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CEO’s reading list for March 21, 2020

| Updated on March 21, 2020 Published on March 21, 2020

Use this reading list of BL’s most important stories on the economy and business over the week

We are sure you’ve had a harrowing week putting in place safety and risk mitigation measures at your workplace. Have some time to catch up on the news?

Shutting down

Three cities in Maharashtra will go into lockdown from today – Mumbai, Pimpri Chinchwad and Pune – as the number of virus infected people from the State shot up to 52 on Friday.

 

State Government offices have also been asked to operate at 25 per cent manpower. Only essential shops and establishment such as food, medicines, milk, banks and financial institutions will operate.

Testing times

Testing by private labs for COVID-19 seems to be some way away with the National Institute of Virology reluctant to share positive control samples.

 

Positive controls are primarily derived from samples of Covid-19 patients and are non-infectious portions of the virus genome made synthetically.

Scale up testing

The testing process holds the key to a quick recovery, says Bill Gates.

 

The tech mogul on Wednesday took to social media platform Reddit and organized an “Ask me Anything” session to address concerns of Reddit users related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was joined remotely by Dr Trevor Mundel, who leads the Gates Foundation’s global health work, and his chief scientific adviser Dr Niranjan Bose.

DIY curfew

In an 8 pm address to the nation this week, the Prime Minister called for all Indian residents to self-impose a curfew from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday.

 

In a televised address to the nation, he further he added that no one apart from those involved with essential services such as health, government services, sanitation and media, are supposed to venture out of home.

Panic stocking

Retailers have seen a 20-40 percent spike in sales of staples in the last couple of weeks.

 

The staples category has also seen a spike for both online and offline players. “Besides sanitisers and staples, we are seeing a huge hike in the ready-to-eat segment,” said an industry player.

No run

In some good news, the lifting of the Yes Bank moratorium didn’t see depositors rushing to withdraw.

 

Though the physical branches were deserted, customers tried to transact online. Many YES Bank customers said on Twitter that the bank’s UPI, net, mobile banking and credit card services were not working even after the moratorium was lifted as it faced heavy traffic.

Pausing for breath

Stock markets rallied on Friday, giving investors a breather from the recent rout.

 

On Friday, 28 companies from the BSE 30-share index constituents closed with gains, led by ONGC, UltraTech Cement, HUL, RIL and TCS, rising up to 18.58 per cent. Rally in RIL and TCS shares was most instrumental in taking the markets higher.

Results relief

SEBI has granted extra time to companies to file their quarterly and annual results.

 

SEBI has given companies 45 more days to file financial results for the quarter ending March 2020 and 30 more days for filing the results for the financial year 2019-20.

Base case

CRISIL thinks GDP growth will be at 5.2 percent in FY21 due to the virus outbreak.

 

Credit quality pressures on India Inc, which has been rising because of economic slowdown and consumption slump are set to intensify with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Right medicine

Cipla says a battery of drugs are found effective in treating COVID-19 symptoms.

 

Cipla has a partnership with the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology on the scale up of antiviral compounds Favipiravir, Remdesivir and Baloxavir.

No WFH

Working from home is not even an option for some folks.

 

Even as we live ‘digital’ lives and talk endlessly about machine learning and virtual reality, the blue-collar workforce remains the backbone of the economy.

No sympathy

With the SC turning down DoT’s proposal to allow a 20-year period for telcos to pay their AGR dues, Voda Idea is in hot waters.

 

In a research report on the AGR verdict and its fallout, analysts at international brokerage firm Bernstein said: “We do not see how Vodafone Idea can meet the demands of the court... (it is) therefore in threat of insolvency.”

Compiled by Aarati Krishnan

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Published on March 21, 2020
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