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Wednesday,12-May-2021

Business

Finance Minister’s dig at Chidambaram: Budget transparent; doubtful under UPA

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Nirmala-Sitharaman

Denying allegations of non-transparency in budgetary numbers, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the Modi government’s Budget was “clear and transparent”, while indicating that numbers were doubtful during the UPA rule.

Her statement came after Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that the major numbers in this year’s Budget were “suspect”.

In her reply to the debate on the Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman said: “What you get as Budget is what you get in it. No pushing anything under the carpet…”

She highlighted instances in the 2007-08 Budget, saying those numbers were “suspect”.

“I will give three concrete proofs of how accounts were suspect. I can give you clear proof of how data became suspect at times, which did not occur under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” she said, alluding to the UPA rule.

Sitharaman suggested that 60 per cent jump in 2007-08 capex numbers also included Rs 40,000 crore financially neutral deal involving the RBI and SBI.

She said that if the Rs 40,000 crore is removed, the actual capex growth that year would come to around 7 per cent. She stressed that 34.5 per cent growth in capex this year is the highest-ever.

The Finance Minister also attacked the opposition over its claims that the Centre works for the benefit of ‘crony capitalists’.

Outlining several schemes including MGNREGA scheme and PMAY among others, she said that all these government initiatives were aimed at the poor rather than the rich.

“A false narrative is being created,” she said over accusations that the government was only for the rich and crony capitalists.

Business

Samsung, Sony, Hitachi invest in UK healthtech firm Huma

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Dollar

Samsung, Sony and Hitachi have invested in UK heathtech company Huma Therapeutics Limited in its latest Series C funding round with financing of approximately $130 million, the company said on Wednesday.

Leaps by Bayer and Hitachi Ventures led the Series C funding round, which also saw strategic and financial investors like Samsung Next, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, Unilever Ventures and HAT Technology & Innovation Fund by HAT, as well as individuals Nikesh Arora (former president of SoftBank) and Michael Diekmann (Chairman of Allianz).

The investment will scale Huma’s modular platform which can power digital ‘hospitals at home’ nationally, and support the pharmaceutical and research industries to run the largest ever decentralised clinical trials, the company said in a statement.

The company said an additional $70 million can be raised at a later date as part of the Series C funding, taking the total financing to more than $200 million.

“We’re already demonstrating how ‘hospital at home’ can transform healthcare, and how decentralized clinical trials can advance research in ways that weren’t imaginable even one year ago. Now we want to accelerate the pace of change and continue to innovate for better care and research worldwide.,” said Dan Vahdat, Founder and CEO of Huma.

The new investment will be used to expand Huma’s digital platform in the US, Asia and the Middle East.

Its digital ‘hospital at home’ was co-created with clinicians and has been independently shown to almost double clinical capacity, reduce hospital readmissions by over a third and has patient adherence levels of over 90 per cent.

“The service is supporting governments’ pandemic responses on a not-for-profit basis and is now used for a range of patients,” the company said.

Huma works with leading life science companies including AstraZeneca, Bayer and Janssen and academic institutions such as Stanford Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Cambridge.

“We are excited to explore how the Huma platform and its digital biomarkers portfolio could work with the Samsung ecosystem for lasting impact in proactive care across hospitals, life sciences and population health initiatives,” said Jonathan Machado, Senior Investment Director of Samsung Next.

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Business

Sensex down 400 points; banking, oil & gas stocks fall

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Bombay-Stock-Exchange

The key Indian equity indices declined on Wednesday morning with the BSE Sensex losing over 400 points.

Heavy selling pressure was witnessed in banking, finance and oil and gas stocks.

Around 10.25 a.m., Sensex was trading at 48,717.15, lower by 444.66 points or 0.90 per cent from its previous close of 49,161.81.

It opened at 49,171.28 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 49,171.28 and a low of 48,712.42 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,722.10, lower by 128.65 points or 0.87 per cent from its previous close.

Manish Hathiramani, technical analyst with Deen Dayal Investments said: “The Nifty is keeping above the 14,700 level. We will threaten the current uptrend if we close below 14,700.”

“The situation would need to be reviewed then. Until then the trend continues to remain up and traders can strategically find ways to enter the market on dips. The markets can scale higher to 15,200-15,250,” he said.

The top gainers on the Sensex so far were Power Grid, Larsen & Toubro and NTPC, while HDFC, Hindustan Unilever and IndusInd Bank were the major losers.

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Business

Fuel prices rise for third day, closing on Rs 100/lt in Mumbai

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Petrol

Maintaining its rising trend, fuel prices increased for the third day in a row on Wednesday as state-owned fuel retailers hiked rates of petrol and diesel by 25 paise per litre each in the national capital.

In Delhi, petrol now costs Rs 92.05 per litre and diesel is priced at Rs 82.61 up from yesterday’s level of Rs 91.80 and Rs 82.36 a litre respectively.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices increased on Wednesday but its quantum varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

In Mumbai, petrol now comes for Rs 98.36 a litre and diesel for Rs 89.75, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies.

Petrol prices in some states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and in some places in Maharastra have breached the Rs 100 per litre mark while premium petrol has been hovering above that level for some time now.

Fuel prices have now increased on each of the day this week. Prior to holding back auto fuel prices on Saturday and Sunday, its pump rates had increased sharply on previous four days as well.

Petrol prices have risen by Rs 1.50 a litre in Delhi in May in seven hikes so far. Similarly, diesel prices have risen by Rs 1.88 per litre in capital this month.

IANS had written earlier that OMCs may begin increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel post state elections as they were incurring losses to the tune of Rs 2-3 per litre by holding the price line despite higher global crude and product prices. The oil companies had already increased the ATF prices by 6.7 per cent effective this month.

OMCs benchmark retail fuel prices to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate. In the last fortnight global oil prices have hovered in $66-67 a barrel range higher than the levels when petrol and diesel prices were last revised. Crude prices have jumped around $69 a barrel now.

With global crude prices at around $69 a barrel mark, OMCs may have to revise fuel prices upwards again if there is any further firming up.

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