Opinion

Below the line

| Updated on July 18, 2021

Will Zomato deliver?

The first of its kind initial public offering of food delivery services company Zomato has given anxious movement not only to investors but also the company itself. On Day 1, Zomato borrowed a famous film dialogue to tweet “mereko to aisa dhak dhak horela hai“. Body temperature and blood oxygen monitor GOQii SmartVital responded: "Don't worry @zomatoin, if heart ki dhak dhak is under 85 bpm then all is well! KeepAWatch.." Investment app Groww quipped: “this time you can order Zomato from Groww”. With the issue oversubscribed on Day 1, Zomato's rival, Swiggy, signed off, tweeting, “Invest in something sweet to mark the special occasion? Gulab jamun, ladoo, barfi... delivered safely to your doorstep.” Given the tremendous retail response to the loss-making unicorn’s IPO, one hopes investors do get to eat these goodies than humble pie.

There is room for failure

For Sudheesh K, a home-stay owner in Kodaikkanal, the world belongs not only to winners but also the failed ones. This is why he came out with an offer for students who failed the SSLC examination — free stay along with their family members at his facility. The offer is valid till the end of this month. Soon after his post went viral on Facebook, Sudheesh started getting calls on how aspirants can win accommodation, including on how many subjects one would ‘need’ to trip. Some 2,230 students did not qualify for higher education from Tamil Nadu this year. But Sudheesh, who has been in the business in Kodaikanal for 15 years, offers some consolation. He is ready to accommodate even if all of them troop in together.

Vijayan-Gadkari avenue

The bonding between Kerala Chief Minister and unsparing Marxist Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Sangh Parivar loyalist Nitin Gadkari has for long amused political watchers. Recently on a visit to Delhi, the Union Minister found ample time (even beyond the scheduled) to indulge his friend from Down South by signalling all others to leave the venue save John Brittas, Rajya Sabha MP who is also known to be Vijayan’s Man Friday. Pleasantries apart, Vijayan carried the day by winning approval for major road projects. Where there is a friend, there is a National Highway, or so it seems!

Headline management

The Union Cabinet, at its first meeting after reshuffle, cleared the much-awaited LIC IPO. But unlike the tradition of announcing Cabinet decisions at a media briefing, this was not made public, though three Cabinet Ministers did address a press conference. And, a day or so later, the news came out. Though senior Finance Ministry officials confirmed the approval, they remained silent on the “no announcement”. The silence continued post the next Cabinet and CCEA briefing on July 14, too. Sources said the government did not want attention diverted from the other decisions taken on July 8 — modifications to the financing facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ and Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase II. The first was to convey a strong message about APMC to the protesting farmers and second intended to present the pandemic management effort. Both got time and space in the media. Of course, the LIC IPO too made headlines.

Handle with care

Reports of Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal’s instructions to Ministry officials to move to eliminate child labour in the sector won praise from human rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, who called it a “remarkable step”. While it is encouraging to get appreciation from a social reformer, the government needs to deal with NGOs carefully. One shouldn’t forget that developed markets like the US are extremely sensitive to the use of child labour and restrict imports partly based on reports from NGOs. No doubt the government must ensure that child labour is wiped out through continuous vigil and action. But the achievements should be highlighted to send the right message to trading partners. Our Bureaus

Published on July 18, 2021

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