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Thursday,29-July-2021

Business

Want to see private sector unleash its animal spirits: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the Union Budget 2021-22 has assured clarity and certainty on policy, taxation, infrastructure capex and privatization and now it is entirely up to the private sector to invest and expand capacity for long-term and sustainable economic growth.

“I have been waiting for investment and expansion and I want to see the private sector show its animal spirits,” Sitharaman said during her address at the All India Management Association’s 65th Foundation Day celebrations.

Sitharaman said that she has provided long-term certainty with short-term stimulus in her budget. She urged AIMA to nudge Indian business into investing and expanding capacity.

Sitaraman emphasized that the government was committed to multi-year stimulus spending to support sustained economic recovery.

She asserted that this year’s budget was about charting a clear and certain path for the next decade. “Each word of this budget is full of meaning, so make the best use of it,” she told the management leadership of the country.

The FM explained that the divestment policy announced in the budget was to move from incremental change to economic transformation. “I want a more meaningful and purposeful spending of the taxpayers’ money,” Sitaraman said, adding that the government did not want to use taxpayers’ money to run institutions that it could not, and instead it wants to give public sector companies to those who can.

The divestment policy is not about closing down PSUs, the FM clarified. She said that Indian economy had great demand for steel, copper, coal etc and the PSUs needed to be run more efficiently and productively to meet that demand. “We are not selling PSUs for closure. We want them to be run better,” she said.

Assuring Indian business about the government’s enormous fiscal deficit and huge borrowing programme, the Finance Minister said that the capex and infrastructure intensive budget will improve demand at both the industry and the consumer levels.

“This spending will ensure sustained growth over the next decade,” she said.

Uday Kotak, Executive Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, who also addressed the management leadership of the country on the occasion, asked his peers to do more than just applaud the government. “Time has come for Indian business leaders to walk the talk,” he said.

Business

PUBG developer Krafton to raise $3.7 bn via IPO next month

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PUBG

Krafton, the video game developer behind global hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), will raise 4.3 trillion won ($3.7 billion) in its initial public offering (IPO), the company said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

Krafton said it priced its shares at 498,000 won each at the upper end of the range announced earlier this month.

The listing, scheduled for August 10, is expected to be one of the largest ever on the local bourse. Samsung Life Insurance holds the record for its 4.89 trillion won IPO in 2010, reports Yonhap news agency.

While Krafton had initially sought to raise up to a record 5.6 trillion won, it lowered its pricing band after financial authorities requested revisions to its plan amid controversy of overvaluation.

Krafton has downplayed overvaluation concerns, with the company saying in an online press conference that it is among a few players in the local tech and entertainment industry to hold a significant presence in the global market.

The video game maker has sold over 75 million copies of PUBG for PCs and consoles globally since its launch in 2017.

The mobile version of the battle royale shooter, in which players fight each other until the last survivor, has reached 1 billion downloads globally, excluding China.

Krafton is eyeing active mergers and acquisitions after going public, with plans to spend 70 percent of the funds secured from the IPO in acquiring promising game developers.

The company is looking to expand its video game portfolio with the launch of new in-house mobile game “PUBG: New State” as early as September this year and horror game “Callisto Protocol” next year.

The company is also expanding big in the Indian market.

Developed by Krafton for the Indian audience, the Battlegrounds Mobile India game surpassed 34 million registered users within a week after its release.

Online storytelling platform Pratilipi announced on July 14 that it has raised $48 million in a funding round led by South Korean gaming company Krafton.

The next day, Krafton announced its first esports tournament — Battlegrounds Mobile India Series 2021 — that was kicked off from July 19 with a prize pool of Rs 1 crore.

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Bollywood

‘Toofan’ leads the race as Amazon Prime’s most watched Hindi film in 2021

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In a rare instance, OTT giant Amazon Prime Video has released data, revealing its highest streaming projects within their launch-weeks so far in this year. Actor Farhan Akhtar’s ‘Toofan’ is on top position as the most watched video within first week of its release globally.

According to the data released by the OTT platform, the Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra directorial was watched by more customers on Prime Video India than any other Hindi film in its opening week. The film was viewed in over 3,900+ towns and cities in India and in 160+ countries and territories across the globe.

Besides this, in the local languages catagory, films ‘Narappa’ (Telugu), ‘Sarpatta Parambarai’ (Tamil) and ‘Malik’ (Malayalam), were each watched in over 3,200+ towns and cities in India and in over 150+ countries and territories globally.

In the catagory of web shows, Adarsh Gourav’s ‘Hostel Daze (S2)’ emerged as one of the most loved shows amongst young adults within just a week of its launch, with viewership from 3,600+ towns and cities in India and from over 100+ countries and territories around the world.

The data comes to light as Amazon marked July 26 and July 27 as Prime Days. Prime Day 2021 marked the most Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) selling on Amazon.in ever, as they saw an overwhelming response from Prime members.

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Business

Pandemic pushes digital payments, RBI index up 30%

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Online-payment

The Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions associated with it has pushed up digital transactions in the country.

An indicator to faster adoption of online payment medium is the Reserve Bank of India’s Digital Payment Index. After moving at moderate pace over the years, the index has jumped sharply 30 per cent between March 2020 and March 2021.

The pandemic is one of the reason while people are increasingly preferring digital payment mechanism over physical mode. But improvement in the digital payment infrastructure has also pushed up this adoption.

The RBI had earlier announced construction of a composite Reserve Bank of India – Digital Payments Index (RBI-DPI) with March 2018 as base to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country.

The index for March 2021 stands at 270.59 as against 207.84 for March 2020, announced while launching the index on January 1, 2021.

The RBI-DPI index has demonstrated significant growth in the index representing the rapid adoption and deepening of digital payments across the country in recent years, the apex bank said in a statement.

Starting from March 2018, the index stood at 153.47 in March 2019, 173.49 in September 2019. This improved to 207.84 in March 2020, 217.74 in September 2020 and further increased to 270.59 in March 2021.

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