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Friday, 24 Dec 2021
Good morning!

Here’s to an electric future! Maharashtra, one of India’s most industrial states, is considering a radical plan to deregister all vehicles with internal combustion engines, followed by a complete ban from 2030. The plan, a first for any Indian state, is led by the state’s tourism and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray. It involves registering only non-emission causing electric vehicles or EVs, and those powered by other carbon emission-free next-generation fuels such as hydrogen, starting 2030. The state has already come out with an EV policy last year wherein all electric vehicles sold in Maharashtra are exempt from road tax and registration charges.

Scroll down for top stories of the day: Vedanta group is planning to invest $15 billion over the next decade to make displays and semiconductor chips in India, and the government is set to overhaul outdated telecom regulations. There’s more: the Omicron variant is threatening to upend the nascent revival in restaurant business, while edtech companies, are growing inorganically by acquiring companies.

Market Watch
What's up?

BSE Sensex

57,315.28 (+0.68%)


17,072.6 (+0.69%)


₹75.23 (-0.42%)


₹48,207 (+0.02%)

Crude oil

₹5,503 (+0.64%)


₹ 38,38,399 (+0.25%)

*As of 6.30 PM 23 December; MCX, CoinDCX

The main stuff

Vedanta to invest $15 bn in fab plants

Billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta group is planning to invest $15 billion over the next 5-10 years to make displays and semiconductor chips in India. The investment will be made through group company Avanstrate Inc., a Tokyo-based maker of the special glass used in LCD panels. The investment will be made in a phased manner and will comprise an integrated display fabrication facility and a separate semiconductor plant, reports Prasid Banerjee. Read more.

RBI extends deadline to implement card storage rules

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday extended the deadline to comply with new card storage rules by another six months to June 2022, following requests from industry bodies and other stakeholders. In March 2020, RBI had issued guidelines for regulation of payment aggregators and payment gateways, prohibiting payment aggregators and merchants to store customer card credentials within their database or server from 30 June 2021. Read more.

Less litigation, easy norms in next phase of telecom reform

The government plans to overhaul outdated telecom regulations to lift constraints that have hindered the industry’s growth and and may also consider making 5G spectrum more affordable. The changes aim to reduce excessive regulations, litigation and pending cases, addressing a key demand of the industry. The move comes after the Centre announced a rescue package for the struggling telecom sector. Gulveen Aulakh has the details. Read more.

Inside the tangled web of Shriram group (premium)

Filter coffee and The Hindu newspaper have been an inalienable part of the city of Chennai for several years. Somewhere along, the chit business-running Shriram group, too, quietly got into this list. The group was built around a complex web. A range of factors—cross-holdings in group companies, varied regulatory authorities—complicating its structure. And now, pressure from the investors, dynamic demands of regulators and the changing imperatives of the business world have forced the group to go in for a massive structural rejig. K.T. Jagannathan takes a deep dive. Read more.

Sebi’s board to clear listing rules on 28 Dec

A red-hot stock market that encouraged a bunch of new-age companies to go public and exposed some of the gaps in regulation has prompted the market watchdog to consider new rules, likely to be cleared at its next board meeting on 28 December. At its last board meeting of the year, the Securities and Exchange Board of India will widen IPO price bands, extend anchor investor lock-in periods, and cap the amount a majority investor can sell in a share sale, reports Jayshree P Upadhyay. Read more.

Edtech unicorns take the acquisition route for growth

India’s new-age edtech companies, which grew rapidly in 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic, are continuing to grow inorganically this year by quickly acquiring companies, spurred by a rise in remote learning and online education because of the continuing pandemic scare and partial lockdowns. India got three new unicorns, or unlisted companies with valuations of at least $1 billion, in the edtech space in 2021, taking the total number of edtech unicorns in the country to five. These startups have cumulatively acquired 21 companies in 2021, spending a total of about $3 billion. Nikhil Patwardhan has the details. Read more.

Omicron's shadow over restaurant biz

Fresh curbs on gatherings, stricter enforcement of covid rules and the fear of catching the virus seem to be casting a shadow over Christmas and New Year celebrations at restaurants that were on the recovery path over the last few months. Several restaurant firms said they expect crowds thinning for these occasions even as various state governments enforce a 50% capacity rule at eateries. Some enterprising eateries are, however, offering take out celebratory boxes with set menus to compensate for the loss in revenue, reports Varuni Khosla. Read more.


Global business news

After a horrendous year, Tencent shareholders finally have something to celebrate. The Chinese internet giant said Thursday that it will distribute most of its stake in e-commerce company—a slice worth more than $15 billion—as a special dividend. That means Tencent will no longer be JD’s largest shareholder, with its stake due to fall to about 2.3% from around 17%.

Elon Musk unloaded more Tesla Inc. stock, bringing the total value of his share sales to more than $15 billion since the billionaire last month began a string of such transactions. The sales came as Mr. Musk exercised more than 2.1 million Tesla stock options, according to regulatory filings late Wednesday. He sold more than 934,000 of the shares in the company he runs, valued at around $928.6 million, to cover tax withholdings, the disclosures state.

China will scrutinise online platforms such as social media networks and video-sharing sites to clamp down on fake accounts and information as part of its drive to "clean up" the internet, the country's cyber regulator said on Thursday. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said it would launch a two-month special operation to target deceptive online behaviours, ranging from boosting engagement figures to paying for fake fans and reviews.

AstraZeneca PLC said Thursday that its Covid-19 vaccine significantly increased levels of antibodies against the Omicron variant as a third-dose booster shot in a study. The pharmaceutical company said antibody levels against Omicron following a third dose of its vaccine were broadly similar to antibody levels against the Delta variant achieved after two doses.

Municipal bond investors are piling into exchange-traded funds, attracted by low costs and the ability to trade quickly. Muni ETFs held $80 billion as of the end of the third quarter, up from less than $50 billion two years ago, Federal Reserve data shows. Citigroup projects they will hold $125 billion by December 2022.

Discover a World of Global & Local Opportunities

Gujarat's flagship business and investment platform, the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2022, will welcome leading investors and businesses from all over the world. Held for the first time in 2003, the VGGS has become the quintessential investment platform. Over the years, it has enthused global thought-leaders and policy makers, propelling India's growth story. Read more.

News in numbers
2.2 million
The average number of e-way bills generated daily in the first 19 days of December, up from 2 million in November, signalling a pick-up in economic activities.
₹1.2 trillion
The amount raised by companies through initial share offerings in India across 63 IPOs, according to Prime Database. It's the highest in 20 years, according to Ernst & Young.
The rate at which China's economy is expected to grow in 2021, according to a forecast by the World Bank, lowering its October estimates of 8.1%.
₹139 crore
Box-office earnings of Spider-Man: No Way Home in its first seven days in India, the highest first week total for any film post-pandemic.
7.5 million tonnes
The per-annum capacity of a new crude oil pipeline from Mundra, Gujarat, to Panipat, Haryana, that Indian Oil Corporation is building at an investment of ₹9,028 crore.
Chart of the day

2021 was a stellar year for startups, with the tally of unicorns doubling to 1068 across the world, as per the latest Hurun Global Unicorn report. With 54 unicorns, India is third on the list behind the USA (487) and China (301). Bengaluru, home to 28 unicorns, ranks seventh-highest in the world ahead of cities like Berlin, Chicago and Palo Alto. Also, the unicorn world is now becoming more diverse, with a representation from 221 cities, up from 145 in 2020.


Whole Numbers and Half Truths

In her eminently readable new book Whole Numbers and Half Truths, data journalist Rukmini S shows how seemingly dry numbers, when coupled with true stories of people, can capture the nuance and complexity of India. This is not a book about data—it’s jargon-free, equation-free, econ-speak-free. This is a book about modern India, the story of India told through the lens of its data. Through its narration and choice of questions, the book reveals both the power and limitations of data journalism. Read an excerpt.

What the fact

Gummy Fears

Did you know that most chewing gums are made of plastic? That’s right — plastic. Before the 1960s, gums were produced using chicle, a natural latex substance from the sapodilla tree. Now polyethylene and polyisobutylene polyvinyl acetate most commonly make the gum base of mainstream brands. Now, you know why your gum won’t decompose.

Contributed by @Thebizdom

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Written and edited by Sayantan Bera. Produced by Nirmalya Dutta. Send in your feedback to

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