February 19, 2020
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Business in bitesizes

Relax, relax, just pay that tax

The main mover in the protracted negotiations to plug the loopholes in the double taxation avoidance treaties with Mauritius and Singapore has been the finance ministry’s revenue department, first led by Shaktikanta Das, currently economic affairs secretary, and since September by Hasmukh Adhia. Given that 50 per cent of FDI inflows come from these destinations, this is a big move by the BJP. Of course, there were corporate pulls and pressures to retain  ‘flow facilitation mechanism’ that allowed them to launder black money in the guise of FDI.

A saga of gassy promises

Overestimation of gas reserves in KG-22 block by the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), ­announced in 2006 with great fanfare by Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, was no different than the hype created earlier by Reliance Industries in the case of D6 block in the same Krishna Godavari basin. In both cases, studies by experts led to drastic downsizing of original estimates.  Both played around with investor sentiment, but was GSPC also guilty of wasteful expenditure? That is open to ­debate. Exploration by its very nature is an expensive gamble, made more risky by unwise business moves.

Musical chairs in Times group

Four years after Satyan Gajwani became the CEO of Times Internet at the age of 27, he has relocated to the US to look after Times Internet’s international operations. The son-in-law of Samir Jain, vice-chairman of BCCL—which runs the powerful Times group —has been re-designated managing director of Times Internet, while a professional CEO has been brought on board. Gajwani’s role will be to manage the international investments of the Times group in tech and startups (Airbnb being the latest). Given that Samir Jain is also spending considerable time in the US, BCCL managing ­director Vineet Jain is clearly ­running the show in the sprawling media empire.


Musically speaking

This instrument uses one’s blood, guts and muscles to ­create music. The wearable XTH Sense incorporates biosensors that translate the body’s acoustic properties into creative digital interface, interacts with connected devices.

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