Episode 456

Weekly Business Roundup at 10:00 am on 25th March 2023

In the weekly round-up of news related to business, finance, and the economy, we talk about the windfall tax cut on domestically produced crude oil, Adani group’s expansion plans, India’s GDP growth forecast, WhatsApp’s new features and Indigo’s plans to have 350 aircrafts by next fiscal.

Weekly business roundup at 10:00 am on 25th March 2023.

[Disclaimer: This transcript is auto-generated]

Let’s begin with the news that made headlines this week. The Central Government this week cut the windfall tax or the special additional excise duty on domestically produced crude oil. The windfall tax on domestically produced crude petroleum has been reduced to Rs 3,500 from Rs 4,400/tonne over the past two weeks. The additional duty on diesel has been hiked to Re 1 from Rs 0.5/litre earlier. There is no change on the levy on aviation turbine fuel or jet fuel, according to the latest notification issued by the Ministry of Finance. The levy on petrol continues to be nil. While the Adani Group may go slow with regard to expansion plans in some of their projects post the Hindenburg crisis, airports is not one of them. The group will go ahead with the pace of expansion as planned and will even bid for more if the government puts up fresh airports for privatisation. Adani Airports CEO Arun Bansal this week said at the CAPA summit that there is no rethinking in terms of pace of expansion or investments for airports business in the context of the challenges faced by the Group. He said, quote, “We have committed, submitted our plans to the government. Whatever plans we have submitted, we are following our investments,” unquote. Next up, economy. Notwithstanding the global slowdown and the bank collapses in the US, a Reserve Bank of India article this week took the sanguine view that Indian economy might maintain the current year’s pace of expansion in the next financial year. Referring to the forecasts between 6-6.5% for the country’s GDP growth for 2023-24, the authors said the real GDP can go up from Rs 159.7 trillion in 2022-23 to not just Rs 169.7 trillion in 2023-24, as is being projected, but to Rs 170.9 trillion, if Budget proposals to boost consumption and investments are implemented. The optimistic prediction is based on the assumptions that at least 50% of the Rs 35,000 crore of tax relief proposed in the Budget is used by taxpayers for consumption and at least a third of the additional allocation of Rs 3.2 trillion budgeted for effective capital expenditure materialises. On to industry. India’s largest air carrier IndiGo plans to have a fleet of 350 aircraft by the end of FY24, an increase of 14% year-on-year. The company further said it aims to double in size and scale by 2030. The carrier, having a market share of 55% in the domestic market, will exit Financial Year 23 with a fleet size of 306 aircraft, it said in a presentation shared at the analyst meeting on Thursday. As many as 490 aircraft are set to join its fleet by the end of the decade, including several Airbus XLRs, which will help it reach Europe. Financial Year 24 is also estimated to mark 100 million passengers for the company, up 18% from 85 million estimated to have ferried in Financial Year 23. It also wants to add 10-15 destinations by the end of Financial Year 24 to its current tally of 104 destinations, including 78 domestic and the balance international. Next up, is technology. Facebook-owned chat app, WhatsApp, has launched new features to give group admins more control over group chats. These features were announced by company CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his Instagram Broadcast channel. One of the features gives admins the ability to see all requests in one place so that it is easier to manage who can join the group. WhatsApp gets a new tool that gives admins the ability to decide who can join a group. In addition to this, WhatsApp also gets a new feature that lets users know which groups they have in common with someone. This feature aims to help users keep a tab of all the groups they are part of and avoid redundancy. On to the last segment. While global smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung have been meeting the incremental production and sales targets under the production-linked incentive scheme, majority of the domestic handset companies are unlikely to meet the same in Financial Year 23. Of the five local players selected for the PLI scheme, only two — Dixon-owned Padget Electronics and UTL Neolyncs which manufactures the JioPhone — were able to met the targets in Financial Year 22. Lava International, Bhagwati (Micromax), and local contract manufacturer Optiemus have so far failed to meet the targets for all three years. Besides, UTL was able to meet the targets because of JioPhone Next, which witnessed good traction at the time of its launch in November 2021. After that, its sales have been weak as consumers started preferring smartphones with better features, analysts said.

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Weekly Business Roundup at 10:00 am on 25th March 2023