Top headlines: Amazon eyes 5% stake worth $2 bn in Airtel, says report

Topics Rajiv Bajaj | GDP | Coronavirus

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the last tranche of her Covid-19 relief measures | Photo: PIB
SC seeks finance ministry's reply on waiver of interest during moratorium
The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the Finance Ministry's reply on a waiver of interest on loans during the moratorium period after the RBI said it would not be prudent to go for a forced waiver risking financial viability of the banks. The top court said there are two aspects under consideration in this matter no interest payment on loans during the moratorium period and no interest to be charged on interest. Read More

India, Aus ink landmark defence pact after Modi-Morrison online summit
India and Australia on Thursday inked a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support besides firming up six more pacts to further broad base ties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held an online summit. The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) will allow militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies besides facilitating scaling up of overall defense cooperation. Read More

Amazon in talks to buy 5% stake worth $2 billion in Bharti Airtel: Report is in early-stage talks to buy a stake worth at least $2 billion in mobile operator Bharti Airtel, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, underscoring the growing attraction of India's digital economy for U.S. tech giants. The planned investment, if completed, would mean Amazon acquiring a roughly 5% stake based on the current market value of Bharti, which is India's third-largest telecoms company with more than 300 million subscribers. Read More

Adani group seeks more time to take over 3 airports, cites coronavirus
The Adani group has expressed its inability to take over three airports it won after aggressive bidding last year, dealing a blow to the government’s privatisation plan. The group has cited uncertainty in the aviation sector due to the coronavirus pandemic for seeking at least six months to take over Lucknow, Mangalore and Ahmedabad airports, sources told Business Standard. It has written to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to invoke the force majeure clause to postpone the takeover and it has appointed consultants to re-evaluate the viability of the business. Read More

Malaria drug Trump used to prevent Covid-19 found ineffective in test
A malaria drug US President Donald Trump took to try to prevent Covid-19 proved ineffective for that in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease. Results published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine was no better than placebo pills at preventing illness from the coronavirus. Read More

Lockdown gives time for highway repairs before monsoon rains begin
Road construction was held up but India's nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak allowed companies to repair highways before monsoon rains. Companies took up road maintenance in May when the government eased the lockdown and allowed travel between states and within. “As far as pre-monsoon work is concerned, we were able to accomplish some maintenance related activities in the month of May. The full blown construction can begin only after the monsoons,” Jayant Mhaiskar Chairman and Managing Director of MEP Infrastructure, told Business Standard. Read More

With a draconian but porous lockdown, India flattened GDP curve instead of Covid-19: Bajaj Auto MD
Rajiv Bajaj, the managing director of Bajaj Auto Limited, has severely criticised the government’s approach towards handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In a conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Rajiv Bajaj termed the lockdown “draconian”, which “decimated the economy”. He said the lockdown has been “bittersweet”, but more bitter than sweet if one looks at what is happening to businesses and to the people at large. Read More

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