Status quo in progress

Also in today’s edition: Tata EVs flashing red; Toll-collecting satellites

Good morning! We may be running out of phone numbers. Wait, what? It’s not exactly what you think. Mint reports that India’s telecom regulator is considering changing the rules to free up more mobile and landline numbers. TRAI wants them free for new kinds of devices including industrial IoT parts and satellite-linked phones. Good news: data shows there’s plenty of mobile numbers to pass around. Bad news: if you bought a vanity number in an auction, you might have to pay more for using or ‘hoarding’ it.

🎧 The far right is gaining in Europe. Also in today’s episode: bribes on EMI! Tune in to SpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon MusicGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Soumya Gupta and Jessica Jani also contributed to this edition.

The Market Signal* 

Stocks & Economy:  A right wing surge, particularly the emphatic victory of the far right French and German parties in the European Parliament elections, has sowed uncertainty in markets there. The loss handed to green parties will also likely be a setback for Europe’s aggressive policy agenda on climate change.

Nothing changes in India though as the new council of ministers is pretty much the old one with a few fresh faces. Nirmala Sitharaman continues as finance minister. One of the first steps she took as finance minister was to release Rs 1.39 lakh crore (~$16.6 billion) tax devolution to states. 

Asian shares were displaying weakness in Tuesday morning trade despite their US counterparts putting up a strong show on Monday. Japan was the only bright spot in an otherwise lacklustre Asia. The GIFT Nifty indicates a flat or slightly positive opening for India.

AUTO 

Error, Critical 

India’s largest electric car maker has an issue it can’t afford to remain mum on any longer. Tata EV owners are increasingly complaining of a “high voltage critical error” plaguing their cars. 

The error, akin to a ‘check-engine light’, is caused by a battery system or sensor malfunction. When a car flashes a critical error, it automatically shifts to neutral, stalling the car. It's not just a Tata problem—MG and Tesla users have faced it too. 

However, in Tata cars, this error often persists despite several trips to the service centre and even multiple component replacements. What is exasperating users is that Tata Motors (which gets its EV batteries from a JV between Tata Autocomp and Chinese manufacturer Gotion) has remained tight-lipped about this for four years. 

Some are even considering the legal route now. How is Tata going to fix this? Head to The Core to know more. 

PODCAST

Tune in every Monday to Friday as financial journalist and host Govindraj Ethiraj gives you the most important take on the latest in business and economy.

In today’s episode, he speaks to senior economist Dr Brinda Jagirdar on India’s interest rate moves.

TELECOM

Indian Eye In The Sky

India’s three-way race for satellite internet already has one player ready. Financial Times reports Airtel is set to launch its satellite internet services with joint-venture partner Eutelsat One this month. Rival Mukesh Ambani’s JioSpaceFiber may launch later this year.

In the wings: While Mittal and Ambani recreate their telecom rivalry in space, Elon Musk is stuck. Musk’s Starlink, the world’s best-known satellite network, has been seeking entry into India for over three years but with little success. Besides, India plans to directly allocate satellite spectrum which some operators, including Vodafone-Idea and Reliance, oppose.

On the bumper: Meanwhile, India will use satellites to... collect toll. The government plans to build an electronic toll collection system countrywide and use its existing satellites — part of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) — to automatically charge vehicles based on their location on national highways. Perhaps GNSS will fix FASTag’s debilitating problems

POLITICS

Feels Like A Reshuffle

Continuity emerged as the theme in Narendra Modi’s third term as Prime Minister. Top ministers in the previous administration have returned with their portfolios intact. 

Old guard: Rajnath Singh: defence; Amit Shah: home; Nirmala Sitharaman: finance and corporate affairs; Nitin Gadkari: road transport; S Jaishankar: external affairs; Bhupender Yadav: environment, forests, and climate change; Ashwini Vaishnaw: railways, I&B, and IT; Piyush Goyal: commerce and industry. 

New heavyweights: JP Nadda: health and chemicals and fertilisers; Shivraj Singh Chouhan: agriculture and rural development; Manohar Lal Khattar: housing, urban affairs and power; CR Patil: water.

Ally power: HD Kumaraswamy: heavy industries and steel; Chirag Paswan: food processing; Jitan Ram Manjhi: MSME; Rajiv Ranjan (Lallan) Singh: Panchayati Raj; K Rammohan Naidu: civil aviation. 

The Signal

As we pointed out yesterday, predictability is the surprise factor in the Modi administration 3.0. In hindsight, it is not a surprise. Before heading into the elections, Modi had tasked all ministries to prepare 100-day plans to be executed as soon as the government came to power and detailed proposals to be rolled out over five years. The union cabinet had also reviewed the Viksit Bharat 2047 or Developed India 2047 roadmap. Since there is hardly any need to change plans, it is reasonable to have the same leaders helm the initiatives. It will ensure seamless continuity and no time wasted coming up to speed.

FYI

Need that 💰: Personal electronics brand boAt is looking to raise funds from a strategic investor; it shelved IPO plans and recently downsized the wearables business. 

No vroom: Passenger car retail sales fell 1% in May while two-wheelers sales fell 2.6% as elections and a record-breaking heat wave hurt business. 

Big bump: Private equity firm Blackstone sold a 15.1% stake in IT firm Mphasis via block deals for an estimated Rs 6,736 crore to Kotak MF, Morgan Stanley, and Société Générale among others. 

Another one: A Bengaluru transport union launched an auto-rickshaw app named Nagara Metered Auto, encouraged by the success of union-backed Namma Yatri. 

Beauty billions: Actress Deepika Padukone’s beauty brand 82°E will raise Rs 50 crore from Padukone’s venture firm and other new and existing investors. 

THE DAILY DIGIT

Rs 20,000 crore

The 17th instalment of the Kisan Nidhi income support scheme for farmers. It’s release was Narendra Modi’s first act after assuming office as the Prime Minister of India for the third time. (PIB)

FWIW

Wrench-fluencers: There is something addictive about expert craft, repair, and creative renovation videos. The Internet knows that. So does a new generation of blue-collar workers who are becoming influencers thanks to their TikTok videos that rake up thousands, sometimes millions, of views. These Gen-Z workers are making plumbing and wiring look cool with some spiffy editing and music. They even dress up, well, kind of. Not that they do not take their work seriously even though social media brings them more money than their jobs. In fact, they are more eager to land work because that is the source of all their content. After all, you need blown pipes and heavy machinery to set the scene.

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