In Brief: Gadkari proposes Rs 1 tn plan to clear dues; Lockdown may spell doom for SMEs

In Brief: Gadkari proposes Rs 1 tn plan to clear dues; Lockdown may spell doom for SMEs
Photo Credit: VCCircle
27 Apr, 2020

Union minister Nitin Gadkari has proposed a Rs 1 trillion (or about $13 billion) government-backed fund to clear dues of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), The Economic Times reported. The move is aimed at helping MSMEs get through the Covid-19 pandemic, the report said. The government is yet to decide on a formula to arrive at the funding mechanism, it said. However, the package can be mobilised only after approval from the finance ministry and the Cabinet, Gadkari told the financial daily.

Read: Coronavirus India LIVE updates

Nearly 50% of SMEs out of funds amid lockdown: Survey

Nearly half of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in India have run out of funds or are close to doing so amid the Covid-19 lockdown, The Economic Times reported, citing a survey by community platform LocalCircles. The study, which surveyed about 7,000 businesses, including startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs, showed that 47% of those surveyed have either already exhausted their funds or have less than a month of funds left. At the current rate of burn, only about 24% have cash reserves to sustain themselves for upto three months and 6% for over six months, the report said.

Centre may fast track review of some foreign investments 


The government has plans to fast track the review of some investment proposals from neighboring countries, including China, amid concerns that the amended foreign direct investment (FDI) guidelines may impact deal and investment timelines, according to a Reuters report, which cited three sources. The Center will try to approve any investment proposal in a non-sensitive sector within 15 days when the stake being bought is not significant, a senior government official involved in policy making told the publication. Earlier this month, the government, to curb opportunistic takeover and acquisition of Indian companies due to Covid-19, said that all FDI by neighboring countries will require prior clearance. 

SoftBank Vision Fund looks for more India investments 

The $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF) is on the lookout for deals in India, The Economic Times reported, citing sources. The company has $13 billion in unspent capital, which it looks to deploy in India, and globally, Vision Fund CEO Rajeev Misra told the newspaper. Additionally, the fund would be interested in buying secondary positions from early-stage investors who may plan to exit, it said. Currently, the company is in talks with over 15 firms for both secondary and primary investments, it added. 

Read: SoftBank to rethink Vision Fund II post a dismal Q3

Paytm may raise fresh capital from Microsoft


One97 Communications, which owns and operates digital payments platform Paytm, is in talks with technology giant Microsoft to raise fresh capital, The Economic Times reported. The proposed capital infusion of around $100 million is likely to be an extension of the planned $1 billion fundraise initiated by the Noida headquartered firm last year. Paytm had reportedly been in talks with the technology giant to raise capital last year amid a fundraise -- however, Microsoft could not participate then, so it is likely to infuse cash now, the report said.

Read: Fintech startup Paytm to hire 500 staffers; offer Rs 250 cr in ESOPs

Commvault, NetApp roll out data protection solution

Tinton Falls, New Jersey-based software company Commvault has expanded its strategic partnership with hybrid cloud data services and data management company NetApp, as the companies launch a data protection solution. The solution, called NetApp Scale-out Data Protection (SDP), aims to provide rapid recovery support for critical data, according to a statement. It will also provide services such as snapshot management, backup and disaster recovery functionality, it said. 

AWS makes fully managed service A2I generally available


Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made its fully managed service called Augmented Artificial Intelligence (A2I), generally available. The service helps add a human review to machine learning predictions to improve model and application accuracy, the company said. Apart from building the human review system, A2I makes it easier for developers to structure the review process and manage the human review workforce, it said. Amazon A2I’s partners include the National Health Service in UK, telecom company T-Mobile and Deloitte, it said.