Top of the Morning

What ‘Modi 3.0’ means for your investment portfolio

Episode Summary

Digital competition bill’s impact on your Google search; UCC’s fate in limbo

Episode Notes

Welcome to Top of the Morning by Mint, your weekday newscast that brings you five major stories from the world of business. It's Friday, June 7, 2024. My name is Nelson John. Let's get started:

Indian benchmark indices closed higher for the second day running, buoyed by progress on the formation of a new government by Narendra Modi-led NDA alliance. Both Sensex and Nifty gained almost one per cent on Thursday. 

With the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Modi securing a fractured mandate, India's back to coalition politics. So, what does this mean for the big reforms we've been hearing about? Mint’s Sumant Banerji explains in today’s Primer. Well, green energy reforms like renewables and electric mobility are likely still on the menu. Modi himself has been big on green energy, talking it up in his post-election speech. We've already seen initiatives like the Production-Linked Incentive schemes boosting local manufacturing of EVs and lithium cell batteries. Expect more of these sector-specific perks to roll out, including the next phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme. But what about the sticky issues of labor and land reforms? These have always been tough nuts to crack, and with a coalition, don't expect any sweeping changes soon.

Speaking of reforms and policy decisions that could be put on hold as a result of a coalition government, the BJP might have to give up on its ambitions of introducing a nationwide Uniform Civil Code. Key coalition partners, including the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), have expressed their opposition to the UCC, Mint’s Dhirendra Kumar reports. The proposed UCC aims to standardize personal laws across all religions in India, addressing marriage, divorce, and inheritance with a single legal framework. However, the nuanced victory in the elections means the BJP must rely more heavily on its allies, making contentious legislation like the UCC difficult to advance.

Soon, navigating from Google search results directly to a hotel’s website or Google Maps might become a thing of the past. This change stems from the proposed digital competition bill aimed at putting a stop to anti-competitive behaviours. This proposed bill is about stopping companies from mixing personal or business user data across different services without clear user consent. It also talks about ending 'self-preferencing'—which means a platform can't push its own services in search results. Mint’s senior editor Gireesh Chandra Prasad spoke to industry experts who believe the law intends to enhance market competitiveness and benefit consumers. However, there's concern that broad prohibitions could backfire, diminishing user experience and product effectiveness. For instance, due to these restrictions, users might soon find themselves taking multiple steps to transition from a Google Search result to Google Maps.

Bollywood is hitting the pause button on new projects as the industry grapples with skyrocketing star fees and unpredictable audience tastes. Despite a 20% surge in actor fees post-pandemic, the returns aren't matching up, with several high-profile films flopping at the box office. Big names like Salman Khan and Ranveer Singh are seeing projects stall or fall apart, indicating a deeper malaise in the industry. Cost concerns are forcing some ongoing projects to seek tax rebates by filming in specific locations, while others are slashing marketing budgets to keep expenses in check. A significant challenge lies in the reluctance of stars to accept revenue-sharing models, opting instead to wait out the storm with income from endorsements and social media, rather than lowering their fees. Mint’s media and entertainment correspondent Lata Jha reports on the delay the Hindi film industry is facing with new releases. 

On June 4, the day election results were announced, investors showed evident fear of a coalition government forming at the centre. With the Bharatiya Janata Party's decade of dominance potentially giving way to coalition politics, market jitters have surfaced, but experts argue that investor panic might be exaggerated. The term ‘coalition’ often triggers fears of fiscal irresponsibility due to the complex dynamics of coalition governance. However, it's worth noting that some of India's most significant economic reforms have emerged under coalition governments. These include the economic liberalization initiated by P.V. Narasimha Rao, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act during Manmohan Singh’s administration. These historical precedents suggest that coalitions can indeed facilitate substantial economic reforms. Mint’s Abhishek Mukherjee examines what a coalition government could mean for the stock market and how the third Modi government may requisite some tweaks in your portfolio.

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