below the line

Updated on: Nov 28, 2021
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Capital confusion

For a few hours on November 22, there was confusion about the location of Andhra Pradesh capital. When the news broke out on the State government’s intention to withdraw three State capital Bills in the morning, no further details were available for a few hours except the information that an announcement was expected in the State Assembly. Meanwhile, contradictory conclusions were drawn by the opponents of capital decentralisation.

Some farmers and members of the Opposition hastened to claim “victory” saying that the Chief Minister reversed his earlier decision to decentralise capitals owing to “pressure” from the protest.

However, the ruling YSR Congress Party had the last laugh when it was finally announced by the Chief Minister in the Assembly that the Bill was withdrawn only to be reintroduced with “some changes” facilitating development of all regions.

So now, the fate of a ‘greenfield’ capital Amaravati stands sealed while prospects remain bright for Visakhapatnam as the executive capital of the State.

Taking centrestage

It is rare these days for a minister to participate in a panel discussion. It is even rarer to find one moderating a discussion. At the recent Tamil Nadu Investors conference held in Coimbatore, State Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu took centrestage and moderated a panel discussion on the role of Coimbatore and surrounding districts in augmenting the State’s innovation landscape.

An engineering graduate, the minister, with his fluent English, held the audience in rapt attention through an engaging discussion with industrialist Jairam Varadaraj of ELGi Equipments and the young Rohan Ganapathy, CEO of Bellatrix Aerospace. The murmur in the audience was that the minister had set a high benchmark.

Difficult decisions

The WTO General Council decided to indefinitely postpone the 12th Ministerial Conference (M12) scheduled in Geneva on Friday (November 26) evening, barely four days before the official start of the three-day meet.

A large number of civil society organisations, however, had been rallying for a postponement of the event for the past many days. They even shot off letters to WTO members on November 23 stating that it was unfair to hold the meeting when it was clear that a large number of delegates from poorer countries, especially from Africa, would not be able to attend the meeting due to a rapid rise in new cases of Covid-19.

The WTO remained undecided throughout the past week amidst growing instances of lockdown across Europe and several countries, including the UK, banning travel from Southern Africa to stop the new Covid-19 variant (now named Omicron) from spreading.

It was only when the Swiss government decided to ban travel from South Africa and place travel restrictions, including quarantine requirement, on travellers from countries such as Hong Kong, Belgium and Israel (where cases have been detected), the WTO finally reacted and postponed the meeting. Did the possible absence of the EU delegation (because of quarantine requirements) from MC12 act as the deciding factor? One would never know for sure!

When to go public

At a recent event of a chamber of commerce, a senior official of a fintech company which recently got listed said that going public was like getting married... something that everyone has to do at some point in time in their lives. But the question is when?

Talking about the right time for listing, the official said, it should not be too early because then it could prove to be bad for the organisation and it should not be too late as it will affect value creation. One should go public once one has clear visibility of the organisation’s performance over the next few quarters.

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Published on November 28, 2021

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