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No export tax on wheat for now 

With lower-than-expected wheat production, demand for exports and poor procurement are dominating discussions among grain traders. A rumour that did the rounds was about the Centre considering export tax on the foodgrains. Some felt the Government could consider $10 a tonne, while others felt it could easily collect $20-25 a tonne.  

However, those who know the equations at the Centre said the Commerce Ministry will shoot down any proposal for export tax. “How can the Commerce Ministry agree to something that will benefit the Finance Ministry and put the Minister in-charge on spotlight?” asked a trader aware of the goings on at the Union Cabinet. He seems to be right for now as the Food Secretary Sudanshu Pandey said there were no proposals to curb wheat exports.  

Exporters of TN not too happy 

The DMK government completed one year in office during the weekend. The export fraternity does not seem to be happy with the way the State government has been functioning. “The previous State government used to hold meetings frequently, at least once in three months, to encourage exports and tackle any problem,” said an exporter. Now, no meetings are held by State officials with exporters. Even if some meeting is arranged, it gets cancelled all of a sudden. 

“The previous government was certainly helpful during the Covid pandemic as it worked in tandem with the Centre,” said the exporter.  

Bumper listings 

Remember IRCTC IPO and what happened to its share price on listing day and immediately after the listing? Going by the strong response seen to the ongoing mega LIC IPO among retail investors and policyholders (entire issue was subscribed in the first three days of the six days when the issue would be open), merchant banking circles see a decent opportunity when the LIC shares get listed next week (most likely May 17). However, the bankers who had taken LIC to the public market are hoping (rather praying) that the insurance behemoth shares don’t list at an excessive premium (say, doubling like in the case of IRCTC) over issue price and go like the IRCTC way post listing. 

Why you may wonder? This is because both the government and bankers would then get lampooned for underpricing the LIC issue (at price band of ₹902-949) and for selling the family silver cheap. Not a happy situation for the government or bankers handling the issue as they could end up at the receiving end either way — whether the stock does well on listing day or falls appreciably below issue price post listing! 

A small listing gain could just be what the doctor ordered to strengthen and give the much-needed push to India’s disinvestment programme. 

No visiting cards 

Investment bankers are usually super networkers. But, when the stakes are brobdingnagian, social networking instincts need to be checked. At the recent of IPO of ‘you know who’, some scribes found an oddity: flashy investment bankers weren’t carrying their visiting cards. They seemed especially uneasy to share cards with new acquaintances.    

‘Not carrying card, sorry’ was a common response. It seemed there was an unspoken rule of limiting interactions to bare minimum with the fourth pillar representatives.   

No one, not even senior i-bankers, appeared willing to take the risk of attending media calls and expose themselves to risks of disclosing sensitive information ahead of the public issue. It is make or break time, indeed!   

Politics all the way 

Rahul Gandhi’s proposed Hyderabad programme had kicked off a debate on how universities are being used by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Party for political gains. A request for conducting a face-to-face programme of Rahul Gandhi with the students of Osmania University was turned down by the Vice-Chancellor. Though the decision was challenged by the party in the High Court, it did not get any relief and the ball was back in the court of the Vice – Chancellor who promptly refused permission. 

There is a buzz that the VC was under severe pressure to deny permission to Rahul Gandhi’s programme while the State Government maintained a strategic silence.  It’s an open secret that the appointment of vice-chancellors is now more political than academic and this leaves no freedom for heads of the universities to make decisions on their own. But then universities should be free thinking spaces without any political influences, which almost looks impossible now! 

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Published on May 08, 2022

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