Below the line

| Updated on November 29, 2020 Published on November 29, 2020

Waste of time?

The buzz in the banking circles is that both Hong Kong-based SC Lowy and US-based Oaktree Capital are walking away from the DHFL bidding process.

Efforts by the RBI-appointed administrator and the Committee of Creditors to placate the irate bidders by calling for fresh bids have not helped soothe the nerves of global investors, who have cried foul over nepotism and lack of transparency in the bidding process.

On Wednesday, SC Lowy had conveyed to the CoC and the administrator that it will not be pursuing the transaction and sought refund of the ₹100-crore bid bond guarantee.

Now all eyes are on Oaktree Capital, which is also looking to opt out, say banking industry insiders. The message, it seems, from headquarters in New York to the local Oaktree team is — don’t waste your time! The bottomline is that the domestic major, which recently threw its hat in the ring for acquiring whole of DHFL, is inching closer to the finish line.

In a hole

In their enthusiasm to stop farmers from proceeding further to the national capital in the Delhi Chalo campaign, the Haryana Police apparently dug up the National Highway at many places to prevent tractors from passing through.

However, they under-estimated the farmers, who filled up all these ditches with soil and moved on. Farmers were also seen pulling aside heavy road barricades put up by the police using tractors.

Seeing the dug-up roads, a farmer leader in fact exclaimed whether these ditches were dug by the government for itself.

‘Fishy’ entente?

Pakistan and India, which have been crossing swords at global platforms, have come together at the World Trade Organisation to fight on the crucial matter of a waiver of TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) norms during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, Pakistan has been very vocal in its support to India and South Africa’s joint proposal for a TRIPS waiver that would ensure all countries easier access to affordable medicines and vaccines.

At a recent informal meeting of the TRIPS Council, Pakistan’s representative is said to have made an impassioned plea for a quick decision on the waiver comparing the lives of humans with that of fish.

This remark was made in reference to developed countries’ move to to fast-track negotiations on curbing subsidies to stop over-fishing, even as they were opposing TRIPS waiver.

The custodians of the world trading order would like to be known for saving fish, but not human lives, the Pakistani representative is learnt to have said.

Whether this adds up to the efforts being made by developing countries to get a resolution passed on the waiver remains to be seen.

Get on that bicycle

Known for his plain speaking, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu at a recent international webinar called for promoting the cycling culture and creating exclusive cycling tracks in cities. Cycling is a healthy, low-cost exercise and provides several benefits, including zero pollution, he said.

“Ironically, the pandemic has provided us with a rare opportunity to promote the use of cycling and integrate this non-polluting mode of commuting into the urban transport system,” he said adding “This is the time for urban planners and policymakers to have a re-look at their plans and policies and earmark exclusive cycling tracks.”

“I am told that many bicycle enthusiasts are taking to cycling to ward off the loneliness and claustrophobia that came with the Covid lockdown.

“I am happy to learn that there has been a 300-600 per cent spike in the sale of cycles since strict lockdowns were lifted in the country,” he noted.

Our Delhi Bureau

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Published on November 29, 2020
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