There’s no resolution in sight in the stand off between the pilots and the management of Jet Airways. The pilots’ strike entered its third day on Thursday, with 480 out of the 760 Indian pilots remaining on strike. Jet Airways cancelled 245 flights and saw its domestic bookings fall from the normal 23,000 to just 11,000. The management of the airline met the chief labour commissioner in Delhi, but the striking pilots did not show up.
Pfizer’s Indian subsidiary plans to enter the market for cheap generic drugs. It’s an unprecedented move for a company that has only sold products from it specialty brands in India for 50 years. Pfizer has already identified many of the popular generic brands of which it plans to make versions of its own.
Inflation has risen negatively again. The wholesale price index dropped 0.12% in the week ending 29 August, the smallest fall in 13 weeks. The lower rate of negative inflation could indicate a positive rise in inflation in the coming months as weak monsoons drive up food prices.
Steel minister Virbhadra Singh says both ArcelorMittal and Posco could start building steel factories worth a total of $32 billion in India next year. Both foreign and domestic steel companies are rushing to build factories to meet the growing demand from the country’s infrastructure and auto companies.
Ennore Port has given up its plan of raising money through an IPO. Instead, it plans to raise up to Rs300 crore through a private placement of shares. The government-owned port will place 10% of its equity with other government–owned companies like Life Insurance Corporation and General Insurance Corporation.
The urban development ministry is unhappy with some of India’s automakers. It says bus-manufacturing companies have failed to meet their commitments to supply vehicles for the government’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. The government had provided state transporters Rs4,000 crore under the mission to buy new fleets of buses for city transport. But urban development officials say companies like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland have not met their deadlines for delivering transport vehicles.
Borrowing money could get expensive for Bharti. The telecom company may have to pay its lenders up to 3.2 percentage points more than the Libor rate at which it wants to borrow. Bharti wants about $5 billion so it can buy a stake in South Africa’s MTN group.
India’s auctions for 3G and BWA spectrum could get delayed until January next year. Some members of the government are arguing they should wait until there is greater economic recovery and the bidders are willing to pay more. Last month, the empowered group of ministers had resolved issues that have already caused the auction to be delayed by a year.
India’s National Innovation Project could lose its World Bank funding. The Rs900 crore programme for funding start-ups is supposed to get most of its funding from the World Bank. But government officials say the World Bank’s desire to link financial assistance with action on climate change is a deal breaker.
Markets made modest gains on Thursday. The Sensex rose 33 points, ending trade at 16,217, while the Nifty went up 5 points, closing at 4,819.