CEO Reading List: February 29

| Updated on February 29, 2020

Worried you missed some big economy events this week as you were tied up? Here’s a curated reading list of BL’s top stories on the subject to help you catch up



GDP growth for Q3 FY20 came in at 4.7 per cent. But more importantly, the growth rates for Q1 and Q2 saw sharp upward revisions to 5.6 and 5.1 per cent.

Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty said that the uptick in agriculture and services along with a strong showing in core industries in December and January continued to drive growth.

One card

The Centre is working on a ration card portability across States, said the Union Minister at the BL Agri Summit.

The scheme is expected to cover 63 crore beneficiaries. Many States have already installed e-PoS machines to facilitate portability. In an effort to plug leakages, over 90 per cent ration cards have been Aadhaar seeded. This resulted in cancellation of over 2.98 crore ration cards. Thirty-four States and Union Territories are distributing subsidised foodgrains online.

Relief please

Vodafone Idea continued to appeal to the Centre to reduce its AGR burden. Citing its losses over last few years, the company said the financial stress in the telecom sector is widely acknowledged.

The company underlined its current subscriber base of 300 million, and employee base of 10,000 direct staffers while making a strong plea for “urgent support from government“.

Workforce reboot

Cognizant is focussing on hiring freshers and reskilling its workforce, says its CEO.

This year, Cognizant will hire 23,000 freshers, up from 17,000 last year. “Since we are so confident in the company’s future and the importance of employing freshers, we proactively gave a 18 per cent salary increase to fresh graduates from over ₹3.4 lakh to ₹4 lakh per annum,” said Brian Humphries.

Crowded out

Healthy products don’t get enough shelf space for top food companies, says a report.

The international not-for-profit organisation released the second edition of the ‘India Spotlight Index 2020’, which evaluated 16 food and beverage companies on their policies, products and practices aimed at improving nutrition. Of the 1,456 products of these companies assessed, only about 16 per cent were considered healthy.

Dipped in red

Worries about Coronavirus fatalities rising in new nations beyond China and disrupting economies, spooked global markets this week.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus could become a pandemic as the outbreak spreads to major developed economies such as Germany and France. The global rout knocked mainland Chinese shares lower, which have been relatively well supported this month, as new coronavirus cases in the country fell and Beijing doled out measures to shore up economic growth.

Checking out

Vistara is looking to cancel 54 international flights next month on the back of the coronavirus related demand drop.

In a statement on Wednesday, the airline said it has made temporary adjustments to selected services to/ from Bangkok and Singapore for March. “Twenty flights between Delhi and Bangkok, 26 flights between Mumbai and Singapore and 8 flights between Delhi and Singapore will be cancelled in March,” it said.

Lightening up

HDFC Bank’s Aditya Puri has been lightening his ESOP positions ahead of his retirement.

According to the bank’s annual report for 2018-19, Puri held 0.14 per cent stake in the lender, or about 77 lakh shares. He also exercised stock options worth ₹42.2 crore in 2018-19, and was granted 4.92 lakh stock options.

Data gap

The data literacy gap is costing Indian firms dear, says a report.

The report titled The Human Impact of Data Literacy is based on a survey of 9,000 employees around the world, including 1,000 in India. In India, these lost days are due to procrastination and sick leaves which stem from stress around information, data and technology issues, and equate to an estimated productivity loss of ₹33,216 crore

Counting farmers

The Centre is looking to build a comprehensive database of the farmers in the country, speakers in BL’s Agri Summit said.

Underlining the challenges involved in collating a database of farmers, Ashok Dalwai, Chairman of Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income, stated that there has not been a centralised database of farmers due to multiple issues such as lack of standardisation.

Strange divergence

Why is the CPI Industrial Workers diverging from the new CPI Urban? An analysis.

The CPI-IW inflation for December 2019 rose to 9.63 per cent as against 8.61 per cent in November 2019. The CPI-IW inflation has consistently been above 5 per cent since July 2018, only briefly slipping to 4.86 per cent in November 2018. In fact, the CPI-IW inflation reached its highest value this month since November 2013.

Stronger bonds

The Trump trip ended without too many announcements, but it has furthered strategic ties, said the White House.

According to the White House, the two nations are deepening their security relationship and helping to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region. “The United States is working closely with India to combat terrorism, confront global drug trafficking and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said.


The Commerce Ministry has sought data from the pharma industry to figure out the supply disruption from Chinese suppliers.

India imports about $2.5- billion worth of APIs/raw material from China while exports were only at about $230 million last year, growing at about 24 per cent, according to Pharmexcil data.

Published on February 29, 2020

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