Edited by Donald Ugwu
Google takes down Indian app that removed Chinese ones -spokesman
Alphabet Inc’s Google has taken down an Indian mobile application from its app store that allowed users to remove other Chinese apps from their phones as it violated certain company policies, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
A Google spokesman confirmed to Reuters the app had been removed due to violation of app store policies, but gave no further details.
A person familiar with the matter said the software violated Google’s policies prohibiting apps that mislead users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features.
Once deleted, a message popped up saying “You are awesome, no China app found’’.
OneTouch AppLabs, which developed the app, did not respond to a request for comment.
On its website it confirmed the app had been removed and thanked users for their support.
Many Indians and a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party have used the hash tag #BoycottChineseProducts on social media, calling for deletion of popular Chinese apps.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19: Lagos discharges 30 Nigerians, 3 Indians
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement that a total of 908 COVID-19 patients were now discharged.
”Good people of Lagos, I bring you great news from our isolation facilities. Today, 33 fully recovered COVID-19 Lagos patients; 7 females and 26 males including 3 foreign nationals – Indians -have been discharged to join the society.
”With this, the number of patients successfully managed and discharged from our Isolation facilities is now 908.
”As our frontline health workers records successes in this battle against #COVID-19, we urge citizens to adhere strictly to our public advisories and directives, as this is the only way we can break the chain of transmission of the infection,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Indian PM says India to get growth back despite COVID-19 impact
Modi called upon captains of the country’s industry to invest and strengthen the supply chain which had been adversely affected by the countrywide lockdown to control the pandemic.
Addressing the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Modi said, “I am confident enough that we will definitely get our growth back. The reasons behind my such confidence are our capability and crisis management, Indians’ talent and intellect, technology and innovation, faith on Indian farmers and industry leaders.”
Five things — intent, inclusion, investment, infrastructure and innovation — were of utmost importance for achieving this target, added Modi.
Calling upon the industry to make India “self-reliant,” he said the focus should be on increasing exports. India’s share in global exports is minimal and it needed to be increased, he added.
Indian 2-wheeler sales decline by 70-83 pct in May as COVID-19 bites
Mirroring the performance in the four-wheeler auto space, Indian two-wheeler companies too replicated a similar performance reporting 70-83 percent decline in the May month sales from the same month a year ago.
During the month under review, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motors and Hero MotoCorp reported 70 percent, 82 percent and 83 percent decline to 127,128 units, 41,067 units and 112,682 units, respectively from the same month last year, as per updates filed with the Bombay Stock Exchange.
In the preceding month of April, all two-wheeler companies in India had reported nil sales with a few units of exports during the initial period of nation-wide lockdown due to COVID-19.
India, which now ranks seventh among all countries in terms of number of confirmed cases, has 97,581 active cases and 5,598 deaths reported so far as per the official update on Tuesday.
“The automobile industry volumes are impacted for the period due to low demand sentiment, increased prices on account of BS VI and worsened by the recent COVID-19 outbreak. However, pickup in demand is expected from second half of 2020-21 ((Apr-Mar) considering the improvement in rural demand scenario, better monsoons and government’s thrust on the revival of the overall economy,” said Naveen Dubey, auto analyst with Narnolia Financial Advisors, a domestic stock brokerage house.
Going ahead, margins are expected to remain on the lower side due to higher BS-VI cost and weaker operating leverage despite reduction in commodity prices, Dubey said.
In 2019-20 (Apr-Mar), Indian two-wheeler industry reported sales of 17.4 million units, down 17.8 percent over the previous year, according to industry body SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers).
Indian state Maharashtra crosses mark of 70,000 COVID-19 cases, financial capital Mumbai crosses 40,000 mark
Maharashtra is the worst affected Indian state accounting for close to 38 percent or 70,013 cases in the country, while India’s financial capital Mumbai has now turned into the epic center accounting for over 22 percent or 40,877 cases in India.
The death toll in the state rose to 2,362 after 76 more fatalities including 40 from Mumbai were reported in the past 24 hours.
Several districts in the state with nil cases have seen a spike in cases due to reverse migration from urban hubs like Mumbai and Pune back to their native homes during the past two months of the lockdown.
The western state had extended its lockdown by further one more month till June 30 with some relaxations but the under-funded health care infrastructure and poor living conditions in the city’s slums have acted as a boost to the spread of virus.
To further add to the stress, the coastal districts of the state including Mumbai city are on high alert due to the in-coming cyclone, which is closing in and expected to land on Wednesday evening.
India’s federal health ministry on Monday morning reported 230 new deaths from the COVID-19 and 8,392 more positive cases cross the country, taking the number of deaths to 5,394 and total cases to 190,535.
Indian gov’t approves 9.33 billion USD relief for small businesses, hikes MSP for farmers
The Indian government Monday cleared a 9.33 billion United States dollars debt scheme to help stressed micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and approved a new definition for these units.
“Approval for provisioning of Rs 20,000 crore (2.66 billion United States dollars) as subordinate debt to provide equity support to the stressed MSMEs. This will benefit 2 lakh stressed MSMEs,” reads a statement issued by cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA).
“Approval for equity infusion of Rs. 50,000 crore (6.67 billion United States dollars) for MSMEs through Fund of Funds (FoF). This will establish a framework to help MSMEs in capacity augmentation. This will also provide an opportunity to get listed in stock exchanges.”
Both the decisions were part of the government’s relief package, which was announced by federal finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month to support the battered economy in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday launched the technology platform CHAMPIONS, a one-stop-shop solution of the MSME Ministry that would attempt to make smaller entrepreneurships evolve and grow by solving their grievances. The acronym CHAMPIONS stands for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.
This information and communications technology-based system has been set up to help the MSMEs in the present difficult situation and also to handhold them to become national and international champions, an official statement said.
Government says MSMEs are the backbone of Indian economy. As per official estimates, MSMEs have a crucial role to play in building a stronger and self-reliant India. “These small economic engines have a huge impact on the country’s GDP-making a contribution of 29 percent. They contribute to almost half of exports from the country. Additionally, more than 110 million people are employed in the MSME sector,” official data reveals.
The government has also approved to hike the minimum support price of 14 Kharif crops. The hike will increase farmers’ profit by 50 to 83 percent. Kharif crops are the crops that are sown before monsoon in India.
Indian auto companies May sales cowed down by COVID-19
Following a blank slate with nil sales in April, Indian auto companies continued to report slump in monthly sales in May.
The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki reported 86.2 percent decline in total sales at 18,539 units in May compared to 1,34,641 units in the same month last year.
Another Indian auto manufacturer, Mahindra too reported a 79 percent decline in total sales to 9,560 units compared to 45,421 units in the same month last year.
“Our performance during May has been muted, due to the challenges the industry is facing. We have opened 70 percent of our dealerships and retail sales have begun,” said Veejay Nakra, Chief Executive Officer, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra.
Both Maruti and Mahindra reported export sales of 4,651 and 484 units respectively during the month under review, down 48 percent and 80 percent respectively.
India’s auto vehicle exports are mainly directed towards Asia, Africa and Latin America, with two-wheelers, passenger vehicles and three-wheelers accounting for bulk of the volumes, with high growth in the past two-three years and but are now showing symptoms of a down-turn due to COVID-19.
“We expect demand for vehicles in these export markets to fall substantially in 2020. As per IMF (International Monetary Fund), many of these export countries are likely to witness GDP decline in 2020, due to the impact of COVID-19. The impact may be higher in case of oil-exporting nations such as Nigeria, due to fall in oil price. Depreciation of currencies of these export markets may end up inflating prices of imported vehicles,” said Joseph George, auto analyst with India Infoline, a domestic stock brokerage house.
Around 55-60 percent of the auto-dealers have reopened their showroom after relaxation, but the retail sales are merely 10-12 percent of the normal level. Walk-ins and enquires are low, people are cautious and deferring their discretionary purchases, said Abhishek Jain, Dolat Capital, another domestic brokerage in his report on the sentiment prevailing with the domestic auto-dealers
Indian automotive industry employs 37 million people and contributes to 15 percent of indirect tax in the form of Goods and Service Tax of close to 20 billion United States dollars.
However, the sector is already facing unprecedented challenge after sales growth declined by 18 percent last year and could see between 22-35 percent decline in various auto segment this year, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Indian companies continue to cut staff at fastest pace in May: PMI data
Indian companies reduced staff at the quickest pace in May as per the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) survey released Monday reporting a second consecutive month of decline, but marginally up following April’s record decline.
The rate of workforce contraction accelerated to the fastest in the survey’s history, eclipsing the previous record set in April, according to a statement by IHS Markit, a London-based global information provider that compiles the PMI survey.
The weak demand due to the COVID-19-led disruption ensured lower production, forcing domestic manufacturers to reduce workers during the month under review, said the statemen.
“The further reduction in May highlights the challenges that businesses might face in the recovery from this crisis, with demand remaining subdued while the longevity of the pandemic remains uncertain,” said Eliot Kerr, an economist at IHS Markit.
The seasonally adjusted PMI index in May rose marginally to 30.8 from 27.4 in April, but lower than 52.7 in May last year. A figure of above 50 indicates expansion, while a sub-50 print signals contraction.
Faced with a further deterioration in demand conditions, companies continue to cut back production midway through the second quarter, but the severe reduction was slower than April’s unprecedented decline, the statement said.
Raw-material prices continued to fall, as suppliers cut prices in an attempt to secure orders. The benefit of lower cost was passed on to the customers.
Indian manufacturers remained optimistic towards the one-year business outlook, anticipating a return of growth once all coronavirus-related restrictions are relaxed. The degree of positivity eased slightly from April and remained historically subdued, the statement said.
Asia’s third largest economy had been under a nationwide lock down for the past two months that is now being extended by one more month in containment zones and some red zones of metro cities till June 30.
Air Peace airlifts 312 Indian nationals
Nigeria’s major carrier, Air Peace, has evacuated 312 Indian citizens from Nigeria back to their country in a 10-hour non-stop flight.
Mrs Oluwatoyin Olajide, the Chief Operating Officer of the airline, announced in a statement in Lagos on Sunday.
Olajide said that the flight, which departed on Sunday, May 31, from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, operated with a B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI.
She said the flight, operated by 15 crew members, was expected to arrive Cochin International Airport in Kerala.
The Chief Operating Officer, while expressing delight over the evacuation flight, thanked the Indian authorities for engaging Air Peace to operate the flight.
She also gave kudos to the Federal Government for supporting the airline in all its special flights during the lockdown.
She added that the airline alongside other relevant government agencies ensured that all the passengers complied with established health protocols before boarding.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
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