, and their families, who hold 3.5% and 2.4% of Infosys stock respectively, lost $100 million and $90 million. Murthy’s stake is now valued at $1.5 billion and Nilekani’s $1 billion. Tata Sons, which holds 72% in TCS, saw wealth erode to $75 billion from $81 billion, a week earlier. Other billionaires such as Mukesh Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Asia’s richest banker Uday Kotak, have also seen their net worth erode this week.

Start new SIPs: Market gurus tell investors

BENGALURU: Financial advisers advise retail investors to weather out Friday’s stock market rout, eerily reminiscent of the worst days of the 2008 financial crisis.
“Retail investors must follow the path of asset allocation. In times of such high market volatility, there should be the right balance between greed, panic and prudence. A disciplined approach over time will give benefits. Remember, the markets corrected in 2003 with SARS. Ebola and Zika also had some impact,” said Kotak AMC managing director Nilesh Shah.
Analysts also said it is a good time now to set aside some money for MFs and systematic investment plans, instead of taking a direct bet on equities for those with a lower risk appetite. “SIPs would be the way to go. I’d say allocating 10-20% of one’s disposable income towards this for the next 2-3 years would be a good idea, as the current market is about waiting it out, and the long haul,” said Emkay Investment Managers CEO Vikaas Sachdeva.
Dalal Street observers also say the coronavirus will not affect the markets the way the financial crisis did.
“The 2008 crisis was primarily about the markets. That time, there were derivatives built, which overnight lost value, having a ripple effect and plunging shares in the US and globally. This crisis resembles more the 2019 trade war or SARS 2003, because it’s largely about supply chain disruption and impacts production companies,” said Emkay Global head (research) Dhananjay Sinha. “I’d say domestic inflows still remain stable. And stocks are likely to recover in two-three months,” Sinha added.
Industry observers also said this would be a good time to buy cheap stocks. “I’d say one ought to buy when prices fall. China has sufficient stocks in place. They can easily sell the goods. But they are holding on to them for prices to rise further before selling at a profit. So, now might be a good time to invest in Chinese companies,” said Cyrus Khambata, board member, Paytm Money and former managing director of CDSL. “It is also a good time to buy non-production Indian companies. Markets are certain to make a recovery,” added Khambata. Agreeing with his assessment, Sachdeva quoted Warren Buffett’s line: “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets”.

Ajay Tyagi gets 6-month extension as Sebi chief

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday gave a six-month extension to Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi, just a day before the end of his tenure.
The move came after the finance ministry had advertised for the post on completion of Tyagi’s three-year term, with speculation having started on who would move into the regulator’s office in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex. But, with the government opting to begin the search process only last month, it was short on time to finalise the appointment, where Tyagi will also be eligible to seek a fresh term, given that the Sebi chairman retires at 65.
Sebi chairman’s appointments have always been a story of twists and turns, with Tyagi’s predecessors CB Bhave and U K Sinha getting the coveted job just when they did not seem to be in the fray.
The former civil servant is seen to be a tough regulator, who has focused on improving corporate governance practices and had ordered splitting of chairman and managing director posts, while seeking to professionalise company boards.
During his three-year term, he had to deal with several cases, ranging from disclosures related to Chanda Kochhar at ICICI Bank, the collapse of IL&FS, corporate governance issues at CG Power as well as the securities fraud at Karvy Stock Broking, which remains unresolved.
The low-profile Sebi chairman has taken forward the process to make it easier and cheaper for small investors to buy mutual funds, apart from seeking to crack down on shell companies.

Supplies of electronics feel the pinch

NEW DELHI: The market for mobiles’ accessories and other electronics devices has started to feel the pinch of the coronavirus outbreak as restricted supplies from China are resulting in shortages on the retail front, adding to woes for sellers. Estimated at over $2 billion annually, the business of cases and covers, tempered glass, cables, bags and even power banks depends heavily on supplies from China, which mass-produces many such items.
Retailers of accessories say while companies are digging into inventories to meet demand, the problem will become acute if fresh supplies do not come for some more time. Accessories are sold not only at the time of purchase of the main device, but find an equally strong demand during the lifecycle of the main product as they are often changed through after-market purchase.
Both the organised market as well as the ones selling in smaller, unorganised retail hubs such as Nehru Place and Palika markets in Delhi are seeing shortages.
“While we are yet to feel the pressure in products sourced from third-party suppliers, there are shortages in Apple’s original accessories,” said one of the re-sellers of the American brand in an upmarket store at Gurgaon. “There have been shortages in certain colour types for iPhones, and even some cases that we sell for iPads,” the retailer said.

Australia-based STM Brands, that has been selling products in India since 2016, said while things are “still under control”, further delays will impact product availability. “If this continues for another few weeks, our operations in India will be impacted,” Ethan Nyholm, CEO and co-founder of STM Brands, told TOI from Australia.
Nyholm said a big impact has been felt in freight costs and development of new products. While the company also manufactures in India and Vietnam, it gets most of its components from China.
Kartik Bakshi, India manager for American consumer accessories supplier Belkin, said the company has started shipping goods from Hong Kong as restrictions remain on movement from mainland China. “We are stocked up for this quarter, though many companies feel that retail operations can be impacted in April and May if supplies remain disrupted for some more time,” Bakshi said.
Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said unlike electronics devices, accessories market still remains somewhat insulated from coronavirus vagaries as stockists generally keep excess inventories that run through the lifestyle of products.