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Crisil to give ESG impact on credit profiles

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Crisil Ratings on Saturday said it will start disclosing the impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) parameters separately when assigning credit ratings.

The move comes on the back of increasing ESG impact in investment decisions.

Notably, the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors determine a company’s impact on society and environment.It gives a non-financial glimpse on the prospects of future opportunities and risks to the business.

“The past couple of years have seen ESG-led investments gain traction. ESG assets stood at $37.8 trillion as of March 2021, and accounted for around a third of global assets under management (AUM),” the agency said.

“India has also caught on to the trend, with the AUM of ESG-focused funds totting up to more than Rs 12,000 crore as of December 2021.”

Accordingly, the assessment will be based on a proprietary framework that weighs sectoral impact on environment and social factors, and the relative performance of a company on ESG aspects.

“Additionally, with investors beginning to screen opportunities through the ESG lens, sustainability parameters can have a bearing on the cost and availability of funds for corporates. Such corporates generally access the capital markets, both equity and debt, and or rely on foreign investors to meet their funding needs.

“Crisil Ratings will, therefore, assess and disclose the impact of the ESG aspects on the credit risk profiles of companies, which will underscore their ability to raise funds and, in turn, financial flexibility. This, however, is predicated on the availability of ESG information,” it added.

In addition, the move comes as the top 1,000 listed companies will now have to mandatorily disclose non-financial information from next fiscal under SEBI’s Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) norms.

Business

Centre asks Vodafone Idea to convert Rs 16,000 dues into equity

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Financially-stressed telecom company Vodafone Idea said on Friday that the government has directed it to convert a portion of its dues worth Rs 16,000 crore it owes to the exchequer into equity in the government’s favour.

“It is hereby informed that the Ministry of Communications has [directed] the company to convert the NPV of the interest related to deferment of spectrum auction instalments and AGR dues into equity shares to be issued to the government of India,” the company said in a filing.

The government will take 33 per cent equity in Vodafone Idea after converting all interest related to payments for spectrum and other dues into equity.

This will make the government the largest shareholder in the telecom company.

Vodafone Idea will convert dues of Rs 16,133 crore into equity and issue shares for Rs 10 each, the company informed.

“We had sought a firm commitment that the Aditya Birla Group would run the company and bring necessary investments. The Birlas have agreed and hence we have agreed to convert. We want India to be a three-player market plus BSNL and ensure healthy competition for consumers,” Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a statement.

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I-T dept raids over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur

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The Income Tax department on Thursday raided over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur. The teams also conducted search operations at two locations of a builder group in Gurugram.

Officials said that the I-T department had received a tip-off that these builders were engaged in making cash deals while selling flats in multi-storey buildings, plots and commercial properties in Jaipur.

After verification, 40 teams of the investigating branch of the I-T department raided their locations on Thursday morning. Raids have been conducted at the premises of Manglam Group, Sanjivani, R-Tech, Jugal Derewala and Haridutt, including their offices, corporate offices and residential premises.

The I-T teams have raided places in Jaipur including Tonk Road, Mansarovar, Rajapark, Jagatpura, C-Scheme, Civil Lines, Ajmer Road, Delhi Road, Agra Road and Sanganer.

Sources said that the department had received complaints of undisclosed income running into crores of rupees. All the five builders were using cash to buy and sell land. So the I-T teams raided around 38 targets simultaneously. According to the information received so far, huge amount of cash, and documents of land purchase and sale have been found from their premises.

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Reliance Retail begins accepting govt’s digital rupee for sales

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Reliance Retail on Thursday announced it has begun accepting retail payments via the Indian government’s Digital Rupee across its stores in the country.

Reliance Retail launched the first in-store acceptance of the RBI-created and Blockchain-based Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) at its gourmet food store Freshpik here.

The CBDC is the a digital version of fiat money that will co-exist will hard cash.

“This historic initiative of pioneering the digital currency acceptance at our stores is in line with the company’s strategic vision of offering the power of choice to Indian consumers,” said V. Subramaniam, Director, Reliance Retail.

“With more Indians willing to transact digitally, this initiative will help us provide yet another efficient and secure alternative payment method to customers at our stores,” he added in a statement.

Reliance Retail has collaborated with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and fintech Innoviti Technologies to launch the in-store support for the digital rupee.

“Digital Rupee fulfils the need of consumers who still prefer the trust, safety and settlement finality of physical currency,” said Rajeev Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Innoviti Technologies.

The RBI kicked off the first phase of a retail CBDC pilot in four cities and involving four key banks late last year.

A CBDC can play a key role in providing access to digital payments without the requirement of a bank account and the access would be facilitated by a central bank-issued digital wallet.

Use of e-rupee is expected to make the inter-bank market more efficient.

Settlement in central bank money would reduce transaction costs by pre-empting the need for settlement guarantee infrastructure or for collateral to mitigate settlement risk.

Going forward, other wholesale transactions, and cross-border payments will be the focus of future pilots, based on the learnings from this pilot project.

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