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Wednesday, 12 Jan 2022
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The Indian Premier League has a new title sponsor—the Tata group. The conglomerate replaced Chinese phone maker Vivo for the cricket tournament’s next two seasons. The arrangement is a bit unusual since Vivo’s contract isn’t over just yet. The company didn’t want to continue. While the reason behind the exit isn’t clear, it could be prompted by India’s border tensions with China. Chinese phone makers are also under scrutiny for tax frauds.

Meanwhile, China is home to the world’s largest contract manufacturers. Over the last decade, they have run into multiple labour flare-ups. Can they handle the more vocal Indian worker? Scroll down. Also, don’t miss our pieces on Vodafone Idea, health premiums, and Molnupiravir, the anti-covid pill.

Market Watch
What's up?

BSE Sensex

60,616.89 (+0.37%)


18,055.75 (+0.29%)


₹73.90 (-0.18%)


₹47,573 (+0.25%)

Crude oil

₹5,893 (+1.69%)


₹33,56,406.49 (+1.22%)

*As of 9.30 PM 11 January; MCX, CoinDCX

The main stuff

Vodafone Idea gives 36% stake in lieu of dues to government

The government will become the largest shareholder in Vodafone Idea after the struggling carrier opted to convert its dues of about ₹16,000 crore to stock, sending its shares crashing on Tuesday. After the interest conversion on deferment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and spectrum dues, the government will own 35.8% of India’s third-largest service provider. The conversion will lead to dilution of promoters’ stake in Vodafone Idea, Gulveen Aulakh reports. Read more.

Can Foxconn fix its broken record? (Premium)

Facilities run by Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean and other multinationals in China have been rocked by frequent worker protests over the last decade. Low pay, harsh workplace, and poor living facilities are recurring themes. While labour flare-ups at the Foxconn factory in Chennai and the Wistron factory in Bengaluru are case studies in industrial relations gone awry, both could have been avoided given the two companies’ experiences in China. India is a democracy. Indian factory workers are more vocal and have a long history of asserting themselves. MNC manufacturers will need to tread cautiously here, writes K.T. Jagannathan. Read more.

Insurers weigh hike in health premiums as infections rise

India’s health insurers are surveying a surge in coronavirus infections and a rush of hospitalization claims before deciding on raising premium rates. Early last year, a deadly second wave of the pandemic led to a sharp rise in claims, putting insurance companies under pressure. With cases rising again, more people are opting for health insurance policies with a minimum sum assured of up to ₹2 lakh, reports Anirudh Laskar. Read more.

Centre explores plan to run ships fully on clean energy

India is exploring a unique plan to run ships 100% on green energy that may involve a hybrid energy model comprising a mix of solar, sea water, wind, and hydrogen. The innovative strategy will not only help lower operating costs for cargo ships but also reduce their carbon emissions. This can also be a potential game changer for the country’s energy security. Utpal Bhaskar finds out why. Read more.

Molnupiravir out of covid-19 clinical management protocol

The ICMR’s National Task Force for covid-19 has decided against including antiviral drug Molnupiravir in the Clinical Management Protocol for covid-19 as of now, official sources said on Tuesday. The experts of the task force cited safety concerns and argued that Molnupiravir was not of much benefit. The anti-covid pill got the Drug Regulator General of India’s approval on 28 December for restricted use in emergencies. Read more.

What does the QES indicate?

The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) is collated by the labour bureau and assesses the employment situation in organisations with 10 or more workers in nine sectors of India’s non-farm economy. The estimated total employment for July-September 2021 in these sectors was 31 million, 200,000 higher than in the June quarter. While this may seem encouraging, the biggest challenge facing India’s labour markets is the Omicron variant, write Jagadish Shettigar and Pooja Misra. Read more.


Global business news

Russia-led forces that entered Kazakhstan to support the embattled government following an eruption of protests would start withdrawing within two days, the Kazakh president said Tuesday. The Kremlin deployed more than 2,000, mostly Russian troops, last week after violent protests triggered by a sharp rise in fuel prices.

It is time for the US central bank to begin withdrawing stimulus from the economy, although the complexity of doing this could create volatility in financial markets, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George said. George will be a voting member of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year.

Most people in the US have been doing covid-19 rapid tests with nasal swabs. That is what the Food and Drug Administration endorses and what rapid tests sold in the US instruct. But some scientists say a throat swab may be more effective at detecting Omicron.

Back Market, an online marketplace that sells refurbished iPhones and other electronic devices, has raised funding that boosts its valuation to $5.7 billion, leapfrogging what it was worth less than a year ago, according to the company and its investors. The company, based in Paris, raised $510 million in its latest funding round.

Intel Corp.’s new finance chief, David Zinsner, will play a critical role in steering the chip maker’s finances and allocating capital as the company embarks on a multiyear turnaround. The company, on Monday, named Zinsner as its next chief financial officer. Intel’s chip-making business has lost ground in recent years to rivals such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co.

News in numbers
18.43 million tonnes
India’s consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, in December. India's fuel demand rose 0.4% in December compared to the year-ago period.
33 million sq ft
The gross office space absorption across India’s top six cities in 2021, up 10% from 2020, according to Colliers, a property advisory.
1,095 metric tonnes
The quantity of mangoes exported from India to the US in 2019-20, expected to be surpassed in 2022. The United States Department of Agriculture has approved the exports for the upcoming season.
The number of China-made automobiles sold by Tesla in December, the highest since it started manufacturing vehicles in Shanghai in 2019.
The number of people hospitalised with covid in the US, surpassing the record set in January last year, as Omicron infections surged.
Chart of the day

The demand for vaccines will remain robust in 2022, given the vaccine inequity around the world, emerging variants, and call for booster doses. Vaccine makers are set for another year of massive financial windfall. Even before the Omicron variant took hold, the projected production for 2022 was twice the number of doses used up in 2021, data compiled by shows. Sinopharm-Beijing and Pfizer-BioNTech are the leaders with an estimated production of 5,000 and 4,000 million doses, respectively.



Nagesh Kukunoor’s 2016 firm, set in Rajasthan, is on MUBI. It’s a reminder—if one were needed—that this is a hopelessly, incurably movie-mad nation. Ten-year-old Pari sees a poster of her favourite actor, Shah Rukh Khan, asking people to donate their eyes. She writes to Khan asking if he can help get the eyesight of her brother Chotu back before his ninth birthday. When she learns that Khan is in Jaisalmer, shooting for a film, she sets off from her village to petition him in person. The idea that our cinematic idols can be accessed in person, that they would be happy to help us with our problems…let’s just say there’s more in common between Dhanak and Fan than one might expect. Read our review from 2016.


Business as usual

(US National Archives)

The phrase may have been coined in the 1800s, when it referred to store hours. However, ‘business as usual’ only became popular during the World War 1. Winston Churchill played a role in popularising it by suggesting how the British society should react to the wartime situation—as if nothing happened. Politicians perhaps never gauged that the war could disrupt business and life.

Contributed by @Thebizdom

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Written and edited by Goutam Das. Produced by Nirmalya Dutta. Send in your feedback to

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