Connect with us

Business

The Qatar experience and lessons for India

Published

on

Qatar

The world is changing. Sport is a strong vehicle of change. And one of the best examples of this phenomenon is Qatar, which is on the fast track of modernisation and transformation ever since it clinched the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This is the first time that a mega sporting event of this proportion is being hosted in this part of the world.

Qatar has been at it for a long time. Finally, its protracted struggle bore fruit. Any sportsperson would vouch for this; nothing succeeds like success. Qatar has suddenly catapulted itself in the world of sports as a shining star. All the reservations like the regressive labour laws, poor human rights record, curbs on free speech and lack of integrated sports culture — all of these factors, individually and collectively — were sufficient to defeat Qatar’s claim to host the World Cup.

There’s also a raging controversy about how Qatar secured the bid. But Qatar won the bid in spite of all these hurdles. That Qatar won the bid, in my view, is simply historic.

The whole country is in a transformation mode, like a snake that sheds its old skin and emerges with a new one. I was in Qatar earlier this year and the change — and the pace of that change — is both bewildering and inspiring.

It’s estimated that more than $250 billion will be spent to prepare for the World Cup. New stadia and arenas are coming up, civic infrastructure is being upgraded manifold; hotels, railways, airports and freeways are fast transforming the country. One cannot escape the feeling that these changes are symbolic of the ambitions of a small country to make it big in the comity of nations.

Development and social justice via sports is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well. India has much to learn from the Qatar experience. Just to give you an idea, there will be seven host cities — Al-Daayen, Al-Khor, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal, Al-Wakrah, Doha and Umm Slal — where 12 new state-of-art stadia will come up with capacities of at least 43,000 each. And the unique aspect is that part of these stadia could be dismantled after the event and transported to other less-developed countries to help set up the infrastructure for sports and encourage people at large to play.

Qatar, while creating a real estate marvel, will remain conscious of environmental consequences. Most of the sporting infrastructure being built is zero-carbon emitting and climate controlled.

Qatar’s success is not confined to just winning the bid to host the World Cup, but its commitment to modernising and upgrading its economy. An event of this magnitude is not just about creating the necessary sporting infrastructure in a stipulated time frame, but the emphasis is also on developing and internalising an enduring sporting culture in the two-and-a-half-million Qataris. To be able to do that, Qatar is already hosting almost 100 events every year in various sporting disciplines. The World Cup is not the end, but a means to an end.

Last month, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Chief Executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, speaking in London, elucidated the National Vision 2030 where the investment in sports would be an integral part of a multi-faceted strategy to ensure that economic development is diverse and sustainable. There have been wide-ranging labour reforms to make Qatar an enviable destination for foreign investment. There’s a move to end the Kafala system that falls foul of international labour laws by binding an employee to an employer in an almost “slave-like” manner. The Qatari government has also expressed its willingness to introduce a law on minimum wages.

Under the young and dynamic leadership of Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy of Qatar, sports is the catalyst in the region’s social and economic development. In a recent address to the UN, Thawadi said: “Events of this stature (the World Cup) can bring billions of people together from every corner of the world. They can serve to accelerate and inspire…in a manner and at a pace that few other initiatives can match. Sport is uniquely equipped to play a significant role in attaining these goals. We are aiming for the stars, our feet are firmly on the ground.”

India should not just be committed to ensuring “ease of doing business” in the country, but also “ease of all segments of society to play”. Qatar’s experience has an encouraging message for India.

(Siddhartha Upadhyay is member of the Governing Body of the Sports Authority of India and Founder of STAIRS, an organisation dedicated to the uplift of sports. The views expressed at personal. He can be contacted at [email protected])

Business

Jio to invest Rs 10,000 crore in 3 years in UP: Mukesh Ambani

Published

on

mukesh-ambani

Lucknow, Feb 21: Reliance Jio will invest another Rs 10,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh over the next three years, Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani said here on Wednesday.

“Today I am happy to inform this audience that Jio is one of the largest investors in Uttar Pradesh with investments of over Rs 20,000 crore. Jio is providing the highest quality data at the lowest price in the world to over 2 crore citizens of Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani said while addressing the Uc.

“I have come to Lucknow to assure the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister that Jio’s Digital Revolution is here to make the maximum contribution to UP’s development revolution,” he added.

While talking about affordable handsets, JioPhone, Ambani said: “Jio will make available over two crore JioPhones in UP within the next two months on a priority basis.”

He mentioned that Jio has already created over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

“Jio will establish a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the campus of a reputed university in Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani added.

IANS

Continue Reading

Business

Moody’s places PNB’s ratings under review for downgrade

Published

on

New Delhi, Feb 20: Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday placed under review for downgrade Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) local and foreign currency deposit rating of Baa3/P-3 and foreign currency issuer rating Baa3, an official statement said here.

It said “likely financial impact of the fraudulent transactions is the key driver for the review for downgrade.”

At the same time, Moody’s has placed the bank’s Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA of ba3 and the Counterparty Risk Assessment (CRA) of Baa3(cr)/P-3(cr) under review for downgrade.

PNB, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches in Mumbai, which is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate. The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

“The primary driver for today’s rating action is the risk of weakening of the bank’s standalone credit profile, as a result of the discovery of a number of fraudulent transactions. On February 14, 2018, PNB announced to the Indian stock exchanges that the bank had discovered some fraudulent and unauthorized transactions amounting to Rs 113.9 billion ($1.8 billion),” Moody’s said.

The credit rating agency said the fraudulent transactions represent a contingent liability and the financial impact would be determined by the relevant law in India.

“Nevertheless, Moody’s expects that PNB will need to provide for at least a substantial portion of the exposure. As a result, the bank’s profitability will likely come under pressure, although the actual impact will depend on the timing and quantum of provisions that need to be made, as well as any prospects for recovery,” the statement said.

“The fraudulent transactions represent about 230 basis points of the bank’s risk-weighted assets as of 31 December 2017. As such, PNB’s capital position would deteriorate markedly, and fall below minimum regulatory requirements, if the bank is required to provide for the entire exposure. Consequently, PNB may need to raise capital externally – mainly from the government – to comply with the minimum Basel III capital requirement of an 8 per cent common equity tier 1 (CET1) ratio by March 31, 2019,” Moody’s said.

Moody’s said the review for downgrade will focus on: the timing and quantum of the financial impact of the fraudulent transactions; any management actions taken to improve the capitalisation profile of the bank, and any punitive actions taken by the regulator on the bank.

“Moody’s assumes a very high probability of government support for PNB in times of need, resulting in a three-notch uplift to its deposit and issuer ratings from its BCA. In the review for downgrade, Moody’s will also assess government support for the bank’s deposits and senior unsecured debt.”

Given the review for downgrade, Moody’s said it is unlikely to upgrade PNB’s ratings over the next 12-18 months.

“Nevertheless, Moody’s could affirm the ratings, if the financial impact of the fraudulent transactions is much smaller than what Moody’s anticipates in this rating action, and/or if the bank manages to strengthen its capital position to a level above the minimum regulatory requirements — including the capital conservation buffer — under Basel III standards, and/or the bank returns to profitability on a sustainable basis,” the statement added.

IANS

Continue Reading

Business

Key Indian equity indices open flat

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 33,913.94 points, traded at 33,843.41 points (9.25 a.m.) — up 68.75 points or 0.20 per cent — from its previous session’s close.

Published

on

Mumbai, Feb 20: Key Indian equity indices traded on a flat note on Tuesday with marginal upward movement in both the indices.

The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded at 10,392.90 points, up 14.50 points or 0.14 per cent from the previous close.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 33,913.94 points, traded at 33,843.41 points (9.25 a.m.) — up 68.75 points or 0.20 per cent — from its previous session’s close.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 33,931.90 points and a low of 33,753.50 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was bearish with 603 declines and 466 advances.

IANS

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular