The government is going ahead with its plan to privatise two state-run banks by introducing a Bill in Parliament to amend the relevant banking laws. Meanwhile, reports have emerged that the Centre may not sell its entire shareholding and hold on to a 26 per cent stake in the banks. But what merits does the government see in not letting go of this stake and will this complicate its efforts to attract strategic investors? We will know the quantum of the government’s stake sale in the two public sector banks and data on these transactions in a few weeks. But the government’s relationship with data has always been complicated. When Covid-19 struck India, the only data available was information shared in social media posts by people declaring cases in their vicinity. It wasn’t until the announcement of a nationwide lockdown that the central government started publishing regular updates on its website. State governments took even more time to create their own dashboards.
Since then, there has been some official flow of data, but that has been uneven across states. Business Standard’s Ishaan Gera assessed Covid-19 data made available by the Centre and 35 states and Union territories on 11 key criteria. Ishaan points out India has some course-correction to do, and the pandemic certainly presents an opportunity to do so. Talking of the pandemic, benchmark stock indices saw a major slide on Friday on reports of a new vaccine-resistant Covid variant. Now, they seem poised to log their first monthly loss in eight months in the current month. Will the market correction continue in December too? While the market remains sensitive to the panic triggered by the new Covid variant and other factors, Karnataka has sounded an alert in its districts bordering Kerala, where at least 13 cases of norovirus surfaced two weeks ago. Kerala’s health department -- which was already facing a tough time controlling the Covid-19 outbreak -- has taken all the measures to ensure that Norovirus does not spread. Find what the norovirus infection is and other news in this podcast.