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Investcorp aims to expand India business to $1.5 bn in five years

“Source: Livemint”
Mumbai: Bahrain-based alternative investment manager Investcorp aims to grow its business in India to $1.5 billion in assets under management over the next five years, said its executive chairman Mohammed Alardhi.

In January, Investcorp forayed into the Indian market through the acquisition of the private equity and real estate investment businesses of IDFC Alternatives. This formed part of the firm’s global expansion plans under which it plans to nearly double its global AUM to $50 billion by entering new geographies and new lines of business. Investcorp currently has $28 billion worth of assets under management.

“Our vision for the firm is that we want to be a respected global investment firm in the alternatives space. Any gaps we have in the alternative space, we want to fill them. So, we didn’t have an infrastructure business, we started an infrastructure business. We were not in India; we are now in India. We weren’t in China; we are now in China. In the US, we started there four decades ago and now we want to go deeper into that economy,” said Alardhi.

He said the company is interested in India “because it is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, it’s the biggest young population there is in the world, hard-working people and entrepreneurial”.

We want to be a part of this growth. Like in any other economy, there are bottlenecks, there are weaknesses here and there, but we’re here for the long-term,” Alardhi said.

Mint reported in July that Investcorp had closed its maiden India-focused private equity fund at around $150 million. The fund is a top-up of IDFC Alternatives’ fourth PE fund, which managed to raise around $70 million before it was acquired by Investcorp. It is also managing the third PE fund raised by IDFC Alternatives. Since January, the PE fund has invested in four companies—spices maker Integrow, online fashion retailer Bewakoof.com, home rental startup Zolo Stays and New Delhi-based value apparel retail chain, Citykart Retail. Its other investments include InCred Financial Services and eye care hospital chain ASG Eye Hospitals. Through its investments in India, Investcorp aims to tap the country’s consumption growth story and its enablers.

“One of the themes in our investment thesis is the mass-consumption story, but for us it is a little broader than just the consumption of goods. It is also making them available in an affordable format and creating access to good quality goods and services. This includes healthcare, financial services, mass-market consumption, consumer-tech,” said Rishi Kapoor, co-chief executive of Investcorp.

The firm is also eyeing opportunities created by the liquidity crunch in the non-bank lending sector in the country following defaults at Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) group last year.

“If you look at what’s happening in India right now, there is a lack of credit availability. So, we have been providing credit within our real estate business. Now it’s a challenging space on one hand, but precisely because it is a challenging space, there is an opportunity around it. There is an opportunity to generate a good risk-adjusted return for a credible provider of capital within the affordable mid-market housing space,” said Kapoor.

In overseas markets, Investcorp’s strategy is largely focused on acquiring controlling stakes in firms. In India, however, it is currently scouting for minority growth capital investments.

“Our DNA is control deals but we recognize that in markets like India, China and the Middle East, which are all emerging markets, growth capital alongside the promoters and founders has a pivotal role to play,” Kapoor said. “As the market matures, it is inevitable that buyouts will become a greater proportion of the overall PE. Right now, if it is around 20%, it may become higher in India and we will also evolve with the market,” he said.

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Coca-Cola brings Rani Float brand to India

“Source: Livemint”
NEW DELHI : Local arm of beverage maker Coca-Cola on Monday said it has rolled out fruit juice brand Rani Float in India in line with the beverage company’s plans to expand its portfolio beyond its core brands here.

The launch is “the latest example of Coca-Cola’s strategy to offer more choices to consumers and catering to their diverse tastes and preferences across beverage categories,” said T. Krishnakumar, president, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia.

The 180 ml can, priced at 35, will be available in two flavours with fruits locally sourced from India. The move is in line with Coca-Cola’s plans to launch more non-carbonated beverages especially as discerning Indian consumers seek more choices.

Rani Float was launched in 1982, by Saudi Arabia based-Aujan Industries. However, the company formed a joint venture with Coca-Cola in 2011 to create Rani Refreshments which is now the owner of the Rani brand of drinks. The brand has a strong presence in the middle-eastern markets where it also sells other variants such as a sparkling drink, as well as a Rani Cubs drink for kids.

“After many months of preparation, Coca-Cola India, together with its manufacturing and distribution partners, have launched Rani Float and we are now ready to make India a major global market for the Rani brand,” said Abdulla Aujan, chairman of Rani Refreshments.

The brand is already available in top metros. Coca-Cola will launch Rani Float across Reliance Retail stores in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntur, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi NCR, Chennai etc.

Coca-Cola sells brands such as Diet Coke, Thums Up, Limca, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Maaza, VIO flavoured milk, Minute Maid, Schweppes, Smart Water among others in India.

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India to invest Rs 1 trillion in setting up 100 new airports by 2024

“Source:- IBEF”
As per the people with knowledge of the matter, to revive economic growth in Asia’s 3rd largest economy, India is planning to start 100 additional airports by 2024. Along with this the proposal includes the 1,000 new routes which is going to be connected with smaller towns and villages, the sources said last week. The plan was discussed in a meeting to review infrastructure needed by 2025, as stated by sources, as the discussion is private, asking not to be identified. Steps to start a plane-lease financing business in the country was also discussed, they said.

With economic activity at a six-year low and probability of further slowdown looming, to revive the growth and achieve a target of making India a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2025, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen to double down on infrastructure projects. To compete with the likes of Vietnam and Indonesia for investments amid global trade tensions, Government of India cut the corporate tax rates last month, putting India on par with some of the lowest in Asia.

India’s plan to expedite development of airport still trails that of China’s, which has a goal of having 450 commercial airports by 2035, which is almost double the number at the end of 2018.

According to the people, proposal by India’s think tank also includes enhancing the number of locally trained pilots to 600 a year and double the domestic aircraft fleet to 1,200 during the period. To build airports in next 5 years, Government of India has committed the investments of Rs 1 trillion.

Three years back from now, only 75 of India’s 450 runway were functional, as airlines avoided flying to smaller, World War-era airstrips in smaller towns. But with the support of Modi’s subsidy program, which partly funds the airlines who losses while capping fares on remote routes and at the starting of 2019, has also helped by adding 38 airports to nation’s aviation map, although, the contracts were given to airlines to start flights to a further 63 airports with no or limited connectivity.

While the lure of India, with an emerging middle class flying for the first time, has attracted companies such as Singapore Airlines Ltd. and AirAsia Bhd. to set up local units, provincial taxes in the nation make jet fuel one of the most expensive in the world. The government is aware of the high taxation burden and higher jet fuel prices and will rationalize the tax regime as soon as next year, the people said.

They also said, India will also encourage the use of drones, for which the policy has been announced by government this year allowing unmanned vehicles to fly beyond the line of sight, and sees the number of legal drones reaching a million by 2024. By 2021, country will prepare the drone corridors and by 2023, will allow delivery of goods by drones.

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Gartner sees Indian IT firms growing faster in 2020 on rising client spend

“Source:- IBEF”
India IT services companies are likely to grow at the faster rate in 2020 backed by expected growth in IT spending by clients globally during the said period.

According to global research firm Gartner’s report, total spend in the IT services space is likely to grow by 5.5 per cent in 2020 and will touch US$ 1.08 trillion as compared to 3.7 per cent rise estimated for 2019.

The report also stated that this year’s slowdown in spending is not going to be extended in 2020, despite concerns over recession and companies cutting on discretionary IT spending. Demand will mostly be driven by the companies catching up on cloud spending, the report added.

Report indicates that market size of the global cloud computing was US$ 36.7 billion in 2018, which is likely to grow at a CAGR of 29.2 per cent to reach US$ 285 billion by the end of 2025.

“The first phase of cloud adoption is now over. Companies were initially testing to see how the benefits were playing out, but now they are getting on to mainstream.
The sizes of the deals are becoming larger. That is going to be one of the strongest drivers for improved growth of IT services from next year onwards,” said Mr. Harit Shah, IT analyst at Reliance Securities.

Digital transformation will be increasing because small and medium players are going to increase their digital spend and in order to compete with new age-firms, traditional manufacturers will adopt technology.

“Overall the digital trend will continue to accelerate and every company will grow digitally as it directly impacts company’s products, services, business model and revenue, which will translate to larger IT spending,” said Mr Pareekh Jain, founder of Pareekh Consulting and an IT outsourcing advisor.

The US is leading in terms of cloud adoption, whereas, UK and China are also catching up by giving a boost to total cloud spending universe, the Gartner’s report said. “The US is leading in cloud adoption and accounts for over half of global spending on cloud. The country directly behind the US on cloud spending is the UK, which only spends 8 per cent on public cloud services. An interesting outlier is China that has the highest growth of cloud spending of all countries,” the report said.

On overall IT spending, which includes data centre systems, enterprise software, devices, communication services apart from IT services segment, is also likely to grow at a healthy pace in 2020. Total IT spend is projected to touch $3.87 trillion next year, growth of 3.7 per cent as compared to a rise of 0.4 per cent in 2019.

Apart from IT services, enterprise software will be another growth area, which is anticipated to reach to grow at 10.9 per cent reaching US$ 507 billion in 2020. Even communication services, devices and data centre systems will clock growth in 2020 after witnessing a shrinkage in 2019.

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India’s Strategic and Economic Interests will be Protected in Multilateral Engagements: Piyush Goyal

“Source:- IBEF”
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, released the High-Level Advisory Group (HLAG) report today in New Delhi.

In his address at the event Commerce and Industry Minister said that the report shows the way forward for India to become an attractive investment destination by grasping all the opportunities available so that India is able to achieve the target of exports contributing one trillion USD to the GDP. Commerce and Industry Minister thanked the Advisory group for the bold report that has recommendations for industry both manufacturing and services and sectors like textiles, finances and tourism so that India can take its manufacturing potential to 25 percent of the GDP.

During an interaction with the audience after the release of the report Commerce and Industry Minister assured that India will always protect its strategic and economic interests while engaging in multilateral talks. He urged citizens to talk, argue and understand issues and not indulge in creating fear psychosis as the Government of India will never sign on any trade agreement without consultations. He further said that for the regional Economic Partnership Agreement talks that are underway the most extensive stakeholder consultations have been done by the Minister and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

India is also looking at new opportunities and new markets of exports with other geographies like the United States, European Union and United Kingdom informed the Commerce and Industry Minister. He further said that in a globalized world India cannot remain isolated as it will not be in the interests of the industry and the consumers.

The HLAG report has been prepared by the Advisory Group led by Dr. Surjit S. Bhalla to assess the global environment and make recommendations for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations, and mainstreaming new age policy making.

The other members of the Group were S.Jaishankar, former Foreign Secretary, Rajeev Kher, former Commerce Secretary and Member, Competition Appellate Tribunal, Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor, Government of India, Adil Zainul bhai, Chairman, Quality Council of India, Dr. Harsha Vardhana Singh, former DDG, WTO, Dr. Shekhar Shah, DG, NCAER, Dr. Vijay Chauthaiwale, Foreign Policy Advisor, Dr.Pulok Ghosh, IIM Bangalore, Jayant Dasgupta, former Ambassador of India to the WTO, Rajiv K Luthra of Luthra & Luthra and Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII.

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Vu Televisions emerge as market leaders in large size and 4K category in India

“Source: Livemint”
India has seen a boom in the affordable smart TV segment sales in the last few years. California-Indian television player Vu Televisions was among the first to launch a smart TV at an affordable price in India and also among the first to offer online sale of a consumer electronic product back in 2013 with strategic e-commerce partnerships.

The brand has emerged as a market leader with its 4K range of smart TVs reporting sales of over 1, 50, 000 sets in the second half of 2019.

Since its inception in 2006, Vu Televisions has experienced a 30% Y-o-Y growth. In the large-sized television category, it has remained the single largest player with its Vu 100, which is the world’s first and only 100-inch television.

Vu Televisions is focused on delivering high-quality viewing experiences and is upgrading television choices for consumers. Today, a 4K Vu TV is priced at INR 20,000 to ensure that every household is able to adopt a high-end lifestyle product.

The brand offers smart TVs across six categories in 10 sizes. Recently, Vu launched the Ultra Android TV, with the salient feature of Pure Prism Grade High Brightness Panel.

“The Indian market demands a perfect mix of innovation and technology at the right price point. Today, a television is not just a device for viewing entertainment content, but a go-to screen for work, fitness, and socialising. We understand the evolving needs of our consumers and have stayed relevant all along with our unique product offerings,” said Devita Saraf, Chairman and Founder, Vu Televisions.

She was speaking at an event recently hosted at St. Regis in Mumbai, where the Vu Televisions festive showcase collection was launched. The highlight of the range was the Vu Super TV, a newer and upgraded and newer version of the Vu 100.

“This celebration of our leadership across the large-sized TV and the most sought-after 4K TV category is testimony to our strong reach across a diverse audience, and we’ll continue to innovate on this path of consumer-centricity as we move forward,” she added.

Being the face of her own brand, Devita posed for pictures with her exquisite product range at the festive showcase collection launch. “Luxury and technology have so much in common. They’re both about experiences and evolution, and this event is a reflection of that. We hope to continue to deliver high-quality, luxurious viewing experiences to our consumers across the country,” said Devita.

 

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TVS Motor ties up with Cadisa to expand in Central America

“Source: The Hindu Busniess Line”
TVS Motor Company has entered into a partnership with Cadisa, a business group operating across Guatemala and El Salvador, in a move to strengthen its business and increase two-wheeler sales in Central America.

Cadisa will facilitate the opening of 15 flagship outlets for TVS Motor in a phased manner. TVS Motor will also be present in 17 multi-brand outlets and over 150 retail stores across Guatemala. The company will operate over 25 service outlets, too. The range of two- and three-wheeler offerings will be supplemented with attractive retail finance schemes, according to a statement.

“Cadisa has rich experience and understanding of the needs of customers in this region. With this partnership, we will be able to offer customised products with complete service and spare parts for our customers throughout Central America and consolidate our presence in the region,” said R Dilip, Executive Vice-President, International Business, TVS Motor.

“All our outlets will be manned by skilled manpower in line with TVS Motor Company’s global standards. The technology and quality prowess of TVS Motor Company, combined with our network facility, will definitely create an impact in Guatemala and El Salvador,” said Jorge Siekavizza, Senior Director. Cadisa.

New products

TVS Motor presently retails Apache bikes, Wego scooters and King Deluxe three-wheelers. It will partner with Cadisa to showcase three new products at the Expo Moto, to be held in Guatemala City, on November 1-3. Guatemala is said to be the second largest motorcycle market in Central America after Mexico.

All three home-grown players — TVS Motor, Hero and Bajaj — operate there.

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India’s marine exports to China heading for US$ 1 billion mark

“Source:- IBEF”
India’s exports of marine products to China has tripled and touched almost US$ 800 million, in the first nine months of 2019, as per the data released by China’s customs authority recently. India’s marine exports are expected to cross US$ 1 billion mark by the end of this year.  A Chinese trade delegation visited India on 9th October 2019 and signed a contract for import of marine products worth US$ 500 million in the next two years.

The Embassy of India, consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou, under the guidance of Ministry of Commerce and Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has been promoting Indian marine products in China and is engaged with various stakeholders. In order to pitch for India’s strength in this sector, the Embassy of India organized a promotional event and buyer seller meet on marine products in collaboration with MPEDA on the side lines of China Fisheries and Seafood expo in the coastal city of Qingdao, which is also a major port of imports.

Chairman of MPEDA, K.S. Srinivas, led a delegation of more than 40 Indian exporters and exporters associations for the expo which witnessed huge response from Chinese importers with more than 50 participants from 25 major importing companies participating in the event. The CCPIT of Qingdao and CFNA partnered with the Indian Embassy for organizing this event.

Chairman MPEDA briefed about India’s strength in this sector with India emerging as the 4th largest exporters of sea food in the world. India is second largest aquaculture producer, 3rd largest fish producer in the world with exports of marine products worth US$ 7 billion. China is a major importer of marine products with imports of around US$ 12 billion. He also briefed about the efforts being made by India for ensuring quality of its marine products.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Prashant Lokhande, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of India Embassy, emphasized on the huge potential and set an ambitious target of achieving US$ 2 billion exports in near future. He assured all support to Indian exporters and China’s importers and thanked China’s Commerce Ministry and GACC for their support.

Embassy of India has been promoting various products such as Indian grapes, sugar, rice, pharmaceuticals, tea, oil meals, IT and ITeS in which India has proven global strength but little market share in China.

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India signs MoU with Saudi Arabia to launch RuPay card in Gulf Kingdom

“Source: Livemint”
RIYADH : India on Tuesday signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to launch the RuPay card in the country, making it the third nation in the West Asia to initiate India’s digital payment system which will benefit not only the 2.6 million Indians in the Gulf Kingdom but also Haj and Umrah pilgrims.

The RuPay card is a first-of-its-kind Indian domestic Debit and Credit Card payment network, with acceptance at ATMs, POS devices and e-commerce websites. It was launched in 2012 to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India’s vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.

India has already launched the RuPay card in the UAE, Bahrain, Singapore and Bhutan.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, an MoU was signed to launch the RuPay cards in Saudi Arabia, said a joint statement issued at the end of his visit.

There are over 2.6 million Indians working in Saudi Arabia, the largest expatriate community in the country. Nearly two lakh Haj pilgrims and over three hundred thousand Umrah pilgrims from India visit Saudi Arabia every year and acceptance of Rupay card will allow them to transact at cheaper rates.

RuPay is a highly secure network that protects against cyberhacks and is India’s version of Master Card and Visa.

Today, there are close to 500 million RuPay cards in circulation in India.

RuPay has also tied-up with international players like Discover, Japan Credit Bureau and China Union Pay to enhance its international acceptance and recently achieved a milestone of issuing 25 million RuPay cards.

India’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing over the last few years based on burgeoning energy ties besides cooperation in several other areas. Prime Minister Modi’s first visit to Riyadh in 2016 put bilateral ties on a new trajectory.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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NPCI sees UPI’s user base growing fivefold to 500 mn over three years

“Source: Livemint”
National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) expects the user base of real-time payment system Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to expand fivefold to 500 million in the next three years, chief executive officer Dilip Asbe said.

“UPI has recently crossed 100 million users, making it one of the fastest adoptions of any payments system anywhere in the world. NPCI’s objective for the next three years is to expand the UPI user base to 500 million,” Asbe said in an interview. The UPI was developed by NPCI, which is backed by the Reserve Bank of India.

While NPCI will release official data for payments transactions—by value and volume—on November 1, it is learnt from where that UPI transactions hit a new record of nearly 1 billion in October. As much as 955.02 million transactions worth 1.61 trillion were clocked during September, against 93,000 transactions worth 3.1 crore when it was launched three years ago in August 2016.

“It is encouraging to witness digital payments being widely accepted across the country. UPI’s integration with third-party apps and bank support has provided impetus to P2P (peer-to-peer) as well as P2M (person-to- merchant) electronic payments which resulted in this momentous achievement,” Asbe said, adding that in the next two years, the merchant ecosystem will get digitized.

The popularity of UPI can be attributed to its simple, safe and hassle-free system. UPI allows users to transfer money any time across multiple bank accounts, without putting out details of the beneficiary’s bank account.

Amid the government’s aggressive push towards boosting digital payments in the country, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) expects real-time payment system Unified Payments Interface’s (UPI’s) user base to expand five times in the next three years to 500 million, NPCI chief executive officer Dilip Asbe said.

“UPI has recently crossed 100 million users, making it one of the fastest adoption of any payments system anywhere in the world. NPCI’s objective for the next three years is to expand the UPI user base to 500 million,” Asbe told Mint.

The payments system, that has given other digital payment modes such as wallets, debit cards, credit cards, run for their money, was developed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) backed NPCI.

While NPCI will release official data for payments transactions—value and volume–on November 1, it is learnt that UPI transactions have hit a new record of 1 billion in October. As much as 955.02 million transactions worth Rs1.61 trillion were clocked during September, as compared with 93,000 transactions worth Rs3.1 crore when it was launched three years ago in August 2016.

“It is encouraging to witness digital payments being widely accepted across the country. UPI’s integration with third-party apps and banks support has provided impetus to P2P (peer-to-peer) as well as P2M (person-to-merchant) electronic payments which resulted in this momentous achievement,” Asbe said, adding that in the next two years, the merchant ecosystem will get digitized with the number of QR codes set to treble to 30 million.

The rising popularity of UPI can be attributed to its simple, safe, and hassle free system. UPI is a real-time payments system that allows users to transfer money across 24×7 across multiple bank accounts, without putting out details of the beneficiary’s bank account.

Based on the recommendations of the Nandan Nilekani-headed panel report on ‘deepening of digital payments’, NPCI plans to take UPI network global.

“We expect collaboration between fintechs and banks to drive the acceptance abroad. Our focus will always remain on enhancing acceptance infrastructure for digital payments so as to encourage customers towards digital transactions to achieve RBI and government’s less cash objective and facilitate faster adoption of UPI,” he said.

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Mahindra To Acquire 100% Stake In Peugeot Motocycles To Explore New Markets

“Source:- Business World”
Mahindra Two Wheelers Europe, a subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra, will acquire 100 per cent ownership of Peugeot Motocycles (PMTC) to drive future growth in core European markets and expand into new geographies, including select Asian markets.

This growth plan is backed by a robust investment plan which includes introduction of seven new products between 2019 and 2021. The brand’s presence in Europe will be fortified, with France remaining a major market and PMTC’s headquarters continuing to be based at Mandeure. Mahindra Two Wheelers had acquired a 51 per cent equity stake in PMTC from Groupe PSA in 2015. It had infused 15 million euros (about Rs 110 crore) into Peugeot to finance projects implemented through the partnership.

“We are seeing positive momentum at Peugeot Motocycles,” said Rajesh Jejurikar, President of FES & Two Wheelers and Member of the Group Executive Board at Mahindra & Mahindra.

“Kisbee becoming the largest selling 50cc vehicle in Europe, Peugeot Metropolis getting stronger in Europe and China, the positive market response to the new launch of the Urban GT connected Pulsion, are all cases in point. We fully support PMTC’s Performance 2020 and look forward to the future with enhanced optimism,” he said in a statement.

The Peugeot brand will continue to be used in the future under the trade license agreement between PMTC and Peugeot. In addition, the Peugeot design teams will continue to assist in the design and development of PMTC products in close cooperation with the PMTC management and the Mahindra Group.

The transaction will be completed after due process. The Mahindra Group has a diverse portfolio of businesses including the Two-Wheeler Division and markets products under several brands including the Peugeot brand.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and Kuwait in the field of accounting, finance and audit knowledge base

“Source: IBEF”
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for capacity building and strengthening the accounting, financial and audit knowledge base in Kuwait.

Benefits:

The MoU entails that two entities of India and Kuwait which are:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Kuwait Accountants and Auditors Association (KAAA) will work together to hold and conduct technical events, seminars and conferences in Kuwait for the benefit of both organizations’ members and development of their professional expertise. Costs will be shared as agreed in writing by both parties for each event.
  • ICAI and KAAA shall work together for establishing possible cooperation in respect of Corporate Governance, technical research and advice, quality assurance, forensic accounting, issues concerning Small and Medium-sized Practices (SMPs), Islamic Finance, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and other subjects of mutual interest. Both ICAI and KAAA will implement and support provisions of the MoU for cooperation, advancement of accounting knowledge, collaboration to hold professional development and technical events, seminars and conferences. KAAA will provide venue for such events and will encourage its students and faculty members to attend these events.
  • Under the proposed provisions of the MoU, ICAI and KAAA will aspire to discuss potential future developments in the area of mutual collaboration. In the first instance these discussions will be based on gaining an insight into the structure and cooperation, external regulatory and self-regulatory framework and measures governing both the profession and the members of both the organizations. This will be in the interests of improving governance and effectiveness of their respective organizations.
  • KAAA and ICAI will collaborate to offer short-term professional courses in the domain of accounting, finance and audit in Kuwait for Kuwaiti nationals and members of the ICAI.
  • ICAI and KAAA will take appropriate steps and measures to work together for establishing possible cooperation in the identified areas of mutual interest. ICAI will offer technical programs to employees of Kuwait Government/Ministries/KAAA members and Kuwaiti Nationals in collaboration with KAAA.
  • In Kuwait, the Indian Chartered Accountants fraternity is helping the local business community and stakeholders on Financial Reporting matters and is held in high esteem. The proposed MoU is expected to consolidate the trust and help to build a positive image for the Indian Chartered Accountants in Kuwait.
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India’s online grocery retail market to touch $10.5 billion by 2023: Redseer

“Source: Livemint”
BENGALURU : Online food and grocery retail, which currently accounts for just 0.2% of the overall market, is expected to touch $10.5 billion or 1.2% of the overall market by 2023, driven by an increased assortment of products and efforts like express delivery operations, according to a report released by consulting firm Redseer on Friday.

As of now, online platforms including Bigbasket and Grofers have been the most prominent players in the industry. Bigbasket currently has over 100,000 orders a day, while Grofers manages more than 40,000 orders day.

Apart from this, food delivery platform Swiggy also recently ventured into grocery, medicine, and other product deliveries through its Swiggy Stores feature. Other competitors in the space include names like Dunzo, Swiggy-owned SuprDaily, Milkbasket, among others.

The Redseer report also mentioned that the average retail shopper has a household income of more than 12 lakh per annum and falls under the age category of anywhere between 30 to 40.

The report also estimates that a retail shopper buys online at least once a month with an average online transaction value of 900-1200.

Around 35-40% of the shopper’s retails spends from online channels, another 30% to 40% of the retail spends are across local kirana stores, while the rest 20% to 30% of the spends is registered across modern retail formats such as organized brand stores, chain stores, and hypermarkets.

Currently India’s modern retail penetration is at 10% or $82 billion of India’s overall retail sector which is currently estimated at $805 billion as of 2018, according to RedSeer. This organized share is expected to grow at 20% over the next few years to achieve a penetration of 11.8% or $118 billion by 2020 and 14.7% or $204 billon by 2023.

However, online retail still held a minor 3% market share in 2018 and is expected to touch 4.6% share by 2020, and 7% by 2023, according to Redseer data. Increased customer comfort and trust in e-tailing, especially across segments such as electronics and fashion coupled with a strong push by e-grocery players are expected to drive the growth in online retail.

Although though India’s modern retail segment has considerable ground to cover, it is still growing at a slower pace compared to other geographies, Redseer added ​in its report.

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Kotak Mahindra Bank launches first overseas branch at Dubai

“Source: Livemint”
Mumbai: Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd has launched its first overseas branch at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the lender said on Wednesday. This is in addition to the banking unit at the International Financial Centre at GIFT City in Gujarat.

With this branch licence, Kotak can now accept offshore deposits from professional clients based outside the UAE; provide, arrange and advise on offshore credit and offer investment advisory services.

The private sector already has a representative office in Dubai through which it promotes products for non-resident Indians (NRI) both on the liabilities and asset front.

As on September 30, 2019, the bank had a network of 1,512 full-fledged branches and 2,429 ATMs.

On Tuesday, Kotak Mahindra Bank reported net profit of 1,724 crore during the second quarter of the current financial year, up 51% year-on-year.

Net interest income for Q2FY20 increased to 3,350 crore from 2,676 crore in Q2 FY19. Net interest margin, a key indicator of a bank’s profitability, rose to 4.61% from 4.19% last year. The bank’s loan book growth during the quarter slowed to 15% versus a growth of 18% in the last quarter and 21% in the same period a year ago.

However, asset quality weakened in the September quarter with gross non-performing assets (as a percentage of gross advances) rising 13 basis points sequentially to 2.32% and net NPA climbing 12 basis points quarter-on-quarter to 0.85% in Q2.

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India’s contribution to global economic growth may exceed US’ by 2024

“Source: The Hindu Business Line”
The global economy, weighed down by tensions that have stalled international trade and elevated uncertainty, is expected to see slower growth in the next half decade across a wide swath of economies.

China’s growth rate is expected to continue to slow, and will be a smaller driver to global GDP growth in the near term. China’s share of global GDP growth is expected to fall from 32.7 per cent in 2018-2019 to 28.3 per cent by 2024 – a relatively steep 4.4 percentage point reduction.

Weaker global growth, expected to fall to 3 per cent this year and the slowest since the global financial crisis, will affect 90 per cent of the world, according to estimates released this week by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The US, while still expected to contribute a sizeable portion to world growth, is projected to fall to third place, after India. America’s share of global growth is expected to slip from 13.8 per cent to 9.2 per cent by 2024, while India’s share is projected to rise to 15.5 per cent and eclipse the US over this five-year period.

Indonesia will remain in the fourth spot as its economy is expected to have a 3.7 per cent growth share in 2024, a slight downward adjustment from 3.9 per cent in 2019.

The UK will see its importance wane amid Brexit as its economy drops from ninth as a share of world growth in 2019, to 13th. Although world GDP growth attributable to Russia is at 2 per cent now and expected to stay there in five years, the country is likely to displace Japan as the number five growth contributor. Japan will fall to the ninth spot by 2024. Brazil is projected to move up from No. 11 to No. 6. Germany’s share of growth is expected to remain at 1.6 per cent and 7th on the list.

The IMF said new growth engines among the top 20 countries in five years will include Turkey, Mexico, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, while Spain, Poland, Canada and Vietnam drop out of the first 20.

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Blackstone crosses US$ 12 billion investment milestone in India

“Source:- IBEF”
Blackstone Group LP, a New York-based firm, has invested US$ 3.6 billion as of end-September in India, which is a record for a single year in the country, according to a person who is directly familiar with the development.

Total investments by the group across the private equity (PE) and real estate deals have crossed US$ 12.6 billion. The company plans to surpass the US$ 13 billion mark by December 2019, that will also mark its 13th year of operations in the country.

As of end-September, Blackstone made real estate investments of US$ 6.6 billion, surpassing private equity funding of US$ 6 billion.

“This has been a blockbuster year for Blackstone in India in terms of investments, the highest since it set up operations here in 2006,” said the person cited above, who declined to be named. “There are multiple deals in the pipeline, both in PE and real estate, and it will easily cross $13 billion by the end of this year,” the person said.

Blackstone in the sector of real estate has mostly focused on commercial real estate deals. This consist of nearly US$ 5.2 billion of the total investments.

The company has invested US$ 1.6 billion in the real estate in this year alone. The largest transaction includes the acquisition of the remaining stake in Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd’s (IBREL) commercial real estate portfolio and taking full control for over Rs 4,000 crore (US$ 572.33 million).

Blackstone has played a major role in launching India’s first real estate investment trust (REIT) along with its developer partner Embassy Group earlier this year.

The Blackstone is planning its second REIT with partner K Raheja Corp. in Mumbai after the co-owned Embassy Office Parks REIT with Embassy Group.

The first real estate deal was signed in 2008 by the company, though, it started buying office assets in 2011. Along with taking early bets in office assets, the company also has adopted the partnership route in India, by collaborating with regional developers. Blackstone, on the private equity front, has invested around US$ 2 billion this year in sectors such as education, fashion, packaging and housing finance. It has also bought a majority stake in Aadhar Housing Finance Ltd and acquired a stake in companies such as Aakash Educational Services, Essel Propack Ltd, and Future Lifestyle Fashion.

“Blackstone, like some of its peers such as Warburg Pincus, enjoyed an early mover advantage as an investor in India. However, Blackstone displayed a lot of maturity and patience in the way it deployed capital, despite the fluctuations in real estate and other sectors,” said Mr. Shashank Jain, partner of transaction services at PWC India.

As of 30 June 2019, Blackstone, which set up shop in 1985, has US$ 545 billion assets under management across the globe.

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India to produce record cotton crop for 2019-20, predicts USDA

“Source: The Hindu Business Line”
India is set to retain its numero uno position in cotton cultivation globally.

The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimate for the marketing year 2019-20 has projected India’s cotton crop at 305 lakh US bales (each of 217.7 kg), which works out to 390 lakh India bales (each of 170 kg).

Last season in 2018-19, India’s cotton crop was reported decade-low at 312 lakh bales by the apex cotton trade body, Cotton Association of India (CAI).

Increased production

“Production in India — the leading cotton producer — is forecast at 30.5 million bales, 15 per cent above 2018-19, and the second highest on record, as both area and yield in 2019-20 are expected higher. Harvested area in India is projected at a record 12.9 million hectares in 2019-20, as domestic prices and internal support price prospects favour cotton over competing crops,” USDA stated in its international outlook on cotton crop, which was released on October 15, 2019.

The report also noted that the “recent above-average monsoon rainfall will likely provide an extended picking season, which is expected to increase the yield to a 3-year high.”

The cotton trade bodies in India are yet to come out with their own crop estimate while, the first advance estimate by the Government of India has projected cotton crop in the country at 322.7 lakh bales.

This kharif season, India grew cotton on larger area at 127.67 lakh hectares, about 6 lakh hectares more than last year.

It is also indicative from the weak cotton prices in the domestic market, where traders expect crop to be record this year. The cotton prices hovered at 41,900 per candy (each of 356 kg) of ginned cotton with 29 mm variety, down from 43,900 two months ago. International cotton prices quoted at 60.83 cents per pound on ICE futures for December 2019.

As per the USDA, cotton consumption in India is expected to rise 3 per cent, to 247.5 lakh US bales (each of 217.7 kg) in 2019-20 — which is about 316.9 lakh Indian bales (each of 170 kg) — which is equal to the record set in 2015-16.

Supplying cotton to the world

The global cotton players are looking at India, with its record production and likely increased stock situations, to feed the world cotton market.

“India’s increased stock expectations to 134 lakh US bales (or 171.6 lakh India bales)associated with the higher production forecast — contribute significantly to this season’s global stock gain…For India, this season’s projected larger crop is expected to provide an additional 500,000 bales (or 6.4 lakh Indian bales) of exports, with cotton exports rebounding to 4.0 million bales in 2019-20,” the USDA report stated.

The USDA projections hint at expansion in the cotton exports during 2019-20 in Brazil, India and the United States.

The global cotton production in 2019-20 is projected at 124.8 million US bales, about 5.8 million bales (or 5 per cent) above 2018-19. The October production estimate includes decreases for Brazil, Pakistan, Australia, and the United States, which more than offset an increase for India.

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India to spend US$ 1.4 trillion on infrastructure in next five years: Nirmala Sitharaman

“Source:- IBEF”
India plans to spend US$ 1.4 trillion on its infrastructure in next 5 years, to become a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024, according to Union Minister for Finance, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman.

During the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Sitharaman said, for the next 5 years, the task force which has been constituted in finance ministry will draw up a national pipeline. She also said “As we envisage becoming a five trillion-dollar economy by 2024-25, our focus on creating world-class infrastructure has become even more resolute. If we spent US$1.1 trillion on infrastructure in the last 10 years (2008-17), we now are going to invest about US$1.4 trillion in the next five years” along with the statement that the India has took a step forward to enhance the infrastructure investment by launching innovative financial vehicles like Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDFs), Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs), Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) also reposing the framework for municipal bonds.

Sitharaman included the statement, “We are already applying Public Private Partnership (PPP) models in the country. We have adopted the Asset Recycling model to modernize existing infrastructure, like highways, while providing government with upfront capital to support new infrastructure” and for infrastructure investment, India is trying to develop the brownfield assets as a separate asset class.

Another initiative which was set up by government of India is National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) with the aim of achieving channeling investment from the both domestic and international sources into infrastructure.

Sitharaman said “To provide relief by way of income support to the farmers, the government has announced the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) this year…nearly 145 million beneficiaries in total will stand covered under this scheme”. She also stated that to promote the use of organic seeds and natural fertilizers by farmers, India is adopting the Zero Budget Natural Farming model.

She also claimed that, “This will reduce their expenditure and remove their dependence on credit. Such a step would contribute to our goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022”.

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India jumps to 63rd position in World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings

“Source:- IBEF”
India is placed at 63rd position among the 190 countries in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business 2020’ report, 14 places higher than the last time.

The country has improved its performance in six of the ten parameters used for ranking. The improved parameters include starting a business, dealing with construction permits, trading across borders, resolving insolvency, paying taxes and getting electricity.

Though, the performance in areas like getting credit, protecting minor investors and enforcing contracts was same as last year and there was downfall in registration of properties criteria.

The study was carried out in New Delhi and Mumbai, although Bengaluru and Kolkata were speculated to be included this time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set the target for India to break into the top 50 ranking this year but India will have to wait for another year to achieve the target.

“Those economies that score well in doing business tend to benefit from higher levels of entrepreneurial activity and lower levels of corruption,” the World Bank report said.

The advancement of neighbouring economies provides a push for regulatory change along with the economic reason.

According to the report, India abolished filing fees for the SPICE company incorporation form, electronic memorandum of association and articles of association making it easier to start a business. The process was updated, leading to reduction in the time and cost of obtaining construction permits and improved building quality control by strengthening professional certificate requirements.

Trading across the borders is made easier by enabling post-clearance audits, a single electronic platform integrated for trade stakeholders, upgradation of port infrastructures and enhancement of the electronic submission of documents.

Reorganisation proceedings are promoted in order to resolve the insolvency. The report added, India also made resolving insolvency more tough by not permitting dissenting creditors to get as much under reorganisation as they would receive in liquidation.

The top ten economies that have seen the improvement, including India, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China and Nigeria, implemented one-fifth of all the reforms recorded worldwide in 2018-19, the report said.

According to the report, ‘Doing Business’ analyses regulation in 12 areas of business activity in 190 economies that encourages efficiency and supports freedom to do business. The parameters that are not included in the ranking process are regulation on employing workers and contracting with the government.

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Honeywell aims to digitally transform commercial buildings in India

“Source:- Livemint”
Bengaluru: The advent of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technologies is leading the commercial real estate industry to push its boundaries and move towards its long-term goal of achieving self-operating autonomous buildings.

As digital transformation becomes a top priority for the real estate sector, Honeywell with its ‘Forge for Buildings’ platform is aiming to reduce the operating expense of a building by up to 25% with its advanced technologies. The cloud-based software aims to transform the way companies in India collect, analyse and act on data by optimising their enterprise on a single screen using advanced data analytics.

The opportunity for Honeywell to tap the Indian real estate market is significant as the real estate sector in India is expected to reach a market size of $1 trillion by 2030 from $120 billion in 2017 and contribute to 13% of the country’s GDP by 2025, according to India Brand Equity Foundation.

“Honeywell Forge for Buildings converts massive quantities of data from equipment, processes and people into intuitive, actionable insights that enable monitoring of enterprise operations from a single screen. Through predictive analytics it helps identify maintenance issues in advance, enabling workers to be more productive, proficient and safe; reduce costs; and increase productivity,” the company said in a statement.

“Buildings house an incredible amount of data, but most buildings have multiple systems within them making it difficult to access, interpret and put that data to use. Honeywell Forge for Buildings is an enterprise software platform that allows owners and operators to get more insights out of their building data in order to drive significant business results,” said David Trice, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Connected Buildings.

Currently, many building portfolio owners have multiple disconnected systems in each building. These systems often do not communicate with and are not compatible with each other, leading to manual maintenance, data trapped in proprietary systems, disconnected teams and systems, over- or underutilised space, and poor occupant experience.

“Access to new types of building data is giving owners and operators the ability to make more informed decisions to make the most of their technology investments and reap cost savings that affect the corporate bottom line. Achieving operational efficiency will be the key differentiator,” Siddhartha Chatterjee, sales leader, Honeywell Connected Buildings, India said.

Honeywell in India has three manufacturing and engineering operations, and five global centres of excellence for technology development and innovation. Honeywell which announced its third quarter earnings on 17 October said its organic sales grew 3% driven by aerospace, process solutions, and building technologies.

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Coca-Cola says India now fourth-largest market for its ‘smartwater’ brand

“Source:- Livemint”
New Delhi: Indians seem to buying more packaged premium bottled water. In its third-quarter earnings released on Friday, American beverage company Coca-Cola said that India is now the fourth-largest market globally for its brand of premium bottled water called ‘smartwater’.

The company announced its earnings for the third quarter ended September 27, 2019, on Friday.

In the Asia-pacific region unit case volume grew 4%, the company said in its release, “due to broad-based growth across the majority of key markets, partially offset by a decline in Japan. Volume growth was led by Southeast Asia, China and India.”

The company however, does not share India-specific numbers.

Coca-Cola’s push to expand the reach and sell more on-the-go beverage packs of its brands also helped it draw volume growth in the market, the company’s top management told investors.

“In India, for example, immediate consumption transactions have grown double-digits year-to-date, fuelled by adding more than 650,000 new customer outlets during the year and placing more than 25,000 additional coolers in the market,” James Quincey, chairman, and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, told investors during the company’s earnings call. Immediate consumption packs are on-the-go packs which are consumed instantly and different from in-home, large pack sizes.

Price and volume mix grew 2% for the quarter, largely driven by solid performance from the company’s bottling operations in India, the company said of growth in its bottling operations.

The local arm of the beverage maker launched its ‘smartwater’ brand in 2017 in India to expand its portfolio of beverages beyond fizzy drinks to juices such as Minute Maid, bottled water Kinley, energy drink BURN, and flavoured milk, among others.

Its ‘smartwater’ is sold as a premium product globally and became the fourth water brand to be launched by Coca-Cola in India.

In the last one year the brand has leveraged celebrity endorsements to become the second-largest premium water brand in the market, the company said. “In the explorer and challenger phase, the company leveraged local celebrity endorsements and digital marketing to drive brand edge while expanding distribution in select channels as a premium offering,” the company said.

The bottle is sold at 50 for 750 ml on e-commerce websites and modern trade shops and is endorsed by actors Radhika Apte and Rana Daggubati.

The brand has set a target to reach 90,000 outlets by the end of 2019.

Globally, Coca-Cola reported a net revenue growth of 8% to $9.5 billion during the quarter. Its signature Coca-Cola brand posted a retail value growth of 6% globally (year-to-date) “through an accelerated pace of innovation and optimizing price pack architecture in the marketplace.” Interestingly, the largest contributor to this growth was its flagship US market, where business was “driven by continued double-digit volume growth in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, in addition to strong growth in smaller packages,” the company said.

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With 21 unicorns, India has emerged as the third largest ecosystem for startups.

“Source:- IBEF”
As per the Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019, with the 21 unicorns, India has emerged as the third largest ecosystem for more successful startups right behind the China and US but ahead of Britain and Israel.

In India, payment solution platform, One97 communication (US$ 10 billion), are the leading the bunch followed by cab aggregator Ola Cabs (US$ 6 billion), online educator Byjus (US$ 6 billion) and travel-stay finder OYO Rooms (US$ 5 billion).

China pipped the USA to lead by 206 versus 203, together accounting for over 80 per cent of the worlds’ unicorns. Europe has 35 unicorns. Hurun Research found 494 unicorns in the world, based in 25 countries and 118 cities. Set up seven years ago on average, they are worth US$ 3.4 billion on average and US$ 1.7 trillion in total.

“These young companies, only seven years old on an average, are the worlds’ most exciting start-ups, leading a new generation of disruptive technology,” Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher, Rupert Hoogewerf, said. According to the list, Beijing is leading with 82 unicorns is now the world’s unicorn capital distantly ahead of San Francisco with 55 followed by Shanghai, New York and Hangzhou.

As a region, Silicon Valley leads the world with 102 or 21 per cent of the worlds’ unicorns. The list showed e-commerce and fintech make up 31 per cent of the worlds’ unicorns, followed by cloud and AI.

The worlds unicorns span 25 industries, with the Big 5 Industries making up half of the total.

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India Retains World’s Fastest-Growing Economy Rank, Tying With China: IMF

“Source: ABP News”
New York: In the gloomy global economic picture painted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India retains its rank as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, tying with China, with a projected growth rate of 6.1 per cent for the current fiscal year, despite an almost one per cent cut in the forecast. However, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) released on Tuesday projected India’s economy to pick up and grow by 7 per cent in the 2020 fiscal year. The WEO cut India’s growth rate by 0.9 per cent from the 7 per cent made in July and by 1.2 percent from the 7.3 per cent in April.

In contrast to the dark view of the economy within India, when viewed globally, the nation’s picture seems brighter despite the cuts. The world economy is projected to grow only 3 per cent this year and 3.4 per cent next year amid a “synchronised slowdown”, according to the WEO.

Explaining the cut in growth projection for India, the WEO said: “India’s economy decelerated further in the second quarter, held back by sector-specific weaknesses in the automobile sector and real estate as well as lingering uncertainty about the health of non-bank financial companies.”

It added that “corporate and environmental regulatory uncertainty” were other factors that weighed on demand. IMF’s projected growth rate of 6.1 per cent for 2019-20 is consistent with the Indian Monetary Policy Committee’s forecast.

About the international scenario, IMF’s Chief Economist Gita Gopinath wrote in the foreword to the WEO: “The global economy is in a synchronized slowdown, with growth for 2019 downgraded again – to 3 percent – its slowest pace since the global financial crisis (in 2007-08). This is a serious climb down from 3.8 percent in 2017, when the world was in a synchronised upswing.”

WEO projected China’s economic growth to slow down to 5.8 per cent next year. In the Euro area, growth is projected to be only 1.2 percent this year and 1.4 next year, with the German economy expected to grow by a dismal 0.5 per cent this year.

United States is expected to slightly better with a 2.1 per cent growth projected for this year and 2.4 per cent for the next. Gopinath blamed the global slowdown on rising trade barriers, uncertainty surrounding trade and geopolitics, and structural factors, such as low productivity growth and an aging population in developed countries.

WEO said India’s growth in 2019 is sharply lower than the 6.8 per cent in 2018 “for idiosyncratic reasons, but is expected to recover in 2020”. The reduction in India’s growth projection for this year “reflects a weaker-than-expected outlook for domestic demand”, WEO said.

India’s future “growth will be supported by the lagged effects of monetary policy easing, a reduction in corporate income tax rates, recent measures to address corporate and environmental regulatory uncertainty, and government programs to support rural consumption”, it added.

In the medium term, the IMF expects India’s growth to stabilise at about 7.3 per cent over the medium term, based on continued implementation of structural reforms. The IMF suggested that India should use monetary policy and broad-based structural reforms to address cyclical weakness and strengthen confidence.

It said: “A credible fiscal consolidation path is needed to bring down India’s elevated public debt over the medium term. This should be supported by subsidy-spending rationalisation and tax-base enhancing measures.”

Other measures it suggested included reducing the public sector’s role in the financial system, reforming the hiring and dismissal regulations that “would help incentivise job creation and absorb the country’s large demographic dividend”, and land reforms to expedite infrastructure development.

The auto sector is one of the areas seriously affected globally, according to the WEO. “The automobile industry contracted in 2018 for the first time since the global financial crisis, contributing to the global slowdown since last year,” it said.

Global car sales fell by three per cent last year, while the number of automobile units manufactured declined by 1.7 per cent, in value terms it fell by 2.4 per cent, WEO said. The number of auto units produced by China fell by four per cent, its first decline in more than two decades, according to the WEO.

It said the two main reasons for the decline of the auto sector were the removal of tax breaks in China and the rollout of new carbon emission tests in Europe. The auto industry, it noted, had a large global footprint and vehicles and related parts are the world’s fifth largest export product, accounting for about 8 percent of global goods exports in 2018.

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Intel aims to boost domestic production, says country head Rai

“Source:- Livemint”
Bengaluru: Over the last two decades, tech giant Intel Corp has invested nearly $5 billion in India. The firm has its second-largest design center in India, after the US. Nivruti Rai, country head, Intel India, believes Intel India is the “microcosm of Intel”, doing cutting edge work in product manufacturing and development as well as new technologies. Edited excerpts:

What is Intel India’s role in enabling local manufacturing of IT products?

The Indian manufacturing industry will play a key role in realising the government’s vision – to become a $5-trillion economy by 2024. Technology manufacturing, in particular, can play an important role in accelerating the growth of this sector and helping realise India’s potential as the manufacturing hub of the world. Intel as a company is trying to boost IT products manufacturing in India and encourage local manufacturing by building a supply chain ecosystem or, match-made them with some of our global partners to ensure that they are going up the value chain of building a new product.

For example, in the case of Coconics, a brand that is being guided and supported by Intel, is a public-private company set up in Kerala aimed at building locally manufactured PCs. Through Coconics, Intel has enabled the local ecosystem to serve the local market needs. At MAIT’s Electronics Manufacturing Summit 2019, Coconics unveiled a range of laptops designed and set to be manufactured in India. These laptops were built with Intel processors and Intel had closely collaborated with Coconics through the course of product development to enable innovation across their product and supply chain. Our work with Coconics is one of several examples where we have not only enabled the local ecosystem to serve the local market needs, but also connected the ‘Make in India’ initiative with both local and global demand.

Tell us about your focus on high-performance computing?

India has a strong foundation and technology capability to continue to expand and develop supercomputers and HPC (high-performance computing) for both major organizations and enterprises. Intel is the foundation of the vast majority of the world’s supercomputers today and we continue to invest in an unparalleled portfolio of data center products with a compelling roadmap that solves our customers’ most demanding and evolving needs. Only Intel offers the breadth of solutions that can be precisely and comprehensively tailored for their specific requirements today plus provide the agility for the future. Intel, along with the HPC community, is driving the paradigm shift to this new era of HPC/AI convergence with advanced technology, service and software support enabling the breadth of innovation throughout the HPC community.

How important is India for Intel?

Intel India is very aptly called the microcosm of Intel, which means that almost every work that Intel works towards creating a product happens out of India as well. And outside of the US, we are the largest design community for Intel. And as a result, we have been doing cutting edge work, whether it is in the technology development like AI (Artificial Intelligence), 5G, Blockchain, graphics, accelerators, or in the space of driving product development, be it laptops, desktops, servers, cloud network, automotive, we are engaged in almost every single technology and every single product.

Having said that, you know, there are certain technologies where we have a tremendous amount of leadership. One of the AI products that drive inferencing, the engine inside that product was ideated, built and developed out of the team here and now, that product is critical for inferencing for the whole company. We have a design center in both Bangalore and Hyderabad. We have invested about $5 billion in the last 20 years. So, you can think that every four years we spent $1 billion and this is about a unique approach that Intel has, where we invest in the country we are in. This means India is important and, therefore, these kinds of investment are being made in design houses, in labs, in technology development.

What are some of the new things Intel India is working on?

The shift that we are making within Intel and Intel India is to become a more and more data-centric company. We believe that for tomorrow, technologies like AI, technologies like cloud-enabling, analytics, better storage, and better transmission will be required in every single segment, whether it is for health, smart Mobility, FinTech, retail or in the space of agriculture. So, we believe this is the enablement that Intel will work on, which is smart network, smart storage, newer technologies, analytics with AI engines, enabling different use cases as well as build the smartest compute.

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‘Dutch companies see India as an attractive investment destination’

“Source:- Livemint”
Indian and Dutch companies have signed about 40 business-to-business (B2B) pacts worth €650 million in areas of water, agriculture, and health, on the sidelines of a visit by the Dutch royal couple King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima to India. Dutch companies see India as a favourable investment destination and are encouraged by steps taken by the Indian government such as the recent reduction in corporate taxes, said Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink, the vice president of European employers’ organization, Ceemet, which represents 200,000 companies. Hamming-Bluemink is leading the 150-member Dutch business delegation visiting India. Edited excerpts from an interview.

What is your opinion of the investment climate in India?

I would say that we have had a very successful visit. We have 250 participants in the trade delegation in the field of water issues, in the field of health, and in the field of agriculture and also in the field of high tech(nology). Those really are the issues, the requirements of India of today. If you look at the sustainable development goals and (the aim of) trying to uplift the citizens of India, you will need a lot of technological solutions. Technology will make the world better. The Netherlands is well placed for that because we are number four in the world in innovation. We are number four in the global innovation index and the number one country in terms of competitiveness in Europe. Our secret is—and that is what we would like to share with India—that we work closely together in innovation, with the business community, with the knowledge institutes, and with the government. We call them the triangle because working in this kind of an ecosystem will accelerate innovation. The two days we have spent so far in India have been inspiring. Now, if we could really link our knowledge of innovation and ecosystems to the scale of India with the requirements of today and we did during the last two days and it was a wonderful match. So actually, one of the reasons to come here was also the Tech Summit and the Tech Summit has got co-creation as a theme and this is also what we have experienced—how we can co-create and help each other achieve more.

India recently reduced corporate tax rates for companies. What do you think of the move?

I think that makes India a very attractive destination for investments. I am really very positive about that.

You have been in India for several days now. Has the trade delegation had any success with clinching any business agreements on this trip?

Yes, the agreements we signed total to €650 million of contracts. So, that is quite a lot. More importantly, we are here not for a quick win but for a kind of roadmap for the future. So what we took is an initiative and we call it the “WAH” initiative. In Hindi “WAH” stands for great. But I find it not really a coincidence that it also stands for the abbreviation “Water, Agriculture and Health”, so that is the new name for an initiative that we took for the next few years to work together on this issue. If you look at the sustainable development goals, of course you talk about affordable health for everyone, water management for everyone, anti flooding actions but also clean water and sanitation and for agriculture, doubling the wages of farmers by means of more clever agriculture. We are the second largest exporter in the world in the field of agriculture and horticulture. So we can actually share our knowledge. If you look at how you do business nowadays it is like sharing knowledge, then you can achieve more.

So all the agreements that have been signed are in these three areas, water, agriculture and health?

Yes and also in high tech. There is one huge contract with a Dutch company called NXP. NXP is a chip (semiconductors) maker. It has now found a partner in India with the name HCL with government help to bring the top product because NXP is world leader in this. Together they will bring new chips with new sensors. It is an example of the great success of this mission. This is an example of the great success of this business delegation. I also spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to President Ram Nath Kovind and what we have offered is to join your missions like Make in India, Smart Cities.

India and Netherlands don’t have a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement. Is that an impediment for inflow of investment into India from your country?

I can’t really answer this question right now. What we have discussed with Indian ministers is “ease of doing business” and we would want this relationship to flourish. Of course, there are obstacles but I am sure we can work that out. That is what is also on our agenda.The obstacles are on the regulatory side so we will work on that. Our business community is really very eager to work with Indian companies.

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Online marketplaces unlock export opportunities in ASEAN

“Source:- Austrade”
Austrade’s new E-commerce in ASEAN: A guide for Australian business report provides a snapshot of the e-commerce market in seven ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – to help Australian exporters compare each market and identify which to target.

The ASEAN e-commerce market has quadrupled between 2015 and 2018, generating US$23 billion in gross merchandise value in 2018. Growth is predicted to accelerate to 2025, when e-commerce is expected to be worth US$102 billion.

‘The ASEAN region is one of the fastest growing in the world and it’s right on Australia’s doorstep,’ says Sally-Ann Watts, General Manager ASEAN, Austrade. ‘With online shopping so pervasive among the region’s consumers, Australian companies should consider including e-commerce platforms as a key export channel in their business strategy.’

The growth in e-commerce activity across ASEAN is driven by an aspirational middle class that is comfortable using online marketplaces and social media platforms.

Australian exporters can sell their products on international e-commerce platforms including Amazon and Lazada, or home-grown marketplaces such as Tokopedia in Indonesia.

The report also describes the logistics challenges and opportunities exporters should be aware of when considering a market.

For detailed information on individual ASEAN markets, please read Austrade’s guides to the e-commerce markets in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Software products are booming: TCS COO

“Source:- IBEF”
India’s largest IT service company, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS), is planning to become the country’s largest software product company by following a new way for itself, as the revenues of the company have already passed the billion-dollar-mark.

Digitate, a TCS unit which was created three years back, is a pure-play software products company, having its own HR rules, start-up culture, and different pay scales. Digitate will be soon reaching the targeted US$ 100 million revenue mark. The other software products of the company already generate over a billion dollars in revenues, as per TCS’ Chief Operating Officer, Mr. NG Subramaniam.

Mr. Subramaniam added that overall products business of the company is way above billion dollars already, and in coming future the company could, even list some of these product units on the stock exchange as independent firms.

“We have multiple products companies and our intent is to keep them within TCS. If an opportunity comes to list them separately, we will. But right now, we are building products and services to be a strong services company that also has products,” said Subramaniam.

The chunk of revenues apart from Digitate comes from TCS BaNCS, according to Subramaniam. Digitate is one of the fastest growing pure-play software products in the world.

Mr. Subramaniam added, “Our BFSI platforms is big business right now… TCS BanCs today has close to 500 clients that run their day-to-day core operations on our platform”. In the last few years, the company has focused its investment in three Ps — products, platforms and patents. These Ps help in future proofing the services business along with allowing TCS to create new capabilities that can be sold at much higher margins.

By September 30, 2019, the company has been granted 1,121 patents out of the 4,874 patents that were applied. 192 patents were applied during the first quarter of FY20. The granted patents are mostly for software products. The benchmark set for the products businesses is much higher when it comes to margins, according to Mr. Subramaniam. The investments that comes into the company are aimed at bringing in higher margins along with the ability to offer unique capabilities.

Mr. Subramaniam futher added, “Digitate is a strategic unit; TCS Financial Services that runs TCS BanCS is a separate business unit, and TCS BFSI platform is a separate business unit. We call them strategic growth businesses. We have kept them separate because fundamentally they work differently from services. Pure-play services business remains separate.”

Digitate has only one commercial product, named Ignio, which is a cognitive automation tool that competes with the likes of IBM Watson. TCS other software products include digital learning tool TCS iON, TCS Algo Retail, focused product for retailers; and TCS BaNCS, which is the largest product so far, having a core banking software product suite. TCS is also making use of other channel partners to increase the growth of the products business, starting with selling Ignio.

“So far we had been selling Digitate through our own internal sales team and integrated Ignio into our solutions.

“Now we have taken a conscious decision to appoint channel partners to accelerate sales. We have started onboarding partners in the last two quarters. In this quarter, we onboarded three more partners,” said Subramaniam.

“Opportunity for us is to make, for example, TCS Financial Services a pure products company and outsource implementation to the services team (within TCS) as a systems integrator,” said Subramaniam. In order to avoid any conflict of interest with clients, TCS is keeping the software products divisions completely away from the services unit.

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India to be innovation capital of the world; Start-ups to power India’s growth: Piyush Goyal

“Source:- IBEF”
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Mr. Piyush Goyal participated in the 3rd edition of India Energy Forum 2019 by CERAWeek in New Delhi today. Piyush Goyal was part of the Indian Ministerial panel along with R. K. Singh, Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Pralhad Joshi, Minister of Coal and Mines. The discussions were conducted by Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer prize winning author, speaker and energy expert.

During the discussions Commerce and Industry Minister said that India has naturally emerged as the startup capital of the world with the highest registered startups and he applauded the suo moto decision of the oil PSUs, under the Petroleum Ministry, to set up a startup fund that will encourage Indians to innovate and set up their own companies. Piyush Goyal further said that India will soon become the innovation capital of the world and informed that during his interactions with young innovators, even in the remote parts of the country, youngsters come forth with bright ideas to solve number of economic and social problems that prevail in India today. He said that he is extremely proud of the young girls and boys who are the driving force behind the start-up revolution taking place in India today.

Commerce and Industry Minister further said that he is not worried about the state of the world in this time of trade wars as these were issues waiting to be addressed. He further added that countries of the world cannot develop when few countries are giving subsidies and nurturing an eco-system of unfair trade and competition among industries’ the need of the hour to have a more balanced development across the world and distributed sources of wealth creation, said Piyush Goyal. There is need for free trade but there is greater need for fair trade said Commerce and Industry Minister as this will work in the interests of all countries and India supports the new dynamics of world trade. He further said that multilateralism will prevail, and India supports all fair and honest global efforts to do away with all unfair trade practices. He further informed that India will continue to support those countries that are struggling to get manufacturing back to their own countries and hoped that the existing system of prosperous countries outsourcing their pollution and emission to the developing world, in the garb of creating jobs but in reality ruining the health of the population and destroying the future prosperity of the citizens by outsourcing problems to developing countries, must stop immediately.

Piyush Goyal also informed that by 2023 Indian railways will be fully electrified and by 2030 the Indian Railways will use only renewable and clean energy. He hoped that there will be more FDI in the energy sector as 100 per cent FDI is allowed in this sector and there is requirement of around 70 billion US$ investment in India’s energy sector which is on the cusp of a revolution as there is great demand for energy in India because the country hopes to achieve self-sufficiency in domestic production of the energy requirements for every household. During this interaction he further informed that the India – US relations are robust with great potential to move forward and it is time for India – US relations to make a quantum leap if trade between the two countries must reach half trillion US$.

India is the third largest energy consumer in the world in absolute terms, after the United States, but per capita energy consumption is very low. There is need for a healthy mix of all commercial energy sources and India is today on the path of energy transition where 95% of households have access to electricity in the country today but there is increasing demand for energy which has to be fulfilled if India has to achieve the target of 450 megawatts set by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

During the India Energy Forum delegates from Indian and regional energy companies, institutions and governments participated in various sessions related to the energy sector in New Delhi from October 13-15, 2019.

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MG Motor India partners eChargeBays for setting up home charging infrastructure for EVs

“Source: Economic Times”
New Delhi: MG Motor India on Wednesday said it has partnered with eChargeBays, a Delhi-based start-up, for setting up home charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).

The partnership comes ahead of the company’s launch of the its electric SUV EV., in December 2019.

As part of the partnership, MG will send experts to identify the best way in which MG ZS EV buyers can install an EV charger at home, the company said in a statement.

Commenting on the collaboration, MG Motor India President & Managing Director Rajeev Chaba said, “our latest association is aimed at supporting the government’s EV vision by providing a viable residential EV charging infrastructure.”

It also highlights MG’s commitment towards going the extra mile and delivering a convenient ownership experience for its EV customers, he added.

MG’s partnership with eChargeBays is the latest in a series of alliances with EV charging players aimed at creating a robust charging infrastructure in the country.

The company has already partnered with Fortum  and Delta  Electronics India for the fast charging and slow charging segments, respectively.

Rajesh Singh, Founder & CEO, eChargeBays, said most prospective EV buyers are hesitant on account of the limited charging infrastructure available.

“We aim to provide Indian car owners with a robust and safe one-stop solution for their home charging-related needs using our homeCharge solution,” he added.

Apart from this, eChargeBays will also launch a series of service solutions in the charging infra space which would aim at providing a seamless EV charging experience to EV customers, Singh said.

The MG ZS EV is a global product and has already received 2,000 orders within two months of its UK launch, the company said.

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India soon to become largest market for Unilever, says HUL chief

“Source: The Hindu Business Line”
India could soon become FMCG giant Unilever’s largest market globally driven by the factors such as rising disposable incomes and a large young working population in the country.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the FICCI Massmerize 2019 on Wednesday, Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd , said, “ For Unilever, India is currently the largest market in volume terms and the second largest in value terms and in the very near future we clearly see a day when we would become the largest market for Unilever in the world.” He did not specify a time frame for the same.

Mehta’s comments come at a time when the FMCG industry is battling with a consumption slowdown, especially in rural markets.

He said that India’s consumption story is expected to be fuelled by rising affluence as a large chunk of people move from the bottom of the pyramid to the lower middle-class and from the lower middle-class to the upper echelons.

Mehta pointed out that per capita consumption of FMCG products is known to rise by 20-30 per cent with changes in the family structure from a joint family system to a nuclear family system.

Rapid urbanisation, rising number of nuclear families, growing penetration of organised retail and e-commerce channel will also further stimulate consumption in the country, he added.

Betting on kirana stores

He stressed that kirana and general trade stores will continue to play a key role. “In India, we have 10 million stores and for nearly 100 million people food on the table depends on the kirana or neighbourhood stores. So we cannot ignore or bypass them. Today, technology allows us to connect them and bring the science of retail to them,” Mehta said, adding that the onus to make this technological upgradation of the kirana stores also lies on big corporations.

According to a report released by FICCI and Deloitte at the event, Indian retail market is estimated to reach $1,200 billion by 2021 and $1,750 billion by 2026. It added that while the share of the organised retail and the e-commerce channel is likely to increase, the traditional retail is expected to continue to hold a major share of the Indian retail market. “The traditional kirana stores form the backbone of Indian retail, and currently hold an 88 per cent share of the total retail market,” the report said.

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Cargill to invest US$ 160 million in the next three years in new businesses

“Source:- IBEF”
Cargill, a global food and agriculture company plans to invest US$ 160 million in the next three years for fresh acquisitions, including brands, geographical and product-line expansions, two senior officials from the company said. It has promised US$ 240 million investment in the coming three years.

As this investment will be processed, the company’s total investment in India will touch almost US$ 750 million that includes around US$ 500 million in various facilities across the country over the years.

“Discussions are on towards increasing farmers’ income and productivity. We think that Cargill’s various businesses from agricultural supply chain, food and animal nutrition could play a big role in the months to come,” said Mr. Marcel Smits, chairman and chief executive officer, Asia Pacific, Cargill.

Cargill India President Mr. Simon George said, “Cargill has so far invested US$ 80 million of the promised US$ 240 million in India and the remaining will be done in the next 36 months in a host of initiatives.” The so far amount of US$ 80 million has been invested in US$ 20 million in an aqua feed facility in Andhra Pradesh, US$ 20 million in a state-of-the-art silo to store corn in Davangere having a capacity of 60,000 tonnes. The company also plans to set up a feed meal plant in Kota of Rajasthan.

Cargill also has a commodities business in India, under which it has sourced almost 13 commodities from around 300,000 farmers in 2018-19, totalling 600,000 metric tonnes.

“In India, the government plays an important role in the agriculture sector, which is largely self-sufficient. Our commodities business is relatively smaller here compared to other parts of the world and largely domestic. However, all that is rapidly changing. Going forward, one would have to be well integrated with the global supply chains to stay globally competitive,” Smits said.

The intervention by the government makes the business little less predictable for industries like commodities, when compared to other countries, but since the size of commodities business is small, it does not have much impact on their overall operations. According to the company, the policy interventions in duty structure do not impact them much as there is still level field for all.

The edible oil business of the company consists of both as a bulk importer and also a leading player in the branded edible oil segment in India. This forms an important portion of revenues of the company from India.

According to Mr. Smits, “Globally, Cargill has long been a strong votary of free trade and we strongly feel that if the world has to feed 9.5 billion people by 2050, it has to allow comparative advantages to play out which can be best done through free-trade.” He further added that free trade is not a zero-sum game, which means that all sides can have a win-win situation.

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Samsung plans four IoT experience centres in India

“Source:- Livemint”
NEW DELHI : South Korean multinational Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd plans to set up four more state-of-the-art experience centres to showcase its end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to drive growth in its India business.

Samsung said such centres will help familiarize consumers with its solutions for smarter homes and, this in turn, will help boost sales. The experience centres are likely to come up in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.

The company opened its first mobile experience centre for the Indian market in Bengaluru in September 2018.

The 33,000-sq.ft store at the Opera House off Brigade Road—a standalone property used during the British era to stage plays—houses Samsung’s largest mobile experience centre globally.

“We will launch four more such centres in other metro cities,” Raju Pullan, senior vice-president, consumer electronics business, Samsung India, said in an interview.

He, however, did not share the investment details or the timeline for setting up these centres.

The Opera House’s experience zone displays all its existing IoT-enabled products, besides smartphones and wearable devices. Consumers can also experience virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI)-based products.

That apart, consumers can pre-book the home theatre zone at the Opera House to watch movies.

The expansion of IoT experience centres is in line with Samsung’s overall strategy to develop an artificial intelligence-based ecosystem, including solutions for homes and workplaces. These experience zones will be later extended to the company-owned branded stores.

“Samsung Bixby is the platform that we are investing in India. The investments on Bixby have not only been in mobiles or TV, but also to make, for example, refrigerators smarter. Like the Family Hub (for) the fridge, the microwave and washing machine can also be connected to one ecosystem,” Pullan said.

Samsung’s Family Hub smart refrigerators are Bixby-enabled, a virtual assistant developed by Samsung. The fridge allows users to answer calls or access third-party apps from a Galaxy smartphone, or help find nearby restaurants, share notes, pictures, videos and music using the Family Board feature.

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Minda to acquire Germany based lighting company Delvis Gmbh in multi-million Euro deal

“Source – The Hindu Business Line”
Auto components supplier Minda Industries Limited (MIL),part of Uno Minda Group on Tuesday said that it has entered into definitive agreement with shareholders of Germany based Delvis Gmbh, to acquire 100 per cent interest in the company in a multi-million Euro deal.

Delvis Gmbh is an automotive lamps engineering, design company & testing. The enterprise value of the company along with its two subsidiaries Delvis Solution and Delvis Products is around Euro 21 million, subject to adjustments, if any, at closing,Minda Industries Limited said in a statement.

“The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and other regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to be concluded in next two months. The transaction will be funded by mix of debt and equity,” it said.

The acquisition is part of its strategy to augment/acquire technological capabilities in existing product lines (automotive lighting). This acquisition is expected to deliver considerable synergies for growth of lamp business in India and enhance its product offerings to original equipment manufacturers, the company said.

“The automotive lighting industry has seen a major shift in technology with the advent of LED based lighting products. While the global markets had migrated to LED 8-10 years ago, India market is now demanding this technology. This acquisition would help us bridge this gap with cutting edge technology that Delvis has to offer to global markets,” N K Minda, Chairman and Managing Director,Minda Industries Limited said.

Delvis is among the top players with state of the art lighting technology and works closely with German OEMs (Volkswagen/ Audi/ Porsche) in pre-development activities for high end platforms, which deploy the next level of technologies.

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India sets quality standards for global potato trade

“Source: Economic Times”
NEW DELHI: Quality standards proposed by India will apply to global trade in potatoes.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, an international food standards body established jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, has approved these standards at a session in Mexico.

India’s Agriculture commissioner, SK Malhotra, who chaired the global working group for development of standards for potato, told ET over the phone from Mexico that standard and quality guidelines for potato would contribute to the safety, quality and fairness of this international food trade.

“Apart from protecting health of consumers from substandard food products, these standards are recognised as the reference food standards in any WTO dispute settlement under various agreements,” he said.

The standard guidelines cover all the commercial varieties of potatoes, considering shape, skin colour and flesh colour.

“The shape varies from spherical to ovoid and oblong, elongated; the skin colour from white through yellow to tan and the flesh colour from white to yellow to blue. The provisions concerning quality, sizing, minimum requirements and tolerances allowed in each class have been elaborated in standards,” Malhotra said.

Globally, 380 million tonnes of potato is produced in more than 100 countries and 50% of this is consumed fresh. The tuber is important for food security for millions of people across South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

India produced about 53 million tonnes of potatoes during 2018-19. The country exports around 3.5 lakh tonnes of potatoes a year, earning Rs 350-400 crore.

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Keeping data within India a big leap for us: Oracle

“Source: Economic Times”
There is definite hunger and desire among the Indian enterprises to move their workloads to the Cloud and with Oracle Gen 2 data centre now open in Mumbai, we have ensured that sensitive data remains within the boundaries of the country, a top company executive has said.

The Indian CEOs and CTOs are clear on one thing: It’s from my data that I’m going to learn my customers’ behaviour, understand my product better, receive new insights and innovate on top of those.

“Every organization is a data organization today; it’s all about the information and how to analyse it, parse it and create AI-based Cloud models that help the organization grow. We have now fulfilled the most challenging demand coming from the Indian businesses: If the data doesn’t stay on-premise, let it stay within the country,” Andrew Sutherland, SVP-Technology, Oracle EMEA and JAPAC, told IANS.

For Sutherland, it is big leap for Oracle at a time when not only companies but the governments too recognize the value of information and how data is core to the success of any firm across verticals.

“We’re becoming increasingly conscious that there are strong data jurisdictions and we need to respond to that in a sensible way. By putting Gen 2 Cloud data centre here in India, we hope that we will meet those requirements,” the executive noted.

Over 100 enterprise customers in the country have already moved their workloads onto the Gen 2 Cloud data center in Mumbai, which is being run solely by Oracle without any third-party involvement.

The Cloud major has plans to open another Gen 2 Cloud data centre in Hyderabad next year. Customers and partners in India can now harness the power of Oracle Cloud and leading services like Autonomous Database to unlock innovation and drive business growth.

The Gen 2 enterprise cloud supports all legacy workloads while delivering modern cloud development tools, so enterprises in India can bring forward their past as they build their future.

According to Sutherland, to help enterprises achieve greater insights and deliver better customer experiences, we need to have a whole new Cloud architecture that is built around cost, scalability, agility and self-repairing capabilities.

“In the new Oracle Cloud infrastructure (OCI), the multi-layered security provides a different security architecture with incorporating intelligence into it. We’re asking data to look after itself with autonomous database in this infrastructure. That’s what we are confident it will help unlock the modern Cloud era for enterprises,” he elaborated.

Not just big enterprises, Sutherland is confident the new Oracle Cloud will help small and medium businesses (SMBs) shun the legacy infrastructure and begin their Cloud journey.

“There’s hunger and desire to move onto the Cloud among SMBs in India. I don’t think there’s any cultural resistance in any way. There is boldness in their approach. The next step is where to take the first bite to eat and for that, we are here to help,” said the Oracle executive.

 

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Telecom Infra revenue potential may touch Rs 31,000 crore by 2023: Study

“Source: Economic Times”
NEW DELHI: Indian telecom infrastructure’s revenue  potential is expected to reach Rs 21,500-Rs 31,000 crore by 2023, as latest information technology developments are driving demand for new business models, an EY study released on Friday evening said. However, in order to catch up with the revenue potential the sector will need investment in the range of Rs 66,000- 93,000 crore, the study said.

“Tower cos today are well placed to tap in on new opportunities that represent a revenue potential of Rs 215 billion-Rs 310 billion by 2023. With the high momentum from tower cos, and government’s push on infrastructure growth, the future is promising for the telecom infrastructure sector,” Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets TMT Leader, EY said.

As the demand for data and 5G knocking at the door, there is seismic shift in the industry-leading to plenty of opportunities are arising for tower companies to shift their attention from a macro tower focused business, towards new business models hinged on fiber, small cells, data centers, Wi-Fi and smart cities and beyond, as per the study.

Globally, tower companies have started reaping the benefit of results of new areas of investment, it said.

“To tap on these emerging business models at full potential, it would require an investment of approximately Rs 660 billion – 930 billion in the 2018-2023 time-frame,” the report said.

The telecom market has shrunk to a limited 4 (three private and BSNL-MTNL combined) operator format. The data demand is expected to witness five-fold increase 2018-23.

“Next-generation technologies such as 5G and IoT require formidable network performance, which has triggered the need for a diverse infrastructure mix. Infrastructure providers are in strong position to tap on the new opportunities such as fibre, small cells, Wi-Fi and smart cities. Infra cos have the potential to tap 35-40 per cent of the overall addressable market of these new revenue segments,” Bharat Bhargava, Telecommunications Advisory Leader – Performance Improvement, EY said.

The study said that fibre presents significant potential as the overall fibre deployment in the country is expected to increase at a CAGR of 13.6 per cent, from 1.5 million cable kilometers in 2018, to 2.8 million cable kilometers in 2023.

“Wireless, fibre to the home and common infrastructure would be the major contributors to fibre demand. The fiber growth is expected to see a fillip 2020 onward, with expected launch of 5G in 2023,” the report said.

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Ericsson to make 5G radio in India for domestic and global need

“Source: Economic Times”
NEW DELHI: Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson said that it will start manufacturing 5G radio products in India for domestic consumption as well as for exports.

The company has already been making 4G radio products in India for both exports and domestic market in its Chakan factory, Pune.

“Last year, we have started making 4G radio for exports and for India. We are ready switch the production from 4G to 5G. We will locally produce 5G gear in India…when spectrum is allocated,”

Nunzio Mirtillo, Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area South East Asia, Oceania & India said at during his speech at the IMC 2019.

Ericsson’s European rival Nokia  has already been making 5G radios from its Chennai factory.In a recent interaction with ET, Nokia India head Sanjay Malik said that the company has so far manufactured 20,000 5G sites in Chennai.

Malik added that Nokia may ramp up 5G manufacturing in India basis global demand.

Ericsson’s Mirtillo said that 5G technology will enable many industries and their businesses. “It can happen in India as well.”

Ericsson has so far enabled 19 live 5G networks across 4 continents. “We have been always invested in technology and innovation. We are ready to help our customers enable 5G,” he said.

 

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Qualcomm announces support for India’s NavIC Satellite Navigation System

“Source: Economic Times”
BENGALURU: American chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies  in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Monday announced support for India’s Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC), in select chipset platforms across the Company’s upcoming portfolio.

“The initiative will help accelerate the adoption of NavIC and enhance the geolocation capabilities of mobile, automotive and the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions – with the backing of engineering talent in India,” Qualcomm said in a press statement. The collaboration delivered the first-ever NavIC demonstration using the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Mobile Platforms on September 19.

The solution is built on Qualcomm Technologies’ leading foundational inventions in location-based position technology. As part of the updated platforms, the Qualcomm® Location Suite now supports up to seven satellite constellations concurrently, including the use of all of NavIC’s operating satellites for more accurate location performance, faster time-to-first-fix (TTFF) position acquisition, and improved robustness of location-based services.

“We’re pleased to enhance our commitment to India by enabling support for NavIC in our chipset platforms and continuing our work with ISRO to accelerate NavIC’s adoption,” said Durga  Malladi, senior vice president, and general manager, 4G/5G, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “This collaboration is the result of our long-standing presence and investments in the region, including a substantive local engineering force and ongoing initiatives aimed at empowering India’s technology and innovation ecosystems, such as the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge and Qualcomm Innovation Lab. We look forward to seeing India continue to leverage next-generation mobile technologies and applications for new economic growth and societal benefits across its industries and communities.”

Support for NavIC will be available in select Qualcomm Technologies’ chipset platforms starting in late 2019 and commercial devices with NavIC support are expected to be available during the first half of 2020.

“NavIC is a critical step forward in our pursuit of harnessing space technology for national development and we are eager to make it accessible to everyone for their day to day use. ISRO is very happy to be working with Qualcomm Technologies to enable NavIC on Mobile platforms. Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership and support for NavIC on their mobile platforms will bring the benefits of this indigenous solution to every Indian. ISRO appreciates Qualcomm Technologies for enabling the technology demonstration of NavIC support on the mobile platform for the very first time.” said Dr. K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space.

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Australia to work towards cementing Quad grouping, says PM Morrison

“Source:- Livemint”
New Delhi: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said his country would work towards cementing the Quad grouping that brings together the US, Japan and India besides Australia more firmly in the Indo-Pacific’ region’s diplomatic and security architecture.

In a major foreign policy speech to the Sydney-based Lowy Institute think tank, Morrison also announced that he had accepted an invite to be the key note speaker at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi in January. The Raisina Dialogue, that takes place in the middle of January every year, is a prestigious annual foreign policy forum modeled on the lines of the Singapore-organised Shangrila Dialogue that gathers leaders, international security experts and foreign policy practitioners.

On the Quad, seen by some as a counter to the aggressively rising China, Morrison said it was “an important forum for Australia and the region” that “complements the role of ASEAN and ASEAN-led architecture.” ASEAN brings together 10 Southeast Asian nations.

While not mentioning China in relation to the Quad, Morrison said: “It is a key forum for exchanging views on challenges facing the region, including taking forward practical cooperation on maritime, terrorism and cyber issues.”

Morrison’s comments come a week after the Quad met at ministerial level for the first time in New York after the concept was revived in 2017.

The Quad has had three meetings at the official level prior to the ministerial meet in New York.

China’s rising military and economic profile besides its aggressive posturing in the South China Sea and other areas in the Indo-Pacific has triggered concerns among countries in the region as well as members of the Quad. The upgrading of the levels of discussion last week, could be seen as a strengthening of the Quad framework to discuss regional security challenges and prospects for coordination

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Syngenta opens agriculture research centre in Andhra Pradesh

“Source:- IBEF”
Syngenta, which is an agricultural company, has set up an innovation and learning centre at Bhimadolu village near Eluru, the district headquarters town of West Godavari, in Andhra Pradesh.

According to Erik Fyrwald, the CEO of the Syngenta, who was on a two-day visit to the country, said,  “Providing food to the rising population of India and the world was a huge challenge and further it should be done in a sustainable manner, without harming the environment”.
The company has succeeded in its attempt to provide solution in reducing the chemical pesticide and fertiliser use without reducing any output. It has provided innovative solutions to the farmers.

The company will set a seed care institute at Bhimadolu. The focus will be to provide customised solutions to the farmers. Dr. K.C Ravi, Chief Officer, Syngenta India, said the company would also focus on women engaged in agricultural activities.

Andhra Pradesh is among the leading agricultural states in India and therefore the company had chosen the location for institute.

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Recycle, reuse policy to drive India’s plan to become resource efficient

“Soure:- Livemint”
NEW DELHI
 : Concerns over resource depletion have soared in India because of rising factory output, urbanization and population putting pressure on existing resources.

Against this backdrop, the Union environment ministry has drafted a National Resource Efficiency Policy, aiming to double the recycling rate of key materials to 50% in the next five years and enable upcycling of waste.

“The agenda is to develop a circular economy. This can be achieved by two measures—firstly by recycling the materials, and secondly, by increasing the efficiency of use of these resources. These are the policy aspects that we are looking at. Recycling is about industries, which will do it. Resource efficiency is a concept which needs to be followed across all sectors,” Union environment secretary C.K. Mishra said.

At least 96% of India’s mining capacity is located in the 13 mineral-rich states of Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharasthra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana, Goa and Rajasthan.

Though India can meet its current demand for raw materials for thermal power generation, iron and steel, aluminium, cement and mineral fuels for coal and lignite, it remains import dependent for critical materials such as molybdenum, copper and nickel. This could make it vulnerable to supply shocks, considering rising material consumption, which is up sixfold from 1.18 billion tonnes in 1970 to 7 billion tonnes in 2015.

“Linear production and consumption is leading to a lot of wastage in the entire value chain. Opportunities exist at each and every stage of the product cycle which can be utilized, especially at a time, when the economy is going through a rough patch. The automobile sector is under serious stress and dependent on import of a lot of materials; this is the right time for India to position itself better to future demands,” said Souvik Bhattacharjya, fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), in New Delhi.

The draft policy, released on 23 July envisions setting up a National Resource Efficiency Authority which will help develop resource efficiency strategies for different sectors and adopt them into a three-year action plan. To begin with, seven key sectors have been identified—automobile, plastic packaging, building and construction sector, electrical and electronic equipment sector, solar photo-voltaic sector, and steel and aluminium sector.

The National Green Tribunal had imposed ban on diesel vehicles more than ten years old in the National Capital Region in view of the rising pollution levels. Following which, more vehicles will end up as end-of-life vehicles. Under the policy, the government plans to set up centres to collect such vehicles and carry out the deregistration process, and shredding centres which would segregate materials for recycling. As many as 20 official dismantlers would be established across major urban centres by 2020. The plan is to ensure 75% recycling rate for vehicles made before 1990, 85% recycling rate for vehicles made between 1990 and 2000, and 90% recycling rate for vehicles made after 2000.

“Be it the electronics and telecommunication sector, plastic industry, photo-voltaic, battery manufacturing and storage, the future depends on how efficiently the raw materials needed are used, how strategically we procure the resources from outside and ensure efficient use of the available ones to reduce wastage. It’s not just about raw materials but critical resources like water too,” said Bhattacharjya.

Another concern is plastic waste, contributing 8% of the total solid waste. The draft policy aims to achieve a 100% recycling and reuse rate polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic by 2025.

The draft policy also aims to gradually reducing dependence on virgin materials and enhance re-use of construction and demolition waste. There will be emphasis on developing codes and standards for quality of secondary raw materials to ensure confidence in the product, so that by 2025, at least 30% of total public procurement of materials for civil construction can be from recycled materials.

“We are a consumerist society and the sustainability of consumption is not that well-recognized. The document has come at the right time, when sustainable uses of resources really need to be pushed forward. The policy is like a guiding document. Now, we need action on ground by the respective ministries and departments. Every sector should move towards sustainable use of resources,” said Shilpi Kapur Bakshi, fellow at TERI, in Mumbai.

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Biocon to set up R&D facility in India to boost biosimilars development

“Source:- IBEF”
In a bid to expand its research base, India’s largest biopharmaceutical company Biocon has acquired some assets from Pfizer Healthcare to set up its second R&D plant in India.

The assets have been acquired by Biocon Biologics, a subsidiary of the Bengaluru-based company, for an undisclosed amount to set up a 60,000 square feet state-of-the-art R&D facility in Chennai.

“The high-end integrated R&D facility in Chennai will enable Biocon Biologics to expand its R&D capability and accelerate its journey towards meeting its strategic long-term goal of addressing the needs of millions of patients worldwide,” said Christiane Hamacher, CEO, Biocon Biologics. The centre will be operational in a few months.

Currently, Biocon has a 200,000 square feet R&D centre at Bengaluru which has a product pipeline of 28 molecules, including 11 with Mylan, few with Sandoz and rest on its own.

This investment will allow the company to fast-forward development of its biosimilars from bench to pilot scale, said a company spokesperson.

“R&D is at the core of what we do, and I believe this facility will enable us to pursue breakthrough innovation in pursuit of providing affordable access to high quality biosimilars and inclusive healthcare solutions aimed at transforming patient lives globally,” said Hamacher.

According to a McKinsey report, the biosimilars market is expected to be pegged at US$ 15 billion by 2020.

“Biosimilars offer attractive prospects for Indian players, especially in the US and EU markets, and this investment will help Biocon capiltalise such an opportunity,” said Gaurav Jain, vice-president, ICRA.

Biocon chose the strategy of acquiring the R&D assets to set up its facility over a greenfield project to accelerate the global development of its biosimilars portfolio, explained the spokesperson.

Once operational, the facility is expected to house over 250 scientists who will have access to the R&D labs equipped with over 500 high-end process and analytical instrumentation.

The company’s biologics business had registered a growth of the 96 per cent at Rs 490 crore in the quarter ended June, led by the expansion of geographical footprint and increased penetration of products in key developed and emerging markets.

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Top 1,000 listed firms may see tax savings of Rs 37,000 crore on tax cut: Crisil

“Source:- IBEF”
CRISIL Research on Sunday said top 1,000 listed companies could see tax savings of Rs 37,000 crore (US$ 5.29 billion) on account of the corporate tax cut.

“Over the past few days, a slew of measures has been introduced to address the slowdown in the Indian economy. Friday’s announcement, however, is the most material…Our analysis indicates these 1,000 companies could see tax savings of Rs 37,000 crore (US$ 5.29 billion), or nearly a fourth of the total savings anticipated by the government,” it said in a statement.

The drop-in tax rate would now bring India at par with most Asian economies, it added.

“CRISIL Research’s analysis of nearly 1,000 companies — spread across 80+ sectors such that they cover more than 70 per cent of NSE’s market capitalisation — indicates that effective tax rates had risen over the past 5 years,” it said.

These companies, including oil & gas and financial services, account for nearly a third of the tax paid by India Inc.

“These estimates are based on profit before tax for fiscal 2019. Given that we expect 5-6 per cent growth in India Inc revenues and EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) for this fiscal, the savings could end up a tad higher,” it added.

In a major fiscal booster, the government on Friday slashed effective corporate tax to 25.17 per cent, inclusive of all cess and surcharges for domestic companies.

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Sponsors feel NBA India may be a slam dunk

“Source: Economic Times”
NEW DELHI | MUMBAI: US President Donald Trump isn’t the only one upping the ante on the first NBA India basketball  games scheduled to take place in Mumbai on October 4 and 5. The games have generated interest and sponsorships from a dozen or so on-ground and on-air sponsors including PepsiCo’s sports drink Gatorade, fashion brand Myntra, phone maker Apple and personal care maker L’Oreal.

During his address at last week’s Howdy Modi event, Trump had said: “Very soon India will have access to another world-class American product — NBA basketball. Am I invited, Mr Prime Minister? I may come.” NBA, a cult sporting event, globally bigger than the Indian Premier League (IPL), will feature the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers in two pre-season games.

“With growing consciousness about sports and fitness among consumers, we believe that the sports nutrition ecosystem in India is poised for quantum growth,” PepsiCo marketing director, hydration and cola, Tarun Bhagat said. The beverage maker’s sports drink Gatorade has signed up as official sports drink partner for the NBA. The brand had signed up in-form athlete Hima Das to endorse it, in addition to badminton ace PV Sindhu, who is also the face of Gatorade. The sports drink is already partner for NBA globally.

A spokesperson for Myntra said it has signed up as official fashion partner for the NBA India games.“NBA has a massive fan-following in India. With this association, customers across the country will now be able to shop for official NBA merchandise on our platform.”

Rohit Gupta, chief revenue officer – ad sales and international business at Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), said advertisers’ response to NBA’s India games was encouraging, considering that it’s a niche sport here. He said Apple, L’Oreal, TVS, Croma Electronics and William Grant were key advertisers for the broadcast, adding that SPN was in talks with a few more advertisers. “Organising the games in India is a great way to promote and build a larger fan base here. It is very good for NBA and India as it will make the sport grow,” Gupta said.

Industry watchers said sports other than cricket have a promising future in the country if they are provided with scale investments.

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Microsoft kick-starts a unique initiative for supporting start-ups

“Source:- Financial Express”
With an effort to promote the Indian startup ecosystem, Microsoft for Startups has launched a new initiative called ‘Highway to a Hundred Unicorns’ that aims to empower startups with mentoring and technology support for enterprise readiness. As part of this initiative, Microsoft will engage with innovators and entrepreneurs through a series of outreach programmes across tier 2 cities. The American tech major will work closely with state governments to strengthen the startup ecosystems in each state. Organised in collaboration with the Industries Commissionerate and iNDEXTb, government of Gujarat, recently more than 250 startups attended the first event at Gandhinagar.

The impetus on innovation and entrepreneurship in India is helping startups to stem from not just metropolitan hubs such as Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru, but also other tier 1 and tier 2 cities. However, some of the key challenges in scaling their businesses include lack of cutting-edge technology support and dearth of mentorship from ecosystem players.

Lathika Pai, country head, Microsoft for Startups – MENA and Saarc, said, “There is a strong pool of ideas and talent beyond the well-known startup hubs of India. Through Highway to a Hundred Unicorns, we will reach out to startups in tier 2 cities and support them to achieve scale at their place of origin. Our tech expertise and experience of engaging with some of the most successful Indian startups will help innovators across the breadth of the country become enterprise-ready and scale their operations in India and globally.”

The Microsoft ScaleUp programme supports Seed or Series A funded B2B and select B2C tech-enabled startups to co-sell with Microsoft sales teams, get access to top tech VCs globally and receive mentorship from the startup ecosystem. Gaining access to large enterprises to co-create solutions or integrate product offerings and designing robust go-to-market strategies for their industry or customer segments are critical in the startup growth journey.

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Ministry of Tourism launches Audio Guide facility App “Audio Odigos” for 12 sites of India (including Iconic Sites)

“Source:- IBEF”
On the second day of nationwide “Paryatan Parv 2019” Shri Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism in the presence of DG, ASI Smt. Usha Sharma launched the Audio Guide facility Audio Odigos for 12 sites of India (including Iconic Sites). An MoU for Gol Gumbad, Delhi with Government of Delhi and Resbird Technologies was also exchanged for the development of Tourism Amenities during the programme at Paryatan Parv New Delhi, today.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Yogendra Tripathi said that this is the 3rd edition of Paryatan Parv and we are getting good response from general public. We are expecting more than 1 lakh footfalls during the weekend, he added. He also said that in the line of vision of Prime Minister we are not using single use plastic in Paryatan Parv arrangements.

While briefing the media, the Secretary said that today 26th MoU under the ‘Adopt a Heritage, Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan’ scheme of Ministry of Tourism has been exchanged for development of Tourism Amenities. The project aims to develop synergy amongst all stakeholders and involves active participation of local communities / players to promote ‘responsible tourism’.

He further said that the response to the project has been very encouraging as agencies that have come forward, include not only public and private industry/ individuals but also schools and law firms. Earlier, 42 Letters of Intent have been issued to 38 agencies for 106 sites and 25 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed with 12 agencies for 23 sites and two technological interventions under the project across India.

Shri Yogendra Tripathi said that Ministry of Tourism’s scheme “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan”, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and State Governments / UT Administrations. It aims at involving public sector companies, private sector companies and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/ State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India.

The secretary also said that today we have launched Audio Guide: Audio Odigos, for the benefit of the tourists.  Audio guide odigo offers Government of India verified content, with visuals & voice over support. With Audio Odigos, tourists will now enjoy a more enriching experience and take back historical insights of the Indian culture and heritage. The Audio Odigos app contains an inbuilt map of the site for a smooth navigation during the tour. Listeners will be offered various versions of history like Synopsis, Detailed History and Podcasts. The audio can be chosen in their preferred language & version of the history. Audio Odigos is now available for download on all Android and iOS supported mobile phones.

DG, Tourism Smt. Meenakshi Sharma briefed the media that Audio Guide facility Audio Odigos can be used in 12 sites that includes  Amer Fort, Rajasthan, Chandni Chowk, Red Fort, Purana Quila, Humayun’s tomb, Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh, Somnath and Dholavira, Gujarat, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu and  Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar. She also said that  this app is the outcome of the MoU signed with Resbird Technologies last year under which they have developed the audio guide app as a part of their CSR.

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After FB, Netflix, more US tech giants turn to India for new apps release

“Source:- IBEF”
According to a veteran internet analyst, India is emerging as the testing and acquisition playground for global consumer technology companies, especially the so-called FAANGs.

According to RBC Capital Markets’ Mark Mahaney, self-claimed as Wall Street’s “oldest internet analyst”, India in present scenario is more popular market than countries like China because of the lesser regulations and same growth dynamics.

India is one of the largest economies and most populous countries in the world, making it into a testing ground for companies such as Facebook Inc., which tested its beta-test a payment feature for WhatsApp. Netflix Inc. also introduced its mobile plan in India at Rs 199 (US$ 2.80), which is much cheaper than what it charges for a basic plan elsewhere, and it has also created original content to target more market share.

Mr. Mahaney said, “India does have regulations, but it doesn’t seem to be as protectionist as China.” Although India has been opting to introduce new law that would need personal data to be stored locally, which could disrupt in the operations of the Internet giants but Mahaney remains confident they can still penetrate the market.

Besides organic growth, companies are also focusing on acquisition in India, particularly since they are facing more regulations back in their home grounds and in western Europe. Mahaney added, “There’s an opportunity to build growth” in Asia, particularly in India.

Amazon.com Inc. has already tried its hand at deals in the South Asian nation by trying to acquire Indian e-commerce pioneer Flipkart Online Services Pvt., before it was taken over by Walmart Inc. last year.

Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and Alphabet Inc. can all win big in India, said Mahaney, who has a buy rating on the stocks. “India is less than 5 per cent of the Amazon’s total revenues but it has the potential” to get to that level within five years, Mahaney said.

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DHL Express India to invest Rs 100 crore this fiscal

“Source:- IBEF”
DHL Express India, an International express service provider, plans to invest Rs 100 crore (US$ 14.31 million) this fiscal year. The investment will be focused on expanding its presence by setting up facility centres and investing in technology.

This investment is part of the €250 million (Rs 1,944.81 crore) that Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s largest mailing and logistics provider and holding company of DHL Express, had committed as investments in the country till 2020.

India is among the top 10 markets for DHL Express globally and one of the first five business location for Asia Pacific region. The turnover of the DHL Express’ global was to the tune of €16 billion (or Rs 1,25,000 crore).

The company has been facing a slowdown in its growth but has no plans of slowing down its investment plans, according to RS Subramanian, Country Manager, DHL Express India. The growth so far of the present fiscal year across logistics players have been registered to around 7-8 per cent.

The investments done this year will be focused on expanding its facilities area for instance where cargo is handled, upgrade of existing smaller facilities to larger ones, adding new vehicles to its fleet, and towards upgrading technology.

The company has around 60-odd facilities across the country having a direct presence in 25-30 cities. The presence in the rest of the country is indirect through agents. The company offers cross-border solutions across industries, including some specialist solutions for the aviation sector, pharma and life sciences. It offers ‘express’ business, which mainly consist of 20 per cent of documents, and the remaining 80 per cent are parcels.

Mr. Subramanian said, “We are investing at least Rs 100 crore (US$ 14.31 million) in India every year for some two-to-three years now. Yes, compared to 2018-19, there has been a slowdown in growth this fiscal. But it does not mean we have delayed any investments. Our forecast was to grow in double digits, of 10-11 per cent, between 2017 and 2021. We have been in line with the forecast or may be grown 1 per cent ahead of the market.”

He added, “The slowdown is a temporary phenomenon because ‘express’ business in general is more or less resilient to slowdown.”

The DHL Express has planned an average increase of 6.9 per cent in shipment price, that will be effective from January 1, 2020.This surge could go up to 15 per cent for shipments of cross border e-commerce, due to higher costs of delivery.

DHL Express India is also focusing on SMEs to involve them in business as it looks to de-risk the overall business. Around 60-64 per cent of its revenues here come from SMEs.

The company is organising workshops and “road shows” to help these SMEs handle on to the increase in e-commerce market. Furthermore, it is also training them in issues regarding tie-ups with payment solution providers, making their websites e-commerce friendly and even setting up their own websites.

Almost 1,700-2,000 SMEs who are trading online – either via B2B or B2C channels – use DHL Express’ services.

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Tech Mahindra Recognized as a ‘Leader’ in Software Product Engineering Services by Everest Group PEAK Matrix™

“Source:- Mahindra News”
Bengaluru: Tech Mahindra Ltd. a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business reengineering services and solutions, has been recognized as a ‘Leader’ in the Everest Group Software Product Engineering Services PEAK Matrix™ Assessment for the year 2019. Focus on future technologies, investments in strategic platforms, customized industry specific solutions and advisory role in customer’s digital transformation journey were amongst the key assessment criteria.

As part of this report, Everest Group classified service providers on the PEAK Matrix™ into leaders, major contenders and aspirants, and positioned Tech Mahindra as a “Leader” for their strong capabilities in software product engineering and successful engagements with customers via innovative constructs such as product carveouts.

Akshat Vaid, Vice President, Engineering Services Research & Advisory, Everest Group“Tech Mahindra maintained its leadership position in the 2019 PEAK Matrix™ assessment as a result of good all-round performance through the year and concerted efforts in further strengthening capabilities in software product engineering. The company has invested in emerging themes such as microservices, user interface/ user experience, cloud enablement and management, and Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning in the form of IP assets and frameworks. Tech Mahindra’s willingness to engage via innovative commercial models, partnering in ideation, and its ability to accelerate time to market are well appreciated by customers.”

Tech Mahindra was evaluated across a range of parameters such as “vision & capability” and “market impact” including services, products, solutions and locations. It was positioned as a ‘Leader’ based on – top quartile performance across market success; delivery capability captured through ability to deliver services successfully through scale, scope, enabling capabilities and delivery footprint; expertise in, and driving focus on technologies of the future, investments in strategic platforms; customized industry specific solutions and advisory role in a customer’s digital transformation journey.

Karthikeyan Natarajan, Global Head, Engineering, Internet of Things and Enterprise Mobility, Tech Mahindra, said, “As part of the TechMNxt charter, Tech Mahindra is focused on leveraging next generation technologies to deliver enhanced experience to customers globally through our next gen software and digital engineering practices. This recognition is a testimony of our continued investments in building IP (Internet Protocol), software platform and automation solutions, enabling our customers to be agile, intelligent and cognitive.”

According to the PEAK Matrix report from Everest Group, Software accounted for nearly one-third of the global engineering research and development spend by businesses in 2018 and it has been the fastest growing segment over the last three years. The global outsourcing market for Software Product Engineering stood at US$11.2 billion in 2018, witnessing a Year on Year (YoY) growth of 20.4%.

Tech Mahindra’s Integrated Engineering Solutions (IES) delivers solutions enabling “Digital Engineering Enterprise” across Aerospace and Defense, Automotive, Industrial, Telecom, Hi-Tech, Healthcare, Transportation and ISVs. With 50+ exclusive engineering development centers supporting new program launches and 120+ marquee global customers, Tech Mahindra IES is an established leader for Engineering Services in the industry.

About Tech Mahindra

Tech Mahindra represents the connected world, offering innovative and customer-centric information technology experiences, enabling Enterprises, Associates and the Society to Rise™. We are a USD 4.9 billion company with 125,700+ professionals across 90 countries, helping 941 global customers including Fortune 500 companies. Our convergent, digital, design experiences, innovation platforms and reusable assets connect across a number of technologies to deliver tangible business value and experiences to our stakeholders. Tech Mahindra is the highest ranked Non-U.S. company in the Forbes Global Digital 100 list (2018) and in the Forbes Fab 50 companies in Asia (2018).

We are part of the USD 21 billion Mahindra Group that employs more than 200,000 people in over 100 countries. The Group operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, after-market, information technology and vacation ownership.

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Tech Mahindra and Keysight Collaborate to Accelerate Adoption of 5G Devices Globally

“Source:- Mahindra News”
Santa Rosa, New Delhi : Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions, has announced an extended collaboration with Keysight, a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, to support leading mobile operators achieve their goals of successfully deploying new 5G devices.

Due to low latency and high range, 5G devices will be the key catalyst behind the expansion of Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communications, that is, passing of information from a vehicle to any entity like vehicle, infrastructure and grid that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.

Karthikeyan Natarajan, Global Head – Integrated Engineering Solutions, Tech Mahindra, said, “The successful rollout of 5G is critical for the promotion of the next phase of digital transformation. Tech Mahindra is betting big on the 5G opportunity and is looking at the global markets to achieve growth. The 5G market is moving quickly and our collaboration with Keysight will enable us to provide the customers an environment which supports the accelerated 5G lifecycle.”

Tech Mahindra will leverage Keysight’s 5G protocol and radio frequency/radio resource management (RF/RRM) carrier acceptance toolsets which are part of the Keysight’s suite of 5G network emulation solutions. The solutions will be offered to communication service providers (CSPs) and telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) which will help leading 5G mobile operators deliver a superior subscriber experience.

Kailash Narayanan, Vice President and General Manager of Keysight’s Wireless Test Group, said, “We’re pleased that Tech Mahindra has chosen Keysight to help them address key 5G test requirements mandated by mobile operators, device makers and various standards. By offering a strong portfolio of 5G carrier acceptance solutions adopted by a connected mobile ecosystem, we’re accelerating global 5G commercialization of multi-mode devices in different form factors.”

Keysight’s industry-first 5G end-to-end design and test solutions enable the mobile industry to accelerate 5G product design development from the physical layer to the application layer and across the entire workflow from simulation, design, and verification to manufacturing, deployment, and optimization. Keysight offers common software and hardware platforms compliant to the latest 3rd Generation Partnership Project standards, enabling the ecosystem to quickly and accurately validate 5G chipsets, devices, base stations and networks, as well as emulate subscriber behaviour scenarios.

As part of its TechMNxt Charter, Tech Mahindra is focused on leveraging next gen technologies to cater to the customer’s evolving and dynamic needs. As a leading digital transformation company, Tech Mahindra continues to deliver tangible business value and experiences to solve real business problems.

About Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) is a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world. Keysight’s solutions optimize networks and bring electronic products to market faster and at a lower cost with offerings from design simulation, to prototype validation, to manufacturing test, to optimization in networks and cloud environments. Customers span the worldwide communications ecosystem, aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, semiconductor and general electronics end markets. Keysight generated revenues of $3.9B in fiscal year 2018.

About Tech Mahindra

Tech Mahindra represents the connected world, offering innovative and customer-centric information technology experiences, enabling Enterprises, Associates and the Society to Rise™. We are a USD 4.9 billion company with 125,700+ professionals across 90 countries, helping 941 global customers including Fortune 500 companies. Our convergent, digital, design experiences, innovation platforms and reusable assets connect across a number of technologies to deliver tangible business value and experiences to our stakeholders. Tech Mahindra is the highest ranked Non-U.S. company in the Forbes Global Digital 100 list (2018) and in the Forbes Fab 50 companies in Asia (2018).

We are part of the USD 21 billion Mahindra Group that employs more than 200,000 people in over 100 countries. The Group operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, after-market, information technology and vacation ownership.

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Ola may have turned profitable, plans to list in India in two years

“Source:- Livemint”
Bengaluru: ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the operator of ride-hailing service Ola, plans to go public in less than two years after meeting profitability goals required for such a listing in India, two people aware of the discussions said.

Ola is expected to have turned its maiden annual profit in the year ended 31 March, the first step towards the goal of an initial public offering (IPO), as local exchanges require companies to be profitable for at least three years before they go public, the two people said on condition of anonymity. Ola has not filed its financials for FY19 with the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA).

An IPO will help many of the ride-hailing company’s investors, including SoftBank, to exit or partially sell their stakes and return funds to their shareholders.

Ola is eyeing a listing on BSE or NSE, said one of the two people. Ola’s newest investor, Seoul-based ARK Impact Asset Management, recently set up a pre-IPO trust fund, according to ANI Technologies’ filings with the MCA last month.

The trust fund will be co-managed by Ola’s small, medium and individual investors, as well as ARK, according to the second person cited earlier. “Ola has nothing to do with ARK. None of the founders’ stake, etc. is going to go into that (the trust fund). The trust fund is just an investment vehicle set up by ARK,” said the second person.

The impact asset management fund invested around 35.8 crore in ANI Technologies for its ongoing Series J round at a valuation of around $7 billion, show filings.

A valuation report submitted to Ola’s shareholders in February 2017 projected that Ola may report a profit of about 1,170 crore in FY19, with a free cash flow of 698 crore. It reported a 44% rise in revenue to 1,860 crore in the year ended 31 March 2018 from around 1,286 crore in the previous year. Losses for FY18 narrowed to 2,676 crore from 4,816 crore in the previous year.

A spokesperson for Ola did not respond to an email seeking comment on the proposed IPO.

There are frequent differences between foreign investors at the board level, as SoftBank insists that its portfolio companies go public, said the first person.

“Most of the differences on the IPO listing arose between SoftBank, a new incoming Japanese investor, and Mirae Asset Fund, an existing investor… and hence Mirae has got in ARK as a co-investor in the current round… Another investor, Hyundai, also Korea-based, is pushing for an Ola IPO,” said the person.

A company typically sets up a private trust fund to avoid diluting majority control of the main holding company, according to three consultants and valuation experts Mint spoke to. “There are specific categories of investors (in the market), who look at pre-IPO investments only. With pre-IPO trust funds, certain investors look at investing mostly at around late-stage rounds, or to participate as an anchor investor in an upcoming IPO in a company. This gives a benefit of a liquid stock (to the IPO) at a valuation that’s pre-decided,” said Sharad Moudgal, partner at Khaitan and Co.

Ola’s domestic IPO plans come at a time when arch-rival Uber’s (also a SoftBank investee firm) IPO and stock performance on the NYSE has been tepid. Uber, which saw a private valuation of much as $76 billion before its public offering in May, has a market cap of nearly $49 billion now.

The listing plans of Ola contrast with that of other Indian unicorns such as Flipkart and Oyo that are exploring IPOs on the US bourses, as they allow public offerings of loss-making entities too.

To be sure, listing in India is not easy. Ola faces multiple regulatory roadblocks before it can even file a prospectus. Currently, Ola has two available paths to its proposed public listing—through the Securities and Exchange Board of India-regulated Innovator’s Growth Platform (IGP) meant for SMEs and startups, or a direct listing on BSE or NSE. According to the second person, Ola will look at a direct listing, rather than on the IGP platform. This apart, the capital market regulator’s default rules for direct listing state that promoters, including funders, should contribute at least 20% of the total paid-up capital. Ola’s promoters, however, contribute less than 20% of the paid-up capital.

Talks of a public listing come at a time when Ola co-founders Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati made sweeping changes in the promoter shareholding structure to gain tighter control over ANI Technologies. In April, the co-founders increased their ownership in ANI through a rights issue, according to documents sourced from MCA. In total, the promoters, including founders, directly own 11-12% in ANI, according to Tracxn, a data tracker.

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Eros Now announces collaboration with Microsoft to develop next generation online video platform

“Source:- Microsoft News”
Mumbai: Eros Now, a South Asian entertainment OTT (over-the-top) video platform by Eros International Plc, a Global Indian Entertainment Company, the ultimate one-stop destination for the internet generation to consume captivating content, today announced a collaboration with Microsoft to build a next generation online video platform on Microsoft Azure targeted at its consumers across the globe. This is a unique association for Microsoft in India in the online video space.

Building on its history of innovation, Eros Now will leverage Microsoft Azure for three areas of technology development:

  1. Intuitive Online Video Platform: Using Microsoft Azure and Azure Media Services, Eros will develop a new, intuitive online video platform. The new platform will provide seamless delivery of content for its consumers across geographies and languages, supported by a robust infrastructure including Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  2. Interactive Voice Offerings: Eros will work to create new interactive voice offerings for consumers, powered by Azure AI tools, including OTT app video search experiences and voice search for video content across 10 Indian languages.
  3. Personalized Recommendation Engine: To increase consumer satisfaction and loyalty, Eros will create an engine to deliver personalized content recommendations for consumers by leveraging its own user data, combined with Azure AI, analytics, Cloud Data Warehousing solutions and Azure Media Services

Commenting on the announcement, Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO- Eros Digital, said, “The Online Video market has brought a paradigm shift in the way technology is used and will be used to enhance the customer journey and user experience. We at Eros Now have been the earliest movers in the adoption of technology which is a core strength of the brand. The objective and the goal of this collaboration is to ensure we become the primary innovators for the video business and a gold standard for the others to follow. We have immense respect for Microsoft as a company to help us innovate and pave the path for the next generation of online video.”

Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Microsoft, Corp. said, “As an innovator in on-demand video, Eros Now has been transforming the way millions of people access and consume content. By using our combined expertise across technology and media, we have an opportunity to build on that foundation and re-imagine entertainment for the rapidly growing audience of digitally-connected consumers in India.”

“India is one of the fastest-growing digital entertainment and media markets worldwide, driven by the growth in online video content. AI and intelligent cloud tools will be the next drivers of the media business and will impact everything from content creation to consumer experience. We are very excited to work with Eros Now to redefine the online video watching experience for consumers,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.

Eros’ work with Microsoft will help it transform not only how it delivers streaming services to its consumers but also to reimagine the offerings it can provide. This news today is a step forward in the age of digital transformation to enhance the online video streaming experience and better serve its users globally.

About Eros International Plc

Eros International Plc (NYSE: EROS) a Global Indian Entertainment company that acquires, co-produces and distributes Indian films across all available formats such as cinema, television and digital new media. Eros International Plc became the first Indian media company to list on the New York Stock Exchange. Eros International has experience of over three decades in establishing a global platform for Indian cinema. The Company has an extensive and growing movie library comprising of over 3,000 films, which include Hindi, Tamil, and other regional language films for home entertainment distribution. The Company also owns the rapidly growing OTT platform Eros Now. For further information, please visit: www.erosplc.com.

About Eros Now

Eros Now is Eros International Plc’s On-Demand South Asian Entertainment Video Service accessible worldwide to viewers across internet enabled devices including mobile, web and TV. With 12,000 plus Movie titles, Music Videos, Television Programming and others Eros Now caters to more than 154.7 million registered users and 18.8 million paying subscribers worldwide with the promise of endless entertainment Product features, such as video in HD, multi-language subtitles, movie downloads, and high-quality original drama series differentiate the Eros Now entertainment offering. To see, watch now: www.erosnow.com

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Infosys ranks 3rd in Forbes’ list of ‘The World’s Best Regarded Companies’

“Source:- Business Standard”
Indian companies: Tata Consultancy Services (22nd position) and Tata Motors (31) featured among the top 50 in the coveted list. Other Indian companies in the list include Tata Steel (105), Larsen & Toubro (115), Mahindra & Mahindra (117), HDFC (135), Bajaj Finserv (143), Piramal Enterprises (149), Steel Authority of India (153), HCL Technologies (155), Hindalco Industries (157), Wipro (168), HDFC Bank (204).

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SBI becomes first Indian bank to have office in Australia’s Victoria

“Source:- The Hindu Business line”
State Bank of India opened its Melbourne office on Monday, becoming the first Indian bank to have a branch in the Australian state of Victoria.

The Melbourne office will assist the growing trade and investment relations between Victoria and India and is the outcome of the state’s 10-year India Strategy — our shared future, according to a press release.

Speaking at the inauguration here, Victoria’s parliamentary secretary to the treasurer, Steve Dimopoulos, said, “We are delighted to welcome SBI to Victoria — the first Indian bank to set up operations in our State.”

“This investment by India’s largest commercial bank is a testament to our thriving financial services sector and our highly skilled workforce,” he said.

According to official figures, the two-way merchandise trade between Victoria and India was to the tune of Australian $1.76 billion in 2018.

SBI Managing Director Dinesh Kumar Khara said “It is a great privilege to have our presence in the vibrant and business-friendly city of Melbourne. I am confident that our footprint in Melbourne will further strengthen the relationship between the two countries”

Victoria already has the presence of leading Indian businesses, including Cipla, Cyient, HCL, Infosys, Ramco, Samvardhana Motherson Group, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Ugam Solutions, Wipro, Zoonga and Zomato.

Victoria’s financial sector employs more than 122,000 and generates around A$40 billion every year.

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Samsung ends mobile phone production in China as it expands facility in India

“Source:- Livemint”
Seoul: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has ended mobile telephone production in China, it said on Wednesday, hurt by intensifying competition from domestic rivals in the world’s biggest smartphone market.

The shutdown of Samsung’s last China phone factory comes after it cut production at the plant in Huizhou in June and suspended another factory late last year, underscoring stiff competition in the country.

The South Korean tech giant’s ceased phone production in China follows other manufacturers shifting production from China due to rising labor costs and the economic slowdown.

Sony also said it was closing its Beijing smartphone plant and would only make smartphones in Thailand.

But Apple still makes major products in China.

Samsung’s share of the Chinese market shrank to 1% in the first quarter from around 15% in mid-2013, as it lost out to fast-growing homegrown brands such as Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi Corp, according to market research firm Counterpoint.

“In China, people buy low-priced smartphones from domestic brands and high-end phones from Apple or Huawei. Samsung has little hope there to revive its share,” said Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.

Samsung, the world’s top smartphone maker, said it had taken the difficult decision in a bid to boost efficiency. It added it would, however, continue sales in China

“The production equipment will be re-allocated to other global manufacturing sites, depending on our global production strategy based on market needs,” it said in a statement, without elaborating.

Samsung declined to specify the Huizhou plant’s capacity or its numbers of staff. The factory was built in 1992, according to the company.

South Korean media said it employed 6,000 workers and produced 63 million units in 2017.

That year, Samsung manufactured 394 million handsets around the world, according to its annual report.

The company has expanded smartphone production in lower-cost countries, such as India and Vietnam, in recent years.

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At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora remains largest in world

“Source:- Times Of India”
NEW DELHI: At 17.5 million, India’s diaspora continues to be the largest in the world – constituting 6.4% of the total world migrant population of 272 million in mid-2019.

While India’s diaspora in absolute numbers has increased 10% from 15.9 million in 2015, as a share of total world migrant population, it’s remained static, according to the UN’s International Migrant Stock released on Wednesday. And it trails the 12% rise in total migrant population, which was 243 million in 2015.

UAE, US and Saudi Arabia – with 3.4 million, 2.6 million and 2.4 million respectively – were the top three destinations for Indians, according to TOI’s analysis of the data. While the Gulf countries continue to have a high concentration of Indians, they’ve lost some of their drawing power, going by foreign ministry figures.

Another report – also released on Wednesday – by OECD, shows Indians moving up one position to No. 3 in 2017 with an inflow of 3.04 lakh – behind China and Romania.

The number of Indians who got US citizenship in 2017 rose 10% to more than 50,000 over the previous year.

UN figures pegging international migrants worldwide at 272 million reflects a rise of 23% over 2010 data, where the migrant population was 221 million. UN’s data set is based largely on collated census figures. UN defines international migrants as anyone who changes their country of usual residence, irrespective of their motive – be it for work or as a refugee.

“Although migration is global, most journeys are taking place within a limited set of countries, with the US, Germany, and Saudi Arabia making up the top three,” said a UN press release. The US hosted the largest number of international migrants (close to 51 million), followed by Germany and Saudi Arabia, with nearly 13 million migrants each.

The UN’s press release quoted John Wilmoth, director, UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) saying: “The link between migration and development is very well established.” “As a general observation, the contribution of migrants both in host countries and countries of origin, includes sending valuable remittances back to countries of origin, and a major social contribution through transmission of ideas,” he said.

Another report, released on Wednesday in Paris , by the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD), shows that migration flows to OECD countries rose slightly by 2% in 2018, with around 5.3 million new ‘permanent’ migrants–this does not include temporary labour migration or international students.

Country-wise data for the year 2017 shows that ‘total’ inflow of new migrants to OECD countries in 2017 was 6.8 million, a miniscule decline of 1% over the previous year’s figure. The top three countries of origin of new immigrants were China, Romania and India.

With 3.04 lakh new immigrants from India, the country occupied third place and accounted for 4.5% of total inflows (as opposed to 3.8% in the previous year). In 2016, owing to a heavy influx of migrants from Syria, India had occupied fourth position. China continued to retain its leadership position, accounting for 8.1% of total OECD inflows in 2017.

Countries continue to adjust the criteria on which their labour migration programs are based to ensure better selection and meeting of their skill gaps. Canada’s Express Entry route for skilled labour was modified in late 2017. Australia significantly reformed both its temporary and permanent employer sponsored migration programs for skilled labour in 2018, illustrates OECD’s report.

The majority of developed and high-income countries (36 in all) are OECD members. These include European countries, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Gulf countries, which are an important destination for Indian immigrants, do not belong to the OECD group.

In 2017, around 18.5 lakh foreign residents in OECD countries acquired the nationality of their host country. This is a sharp drop of 11% compared with 2016 when almost 21 lakh people obtained such citizenship. India’s ranking dipped to second in this category, with 1.21 lakh obtaining citizenship of an OECD member country during 2017 as opposed to 1.3 lakh in the previous year. Mexico stole a march over India and became the main country of origin of new citizens of OECD countries in 2017 with 1.22 lakh citizenships being acquired – the majority being in US.

As regards the Indian diaspora, more than 50,000 acquired US citizenship (a 10% rise over the previous year). Also, 10,000 Indians acquired Canadian citizenship and 17,000 obtained British citizenship. These statistics showed a decline of 40% and 33% respectively.

 

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Infosys opens 6th innovation centre in US, to hire 1000 workers by 2023

“Source:- IBEF”
Infosys has opened a technology and innovation centre in Arizona, making it the sixth such centre in the United States (US). The new centre will focus on autonomous technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), full-stack engineering, data science and cyber security.

“We plan to hire 1,000 American workers in the state by 2023. As announced earlier, we have already surpassed the target of hiring 10,000 American workers as part of our ongoing efforts to accelerate the pace of innovation for American enterprises,” Infosys said in a statement.

In May 2017, Infosys had announced it would hire 10,000 locals as part of its localisation efforts apart from setting up technology and innovation centers in this key client geography. The second largest IT services firm has already opened innovation centres in Indianapolis (Indiana), Raleigh (North Carolina), Hartford (Connecticut) and Providence among others.

“The inauguration of our Arizona Center is an important milestone in our efforts to help American enterprises accelerate their digital transformations,” said Salil Parekh, Chief Executive Officer at Infosys. “We are excited to have completed our commitment to hire 10,000 American workers and we look forward to leveraging and empowering this specialized workforce to bridge the technology skills gap in the market and accelerate the digital agenda of our clients.”

The IT firm also said hiring for around 500 staffers was underway at the new Arizona centre. On Saturday, it also announced its partnership with ‘InStride’ as part of its efforts to develop workforce in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skill sets.

With increasing restriction on visa regulations, Indian IT services firms have been building up an employee pyramid in the US in recent years. As part of this localisation efforts, while most companies are building up new delivery centres, these firms are also collaborating with American universities to train fresh graduates with necessary IT skills.

For Infosys, US contributes more than 60 per cent of revenues. The company is ramping up its localisation efforts to reduce its dependence on subcontractors. In the last quarter, subcontracting cost for the IT firm stood at 7.5 per cent of the company’s total delivery cost.

As part of its localisation drive, the company plans to continue hiring locals in the coming quarters.

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Oyo  to  raise  $200  mn for luxury push in US

“Source:- Livemint”
Bengaluru: Oyo Hotels and Homes, the operator of India’s largest network of hotels, is in talks with financial institutions to borrow $200 million to buy premium and luxury hotels in the US, two people familiar with the matter said.

The company, which bought Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas last month, has identified the premium hotels segment as its area of focus outside India, the people said on condition of anonymity.

Oyo’s overseas push into the premium and luxury segment is a departure from its strategy in India, where 25-year-old founder Ritesh Agarwal has signed up thousands of small hotels onto his online platform and helped them upgrade and standardize their rooms to cater to budget travellers.

Agarwal is now spending a major part of his time in the US to expand Oyo’s presence in the world’s largest economy.

“Oyo is going to create a separate entity in the US to help it acquire and run four and five star hotel assets in America,” said one of the two people. “It is in talks with several financial institutions to raise debt to fund these transactions.”

Oyo is likely to own a minority stake in the US entity being created for owning the hotel assets, the person said.

Earlier this month, Oyo purchased a 64-suite building in Ahmedabad for an undisclosed amount. Oyo partnered Gurugram-based Mountania Developers for the transaction as well as to redesign the building into a premium four star hotel by the end of this year.

 

This marked Oyo’s debut into the business travellers’ segment in India.

In its first property purchase in the US, Oyo bought the Hooters hotel in August. In the transaction, Oyo and Highgate, a US real estate investment and hospitality management company, were said to have infused $135 million to develop the asset, a person aware of the development told Mint at that time.

“We are excited with our rapid growth and early success in the US, our newest home market, where our partnership with Highgate to open the doors to our first flagship hotel in Las Vegas, Oyo Hotels and Casino, has been a key milestone,” said an Oyo spokesperson, without commenting on the debt raising process. “We have already hit the 100 hotels mark in a short span. We continue to explore ways to create value for our asset owners, while enabling all our guests to experience #LivingTheGoodLife at an Oyo near them.”

Oyo’s strategy to raise debt to buy hotels is not unique to the US. It has followed a similar strategy in India and Europe. “They have raised a couple of property funds where SoftBank has put in money as well to buy hospitality and other assets here in India and other countries,” said a person familiar with the firm’s strategy, requesting anonymity. “The idea is that they are going to be tenants of these properties, so they want to create real estate investment trust (REIT)-like returns via ownership.”

Oyo has been on a buying spree in the hotels asset space. In May, it agreed to acquire Amsterdam-based @Leisure Group from Axel Springer, a media and technology firm, for an undisclosed amount. @Leisure is a vacation rental company based in Europe, which manages holiday homes and holiday parks, as well as holiday apartments.

Oyo has raised nearly $1.7 billion in funding over 12 rounds. In March, Mint reported that Oyo was tapping the venture debt route to buy properties in India to expand its Townhouse offerings.

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Honda Cars ties up with Orix to launch car leasing service in India

“Source:- IBEF”
Honda Cars India on Tuesday said it has launched car leasing services in association with transportation solutions provider Orix.

As a part of this association, self-employed professionals and salaried individuals can now avail leasing options for Honda CR-V, Civic and City for both corporate as well as individual customers, Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) said in a statement.

Car leasing is gaining popularity in India as it “offers convenience and access to latest vehicles and enables customers to enjoy the perks of using car without having to purchase it,” HCIL Senior VP and Director, Sales and Marketing Rajesh Goel said.

In addition to corporate customers, the programme has been rolled out for individual customers as well, he added.

“Honda Cars India has been an aspirational brand in the country. We believe this partnership will fulfil many young dreams by enabling them to experience HCIL’s premium products through our innovative and curated lease options,” Orix India MD and CEO Sandeep Gambhir said.

The lease plan will have offerings like comprehensive insurance plans, maintenance packages, tax management and curated rentals as per requirement, he added.

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With more than 7,000 start-ups, Delhi-NCR emerges as India’s unicorn hub

“Source:- IBEF”
TiE Delhi-NCR and consulting firm Zinnov on Tuesday released a report, ‘Turbocharging Delhi-NCR Start-up Ecosystem’.

Rajan Anandan, president of TiE Delhi-NCR, said, “NCR’s start-up ecosystem has incredible momentum. Despite the progress so far, we believe we are still in Day One.
With concerted focus on the most important areas, the NCR has the potential to become a Top 5 Global hubs for start-ups, lead innovation across many sectors, create many more start-ups and have at least 30 unicorns in NCR by 2025.”
Key Highlights:
• Delhi-NCR has over 7,000 start-ups, 10 Unicorns and a cumulative valuation of US$50 billion
• With appropriate interventions, Delhi-NCR will become one of the Top 5 Global Start-up hubs with 12,000 start-ups, 30 unicorns and cumulative valuation of about US$150 billion by 2025
• Delhi-NCR has the highest number of active start-ups in India
• Delhi-NCR ecosystem has the highest cumulative private market valuation in India, at $46-56 bn. Bengaluru has US$ 32-37 bn, Mumbai has US$ 10-12 bn
• Three of the four most valuable Internet companies also based here – Info Edge (Naukri.com), Makemytrip, Justdial
• Delhi-NCR has 22 per cent of the country’s active angel investors, but base needs to increase.
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Union HRD Minister launches several initiatives of MIC and AICTE to boost research and innovation in the country

“Source:- IBEF”
Union Human Resource Development Minister, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ attended the First Annual Innovation Festival of the MHRD’s Innovation Cell (MIC). MIC organized the first Annual Innovation Festival in coordination with AICTE here today. During this festival, Innovation cell showcased more than 70 top students’ innovations from across India. Minister of State for HRD, Shri Sanjay Dhotre was also present on the occasion.

Union Minister also launched the Smart India Hackathon 2020, Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020, and Institution’s Innovation Council 2.0. The event also witnessed the release of the Start-Up Policy Document and SIH Report, launch of Technical Teacher’s Training Module, ATAL Academies, Protsahan Mudra Scheme, Vishwakarma Award and the Vice Chancellor’s Meet on the Student Induction Programme, which has bridged the gap between students and teachers through creatively designed programs that have unveiled the best potential of a student outside of the book curriculum.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Pokhriyal said that the MHRD, last year initiated the separate Innovation cell with support from AICTE to foster the culture of innovation in all educational institutions of India.  He said that as India aspires to be 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2024, India needs to emerge as global innovation,
entrepreneurship and start-up hub. He added that considering India’s current demography, youngsters need to be in the forefront of this innovative movement and Indian higher education institutes need to play a key role and emerge as centers of excellence producing global quality research and innovation.

Shri Pokhriyal further said that MHRD’s Innovation Cell with the support of AICTE has undertaken multiple initiatives to ensure that innovation becomes the primary fulcrum of our technical education. He added that All India Council for Technical Education, in its endeavor to bring quality revolution in the standard of technical education of India has undertaken a plethora of activities which includes various schemes, policies, programs and regulations that have evolved to shape the educational domain of India as the ultimate in every sphere and has come forward as emerging giants of global technological warriors.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Dhotre said that in-line with vision of our Prime Minister, AICTE and MIC are promoting start-ups and innovation culture which will eventually result in society of job creators instead of job seekers. He expressed his happiness that AICTE and MHRD innovation Cell have taken up several path braking initiatives to bring the desired tectonic shift in quality of education and many new initiatives are being launched by AICTE and MIC in a single day.

He informed that MHRD has also come up with National Start-up policy framework for students and faculty members who are keen to become entrepreneurs. He appealed to MIC and AICTE to work actively with education departments of all state governments to ensure that this Start-up policy is implemented in all major educational institutions and a regular feedback mechanism should be established to understand emerging challenges and steps should be taken to ensure that a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem is developed in educational institutions.

Shri Dhotre interacted with the participating student-innovators and keenly enquired about their respective innovations, which were related to agriculture, environment, animal husbandry, healthcare etc. He said that each of these innovations has potential to make remarkable and wide- ranging impact on the society.

Shri R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, MHRD and Shri Madhu Rajan Kumar, Joint Secretary, MHRD,Shri Anil Sahsrabuddhe, Chairman, AICTE, Professor D.P Singh, Chairman UGC, Dr Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) addressed the gathering with their valuable inputs on enhancing the quality of education in India. The event saw the participation of the Vice Chancellors of Central, State and Private Universities, Directors and Faculty of Institutions and research organizations.

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Indian Railways suspends busy season surcharge from this year. Waives off 15% peak season surcharge.

“Source:- Rail News”
NEW DELHI: Citing economic slump and to give a boost to the economy, Railways on Thursday decided to suspend the busy season surcharge for all freight traffic and said during the last five months it did more business as compared to the last year, but the growth is not what it expected. Member Traffic (Railways) P S Mishra told a press conference at the Railway Bhavan that the levy of Busy Season Charge, which is levied at the rate of 15 per cent from October 1- June 30, has been deferred till further advise (except for iron ore and POL). Coal and coke and container traffic are already exempt. Railways also plans to increase the flow of rakes for auto companies to increase freight traffic contribution from the sector. Details of these measures announced by Member (Traffic) are as under:

Freight rate related measures:

Levy of Busy Season Charge Deferred:

  • BSC, which is levied @ 15% from 1 Oct-30 June, has been deferred till further advice (Except for iron ore and POL).
  • Coal & coke and container traffic are already exempt.

Waiver of Supplementary charges on Mini and Two point rakes:

  • The 5% Supplementary charges applicable on Loading on Mini and Two point rakes is being waived off.
  • This is likely to boost loading of Smaller cargo sizes and help cement, steel, food grains and fertilizers loading.

Round-trip charging on container traffic:

  • As per haulage charge rating of container traffic, 0-50 km is the minimum distance slab for charging.
  • It is seen that container traffic in this ultra short lead (0-50 km) is very low at present.
  • Therefore, round-trip charging of container trip has been introduced for a distance of less than 50 km on each way.
  • Under this scheme, haulage charge for 0-100 km slab will be charged for total to and fro movement, instead of charging for 0-50 km slab each way.
  • Impact- this comes out to be about  35% cheaper per TEU for the complete round-trip
  • It is expected to especially give a fillip to EXIM traffic between ports and Inland Container Depots.

Discount on movement of empty containers and empty flat wagons

  • A discount of 25% discount in haulage charge of containers has been given to encourage movement of empty/flat to ports; thereby increasing loaded container traffic in return
  • It is expected to enhance price-competitiveness of Railway vis-a-vis other modes of transport and expand freight basket by capturing new traffic.

Large-scale de-notification of commodities for container traffic

  • As per container haulage charging policy, notified commodities are charged at Container Class Rates (CCR), which is 15% lower than General Tariff Rates (GTR). Rest of the commodities are charged at Freight All Kind (FAK) rates, which are even lower than CCR.
  • Recently, 90 more commodities have been de-notified, which brought down their haulage charge from CCR to FAK rates.
  • Now, out of total 635 commodities in Goods Tariff, only 38 commodities are under notified/CCR rates (11 of these are POL commodities).

Auto sector’s demand

Mr. Mishra added that the Railways would be increasing the number of rakes for transportation of automobiles from eight to 26, and gradually to 50 rakes by the end of this financial year. “This is being done on the request of the auto sector. We have very limited presence in auto which we are trying to increase,” he said.

He added that at the industry’s request, Indian Railways was also working on a special wagon design for transportation of four wheelers as well as two wheelers as more traffic was expected from the sector despite the slump there. Mr. Mishra expects to increase the present share of 2% in loading auto freight, to around 8-10% by the end of this fiscal.

Freight Marketing initiatives:

  • Induction of more New Modified Goods  car rakes and introduction of new design of Bi level auto car wagons (BCACBM wagons).
  • Rationalization of Road Railer with 4 new weight slabs instead of earlier 3 weight slabs. More competitive rates.
  • Weight and weighment conditions relaxed in perishable traffic  when loaded in goods wagons

Measures to enhance ease of business and digitisation

  1. Pan-India Implementation of eT-RR
  • Facility of Electronic Transmission of Railway Receipts (eT-RR) has been successfully implemented across the country wef 01.08.2019
  • eT-RR is user-friendly and paperless transaction system where Railway Receipt is generated and transmitted electronically to customer through Freight Operation Information System (FOIS). Delivery of goods is given through e-surrender of eT-RR. That is, customer is saved the hassle of carrying physical Railway Receipt from originating to destination station
  • This facility is expected to bring down the transaction costs of rail customers, and also pave the way for greater digitisation.
  1. Weighment-related reforms
  • Pre-weigh bin system for weighment of goods traffic has been permitted in private sidings. This is expected to bring down the time for Weighment and loading, and also bring in higher accuracy in Weighment. It shall go a long way in redressing the issues related to Weighment.
  • As per earlier policy, if a second Weighment of wagons was done, the higher of the two reading was considered final for charging or levy of penalty.  Now, the policy has been modified to state that second weighment will be considered final for charging. This policy change makes the provision of second weighment meaningful and is expected to redress customers’ grievance in accuracy of Weighment.
  • Low density commodities like Pet Coke, Met Coke, Chuni and De-oiled cake have also been exempted from mandatory weighment. This is likely to save transit time and increase fluidity, which translate in to cost saving for customers also.
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We are one of the largest exporters of Pharmaceuticals.

“Source:- International News And Views”
New Delhi,

The Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri Sadananda Gowda inaugurated the Annual Health Conference “Pharma Med HD 2019 Transforming the perception of Indian Health Care Industry” in New Delhi today.

Congratulate PHD Chamber for gathering all the stakeholders of the Healthcare Industry on one platform through such conference, said that the sector is expected to generate 40 million jobs in India by 2020.

The health care industry in India has been one of the country’s largest economic sectors, with regard to both employment and revenue.

Indian healthcare sector, is expected to record a threefold rise, at a CAGR of 22 per cent during 2016-2022 to reach US$ 372 billion in 2022 from US$ 110 billion in 2016, the Minister said.

India ranks 145th among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare. There is immense scope for enhancing healthcare services penetration in India, thus presenting ample opportunity for development of the healthcare industry.

Indian healthcare industry is one of the most knowledgeable and professional industry in the world.

The Minister said that this has been amply proved by the following facts:

We are one of the largest exporters of Pharmaceuticals.

The Indian healthcare Delivery as in the hospitals are one of the most efficient and cost-effective healthcare delivery systems due to our expert doctors and specialists and well-equipped diagnostics and nursing services.

Though we are dependent on imports in medical devices but Indian Medical Device manufacturers have now taken a lead and are producing high quality devices.

India is the only country with largest number of US-FDA compliant Pharma plants (more than 262 including APIs) outside of USA. We have nearly 1400 WHO-GMP approved Pharma Plants, 253 European Directorate of Quality Medicines (EDQM) approved plants with modern state of the art Technology. No other country can boast of such an infrastructure.

Indian pharmaceutical industry supplies over 50 per cent of global demand for various vaccines, 40 per cent of generic demand in the US and 25 per cent of all medicine in UK.

India accounts for 20 per cent of global exports in generics. India’s pharmaceutical exports stood at US$ 17.27 billion in 2017-18 and are expected to reach US$ 20 billion by 2020. In 2018-19 these exports are expected to cross US$ 19 billion.

Indian pharmaceutical sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15 per cent in the near future and medical device market expected to grow $50 billion by 2025. India is the second largest contributor of global biotech and pharmaceutical workforce. The pharmaceutical sector was valued at US$ 33 billion in 2017.

Indian pharmaceutical companies received record 300 generic drug approvals in USA during 2017 where the generic market is expected to reach US$ 88 billion by 2021.

By 2024-25, India’s biotech industry is estimated to increase to US$ 100 billion.

As per industry estimates, the Indian medical devices market will grow to USD 50 billion by 2025. Currently, India is counted among the top 20 global medical devices market and is the 4th largest medical devices market in Asia after Japan, China and South Korea.

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ISRO and DRDO ink MoUs to provide technologies for human centric systems for Human Space Mission

“Source- IBEF”
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has joined hands with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for development of human centric systems for the Human Space Mission to demonstrate its human space flight capabilities. A delegation of ISRO scientists, led by Director, Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair, signed a set of MoUs with various DRDO labs here today to provide technologies for human centric systems and technologies specific to the Human Space Mission.

The MoUs were signed by Directors of Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL), Defence Laboratory (DL) Jodhpur, Centre for Fire, Explosive & Environment Safety (CFEES), Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS) and Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) in the presence of Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy and Scientist & Director General (Life Sciences), Dr A K Singh.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy said the technological capabilities existing in DRDO laboratories for defence applications will be customised to meet the requirements of the human space mission of ISRO. Some of the critical technologies to be provided by DRDO to ISRO include space food, space crew health monitoring and emergency survival kit, radiation measurement and protection, parachutes for safe recovery of crew module and others.

DG (Life Sciences), Dr A K Singh said DRDO is committed to provide all necessary support to ISRO for the human space flight and customisation of the required technologies has already been initiated to meet the stringent timelines. ISRO aims to demonstrate human spaceflight capability before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022.

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CBSE And Microsoft join hands to build up capacity for AI Learning for Schools

“Source:- Microsft”
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced that it will conduct Capacity Building Programs for high school teachers in association with Microsoft India with an aim to integrate cloud-powered technology in K12 teaching. Meant for teachers of grades 8-10, the program will be conducted in 10 cities across the country, starting September 11, 2019.

AI and intelligent technologies are becoming all-pervasive today, transforming organizations across sectors and redefining the way we work. To equip the workforce of tomorrow, it is critical to the ramp up the institutional set-up and build capability among educators as well as integrate advanced technologies into the teaching process.

This program will provide teachers better access to the latest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and help them to integrate technology into teaching in a safe and secure manner, thereby enhancing the learning experience and 21st century skills of all students. The 1000 teachers nominated by CBSE will undergo a 3-day project-based training for practical, hands-on knowledge of Microsoft 365 tools such as OneNote, Flipgrid, Teams, Outlook & Minecraft and Paint3D Microsoft.

They will also learn about digital story telling; creation of personalized learning experiences for diverse learners; use of Teams for virtual lessons and how to leverage Artificial intelligence tools to create BOTS and demystify concepts around Artificial Intelligence. The program will also offer them the opportunity to become Microsoft Innovative Educators. With this they will have access to free resources, tools and software; as well as mentoring sessions and discussions with global educators. Please read more about it here.

In the next phase the program will be extended to cover skilling workshops for 400 CBSE School on the Microsoft K-12 Education Transformation Framework. Please read more about it here.

Manish Prakash, General Manager, Microsoft India said, “AI has become a strategic lever for economic growth across nations around the world. Through this initiative, we are empowering institutions, educators and students of India to acquire early education/skills in new technologies like AI and cloud to lead that growth in that rapidly changing world. We are excited at the opportunity to partner with CBSE, as our very first endeavour in any country, to transform the education eco-system with the power of AI and cloud.”

Microsoft works closely with schools throughout the entire transformation journey – from research and planning to creating tailored solutions and implementing the technology. Read more about how Microsoft has helped education institutions around the world achieve transformation with its ecosystem of tools, services, and partners here.

About Microsoft India

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 10,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian start-ups, businesses, and government organizations.

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Tata Group to invest over ₹500 cr to establish two Indian Institutes of Skill

“Source:- Livemint”
New Delhi: The Tata Group will invest over 500 crore to establish two Indian Institutes of Skills (IISs) – one in Mumbai and another in Ahmedabad in collaboration with the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship, the union government said Wednesday.

Inspired by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) model of education, the IIS will be developed on a public-private-partnership (PPP) mode with land coming from government and capital from the Tata Group.

While the IIS Mumbai foundation was laid Wednesday by skills minister M.N. Pandey in the presence of Tata Group Chairman N. Chandrasekaran, a formal announcement related to the Ahmedabad IIS will be made over the next couple of weeks.

“Tata Group will build two IISs and their selection was done after a competitive bidding. They are expected to invest over 500 crore including Rs. 300 crore for the Mumbai institute,” skills secretary K.P. Krishnan said.

The IIS will be modelled after IITs and IIMs and expected to emerge as the tertiary level institute in the skills eco system and cater to the demand of industry 4.O. and offer courses in areas like deep technology, aerospace, etc.

“This is a privilege for us to be a part of something that was initiated and conceptualized by Honourable Prime Minister,” N Chandrasekaran said Wednesday, adding that both the Tata Group and the government was working closely for the last three months on the issue.

“We are aware that jobs are important for the economic growth and it has been noticed that approximately 1 million people join the workforce every year. In such a scenario, skilling is the appropriate solution to help the youth in getting productively employed. There has been a mismatch between the skills that are imparted and the jobs that are available. We need to ensure that there are skills imparted to make the youth ready for 21st century jobs,” Tata Group Chairman said.

“At IIS, we look at providing a curriculum that would help to impart traditional skills along with soft skills. I am optimistic to have worldclass partners who would help us in making our mission through IIS stronger,” he said during his address in Mumbai event.

“The concept of Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) was envisaged by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji himself when he had visited the Vocational Education and Training Center in Singapore… (IIS) will be on the lines of the IITs and the IIMs that we have in our country. It will aspire to earn a similar reputation, stature and world-class infrastructure to cater to the demands of the international market and modern requirements,” skills minister Pandey said.

The skills ministry feels that IIS will be tertiary care institute in the skills eco system and offer best of the industry required courses in emerging and high demand areas including deep technology, aerospace among others. The concept of the IIS is “on the lines of that of the IITs and IIMs in India”.

Government would provide access to its land through a 25 year long licence. Once the institutes are operational, government expects at least 5000 students to pass out of each of these institutes from the fifth years of operation with a placement record of at least 70%.

India will build 3 IIS one fully funded by the government and two in PPP model with Tata Group as it’s partner. The development also marks a shift in skill missions approach from an earlier asset light model to asset creation model with help from corporates.

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India announces contribution of US$ 22 million to GFTAM for 6th replenishment cycle

“Source:- IBEF”
“Under the visionary and dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi ji, India has announced a contribution of US$ 22 million to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFTAM) for the 6th replenishment cycle (2020-22), an increase of 10 per cent over the amount contributed by us in the 5th cycle.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare stated that “India stands firm to its long-standing partnership with the Global Fund and its commitment to eliminate AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria”. India’s pledge for the Global Fund strongly demonstrates its strong political leadership to achieve the universal health for all and its equally strong commitment to work across borders to join hands in fighting the epidemics of these three diseases”.

Dr Harsh Vardhan highlighted that India was the first implementing country to host a replenishment milestone of the Global Fund and now has become first among G20, BRICS and implementer countries to announce the pledge for the 6th Replenishment Conference, setting precedent for other donors to contribute generously for the cause.  He said that we are adequately financing our efforts to accomplish our goals of TB, HIV and Malaria elimination and with our increased pledge, India has inched a step closer in this direction by stepping up the Global Fund efforts to strengthen health systems and save 16 million more lives across the globe.

Partnership between India and Global Fund
India shares a sustained partnership with the Global Fund since 2002 both as recipient and as a donor. Global Fund support with investment of US$ 2.0 billion so far has made significant contribution in attaining targets related to HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria reduction and escalating our fight against these three diseases. In the current funding cycle (2018-21), the Global Fund has allocated US$ 500 million to India. As a donor, India has contributed US$ 46.5 million so far till 2019 including US$ 20 million for the 5th Replenishment.

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Centre to invest ₹25,000 cr in fisheries in 3-5 years

“Source:- The Hindu Business Line”
As part of the ambitious Blue Revolution project, the Union government has lined up 25,000 crore to invest in different segments of the fisheries sector in the next three to five years.

“We are looking at three types of support by way of infrastructure development in harbours; extending subsidies to joint venture projects to set up hatcheries/nurseries/quarantine facilities as well as viability gap funding to establish processing plants, and cold chain facilities at harvest or landing sites, said Rajni Sikhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries.

The amount will be disbursed through different schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Sampada Yojana and World Bank schemes. The government has already started a fishery infrastructure development fund with 7,300 crore, which is an interest subvention scheme, she said.

As inland fisheries contribute only 50 per cent of the total fish production, the government intends to augment its potential by covering reservoirs, wetlands, rivers and streams in different parts of the country. “We are planning to promote cold water fisheries in the entire Himalayan region to rear high-value fish varieties. We will soon sign an MoU with Iceland and Denmark to breed trout fish, a high-value variety. We have already signed an MoU with Norway in this regard,” she said. Considering the low contribution of inland water fisheries, the government is looking to double its production to six million tonnes from the current three million tonnes in the next three to four years. To achieve the target, she said, quality seeds and feeds, aquatic animal health laboratories, and quarantine facilities are required.

The Fisheries Secretary was interacting with BusinessLine on the sidelines of Aqua Aquaria India 2019 organised by Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) in Hyderabad.

Since maintaining the quality of Indian seafood is a major issue, she said the focus would be on ensuring quality, disease control and traceability of marine food products from “farm to fork” or from “catch to consumer.” The government will soon come up with a set of protocols for preparation of feed and certification of seed, she said, adding that all these efforts would help double Indian seafood exports from over 47,000 crore in five years.

The proposed Marine Fisheries Regulation and Management Bill will regulate EEZ of the country and ensure that “our waters are utilised by our own fishermen,” the Secretary said in reply to a query on the reported intrusion of foreign fishing trawlers on the Indian EEZ.

On the juvenile fish catch, she said there is a clear definition in the Bill pertaining to the size of fish to be caught. The Bill, which is in the public domain now, will be introduced in Parliament by the end of this year.

There are also proposals to issue unique license numbers and insurance for fishing trawlers and crew by levying a small fee. The money collected would be used for the safety measures of the fishing community, she added.

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FDI grows 28 per cent to US$ 16.33 bn in Q1 FY20; Singapore largest source: Govt data

“Source:- IBEF”
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into India grew by 28 per cent to US$ 16.33 billion during the first quarter of the current fiscal, according to government data.

Inflow of foreign direct investment during April-June of 2018-19 stood at 12.75 billion.

Sectors which attracted maximum foreign inflows during April-June 2019-20 include services (US$2.8 billion), computer software and hardware (US$2.24 billion), telecommunications (US$4.22 billion), and trading (US$1.13 billion), the commerce and industry ministry data showed.

Singapore emerged as the largest source of FDI in India during the first quarter of the fiscal with US$5.33 billion investments. It was followed by Mauritius (US$4.67 billion), the US (US$1.45 billion), the Netherlands (US$1.35 billion), and Japan (US$472 million).

FDI is important as the country requires major investments to overhaul its infrastructure sector to boost growth.

Recently, the government relaxed foreign investment norms in sectors such as single-brand retail trading, coal mining and contract manufacturing.

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Russia plans to set up above 20 nuclear power units in India in next 20 years

“Source: – Livemint
VLADIVOSTOK: Russia on Wednesday said that it is planning to set up more than 20 nuclear power units in India in the next 20 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok earlier today, gave a joint statement at the 20th Annual Summit between the two countries, along with Russian President Vladimir Putin by side.

The two sides exchanged numerous agreements, including military and technical cooperation, energy and science, LNG Business and LNG supplies, and natural gas, in the presence of the two leaders.

“I’m honoured to be the first-ever Indian Prime Minister to be coming to Vladivostok. I thank my friend, President Putin for inviting me here. I remember Annual Summit of 2001, first one held in Russia when he was President and I had come with former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s delegation as Gujarat Chief Minister,” the Prime Minister said in the joint statement.

The leaders, on the occasion, noted that the friendship between India and Russia is not restricted to their respective capital cities. “We have put people at the core of this relationship,” the Prime Minister added.

Meanwhile, Putin, on his part, said that both countries share similar perspectives on certain aspects of international issues. The President also recalled that he met Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit recently held in Osaka, Japan, and the Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO) in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.

“Russia and India today signed MoUs in various sectors, including civil nuclear and LNG. Regarding the Kundakulam nuclear power plant, the first and second units are working. The third and fourth are under construction. In addition, we have also decided to set up more than 20 Russian-designed nuclear units in India in the next 20 years,” Putin said.

“I am also looking forward to meeting the Indian Prime Minister at the 11th BRICS Summit that is scheduled to be held in Brasilia, Brazil,” he added.

Meanwhile, a proposal was also made between India and Russia to have a full-fledged maritime route that serves as a link between Chennai and Vladivostok.

“We (India and Russia) both are against outside influence in the internal matters of any nation,” Modi stressed in an apparent reference to Pakistan’s diabolic attempts of internationalizing the Kashmir issue.

The Prime Minister further said that Moscow’s decision to confer him with the highest civilian award of the country– the Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First– is a matter of honour for him as well as the people of India.

Upon his arrival, Modi received a Guard of Honour at the Vladivostok International Airport.

Following, he met the Russian President and paid a visit to the ‘Zvezda’ Shipbuilding Complex and spent “quality time” together onboard a ship as part of a special gesture to further cement cooperation with “a valued friend”, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Modi along with Putin will be addressing the 5th Eastern Economic Forum, wherein the former would be batting for more investment and business ventures.

In his departure statement ahead of his visit to Russia, Modi had said that strong bilateral partnership is complemented by a desire to promote a multi-polar world.

 

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Heartland International Film Festival, USA to explore “Special Focus on India”

“Source:- IBEF”
The Indian Delegation met prominent representatives from the International Film Fraternity on the third day of Toronto International Film Festival 2019. The discussions were wide ranging which included participation at the Golden Jubilee Edition of IFFI, possibility of taking forward Government thrust of “Ease of filming in India”, recent initiatives to promote film facilitation in the form of single window clearance and the growth potential of different verticals under the M&E Sector of India.

In the discussions, Ms. Hannah Fisher, Programming Head of Heartland International Film Festival of USA, suggested that there could be a special focus on India for the Festival commencing from 10th October 2019 under the ‘Foreign Language Category. Ms. Fisher said that this would help in enhancing the positioning of Golden Jubilee Edition of IFFI 2019 among the participants and international audience at the Festival.

The Indian Delegation met CEO / Co-founder of Newport Beach Film Festival -Mr. Gregg Schwenk. The meeting discussed the possibility of enhancing presence of Indian film across North America continent along with exploring business opportunities & collaboration ventures to ensure growth of M&E sector.

The discussion with senior representatives from the Global-gate Entertainment -Mr. William Pfeiffer & Ms. Meg Thompson – focused on the policy framework of films under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India – especially in the context of ease of filming in India. While appreciating the Government of India’s initiatives on ease of shooting, Mr. Pfeiffer suggested if the process of incentivisation could be fast-tracked, it would provide value to the structure & framework, which would help boost filmmaking in India. They also agreed to sensitize participants about IFFI 2019 and suggested to provide names of eminent directors, filmmakers, producers and actors who can be invited to IFFI this year.

Ms. Philippa Mossman, Head of International Screen Attraction, New Zealand Film Commission and representatives from the Israel film fund discussed possibilities of collaborations on convening Festivals; India being the “focus country” in both the festivals and fast-tracking of co-production agreements.  The Indian Delegation also met with Mr. Thomas Rado, President/ CEO, Gibraltar & Palme and Ms. Dilani Rabindran, with whom the prospect of participation in the 50th Edition of IFFI was discussed.

Background

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is participating at the ‘Toronto International Film Festival’ from 5-15 September 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The Indian Delegation includes Shri Chaitanya Prasad, Additional Director General, Directorate of Film Festivals and Ms. Dhanpreet Kaur, Deputy Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
The market potential for Indian content in Toronto is huge because of the strong presence of the Indian diaspora and great interest in Indian Cinema. India-Canada are in a co-production treaty as well and opportunities to work on co-producing films with Canada will be explored by the Delegation during the Festival.”

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Japan joins a band of Asian countries to tap into Indian tourism market

“Source:- IBEF”
For many Indians, Japan is all about Samurai, Sumo wrestling and Suzuki and their holidays are all about the Alps or London and Paris. That is what the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) hopes to change. With a sharply targeted campaign, including a Facebook contest that busts myths about lack of Indian food in Japan or paucity of destinations, it is going all out to win over the Indian traveller.

Japan joins a band of Asian countries, including Taiwan and Korea among others to tap into the Indian wanderlust. “We are actively promoting the destination as there is a huge potential in the Indian market,” said Yusuke Yamamoto, JNTO’s executive director in India. Last year over 150,000 Indians visited Japan registering a growth of 14.6 per cent over the previous year.

This push comes in the backdrop of Japan’s recent tension with South Korea. Nearly 75 per cent of all its overseas visitors come from East Asian countries. But recent events have impacted the flow. Yamamoto hopes increased air connectivity with India and engagement with local travel partners will help. Japan’s All Nippon Airways is launching a Tokyo-Chennai service in October while Japan Airlines will begin its Tokyo-Bengaluru flight next summer. “Indian tourists like the cherry blossom season but now we are promoting travel in autumn and winter too,” he said.

Tourism authorities of South Korea and Taiwan too stepped up their game. While Korea Tourism Organisation has engaged with bloggers and celebrities to broaden the appeal, Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) is advertising on Mumbai metro coaches. This is part of a promotional effort that includes tie-ups with media companies and the multiplex chain Inox for a television series in Taiwan. Over the past year TTB has increased its annual marketing budget for India by six fold to US$ 1.2 million.

“Seasoned travellers are looking at unconventional destinations like Japan or Taiwan. We work closely with tourism boards and help drive demand to these destinations,” said Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer (B2C), Yatra.com.

A recent Bloomberg report said that South East Asian countries have reported a decline in Chinese tourist arrivals. Though smaller in size, the Indian outbound industry is expected to compensate for some of the loss. Even Vietnam Tourism is looking India-ward. Vietjet has announced direct flights from Delhi to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from December. “India is one of our priority markets,” the airline’s vice president Nguyen Thanh Son said.

Hong Kong, which has in recent weeks witnessed political turmoil has been active too. The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is wooing the corporate traveller. Over 50 hotels are part of its reward programme that includes complimentary meals and experiences such as tai chi lessons and lion dance shows. “Between January and July, we registered a total arrival of 234,368 Indian visitors to Hong Kong which is a growth of 1.7 per cent over the same period last year. During the same period last year we also saw a strong double digit growth in meeting and incentive group travel segment from India,” the HKTB said.

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Fairfax to invest $5 billion more in India in next 5 years

“Source: Economic Times”
NEW DELHI: Billionaire investor Prem Watsa  proposes to invest another $5 billion in India  in the next five years, doubling what he’s put in thus far, and says the country offers an “unusual opportunity,” while shrugging off slowdown worries.

Hyderabad-born Watsa, often described as Canada’s Warren Buffett , said his company has invested $5 billion in the country in the past five years. He was in India for less than a day to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi

“I think this is the number one country in the world,” the chairman of the $70-billion Toronto-headquartered Fairfax  Financial Holdings told ET in an interview on Thursday. “India contributes nearly 3% of the world’s GDP but has only a 1% share of global investment money. If this figure were to just double to 2%, that would mean nearly $3 trillion of investments flowing into India.”

Watsa said Fairfax was open to participating in the Indian government’s asset-monetisation and divestment plans. “The government has said they want investment in oil and gas. Canada is a big oil and gas producer,” said the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, alumnus. “So we will look at all of that. If it’s oil and gas, we need someone who has expertise in Canada to come and be partners with. One of the things we want to do is bring good Canadian and American companies and tell them that this is where you should come.”

Watsa said his company would “check” the government’s disinvestment plan for national carrier Air India though he cautioned that Fairfax did not have expertise in the sector. “We have small interest, not significant. We will check it out. We check everything out,” Watsa told ET.

‘India Offers Unusual Opportunity’

The India-born Canadian billionaire was generous in his praise for PM Modi. “This country is so lucky to have a business-friendly man like Modi who is so focused on what’s good for the country,” Watsa said. “Mr Modi has an outstanding 13-year record in Gujarat and a five-year record as Prime Minister. This exceptional experience is highly unusual for a world leader.”

Downplaying worries about slowing growth, Watsa painted a rosy picture of the future of the country, describing its 1.2 billion population as a source of economic prosperity and progress.

“India offers an unusual opportunity,” Watsa said. “I travel all over the place. You know China and the US have some trade questions. Where do people want to put their money if not India? They want to put money in a large market, democracy, in a place that has rule of law.”

A few minor tweaks in government policy and some measures to open up the economy will bring the global investor community to India’s doorstep, he said “I see economic growth coming back to 10%. I cannot say when, but I see it happening,” he said.

Fairfax employs 350,000 people in its companies in India and has investments in sectors such as travel, transportation, warehousing, banking and financial services.

It owns controlling stakes in Bengaluru International Airport, Thomas Cook India, Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB), Quess Corp, National Collateral Management Services, Saurashtra Freight and Privi Organics. It’s the largest shareholder of Nirmal Jain-promoted India Infoline group (IIFL). Fairfax also owns a 43% stake in the Chennai-based Sanmar Chemicals group and has a stake in vessel operator Seven Islands Shipping.

The company will route its investments in India through Canada-listed Fairfax India Holdings and examine investment opportunities through Thomas Cook India, the travel company it acquired in 2013 and having operations in 29 countries.

Watsa said he was bullish on the lending business, despite liquidity constraints in the nonbanking finance firms sector. “Banking is a good business to be in,” he said. “You have to be careful that you don’t lend without discipline.”

With regard to the holding in CSB, “We have been given 15 years to reduce our stake to 15% (from 51%),” Watsa said. This is the timeline the Reserve Bank of India has given Fairfax to pare its stake in the Kerala-based CSB as per the rules.

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Govt announces Rs 6,268 cr subsidy to export 6 mn tonnes of sugar

“Source: Business Today”
New Delhi, The government on Wednesday announced a Rs 6,268 crore subsidy for export of 6 million tonnes of sugar during the next marketing year starting October to offload surplus domestic stock and help mills clear huge sugarcane arrears of around Rs 15,000 crore. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the food ministry’s proposal in this regard. “We have taken an important decision in the interest of sugarcane farmers. The cabinet has approved export subsidy for 6 million tonnes for the 2019-20 marketing year (October-September),” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters after the cabinet meeting. A lump-sum export subsidy of Rs 10,448 per tonne will be given to sugar mills during the next marketing year which is estimated to cost the exchequer Rs 6,268 crore, he said. This will benefit millions of farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka as well as other states, he added. Even in the ongoing marketing year, the Centre is providing a subsidy of around Rs 11,000 per tonne for export of 5 million tonnes of surplus sugar. This doleout has been objected to by other sugar producing nations like Brazil and Australia at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In a statement, the government, however, asserted that the export subsidy on sugar is WTO compatible and as per the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). The lump-sum export subsidy will be provided to millers to meet expenses on marketing costs including handling, upgrading and other processing costs as well as international and internal transport and freight charges. The nodal food ministry will later allocate export quota to individual mills. The subsidy would be directly credited into farmers’ accounts on behalf of mills against cane price dues and subsequent balance, if any, would be credited to mills’ account, the statement said. It also said the surplus stock would have created a downward pressure on ex-mill sugar prices, affecting liquidity of mills and mounting of cane arrears. Hailing the decision, National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories Ltd Managing Director Prakash P Naiknavare said, “This is a good decision taken at a right time. There is an inventory of 43.5 million tonnes in the country. Unless exports takes place, there is no way out. Now the ball is in the court of the industry how best they utilise this.” He said the export subsidy for the current year was around Rs 11,000 per tonne, which was linked to crushing of sugarcane. However, the export subsidy announced for 2019-20 at Rs 10,448 per tonnes is linked to marketing and other expenses, which is WTO compatible. Meanwhile, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said the move will not only reduce the surplus sugar inventory next season, but will also give additional cash flows to the tune of around Rs 18,000 crore, including the subsidy amount. “This will help the mills reduce carrying costs and interest burden as also help them to pay cane price to farmers on time. With an expected global deficit next year of around 4 million tons, the timely announcement of India’s export programme… will enable Indian millers to export the 6 million tons,” it said in a statement. India is facing a glut situation in sugar owing to record production during the current 2018-19 and the previous year. In the current year, sugar output is estimated at around 33 million tonnes, as against 32.3 million tonnes in 2017-18. As a result, the government estimates that opening stock of sugar would be at an all-time high of around 14.2 million tonnes on October 1, 2019, against the normative requirement of around 5 million tonnes. India’s annual domestic demand is 26 million tonnes. PTI RR LUX MJH ABM.

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Google signs pact with IT ministry for ‘Build for Digital India’

“Source: IBEF”
Tech giant Google on Saturday said it has signed a statement of intent with the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) for rolling out ‘Build for Digital India’ programme.

The programme will offer a platform to engineering students to develop market-ready, technology-based solutions that address key social problems, a release said.

As part of the program, engineering students across the country will be invited to present their ideas and solutions in areas like healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, women safety, smart mobility and transportation, environment, accessibility and disability and digital literacy.

Applicants will take part in online and offline learning opportunities on key technologies such as Machine Learning (ML), Cloud and Android that will be offered through Google’s Developer Student Club network and other Google Developer networks, it said.

Google will also offer mentorship sessions in product design, strategy and technology to the most promising products and prototypes.

“This initiative will not only motivate the college students across India to innovate but will also produce some good technology solutions for some major social challenges of India,” the statement quoted IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as saying.

Karan Bhatia, Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google, said advanced new technologies like ML and artificial intelligence can help address at scale some of the toughest social challenges that India faces today.

“We are pleased to be partnering with MeitY to reach, inspire and equip today’s young engineers with the technical and entrepreneurial skills and the mentorship they need to turn their bright ideas into tomorrow’s breakthrough solutions,” he added.

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China’s new drug law may open door for Indian generic medicines: Report

“Source: Express pharma”
China’s revised drug law, which removes drugs that are legal in foreign countries but not approved in China from the category of fake medicines, may allow entry of Indian generic medicines in the country, media reports stated.

China’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, passed the revised law recently to enhance the management and supervision of the pharmaceutical market following numerous fake drugs and vaccine cases that had triggered a call for stronger measures to ensure drug safety.

India has been demanding that China open its pharmaceutical market to Indian drugs as part of the efforts to lower the USD 57 billion trade deficit in about USD 95.5 billion total trade last year.

No major Indian pharma company managed to establish itself in China in view of the rigid regulations and the costs involved.

Legal foreign drugs, including generic drugs from India, will not be treated as fake medicine in China based on a revised drug administration law that will take effect on December 1, state-run Global Times reported.

The latest revision removes drugs that are legal in foreign countries but not approved in China from the category of fake medicines.

It also states that people who take these drugs without an official approval into China can be granted leniency if the amount of the drug is small.

They will be exempt from punishment if the drug does not cause health problems or delays anyone’s treatment, thepaper.cn reported.

Some experts take the move as a sign that China is opening its market to cheap generic medicines, especially from India, which caused national concern in 2018 following the release of the Chinese black comedy ‘Dying to Survive’.

The revised clause addresses patients’ needs, Liu Changqiu, a health law expert and research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Different countries may apply different standards to drugs, but patients should be allowed the right to buy legal foreign drugs as long as they are effective, Liu said.

However, Liu said the revision did not mean that China was ready to relax management on imported generic medicine.

People who want to import generic drugs for profit still have to follow Chinese laws to register and get an approval in advance.

Most generic medicines which applied for registration in China from 2016 to 2018 were reportedly produced in India and Switzerland. Experts warned legal risks still exist for distributors who buy drugs abroad, the report said.

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IndiGo to grow at 30 per cent a year, fly more international routes: CEO

“Source: IBEF”
IndiGo, India’s largest airline, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., expects to see a growth at 30 per cent a year over the next few years, said Mr. Ronojoy Dutta, CEO of the airline, said in sixteenth annual general meeting on Tuesday.

According to Dutta, chief executive of the airline, “We expect that half of that growth will go international, half will go domestic.” He is positive about the international operations of the airline.

The company is also looking at wide body aircraft other than Airbus A321 XLR for its international operations.

It presently operates Airbus A320 Neo, Airbus A320 CEO, Airbus A321 aircraft, which connects domestic as well as nearby international destinations.

The airline presently has around 238 aircraft in its fleet comprising of ATRs and narrow body aircraft.  The airline is looking at wide body aircraft.

Dutta told shareholders that related-party transactions (RPTs) of Rahul Bhatia-led InterGlobe Enterprises (IGE) with the airline amount to less than 1% of the total annual turnover of the company, currently at around Rs 30,000 crore. According to Dutta, the present value of RPTs (between IGE and IndiGo) is about Rs 156 crore. All RPTs had been approved by the audit committee.

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IOC to invest Rs 2 trn in 5-7 yrs, develop a new energy storage technology

“Source: IBEF”
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will invest Rs 2 lakh crore (US$ 28.62 billion) over the next five to seven years, the company’s chairman told shareholders on Wednesday. The company is also at an advanced stage of developing a new energy storage technology.

“Indian Oil has planned a Rs 2 lakh crore (US$ 28.62 billion) investment in the next five to seven years, to evolve into a future-ready corporate that provides comprehensive energy solutions,” Chairman Sanjiv Singh told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.

These investments will be made across refinery expansions, petrochemical capacities, and pipeline projects.

IOC is also at an advanced stage of developing a new battery technology, which “will be something beyond lithium and involve something that is available in abundance in the country”, Singh added. The refiner looks to set up an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant and is in talks with auto manufacturers to test its new technology.

Company officials also added that they were open to partner with auto manufacturers to set up the planned facility. “The break-even for such technologies is 1 gigawatt,” said S S V Ramakumar, director for research and development (R&D). He added: “It is not decided in what phases the 1-gigawatt capacity will be developed.”

On the planned mega refinery in Maharashtra, Singh said a new location in Raigad district had been identified and the process to notify the same was under way. IOC is one of the three domestic partners who will be developing the mega refinery, along with Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC.

On concerns over the availability of BSVI fuel for automobiles, Singh added that the company’s refineries will start producing the required fuel 2-3 months before the April 2020 deadline.

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Digital payments growing in India at 12.7 per cent CAGR: KPMG

“Source: Economic Times”
NEW DELHI: Digital payments in India are witnessing thriving growth with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7 per cent in the number of non-cash transactions, global advisory KPMG  said on Thursday.

A KPMG report said that the mobile payment revolution in the country has led to a boom in the number of merchants adopting digital payments with close to 1.5 million digital payment acceptance locations in 2016-17.

Besides, the number of merchants accepting digital payments modes has increased to over 10 million in a short span of two to three years.

“The mobile payment revolution with its evolving form factors has led to a boom in the number of merchants adopting digital payments. From close to 1.5 million digital payment acceptance locations in 2016-17, the number of merchants accepting digital payments modes has increased to over 10 million, in a short span of two to three years,” the report “Fintech in India – Powering mobile payments” said.

The global digital payments market is expected to touch $10.07 trillion by 2026.

QR-code based wallet acceptance points with low setting up costs have been instrumental in driving mass adoption among merchants, thereby increasing convenience for customers as well, creating a virtuous cycle for the ecosystem, the report said.

According to KPMG, one of the key factors which played a transformational role and democratised mobile payments in India was the role played by wallet players. The ease of payments, ubiquity and convenience were the factors which has led to extensive adoption of wallets.

The mobile wallet market is expected to continue its expansion at a CAGR of nearly 52.2 per cent by volume during 2019-23, it added.

Another factor that has led to the next wave in mobile payments is the Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based real time payments. The volume of UPI transactions have increased at a CAGR of 246 per cent during the period from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

Some factors such as inter-operability, and possibility of origination across different platforms such as mobile wallets, are further fuelling the growth of UPI transactions.

Mobile payments have witnessed a major shift in the past five years with the proliferation of payments like UPI, mobile wallets, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), BharatQR and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), it said.

The Reserve Bank of India has forecast an outcome of 50 per cent increase in mobile-based payment transactions as per its ‘2021 vision document’. This shift can be attributed to driving factors such as robust payment infrastructure, evolution of form factors, availability of structured data, shift in consumer behaviour and the government’s vision of transforming India into a cashless economy.

According to the report, while feature phones were limited to USSD, the advent of smartphones and the Internet has opened up a host of form factors and access to payment technologies.

 

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Ride-sharing e-bikes, cycles startup Yulu expands to Delhi; to be available in all stations in NCR by 2020

“Source: First Post”
In the midst of the automobiles slowdown, motorcycles and cycles on hire are the easiest way out to commute given the rising price of fuel and dwindling growth in consumption.

Like ride-hailing cabs Uber and Ola, Yulu Bikes, launched in 2018 is into lending of vehicles but only Electric Vehicles and Miracle bicycles. It was started by Amit Gupta, RK Mishra, Hemant Gupta and Naveen Dachuri with seed funding and raised $7 million in March 2019. It is backed by investors Wavemaker Partners, Blume Ventures, 3One4, Grey Cell Ventures, and Incubate Fund India.

Yulu was founded to solve traffic congestion and its byproduct–air pollution it causes. “One-third  of the air pollution in a city is caused by vehicles. At Yulu, our mission is not only to reduce the traffic but also do something about the air pollution caused by traffic,” said Amit Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO of Yulu Bikes.

The only thing that Gupta wanted in the vehicle was that besides being driven by humans, it should run on battery power so that it causes no harm to the environment, he said. The EVs and cycles are designed and manufactured in China and assembled in India. Yulu means simple in the Chinese language, says Gupta and he zeroed on it for his vehicles.

How does it work

Every bike has an IoT device. This makes the bikes and cycles trackable. So the backend at Yulu is always in the know of the exact location of the vehicle when lent. The device in the vehicle sends data to the server every five minutes. It has its own sim card, its own GPS, and Bluetooth.  The user has to download the Yulu app and then get on to hiring it. A QR code is sent which can be scanned on the bike which unlocks it and the user can take it anywhere.  A user can take a bike or cycle from marked areas which is mentioned in the app. The vehicle can be left at any destination mentioned where Yulu has a slot.  The payment is made on Yulu app.  From renting to returning to paying, everything is on a Do-It-Yourself basis.

The charges are Rs 10 for 30 minutes for using a cycle while the payment for electric scooter starts at Rs 10 and goes to Rs 10 every 30 minutes.

Yulu is available usually near metro stations and bus stations.

The bike cannot be tampered with as it is made from one piece, said Gupta. The wheels don’t don’t puncture. However, when it gets stolen (almost 60 percent of the time) but it is traced almost immediately, he said.

Yulu was launched in Bengaluru and is now available in Mumbai, Pune, Bhubaneswar besides Delhi where it was launched on Sunday.

“With the launch of our operations in Delhi, we are providing a green commute option to the residents of Delhi and are committed to expanding our services to the whole NCR region. We are proud to collaborate with DMRC for a common vision of better first and last-mile connectivity, reducing congestion and improving air quality,” Gupta said.

Yulu plans to extend its services to all the metro stations in the NCR by early 2020, by deploying up to 25,000 Yulu Miracles.

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“Universal Health for all, a disease-free India and global standards of excellence in healthcare: is our aim for a new India”

“Source: IBEF”
“Universal Health for all, a disease-free India and global standards of excellence in healthcare is our aim for a new India under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji”. This was stated by Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare at the inauguration of the ’72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia,’ here today.” Dr Harsh Vardhan further stated that under the visionary Prime Minister, India is on the brink of a healthcare sector revolution and is moving with urgency to change the health landscape of India. “The Prime Minister has spelt out his commitment, in no uncertain terms, that the health of our citizens is his government’s topmost priority. The charismatic Prime Minister has fast-tracked many policy initiatives aimed at achieving all the core tenets of Universal Health Coverage to deliver affordable and inclusive healthcare for all,” Dr Harsh Vardhan elaborated.

Dr Harsh Vardhan was also unanimously elected as Chair of the 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia.

Eight Ministers of Health from the 11 countries of the WHO South East Asia Region (SEAR), Smt. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region were also present at the inaugural session. This is the second time that India is hosting the Regional Committee meeting; the previous one was also hosted by India in New Delhi.

Stressing on the need for right and healthy nutrition, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the government is observing the entire month of September as “Poshan Maah” (Nutrition Month) to sensitize the public towards healthy eating, address the twin issues of malnutrition/undernutrition and problem of obesity in some sections of the population, and intensifying the campaign towards a ‘Malnutrition-Free India’. Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that unsafe food and poor diet create a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and sick. “India is passing through an epidemiological shift from communicable to non-communicable diseases, and the burden of diet-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity is rising rapidly. I am happy to share with you that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has adopted a “food systems approach” to ensure our citizens have access to safe and healthy food,” he elaborated. He further said that this approach judiciously combines the regulatory and capacity building measures with consumer empowerment initiatives. Citizens are being sensitized through a people’s movement called ‘Eat Right India’. “It’s tagline, Sahi Bhojan. Behtar Jeevan’ – ‘Right diet leads to better quality life’ depicts India’s commitment to preventive and promotive healthcare as an important pillar of our health policy, he mentioned.

“I must take this opportunity to thank our Youth Icon, the cricket superstar Virat Kohli, who has helped us to launch a massive campaign. “Eat Right, Stay Fit, Tabhi India Super Fit”, Dr Harsh Vardhan said. He informed that three days ago, Hon’ble Prime Minister launched the ‘Fit India’ Movement’ coinciding with the National Sports day celebrations. This campaign aims at encouraging people to include physical activity and sports as a routine in their everyday life. This, along with Eat Right India campaign, will help us to fight lifestyle diseases like hypertension, obesity and diabetes effectively, he said.

Reiterating the commitment of the government, the Union Health Minister saidthat Ayushman Bharat is India’s road to Universal Health Care. The first component of this is establishing 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centres by the year 2022, which shall provide an entire gamut of preventivehealthcare. We have already operationalized more than 20,000 Health & Wellness Centres. “The second component, Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana, is aimed at providing health protection cover to over 100 million poor and vulnerable families for secondary and tertiary care including pre- and post-hospitalization expenses. Key features include health cover of up to Rs. Five hundred thousand per family. A total of 17,000 hospitals have been empanelled so far under this scheme. More than 4.1 million persons have become beneficiaries under this scheme and have thus saved a total of an approximate120 billion Indian Rupees on health expenditure,” Dr Harsh Vardhan mentioned in his inaugural ceremony address.

As another component of preventive healthcare, the Union Health Minister further said that “We have charted out a plan to increase full immunization coverage to 90 per cent people through intensification of campaigns under Mission Indradhanush. The range of diseases covered under Universal Immunization Program has also been increased with inclusion of Rotavirus, Pneumococcal and Measles Rubella Vaccines,” he added. Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that ending vaccine preventable diseases remains an important priority of the government.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region stated that as governors of health in this region, it also requires that we look beyond our day-to-day concerns and the immediate horizon. She stated, “The flagship priorities have provided targeted focus and been responsible for a series of remarkable achievements. In advancing maternal and child health, tackling measles and rubella, in the battle against NCDs, NTDs, TB and AMR, the Region has performed with

skill and determination”. She stressed that updating the Flagship Priorities, which we will do at this Regional Committee, will help ensure continued progress.

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Tech Mahindra and Qualcomm Collaborate to Offer ‘Smart City’ Solutions Globally

“Source: Tech Mahindra News”
New Delhi: Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business reengineering services and solutions announced today its collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated to offer smart city solutions globally. The ‘Smart City Accelerator Program’ launched by Qualcomm Technologies in April, is aimed at connecting cities, government agencies and enterprises with service providers offering Qualcomm Technologies-based smart city solutions.

Manish Vyas, President Communications Business, Tech Mahindra, said, “Tech Mahindra is committed to develop innovative solutions by leveraging next generation technologies to devise and manage smart solutions for cities, local governments, enterprises and industries. We are excited to partner with Qualcomm Technologies as part of their ‘Smart City Accelerator Program’ to ensure the development and deployment of cutting edge Smart Cities solutions globally.”

The Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program hopes to accelerate the transformation of smart urban infrastructure and services for the 21st century. Its members represent a breadth of hardware and software providers, cloud solution providers, system integrators, design and manufacturing companies, as well as companies offering end-to-end solutions with Smart Cities in mind. With Tech Mahindra’s digital transformation capabilities and pedigree of establishing many smart cities in Asia, Tech Mahindra as the system integration partner will help roll out Smart City solutions.

Sanjeet Pandit, senior director of business development and head of smart cities, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., said, “Tech Mahindra is a global system integrator and leader of innovative smart city and IoT solutions. “The Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program provides a central hub for smart cities solutions across regions and verticals, and we are pleased to see Tech Mahindra participate as the leading system integrator in our program.”

Tech Mahindra’s business applications span the spectrum of needs for Smart Cities including smart parking, smart energy management, smart street lighting, and smart automated meter reading. These solutions, combined with Tech Mahindra’s global Managed Services capabilities and industry leading ecosystem of partners, allows Tech Mahindra to provide value to Cities seeking to enrich their infrastructure requirements in areas such as: measuring and reducing energy usage across buildings, enhancing the citizen experience via smart mobility applications and preventing vandalism and theft.

As part of the TechMNxt charter, Tech Mahindra is focused on leveraging next generation technologies and solutions to disrupt and enable digital transformation, and to build and deliver cutting-edge technology solutions and services to address real world problems to meet the customer’s evolving and dynamic needs.

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm invents breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects, computes and communicates. When we connected the phone to the Internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our inventions are the foundation for life-changing products, experiences, and industries. As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions, and all of our products and services businesses, including, the QCT semiconductor business. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

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India, Australia & France to jointly create inclusive Indo-Pacific

“Source: Economic Times ”
PARIS: India, France,  and Australia, in a major strategic move, plans trilaterals that would help to rebalance China in the Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of growing Indo-French & Indo-Australia & Australia-France partnership across the vast region.

The first meet of this initiative that would contribute to making the Indo-Pacific region inclusive is expected to be organized later this year in France, ET has learnt. Earlier, the three have held Track 1.5 dialogue to identify security challenges and sustainability issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

Besides Quadrilateral (India-USA-Japan-Australia), India is part of other trilaterals (India-USA-Japan); India-Japan-Australia; India-Australia-Indonesia besides Russia-India-China to stabilise and make the Indo-Pacific region inclusive.

Safeguarding freedom of navigation and keeping Indo-Pacific stable was a crucial item on the agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met French President Emmanuel Macron at the annual summit here last Thursday. The two sides would jointly produce satellites for maritime surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region where both Delhi and Paris have stakes.

“Based on a shared commitment to maintaining the freedom of navigation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific zone, maritime security cooperation between France and India is a domain of excellence in their strategic partnership. In this regard, France and India welcomed the swift implementation of the conclusions of the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, adopted during President Macron’s state visit to India in March 2018.

“France and India intend to coordinate their action at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and undertake, along with interested states, a joint project for reinforcing assets for combatting piracy and all kinds of maritime trafficking in the Southern Indian Ocean. France also intends to work concertedly with India at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. (IONS), over which it will preside from 2020 to 2022,” read the joint statement issued at the Thursday’s summit.

Tanya Spisbah, director of the Australia India Institute and a former Australian diplomat to India, told ET, “India, France and Australia are three countries with increasingly aligning strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific, accompanied by complementary research strengths and resources that can support implementation of a strategic vision. These include securing a sustainable future through addressing global challenges while ensuring regional security.”

“Examples include Australia’s $50billion purchase of French submarines, which cemented a strategic and serious partnership for security in the Indo-Pacific; France’s support of the International Solar Alliance in the margins of the Paris Agreement, creating the first ever international organisation headquartered in India and accelerating political commitment to climate change among Pacific island states and the global south; and Australia’s establishment of a Space Agency last year, which has led to partnerships with CNES, France’s space agency, of which India’s ISRO is a major global partner. These countries also share strong political commitment and research strengths in food and health security. These and other activities have logically led to a 1.5 track dialogue between the three countries, to consider a coordinated strategy to sustainability and security challenges in the region. Following US President Trump’s refusal to sign the G7 Communique last year, Macron this year has elected to focus on discussion, instead of signatures, to address global inequities that contribute to constraints on economic growth, such as environment and security. Given the increasing challenges to consensus in multiple international fora, strengthening partnerships between countries with common commitments and research strengths to implement those commitments to support a secure and sustainable region is crucial,” Spisbah suggested.

Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International (A leading global public policy research and advocacy group) told ET, “Australia-India-France minilateral should work with an objective to make the future of the Indo-Pacific less militaristic. They should foster specific connectivity initiatives in the areas of cyber-security and tourism including underlining their social inclusion aspects.”

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Jammu & Kashmir offers vast business opportunities: Official

“Source: Business Standard”
A top Jammu and Kashmir government official on Thursday asked representatives from various sectors to explore business opportunities in the state which will become a Union Territory in October-end.

Mahmood Ahmad Shah, director (industries & commerce), was in the city to tap various sectors for investments in Jammu and Kashmir post scrapping of provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to the border state.

“We are having an investor summit in November in Srinagar and in order to build the momentum, we are talking to various sectors.

“To begin with, we started it from Pune and today met office-bearers of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA),” he said while talking to PTI.

He said Sarhad, a city-based NGO working for Kashmiri students, is helping the J&K government to reach out to various sectors, including industries and education, in Pune.

“Currently, there are a lot of opportunities in Jammu & Kashmir as far as dry fruit, apple processing plants, education, health care facilities and tourism are concerned.

“We are trying to reach out to industries and educational institutes, which can come and establish their facilities in the Valley,” Shah said.

Asked about the meeting with MCCIA office-bearers, Shah said he conveyed to them the requirements of soon-to-be Union Territory.

“Today’s meeting was an initial talk on the issue as plans will get more crystallized in coming days,” he added.

Shah said he will be meeting representatives of educational institutes who want to set up their campuses in the Valley.

“We are welcoming people who can come and establish hospitals, medical facilities…educational institutes as that can open up employment opportunities as well as quality education for local students,” he said.

Shah said they are trying to find out how to go about it and what kind of help they can get from Pune.

“We will get here some industry players from our region and see that what kind of opportunities we can explore together,” the official added.

Asked about the current scenario in J&K post the Centre’s moves on Articles 370 and 35A, he said the situation in the Valley is improving fast.

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India’s media & entertainment business ranks 4 in the world in attracting investment: EY report

“Source: Economic Times”
MUMBAI: India’s media  and entertainment industry has for the first time entered the league of top five in the world in terms of attracting investment , according to the 13th EY Capital Confidence Barometre report. India ranks fourth, behind United States, United Kingdom and China, and ahead of Germany’s M&E sector.

Even as the outlook for many emerging markets has turned negative, investor sentiment towards India is seeing a significant recovery, the report said, crediting the government’s pro-business stance and an increasingly promising economic outlook for fostering a more attractive investment landscape for inbound investment.

EY estimates that the Indian M&E sector is over $20 billion, growing at 15% annually and expected to double in five years.

The multiplex industry has seen the highest number of deals in the past couple of years, according to the report.

The top five deals this year were acquisition of MAA Television by Star India for $ 417 million, pre-IPO buyout of Videocon  d2h by Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp for $ 273.4 million, merger of Prime Focus and Reliance Mediaworks that was valued at $166.5 million, acquisition of Big Cinemas by Carnival for $11.8 million and buyout of DT Cinemas by PVR valued at $78.1 million, which is yet to get closed.

The report says the growth is fuelled mainly by the government’s initiatives. The digitisation of cable television, the phase III auction of FM radio spectrum and an increase in FDI limits are expected to drive growth in traditional media, it says.

India is the second largest internet market after China, with over 300 million users.

Although digital content consumption is currently tempered by low smartphone and broadband penetration, a surge in broadband adoption is expected with the roll-out of 4G services and the government’s digital India initiative, the report says.

It predicts that by 2016 India’s online advertising market will be a little more than $1 billion, while in China it will be in excess of $23 billion.

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PE/VC investment in India zooms to all-time high of $8.3 billion in July

“Source: IBEF”
Private equity and venture capital investment in India crossed US$ 8 billion in July – the most fund infusion in a month by PE/VC funds – in the midst of strong investment action in infrastructure and real estate asset classes

As per EY’s private equity deal tracker, July 2019 recorded investment worth US$ 8.3 billion crosswise over 106 deals against US$ 1.8 billion in July 2018 through 70 deals.

The US$ 8.3 billion worth of PE/VC interests in India in July 2019 is the most elevated estimation of month to month investment by PE/VC funds ever recorded, eclipsing the past historical month to month high of US$ 7.1 billion invested in  March 2019,” said Mr Vivek Soni, Partner and National Leader Private Equity Services, EY.

In July 2019, strong investment movement in infrastructure and real estste asset classes drove the overall deal count with US$ 4.7 billion worth of mega deals in the infrastructure sector.

With this, the year to date combined PE/VC interests in the Indian foundation sector signify US$ 12 billion, which is more prominent than the total investment gotten by the sector in past seven years set up together.

PE/VC interests in Indian infrastructure so far this year surpass the total PE/VC investment made in the following three largest sectors (financial services, real estate and technology), baring PE Asia’s US$ 800 million buyout of Citius Tech was the other major deal during July.

July 2019 recorded 14 large deals (arrangements of significant worth more prominent than US$ 100 million) collecting US$ 7 billion contrasted with three large deals worth US$ 402 million in July 2018.

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Britannia to scale up milk sourcing across India, boost dairy business

“Source: Business Standard”
Britannia Industries plans to scale up sourcing milk across India after the dairy products line in its Ranjangaon plant in Maharashtra becomes operational.

The company has 25-30 milk centres in Maharashtra that collect up to 25,000 litres of milk daily. It is expanding to have hundreds of such centres around the Ranjangaon plant.

The milk collected will be used to support its value-added dairy products, like cheese, business, as the company has decided not to enter the liquid milk business.

Britannia believes by direct sourcing milk will help it innovate and roll out quality value-added dairy products quickly. “It will be scaled up to hundreds of milk collection centres in the western part of Maharashtra in the coming days and eventually, we will have to go beyond Ranjangaon to other milk surplus states to source milk,” Gunjan Shah, the company’s vice president of sales and head of dairy business, told Business Standard.

Milk collection centres have to be within a 100-km radius of processing plants. Shah did not specify the amount needed to secure the back-end of Britannia’s dairy business, but estimated said the investment in setting up collection centres around Ranjangaon is likely to be in crores.

The dairy line in this mega food park may come up around 2021.

Shah said while the company will bear part of the investment directly to manage the supply chain, partners, primarily in the logistics front, can be engaged.

“We will have greater control over quality of the milk and therefore we will also be able to develop new products faster”, he told this newspaper.

After coming up with cheese earlier, and then milkshakes in the last year, Britannia is expected to roll out yogurt and yogurt drink by Diwali this year.

“We have the distribution muscle and it allows us the strength to spread very fast. We are in around 4-5 lakh touchpoints. The Winking Cow brand (milkshakes) itself has helped us increase this (distribution) base by 2.5 times,” he said.

The company is of the view that in the past few years, the processed milk products market has witnessed sustained growth due to increased urbanisation, rising disposable income and proliferation of retail outlets beyond metro cities. While packaged liquid milk will remain a key driver of the industry growth, value added dairy products are expected to witness healthy growth and the overall organized sector’s contribution is expected to increase to 30 per cent of the industry by 2023.

Shah added that changing lifestyles is leading to a shift from home-made traditional dairy products like ghee and curd to packaged forms and the increasing awareness of nutrition and health benefits of various dairy categories like cheese and yoghurt is driving the growth in this space.

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Make in India plan in works to attract medical device companies

“Source: Economic Times”
New Delhi: The government is stitching up a plan to lure the medical devices industry to Make in India , along the lines of telecom and electronics, seeking to cut reliance on imports and lower costs.

Niti Aayog, the government’s think tank, has started work on the plan, which comes as the US spars with India over price curbs imposed on medical devices to make them affordable. “The Aayog will soon come out with a roadmap to promote development of medical devices under the Make in India initiative,” a senior government official told ET.

The mega plan is to eventually make India a manufacturing hub for medical devices of international standards that caters to the domestic and overseas markets.

Initially, the products would be diagnostic devices to screen for cancer and heart diseases and later pacemakers, ventilators, dialysis machines and CT scanners, among others, would be added.

The plan being considered for medical devices is similar to the incentive package that provides capital subsidy of up to 25% for the electronics industry and has helped boost local production of mobiles in the country.

Niti Aayog member VK Saraswat chaired a high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss issues holding up indigenous manufacturing of medical devices, said another person who was present at the discussions. The secretaries of all stakeholder ministries, including the ministry of health, attended the meeting.

“The government is trying to ensure that all roadblocks are removed so that India can catch up with lost time as other countries including China are way ahead,” the person said, adding that an announcement on this is expected soon.

India’s medical devices market is the fo-urth largest in Asia — after Japan, China and South Korea — at over $10 billion and is projected to grow to $50 billion by 2025.

Currently, India has 750-800 medical device manufacturers, with an average investment of Rs 170-200 million and an average turnover of Rs 450-500 million.

The Aayog’s plan could look at part-funding of capital expenditure incurred on research and production to benefit manufacturers and startups, officials aware of the deliberations said.

India allows 100% foreign direct investment in medical devices on the automatic route, but investors have been wary, citing an unpredictable regulatory environment.

The price curbs imposed on medical devices had also irked companies and have become a key trade issue between the US and India.

While there are over 6,000 medical devices available worldwide, barely onesixth of them are made in India and only 23 were notified by the government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, until last year.

In February this year, the government included implantable medical devices under the purview of the act, thus regulating their sale, manufacture and import to ensure that only safe and tested medical devices reach users.

“If we are serious about placing India among the top five global medical devices manufacturing hubs, then one needs to understand that piecemeal reforms will not work,” said Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator of the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry.

 

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Aadhaar-enabled transactions cross 200-million milestone on NPCI platform during July

“Source: IBEF”
The umbrella body for digital transactions, Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS) crossed 200 million exchanges during July this year, according to NPCI.

AePS is a bank driven model which permits fundamental interoperable financial transactions at point of sales (PoS or MicroATM) through the business correspondent of any bank by utilizing Aadhaar authentication.

AePS has turned out to be instrumental in driving the financial inclusion program in India. In July 2019, the transaction count of AePS remained at 220.18 million with transaction value Rs 9,685.35 crore (US$ 1.34 billion), contrasted with transaction count of 194.33 million and transaction value of Rs 8,867.33 crore (US$ 1.23 billion) July.

An aggregate of 6.65 crore Indian citizens benefited banking services through AePS stage in July

AePS crossing 200 million transactions imprint is a huge accomplishment for NPCI, benefiting financial inclusion in India. AePS is conveying the 4As’ for financial inclusion to rural part of India, authentication of client, accessibility of services, availability through AePS channel and affordability as it’s free of cost to the customers, said by Praveen Rai, NPCI COO.

AePS engages a bank client to utilize Aadhaar as identity to get particular Aadhaar empowered bank account and perform fundamental banking transaction like money withdrawal, intrabank or interbank fund transfer and balance enquiry.

The only inputs required for a client to complete an AePS transaction are the name of the client’s bank, Aadhaar number and fingerprint captured during enrolment.

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PM MODI MAY UNVEIL INVESTOR SUMMIT IN J&K IN OCT

“Source: AIBC ”
NEW DELHI: The government believes that the change in Jammu & Kashmir’s status will encourage private sector investment in the new Union Territory. Till now, officials say, provisions of Articles 370 and 35A have prevented business houses from purchasing land and hiring skilled manpower.

According to official statistics, 10% of all central funds have gone to the state between 2000 and 2016 but private investment had been below par due to the special provisions. The change in administrative status, the government believes, will have a positive impact on the ease of doing business as it would give industry ownership of establishments and will encourage hiring. “These decisions will allow any individual or business that operates as per the laws of Union of India, to freely operate, under the same rules of business, in the union territories of J&K and Ladakh,” government officials said.

State Govt Jobs

These restrictions also prevented professionals and experts from outside the state from taking up state government jobs, leading to a shortage of qualified staff for educational institutions as well, the government feels.

In his speech in Parliament, union home minister Amit Shah referred to these apparent constraints, saying that “no industry can be set up because of Article 370, 35A… tourism did not develop because of restrictions on land purchase and land price in the state did not rise”.

An investor’s summit has been planned in J&K in October in which major industrial groups are expected to participate and unveil concrete ideas for investment in sectors including hospitality, pharmaceuticals, agro processing and healthcare. The plan is to have Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurate the showcase summit.

Industry stalwarts say the changes in administrative structure has the potential to bring in substantial investments.

“We are pretty convinced that this will help us get a lot more investment due to the fundamental change when it comes to ownership of property. The areas of tourism and agro processing will get a boost,” said Sameer Gupta, president, CII northern region, who participated in pre-summit meetings with the J&K government.

Industry officials say sectors like pharmaceuticals, agro processing, tourism, education and healthcare will receive a boost due to inherent demand. “It would open up the flow of investment into the state in sectors like tourism, real estate, handicrafts, horticulture and food processing. The multiplier impact would increase employment opportunities and contribute to India’s all-round prosperity,” Assocham president BK Goenka said.

In particular, Shah’s speech in Parliament asserted that among the hurdles created by Article 370 was the setting up of private hospitals. “Healthcare is crippling in Jammu and Kashmir as no private hospital could be set up due to Articles 370, 35A,” the minister said.

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Social commerce start-up Meesho raises US$125 million led by Naspers

“Source: IBEF”
Meesho, a social commerce start-up, has raised US$125  million in investments led by Naspers Ventures, the company said on Monday. The round saw participation from Meesho’s existing investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway. Former Vodafone Group chief executive Arun Sarin has also put money.

Meesho’s valuation and the percentage stake bought by Naspers were not disclosed. The four-year old start-up has raised about $200 million in external funding to date.

The announcement comes barely two months after Facebook invested in the company, in what was the social media giant’s first direct investment in a domestic start-up. To be sure, Facebook acquired Bengaluru-based software start-up Little Eye Labs back in 2014.

In a press statement, Meesho said the funds will help the company attract customers in non-metro regions, which is its focus audience, bring more women sellers onto the platform, and invest in technology. Currently, the company has 2 million “social sellers” from 700 towns and cities across India. It also caters to 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs, offering them a new channel for sales.

Meesho, which essentially connects buyers and sellers over platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, was started by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi graduates Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in December 2015. The platform provides product cataloging, logistics and payment tools and is said to be the largest social selling platform in the country today. The product categories it caters to include apparel, home, wellness and electronics items.

It is believed that social commerce is the next frontier in e-commerce, mainly because it allows almost anyone to start selling online from the comfort of their homes. The model is said to be popular with women homemakers who look to make an extra buck, an audience which is also the main target of Meesho.

“Over 90 per cent of Indians either can’t or won’t use it in its current form. They want online shopping that enables them to buy from small businesses they trust. Meesho provides a way for these customers to get what they need, and we believe it is the future of online shopping for the next 500 million consumers,” said Aatrey.

For Naspers, the deal is a major cheque in a new domestic start-up in the recent past. The Cape Town-based investment group is a large investor in PayU India, Swiggy and Capital Float, and has stakes in OLX and Byju’s, among other bets.

“Globally, Naspers identifies big areas of consumer spend that have not yet been significantly disrupted by technology and India e-commerce certainly fits the bill. We were attracted to Meesho because the team have built a uniquely Indian solution that utilizes the reach and scale the internet enables, and harnesses and makes it available for small sellers to better serve customers no matter where they live, for the benefit of all,” said Ashutosh Sharma, head of India investments at Naspers Ventures.

“The phenomenal growth they are already experiencing shows that Meesho has hit a sweet spot in the market and is well-poised to serve the next 500 million online shoppers in the country,” added Sharma.

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Panasonic may set up li-ion battery module assembly unit in India

“Source: IBEF”
Japan’s Panasonic Corp. is investigating chances to set up an office for collecting lithium-particle (li-particle) battery modules in India

With India preparing its guide for progress to electric versatility, leading global producers of lithium-ion batteries are investigating chances to initially fabricate assembly units, even as they in the end plan huge scale manufacturing of lithium-ion cells in the country.

Almost all electric vehicles (EVs) in India keep running on imported batteries, generally from China. At present, a lithium-ion battery represents 40 per cent of the total cost of an EV. Lithium likewise has different uses, for example, in cell phone batteries and solar panels.

As EVs gain prominence in the domestic market, multinational companies in the battery manufacturing space first need to test the potential of the Indian market by gathering modules or battery packs.

Panasonic will initially assemble batteries for two-and three-wheelers as the Union government needs to push for a move towards electrification in these two segments. The Japanese organization will likewise invest into setting up charging stations and telematics platform for electric three-wheelers.

Given the changing global energy landscape, India has set up a National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage. An inter-ministerial steering panel has additionally been set up which is led by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

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Sun Pharma to make upfront payment worth Rs 2.40 bn to CSIR-IICT Hyderabad for new drug compounds

“Source: Economic Times”
MUMBAI: In one of the rare partnerships between the industry and academic institutions, Sun Pharma, India’s largest drug maker said that it has entered into a global licensing agreement with Hyderabad based CSIR Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, for patents related to certain therapy areas with multiple indications. Sun has made an upfront payment of Rs 2.40 billion to the institute and as per the terms of the agreement CSIR, Hyderabad will also receive royalties on net sales from the commercialization of these products.

This collaboration with CSIR-IICT for developing new drugs is part of our broader strategy for enhancing our global specialty pipeline. CSIR-IICT is well-known for its high quality research and we are proud to be associated with them. We are making earnest efforts to bring innovations from Indian research institutes to the market to address the unmet needs of patients globally. Our collaboration with CSIR-IICT is a step in this direction.” said Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharma said.“

Sun pharma said that this agreement will facilitate addition of pre-clinical candidates to Sun Pharma’s global specialty pipeline. For the quarter ending June 2019, Sun Pharma has reduced its R&D spend. Its R&D investments for Q12020 was Rs. 422 crores compared to Rs 500 crores for Q1FY19. Shares of Sun Pharma on Wednesday was trading at Rs 415 down by 5%.

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Tesla Shows interest in India’s plans to build battery plants

“Source: Livemint”
New Delhi: Tesla and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) are among the companies that have shown an initial interest in the Indian government’s plan to build large factories to make lithium-ion batteries at an investment of about 50,000 crore.

Among the other firms that have shown an interest in the mega project is China’s BYD Co. Ltd, said two government officials aware of the matter, requesting anonymity.

The robust global interest comes amid a strong push by the government to make India a global manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and their components. This is aimed at arresting the South Asian country’s reputation as the world’s third-largest crude oil importer, saving on precious foreign exchange and also controlling pollution in its major cities.

“This is a multibillion dollar opportunity. The EFC (expenditure finance committee) meeting has been done. It will now come up in the cabinet,” said the first government official cited above.

Aimed at securing India’s energy needs, the plan to set up these 50-gigawatt hour (GWh) factories has been cleared by EFC, with the final tender expected to be awarded by February. Each gigawatt hour (1,000 megawatt hours) of battery capacity can power 1 million homes for an hour and around 30,000 electric cars.

Tesla is still to launch its electric cars in India, with its chief executive Elon Musk blaming the decision on “challenging government regulations” and “extremely high” import duties in India. This, despite transport minister Nitin Gadkari visiting the Palo Alto, California-based company in 2016 and proposing joint ventures between the electric carmaker and Indian automakers to produce eco-friendly vehicles. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited Tesla’s California facility in 2015.

The move to build the giga plants is helmed by federal policy think tank NITI Aayog and looks to achieve what Tesla has done at its Gigafactory in Nevada, US.

The programme also aims to be technology-agnostic, meaning it will be left to the market to determine which technology is best suited for the country, depending on demand and price.

“We are expecting all cabinet clearances by September. Post that, the international tender will be floated. The EFC clearance has come. The evaluation won’t take much time. The minimum ceiling for bidding is 5GWh, with the maximum allowed quantum of 20GWh,” said the second government official cited earlier.

According to a conservative scenario envisaged by NITI Aayog, India will need six such gigawatt-scale facilities (of 10GWh each) by 2025 and 12 by 2030. While this doesn’t include the export market potential, the base scenario envisions 11 such giga factories by 2025 and 24 by 2030.

“Large batteries should be brought to the clean energy play to help use infirm power such as wind and solar. We first need it on a large scale to cater to the internal demand. All the top global manufacturers, including Tesla, have evinced interest. We will get more clarity once the tender documents are bought,” said the second official.

Besides electric vehicles, such battery storages will cater to electricity grids, given the intermittent nature of electricity from clean energy sources such as solar and wind. India has become one of the top renewable energy producers globally with an installed renewable energy capacity of about 80 gigawatts (GW), with plans to achieve 175GW by 2022 and 500GW by 2030, as part of its climate commitments.

Queries emailed to the spokespeople of NITI Aayog, Tesla, BYD and CATL on Friday remained unanswered.

In July, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in the Union budget tax breaks for setting up mega-manufacturing plants for solar photovoltaic cells, lithium-ion storage batteries and solar electric charging infrastructure.

“Wherever such factories have come up, they have come up with the government’s support. The focus of the tender is that it should be made in India and value addition has to be captured here,” said the second official.

To encourage private sector investment in this sector, the government is looking at tax incentives for manufacturers and a basic customs duty safeguard from 2021-2030 for making advanced chemistry cells and battery in India. It may offer an output-linked subsidy on kilowatt hour of cells sold. India is also exploring a nearly $1 billion concessional loan facility to be drawn from multilateral lenders to boost battery storage plans.

To encourage sales of electric vehicles, the Goods and Services Tax Council last month decided to cut taxes on electric vehicles and chargers from 1 August. In the budget, Sitharaman announced tax rebates of up to 1.5 lakh for customers on interest paid on loans to buy EVs, with a total exemption benefit of 2.5 lakh over the entire loan period. She also announced customs duty exemption on lithium-ion cells, which will help lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries in India, as they are not produced locally.

In March, the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles or FAME 2 scheme—to expand commercial vehicle fleet—was also announced with an outlay of 10,000 crore.

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Business leaders say amending Article 370 will attract big investments in Jammu and Kashmir

“Source: The Hindu”
Several chieftains of India Inc. have come out in favour of the Union government’s decision on the abrogation of Article 370, which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sajjan Jindal, chairman of JSW Group, tweeted, “I have always believed that Article 370 should be abolished — it’s existence was a result of unfortunate politicisation of the Kashmir Valley. I support the BJP on this decisive move. Also, glad to see them deliver on their election manifesto.”

Mr. Jindal said, “It is a strong move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to abrogate Article 370 . This ensures that Jammu and Kashmir enters the Indian mainstream and becomes a part of our great nation’s collective growth.”

“The archaic Article 370 unfortunately worked against the common good of the Kashmiris. With its abolition, I am certain that nothing will stop peace, prosperity & harmony to grow in the valley and I hope that the community sees this only as a positive move for their benefit,” Mr. Jindal said.

Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Enterprises, said, “Revoking Article 370 will be remembered forever in the annals of history as a historic moment. We were one of the early investors in Kashmir when my father set up two factories in the late 80s and he was personally involved in creating a beautiful tulip garden getting seeds from Holland. I have absolutely no doubt that this landmark decision will spur investment but only when the unrest settles down. Not only will employment be created, tourism will see the good days once again.”

Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra said, “The entire country is waiting to exhale over Kashmir. Can only pray for the safety of everyone there and for an outcome that makes the nation stronger and the future more positive.”

“It’s time for us all to embrace Kashmiris as an indistinguishable and inseparable part of our national community,” Mr. Mahindra added.

Manoj Gaur, chairman of Jaypee Group told The Hindu, “It’s a bold decision by a bold and visionary Prime Minister. Every citizen of India is proud. Every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir will reap benefits of this in the next 10 years.”

Motilal Oswal, CMD of Motilal Oswal Group, tweeted, “Post GST, we became one nation one tax. After J&K’s special powers are revoked, we have in a real sense become one nation. My compliments to Modi ji, Amit bhai and the whole BJP. Feel proud as a citizen.”

Ashish Chauhan, MD & CEO Bombay Stock Exchange, said,“This has been a historic day of great importance for India and Indian democracy. It is also a day of relief for most Indians. A long standing issue is in the process of being resolved today. It is time to re-integrate Kashmir into India in a true sense. Million thanks to the honourable Prime Minister, Honourable Home Minister and all members of Parliament for their courage, conviction and hard work in re-integrating an important part of India.”

Abhishek Lodha, MD & CEO Lodha Group said, “Great move. If the nation is integrated and strong, prosperity will follow. Like the 1998 nuclear tests, we may have some short-term problems but in the medium-term, will solve the Kashmir issue by enabling its economic and social growth. Hats off to PM and HM for their visionary move.”

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Will scrapping of Article 370 open up real estate sector in J&K, Ladakh?

“Source: Money Control”
Home Minister Amit Shah on August 5 proposed the scrapping of Article 370 that accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre informed Parliament that the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) would be bifurcated into two Union Territories (UTs) – Jammu and Kashmir would become a Union Territory (UT) with a legislature while Ladakh will be a different UT without a legislature.

Article 35A that states that only permanent residents can acquire land in the state has also been revoked.

Here’s a look at how these changes may impact the real estate sector in the union territories if this becomes a reality.

If a barrage of tweets doing the rounds on Twitter post the announcement are a barometer of what is in store for the realty sector, here’s a reality check.

While it may in the long term surely open up potential opportunities for the development-led economic growth in the union territories of J&K and Ladakh, expecting a surge in investments or a windfall in residential, commercial and retail segments, is expecting too much, say experts.

Investors, even locals would be cautious before investing money in these ‘disturbed’ markets. Having said that, once the dust settles, the impact would first be felt on the hospitality and tourism segments followed by retail and entertainment, not to mention healthcare and education, they say.

The scrapping of the long-prevailing Article 370 is a historic moment, said Niranjan Hiranandani, senior vice president, Assocham and National President- NAREDCO, adding “the significant move, in theory, opens up potential opportunities for the development-led economic growth in the union territories of J&K and Ladakh. This incredible move will translate into revocation of the ban on real estate development by the people outside the state. This will provide an impetus to the growing economic growth of the largest democracy and fetch better employment opportunities contributing to the nation’s projected GDP growth.”

Article 35A gives the J&K government the right to decide who qualifies as a ‘permanent resident’. The permanent resident is subject to some special rights. Only permanent residents can acquire land, settle, and get government jobs, scholarships in the state.

The state’s Constitution, at the time of its adoption in 1956, defined a permanent resident as someone who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been a resident for 10 years and has lawfully acquired immovable property. The article is also known as the Permanent Residents Law also deprives the state’s female residents of property rights if/when they marry an ‘outsider’. The provision also extends to children born of any such women.

All this would have to go with the scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A and technically even non-residents may be allowed to invest in immovable property within the union territories.

While this may certainly allow outsiders to invest in property in the two union territories, it would certainly not lead to a rush to buy residential, especially second homes and commercial properties. It may certainly be a positive for the hospitality and the tourism sectors. Overall the impact would not be immediate, says a real estate expert who did not wish to be quoted.

The model that is likely to be followed is similar to that of Puducherry. Similar rules would apply to these newly created union territories once these changes are ratified, says another real estate expert who did not wish to be quoted.

Buying property in states such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and even North East also comes with restrictions.

“Having said that, investors would be extremely cautious before investing in these border areas. All said and done these are problematic geographies. Even with the scrapping of Article 370, the region would continue to remain politically rife for some time. Unless and until the socio-political situation stabilizes, investors would not jump at the opportunity. But gradually one may see investments coming into organized infrastructure development such as hospitals, schools, colleges, hospitals, hospitality, tourism sectors and eventually retail and entertainment. Food processing industries could also receive a boost, there could be some opportunities in the anvil for e-commerce players but for all that purchasing power has to improve, all these have to be integrated,” the expert said.

Anckur Srivasttava of GenReal Advisers, says that down the line there could be investments focused on improving the tourism and hospitality segments, there could be a focus on entertainment and retail, something that the youth of these areas require. As for residential and commercial markets, these areas never ever had a mature real estate market – the market was always constrained, there were artificial barriers to buying and selling a property. All this may take a while to change, he adds.

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Reliance Jio Joins Hands With Microsoft To Launch Azure Cloud Technology To India

“Source: Mashable India”
Reliance Jio and Microsoft have agreed to accelerate digital transformation with the launch of new cloud data centres.

The partnership is aimed at bringing enterprise users access to Microsoft’s cloud-based software, named Azure and hardware infrastructure via the JioFiber network.

Paired with JioFiber, these services will be offered for free to budding startups, and at a tenth of the average market price to everyone else, stated Ambani. Small and Medium enterprises would normally pay INR 15,000 – 20,000 for services that Jio is offering from as low as INR 1,500 onwards. Larger businesses can customize a plan to suit their needs.

Companies will also have easy and affordable access to technologies like data analytics, AI, cognitive services, blockchain, IoT and edge computing to help accelerate India’s digital transformation and enable grassroots innovation.

Announcing the partnership, CMD Anil Ambani addressing company shareholders at Reliance’s Annual General Meeting stated that Jio will even invest in startups that attract its attention.

“We will bring Azure Cognitive Services to more create more break through in intelligent experiences with the support of major Indian languages,” Nadella said.

Microsoft’s services are available in 13 Indian languages, with the flexibility to add more.

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Metro Cash & Carry partners ePay Later to digitise kirana stores

“Source: IBEF”
Wholesaler retailer Metro Cash and Carry on Monday reported an organization with fintech start-up ePayLater to help kirana shops digitize their business utilizing smartphones.

As a major aspect of its next phase of kirana digitization program, Metro in association with ePayLater has co-created a mobile application ‘Digital Shop’ to digitize kirana shops’ business task instantly with no extra investment.

Through this application, kirana retailers can carefully follow their day by day and month to month deals, oversee stock, place orders with Metro and pay digitally.

The App will also give examination to kirana owners, such as inventory utilization patterns and the fast and moderate moving products that will enhance their product mix and eventually help in improving their revenues and margin.

Metro Cash and Carry entered the Indian market in 2003 and currently operates 27 wholesale distribution centers. Globally, it works in 26 countries with more than 760 wholesale markets and employs about 105,000 people.

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Flipkart set to take on Amazon with free video streaming service

“Source: Livemint”
BENGALURU : Walmart’s Flipkart unit is set to introduce a free video streaming service to draw new users from small towns and cities in India and take on rival Amazon’s Prime Video service.

Flipkart is eyeing the next 200 million consumers who are coming online. The company believes that most consumers are introduced to the internet through online videos. Hence, video content and entertainment could play a big role in getting consumers to come and buy online.

“We believe that great content, if made available to a wider base of consumers, especially the ones who are new to e-commerce but not internet, can bring them on board on an everyday basis and help take away any anxiety that they may have towards online shopping,” Flipkart group chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy said in a statement on Monday at the launch of Flipkart Videos, a curated range of movies, shows and entertainment series. Customers, he added, should not pay extra for premium content.

The video content offering is focused on three primary aspects: it’s free, curated and personalized.

Experts say the content market is still evolving, considering the number of customers paying partly or fully for subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar.

“It’s still a small number. The pricing is too high for a customer base that is accustomed to free or cheap content,” said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of retail consultancy Third Eyesight. “Also, there is a lot of fluidity in terms of the platforms used. In India, content and pricing will be critical.” He added that both Netflix and Amazon Prime are “Indianizing” their content in a big way. Pricing dynamics are being worked out as well.

Amazon India started its Prime video service in December 2016 and has since developed a strong fan base with hit shows such as Made in Heaven and Mirzapur.

The big question is—will people watching the particular content eventually buy the products on the platform? It needs a mental switch—the mindset while shopping is very different from what it is while watching a movie or a series.

According to Krishnamurthy, the focus is on attracting customers, particularly those in the age group of 20-30 and those who consume a lot of user-generated and professionally created content.

“We want to ensure that a user keeps coming to the platform every day. Over time, we will figure out how this ties into the e-commerce ecosystem, but today that’s not the objective. Its just to ensure that the consumer is hooked to Flipkart,” Krishnamurthy said in an interview.

Dutta, however, believes that there may be another reason for Flipkart’s video streaming service. “It may be less expensive or more profitable to service existing customers by expanding the share of wallet than to acquire new customers. Hence, companies try to add as many products or services to the customer relationship as possible,” he said.

According to Dutta, the metrics and operating levers of merchandise and streaming content businesses are very different. “Done well, content may add to a group’s revenues, but operationally it has to be managed with a very different business mindset,” said Dutta.

India’s video streaming industry is set to grow at an annual average pace of 21.8% to reach 11,977 crore by 2023, according to a report by global accounting firm PwC.

Subscription-based video-on-demand platforms are projected to grow at an average yearly rate of 23.3% to reach 10,712 crore between 2018 and 2023.

The 34 companies present in the cluttered market comprise US platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as Indian services such as ZEE5, Voot, Eros Now and ALTBalaji.

In the meantime, Flipkart is launching its service in Hindi with a Hindi-language “audio visual guided navigation” to enable easy on-boarding for new consumers.

It is also redesigning its app, which will allow users to access their preferred language, curated entertainment content and content feeds through the navigation bar at the bottom of the home page.

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GIC to invest ₹4,400 crore in IRB Infrastructure’s 9 road projects

“Source: The Hindu Business Line”
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC will invest 4,400 crore in a private Infrastructure Investment Trust controlled by IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd.

As part of the transaction, IRB will transfer nine of its BOT assets into the Investment Trust in which IRB will hold the controlling stake of 51 per cent stake.

The portfolio spans 1,200 km in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Three of these projects have recently become operational and the balance six are under various stages of construction. Five of the assets under construction are 4 to 6 lane projects, where tolling as well as construction has already begun. These projects are strategically located along economic corridors and across tourist hubs.

Pact signed

“The deal was approved by the board today, following which IRB has signed binding definitive agreements with GIC for a total investment of up to 4,400 crore, including funding of future construction costs,” said a press statement from IRB. The investment proceeds from GIC will be used for deleveraging of the road assets, and equity funding for under construction projects of the BOT assets.

IRB will have management control over these assets with GIC having standard rights of a financial investor and corresponding board representation. GIC will also hold 49 per cent in the Investment Manager (IM) entity formed to manage the Private Trust. The balance construction and O&M for the road projects will be executed by IRB as the project manager for the Private InvIT.

The net revenue of the nine road assets in FY 2019 was 630 crore. At the completion of construction, the enterprise value of the assets would be 22,500 crore.

Virendra Mhaiskar, CMD, IRB, said: “IRB and GIC plan to also explore future road sector opportunities in India together through the Private InvIT.”

IRB Group’s overall portfolio comprises 22 projects, including 19 BOT and 3 HAM projects. The company’s order-book as on June 30 stood at 12,650 crore. IRB also has a listed InvIT Trust set up to own, operate and maintain a portfolio of toll roads across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. The aggregate value is approximately 7,560 crore.

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Digital ad spend in regional media set to grow to US$3 billion by 2023 as internet user base swells

“Source: IBEF”
Fuelled by a developing base of online users, digital advertising spend in the local media is set to develop from US$ 300 million in 2018 to US$ 3 billion by 2023, Facebook and Google presently represent 80 per cent of Indian digital advertising spend.

As indicated by the report that depends on a quarter of a year of research including 3,000 individuals across over 121 urban communities and towns in India, the country has 530 million clients who have access to the internet, of which 260 million users are monetisable, which incorporates 210 million vernacular users. Curiously, in spite of the fact that these 210 million users with a yearly spending intensity of US$ 300 billion incline toward vernacular content they are compelled to get to Facebook in English due to the low quality of online vernacular content.

India has included internet users at 8X speed in the past 10 years, driven by small communities and towns and not by huge urban communities where users are entering the digital ecosystem because of access, affordability and aspiration. The top 50 cities today represent under 20 per cent of the internet user base, which will keep on diminishing as a level of generally internet user base in the following five years.

A few new age businesses have effectively ventured towards incorporating vernacular users and tap into this high potential digital ad market. Ola provides help in 12 languages that spreads larger part of its level 2 or more users and 25 per cent of Paytm users collaborate in regional languages as the application supports 11 language.

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Torrent Group plans Rs 3,000 crore investment for gas pipeline network in UP

“Source: IBEF”

The Torrent Group is preparing to invest Rs 3,000 crore (US$ 417 million) for installation of gas pipeline network in Uttar Pradesh. This gas pipeline network will be utilised for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.

This announcement was made by the chairman Sudhir Mehta at the second ground ceremony. He also added that there is planning to set 200 CNG stations across the state. This will benefit the state and bring environmentally friendly energy resource to the state.

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Trade body predicts the jump of Jewellery exports to $3 billion

“Source: IBEF”
India’s nodal jewellery exchange body has told commerce minister, Mr Piyush Goyal that exports to the US could bounce by US$ 1 billion to nearly US$ 3 billion if Washington is able to extend obligation advantages to these products under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The GSP refers to an exchange program proving advantages to creating world exports to the US.

Indian exports of Gold jewellery articles alongside gold chains, accessories, neck chains, gold mixed links, and so on. remained at US$1.78 billion of every 2018, down from US$2.5 billion out of 2007-09, after these things lost preferential treatment under the GSP in stages.

Of these, gold jewellery article exports accounts for 80 per cent.

The Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has told the minister that China picked up to the detriment of India with its general gems fares to the US expanding from US$2.78 billion out of 2007 to a peek of US$3.66 billion out of 2013, preceding supporting to US$3.1 billion of every 2018.

US imports of Indian gold jewellery articles tumbled from US$2.21 billion in 2006 to US$882 million in 2008 after the product stopped to get preferential treatment under GSP as they crossed the so-called competitiveneed limitation, which forces import ceilings on products and countries that might otherwise not be “competitive”.

Imports of these articles by the US got to US$ 1.38 billion throughout the following 10 years through 2018, “on account of the business of Indian exporters, Basically, the obligation on these products was expanded to 5.5% and more from negligible rates.

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World’s largest fusion experiment empowers Indian manufacturing

“Source: Economic Times”
FRANCE: The upcoming plasma-based world’s largest reactor that aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial electricity from clean energy source fusion is empowering industry globally, including Indian manufacturing.

The 1,250-tonne cryostat base, the first two sections of which have been constructed by conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T), is India’s largest single procurement contribution to the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) facility that spans over 42 hectares in Saint-Paul-les-Durance, some 35 km north of Aix-en-Provence in south of France.

ITER is a nuclear fusion research and engineering project that will be the world’s largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment.

Scientists from all over the world are involved in R&D activities linked to the project and companies are manufacturing millions of components that will be later assembled in Cadarache.

How does it benefit the Indian industry?
“The ITER facility offers industry and the scientific community an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate its strength, to grow and to learn how to deliver the energy of the future,” ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot told IANS last week in the cryostat workshop where the India-procured component is being assembled and welded.

India is one of the key seven nations aiming to prove that fusion is a viable energy source that will eventually replace fossil fuels and will be complementary with wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.

Fusion provides the most abundant source of energy in the world.

“Besides cryostat, Indian companies are providing all cooling systems, cryolines, warmlines, neutron seals and many other components. So we can proudly say that Indian industry is doing very well in terms of delivery of equipment for the project,” Bigot, who has been given a second five-year term from March 2020, added.

Besides L&T Heavy Engineering and L&T Construction, many public and private sector companies like INOX India Ltd, Engineers India Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services, Avsarala Technologies as well as firms such as Kirloskar Brothers, Kirloskar Chillers, Kirloskar Pumps, Kirloskar Motors, Paharpur Cooling Towers and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, among others, are involved in ITER through domestic agency ITER-India.

Biswanath Sarkar, who is the head of cooling systems engineering division, told IANS that approximately 30 Indian firms are directly and indirectly involved.

This provides direct and indirect employment to thousands of skilled engineers and technicians and un-skilled manpower.

Asked about the benefits Indian industry is reaping from the the ITER project, he said it is a platform that helps industry gain direct experience in key fusion technologies.

By participating in ITER, the members are also preparing their scientific, technological and industrial infrastructure at home.

“Indian companies still have a lot of scope to grow by associating with this fusion reactor,” Sarkar added.

As per the ITER pact, the original sharing of procurement is decided between the seven members, about 45.5 percent for Europe, and 9.1 percent each for China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US.

Each nation’s contribution (90 per cent) will be delivered “in-kind”, meaning that in the place of transferring money, they will be delivering components and systems directly to the ITER Organization.

The remaining 10 per cent of contributions will be transferred “in-cash” for the operational budget.

In effect, by sharing 10 per cent cash, each nation gets access to all data and even to the technologies involved without having to pay royalties on patents.

Nine large components, amounting to almost a tenth of the project, will be fabricated and sourced from India and these are worth over Rs 10,000 crore. About 50 per cent of the components have been supplied to ITER, said officials.

The 3,850-tonne cryostat is crucial to the ITER machine, providing structural support and also acting as a thermos to insulate the tokamak’s magnetic system, at cryogenic temperature, from the warmth of the outside environment.

The 1,250-tonne cryostat base will be the first machine component to be lowered into the assembly pit in March 2020. The upper cylinder is being assembled in L&T’s India facility.

ITER — the way in Latin — is one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today. It is now 65 per cent ready and the first plasma is scheduled for December 2025 — a key milestone toward full fusion power by 2035.

In total, 35 nations are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak – a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers the sun and stars.

Over one million components (ten million parts) have been built in ITER member factories around the world delivered to the ITER site. Approximately 2,300 people are working day and night in assembly activities in the facility.

With the installation of the 23,000-tonne tokamak, an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion, the number of employees will go beyond 3,000.

“Not only is ITER a scientific and technological experiment but also an opportunity to learn how to work together and develop project management with other cultures,” ITER site construction Deputy Director Prabhat Kumar told IANS.

The companies involved in ITER are pushing the boundaries of engineering and manufacturing in many fields such as robotics and fabrication on a massive scale with unprecedented cryogenic, electromagnetic, power electronics and vacuum systems.

The first machine component, part of the Chinese-supplied superconducting coil feeder, has been installed in the bio-shield, and the first commissioned system, the US-supplied electrical switch yard, is now in use.

In the assembly hall, both the Korean-supplied 800 tonne sub-sector assembly tools are now installed.

Europe has also handed over the magnet conversion building to the ITER organisation, where electrical components supplied by China, India, Korea, and Russia are undergoing installation.

At home, ITER research and development will enable India, which needs increasing amounts of energy, become a future supplier rather than a buyer of fusion technology.

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IIT Hyderabad develops low-cost, eco-friendly solar cells using ‘kumkum dye’

“Source: Economic Times”
Scientists at IIT Hyderabad have developed low-cost, environment-friendly solar cells by employing an off-the-shelf dye used to make kumkum or vermilion in India.

The dye-sensitised solar cell (DSSC) is based on New Fuchsin (NF) dye with aqueous electrolyte and platinum-free counter electrodes, according to the research published in the Solar Energy journal.

The most familiar solar cells today are made up of silicon and can be seen in the various overhead panels and other places, noted Professor Sai Santosh Kumar Raavi from Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad.

However, this technology is limited by huge fabrication costs as silicon processing is very expensive and involves very high temperature methods that leave a large carbon footprint, Raavi, who led the project, told .

In order to get around the limitations of using silicon, the IIT Hyderabad team started working on solar cells based on organic materials, which were supposedly inexpensive and easy to fabricate.

However, there were many drawbacks impeding the organic photovoltaic technology as organics (plastic) are less robust.

Many dye molecules developed for efficient DSSC devices are very expensive and toxic upon ingestion.

Also, most DSSC devices tend to get degraded as they come in contact with atmospheric moisture, Raavi said.

Since 2010, lot of efforts have been made to use water-soluble natural and synthetic dyes to make water-based solar cells.

In their latest work, Raavi’s team consisting of researchers from Department of Physics and Chemistry (IIT Hyderabad), ARCHEM (University of Hyderabad) NIT Kurukshetra and IFSC-USP, Brazil, employed a very cheap magenta-dye called New Fuchsin, which is used to make kumkum or vermillion when grounded with turmeric.

“It’s cheap, non-toxic and is soluble in water and importantly does not degrade in the presence of water,” Raavi said.

Dye-sensitised solar cell (DSSC) is a third-generation thin-film organic molecule-based energy conversion device.

“DSSC takes its inspiration from nature, almost mimicking the primary process of photosynthesis the phenomenon in plants,” Raavi explained.

DSSC consists of three components: A monolayer of dye molecule adsorbed on semiconductor material, titanium dioxide (TiO2) deposited on transparent conductive oxides, like indium tin oxide (ITO) and a liquid electrolyte with an excess of electrons.

Sunlight is absorbed by the dye molecule and gets excited. The electrons from the excited dye molecule get injected into the conduction band of TiO2.

“The electrons are transported to the charge collector. The dye cation (after losing its electron) takes an electron from the surrounding electron-rich liquid electrolyte. The counter electrode, typically, is platinum-coated ITO,” Raavi said.

DSSCs, Raavi noted, are generally considered eco-friendlier to produce than conventional solar cells because they require little energy to manufacture.

The best performing DSSCs use organic solvent-based liquid electrolytes.

These liquid-electrolytes come with various drawbacks such as high vapour pressure, toxicity and sometimes explosives resulting in severe environmental impact in addition to being corrosive to the platinum counter-electrodes, thereby limiting long-time stability of the devices.

“In spite of extensive search for various alternatives, to address the fore-mentioned issues, one of the most important aspects still unresolved in the DSSC community is the contamination of standard aprotic DSSC systems by means of moisture or water,” Raavi said.

“In this scenario, focus on dye-sensitised solar cells which are inherently in the aqueous medium have taken precedence,” he said.

“In view of being cost-effective and stable in the aqueous environment, an ideal DSSC should consist of inexpensive sensitiser, water-based non-toxic electrolytes, and platinum-free counter electrode, giving the true definition of ‘green’ photovoltaic device,” said Raavi.

The best device, he said, showed a photoconversion efficiency of about three per cent which is among the best obtained with DSSC with other natural photosensitisers with a simple molecular structure.

This technology using NF dye, researchers said, could be used to build integrating photovoltaics.

NF is an inexpensive dye available off-shelf in most supermarkets in India, and in its purest form costs USD two per gramme.

By the choice of cell components during the fabrication, a low-cost eco-friendly DSSC based on NF dye with aqueous electrolyte and platinum-free counter electrodes is achieved, Raavi said.

“The idea of this work is not to run behind the best efficiency. Sometimes, the cost for achieving the highest efficient device overwhelms the actual motivation behind developing a particular class of solar cell technology- which is to be eco-friendly and inexpensive,” he added.

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IOC, Adani to invest Rs 9,600 crore in city gas projects

“Source: IBEF”
Indian Oil Corp and Adani Gas Ltd plans to invest about Rs 9,600 crore (US$ 1.37 billion) in rolling out infrastructure that will be used for retailing CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas to household kitchens in 10 cities. The companies have recently won licences for these cities. Both firms have formed a joint venture in 2013 with holding equal shares. The venture is given name Indian Oil and Adani Gas Pvt Ltd (IOAGPL), which is for execution of city gas distribution (CGD) projects in numerous cities in the country.

IOAGPL has taken part in various bid rounds for city gas licence conducted by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).  It has won the licence for 19 geographical areas (GAs).

According to the notice published by IOC, “In line with PNGRB regulations, authorization to the successful entity is issued by PNGRB only after the entity submits Performance Bank Guarantee (PBG) from any scheduled bank for a pre-determined amount for specific GA.

The shareholders meeting will be held in Mumbai on August 28.

City gas distribution (CGD) projects, require retailing of CNG to automobiles and marketing the piped natural gas to household kitchens for cooking along with to the industries that require fuel. These are usually long duration projects in which demand requirement is steady and revenue generation is only in the later years.

The 8 Gas project which have been started in Chandigarh, Allahabad, Panipat, Daman, Udham Singh Nagar, Ernakulam, Dharwad and Bulandshahr and the project in South Goa will start shortly.

In the period 2018-19, IOAGPL has won 10 more GAs and in development of CGD Project in these GAs would need capital expenditure of approx. Rs 9,600 crore (US$ 1.37 billion) to meet the required bid numbers.

According to the company, the funding needed for capital expenditure must be met from equity contribution or debt financing. The revenues that are generated from the commissioned Gas is insufficient to handle huge financial commitment in the form to achieve committed targets.

IOAGPL plans to participate in the bidding in coming time for CGD Projects and it may seek promoter’s assistance to provide required corporate guarantees (CGs) in favour of banks for issuance of PBGs to PNGRB on behalf IOAGPL.

The company also plans to appoint a full time Director under section 185 of the companies Act 2013. The support of Members is required through Special Resolution to deliver CGs in future in favour of banks on behalf of IOAGPL for issuance of PBGs in favour of PNGRB for CGD Projects in various GAs, up to a limit of Rs 100 crore.

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ZEE5 partners with leading AI Video enhancement startup Minute.ly

“Source: Daily Hunt”
Mumbai : Minute.ly, a leading AI-driven video enhancement company, today announced a strategic partnership with ZEE5, the first ever OTT platform to offer customizable Indian content, to personalize their front-end user experience. With 76.4 mn monthly active users globally, ZEE5 offers Indian and international movies, TV shows, live broadcasts and original content to an international community of viewers. The video giant has integrated Minute.ly’s AI tool to enrich its platforms’ video content – maximizing user engagement, improving overall video views and site traffic, and expanding ZEE5’s reach.

ZEE5 is the fastest growing OTT platform in the market and plans to grow their partnerships with AI-enabled tools to bring in best-in-class technology and transform their user experience.

With Minute.ly’s AI tool, ZEE5 can predict user engagement using artificial intelligence which will ultimately affect their video revenue. The company’s patented video optimization algorithm automatically identifies peak moments from any video on site by analyzing the visual content and its performance. It also provides invaluable insights regarding user interests – empowering publishers to know exactly what viewers want to see and what content they connect with most. By replacing static thumbnails with automated dynamic video preview thumbnails (APVs) using one of Minute.ly’s AI tools, ZEE5 has increased its overall click-through-rate (CTR) by 37% and extended its reach as users browse for more content on the premium publisher’s site.

Speaking about the association, Rajneel Kumar, Business Head Expansion Projects & Head of Products, ZEE5 India said, “India is a unique market in terms of the audience demography and the preferences that run through the length and breadth of the country. At ZEE5, our core focus is to get the best of technology, data and content to culminate into an enriching personal viewing experience for a consumer. With Minute.ly’s AI tool, we will only better our understanding of a consumer’s video consumption pattern and serve them with the best of content anytime, anywhere.”

Tushar Vohra, Head Technology, ZEE5 India said, “Technology is at the cusp of an OTT revolution, and by partnering with Minute.ly, it shows our commitment towards making ZEE5 the leader in the space. With cutting edge technology, ZEE5’s massive reach and robust pipeline of content, we are on the right track to establish ZEE5 as the country’s default entertainment destination on the go.”

“We are honored to partner with one of the largest entertainment players in the industry,” said Amit Golan, CEO and Co-founder of Minute.ly. “With the explosion of OTT, it’s become crucial to best utilize video content to reach, engage and entertain the right audiences effectively. We’re proud to have been chosen by ZEE5 to strengthen their content performance, enhance the retention rate of the average viewer on site and make their pages explode with life with our engaging solutions.”

Dana Nahari, Consul for Trade and Economic Affairs, Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai said, “The association of Minute.ly and ZEE5 is a brilliant stepping stone in the media technology sector both for India and Israel. India is one of the important markets for us, given its enormous potential and hence we continuously strive to put a lot of effort into this market. With this partnership, we are sure to create more interest in the Indian media technology sector in Israel’s dynamic offerings.”

Minute.ly offers a comprehensive suite of tools for content creators and publishers. The company’s solutions include Top Videos, which automatically aggregates top performing video articles and presents internal video recommendations to consumers, and Live Video Preview, which generates the most effective five-second teasers to increase click-through-rate (CTR) by an average of 37%. Live Video Preview was utilized to great effect during the 2018 World Cup Russia.

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Gujarat Gas to set up 200 CNG stations in two years

“Source: Livemint”
Mumbai: In its most ambitious expansion ever, city gas distribution company Gujarat Gas Ltd is planning to set up 200 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations across India in the next two years, even as the government pushes the idea of electric vehicles.

Last financial year, the company added 69 CNG stations, the highest ever to its tally of over 344 CNG stations.

Gujarat Gas Ltd (GGL) is present across 23 districts in the State of Gujarat, Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Thane Geographical Area (GA) (excluding already authorised areas), including Maharashtra’s Palghar district. In 10th CGD bidding round announced by the PNGRB, the company has won 6 GAs comprising 17 cities in the state of Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“The management has guided for setting up another 200 CNG stations over the next two years, which is expected to drive double-digit volume growth in the CNG segment over FY20-22E. This creates more stability in volume trends and also a stronger margin profile for the company,” Centrum Research said in its report dated 31 July.

For the first quarter of this financial year, Gujarat Gas posted a 91.65% increase in net profit to 234.04 crore, against 122.12 crore a year ago. Sales rose 48.13% to 2614.61 crore during the quarter, from 1765.13 crore in the same period of the previous financial year.

The company’s operational revenue was up 47% to 2,671 crore in the first quarter, against 1,814 crore in the year-ago period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization or EBITDA margin jumped sharply to 5.6 per standard cubic metres.

The company has around 23,200 km of gas pipeline network. It distributes around 8.5 million metric standard cubic metres of gas per day to about 13,55,000 households, around 2 lakh CNG vehicles (serving per day) and to over 3,540 industrial customers.

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Life insurance industry likely to see 14-15 per cent growth: CARE

“Source: IBEF”
Betting big on the domestic life insurance industry, as per the CARE Ratings, the sector is expected to grow around 14-15 per cent per annum.

The growth will originate from various components, including higher demand for retirement items, for example, pension and annuity, alongside low accessibility of government-sponsored standardised savings systems and rising awareness of retirement planning and growing urbanisation.

The country’s life insurance sector represents around 75 per cent of the overall insurance premium. The total premium grew at a CAGR of 10.3 per cent in FY18 to Rs.4.58-lakh crore, from Rs.1.56-lakh crore in FY07. Interestingly, the global life insurance industry developed at a CAGR of 0.8 per cent during the schedule years 2007 to 2017 and came to almost US$ 2.7 trillion in market size (insurance premium volume) in 2017, from US$ 2.5 trillion out of 2007,

Some trends incorporate growing insurance distribution in rural areas, Indian companies extending operation overseas and expanded online selling of insurance products.

In any case, Fraud, high lapse-ratio, and unfavourable changes in macroeconomic elements, for example, trade breakdown, unemployment, and vulnerabilities in the regulatory landscape could be portrayed as key challenges to the industry growth.

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Zee promoters to sell 11% stake to Invesco Oppenheimer Fund for Rs 4,224 crore

“Source: Economic Times”
Mumbai: The promoters of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) will sell an 11% stake in the media company to US-based financial investor Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund for a consideration of Rs 4,224 crore. The move, spurning an offer by a Comcast-led group, follows a nine-month search for a buyer as the parent Essel Group seeks to reduce debt by selling assets. The promoters are confident of selling a further 9% stake in ZEE by the September 30 deadline for debt repayments.

The fund, which is registered with the US Securities & Exchange Commission, has been a financial investor in ZEE since 2002 and currently owns a 7.7% stake in the company.

ET reported July 31 that the ZEE promoters were leaning toward the binding offer from a financial investor. The other offer, a nonbinding one, had come from a consortium led by US cable major Comcast that also included James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, private equity fund Blackstone and independent fund Atairos.

“We have reached an agreement to sell up to 11% equity for a consideration of Rs 4,224 crore in ZEE, based on how many shares we are able to deliver to them,” said Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive of ZEE. “It’s a straightforward transaction of pure shares that they will buy from the promoter family.”

Justin Leverenz, portfolio manager at Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, said, “The Fund in its usual business practice has been investing in the Indian markets for many years and has been a financial investor in ZEE for 17 years. This additional financial investment underscores our continued confidence in management’s ability to deliver long-term growth and financial returns. The sound fundamentals of ZEE make this a highly compelling transaction for investors in the fund.”

The promoters will now take the offer to the lenders. “The shares are with the lenders and I will now ask them to place those shares in the escrow. Once the escrow agent confirms the share transfer, Oppenheimer will remit the money,” Goenka said, elaborating on the next course of action.

The stake sale is part of the ongoing deleveraging process by the Essel Group, which owns ZEE, to repay lenders by September end. The proceeds will mostly go toward paying for debt raised from mutual funds at the promoter level, rather than the banks, which have exposure to the Essel Group’s infrastructure unit. ET reported earlier that along with ZEE, Essel Group is also in the process of divesting some of its non-media assets, including the solar energy and roads portfolios.

“Through the sale of non-media assets, this deal and some more sale we should be comfortable to pay off the entire debt,” Goenka said. “We started out with the intention of selling 20% stake in ZEE and 9% is still on the table. There are people who are approaching us and engaging with us. Now the floor price is set. I am confident of selling that too and repaying all the lenders by September 30.”

On favouring a financial investor over the consortium, Goenka said that the offer from the latter, which came in late Monday night, was a nonbinding one. “It was not matching to the timeline. We have to repay lenders by September 30 and the process wouldn’t have completed by then,” he said.

ET reported February 19 on Comcast and Atairos teaming up with Lupa Systems and Blackstone for Subhash Chandra’s flagship company. It was then reported that the consortium was bidding for a 21-25% stake, with the option of holding a subsequent open offer.

Goenka declined to give details of the offer by the Comcast-led consortium but said it didn’t involve a total buyout.

Ajay Bodke, CEO and Chief Portfolio Manager at stock broking firm Prabhudas Lilladher, said that this is an encouraging beginning but the group needs to expedite the sale of other non-media assets to deleverage substantially.

“It is a welcome start by the promoters who have been steadfastly assuring all the lenders since the last six months that they will repay their entire liabilities. They will need to expedite sale of other assets like roads, solar, finance, mutual funds etc as indicated previously by September 2019 and have indicated that they are in advanced stage of negotiations for the same,” he said.

Chandra, chairman and founder of the Essel Group, had initially said in November last year that he intended to sell half of the promoters’ then 41% stake in ZEE to a strategic partner. Essel had also appointed Goldman Sachs Securities as investment banker and US and Europe-based LionTree as an international strategic advisor for this exercise.

However, ZEE’s shares fell 26% on January 25, marking its largest single-day drop after media reports alleging links between the group and Nityank Infrapower and Multiventures, a company that is under the scrutiny of investigative authorities for deposits of over Rs 3,000 crore during or after demonetisation. The Essel Group and ZEE denied any link with Nityank.

Later, the promoters reached an agreement with lenders, including mutual funds, which allowed them to repay loans by September 30. The debt-laden Essel Group is planning to generate Rs 20,000 crore by selling its infrastructure business, including roads, power transmission and solar energy assets to trim company’s and promoters’ debt.

Chandra had told ET earlier that he’s confident of meeting the September 30 deadline. “Our core objective is to come out clean from this by repaying everyone’s money and that too happily,” he had said.

The proceeds of the ZEE stake sale will mostly go to mutual funds.

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Investcorp raises $142m for its first Indian private equity fund

“Source: The National”
Investcorp, the Bahrain-based alternative investment manager, raised $142 million (Dh521.1m) for its first-ever private equity fund in the country, as it looks to expand its portfolio of investments in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Investcorp has managed to close its maiden private equity (PE) fund within a few months of establishing its presence in India, the firm said in a statement to Bahrain Bourse, where its shares trade.

Investcorp has so far invested $39m of the fund in four companies: Incred ASG; Zolo; and Citykart. It has a strong pipeline to deploy the balance capital over the next 18 months or so and will look to more investment opportunities in consumer, financial services and healthcare sectors, it added.

The partners of the PE fund include Indian banks, insurance companies, family offices and international fund of funds, it noted.

“Our investors have been looking for a strategy/investment solution through which they can participate in the growth story of India,” said Rishi Kapoor, co-chief executive of Investcorp. “The fact that we were able to close our maiden India fund offering … in a few months is testament to investor confidence in our market entry approach and investment strategy for India.”

Investcorp entered the Indian market last year through the acquisition of the PE and real estate funds businesses of IDFC Alternatives. The launch of Investcorp India Asset Managers and the opening of its eighth office in Mumbai is part of Investcorp’s overall growth strategy and global expansion plan.

Investcorp, in which Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company holds a 20 per cent stake, has been on an acquisition spree as the firm aims to double assets under management in the next three years. Established in 1982, the company is one of the oldest Middle East private equity firms and currently manages about $27 billion of assets across private equity, real estate, absolute return investments and credit.

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Make in India: Indian start-ups ink MoUs to gain entry to the supply chain of Lockheed Martin

“Source: Financial express”

The MoUs were inked at the end of three days joint Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) third annual “Suppliers Conference” in New Delhi.

In an effort to reaffirm their commitment to strengthening India’s aerospace sector and India-US ties, US-based Lockheed Martin on Friday inked MoUs with three Indian start-ups.

The MoUs were inked at the end of three days joint Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) third annual “Suppliers Conference” in New Delhi. The conference helped in bringing together the current F-16’s “Tier-1 vendors” with prospective partners from the Indian industry.

Said Vivek Lall, Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, these agreements are a testimony to the commitment of Lockheed Martin to cultivate and integrate indigenous content into global systems and platforms.

“Through these agreements, we look to provide engineering support, mentoring, and assistance in the qualification of some of the technologies proposed, all of which contribute to our mission of making in India,” he added.

Expected to pave the way for them to gain entry is the American Company’s supply chain, three start-ups Terero Mobility, Sastra Robotics, and NoPo Nanotechnologies, who are graduates of the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP), will also contribute to the evolution of both the Indian and global aerospace & defence industry.

Under the MoU, Terero Mobility will work on design development, test and qualification of the Cargo Ground Buildup System (CGBS) for Fixed and Rotary wing aircraft. Also, a product originally developed through a Lockheed Martin sponsored University R&D project at IIT Madras, this vehicle will enable the handling of cargo delivered by transport aircraft at different locations. Lockheed Martin will provide system engineering support and mentoring to this start-up. This will enable them to not only develop but to deliver a vehicle that has the capability of being transported by C-130 and similar platforms.

The NoPo Nanotechnologies will work for qualification of As-Produced, Purified and Metallic Sorted HiPCO Carbon Nanotubes to provide electromagnetic interference and lightning protection. The successful qualification of NoPo HiPCOTM Carbon Nanotubes based composite would enable the company to be a supplier to Lockheed Martin and other Tier-1 OEMs.

Sastra Robotics’ scope will be for testing out of robots produced by the company for Avionics testing.

According to the aerospace giant these products can help in the testing of avionics display of tactical fighter platforms including the F-21. The US company has been present in India for over three decades and has been in recent years fully supported the national “Make in India”, “Skills India”, “Startup India” and “Swachh Bharat” missions.

The US-based company is already building sophisticated aerospace structures in Hyderabad, in partnership with TASL, which include entire cabin structures for Sikorsky helicopters (S-92 multi-role helicopter) and structures for C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.

The Company had already announced depending on the order of Indian Air Force if it opts for the F-21, the production line from Fort Worth, Texas will be moved to India and under the joint venture with TASL will be built here.

According Lall, “Our partnership with Indian industry on both the F-21 and S-76D proposals for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy will put India at the epicentre of world’s largest defence ecosystem and deliver unmatched sustainment and export opportunities.”

Besides, Tata, Lockheed Martin industry partners and suppliers include BAE Systems, Cobham, Collins Aerospace, Curtiss-Wright, Eaton, Elbit Systems, Elta, GE Aviation, Honeywell, L3Harris, Leonardo, Martin Baker, Meggitt, Moog, Northrop Grumman, Parker Hannifin, Pratt & Whitney, Rada, Rafael, Raytheon, Safran Electrical & Power, and other leading global defence and aerospace companies.

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Online First: IKEA Reverses Its Omni-Channel Strategy For Expansion In Mumbai

“Source: INC42”
Swedish furniture and home furnishing retailer IKEA has been popular for its large-format walk in-store facilities with spacious furniture displays and inhouse restaurants. However, for its expansion in Mumbai — its second store after Hyderabad in India — the company has reversed its offline-then-online plan to online-then-offline.

Media reports have surfaced that for its expansion into Mumbai, IKEA is starting with online launch first. This would be followed with smaller outlets, pick up centers and customer service stations across the city. These would be around 50K-150K sqft stores. The multi-channel and multi-format model is expected to help the company reach out to a younger customer base.

IKEA’s 4,30,000 sqft Navi Mumbai store has been under construction since 2017. However, with multi-format model, it will work towards its mission to create 25 customer touchpoints by 2025 and to reach 49 Indian cities with over one million in population by 2030.

An IKEA spokesperson reportedly said, “Customers will be able to shop online quite soon in the coming months in Mumbai followed by Hyderabad and Pune and then other cities. Land sites have been acquired in Bengaluru and Gurugram and and we continue to look for suitable sites in other cities across India. The ambition is to be present in as many Indian cities as possible through different channels.”

IKEA launched its first India store in Hyderabad in August last year. The company invested $108.6 Mn (INR 800 Cr) so far to set up its 400K sq ft store in Hyderabad. It has the biggest Ikea restaurant anywhere in the world, with seating for 1,000 people.

According to Bloomberg report, it took 12 years for IKEA to open a store in Hyderabad in India — most of which was delayed due to India’s tough foreign ownership regulations.

At that time, India had a strict foreign direct investment regulation. It restricted foreign company from owning more than 51% of retail business here. In 2009, Ikea had actually announced plans to withdraw from opening any outlets in India. Finally, in 2011 the India government changed the rules in foreign direct investment in retail, and decided to permit 100% of full foreign ownership through single brand retail.

IKEA has also announced the purchase of 10 acres of land in Gurugram, and plans to build another 400K sq ft store with parking for 1,000 cars. IKEA also planned to start online retail operations in India.

IKEA’s focus on online operations is bound to create a major impact on online furniture providers such as Urban Ladder, Livspace, Furlenco etc.

India’s furniture industry is the 14th largest market in the world. As per Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) report, the Indian furniture market is expected to touch $27 Bn by 2022.

An IBEF report said that the Indian furniture industry is gradually transforming into a more organised and competitive sector. The entry of global brands in the sector, emergence of large retail players and the resultant consolidation, are trends that highlight this transformation.

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Womo to enter India: Percassi partners with Reliance to launch men’s grooming brand

“Source: Cosmetics Design -Asia”
Italian firm Percassi Group has partnered with Reliance Brands to launch its men’s cosmetics brand Womo in the Indian market as part of its international expansion drive.

The partnership will grant Genesis Luxury, a subsidiary of Reliance, exclusive distribution and master rights to Womo in the country.

“The agreement signed with Reliance Brands for the launch of WOMO in India is a source of great satisfaction for us. This partnership will allow us to make the most of the multi-channel opportunities in the Indian market, which are well suited to our offer,”​ said Stefano Percassi, founder of Womo.

Reliance Brands portfolio of brand partnerships includes Armani Exchange, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Canali, Coach and Diesel.

Boosting international presence

The entry into India is part of Womo’s global expansion strategy because it sees huge potential for growth in the Indian market.

Percassi said the brand’s debut in India would give Womo “a decisive boost to the internationalisation of the brand”.

Currently, WOMO has seven stores — six in Italy and one in Switzerland and is available in 29 European countries through e-commerce channels.

The company plans to launch flagship stores and is aiming to open the first outline in Mumbai next year.

The flagships will carry Womo’s products and offer cutting and shaving services from Bullfrog, a barbershop brand Percassi added to its cosmetics portfolio five years ago.

Male grooming in India

The personal care market in India is currently worth an estimated $6.5bn and is set to reach $20bn dollars by 2025 thanks to the rising income and aspirations of the middle class.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the men’s grooming segment is among the fastest-growing categories in the country.

Research from market intelligence agency, Mintel, showed that 73% of Indian men shop for personal care products and rose to 79% among men aged 18 to 34.

Sanjay Kapoor, founder of Genesis Luxury said: “Indian men have become image-conscious and now do not shy away from paying attention to personal wellness and appearance. It is the perfect time for a brand like Womo and Bullfrog to enter India because it would make a perfect choice for modern gentlemen. I feel that no brand understands the needs of a modern man and his hectic life better than Womo and Bullfrog,”

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Uniqlo to enter big new market

“Source: Chain Storage”
Japanese fast-fashion giant Uniqlo is launching a rollout plan for its entry into India in the fall.

Given the size and fast growth of the Indian market, Uniqlo will, in departure from its standard strategy, make its market debut with three separate locations. The first will be a three-level, 35,000-sq.-ft. store at Ambience Mall Vasant Kunj in New Delhi, which will open in late October. The second and third stores will be located at DLF Place Saket, also in New Delhi, and at DLF CyberHub, in the city of Gurugram.

“We are committed to the Indian market, and are very excited to be launching our first three stores in Delhi, a region that embraces diversity and culture, from art and design to craftmanship and fashion,” said Tadashi Yanai, founder and chairman, Uniqlo, and president & CEO of Fast Retailing. “The opening of our first store, Uniqlo Ambience Mall Vasant Kunj, followed by a second and third store a little later, represents a significant step in our company’s global strategy.”

In entering India, Uniqlo is looking to play catch-up with H&M and Zara, both of which entered India in the last decade. But the market is still largely driven by small mom-and-pop stores.

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Amplus Energy to invest Rs 500 crore for 100MW solar project in UP

“Source: IBEF”
Amplus Energy Solutions has announced an investment of Rs 500 crore (US$ 69.5 million) for its next open access solar project of 100MW in the district Deoria of Uttar Pradesh.

The ground-breaking ceremony will mark the start of the project by the state government this month.
Earlier, Amplus had dedicated investment of Rs 250 crore (US$ 34.75 million) for setting up a 50MW open access solar project in Mirzapur. The project is still under construction and is expected to be authorized by September 2019.

The Deoria plant is expected to generate 700 jobs and supply green energy to many industries located in the state.
Previously, Amplus had partnered for two open access projects in Haryana.

Amplus holds India’s largest single location open access solar project in Gadag, which supply 175MW solar power to businesses in Karnataka.

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Green energy capacity to multiply 6-fold in 10 years: CEA

“Source: IBEF”
India’s renewable power capacity limit will run ahead and multiply almost six-fold in the next decade, while the share of coal-fired plants in the energy mix will fall to 32 per cent from the flow 46 per cent as development in thermal generation will be far slower, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has assessed.

Complete share of non-fossil-fuel plants, which includes solar, wind, hydropower and nuclear, will jump to 65 per cent of the total projected limit of 831,502 MW from 36.6 per cent of the current installed limit of 356,817 MW, as indicated by CEA’s report on ‘Optimal Generation Capacity Mix’ for the year 2029-30.

Coal will have a higher share of actual electricity generated because of consistent supply dissimilar to wind and solar, which are erratic., coal’s share will fall from 77 per cent to 52 per cent by 2030, thermal plants would need to keep running at an even lower utilisation level of 40 per cent on days of heavy generation by renewable energy plants. On such days, green generation would also have to be cut by up to 17 per cent, it said. Gas-fired power plant capacity will be slightly lower than the current 24,937 MW by 2029-30.

The projected mix will be accomplished through a five-fold rise in renewable generation capacity, including a close 10-fold rise in solar power capacity, a three-fold rise in wind power capacity, and a 1.5-times rise in nuclear power generation capacity in the following 10 years.

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India’s landmark mission Chandrayaan-2 takes off, to land on moon on September 7

“Source: Livemint”

India’s landmark mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, successfully took off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, at 2:43 pm, on Monday, marking the beginning of the country’s maiden journey to the south pole of the moon.

It is the first time that a spacecraft, indigenously developed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), set foot on the lunar soil – a feat only achieved by three nations so far including US, Russia and China. The historic Chandrayaan-2aims to explore the south pole of the moon – a part of moon which has not been mapped by any other country before.

With it, the national space agency also succeeded in making use of the narrow ‘launch window’ of a few minutes which was available, after the initial launch was aborted on July 15. The agency had cut down the time period for the module to remain in moon orbit, in order to compensate for the delay of seven days and ensure that the day of landing does not get postponed by more than a day.

September landing is crucial since it marks the beginning of the 14-daylight period on the moon, which is crucial for conducting experiments by the solar-powered Lander and Rover.

Within the next 17 minutes of the launch from the space port in Sriharikota, the rocket would be injected to the Earth Parking Orbit (170 x 40,400 km). It would revolve around the earth for a period of around 23 days, after which a series of manoeuvres would be carried out to prepare it for ‘lunar capture’. The exercise could take up to five days.

Once injected into the lunar orbit, the Chandrayaan-2 module consisting of the orbiter, Lander Vikram and Rover Pragyaan would revolve around the moon for around 12 days. The landing would be attempted on the 48th day of the mission on September 7, when Lander Vikram would separate from the orbiter and begin what has been hailed as ‘the most terrifying 15 minutes’ of the mission.

During the next 15 minutes, the Lander Vikram would attempt a soft landing at an identified site between the two craters on the south pole of the moon. Following a successful landing, Rover Pragyaan would roll down the platform and begin mapping the lunar surface.

The mission will also serve as a crucial key test for three-stage rocket, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)-Mk-III which would be used for India’s first human space mission Gaganyaan, scheduled for launch by 2022. The rocket vehicle armed with indigenous cryogenic engine is manufactured to carry 4 tonne class satellites.

The mission comes 11 years after the first mission to the moon in 2008, which gave the evidence for presence of water molecules on the moon. In the second mission, scientists aspire to further those experiments and explore the extent and distribution of water on the moon.

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Skill India | Govt to spend Rs 5,000 crore to skill unorganised sector workers

“Source: Money Control”

India’s skill mission will shift its focus from the formal to the informal sector with an annual expenditure of around Rs 5,000 crore, a move that is being seen in sync with government’s tilt towards creating more beneficiaries.

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship feels that while there has been an intense focus on the formal sector in the last five years, it left out 93 percent of the workforce in the informal sector, at least three government officials said.

The Ministry, therefore, believes that unless the informal sector is targeted, the skills mission will not be successful, which was also acknowledged at a recent meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“So far, the ministry was focusing on skilling manpower for 7 percent of the workforce who are in the formal sector. What about the 93 percent rest? That is a big realisation for the ministry and all the 22 departments of the government who have some skilling agenda. All 22 departments will gradually shift their focus to the informal and unorganised sector,” said one of the three government officials cited above requesting anonymity.

The second official said a handful of ministries led by the Skills Ministry and the Ministry for Rural Development can collectively spend Rs 4,000 crore a year for skill training manpower for the informal sector and with the government departments pooling in, the total spending can touch around Rs 5,000 crore to help small organisations improve, get better manpower or train their existing workforce to enhance their productivity.

“Our estimate shows that at least 80 percent of the labour market is working in establishments having less than six employees. The skills ministry is working on some pilots to effectively implement it across the country,” the official said.

When asked about the change in focus of the skills mission, KP Krishnan, skill and entrepreneurship secretary said, “The skills ministry is in sync with central government policy focus of including the un-included. You will see our ministry doing a lot more for the informal-unorganized sector.”

Authorities said the Centre will partner states, especially at the municipality and block level to reach the target audience.

“From a motor garage to a hotel, from tourist resorts to small printing press, all need skilled people. They have more capacity and ability to grow as micro-entrepreneurs, thus drive employment generation at the grass-root level. Mudra loan is a success because it targets the right audience. Hence for skill mission, such a move will be rewarding,” the second official said.

The first official, however, said states will have to play a pro-active role and the Centre will have to convince them that such a shift will benefit most of the people at the grass-root level.

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Profit jumps 12.6 per cent to Rs 2,388 crore in Q1 results: Wipro

“Source: IBEF”
IT services major Wipro today revealed a 12.6 per cent year-on-year bounce in Q1 profit to Rs 2,388 crore (US$ 331.9 million), helped by strong interest from its key financial clients. Wipro said its June quarter consolidated net profit was Rs 2,388 crore (US$ 331.9 million) when contrasted with Rs 2,121 crore (US$ 294.8 million) in the corresponding quarter last year. The market consensus forecast for the quarter was Rs 2,324 crore (US$ 323 million) and in Q1 its revenue grew by 5.3 per cent.

As per Wipro, its June quarter’s combined income stood at Rs 14,716 crore (US$ 2.04 billion) as against Rs 13,978 crore (US$ 1.9 billion) a year ago, an expansion of 5.3 per cent on a year-on-year premise. Wipro shares shut 0.15 per cent lower at Rs 259.70 on the BSE.
Abidali Neemuchwala will be Wipro’s new managing director, from July 31, 2019.
In its third such buyback program, Wipro’s board has already affirmed for a share buyback offer of upto Rs 10,500 crore (US$ 1.4 billion).

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India’s renewable energy capacity crosses 80GW-mark

“Sources : IBEF”
The government has set a goal-oriented focus of having 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022, including 100 GW solar and 60 GW of wind energy.

“The Government is regularly monitoring the advancement being made to accomplish the objective of 175 GW by 2022”.

“An aggregate of 80.46 GW of renewable energy limit has been introduced in the country as on June 30, 2019 which includes 29.55 GW from Solar and 36.37 GW from Wind control,” according to Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister Mr R K Singh.

According to India’s submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), a combined electric power limit of 40 per cent from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources is to be introduced by 2030.  The government has set an objective of introducing renewable energy capacity of 175 GW constantly 2022.

The Ministry also told the House that a sum of 42 solar power parks with a total limit of around 23.40 GW have been approved by the government so far to encourage accomplishment of 100 GW target by March 2022.

Out of endorsed capacity of 23.40 GW, power purchase agreements (PPAs) have been marked for around 9.20 GW and out of this, around 6.40 GW of limit has been authorized in different solar parks as on June 30, 2019.

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‘Nal se Jal’ scheme: Water, sanitation may attract Rs 6.3L crore investment in next 5 years, says report

“Sources : Economic Times”
NEW DELHI: With the announcement of ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme, water sanitation sector is likely to attract investment worth Rs 6.3 lakh crore in the next five years, according to a report.

According to JM Financial Institutional report, the government’s new ‘Nal se Jal’ scheme, which aims to provide piped water connection to every household by 2024, will likely lead to a massive jump in the investment in water and sanitation.

The investments will be made in the various verticals such as pipes, EPC, water treatment pumps and valves, cement, among others, according to the report.

“Our study of sample projects in water and sanitation and interactions with water-related policy experts indicate per capita investment spending could range around Rs 8,000-9,000 for providing piped water access. This would amount to the spending of at least Rs 5.6 trillion-6.3 trillion over FY20-25, and would be almost double of the spending on water and sanitation over FY14-19,” the report said.

It further said that there are wide variations in the estimated investments across the states  and will depend on the quantity of available drinking water, quality of water for drinking purposes, geography and terrain. The cost varied from Rs 18,000 in the hilly state of Uttarakhand  to Rs 3,000 in Karnataka.

Besides, east and central states would account for the bulk of investment in the piped drinking water project, the report noted.

In the budget, the Jal Shakti Ministry, which is executing the government’s mission to provide clean and piped drinking water to every household in the country, has earmarked Rs 28,261.59 crore for the scheme.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation have been merged into the Jal Shakti Ministry in the second term of the Narendra Modi government.

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Unicorn India Ventures launches ₹400 crore tech-focused fund

“Sources: Livemint”
MUMBAI : Unicorn India Ventures has launched a 400 crore fund, its third venture capital fund, to back companies at the pre-Series A and Series A stage, said managing partner Anil Joshi.

The fund, which has already received commitments worth 50 crore, aims to invest exclusively in business-to-business technology startups, including software-as-a-service, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT).

The new fund’s strategy is also in line with its recent crop of investments, all tech-based and aimed at businesses, rather than individuals.

“The acceptance for B2B firms among investors has increased and we see these firms attracting large capital. We see this strategy having worked for us. We understand the space and have seen good follow on rounds in these tech firms, and will continue to back them,” said Joshi.

The firm, which was set up by Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar in 2015, had previously raised a 100 crore first fund. This was followed up with a second cross border fund, Unicorn Ascension Fund, in partnership with London-based Ascension Ventures, with an aim to invest £5 million per year.

Unicorn had also planned to raise a 600 debt, receiving partial commitments for this, driven by an increasing interest by startups to raise debt. However, given the increased interest from limited partners (LPs), or investors in a VC fund, in equity, it has put the debt fund’s plans on hold for now, Joshi said.

Through the latest fund, the firm plans to invest in about 24 companies with money allocated for follow-on rounds till the Series B stage. A larger fund also allows Unicorn to write larger cheques and gain more meaningful stakes. From its first fund, cheque sizes ranged from 50 lakh to 4 crore. However from this fund, Unicorn plans to invest between 3-5 crore as the first cheque, going up to 25-30 crore, including follow on rounds, Joshi said.

Unicorn’s portfolio includes lending startup Smartcoin, cybersecurity firm Sequretek, and Open Financial Technologies, which provides banking services to businesses. Earlier this month, Open raised a $30 million round led by US-based investment firm Tiger Global, which is also one of India’s most prolific startup investors.

Unicorn’s fundraise comes at a time when early-stage investments are rising in value even as the number of deals fall, indicating increased investor appetite to write larger cheques, but only for select companies.

Mint reported on 2 July that for the six months ended 30 June, seed, or very early, and Series A investments collectively climbed 23% to $505 million from $411 million in the same period last year, according to data from Venture Intelligence. The number of deals, however, fell from 177 to 167, marking the fourth straight year of decline in early-stage deal volumes.

The concentrated dealmaking also comes at a time when most of India’s biggest venture capital funds—Sequoia, Accel, Matrix, and Nexus Venture Partners—continue to be focused on the seed stage, as they seek to invest earlier in companies, which gives them the time to grow the business.

Even traditional heavyweight late-stage investors such as South Africa’s Naspers and Chinese internet giant Alibaba, have been looking at more early-stage deals in India.

According to Pranav Pai, founding partner at early-stage firm 3one4 Capital, the rise in early-stage investment funds reflects a global trend.

“We are also seeing a lot more experienced founders- some starting their second or third companies. They tend to attract more investors for larger early rounds,” he told Mint earlier this month.

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India to overtake Japan to become 3rd largest economy in 2025

“Source: Economic Times”
New Delhi:
India will this year overtake the UK to become the world’s fifth biggest economy, and is poised to surpass Japan to be the third largest in 2025,IHS Markit said in a report Friday. Following the re-election of the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a second term of office in May 2019, the Finance Ministry has published an economic roadmap to 2025 in its latest annual Economic Survey.

The key goal is to transform India from a $3 trillion economy in 2019 to a $5 trillion economy by 2025, lifting India into the ranks of the world’s upper-middle-income countries, it said.

“IHS Markit estimates that India will overtake the UK to become the world’s fifth largest economy in 2019, and forecasts that Indian GDP  will reach $5.9 trillion in 2025, surpassing Japanese GDP to make India the world’s third-largest economy,” the report said.

Also, the size of the Indian consumer market is forecast to increase from $1.9 trillion in 2019 to $3.6 trillion by 2025.

“As India continues to ascend in the rankings of the world’s largest economies, its contribution to global GDP growth momentum will also increase. As the size of its consumer market continues to grow at a rapid pace, India will also play an increasingly important role as one of the Asia-Pacific region’s major economic growth engines, helping to drive Asian regional trade and investment flows,” IHS said.

But to achieve this, the country’s new economic roadmap highlights the importance of creating a virtuous cycle of investment, savings and exports in order to sustain rapid economic growth over the next five years.

The role of investment is seen as a critical enabler for innovation, rapid productivity growth and new technology, helping to boost jobs growth. The roadmap described in the latest Economic Survey highlights the importance of creating a favourable ecosystem for private investment, particularly in the new economy.

IHS said accelerating the development of new economy startups and growing new unicorns is a critical strategy for creating value-added and skilled jobs growth.

“Despite significant achievements in new infrastructure construction during PM Modi’s first term, rapid infrastructure development in key sectors such as transport and power infrastructure remain important priorities, as well as reducing the regulatory burden of government red tape,” it said.

India was ranked 77 out of 190 countries that are included on the World Bank ‘s Ease of Doing Business Index for 2019.

The Economic Survey highlights the importance of reforms to the legal system, citing the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, which ranks India 163rd in the world for contract enforcement.

It recommends the hiring of additional judges to rapidly reduce the number of unfilled vacancies and clear long backlogs in the court system.

Another important reform that is highlighted as a priority in the Economic Survey is changing labour market law to remove restrictive labour regulation.

“However, although India still lags behind other large emerging markets such as Turkey (43rd), China (46th) and Mexico (54th) on this ranking, India has made remarkable progress in improving its ranking compared with its ranking at 142nd out of 189 countries in the Ease of Doing Business ranking for 2015,” IHS said.

Moreover, the increase in India’s total population between 2015 and 2050 is projected at around 350 million persons, creating significant fiscal challenges for the government in order to deliver adequate physical infrastructures such as electricity, sanitation, affordable housing and public transport.

At the same time, India’s population growth rate is also projected to slow rapidly over the next two decades, resulting in gradual ageing of the population, bringing additional fiscal challenges relating to healthcare, pensions and social welfare for senior citizens.

“Despite the wide range of economic challenges facing the nation, the economic outlook looks positive for the second term of the Modi-led BJP government, with GDP growth forecast by IHS Markit to average around 7 per cent per year over the 2019-2023 period,” it added.

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Hyundai to put Rs 1.4k cr in India for EVs

“Source: Economic Times”
New Delhi: South Korean auto major Hyundai will invest about Rs 1,400 crore ($200 million) over the next three years to develop affordable electric vehicles for the Indian market. The company would use the resources to develop a dedicated electric vehicle  architecture for local customers, said Hyundai Motor India managing director SS Kim. The vehicles could at a later stage be exported to emerging markets from India.

Hyundai Motor India, along with engineers from the Namyang R&D Centre (South Korea), has already begun studies to assess the requirements of private buyers to determine the optimum range and price points for such products.

Kim was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the carmaker’s long-range SUV Kona Electric priced at Rs 25.3 lakh (ex-showroom, India). He also said that personnel in the company’s procurement division are in the process of assessing the business and technological capabilities of prospective partners.

Hyundai itself is evaluating the prospect of setting up a lithium ion battery manufacturing unit in the next two to three years. “If we introduce mass market electric vehicles in the next three years, we will probably need that kind of localised ecosystem,” Kim said.

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SJVN, BHEL in MoU for solar projects

“Source: IBEF”

SJVN Ltd entered memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (BHEL) for development of solar power plants in India.

The aim of the MoU is to develop partnership between parties to mutually engage in the commercialization of solar power plant through participation in tariff/viability gap funding based competitive bidding process.

According to MoU, BHEL will be act as an engineering, procurement, construction and project management contractor for SJVN projects. BHEL will also be responsible for operation and maintenance services after assigning of the project.

SJVN Ltd has authorized five projects totalling 2015.2 megawatt (mw) of installed capacity involving solar and wind.

The company is currently executing power projects in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Maharashtra and Gujarat in India and in neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan.

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India lowers duty on 400,000 tonnes of corn imports

“Source: IBEF
“India lowered import taxes on an additional 400,000 tonnes of corn to 15 per cent. India, the world’s seventh-greatest corn maker, normally imposes a 60 per cent import charge on the grain, yet an invasion of the fall armyworm, which crushed African crops in 2017, and dry weather in certain areas have cut the country’s corn output.

The lack of corn had been harming the dairy cattle feed industry since last year and the extra imports help to bring down prices, said by Amit Sraogi, overseeing executive of Anmol Feeds pvt. Ltd.

India was a major exporter of corn to southeast Asia until falling output and expanding demand from poultry makers and corn starch producers turned it into an importer a few years ago.

The switch in India’s position cheered rival suppliers, such as, Brazil, Argentina and the United States, which have now replaced New Delhi in the southeast Asian market.

India, which does not permit the development of any genetically modified food crops, has rules intended to ensure that imports contain no trace of genetically modified organism

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Beauty & Wellness business in India has potential to reach Rs 80,000 crore

“Source: IBEF
“Beauty and wellness business in India have a market potential of Rs 80,000 crore (US$ 11.12 billion) and can provide employment opportunities to lakhs of individuals.

“Skilling course is a significant tool of women empowerment as the students after preparing can set up wellness and beauty focuses by availing easy loans like Mudra and can also persuade others for such productive business opportunities” said by skills development minister Mahendra Nath Pandey.

Over 62 per cent of India’s population is youthful and as per prime minister’s vision to make India as one of the biggest skilled economy in the world.

The ministry of skilled development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) is actualizing a flagship the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 2.0) 2016-2020 on pan-India basis with a goal to give skilling to one crore people under short term training (STT), acknowledgment recognition of prior learning (RPL) and special projects (SP) across the nation over with a cost of Rs. 12,000 crores (US$ 1.67 billion). As on June 12, 2019, around 52.12 lakh candidates have been prepared under the scheme in the country.

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Indian consumer durable industry to hit $36 bn by 2023

“Source: Zeenews”
New Delhi: The consumer durables industry in India will reach $36 billion by 2023 and a whopping $23 billion sales would be digitally influenced, a new Google-Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report said on Tuesday.

The report defines a sale as a “digitally influenced sale” if the buyer uses Internet during any stage of purchase cycle.

Currently, 28 per cent of consumer durable sales is digitally influenced and this is estimated to reach 63 per cent of total sales — amounting to $23 billion by 2023 — and nearly $10 billion of this will be online sale, said the report titled “Digital Powers Consumer Durables: A $23 billion Opportunity by 2023”.

“Businesses need to create an always-on digital strategy and create personalised interventions to tap different consumer demographics across all markets to achieve their business goals,” said Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director — Sales, Google India.

Approximately 80 per cent of digitally-influenced consumers today decide their brand after researching online, in a short window of 2-3 weeks and companies will need to win these consumers to stay relevant, the findings showed.

Digital is increasingly playing an important role in consumers’ decision to buy a product and number of digitally influenced consumers have doubled over last four years.

Digitally-influenced consumers have increased five times in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and digitally influenced women consumers have increased 10 times over last four years.

“Nearly $18 billion of consumer durable sales will reside with digitally influenced consumers who are undecided on their brands in 2023. Companies will have a short 2-3 week window to influence them and ability to timely & efficiently influence them will determine the winners of the future,” explained Nimisha Jain, Managing Director and Partner, The Boston Consulting Group.

The findings were based on survey of 6,800 consumer durable buyers and discussions conducted by Kantar IMRB for the study.

Google Search, social media, blogs and online videos are the key sources for online research for the consumers.

The report said nearly 2 out of 3 digitally-influenced consumers rate online reviews as a significant influencer in their purchase decisions.

The report further stated that during the purchase phase, low price, convenience and choice of multiple payment options are some of the largest drivers of online conversions.

However, an absence of in-person guidance and lack of “touch and feel” are the biggest barriers.

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Indian pharma industry to grow at 11 to 13 pc in FY2020, Icra

“Source: Indian Pharma”
NEW DELHI: Indian pharmaceutical industry is likely to grow by 11-13 per cent in the current fiscal, rating agency Icra said on Thursday.

“The growth trajectory for the Indian pharmaceutical industry is likely to remain at 11-13 per cent in FY2020, on the back of healthy demand from the domestic market, given increasing spend on healthcare along with improving access,” Icra said in a release.

This along with moderation in pricing pressure for US market, new launches and market share gains for existing products and consolidation benefits will drive growth in FY2020, it added.

“The growth would however be constrained by regulatory interventions such as price controls, compulsory genericisation and United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) oversight for manufacturing deficiencies,” the release said.

According to an Icra report covering a sample of 21 firms in the industry, the growth during FY2019 stood at around 12 per cent.

Icra Corporate Ratings Vice President & Co-Head Gaurav Jain said: “The growth in FY2020 is expected to be supported by 4.2 per cent WPI linked price hike for National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) portfolio”.

The credit metrics of leading pharma companies are expected to remain stable in view of future growth prospects in regulated markets and relatively strong balance sheets, he added.

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Indian realty market going strong with mergers: PropEquity

“Source: IBEF”
Indian property market is going through a noteworthy changes as half of real estate developers working in 2011-12 across the top nine urban cities have left the business or tied up with huge builders due to a muti-year request slowdown and administrative compliance, as indicated by data analytic firm PropEquity.

Big corporate houses like Tata, Mahindra, Godrej, Piramal and Adani entering in the real estate business and acting as major catalyst for this process.

As stated by PropEquity, the number of developers in nine major cities – Gurugram, Noida, Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata – have shrunk by 51 per cent to 1,745 in 2017-2018 from 3,538 in 2011-2012.

There has been a gigantic amalgamation with over 50 per cent of the total developers that was in 2011-2012 leaving the market by 2017-2018, PropEquity said.

Customers are presently searching for engineers with phenomenal track records as far as quality and execution. This will further refine the designer market dependent on their maintainability as far as conveyances and reasonable practices.

As per the data, the number of developers has deteriorated by 70-80 per cent in Gurugram, Noida, and Chennai during the period under review.

Financial agony of small developers, lack of execution competence, oversupply of inventory, GST, demonetization, extreme land banking, lack of understanding of the demand supply dynamics, unfair price appreciation, lack of social and physical infrastructure in emerging markets are all distress creating factors but when seen together are harmful in nature.

This problem has led to consolidation of developer number across the country. The unorganised workers have not been able to adjust accordingly and have suffered having impact on RERA that insists on regulatory compliances.

These small workers have either left the market or have joined hands with larger groups.

Introduction of new RERA have led to transformation of industry for betterment.

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FIEO to work with Kerala govt to double its exports

“Source: The Hindu Business Line”
Federation of Indian Exports Organisations (FIEO) intends to work closely with the Kerala government to double the State’s share of exports to over six per cent in the next five years. Kerala’s exports during 2018-19 was $8.1 billion, which is 2.4 per cent of India’s exports.

“We need to see how we can double this figure. The agri sector is going to be the biggest contributor to exports”, said Israr Ahmed, Regional Chairman-Southern Region, FIEO.

In an interaction with BusinessLine here on Thursday, he requested the State government to look into the possibilities of augmenting exports of agro products such as cashew, spices, rubber, marine products and tea, which are not under the sanctioned list, to China and Iran.

Direct exports

According to him, direct exports from Kerala to Iran is negligible even though cashew, spices, pharma equipments have good potential. Ahmed said several products exported to GCC from Kerala find their way to Iran. If proper attention is given, this can be channelised and exporters can derive better benefits.

Asked on the challenges for exports to Iran amidst US sanctions, he said Iran is an opportunity for India, as the bilateral trade was $13.8 billion in 2017-18. However, the actual trade will be in the range of $20-25 billion, which is conducted indirectly due to sanctions. “We believe this can go up to $30 billion, if there is a barter mechanism for direct trade”, he said.

However, there are issues pertaining to payments, shipments, exchange of documents and insurance that will have to be addressed, he added.

Lack of proper marketing is hindering export growth and he emphasised the need for bringing more international fairs to Kerala to leverage the opportunities. “ For Kerala to increase its share, there is a need for giving more focus on MSME exports, helping them in marketing and showcasing their products abroad”, he added.

The current support extended through various schemes are grossly inadequate and FIEO urged the Commerce Ministry to come up with an export development fund with a corpus of 0.5 per cent of export value for each State, so that MSME’s can aggressively participate in international expos and trade shows.

Kerala is also one of the major foreign exchange earner through tourism. There is a huge potential for the State to double the revenue from the sector. The export sector can also generate huge employment opportunities similar to neighbouring States such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, he said.

Considering the creation of employment as the biggest challenge being faced by the country, he said FIEO requested the government to provide income tax relief to units which provide additional employment in export sector. Such a scheme will help workers to move from informal employment to formal employment. Incentives may be provided based on twin criteria of incremental growth in exports and incremental growth in workers so that while on the one hand exports are increased, on the other, the employment intensive units also get a boost.

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In Modi’s Budget, a plan to challenge China’s manufacturing clout

“source  – Economic Times”
India government plans to invite global companies to set up mega manufacturing sites, a move that gains significance as the US trade war with China is leading companies to rethink their manufacturing dependence on that country.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman  said the government was preparing itself for mega investments in the sunrise and advanced technology areas.

“The government will launch a scheme to invite global companies through a transparent competitive bidding to set up mega-manufacturing plants in sunrise and advanced technology areas such as Semi-conductor Fabrication (FAB), Solar Photo Voltaic cells, Lithium storage batteries, Solar electric charging infrastructure, Computer Servers, Laptops, etc,” Sitharaman said.

She added that the government would provide tax exemptions under the Income Tax Act and other indirect tax benefits.

Global manufacturers have struggled to rethink supply lines as the acrimonious trade dispute between the US, where most are based, and China has made their dependence on the Asian country a source of concern.

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Startups in EV ecosystem cheered by govt’s push for e-mobility in budget

“Source: Livemint”
Startups in the electric mobility ecosystem have welcomed the government’s push towards promoting electric mobility by providing income tax benefits to buyers of electric vehicles, incentivising manufacturing of components locally and developing the manufacturing hubs for such vehicles and components.

In her maiden budget speech, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to introduce an income tax rebate of 1.5 lakh for customers of electric vehicles and voiced the government’s intent to develop India as a manufacturing hub of EVs. She also announced reduction in customs duty on import of certain parts of electric vehicles.

According to Tarun Mehta, founder and chief executive, Ather Energy, an electric scooter manufacturing startup, the government has already moved the GST Council to lower GST on EVs from 12% to 5%, and the additional income tax reduction is a major boost for end consumers to purchase EVs.

“It addresses the concern of the upfront cost of purchasing electric vehicles. This is the best example of a consumer-driven change and is also how Ather envisions the EV sector to achieve scale and growth. It now becomes imperative that OEMs chalk out plans that allow the industry to scale up and meet the demand for compelling products,” Mehta added.

“We welcome today’s union budget announced by the honourable finance minister and the measures announced to boost the electric mobility sector in the country. The directive to the GST council to lower the GST rate on electric vehicles (EV) from 12% to 5% will be immensely beneficial to the overall industry and will certainly help spur the adoption of EVs,” according to Goldie Srivastava, founder and chief executive of Smart- E Technologies, an an electric three wheeler aggregator.

“The additional income tax deduction of 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans to purchase EVs will boost consumer confidence, leading to higher adoption. We echo the government’s vision to make India a hub for EV manufacturing and SmartE will continue to play an integral role in the development of the sector,” he added.

The government plans to promote startups in the electric mobility ecosystem in the next few years as it mulls a proposal for banning internal combusting driven two and three-wheelers by 2025 and 2023, respectively.

According to Nishchal Chaudhary, founder and chief executive, BattRE Electric Mobility Pvt Ltd , the budget has clearly indicated the positive intent of the government in pushing the electric mobility revolution in India.

“Consumer adoption of this technology not only requires education and mind shift but also an attractive and feasible overall proposition. I think the government’s proposal to lower the GST rate and provide deduction of tax on interest on loans, outlay for infrastructure for battery charging stations are just the kick start measures required,” added Chaudhary.

The budget announcements by the finance minister for 2019-20 will catalyse India’s journey to electrification and will be beneficial for both, the e-mobility industry as well as consumers looking to make the shift to electric vehicles. The budget has a strong synergy with the FAME II scheme and the announcement will generate a positive sentiment. Lowering GST rates on electric vehicles to 5% will make EVs more attractive to buyers, according to Praveen Kharb, chief executive 22 Kymko, an electric scooter manufacturing startup

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7 per cent GDP growth for FY’20 a pragmatic target: Industry

“Source: -IBEF”
The 7 per cent growth pegged by the Economic Survey for 2019-2020 is a pragmatic target and with the right arrangement switches set up, we can venture up growth to support a normal growth rate of 8 per cent throughout the following five years.

The survey’s key forecast states that for sustaining growth at 8 per cent, investment would need to be the key driver for proclaiming simultaneous growth in demand, employments, exports and profitability.

Deliberate exertion is required to drive an improvement in private investment alongside powerful utilization to lift growth in the current financial from a multi-year low of 6.8 per cent posted in 2018-2019

The positive in the economic survey do give us hope to ride over a portion of the challenges faced by the economy.  Some of the difficult issues like the liquidity concerns of Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFCs) and the effect on the utilization would require bold moves by the government and the RBI.

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Bharti Airtel, Bharti Enterprises introduce US$ 45.175 million payments

“Source: -IBEF”

Bharti Airtel and Bharti Enterprises invested US$ 45.175 million Airtel Payments Bank as per the regulatory documents.

According to the market share filing shared by Tofler, Bharti Airtel invested US$ 36.14 million and Bharti Enterprises invested US$ 9.035 million in form of preference shares.

The nation is experiencing a phenomenal advanced change, driven by the Government’s vision of Digital India and banking for each citizen. Airtel Payments Bank is encountering fast development, driven by its scope (through 5,00,000 retail banking focuses), digitalization and huge client base.

The bank has built up a strong stage to take advantageous digital banking administrations to the tremendous under-banked populace, crosswise over people and vendors. Airtel will keep on putting resources into scaling up tasks so to tackle the gigantic opportunity introducing itself.

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India to get $217 million extra income from retaliatory tariffs

“Source: -IBEF”

India will get extra US$ 217 million of income from the retaliatory taxes it forced on 28 US products.

“The retaliatory tariffs are expected to have an additional impact in terms of duty incidence of about $217 million (approximately) on these 28 products imported from US,” Minister for Commerce & Industry and Railways, Mr Piyush Goyal said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

The US imposed a global additional tariff of 25% and 10% on import of steel and aluminum products in March last year.

“In response, the government of India has imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 products originating or exported from the US with effect from 16th June,“ Goyal said.

India has been persistently engaged with US on this issue, as a component of the ongoing respective exchange discourse. The US didn’t consent to India’s request for withdrawal of these duties.

With the retaliatory tariff, maximum obligation of $98.7 million will come from imports of almonds on which 17% additional obligation is forced trailed by $24.5 million obligation from 20% higher tax on diagnostic reagents.

Besides almonds and diagnostic reagents, India imports apple, Phosphoric acid and binders for foundry moulds from the list of 28 US products on which it has raised tariffs.

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India protects drug, agriculture biz at RCEP

“Source: Economic Times”
MUMBAI:
In what is being seen as a major victory for India  and other developing countries, three harmful provisions concerning pharmaceuticals and agriculture — which were part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement — have been withdrawn.

The provisions were taken off the negotiating table after India took the leadership role in arguing against provisions of patent term extensions and data exclusivity, which would impact public health and access to affordable medicines in developing countries by creating monopolies, official sources confirmed to TOI.

The other significant provision relates to a tighter intellectual property (IP) regime on seed and planting materials — potentially detrimental for the country’s agriculture sector. The “stringent IP provisions” have been stumbling blocks for a while, with India arguing for these to be taken out of the agreement, a person close to the negotiations said.

Billed as the biggest trade agreement, negotiations at RCEP have reached a crucial stage as representatives from 16 countries are in Melbourne for the last few days, aiming to close the deal by year-end. If concluded, RCEP would be the world’s largest trading bloc — home to nearly 50% of the global population, and around 30% of global trade.

Initiated in 2012, it covers 10 Asean countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and trading partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

The provisions, if adopted, would have led to domestic pharma companies not being able to launch or export affordable life-saving drugs across the world. While in the agriculture sector, farmers would lose the right to save or sell seeds or the harvested produce from plant varieties that have been granted intellectual property.

Since the “leak” of the IP chapter in October 2015, health activists and policy watchers have asked the Indian government to reject harmful IP provisions, which could have a detrimental impact on availability of low-priced generic medicines, of which India is a major supplier. These provisions, if adopted, would give rise to pharma monopolies, which would give protection to MNC drugs even after patents have ended, thus delaying entry and exports of affordable generics across the world.

“The withdrawal of data exclusivity and patent term extension will have a positive impact on access to medicines globally. However, the threat of overzealous IP enforcement measures against generic producers create barriers to trade in low-cost medicines between India and other countries globally,” says Leena Menghaney, a lawyer specialising in public health.

India had negotiated to reject high-level protections at RCEP under the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), a provision going beyond World Trade Organization, or ‘WTO-plus’. Sources said that according to recent negotiations, adopting UPOV ’91 provision will be “voluntary” for the member partner, while India has decided not to adopt it.

“Adherence to UPOV ’91 is the demand for patent-like rights for plant varieties, which only favours seed MNCs. UPOV compliance means restrictions on farmers’ inherent seed freedoms. The experience of PepsiCo suing farmers for IPR infringement in Gujarat in 2018-19 despite a supposedly unique farmer-friendly plant variety in the country ought to have convinced our trade negotiators how perversely such IPR laws can be enforced by powerful players. While the withdrawal of the UPOV ’91 demand in RCEP may come as a relief to non-UPOV members within the 16 RCEP participating countries, but that tweak in the proposed IP chapter of RCEP does not make this mega-regional FTA more acceptable. It is a concession to try and convince India to join RCEP. Thus far, India has held strong,” Shalini Bhutani, legal researcher and policy analyst said.

Further, a range of damaging IP-enforcement provisions proposed by Japan still remain on the negotiating table, the source added, and are a cause for concern, as they can delay generic life-saving medicines to millions of people who desperately need them.

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Indian cafe chain market will reach Rs 4,540cr by 2023

“Source: -IBEF”
As India is the world’s 10th fastest and growing business sector presently for coffee and tea retain chains, acclaim of Rs.2,570 crore in 2018. The bistro chain broadcast, driven by Cafe Coffee Day and Tata Starbucks, is in addition one of the fastest developing  categorisation in the customer nourishment administration industry, which assessed to become 6.9%  every year to Rs 4,540 crore by 2023 in worth deals at steady costs selective of expansion/inflation.

In correlation, with the Rs 12,845-crore cola carbonated soda pops advertise, however on a lot bigger base, is assessed to develop at 3% a year for the next five years.

“Master coffee houses advance to youngsters, particularly in huge urban communities, as they offer high quality espresso, yet additionally free Wi-Fi and a friendly environment,” according to the report. “Customers frequenting café in India are essentially 18-35 years of age which contains the nation’s essential working power with higher discretionary cashflow and quick paced lives.”

Euromonitor said the standpoint for both autonomous and affixed cafe and authority espresso and cafes stayed solid on the back of steady development and more extensive advertising. A few items, for example, cool mix espresso, are showing uncommon development. “One territory with solid long-haul development prospects is tea, which has generally for the most part been expended at home.

“Over the most recent couple of years, shopper inclinations have moved towards non-sugary more beneficial choices,” PepsiCo gets over half of its worldwide income from nourishments, while Coca-Cola doesn’t have that influence. Consequently, it is hoping to enhance its business in non-mixed beverages classifications other than carbonated beverages.”

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Indian startups attracting investors again, raise record $3.9 billion in 2019

“Source : International Busniess Times”
The Indian startup eco-system is again attracting investors after hiccups in the last two years. Startups in India have managed to raise $3.9 billion from venture capitalists in the first half of the year 2019. As per Venture Intelligence, a startup data tracker, the investment has jumped to $3.9 billion from $2.7 billion in the first six months of the running year. The fund infusion happened across 292 deals in domestic startups.

The Mint reported that the investment made during this period is significant with the fact that in 2016 and 2017, the Indian startups managed to raise $4.2 billion and $4.3 billion respectively, highlighting a jump in the investments. The startups are defined under categories such as seed, or very early investments, to Series F deals in companies that are less than 10 years old.

Calling 2018 as a milestone for the market, Sandeep Murthy, managing partner at Lightbox Ventures, said “many companies that have been quietly building and solving truly unique problems have achieved scale”.

Murthy, whose fund house has invested at the early stages in online furniture rental start-up Furlenco and cloud kitchen firm Rebel Foods, best further added: “They are now being rewarded with capital that will allow these businesses to continue to grow in many cases profitably.” In recent times, consumer internet firms have continued to raise huge capital, business-to-business (B2B) companies in sectors such as logistics, software and marketplace have also managed to raise handsome capital from investors. Murthy also added “2019 has also been about the emergence of Tier II and III cities and B2B models, both of which had been historically underinvested in. Tiger Global has clearly indicated their interest in the B2B space, while Chinese investors seem to be pushing deeper into emerging cities across India.”

It is to be noted that some of the recent deals in the Indian start-up segment have attracted investors to India. One of the landmark deals is US retail giant, Walmart’s $16 billion acquisition of India’s online retailer Flipkart. When the company bought a holding stake in the company, the earlier investors exited with 1.5-10 times their investments. Some of the venture capital firms including Accel Partners, Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., South Africa’s Naspers and US-based Tiger Global Management Llc made billions from the deal.

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HUL on an aggressive digital drive: Sanjiv Mehta

“Source: Livemint”
Mumbai:
 Consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has created a full-fledged end-to-end digital transformation programme that will redefine the ways of working.

At present, over 80 experiments are underway to accelerate the company’s journey on digital transformation, HUL told shareholders on Saturday.

The company has set up a digital council comprising a cross-functional team of leaders, for its ‘Reimagining HUL’.

“With the world changing at a furious pace, we are continually adapting to remain future fit. We will continue to leverage Unilever’s global knowledge and our deep local understanding to serve our consumers better, be it through path-breaking innovations or our expertise in new channels,” chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta said in his address to shareholders at the 86th AGM.

On the FMCG sector, Mehta said faster economic growth and technological changes provide an exciting future for the industry.

“Despite being one of the fastest-growing markets globally for FMCG products in recent times, the per capita FMCG consumption spend in our country is still among the lowest in the world, giving the sector a long runway for growth.

“Key factors such as rising affluence, changing family structures, emerging new large cities and a young working population will positively impact the growth of the industry,” he said.

He noted that if the country can bend the growth curve and deliver a consistent growth rate of 9% and above, it could transform into a $10 trillion economy by 2032.

On the rapidly evolving technology and its use in workplaces, Mehta said, “Re-skilling of our workforce will become a national priority. Machines will augment human cognition and it will be imperative for companies to optimally leverage human talent and machines at the same time”.

He noted that HUL’s focus is on reimagining itself from the lens of portfolio, organisation, capabilities and culture.

“We are clear that we do not want to simply follow, we will lead the change,” he underlined.

“At HUL, we are creating a culture that embraces diversity, inclusiveness, and our founders mindset and experimentation.

“We have a five-pronged strategy to continue to drive purpose into our brands and enhance societal impact, build a future-fit organisation, nurture talent in the new age, innovate for the future, and reimagine the business across the value chain by leveraging data and technology,” he concluded.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed

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HUL aims for full gender parity by 2022, says MD Mehta

“Source: Livemint”
MUMBAI : Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) said women will fill at least 50% of the managerial positions at India’s largest maker of household goods by 2022.

“We believe that our employees’ contributions are richer because of their diversity and we want to help them feel free to bring their authentic selves to work every day,” Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director at HUL, told shareholders during the company’s 86th annual general meeting held in Mumbai on 29 June.

HUL, through its Project Shakti programme, has nearly 110,000 women micro-entrepreneurs across 18 states boosting the distribution reach of the company’s brands. It provides livelihood opportunities to women in rural India where they are trained by Hindustan Unilever executives on sales and distribution.

The contribution of women to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is 18%, according to a May 2018 study by McKinsey Global Institute. This is one of the lowest levels in the world.

Women account for only 25% of India’s labour force. More than 70% of the potential GDP opportunity comes from increasing women’s participation in the labour force by 10 percentage points, the report said.

The consumer goods company has also set up a digital council comprising a cross-functional team of leaders who are designing the agenda of ‘Reimagining HUL’ consisting of more than 80 experiments that are underway at present.

“By 2030, India will have a large cohort of ‘Generation Z’ consumers with ubiquitous internet, smartphones, and digital media. As they start earning, they will actively use technology-enabled consumption models and have a big influence on the consumption behaviour of their households,” said Mehta.

Mehta, who took over the reins of HUL after Harish Manwani’s retirement last year, detailed the company’s five-pronged strategy that includes driving purpose into brands and enhancing societal impact, innovating for the future, building a future-fit organization, nurturing talent in the new age, and re-imagining its business across the value chain by leveraging data and technology.

“We now have a full-fledged end-to-end digital transformation programme for the business that will redefine the way we work. Our people data centre picks up real-time consumer signals and identifies business opportunities that are used as inputs to craft brilliant mixes,” said Mehta.

More than nine out of 10 Indian households use one or more of HUL’s products, Mehta said, and maintained that the company is harnessing the power of data and artificial intelligence to understand potential trends, customized solutions, augment decision-making and build a feedback loop.

“Our internet of things (IoT) powered digital factories are helping us leverage installed capacities. Automated warehouses, robotics and guided vehicles are helping with stock accuracy, reducing truck loading time and raising the level of customer service,” told shareholders.

 

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FII inflowsin first half of 2019 at highest in 5 years

“Source: Hindustan Times”
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have been aggressive on Indian equities in the first six months of 2019 despite increased volatility and uncertainty around the elections.

FIIs were net buyers of local equities worth $11.41 billion between January and June, the most since the corresponding period of 2014, when they had invested forex worth $9.91 billion. In the six months ended December 2018, FIIs saw an outflow of $3.78 billion. The outflow in January to June 2018 was $681 million.

The inflows, however, did not kick-start on a strong note. FIIs were net sellers in Indian equities worth $75.35 million in January. The pace of foreign money inflows started picking from February and, over the following five months, FIIs invested $11.5 billion. In June alone, FIIs were net buyers of $231.45 million in equities.

Analysts say FII flows during February, March and April were largely driven by global factors. The precursor of it was the shift in stance on monetary policy outlook by various central banks, which led to an improvement in global liquidity. On January 31, the US Federal Reserve announced a pause in rate hike, which was followed by China and the European Central Bank providing stimulus for their economies. This, along with expectations of a positive outcome of the US-China trade talks, bolstered risk-on sentiments among foreign investors who diverted huge investments towards emerging markets.

Himanshu Srivastava, senior analyst and manager (research) at Morningstar Investment Adviser India, said India was a relatively late beneficiary of the sudden influx of foreign money due to persistent domestic concerns, including political uncertainty and an increase in cross-border tensions with Pakistan. “Some of these concerns alleviated later and India started receiving its share of flows directed towards emerging markets,” he added.

There was a slowdown in foreign flows into domestic equity markets in the early part of May. While the fallout of the US-China trade talk, slowing global economy and declining liquidity impacted the flows, the impending general election results prompted FIIs to adopt a wait-and-watch stance toward India. From May 1-20, FIIs were net sellers in the Indian equity markets. After that, FIIs started coming back to Indian equities, anticipating a return for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The net inflows intensified after the election results on May 23, which gave a clear majority to the NDA.

The pace of net inflows by FIIs has now slowed due to a surge in crude prices, as well as rising tension in West Asia between the US and Iran. Escalation in the trade war, too, put investors on tenterhooks.

“Also, with elections over and euphoria around it subsiding, the focus will now be on the steps that the government takes in order to bring the economy back on track. This, too, resulted in the slowdown of flows. Foreign investors would have adopted a wait-and-watch stance ahead of the budget announcement on July 5. The focus there would be on the government’s roadmap towards fiscal consolidation, the fiscal deficit target, and the steps it would take to propel economic growth,” said Srivastava.

In the first six months of 2019, crude prices rose 23.98% while the rupee strengthened by 1.09%.

Domestic institutional investors, including mutual funds and insurance firms, have been on the sidelines in the first six months of the year. They have been net sellers of Indian shares worth Rs. 7,791.48 crore so far this year, owing to slower-than-expected growth and election uncertainty.

In local currency terms, benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty have risen 8-9% so far this year. In dollar terms, both Sensex and Nifty were up 9-10% each so far in 2019.

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Improvement in logistics, infra to boost exports to $1 trn in next 3 yrs: FIEO

“Source: IBEF”
New Delhi: The government’s focus to improve logistics, ease of doing business and modern trade infrastructure will help exports to touch USD one trillion in the next three years, exporters body FIEO said Tuesday.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said India has huge potential to boost it’s exports of goods and services from the current USD 535 billion.

“With steps like special focus on cutting logistics cost and time, further improvement in ease of doing business, proper implementation of government policies for exporters and timely refund of taxes will helps us touch USD one trillion exports in the next three years,” Gupta said.

He said the logistics time, cost and inadequate trade related infrastructure are impacting the exports.

Reduction of logistics cost by 10 per cent will help boost the country’s exports by about 5-8 per cent, Gupta added.

He also said that to develop logistics sector in an integrated way, it is important to focus on new technology, improved investment, skilling, removing bottlenecks, improving inter modal transportation, automation, single window system for giving clearances, and simplifying processes.

Gupta also that timely refund of taxes such as goods and services tax will help exporters deal with the liquidity crunch problem.

There is also a need to focus on export of GI products and the government should give adequate funds for marketing of these goods to push their shipments, he added.

A Geographical Indication (GI) is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

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India’s space startups ignite investor interest

“Source: Economic Times”
From companies building palm-sized satellites to those aiming to propel satellites into space using cleaner fuels, a new wave of space technology startups are mushrooming in India, catching the attention of investors keen to join the space race.

Bengaluru-based Bellatrix Aerospace, which wants to propel satellites into orbit using electric and non-toxic chemical thrusters, has raised $3 million from a group of investors, co-founder Yashas Karanam told Reuters.

Venture capital fund IDFC Parampara is leading Bellatrix’s pre-Series A round. The family office of Suman Kant Munjal, who belongs to the billionaire family that controls Indian motorcycle maker Hero MotoCorp, and Deepika Padukone, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, are two of the other seven investors.

Meanwhile, Mumbai-based Kawa Space, which designs and operates earth observation satellites, has closed a seed round of an undisclosed amount, one of its investors, Vishesh Rajaram, managing partner at Speciale Invest, told Reuters.

Bellatrix and Kawa are two of over a dozen Indian startups developing satellites, rockets and related support systems which can power space missions serving a range of industries.

Their fundraising represents a big leap in private space investments in India, a leading space power but where the government has enjoyed a near-monopoly for decades.

“No venture capital firm which does tech investments in India has invested an amount of this size in space technology before,” said Narayan Prasad, co-founder of online space products marketplace Satsearch, referring to Bellatrix’s funding.

Besides Bellatrix and Kawa, seven space technology companies in India are funded, according to startup data tracker Tracxn and interviews with investors.

Space technology is red hot thanks partly to activity happening 2,000 km (1,200 miles) above the earth in the low-earth orbit, much closer and easier to reach than the geostationary orbit where many communications satellites operate.

Here, small and cheaper satellites are snapping images used in everything from crop-monitoring and geology to defence and urban planning, bringing down costs and increasing the frequency of images.

‘Exciting times’

In the past five years, some two dozen Indian startups have grown into unicorns – companies with over $1 billion valuations – most betting on India’s growing middle-class and the consumer boom at home.

India’s space technology firms are part of a new breed of startups, and investors are paying attention, given the surging global interest in everything from space exploration to space vacations.

Satellite launches planned in the coming years worldwide give investors confidence in such companies, said Bellatrix investor Jatin Desai, whose Parampara Capital collaborated with lender IDFC to form IDFC Parampara.

“That gives us a large addressable potential market,” Desai said.

Over 17,000 small satellites could be launched between 2018 and 2030, consulting firm Frost & Sullivan estimates.

“There is money to be made … These are exciting times for lots of entrepreneurs,” said Rajaram, whose Speciale Invest has bet on three space startups in India.

Long gestation period

To be sure, investors aren’t opening the coffers for India’s space startups in large numbers just yet.

Indian venture capital firms Maple Capital, Ideaspring Capital, Bharat Innovation Fund and 3one4 Capital, say they have held talks with space startups but are taking a wait-and-watch approach.

“The gestation period is long by the time you see returns,” said Naganand Doraswamy, managing partner at Ideaspring, referring to the multiple stages of development, testing and government approvals involved in space missions.

The state-run Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), currently preparing for its second lunar mission, has a monopoly on launching rockets in India.

Still, Indian firms are free to use ISRO’s rockets or overseas launch services such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX or New Zealand and Los Angeles-based Rocket Lab to send satellites to space.

Most Indian space startups are hopeful that parliament will pass a long-pending space law, which will give clarity on how private companies can operate in the sector.

The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought suggestions from stakeholders for a draft Space Activities Bill, which it has said could “possibly” be introduced in parliament this year.

Bellatrix Aerospace’s first customer is ISRO, which is also mentoring the company as it readies a water-based propellant to help manoeuvre satellites in space.

Bellatrix is not the only company racing to develop newer satellite propulsion systems, with at least three others overseas reportedly working on similar products.

The company says its systems are affordable, less toxic and much lighter, providing more room for payload on satellites. “This will be the future,” co-founder Karanam said.

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First Indian equities ETF launched in Australia

“Source: Economic Times”
ETF Securities, an Australia-based provider of accessible investment solutions, has launched the first Indian ETF in Australia. Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Limited (RNAM) has entered in an arrangement to provide advisory services to Australian investors, a release from the fund house said.

Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange with the code NDIA, the ETF will provide Australian investors an opportunity to tap into the world’s fastest-growing major economy.According to the press release, NDIA will track India’s Index, which holds the country’s fifty biggest companies listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE). It accounts for 13 sectors representing about 66.80% of the free float market capitalization of the stocks listed on the NSE.

Reliance Nippon Asset Management’s ED & CEO, Sundeep Sikka, said his company was delighted to collaborate with ETF Securities to provide advisory services for allowing Australian investors to participate in “the India growth story.”

“RNAM has always been at the forefront of the Indian ETF Industry. It is now the first Indian AMC to partner with an International asset manager to bring investments into India through the ETF route. NDIA will provide Australian investors access to the Nifty 50 Index which has been the torch bearer of Indian equities for the last 25 years and is considered to be ‘the Stock of the Nation,” Sikka said.

“India has been the most dynamic economic growth story globally, but until now, it has been difficult for investors globally to access,” said Kris Walesby, Head of ETF Securities Australia. “This product offers investors the chance to gain exposure to a $US2.6 trillion economy that still has tremendous potential to grow as India reaps the benefits of structural reforms,” Kris Walesby said.

“Political stability may allow the benefits of recent reforms to Goods and Services Tax and bankruptcy laws to continue filtering through in the form of stronger earnings performances by India’s major companies. Another positive is the fact that 60% of India’s GDP is driven by domestic private consumption (compared to 40% in China), effectively insulating the economy against external shocks,” Walesby added.

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India may increase IT resources in this country

“Source: Gadgetsnow”
NEW DELHI:  India’s prowess in Information Technology (IT) sector could be utilized in an increased measure in Russia to strengthen the bilateral strategic partnership further.

Specific areas are being explored in which India’s expertise in IT could be utilized in Russia, with potential being seen in oil and natural gas and education sectors of that country.

A major push in collaboration in IT and other areas is expected when Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Vladivostok in September to be the Chief Guest at the Eastern Economic Forum at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

An Indian delegation, comprising representatives from the industry, academia, start-ups and ICT, recently undertook a visit to Khanty-Mansiysk in Russia to explore ways in which the collaboration could be effected through the use of IT.

The aim of the visit by the delegation was to promote unique strengths in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and big data analytics, and encourage collaboration with the Indian IT industry in the areas of IoT ecosystem, industry 4.0 and smart cities, said the business chamber FICCI, which organized the trip.

The delegation participated in a seminar and held an exhibition, showcasing India’s strength in information technology, start-ups and electronics industry.

As a follow-up, some focus groups will be set up for effective action, according to a source.

The potential areas where Indian companies can use their IT applications in Russia are oil and natural gas sector.

The two countries have set an ambitious bilateral trade target of 30 billion dollars to be achieved by 2025, with special focus on collaboration in high tech sector and emerging technologies. The bilateral trade last year was 9 billion dollars.

“Emerging technologies can play a huge role in the development of the information society and empowering its citizens,” said Parminder Kakria, co-Chairman of FICCI ICT and Digital Economy Committee.

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Investment via P-notes rises to Rs 82,619 crore till May

“Source: IBEF”

New Delhi: Investments in the Indian capital market through participatory notes increased by nearly Rs 1,400 crore to Rs 82,619 crore till May-end, a gain of 1.72 per cent over the previous month.

P-notes are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors to overseas investors who wish to be part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves directly. They, however, need to go through a due diligence process.

As per latest data by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the total value of P-note investments in the Indian markets — equity, debt, and derivatives — rose to Rs 82,619 crore till May-end, from Rs 81,220 crore at April-end.

Of the total investments, P-note holdings in equities stood at Rs 61,574 crore, followed by debt (Rs 19,681 crore) and derivatives (Rs 193 crore).

Investment through P-notes has been on the rise for the previous three months.

A cumulative investment of Rs 73,428 crore was made till the end of February, Rs 78,110 crore till March and Rs 81,220 crore till April end.

P-note investments were on a decline since June 2017 due to several measures taken by the market watchdog to stop the misuse of the controversy-ridden instrument.

In July 2017, Sebi had notified stricter norms stipulating a fee of USD 1,000 on each instrument to check any misuse for channelising black money. It had also prohibited FPIs from issuing such notes where the underlying asset is a derivative, except those which are used for hedging purposes.

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India ready to take a giant leap into space, to set up own station

“Source: IBEF”
NEW DELHI:
 Having entered the Mars orbit in its first attempt and given the world evidence of water on the moon, India on Thursday announced plans to set up its own space station, marking its biggest leap yet in space exploration.

The 360-tonne International Space Station (ISS) circling the earth 400km above its surface is the only space station with a human crew. A multinational collaboration of Europe, the US, Russia, Japan and Canada, it has six astronauts on board at anytime of the year.

“Our space station is going to be separate and much smaller. We will launch it as a small module and that module will be used to carry small micro-gravity experiments. We are preparing the proposal to submit to the government after the successful completion of Gaganyaan in 2022,” said K. Sivan, chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

The Indian space station will be placed in the low earth orbit, also at 400km above the earth’s surface. The project is at a nascent stage and will be executed after 5-7 years. Costs have yet not been estimated yet.

Scientists highlighted that a separate space station would help the space agency to sustain the human space flight missions in future and it will be an extension of India’s first human space flight mission in space in 2022.

“There is a very tight schedule ahead of us. The first unmanned space mission under Gaganyaan has to be undertaken in December 2020. So many research laboratories, educational institutions, specialised institutes, the Defence Research and Development Organisation and industries are involved,” he said.

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Logistics and warehousing sector may reach $215 bn by 2020

“Source: IBEF”

Mumbai: With nearly USD 1.1 billion of private equity pumped during the last two years, the Indian logistics and warehousing sector is expected to grow to USD 215 billion by 2020, experts said.

According to recent report released by property consultant Knight Frank, total warehousing space is estimated grow at a CAGR of five per cent in the next five years to 922 million sqft by 2024.

Another survey released by JLL, which projected the industry to grow at USD 215 billion by 2020 stated structural reforms including the awarding of infrastructure status and the implementation of GST, have bolstered the demand for logistics and warehousing space in the country.

Property consultant Anarock noted that e-commerce activity has caused a corresponding rise in demand logistics and warehousing, in both tier I and II markets, with the southern cities of Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad witnessing maximum interest by investors, followed by Mumbai and Pune.

“With January-March period of 2019 already witnessing 8.4 million sqft of property absorption, it is expected to clock around 38 million sqft by end of 2019,” JLL said.

The logistics sector had a massive jump-start in the first quarter of 2019 when private equity players pumped in nearly USD 200 million with LOGOS India investing nearly USD 100 million into Casagrand Distripark in Chennai, Morgan Stanley Real Estate pumping nearly USD 50 million in KSH Infra in Pune and Embassy Industrial Parks investing around USD 50 million in DRA Projects in Bengaluru.

“There is an immense opportunity, backed by the growing demand from e-commerce businesses in the last two years, and the logistics and warehousing sector is consequently upgrading to higher levels of organisation. This shift is visible in various small Grade B and C warehouses converting into large Grade A warehouses equipped with modern facilities – a transformation which has attracted PE entities from US, Canada and Singapore to pump in funds into the sector,” Anarock Capital MD and CEO Shobhit Agarwal said.

JLL’s CEO and Country Head Ramesh Nair said that sectors such as 3PL/logistics, engineering, auto and ancillary, e-commerce, FMCG, retail and telecom and white goods have remained the biggest demand drivers.

According to Knight Frank, the tier II cities such as Coimbatore, Guwahati, Rajpura, Ludhiana, Nagpur, Lucknow, Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar and Siliguri are gaining prominence now in terms of the growing demand for warehousing space.

“Of the 29 states, only seven have a dedicated policy framework for the logistics industry. A comparative analysis of the existing logistics policies of seven states shows that Haryana is rated the highest based on the benefits for developers as well as occupiers,” it said.

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Manulife in tie-up with Mahindra  arm,  to  invest $35 million in AMC business

“Source: Livemint”

MUMBAI : Mumbai: Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services Ltd, through its subsidiary Mahindra Asset Management Co. Pvt. Ltd, has entered into a joint venture with global finance services group Manulife, which will invest $35 million in the asset management business.

The 51:49 joint venture aims to expand the depth and breadth of fund offerings and retail fund penetration in India, Mahindra Finance said in a statement.

Manulife provides wealth and asset management, and life insurance solutions for individuals, groups and institutions around the world, with more than $849 billion (about 58.98 trillion) of assets under management and administration as of 31 March 2019.

“Mahindra Finance, with its strong financial services presence in India, and innovative products and services designed around evolving customer needs, has been adding value to customers across the country. Mahindra and Manulife share a common vision of building a market-leading asset management business, servicing the needs of retail investors and becoming one of India’s most admired asset management companies,” said Ramesh Iyer, vice-chairman and managing director, Mahindra Finance.

Iyer added that Manulife is investing $35 million in the company in primary capital that will be used to scale up the business.

Mahindra Asset Management Co. currently offers over nine different investment schemes. It manages 5,019 crore, and has over 160,000 customer accounts across 400 cities.

“Mahindra Asset Management Co. has, over the last few years, successfully made inroads into areas beyond the traditional investment markets of India. Our experience shows that there is tremendous appetite for investment products and potential for growth in these markets. Manulife Asset Management fits as the right strategic partner for Mahindra Asset Management as they bring an enormous pool of fund management talent, backed by global best practices and processes,” said Ashutosh Bishnoi, managing director and chief executive officer, Mahindra AMC.

According to Anil Wadhwani, chief executive and president of Manulife Asia, the group has been operating in several developing Asian countries for decades and, thus, has a good understanding and experience of serving the financial services needs of markets like India.

“We are excited to be partnering with Mahindra Finance to serve the growing middle class in India by drawing experience from our existing business in providing over 10 million customers across 16 Asian markets with our holistic investment offerings across mutual funds, investment linked products and pension,” he said.

Manulife has also been scouting for opportunities in the Indian insurance sector. In January 2018, Mint had reported that global insurance firms, including Manulife, were in discussions to acquire a 26% stake in IndiaFirst Life Insurance Co. Ltd. In February 2018, The Economic Times had reported that Manulife had also shown interest in acquiring IDBi Federal Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

On Friday, shares of Mahindra Finance closed at 394.3 apiece, down 2.17%, on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex closed at 39,194.49 points, down 1%.

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Tech Mahindra signs multi-year pact with Airbus

“Source: Livemint”
New Delhi: Software and business re-engineering services firm Tech Mahindra on Thursday announced signing of a multi-year contract with Airbus for cabin and cargo design engineering.

“Airbus is a strategic customer and partner of Tech Mahindra and it has been our constant endeavour to develop innovative engineering and digital solutions for our customers,” said Karthikeyan Natarajan, Global Head of Engineering and IoT, Tech Mahindra, in a statement.

“This will strengthen our aerospace engineering portfolio, especially in areas like cabin engineering and customer services,” Natarajan said.

Tech Mahindra said it is aiming to grow its cabin engineering business over the next few years.

The company is betting big on next generation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, robotics, automation, Blockchain and 5G, to solve real business problems of the customers by delivering innovative solutions and services.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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India’s Long-Delayed Industrial Revolution Is About To Launch

“Source: Economic Times”
Prasenjit K Basu
In his first five years in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the basics of a civilised existence to 50-60% of Indians who had been denied access to bank accounts, cooking gas, toilets at home or school, and health insurance for 67 years since Independence. And he quintupled the pace at which rural homes were built, rural roads and world-class highways were extended. The world’s cheapest mobile phone and internet access were spread across the land, and micro-finance loans reached 130 million rural households. The audacity of this ambitious programme, and the spectacular effort in delivering it, enabled Modi to receive the largest pro-incumbent vote swing in independent India’s history.

The extraordinary aspect of the social achievement is that it was delivered despite adhering to a programme of fiscal rectitude that saw the fiscal deficit decline (as a share of GDP) steadily over the five years. When Raghuram Rajan became RBI governor in September 2013, his target was to bring inflation down to 6% by 2016. When Narendra Modi became PM, he brought it down below 6% within 6 months (by end-2014, two years ahead of the RBI’s schedule).

It is not an accident that inflation averaged over 10% YoY during UPA-2, and that the current account went from a surplus of 2.5% of GDP at the end of NDA-1 to a deficit of 2.3% of GDP at the end of UPA-1 – until India became part of the “fragile five” emerging economies in 2011-13.

BJP is the party of fiscal prudence in India, Congress the party of doles, handouts, fiscal profligacy and crony capitalism. The NPL mess was entirely created during the rampant lending boom under UPA. Inflation in India is always a political choice, and BJP chooses to contain it, while Congress chooses to let it run rampant in the hope of winning the “farmer” vote failing to see that the majority of Indians now are consumers rather than producers of food.

Having delivered the Securitisation Act in 2002, BJP-led NDA delivered an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in 2015 that will be the basis for a fundamental rebuilding of the strength and integrity of our financial system. GST had been spoken about by every government since finance minister VP Singh introduced ModVAT in 1985. But it was the Modi government that finally delivered the tax that would fold India into a single unified tax regime. There were flaws in its design – having to do with the cumbersome mechanism of a federal GST Council (necessary to get the law passed by the Rajya Sabha that no non-Congress government has ever controlled). A GST should have a single national rate to really deliver its full benefit – ease of collection, and smoothing the wheels of commerce. But even the flawed GST was a huge advance on what had previously prevailed – interstate octrois and multiple levels of labyrinthine taxes that made the nation a warren of corruption and bureaucratic bullying.

Demonetisation  was an unnecessary political gamble, but let nobody tell you it didn’t have enormous economic benefits. The number of registered direct tax payers more than doubled as a result, and digital transactions have increased manifold.

This time, India’s manufacturing transformation is on the anvil: while Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia and Singapore have seen their exports decline for the past 6 months amid a slump in global electronics demand (and China’s exports have stagnated, declining in 3 of the 6 months YoY), India’s merchandise exports have risen in each of the past 6 months, mainly because electronics exports have continued to grow over 50% YoY. Labour market reforms in the next half-year will unleash the full magic of the long-delayed Indian industrial revolution.

And decisive policy making ensured that India faced no significant terrorist incident outside Kashmir in 5 years. When Pakistan  instigated terrorist acts in Uri (2016) and Pulwama (2019), Modi responded with decisive action. And the world sat up and took notice. For the first time since it got a bloody nose in Vietnam (March 1979), China’s PLA was obliged to stand down after weeks-long stand-off with the Indian army in Doklam. So it is with hope and infinite expectation that we citizens of India look forward to five more years of decisive and visionary leadership from the PM, who rose by the sheer dint of his own determination and dedication to the top of the bean pole.

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India becomes investment darling for sovereign wealth and pension funds

“Source: Livemint”

London: Sovereign wealth funds are piling into India, buying stakes in everything from airports to renewable energy, attracted by political stability, a growing middle class and reforms making it more enticing for foreigners to invest. Wealth and state pension funds are expanding their horizons to private markets, to complement an existing focus on stocks and bonds.

“India is popular with sovereign wealth funds,” said Tihir Sarkar, London-based partner at Cleary Gottlieb, which counts several prominent sovereign funds as clients.

“Almost every jurisdiction in the western world is raising the bar for entry for foreign investors but in India it’s the other way round. There’s also the attraction of the demographics and a lot of assets that sovereign funds like, such as infrastructure, where there’s a huge appetite for foreign funding.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election win last month is expected to stimulate further foreign investment.

Foreign institutional investor flows into Indian equities are $11 billion year-to-date, surpassing the total annual tally in each of the four previous years and setting 2019 on course for the highest annual inflows since 2012. India’s benchmark BSE Sensex has soared nearly 10% year-to-date.

“The rapid rise of an educated middle class offers enormous opportunities for the deployment of long-term capital, the kind that sovereign wealth funds are ideally suited to provide,” said Ravi Menon, chief executive officer of HSBC Asset Management India.

The New China

The attention sovereign funds are giving India is like that they have paid to China, now clouded by a trade war with the United States, said a banker specialising in institutional investors. In the public markets, funds were focused on public equity and fixed income, he said. In the private market, momentum is also building.

Private equity deal activity in India surged to $19 billion in 2018, the highest level in at least a decade, according to PitchBook data. Sovereign wealth funds and pension funds participated in about two-thirds of that amount.

Among recent deals, Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) this month agreed to make a further investment of $495 million in renewable energy firm Greenko Energy Holdings, which has wind, solar and hydro projects.

India is widening its use of solar and wind energy to help reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

In April, ADIA and India’s National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) agreed to buy a 49% stake in the airport unit of Indian conglomerate GVK Power & Infrastructure.

Another wealth fund is in talks on an infrastructure investment, while Canadian pension funds are seeking similar deals, said a source familiar with the matter.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and GIC earlier this year participated in a $145.8 million buyout of Oakridge International School, an operator of schools in India.

ADIA, the world’s third-biggest sovereign wealth fund, which has been investing in Indian equities and fixed income for years, has broadened its focus to include asset classes such as infrastructure, real estate and private equities, said people familiar with ADIA’s thinking.

Its increased interest in India is driven by the country’s strong growth potential, positive demographics and continued economic development, the people said. More than half of India’s 1.3 billion population is aged under 25.

The push comes as India and the United Arab Emirates seek to strengthen economic and trade ties.

Reform push

Regulatory reforms are also bolstering sentiment and drawing in wealth funds.

Indian-based fund managers were from this year licensed to manage foreigners’ portfolio holdings in the country, where previously such assets had to be managed outside India.

Prashant Khemka, founder of White Oak Capital Management which advises London-listed Ashoka India Equity Investment Trust, said that change had helped kick-start the onshore fund management industry for foreign-sourced funds.

“This could be looked back on as an inflection point in the growth of the Indian fund management business,” said Khemka, one of four fund managers to gain such an approval so far. Institutional names, including sovereign wealth funds and pension funds, account for around two-thirds of his clients.

Bankruptcy resolution rules introduced in 2016 helped pave the way for ADIA’s $500 million investment earlier this year in a distressed debt fund.

The investment was seen as an effort to launch a secondary market in India’s mountain of distressed debt and help ease the burden on local banks.

But some say more reforms are needed.

A source close to several wealth and pension funds said many would like to see the government further overhaul tax rules, building upon a new goods and services tax that is credited with helping cut red tape, and undertake land and labour reforms.

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Digital payments to rise tenfold in three years

“Source: Forbes”
A committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and headed by Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys and former chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India, submitted a report in May on ‘deepening digital payments’ in the country. The report, which was made public recently, envisages a 10-fold rise in digital payments over the next three years. Its recommendations for reaching that goal include the expansion of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to allow remittances and payments from Indians living and travelling abroad.

UPI, which was started less than three years ago, has evolved into a mainstream payment option, with close to 800 million transactions this March, according to the National Payments Corporation of India. In March, the amount of money transacted rose by 25 percent, compared to February, to ₹1.3 lakh crore, a six-month record.

However, on a per-capita basis, Indians made 22 digital transactions in 2018-19, compared to Singapore’s 782 and China’s 97 in 2017. And unlike China, where Tencent Holdings’ WeChat dominates the market, in India there are a plethora of companies that offer similar options.

“The Indian payment ecosystem is transitioning. It is moving from an era of issuance to an era of acceptance,” the report said. In the last five years, the country has seen about 300 million people enter the banking network through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. There has also been a rise in digital credit into bank accounts due to the government’s direct-benefit transfers, and digitisation of government payments.

Despite banks in India issuing a cumulative of about 1 billion debit cards and 50 million credit cards to date, acceptance remains low, with only about 3.5 million point-of-sale devices, and 200,000 ATMs, the report adds. Transactions per device are also low. However, those through mobile phones have started growing, and now represent a significant proportion of total digital transactions.

“This growth will be driven by a shift from high-value, low-volume, high-cost transactions to low-value, high-volume, low-cost transactions,” the reports says.

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Best of Mindtree yet to come; to grow faster than industry despite uncertainties: Chairman

“Source: Economic Times”
Mindtree – where Larsen & Toubro is in the midst of acquiring majority stake – has exuded confidence that it will deliver a low-teen growth rate in FY20, and promised that the “best of Mindtree is yet to come”.

The Bengaluru-based company described construction major L&T’s unsolicited bid to acquire majority holding in the IT firm as “unusual situation” and said it is fully committed to “handling this issue in a manner that maximises value for all our stakeholders”.

Chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan and CEO Rostow Ravanan, in their message to shareholders in the company’s annual report filed with BSE on Friday, noted that the L&T matter was pending regulatory approvals at the time of penning the message.

The two top officials said the company is focussed on capitalising on the opportunities and maintaining high-growth trajectory, growing faster than the industry.

“Although the external environment presents a slightly worrisome picture – global trade wars, increasing risk of terrorism disrupting people’s lives, slowing economic growth, and political uncertainty – we are confident that we are better prepared to handle these uncertainties than ever before.

“We estimate that we will deliver a low-teen growth rate in FY20, along with a margin expansion of 100-120 bps,” they said.

In March, L&T had said it will buy 20.32 per cent stake in Mindtree from V G Siddhartha and his coffee enterprise for over Rs 3,000 crore – marking India’s first-ever hostile takeover bid in the IT space.

Since then, L&T has steadily increased its holding in the Bengaluru-based tech firm to about 30 per cent. It is currently in the process of an open offer to buy an additional 31 per cent stake. In all, the infrastructure major is eyeing about 66 per cent stake in Mindtree for over Rs 10,700 crore.

The open offer – with an offer price of Rs 980 per share – opened on June 17 and is slated to close on June 28. If the offer is subscribed fully, the engineering behemoth will end up with a 66.32 per cent holding in Mindtree. L&T has secured three board positions at the IT services firm, giving the former a firm control over the company.

Mindtree has been in the spotlight since early part of this year due to the takeover saga, and more recently when its Board in mid-April proposed to pay a special dividend to shareholders, including promoters, that along with regular dividend and tax components would strip the mid-sized IT firm of about Rs 530 crore.

In the latest annual report, Natarajan and Ravanan stressed on the importance of rigorous governance standards as essential ingredient to deliver sustainable financial performance.

“You have our unequivocal commitment to uphold the highest standards of transparency and governance in Mindtree,” they said.

They also admitted that some aspects needed improvement and two such high-priority areas included improving current margin levels which are currently below its expectations, and enhancing gender pay parity.

 

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India to become 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024: Hardeep Singh Puri

“Source: Economic Times”
NEW DELHI: India is set to become a five trillion dollar economy by 2024 and is likely to overtake the UK this year to become the fifth largest economy in the world, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said Friday. The Union minister for housing and urban affairs was speaking at the national council meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) here.

“We are a 2.8 trillion dollar economy. We are moving from this to 3 trillion dollar economy and 5 trillion dollar economy by the time the next elections take place.

“This year we are likely to overtake the UK to become the fifth largest economy in the world. I have absolutely not doubt that by 2030 we’ll be a 10 trillion dollar economy,” Puri said.

Puri, who also holds the portfolio of civil aviation, said this sector has tremendous potential to grow.

“The civil aviation sector has tremendous potential to grow. We need to provide domestic carriers a level playing field and make sure we reclaim the lost space,” he said.

In the urban space, he said the Narendra Modi government has spent Rs 9,60,000 crores in four years since June 2015, while the expenditure incurred by the Congress-led UPA government had in 10 years (from 2004-14) spent Rs 150,000 crores.

“Before the code of conduct kicked in, we sanctioned 83 lakh homes. The construction technologies will slowly reach global standards. Regarding the Smart Cities project, by the end of December this year, there will be 50 independent command and control centres, out of 100 required ones. There are 16 operational now.

“Use of technology to create smart cities and ease of living, all that is work in progress. The smart cities project is the fastest implemented project anywhere in the world,” the minister said.

Puri said the government is setting the agenda for the first 100 days.

“I won’t make any announcements as the government is under the process of setting the agenda for the first 100 days. The announcements will be made in the coming days and I am sure they will draw up on solid support of trade and industries which is crucial for the success of government programmes,” he said.

 

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World needs to get rich before it gets old and India can help

“Source: The Times of India”
NEW DELHI: The G20 nations, representing 85% of global gross domestic product between them, are for the first time discussing ageing and shrinking birth rates as a global risk. G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs meeting in Japan — where a rapidly ageing population is a major domestic problem — have been warned to address the issue before it is too late.

“What we are saying is, ‘If the issue of ageing starts to show its impact before you become wealthy, you really won’t be able to take effective measures against it’,” Japanese finance minister Taro Aso, the meeting’s host, told reporters late Saturday.

What’s the risk? As people live longer and birth rates fall, it leads to a shrinking labour force, which means firms are unable to fill job openings and this, in turn, affects output and also new investment opportunities in the economy.

Meanwhile, age-related spending like for pensions and health systems keeps rising and the shrinking workforce (and new investments) makes it even more difficult to cover the cost of pension. By 2050, the world is projected to have more than two billion residents aged 60 and above, more than double the number in 2017. But many economies haven’t updated their pension and employment systems to adjust to the changing demographics.

What about India? India is greying faster than previous projections but still fares better than countries like China. During 2000-2050, while the overall is expected to grow by 56% (to about 320 million), the 60-plus population will increase by 326% and the 80-plus population will grow 700%.

The opportunity: To prepare for the rising economic burden of the elderly, countries with rapidly ageing populations will need to save more now and the best investment opportunities for them are younger populations like India. So, the capital from some of these ageing but rich countries will find its way to capital-scarce but young countries benefiting both.

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India well placed to deal with global trade crossfire: Piyush Goyal

“Source:Economic Times”
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal Friday said India is well placed to handle the “crossfire” resulting from global trade war on the strength of the country’s economy.

At a time when the world is witnessing trade wars across nations, India too will be impacted.

“Obviously, in a situation when the world is seeing trade wars across nations, across continents, India will come in the crossfire. But then its a cross fire which we can handle,” the minister said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

The global trade war has been triggered by the US after it raised duties on imports, including aluminium and steel. Other countries, including India too retaliated by raising import duty on goods from the US.

The minister said irrespective of the world trade situation, India is looking at ways to “encash’ opportunities to further exports.

The minister further said India is competent to handle the international trade situation.

Goyal also dismissed contentions that India’s exports have been hit badly after the US has terminated its Preferential Trade Treatment or GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) to India from June 5 this year.

“I would like to submit that the total impact of GSP is under USD 250-269 million in a year and for a country of size and strength of India, I can assure members (of the House) that it will not have any significant impact. India can handle the situation,” he said when asked if India was discussing the issue with the US.

GSP, the minister said was unilateral, non-obligatory concession given by the US to India as developing country.

“Some of the demands that were raised on India were such that India could not yield. I think national sovereignty and national interest is paramount ,” he said when asked if the government would initiate further negotiations in this regard with the US.

He further said India will continue to negotiate with all countries, including the US, but it will not be at the cost of sovereignty.

On the country’s exports, Goyal said it increased significantly during the last fiscal and in the current year also, the outward shipments are showing increasing trends.

He further said India has fortified its foreign exchange reserves and the government is taking pro-active measures to promote exports.

On a question related to the forthcoming visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to India, Goyal said there will be discussions on several issues.

Pompeo will be visiting India from June 25-27.

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T-Hub partners with Freshworks to provide support for its expansion across India

“source  – Economic Times”
HYDERABAD: T-Hub, which pioneers India’s leading innovation ecosystem, today announced its partnership with Freshworks Inc., a global innovator in customer engagement software. T-Hub  will use its network channels for Freshworks to enhance its existing pool of talent and support product development efforts..

To kick off this partnership, T-Hub is organising Hack2Hire for Freshworks, which is a 12-hour hackathon integrated into the recruitment process. It is focused on curating the best talent with technology skills, out-of-the-box thinking, a risk-taking appetite, collaboration, and hands-on experience in dealing with real-time challenges. T-Hub will host Hack2Hire at its premises on 22 June 2019 and will require participants to develop applications using emerging technologies on a SaaS Platform. The selected candidates who solve problems real-time with use-cases specific to Freshworks during the hackathon will stand a chance to be hired by Freshworks and get placed either in Hyderabad, Chennai or Bengaluru.

Ravi Narayan, CEO, T-Hub, said in a statement, “As the SaaS market is undergoing massive disruption, initiatives like Hack2Hire are instrumental in scouting strong tech talent. We congratulate Freshworks on its expansion in Hyderabad and are happy to support them in building its team across its offices in India.”

Suman Gopalan, CHRO at Freshworks, said in a statement, “Product innovation has been a cornerstone at Freshworks, and we are always on the lookout for new ideas and talent. T-Hub has been a catalyst for India’s startup ecosystem, and the Hack2Hire hackathon will be the best platform for the brightest minds to showcase their engineering skills.”

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Indian flexi-workforce rises to 3.3 mn in 2018 from 1.2 mn in 2015: Report

“Source: -IBEF”
New Delhi:  Workforce under flexi-staffing, or those provided through contractors to various employers, grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3 per cent to 3.3 million in 2018 as compared with 2.1 million in 2015, according to a report by the India Staffing Federation (ISF).

The rise in number of flexi-staffing workers indicates formalisation of workforce. They get provident fund, group insurance, health insurance and other social security benefits available to formal sector workers.

Besides, the employers have virtually no need to comply as many as 44 labour laws. The contractors, or flexi-staffing firms, providing the workforce take care of all such legal obligation.

The report released on Tuesday by ISF, which is an apex body of the flexi-staffing sector in the country, also showed that India emerged as the fifth-largest market worldwide in flexi-staffing in 2018 and the country would have 6.1 million flexi-workforce by 2021.

According to the report, the reforms that had significant impact on job formalization includes Skill India Initiative, GST Reform, EPF Reform and ESIC Reform among others.

It showed that Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are the states with high growth potential for flexi-staffing.

Besides, Andhra Pradesh tops the list of states with favourable business environment.

The report by the ISF, which has over 110 members into the business of flexi-staffing on its board, also said CAGR in this segment will accelerate from 16.3 per cent in 2018 to 22.7 per cent to 2021.

The report said the goods and services tax (GST) and demonetisation are two key reforms to drive job formalisation in the 2016-18 period and the reforms or policies to formalise around 11.03 million jobs between 2018 to 2021.

It also stated that logistics, BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) and IT/ITeS, retail and the government would be the top-five sectors employing over 55 per cent of total flexi-workforce by 2021.

ISF President Rituparna Chakraborty said, “With one million youth added to the workforce every month, India’s position and performance in the labour area is of both significance and immense interest to the world. 2015-2018 have also seen some of the most significant reforms and policy shifts in the space that has seen accelerated transition from informal to formal employment in the same period.”

However, she said this crucial area was suffering from lack of data and validated perspectives and as the industry’s apex body, ISF took it upon itself to fix this gap.

“The report points out that the government’s current agenda of job creation can be achieved by boosting the aggregate effective demand in the economy through formalisation, industrialisation, urbanisation, financialisation and skilling,” she added.

ISF Vice-President R P Yadav said, “The report establishes flexi-staffing as a key job creation engine. The higher CAGR for flexi-staffing in 2018-21 also spells good tidings for the space which truly is well on its way to emerge among the top 3-4 markets for flexi-staffing worldwide in couple of years.”

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Public cloud revenue in India likely to grow 24 per cent this year: Gartner

“Source: -IBEF”

Public cloud services revenue in India is projected to total $2.4 billion in 2019, an increase of 24.3 per cent from 2018, according to Gartner.

India ranks among the nine countries whose growth rate will be higher than the global average growth rate (16 per cent).

India is also on track to record the third-highest growth rate in 2019 after China (33 per cent) and Indonesia (29 per cent), taking into consideration that its (India’s) revenue base is much smaller than the mature markets.

“The shift from the ‘cloud first’ to the ‘cloud only’ model is pushing organisations in India to increase their spending on public cloud services to advance their digital business initiatives,” said Sid Nag, research vice-president at Gartner.

Although India’s revenue will represent only 1.2 per cent of the global public cloud services in 2019, the growth will largely be driven by investments of enterprises in increasing data analytics.

While all the top Indian large-cap and mid-cap IT providers currently have partnerships with the top public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, analysts have noted that a few companies or partnerships offer a differentiated offering right now. However, the market will mature further.

Cloud application services or software as a service (SaaS) will be the fastest-growing market segment in India in 2019, accounting for nearly half of the total public cloud services revenue year over year. SaaS revenue is estimated to grow 23 per cent in 2019 to $1.15 billion. It is followed by a cloud system infrastructure services (Iaas) spending, which is estimated to grow 22 per cent in 2019.

Among the high profile M&As in this space include Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau in a $15 billion deal, Google’s acquisition of Looker and Pegasystem’s acquisition of Infruid Labs. The growth of SaaS spending is fuelled by increased end-user spending on customer relationship management (CRM), as organisations in India move away from commercial off-the-shelf and licence-based on-premises software to a subscription-based SaaS model to gain agility, innovation and cost efficiency.

CRM growth is also driven by the need for businesses to utilise their customer data to drive sales based on past behavior and an increasing access to online presence of Indian consumers.

Consequently, the move to cloud is also prompting an increase in targeted cyber attacks on Indian organisations. Gartner analysts recommend the use a mix of native and third-party controls. Furthermore, they should use technologies such as web application firewalls (WAFs), cloud access security brokers (CASBs), cloud workload protection platforms (CWPPs) and microsegmentation platforms like go-to options to secure cloud in their organisations.

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How Australia’s top-five digital health innovation sectors attract global investment

“Source: Austrade”

Austrade has launched a digital health website showcasing Australia as an ideal location for developing, testing and launching the next generation of digital medical technologies.

The site includes listings, case studies and data on sub-sectors where Australia is a significant contributor to global medical solutions. These include telemedicine, precision medicine and genomics, big data and artificial intelligence, digital records and virtual reality.

According to Denise Eaton, Senior Adviser, Austrade, institutions and agencies are rapidly extending the scope of in-country medical research. Australian companies are globally recognised high performers in manufacturing and prototyping, as well as traditional research and development.

‘Medical innovation is in our DNA,’ says Eaton. ‘Our background – in terms of vast distances, remote settlements and a multicultural society – means we have a tradition of having to innovate.’

Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service a global pioneer for telemedicine

One example is Australia’s pioneering approach to telemedicine. According to Eaton, the global reputation gained by Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service is just one example of Australia’s strength in telehealth.

Eaton cites an Australian company, Visionflex, which has created portable live-video equipment for real-time remote examination and diagnostics that integrates into electronic health records – including Australia’s national personally controlled health care record, My Health Record.

‘Visionflex demonstrates how a patient in an Antarctic camp can be examined and remotely assessed by an Australian consultant located in India, and the results automatically updated to the patient’s electronic health record in Australia.’

The A$20 billion boost to health research

Medical innovation in Australia is set for a sustained boost following the government’s A$20 billion investment in the Medical Research Future Fund

The fund builds on Australia’s established position at the forefront of pharmaceuticals development. Today, the country hosts 50 clinical research networks and bio labs, and hosts – on average –1,300 clinical trials per year.

Eaton points out that as a venue for piloting and developing medical technologies, Australia has exceptional assets: first-world medicine, a creative IT sector, and a history of producing Nobel laureates and game-changing devices – like the cochlear implant.

One result is a significant increase in venture capital committed to medical technologies and digital health.

‘Investment from venture capitalists more than doubled between 2016 and 2017,’ says Eaton. ‘What’s more, we’re seeing a significant increase in interest from Asian investors – especially in medical science technology.

‘What overseas companies don’t realise is our strength in medical pilots and product development. Today, digital medicine is one of the most innovative sectors in our economy.’

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Tech Mahindra Recognized as Winner for 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award

“Source:Tech Mahindra
New Delhi
: Tech Mahindra Ltd. a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services today announced it has been named a winner in the 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award. The company was honored among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and for implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.

Awards were presented in several categories, with winners chosen from a set of more than 2,900 entrants from 115 countries worldwide. Tech Mahindra was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in Media and Communications segment.

Rajesh Dhuddu, Global Practice Leader, Blockchain, Tech Mahindra, said, “We are delighted for this recognition by Microsoft. This amply validates relevance of our Blockchain solutions for global businesses and the outcomes they are driving. With the right technology expertise, operational experience and continued partnership with Microsoft, we hope to continue such stellar work in the future as well.”

This year, Microsoft acknowledged partners in various categories celebrating each of the solution areas, industries and sectors in which Microsoft technologies are used.

“It’s an honor to recognize finalists and winners of the Microsoft 2019 Partner of the Year Awards,” said Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Corp. “These companies are successfully leading their industries, building intelligent solutions, addressing complex business challenges and making more possible for customers around the world. I’m honored to congratulate each winner and finalist.”

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year.

As part of the TechMNxt charter, Tech Mahindra is betting big on next gen technologies like Blockchain to address real business needs of the customers by delivering innovative solutions and services. The organisation, through its aggressive re-skilling and research programs, plans to develop internal capabilities to handle Blockchain solution and expand its forte in the segment further.

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Insight – What the Modi Tsunami means for Australian trade and investment in India

“Source: Austrade”
With trade wars, powerful neighbours, and the odds on a recession narrowing within the next two years, considering Indian market entry has never been more mission-critical for Australian business.

  • In 2018, Australia’s total exports to India grew 10% to A$22.3 billion. India ranked number five in Australia’s export destinations.
  • Two-way trade increased by a similar percentage to A$30.4 billion, making India Australia’s sixth largest two-way trade partner.
  • Australian investment in India increased almost 12% to A$15.6 billion, slightly ahead of India’s investment in Australia at A$15.1 billion.

However, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016–17 (the latest year for which there is data), only 2,087 exporters engaged with India, compared to 7,214 for China.

The new Modi government

The largest democracy in the world voted in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha (House of Representatives). The counting of votes took place on 23 May, and on the same day the results were declared.

Incumbent Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 303 seats, further increasing its substantial majority, and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 353 out of 545 seats.

The ‘Modi Tsunami’, as it has been called, has delivered a further five years in government. The victory should not be underestimated. The last time an Indian Government won back-to-back elections was in 1984.

In the BJP’s first term, the government undertook structural reforms such as the introduction of a goods and services tax (GST) and bankruptcy laws; and micro-economic changes such as lifting caps on foreign direct investment, reducing petroleum subsidies, promoting health insurance and a relentless focus on digitisation and infrastructure.

According to the World Bank’s Ease of doing business index, India moved into the top 100 for the first time in 2018 (#77).

But the new government faces headwinds: growth and manufacturing output have slowed and unemployment has risen.

How will Modi use his election mandate? Widespread liberalisation is unlikely. Current trade protectionist measures will remain. The revocation of the Generalized System of Preferences by the US will not drive a rethink in Indian trade practices.

The concept of reform is different in India. Past rhetoric has equated reform with development projects such as the ‘Clean India’ campaign – investments in sanitation infrastructure, low-income housing and electrification – as well as ‘Make in India’.

Opportunities for Australian business

The election was largely fought on national security and rural support. However, Austrade has extrapolated opportunities for Australia business from past performance and Austrade’s Indian post network.

Mining equipment, technology and services (METS)

Minerals and fuels already account for almost A$13 billion or 75% of Australia’s total merchandise exports to India. Industry sources suggest the new government will restart the auction of currently moribund coal mines and allow 100% foreign direct investment.

The government is under pressure to meet projected energy demands and accelerate electrification. According to the BP Energy Outlook 2019, coal’s share in India’s primary energy consumption will decline from 56% in 2017 to 48% in 2040.7 But that is still nearly half of the total energy mix and way ahead of any other source of energy.

This will create ongoing demand for Australian METS, two-way mining investment in strategic minerals (this includes coking coal, rare earths and battery minerals), and trade in renewable technologies as well as smart infrastructure.

Food and agriculture

Demand for safe, reliable and quality Australian foods will continue in light of India’s projected population growth.

India’s already very large population will surpass China’s within the next decade. Population growth, currently at 1.1%, is expected to continue until mid-century, reaching an estimated 1.68 billion in the 2050s.8 Though the number of children has peaked, the workforce will continue to expand. According to Bain & Co, the growth of the Indian middle class will lift nearly 25 million households out of poverty. In addition, India will have 700 million millennials and Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2009) consumers, who have grown up in a more open and confident country.

The retail landscape in rural regions is developing, with large retailers such as Future Group opening supermarkets in tier-two and -three cities to cater to the nearby regions. Government support in establishing infrastructure facilities, such as cold storage, rural electrification and the internet, is likely to further drive further growth.

The growth in modern retail opens up opportunities for Australian businesses to supply healthy, high-quality and nutritious packaged goods. Eighteen Australian brands are currently active in the market and there is room for many more.

Education and training

According to India’s human resource development ministry, the Modi Government will focus on setting up teacher training centres and increasing the intake capacity of Indian institutes in engineering, management, science and law by 50% over the next five years.

Telecommunications

Indian telecommunication companies are set to push ahead with investment in broadband infrastructure. The advent of 5G, autonomous technologies, edge computing and a digital marketplace for services will need to be balanced with the government’s desire to champion low-cost access, data localisation and e-commerce regulation.

Mitigating the risks with a tailored strategy

Execution remains the single largest risk for India. Doing business in India takes time. India is a diverse country, with 29 states and seven union territories, 22 official languages and innumerable dialects.

Local representation and careful location selection are essential to bridging gaps in understanding and miscommunication. And Australia can start from a position of strength. People-to-people ties are strong and growing. Around one in 50 Australians today (2.4%) were born in India and more than 108,000 Indian students enrolled to study in Australia at the end of 2018 – a 20% increase on 2017.

For the Australian Government’s part, Peter Varghese’s India Economic Strategy lays out the opportunity by sector and geography to 2035. This has been well received by the Indian Government, and the Indian response – an economic strategy for Australia – is expected in the second half of 2019.

Austrade has been operating across India for more than 30 years and has experienced commercial representatives in six major hubs: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Contact any of our team in-market to learn more.

Dr Matthew Durban is Austrade’s Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner in India with responsibility for Austrade Posts in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and the in-market Resources & Energy industry team. He has almost 30 years’ commercial experience across five countries.

 

 

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Tech Mahindra appoints new independent directors

“Source: Economic Times”
Pune: Tech Mahindra said that it would be appointing Shikha Sharma and Haigreve Khaitan as independent directors on the board of directors of the company, subject to shareholder approval at the Annual General Meeting of the company.

The two would be appointed for a term of five years commencing on 1 August, 2019, following the AGM on 31st July 2019. Shikha Sharma is the former managing director and CEO of Axis Bank. Haigreve Khaitan is managing partner of Khaitan & Co, a Mumbai based law firm.

The company also said that R Ravi Kulkarni and Anupam Puri, who were currently Independent Directors on the Board of the company had opted not to be re-appointed following their term of five years.

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FPIs remain net buyers in June, invest Rs 11,132 cr

“Source: IBEF”
New Delhi:
 Foreign investors remained net buyers in the domestic capital markets in June, pouring in a total of Rs 11,132 crore on a net basis this month so far, according to depositories’ data.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPI) pumped in a net sum of Rs 1,517.12 crore into equities and Rs 9,615.64 crore into debt during June 3-14, the data showed.

The inflows in the debt category remained strong and steady driven by positive market sentiment after the re-election of BJP-led NDA government, Groww COO Harsh Jain said. Also, rupee stabilizing against the dollar may also have triggered the inflows in debt segment, he added.

Prior to this, FPIs had invested a net Rs 9,031.15 crore in May, Rs 16,093 crore in April, Rs 45,981 crore in March and Rs 11,182 crore in February in the capital markets (both equity and debt).

“FPIs have been net buyers since February when the “foreign inflows were triggered by the dovish stance taken by the central banks globally, while in recent days FPI flows increased after the NDA received a massive mandate,” VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist, Geojit Financial Services said.

With election done and euphoria around it subsiding, the focus would now be on the steps that the government takes in order to bring the economy back on track, he added.

“FPIs would watch the government’s road map towards fiscal consolidation, fiscal deficit target and the steps it would take to propel economic growth. Also, some profit booking cannot be ruled out,” said Himanshu Srivastava, senior research analyst, manager research at Morningstar.

Considering the global outlook, Vijayakumar said, “FPI flows are expected to continue in the light of the sell-off in global bond markets triggered by fears of a global economic slowdown. A major uncertainty in the markets, globally, is the outcome of the ongoing trade skirmishes between the US and China.”

If there is a trade deal between the US and China, all markets are likely to move up, he added.

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RIL, HDFC among 57 Indian companies on Forbes Global 2000 list

“Source: IBEF ”
New Delhi:  As many as 57 Indian companies have found place in a list of the world’s 2000 largest public company, compiled by Forbes  magazine, with housing finance major HDFC Ltd finding place among the top ten consumer finance firms globally.

The overall list has been topped by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) for the 7th year in a row, while Reliance Industries  is the top-ranked Indian company  (71st rank globally), as per the leading business magazine.

Within the oil and gas sector, Reliance Industries is ranked 11th globally, while Royal Dutch Shell has come on the top.

For the consumer financial sector, American Express has topped the chart while HDFC Ltd is ranked 7th. On the overall Global 2000 list, HDFC is ranked 332nd.

Out of the 61 countries represented on the list, the US accounts for the largest number of 575 companies, followed by China and Hong Kong (309) and Japan (223). 

In the overall top-ten, ICBC is followed by JP Morgan, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of America, Apple, Ping An Insurance  Group, Bank of China, Royal Dutch Shell and Wells Fargo.

From India, Reliance Industries is the only one in the overall top-200 list and is followed by HDFC Bank at 209th, ONGC at 220th, Indian Oil at 288th and HDFC Ltd at 332nd place.

While TCS, ICICI Bank, L&T, SBI and NTPC also figure among the top-500 companies, other Indian companies in the overall ‘Global 2000’ list include Tata Steel, Coal India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bharat Petroleum, Infosys, Axis Bank, Tata Motors, ITC, Bharti Airtel, Wipro, JSW Steel, PowerGrid, Hindalco, HCL Tech, M&M, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finserv, GAIL, PNB, Grasim, Bank of Baroda, Power Finance and Canara Bank.

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89 pc family biz in India expect to grow in next 2 years: Survey

“Source: IBEF”
Mumbai: Family businesses in the country are on a growth trajectory, with 89 per cent of them expecting to grow in the next two years, according to a survey.

The global survey, ‘Family Business Survey 2019’ by PwC, was done among 2,953 family leaders across 53 countries, including 106 family business leaders, between April 20 and August 10, 2018.

The survey has revealed that 89 per cent of family businesses in India expect to grow in the next two years, with 44 per cent of them looking at growing aggressively and 45 per cent expecting steady growth.

“Regulatory changes are getting family businesses to bring in order and professionalise the business, and disruptive technology is pushing them to transform. These new market dynamics are cultivating a renewed sense of ambition in family businesses, making them resilient in the face of change,” PwC India Partner and Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Business, Ganesh Raju K said.

In terms of expansion, a little more than half of the family businesses are open to internationalisation, while 40 per cent are looking at diversification, the survey said.

Even Indian family businesses are increasingly looking at diversification and exploring newer markets, it added.

Nearly half of the family businesses in India are open to mergers and acquisitions both within India and outside thus reinforcing the belief that inorganic growth will facilitate synergies and achieve incremental revenue, it said.

A lot of Indian family business owners are looking at private equity or venture capital funding or are looking at listing their business on stock exchanges.

Further, the survey said, more and more companies looking at professionalising their business functions are distinguishing between ownership and management as they feel partnering with the right talent might help family businesses to adapt to the changes.

About 73 per cent of Indian family businesses have the next generation working in the business and 60 per cent plan to pass on the management or ownership to the next generation.

It also found that 92 per cent of family businesses in India allow family members to work in the business. When it comes to spouses or partners, three-fourth of family businesses allow them to own shares and two-third allow them to work in the business.

However, women, on an average, constitute 15 per cent members on the board and 13 per cent on management teams in Indian family businesses as compared with 21 per cent and 24 per cent across the globe, respectively, it said.

The survey also revealed that 89 per cent of Indian family businesses are engaged in philanthropic activities, which is over and above contribution of money. This is much higher than the global average of 68 per cent, it added.

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Indians Rank 2nd Among Bleisure Travellers Globally: Study

“Source: IBEF ”
Mumbai With 72 per cent Indian travellers extending their business trips in 2018, they have been ranked second among ‘Bleisure’ travellers across 31 countries, according to a study.

Indians are second to Thai travellers (80 per cent) and more than the global average (51 per cent), a Booking.com study has revealed.

Bleisure is a new trend which means business and leisure trips.

Booking.com conducted the study during October-November 2018 among 53,492 respondents, including 1,852 Indians, across 31 markets who had travelled at least once in past 12 months.

Nearly, two-thirds of Indian travellers (65 per cent) said they have been on a domestic business trip, which is the highest globally ahead of Indonesians (62 per cent) and Chinese (62 per cent).

In addition, more than half (58 per cent) of Indian travellers reported that they had been on an international business trip in 2018, it said.

This is more than double the international standard (25 per cent) and the highest among the 31 markets surveyed, it added.

When travelling for work, Indians also claimed to enjoy business trips the most of all the nationalities surveyed.

About 83 per cent Indian business travellers rates business travelling 7 out of 10 or higher, compared to 58 per cent global travellers giving similar ratings.

Similarly, Indian business travellers are most positive of all the nationalities surveyed when asked whether they are able to enjoy destinations on their business trips.

About 76 per cent Indian travellers said they often get to enjoy their travel destination compared to 56 per cent of global travellers.

Lastly, the study also revealed that in some of the scenarios Indian business travellers are most anxious about travelling.

Almost 55 per cent of them have expressed their concerns over the prospect of accommodations having received fake reviews and misleading photos, followed by 53 per cent feeling apprehensive about their personal details being stolen or no confirmation of their bookings.
“We are witnessing a steady rise in ‘Bleisure’ trips being taken by Indian business travellers for both domestic and international destinations. We’re likely to see this trend continue to grow in the near future, with the potential to help boost the Indian travel industry to scale further heights,” Booking.com Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives Ritu Mehrotra said.

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Manufacturing PMI hits 3-month high of 52.8, govt sees demand picking up

“Source: Business Standards ”
A rise in the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for manufacturing for May, along with low bond yields, low oil prices and a high rupee on Monday, gave the finance ministry enough indication to sense that high gross domestic product (GDP) growth is just round the corner.

The Nikkei PMI for manufacturing rose to 52.7 in May from 51.8 in April, pointing to the strongest improvement in the health of the sector in three months.

In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.

The data came in a few days after official figures showed that GDP growth fell to a five-year low of 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY’19. This has also pulled down economic growth to 6.8 per cent for FY19, also a five-year low.

Meanwhile, the rupee ended at Rs 69,26, up 44 paise.

This prompted Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg to tweet that high economic growth was not far off.

“A turnaround in demand and financing conditions (is) beginning very well. PMI manufacturing is at 52.7. Crude is moving towards 60 dollars (a barrel). Government bond yield has gone below 7 per cent. Spread for NBFCs/HFCs over government bond is narrowing. Rupee is firmly below 70 (against the dollar). (These are) sure signs of coming high growth,” Garg tweeted.

The PMI rose as companies lifted output amid strengthening demand conditions, leading to further job creation in the sector, said a commentary associated with the monthly survey.

“A revival in new order growth promoted a faster upturn in manufacturing production, as Indian firms sought to replenish inventories utilised in May to fulfil strengthening demand,” said Pollyanna De Lima, principal economist at IHS Markit and author of the report.

The upbeat mood among goods producers, coupled with a solid increase in new work, underpinned job creation in the sector.

“Employment has risen in each month since April 2018, with the latest expansion the most marked since February,” the survey noted.

Indian goods producers were confident of a rise in output in the year ahead, with sentiment improving since April.

Expectations of pro-business public policies, marketing initiatives, projects in the pipeline and favourable economic conditions were among the reasons boosting optimism, the survey noted.

On inflation, the survey noted that price pressures remained relatively muted, with goods producers leaving selling prices unchanged on the back of a mild rise in overall cost burdens.

“When we look at the survey’s over 14-year history, the sector is growing at a below-trend rate,” Lima said, and added that “shortening the horizon to the last two years, May’s increases in output, total order books and exports all outperformed”.

The latest data also comes ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy meet. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which decides on key interest rates, will hold a meeting on June 3, 4 and 6.

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Australia urges India to play a greater role in shaping regional trade order

“Source: Livemint ”

NEW DELHI : Australia on Tuesday urged India to play a greater role in shaping the economic architecture of the Indo-Pacific region and help successfully conclude talks to forge a new regional trade bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
India and Australia have developed mutual trust over the past decade to work together on strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region, Australia’s high commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said on Tuesday. The two countries could now work together to strengthen the economic order in the region, Sidhu told the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents.
If India plays its part to successfully conclude the RCEP, it would help New Delhi integrate into the economic landscape of the Indo-Pacific, the high commissioner said.

“India is a leader and an Asian and Indo-Pacific powerhouse. So, for that reason, I think it’s important that India plays a greater role in shaping the regional trading order,” Sidhu said.
“Successfully concluding the RCEP, which includes India, China, and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, will help shape the regional rules and the norms governing trade,” she said.

India has been going slow on RCEP negotiations as it is wary of China’s presence in the grouping, with which New Delhi already has a massive $60 billion trade deficit. Indian industry apprehends greater market access to China could harm key manufacturing sectors such as steel and textiles. It has also been worried about giving greater market access to other non-free trade area partners, including Australia and New Zealand.

Another area in which Australia and India could work together was financing the infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region, Sidhu said. The high commissioner did not mention any country by name, but the statement comes against the backdrop of China unveiling its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, which looks to connect Asia, Europe and Africa through a series of roads, ports and railway lines.
Australia has announced plans to help investment in the Pacific, South-East Asia and South Asia, Sidhu said.

This is the result of India and Australia “shaking off our own hesitations of history” and working together in far more forums at the Indo-Pacific level, she added.

The quadrilateral grouping of the US, Australia, India, and Japan, known as the “Quad”, was a manifestation of this cooperation, she said, pointing to other formats of dialogue such as the Australia-India-Japan talks and the Australia-India-Indonesia talks, besides larger fora such as the East Asia Summit.

On the bilateral front, the “tempo” of activity was growing with both countries having concluded a major naval exercise recently, which was the “largest and most complex of its kind”. Activities in the defence arena had shown a fourfold rise from 11 events in 2014 to 38 in 2018.
One area that was performing below potential though was bilateral trade, Sidhu said. Australian exports to India had doubled between 2013 and 2018 from 11 billion Australian dollars to 22 billion Australian dollars. India is now Australia’s third largest export market after China and the US, she said, but added that despite all these numbers “our two-way trade with India is the same as our two-way trade with New Zealand”. “So, that gives you a sense of the scope for expansion.”

The Australian government had commissioned an India Economic Strategy, which looks at ways to improve trade. It had set up a trade target of $100 billion by 2035, Sidhu said.

India, too, on its part, had commissioned an Australia Economic Strategy and this was a welcome move, given that a strong economic relationship forms the “glue” in any relationship, Sidhu said.

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TGBL to focus more on domestic, select overseas markets

“Source:Economic Times”

KOLKATA : Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL) Tuesday said it will focus more on the domestic market and select overseas ones, as the company begins consolidating into a diversified consumer products major.
“We need to focus in India and select overseas market. We are looking at each part of the country more carefully and a lot of work has happened in this regard,” TGBL Chairman N Chandrasekaran said at the AGM.

Chandrasekaran said he expects the completion of the proposed transfer of Tata Chemical’s consumer business to TGBL to take place in the next 12-18 months.
“I would be happy if it happens in the next 12 months,” he said. Following the transfer, TGBL will have branded edible salt, pulses and spices in its product portfolio.
TGBL is likely to be renamed as Tata Consumer Products after the restructuring, which will see its turnover “rise 25 per cent”.
“In the FMCG segment, we need a large portfolio. We cannot just be a single tea player and depend on it to attain scale. The company has to gain scale through a wide range of products,” Chandrasekaran said in his address to shareholders.

“We need to move up the value chain and enter high- value segments… build a high-class, premium consumer products company by leveraging the large consumer base in India. That is the goal that we are working towards,” he said.
Chandrasekaran said the company is planning to cut down on the number of subsidiaries, and could also exit more overseas markets like Russia.
Tata Coffee will not be merged with TGBL for now, he added.
Asked whether TGBL will expand the Tata Cha chain — currently in Bengaluru with only four stores — Chandrasekaran said it will “evaluate” the prospect.

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TCS revenue from Tata firms grows over 13 percent in FY19

“Source:Economic Times ”

BENGALURU : BENGALURU: Tata Consultancy Services’ revenue from other Tata companies grew more than 13% in FY19 to nearly Rs 2,600 crore, as the Mumbai-based software services exporter doubles down on capturing more IT spending by group entities.
Companies typically spend 1-2% of total revenue on information technology, making the $100 billion Tata Group a significant source of business for IT companies in India.
When Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran led TCS, he had put in place a strategy to gain a significant portion of the group’s IT spending.
In FY19, TCS earned Rs 27 crore in revenue from Tata Sons, Rs 298 crore from subsidiaries of Tata Sons and Rs 2,241 crore from affiliates and joint ventures of Tata Sons and its subsidiaries.
In FY18, revenue from group companies stood at Rs 2,266 crore, according to TCS’ annual report.
In rupee terms, TCS’ FY19 revenue grew about 19%.
As IT firms look to the private sector for growth in India, TCS has made strong headway in the market, analysts say.

“They are the preferred candidate for the Tata Group. Under Chandra, the group is increasing its technology focus and TCS will be first in line to benefit,” an analyst with a Mumbai-headquartered company said.
TCS, with its experience in retail and manufacturing, was capitalizing on the group’s plans to spend in those areas, he said.
For instance, the group plans to increase presence in the ecommerce sector, with Chandrasekaran telling ET earlier that it was registering a new company for online retailing.
TCS had helped build the group’s current ecommerce platform, Tata Cliq.
Tata Sons is also tapping TCS’ talent to drive its digital push.
ET reported earlier that Pratik Pal, who headed TCS’ $3.4 billion retail business, moved to Tata Sons to head its overall digital play.

Sarthak Banerjee, who was previously global head of strategic automation and AI consulting at TCS, has moved as vice president of group digital in May, his profile on professional networking site LinkedIn showed.

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Infosys selected by Posti as key digital transformation technology partner

“Source: Economic Times ”

HELSINKI : IT major Infosys said on Wednesday it has been selected by Finnish postal service Posti as a strategic partner for the digital transformation of its business and IT services.

Through this engagement, Infosys will drive the modernisation of Posti’s IT applications and infrastructure, helping it move to a flexible IT service model. This will strengthen Posti’s ability to respond to changes in customer needs with agility and provide a seamless customer user experience through a dedicated command centre.

Infosys will optimise and modernise Posti’s current IT estate, which entails rationalising its applications and hosting the workloads on a public cloud foundation. This will help Posti reduce costs, enhance efficiencies, and lay the foundation for the organisation’s larger technology-led business transformation along with an end-to-end security operations network.
At the same time, Infosys will help Posti drive technology-led initiatives using the latest digital technologies, including data utilisation, artificial intelligence and robotics.
Karmesh Vaswani, Executive Vice President and Global Head for Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods and Logistics at Infosys, said: “With our diversified experience in the postal and logistics industry, we look forward to partnering with Posti in the journey to help realise its strategic goals of digital transformation and operational excellence. Our digital capabilities and solutions will help Posti enrich customer experiences while strengthening its competitive differentiation.”

Petteri Naulapaa, Senior Vice President for ICT and Digitalisation at Posti, said: “In a changing business landscape, our partnership with Infosys will help us adapt with agility. The collaboration will enable us focus more on our core operations and, as customer needs become more and more digital, on improving our services.”

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Wipro rolls out new solutions for aviation sector

“Source: Economic Times ”

New Delhi : IT major Wipro Monday said it has rolled out Total Operations System (TOPS) CREW, a suite of solutions for global airlines. Developed jointly by Wipro and Qatar Airways in an innovative co-investment model, is one of the most advanced products available in the aviation market, the company said in a statement.
“It helps in increasing the safety awareness, efficiency and profitability of airline operations…TOPS CREW helps airlines manage all major processes related to crew management such as leave bidding and planning, crew training and crew tracking,” it added.
The product also provides a ‘what-if’ analysis tool, allowing airlines to prepare, review and compare various solutions to address business problems, it added.
“The airlines of the future want a holistic and integrated view of their operations spanning passengers, aircraft and crew…we see significant business opportunities in the global aviation sector and are confident that we can leverage these through innovative products such as TOPS,” Wipro Vice President and Global Head – Travel, Hospitality and Public Sector vertical, Consumer Business Unit, Nitesh Jain said.

As a partner in the development, Qatar Airways is also the first customer to successfully implement the TOPS product suite across both flight operations and crew management, the statement said.

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Warehousing Sees Surge In Private Equity Investment And Leasing Activity

“Source: IBEF ”

Ahmedabad :
Warehousing as a sector is witnessing rapid growth, with a surge in private equity (PE) investment and leasing activity. Institutional capital in the sector is estimated to grow to Rs 50,000 crore by 2020, says real estate consultancy Knight Frank India. “Of all the PE investments in India in real estate, 26 per cent have come into warehousing alone.

Also, the average ticket size of leasing activities have risen in 2018. This has led to organised warehousing leasing activity witness a growth of 80 per cent in 2018,” said Balbir Singh Khalsa, national director at Knight …

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T-Hub Partners with Ambuja Neotia to Support Start-ups in AI, ML

“Source: IOT Elctronics for U ”

The start-ups which are shortlisted for the DeepTech Arcade include Healthkon, Mapmygenome, NanoHealth, Teric.ai, Kenyt.ai, minto.ai and Virtual Raasta.
T-Hub, India’s largest incubator for start-ups, in collaboration with Ambuja Neotia, announced the launch of DeepTech Arcade, which will help Ambuja Neotia getting access to the innovative start-ups in the field of new and emerging technologies that are scouted by T-Hub.

The programme is designed for corporates and start -ups to explore possible partnerships. The focus of this edition will be on technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), deep learning, computer vision, cognitive, natural language processing (NLP). In addition, it will help corporates in scouting for solutions in across various domains including real estate, sports, healthcare, education, entertainment, cleantech, fintech, hospitality, smart utilities and Internet of Things (IoT).

In addition to Ambuja Neotia, organisations like Bharat Dynamics Limited, ICRISAT, Intel, TREDA, NPCI, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Qualcomm, UST Global, DBS, HDFC Bank, Stanley Black and Decker, Salesforce, Honeywell, Capgemini, Invesco and RBL Bank assessed the start-ups at the arcade. These organisations will select the start-ups for partnerships, licencing and buying out their products or onboarding them as vendors.

Shift in R&D activities

Speaking at the event, Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary – IT and Industries Department, government of Telangana, said, “For a long time, India was seen as service provider country and lot of people in the US call us cyber coolies. They used to feel that we are not good at developing products.”

“But in the last few years, we are seeing a surge in research and development (R&D) initiatives either through corporates or through start-ups in India in general and in Telangana in particular. T-Hub has large number of start-ups in the DeepTech space and IIIT-Hyderabad is the pioneer in this space,” Ranjan said.

Ravi Narayan, CEO, T-Hub, said, “Through programmes like DeepTech Arcade, we provide platform for industry, start-ups and other stakeholders to converge around a specific area. The programme today brought over 35 corporates and 40 start-ups together to evaluate respective collaborations.”

The start-ups which are shortlisted for the arcade include Healthkon, Mapmygenome, NanoHealth, Teric.ai, Kenyt.ai, minto.ai and Virtual Raasta, among others.

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Global ML Market to Reach Rs 543 billion by 2023: Report

“Source: IOT Elctronics for U ”

Among the several AI technologies being deployed in India, the maximum investment is in the field of ML application. The global machine learning (ML) market is likely to reach a value of Rs 543.18 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 42.99 per cent, according to a latest report by Orbis Research.

The global ML market was valued at Rs 91.83 billion in 2017, as per the report.

This massive growth is due to the technological advancements and its proliferation in the area of data generation.

Though the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) applications is still in the emerging stage in India, it is expected that the market will grow at a high rate in the next few years. Among the several AI technologies being deployed in the country, the maximum investment is in the field of ML applications.

The investments in AI are expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.49 per cent during the 2018-2023 period. In 2017, the investments in AI stood at Rs 773.64 billion.

Citing the reason for such high anticipated investments, the report mentions the rising popularity of AI technologies, especially ML applications, across various business functions such as finance, accounting, IT, general management, administration and operations.

Key growth drivers

The implementation of ML cut down the chances of human error. In addition, the technology makes the machines smarter, thus reducing their dependence on operators. In fact, ML improves accuracy and efficiency of technicians, due to which several organisations are shifting from traditional methods of data interpretation to ML. This, in turn, supporting the growth opportunities for ML market in India.

On the other hand, cloud-based analytics, when combined with ML, enables analysts in detecting anomalies in real-time, which helps them rectified those anomalies swiftly. With the introduction of stream-based analytic platforms, new avenues have been opened up for extensive use of ML applications in several sectors of Indian market.

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Stock pick of the week: What makes Tech Mahindra analysts’ top bet

“Source: Economic Times ”

Tech Mahindra’s 2018-19 fourth quarter results were a mixed bag. The company’s telecom segment, which contributes around 40% to its revenue, has sustained its growth momentum. It grew 4% year-on-year in dollar terms, making it the third successive quarter of healthy growth.

The telecom segment is expected to improve its growth rate further and the introduction of 5G services will be a major trigger. However, most operators across the world are still in the process of testing and building 5G infrastructure , so its full impact will be visible only in 2020-21.

Tech Mahindra’s enterprise segments, however, reported a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) fall in revenue in the fourth quarter. Except the technology, media and entertainment verticals, all enterprise business sub-segments saw a q-o-q fall in revenue. However, this high q-o-q volatility is normal for enterprise businesses because they are project based and so there will be some gap between finishing one project and starting another.

Since the order flow is still intact— deals won during 2018-19 amount to Rs 11,862 crore ($1.7 billion)— the company’s long-term growth prospects are still robust. This is why analysts expect Tech Mahindra to report around 8% revenue growth in dollar terms in 2019-20, despite the likely muted growth from the enterprise segment. As most analysts expect the rupee to remain stable now, revenue growth in rupee terms also will be at similar levels.

Though Tech Mahindra’s growth rate is slightly lower than that of its peers, it has been factored-in the stock price. As visible from the valuations table, Tech Mahindra is now trading at significant discount to its peers. This discount is expected to narrow in the coming years, especially once the market starts recognising the increased growth from Tech Mahindra’s telecom vertical. Its Ebitda margin is also rising.

Due to favourable factors—higher employee utilisation, cost rationalisation in the recently-acquired companies, revenue mix shifting from onshore to offshore, etc.—analysts feel there’s is room for further margins improvement. Ebitda stands for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Since fixed costs are less for IT companies, Tech Mahindra’s net profit growth will be more than Ebitda growth. More importantly, the management’s position of returning excess cash to shareholders via buybacks and dividends should boost return ratios and investor sentiments.

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Nirmala Sitharaman crowd sources ideas for FY20 Budget

“Source: Livemint ”

New Delhi : Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is crowdsourcing ideas for the Union budget in a bid to make her first budget as inclusive and broad-based as possible.

Sitharaman tweeted on Thursday that she was going through many of the ideas being shared on various media platforms. “Grateful for every thought/idea that’s being shared by scholars, economists and enthusiasts through print, electronic, and on social media. I read many of them; also, my team carefully collates them for me. Value every bit. Thanks. Please keep them coming,” Sitharaman said in the post.

The Narendra Modi government will present its first budget of the second term on 5 July, which will indicate the direction of economic policies India will adopt in the near future.

The move seeking public inputs could enrich the ideas and help the finance ministry in shaping the budget to better reflect public expectations.

The Modi government had invited suggestions from the public for budget FY17 through its MyGov portal. “To foster the spirit of ‘Jan Bhagidari’ and to infuse more transparency into the budget making exercise, thereby having people as partners in the process of budget making, the Union Ministry of Finance has decided to invite suggestions for Union Budget 2016-17,” the post said.

The Modi administration, which returned to power with a landslide victory in national polls this year, has several socio-economic challenges to tackle. It has to add momentum to a slowing economy and deliver on its promise of doubling farmers’ income. It also faces the task of multiplying quality jobs that are created in the economy at a time the nature of work itself is changing on account of automation and changes in technology.

Data released by the statistics ministry on 31 May showed that economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy decelerated to a five-year low at 5.8% in the March quarter of 2018-19.

A slowing economy and tax revenue shortfall will also mean policymakers have to explore new ways of raising resources to finance welfare schemes. In 2018-19, faced with a revenue crunch, the finance ministry had to cut its subsidy payouts to the Food Corporation of India by over ₹69,000 crore to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.4% of gross domestic product.

Earlier this week, industry executives sought tax cuts, lower interest rates and bold reforms in land acquisition and labour laws in a blueprint they prepared to aid the Modi administration in boosting economic growth.

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Australia’s quarterly trade surplus reaches record high

“Source: DFAT, Australia”

Australia’s trade surplus reached a record high last quarter, highlighting the important contribution of the nation’s export sector to the Australian economy and to creating more jobs.

The trade surplus for the March quarter 2019 was $13.6 billion (up $4.8 billion), and in April, Australia registered a monthly trade surplus of $4.9 billion, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said these results demonstrate the dividends of the Morrison Government’s ongoing commitment to free trade and open markets.

“Increased access to international markets for Australian farmers and businesses has been a major factor in our bumper export performance,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The free trade agreements that Australia has secured over the past five years have provided our exporters with the certainty they need to grow and expand in critical markets.

“One in five jobs in Australia are trade related, and over the next five years we’re committed to boosting the number of Australians employed as a result of trade by an extra 240,000 as part of our Government’s overall commitment to deliver 1.25 million new jobs.

“It is reassuring to see that in an environment of global trade headwinds Australia has now managed to achieve a trade surplus every month since January 2018 – that’s 16 consecutive monthly surpluses, and 28 out of the last 30 months.

“This result is testament to the hard work of Australian exporters and the opportunities that free and open international markets bring to our economy.

“We are committed to continuing to expanding market access for our farmers and businesses, and that’s why we need to quickly ratify our trade agreements with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru so Australian exporters have access to more markets and can grow their exports.

“It’s time for Labor to declare their position and say whether they’ll back Australian farmers and businesses by supporting these agreements.”

The terms of trade rose 3.1 per cent in the March quarter 2019, driven by rising export prices (up 2.7 per cent) and falling import prices (down 0.4 percent).

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Tech Mahindra collaborates with Cisco, deploys solutions at Hyderabad campus

“Source: Economic Times”

New Delhi : IT services major Tech Mahindra on Thursday said it has partnered Cisco to deploy digital solutions of the US-based company at its Hyderabad campus.

“This new deployment builds on a long-standing partnership between Tech Mahindra and Cisco that will help drive outcomes around automation, analytics and security in Tech Mahindra’s Off-Shore Development Centre (ODC) which serves 106 customers globally,” a statement said.

No financial details of the partnership were disclosed.
Through this deployment, the ODC onboarding time has reduced by over 70 per cent and can now offer enhanced user mobility and security, the statement said.

“Networks today across enterprises play a critical role but need modernisation to keep pace with the demands of today’s digital age… Leveraging Cisco’s technology, we have deployed one of the largest Software Defined Networks in our Hyderabad campus,” Tech Mahindra MD and CEO C P Gurnani said.

Tech Mahindra and Cisco have collaborated on go-to-market strategies in various areas, including smart cities, banking, and others.

“We have a 360-degree relationship that is beneficial for both of us across many aspects, including areas such as cybersecurity and Internet of Things,” Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins said.

In the next phase, the joint go-to-market efforts will focus on tapping into the digitisation opportunities in areas like 5G, financial services industry, manufacturing, and retail.

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World Bank retains India’s growth rate for FY19-20 at 7.5 per cent

“Source: INDIA TODAY ”

India is projected to grow at 7.5 per cent in the next three years supported by robust investment and private consumption, the World Bank has said.

The Bank in its Global Economic Prospects released Tuesday said that India is estimated to have grown 7.2 per cent in fiscal year 2018/19, which ended March 31. A slowdown in government consumption was offset by solid investment, which benefitted from public infrastructure spending.

As against a growth rate of 6.6 per cent in 2018, China’s growth rate in 2019 is projected to be dropped to 6.2 per cent and then subsequently to 6.1 per cent in 2020 and 6 per cent in 2021, the bank said.

With this India will continue to retain the position of being the fastest growing emerging economy. And by 2021, its growth rate is projected to be 1.5 per cent more than China’s 6 per cent.

According to the World Bank, growth in India is projected at 7.5 per cent in Fiscal Year 2019/20 (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020), unchanged from the previous forecast, and to stay at this pace through the next two fiscal years.

“Private consumption and investment will benefit from strengthening credit growth amid more accommodative monetary policy, with inflation having fallen below the Reserve Bank of India’s target,” it said.

Support from delays in planned fiscal consolidation at the central level should partially offset the effects of political uncertainty around elections in FY2018/19, it said.

The World Bank said that India’s urban consumption was supported by a pickup in credit growth, whereas rural consumption was hindered by soft agricultural prices.

On the production side, robust growth was broad-based, with a slight moderation in services and agricultural activity accompanied by an acceleration in the industrial sector. Weakening agricultural production reflected subdued harvest in major crops on the back of less rainfalls, it said.

Services activity softened mainly due to slowing trade, hotel, transport, and communication activity. The industrial sector benefited from strong manufacturing and construction with solid demand for capital goods. The slowing momentum in economic activity in late 2018 carried into the first quarter of 2019, as suggested by softening services and manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Indexes, the report said.

Observing that the new Goods and Services Tax regime is still in the process of being fully established, creating some uncertainty about the projections of government revenues, the report said fiscal deficits continue to exceed official targets in some countries — India, Pakistan.

Pakistan’s growth, on the other hand, is expected to slow further to 2.7 per cent in FY2019/20, which begins July 16, as domestic demand remains depressed and as current account and fiscal deficits diminish only gradually.

 

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Modi government to set up cabinet committees on investment, employment

“Source:The India Today ”

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to head two cabinet committees which will trouble shoot on two key concerns – investment and employment.

The members of cabinet committee on investments and growth will include PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. Piyush Goyal also leads Commerce ministry and Nitin Gadkari MSME ministry, two industry-linked portfolios which will be crucial while making investment-related decisions.

The committee for investment will be a crucial special purpose vehicle for Modi government’s promise to invest 100 lakh crore in infrastructure in next five years.

The cabinet committee on employment and skill development will have 10 ministers as members.

The employment committee will be led by PM Narendra Modi and will have Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Agriculture and Panchayti Raj Minister Naresh Singh Tomar, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Skill and Entrepreneurship Minister Mahendra Pandey, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri and two others as members.

To set up a cabinet committee, the cabinet has to clear the proposal, which is then sent to the President. Once the President approves it, the proposal comes to Cabinet Secretary, who notifies it. The cabinet committee comes into force after notification.

The setting up of two key committees within the cabinet indicates the realisation within the BJP that the Opposition may have failed to build a narrative against PM Modi in the recent Lok Sabha elections on issues like jobs and economy but the concerns flagged by the Opposition were real.

The recent GDP figures have further highlighted the slowdown Indian economy is facing at the moment. The numbers released on May 31 show that in March quarter India’s GDP growth fell to five-year-low to hit 5.8 per cent.

The government data said that sluggish growth in eight core sectors, including manufacturing and manufacturing, affected the GDP numbers.

Employment data for 2017-18, also released on May 31, confirms that India’s unemployment rate rose to 6.1 per cent in the said period, which is highest in 45 years.

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India may have 88 million 5G connections, 920 million unique mobile subscribers by 2025: Report

“Source: Gadgetsnow ”

New Delhi : Global telecom industry body GSMA expects India to have 920 million unique mobile subscribers by 2025 which will include 88 million 5G connections. “5G connections in India are forecast to reach 88 million by 2025…This will leave India trailing regional peers such as China, which is set to see almost 30 per cent of its total connection base on 5G by 2025,” the GSMA Intelligence report released in May said.

It said there were close to 750 million unique subscribers at the end of 2018 and expected to reach almost 920 million by 2025.
“India alone will generate almost a quarter of the world’s new mobile subscribers over this period,” it said.

According to GSMA, data consumption pattern in India on 4G network supports in time uptake of new 5G devices and services.

However, the emergence of 5G ecosystem in India will depend on telecom operators’ ability to invest in network which requires favourable support on policy and regulatory fronts.

GSMA forecasts that the Indian mobile market will return to revenue growth in the second half of 2019 and continue to grow modestly till 2025 but market revenues will still be below the level of 2016, indicating that market repair will be a slow and challenging process.

On quarterly basis, revenues have been declining year-on-year since mid 2016 and India has one of the world’s lowest average revenue per person (ARPU).
GSMA estimates that total mobile revenues in India have dipped more than 20 per cent over the period.

According to telecom regulator Trai, telecom sector’s gross revenue declined 3.43 per cent year-on-year to Rs 58,991 crore in October-December 2018 period.

GSMA said that a recent survey of global mobile data pricing highlighted that India was the cheapest market among over 200 countries surveyed in the final quarter of 2018.

“The average price for 1 GB of data during this period was Rs 18.5 (USD 0.26), compared to a global average price per gigabyte of USD 8.53. Lower tariffs and ARPU levels help drive affordability and are important elements in addressing the digital divide. However, at low levels they also affect the financial stability of the sector,” the report said.

GSMA recommended reduction in licence fee from 8 to 6 per cent and the spectrum fee from 3-8 per cent to 1 per cent to reduce financial constraints on telecom players.

The report said India is likely to be the second largest smartphone market by 2025 with around 1 billion installed devices.

 

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Tganas IT/ITeS Exports Register Healthy Growth Of 16.89 percent

“Source:IBEF ”
Hyderabad : Telangana’s IT/ITeS exports registered a 16.89 per cent growth in 2018-19 in comparison to expected national average of around 8-10 per cent, officials said Saturday.

The IT E &C (IT, Electronics and Communications) department released its annual report (2018-19) for the fifth successive year as part of the state formation day celebrations, a release said.

The formation day would be celebrated on Sunday.

“Telangana IT/ITeS exports achieved a healthy 16.89 per cent (growth) during 2018-19 in comparison to expected national average of around 8-10 per cent,” a release said.

Telangana IT sector generated direct employment to 5,43,033 people with 67,725 new professionals joining the workforce during the last year, it said.

Telangana is steadily marching ahead in achieving the target of doubling its IT/ITeS exports, according to Principal Secretary (IT) Jayesh Ranjan.

“I would like to share that the state is steadily going forward on the path we designed to achieve the target of doubling our IT/ITeS exports and has almost achieved the ambitious target set five years back,” the release quoted him as saying.

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Going global: Myntra brands could soon be available on Walmart US

“Source: Livemint”

Bentonville, Arkansas : Customers in the US may soon be able to buy Myntra’s brands. The company is expected to sell its products in the US through Walmart, which acquired it 10 months ago, said top company executives on Friday. This comes several months after the brands were made available online on Walmart Canada.

“We enabled Myntra to be online in Canada and we are also anticipating launching Myntra brands in our stores in Canada in Q3, a nice compliment for an omnichannel experience for our customers,” said J.P. Suarez, executive vice-president and chief administrative officer, Walmart International.

“We are exploring with US for any Myntra product to be available on the US online marketplace,” he added.

This highlights the possible synergies that can be expected now with 77% of the Flipkart group being owned by the world’s largest retailer.

Walmart is also looking to take up ‘fashion learnings’ from Myntra and see what can be implemented in other markets. Myntra, along with Jabong and Flipkart Fashion, commands a major market share in the Indian online fashion market. The firm, following the Walmart acquisition, saw restructuring and leadership changes in December. Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan moved out of his role, after which Flipkart’s Amar Nagaram was moved to the fashion e-commerce company to head it.

The reporter is in Bentonville, Arkansas to cover Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting at the invitation of the company.

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CRC Association partners with Practera to build Australia’s applied R&D skills

“Source: Practera”

The CRC Association has partnered with edtech startup Practera to support the education and knowledge transfer activities of CRCs with the Practera experiential learning & micro-credentialing platform.

CRC Association CEO Tony Peacock announced the partnership during last week’s Collaborate | Innovate | 2019 conference. He said “The CRC Association is pleased to announce our partnership with Practera to develop a series of experiential learning products to help CRC’s enhance activities like industry skills development, PhD mentoring, innovation challenges and industry education. These programs are critical to build the impact skills of our scientists and to collaborate effectively with industry, but we often reinvent the wheel in these spaces. Practera offers the opportunity to provide digital templates that can be adopted and adapted by CRCs to use with their students and industry partners. Practera is a great Australian startup which brings to life a clear vision for work integrated learning and industry-research collaboration that closely aligns to the mission of the CRC program.”

Ruth Marshall, Practera’s R&D Director and a former Commercialisation Advisor for Data61 has been working with a small group of CRCs on developing prototype products. She ran a workshop at the conference to elicit best practices and demonstrate prototypes.

Mike Ridout, Innovation Broker and Education Director of the Food Agility CRC said “this project has the potential to help students and early career researchers develop needed business skills including teamwork and collaboration in an industry setting”

Liz Barbour, CEO of the Honey Bee Products CRC agreed – “this project will help develop solutions to challenges such as helping students get a more consistent and reliable mentoring experience, supporting students across different geographical locations.”

Ruth said “Practera will work with CRCs to develop a portfolio of useful digital experiences to facilitate students, researchers and industry practitioners undertake collaborative activities and develop their skills. High-quality experiential learning programs can be costly to run and are not easy to repeat because there are no economies of scale. Practera provides the digital tools to support the design and delivery of quality experiential learning courses at scale”.

The platform steps students through goal setting and skills-development planning framework with multiple opportunities for reflection. Students can earn micro-credentials for their achievements along the way, earning badges that can then be published to other platforms such as LinkedIn. Students can showcase the particular skills they have developed in their applied R&D projects, which are hugely valuable but may not otherwise be recognised in their formal academic achievements.

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100-Day Agenda:Com Min Proposes Major Export Promotion Scheme To Boost Shipments

“Source: IBEF”
New Delhi : The commerce ministry is considering a major export promotion scheme to ensure expeditious refund of central and state taxes and levies to boost shipments in the wake of global challenges at trade front, an official said.

The proposal is part of a 100-day action plan prepared by the ministry for the new government which will take office on May 30.
A new export promotion scheme has become necessary as the existing merchandise exports for India (MEIS) scheme is being opposed by the US in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), stating it is not in compliance with global trade norms, the official said.

The new scheme could be named as Central and State Taxes and Levies Scheme.

According to the proposal, the new scheme would ensure refund of all un-rebated central and state levies and taxes imposed on inputs that are consumed in exports of all sectors.

Major un-rebated levies are – state VAT/ central excise duty on fuel used in transportation, captive power, farm sector; mandi tax; duty of electricity; stamp duty on export documents, purchases from unregistered dealers; embedded CGST and compensation cess coal used in the production of electricity.

Initiatives by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has helped in taking exports to an all-time high of USD 331 billion in 2018-19.

The ministry has also proposed to Introduce a WTO compliant production-based support scheme to increase outbound shipments.

The department of commerce is consulting with all the concerned stakeholders to frame this scheme to promote high potential sectors like electronics, telecom, hi-tech engineering, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and technical textiles.

“We are consulting the stakeholders to propose production based government assistance. We will finalise the architecture of the scheme very soon,” the official said.

Any government support which is subject to export performance becomes a prohibited subsidy under WTO norms.

The ten-point action plan has also proposed the launch of a new five-year foreign trade policy (2020-25) on September 1 this year and promote shipments of the services sector.

The current policy will end in March 2020. The policy provides guidelines for enhancing exports with the overall objective of pushing economic growth and generating employment.

“The new policy would include new export schemes while retaining important existing schemes. It will also include modern IT system with end to end IT enablement of all interfaces and processes of DGFT (directorate general of foreign trade) with exporters and other ministries/ agencies,” the official said.

The other proposals include resolution of WTO issues like on agriculture sector; steps to revive special economic zones (SEZs), implementation of agriculture export policy; disbursal of funds under Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme and promotion of Government e-marketplace (GeM) portal for public procurement.

For SEZs, the ministry has proposed measures such as uniformity in administrative and financial matters among all zones; integrated online portal for processing new investment requests, easy operational and exit-related matters, procedural relaxations.

Besides, the commerce ministry would consider allowing alternate sectors to invest in sector-specific SEZs, the flexibility of long term lease for developers and tenants, facility of sub-contracting for customers outside these zones and flexibility in usage of non-processing area by developers.

“We need bold measures to revive investment, promote manufacturing and exports from SEZs. The new SEZ policy needs to be future ready, investor-friendly and correspond to global market needs,” the official added.

The ministry has also planned to roll out national logistics policy, multi-modal logistic policy, integrated national logistics action plan, and logistics planning and performance management tool.

“Multi-Modal Transportation of Goods bill will be introduced in Parliament. The new bill will replace the existing MMTG Act, 1993. The new Bill introduces new concepts like regulation of self-regulatory agencies etc,” the official said.

Prabhu has taken a series of steps to cut logistics time and cost to push both domestic and foreign trade.
 

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E-Money share in India s payment systems grew to 21.5 percent Report

“Source:Gadgetsnow”

New Delhi : Getting a leg-up from from the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016, the share of e-Money in India’s payment system grew to 21.5 per cent in 2017 from 0.8 per cent in 2012, according to a new report from the Reserve Bank of India.
With 345.9 crore e-Money transactions, India was behind only Japan and US in 2017 with respect to volume of e-Money transactions, said the report titled “Benchmarking India’s Payment Systems.”
The report, which termed demonetisation “a game-changer for for e-Money”, provides a comparative position of the payment system ecosystem in India relative to comparable payment systems and usage trends in other major countries.

“While demonetisation gave the necessary fillip, the available of mobile infrastructure and alternate payment systems ensured that payment systems were not affected when cash was in short supply,”said the report.

While medium to large-value transactions continue to be made through digital banking channels and cheques, the low-value day-to-day transactions shifted to e-Money, it noted.

The study found that when it comes to using e-Money for online transactions, India is far ahead of other developed countries.

“Although behind China, India has a decent 26 per cent of online transactions using e-Money,” said the report.

In terms of the number of ATMs deployed, India is next only to China. During 2012-2017, ATM deployment grew at a compound annual growth rate of 14 per cent.

“While this is good from customer service perspective, it depicts a high demand for cash,” said the report.

However, at the end of 2017, India had 2,22,300 ATMs which dropped to 2,21,703 as on March 31, 2019.

Debit and credit card payments made up 29.9 per cent of India’s payment systems volume in the year 2017.

Based on the mix of the countries benchmarked, India is in the lower rung and ranks higher than only Germany and Indonesia, said the report.

 

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Cipla Q4 net profit jumps over 2-fold to Rs 357.68 cr; to raise up to Rs 6,000 cr

“Source: The Times of India”

New Delhi : Drug major Cipla Wednesday reported over two-fold jump in consolidated net profit to Rs 357.68 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, mainly on account of robust sales across markets.

The company has also decided to raise funds of up to Rs 6,000 crore.

It had posted a net profit of Rs 153.25 crore for the corresponding period previous fiscal, Cipla said in a BSE filing.

Consolidated total revenue from operations stood at Rs 4,403.98 crore for the quarter under consideration. It was Rs 3,697.97 crore for the same period a year ago.

For the 2018-19 fiscal, the company’s net profit was Rs 1,492.44 crore as against Rs 1,416.57 crore in 2017-18.

Total revenue from operations for the last fiscal stood at Rs 16,362.41 crore. It was Rs 15,219.25 crore in the preceding financial year.

In a separate filing, Cipla said its board has approved raising funds up to Rs 6,000 crore.

The board has approved “raising funds up to Rs 3,000 crore by issue of equity shares or American depository receipts or global depository receipts or foreign currency convertible bonds or other securities / financial instruments convertible into equity shares, whether denominated in Indian Rupee and/or foreign currency(ies), though a public issue or a private placement…,” Cipla said.

The board has also approved raising funds up to Rs 3,000 crore by issue of non-convertible debentures or bonds, whether denominated in Indian Rupee and/or foreign currency(ies), though a public issue or a private placement, it added.

The company is seeking approval of shareholders to the enabling resolutions at the ensuing annual general meeting.

“FY19 ended on a strong note for Cipla. While our home markets of India and South Africa continued to lead the way, our US business established robust base growth from differentiated direct-to-market launches,” its MD and Global CEO Umang Vohra said.

The company’s planned build-up of respiratory pipeline in the US remains on track. Challenges in the tender businesses and certain volatile markets played out as guided previously, he added.

“Most importantly, in FY19, we made important strides in broadening our offerings to patients around the world through health campaigns, innovative products, strategic acquisitions and digital healthcare solutions. From a sustainable growth and direction perspective, we are well-poised for FY20,” Vohra said.

The company’s board has recommended a final dividend of Rs 3 per equity share for the financial year ended March 31, 2019, Cipla said.

Shares of Cipla were trading at Rs 572.80 per scrip on the BSE, up 2.51 per cent from its previous close. AKT BAL.

 

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Hiring activity sees 16 pc growth in April, says report

“Source:IBEF”

New Delhi: Hiring activity grew by 16 per cent in April compared to a year-ago period, mainly led by the IT industry that registered a 39 per cent growth, according to a report.

The Naukri JobSpeak Index for hiring activity for April 2019 stood at 2,477 which is 16 per cent higher from April 2018, when it stood at 2,139.

The IT-software industry recorded a 39 per cent hiring growth over last year in April. Hiring in functional areas like site engineering, sales and business development observed a growth of 26 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, the report said.

“The JobSpeak index for the financial year 2018-19 remained consistent clocking in an average of 12 per cent growth in hiring. This financial year has started with a 16 per cent growth in hiring in April with more companies tapping into the talent pool across sectors,” InfoEdge India CMO Sumeet Singh said.

Keeping in mind this trend, the coming months look positive, he added.

The Naukri JobSpeak is a monthly index which calculates and records hiring activity based on the job listings on Naukri.com website.

IT, engineering, FMCG, healthcare and real estate industry saw upward trend in hiring, while banking and financial services and auto industry witnessed a dip of 15 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.

In terms of experience, demand for entry-level jobs with an experience of 0-3 years witnessed a rise of 18 per cent, whereas recruitment for mid-level executives with experience of 4-7 years rose by 17 per cent.

Recruitment activity for mid-management roles with 8-12 years of experience grew by 11 per cent, while for senior management roles with 13-16 years of experience recorded a 9 per cent rise in hiring.

Besides, hiring for leadership roles with experience of over 16 years increased by 6 per cent.

The report said that overall hiring activity in Delhi and Chennai increased by 13 per cent each, while in Mumbai and Hyderabad it jumped by 11 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively.

Similarly, Pune and Bangalore registered an increase of 11 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, in hiring.

 

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India projected to grow at 7.1% in FY’20: UN Report

“Source:IBEF”

United Nations: India’s economy is projected to grow at 7.1 per cent in fiscal year 2020 on the back of strong domestic consumption and investment but the GDP growth is a downward revision from the 7.4 per cent estimated in January this year, according to a report by the United Nations.

The World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019 Mid-year Update, released here Tuesday, said that the Indian economy, which generates two-thirds of the regional output in South Asia, expanded by 7.2 per cent in 2018.

“Strong domestic consumption and investment will continue to support growth, which is projected at 7.0 per cent in 2019 and 7.1 per cent in 2020,” the report said.

The estimates for India, however, reflect a downward revision from the projections made in the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 report released in January this year. That report had estimated that India would grow at 7.6 per cent in fiscal year 2019 and 7.4 per cent in 2020. It must be noted that despite the downward revisions, India remains the fastest growing major economy in the world, ahead of China.

Dawn Holland, the Chief of the Global Economic Monitoring Branch at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said India should focus on increasing private sector involvement in investment as she underlined that the impact of demonetisation on the country’s economic growth passed through “relatively quickly” and there is no longer a “hangover” from the reform on the country’s current growth prospects.

“The one area I think India should be focusing on is increasing the private sector involvement in investment and facilitating access to finance for the private sector and small and medium size firms in particular, which is a barrier to faster growth in India,” she said in response to a question by PTI on factors needed to bolster India’s economic growth going forward.

On any lingering impacts of demonetisation on India’s growth, which has been revised downward, Holland said, “we see the demonetization had a significant impact when it was initially introduced but that seems to have passed through relatively quickly. I would not say there is a very large hangover from that” in the current economic scenario.

Holland, addressing a press conference in the UN Headquarters on the release of the WESP mid-year update, said that while the forecast for India has been downgraded, “I would also point out that the forecast for India is among the highest in all of the countries, particularly the large economies.”

With India projected to grow at 7 per cent in 2019 and 7.1 per cent in 2020, Holland said compared to the global growth of 2.7 per cent, India’s economic growth “obviously stands out” as among the very high rates of growth in the world.

On the reasons behind the downward revision in India’s GDP growth, she said, “consumption and investment are continuing to support the economy so it is probably some effects – even though India is not as deeply integrated into the impacted global supply chains – it is integrated into the world economy and so any dramatic slowdown in world trade, like we have seen, will necessarily have had at least some impact on the (Indian) economy.”

The WESP mid-year update noted that growth projections for 2019 have been revised downward in all major developed economies. The growth outlook for many developing economies has also weakened, the report said, adding that despite downward revisions, growth in India remains “strong” amid robust domestic demand.

“The global growth outlook has weakened amid unresolved trade tensions and elevated international policy uncertainty. Across both developed and developing countries, growth projections for 2019 have been downgraded. Alongside a slow-down in international trade, business sentiments have deteriorated, casting a cloud on investment prospects, the report said.

World gross product growth is now expected to moderate from 3.0 per cent in 2018 to 2.7 per cent in 2019 and 2.9 per cent in 2020, reflecting a downward revision from WESP 2019 forecast released in January. In tandem with slowing industrial production, international trade activity has visibly weakened, reflecting in part unresolved trade disputes between the US and China.

South Asia remains on a strong growth path, even as forecasts have been revised downward. However, across the region, output continues to be constrained by infrastructure bottlenecks.

The report added that India’s exports remain more robust, as around half of exports are destined for faster-growing Asian markets, while geopolitical risks continue to confront Afghanistan and Iran.

The slowdown in global economic activity has triggered a shift towards easier monetary policy stances across many developed and developing economies, it said, adding that this shift is taking place in an environment of subdued global inflation, amid weakening demand and a moderate outlook for global commodity prices.

Further, the report said that given increased uncertainty over growth prospects, a few large developing economies, including Egypt, India and Nigeria, reduced their key policy rates.

The report projects that with major downside risks prevailing, there is a significant possibility of a sharper slowdown or more prolonged weakness in the global economy that could impact development progress.

“A further escalation of trade disputes among the world’s largest economies poses a significant risk for both short and medium-term global growth prospects,” the report said.

 

 

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Reliance topples IOC to become the biggest Indian company

“Source:The Times of India”

NEW DELHI: Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani’s oil-to-telecom conglomerate  Reliance Industries  has toppled state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) to become the country’s biggest company by revenue. Reliance in the 2018-19 fiscal year that ended March 31, reported a turnover of Rs 6.23 lakh crore. In comparison, IOC  posted a turnover of Rs 6.17 lakh crore for the fiscal, according to regulatory filings by the two companies.

It was also the most profitable company in the country with a net profit of more than double that of IOC in FY2019.

Reliance, which was about half the size of IOC till about a decade back but its bet on burgeoning consumer base and foray into new businesses such as telecom, retail, and digital services vastly expanded its business, clocked a net profit of Rs 39,588 crore in FY19. IOC, on the other hand, ended the year with a net profit of Rs 17.274 crore.

IOC till last year was the most profitable PSU but may have lost this position Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in 2018-19. ONGC is yet to declare its FY19 earnings but it had clocked a net profit of Rs 22,671 crore in the first nine months of the fiscal year.

Net profit of IOC, which depends on oil refining, petrochemicals and gas business for its revenue, had in 2018-19 declined by 23.6 per cent over Rs 22,189.45 crore net profit it had earned in 2017-18.

Reliance, on the other hand, posted a 13 per cent rise in profits over Rs 34,988 crore recorded in 2017-18.

ONGC had a net profit of Rs 19,945.26 crore in 2017-18 fiscal, lagging behind IOC.

With this milestone, Reliance has achieved the numero uno position in terms of all three parameters – revenue, profit, and market capitalisation.

With strong refining margin and robust retail business, Reliance clocked a 44 per cent in revenue in FY19 over the previous year and posted a compounded annual growth rate of over 14 per cent between FY10 and FY19. In contrast, IOC turnover rose 20 per cent in FY19 and 6.3 per cent during FY10 and FY19.

Top  Comment  every company in oil sector is making huge profits. still the govt keeps increasing the fuel prices. who will justify the voters or the companies.  At Tuesday’s trading price of Rs 1,345, Reliance boasts of a market capitalisation of Rs 8.52 lakh crore.

Interestingly, Reliance which boasts of the highest cash reserves of Rs 1.33 lakh crore on the book, also has the highest gross debt of Rs 2.87 lakh crore at the end of March 2019.

In contrast, IOC had short and long-term loans totaling Rs 92,700 crore.

 

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Expect India to be among top 3 global markets outside Japan in 8 yrs: LIXIL

“Source:IBEF”

New Delhi: Japanese multinational firm LIXIL expects India to be one of the top three global markets outside its home country for water technology business in next seven-eight years on the back of growth driven by pre-fabricated bathrooms, according to a top company official.

The water and housing products major, which was formed in 2011 through merger of five of Japan’s most successful building materials and housing companies, is entering pre-fabricated bathroom vertical in India to add to its primary water technology business.

Under this segment, the USD 16 billion firm offers total solutions for bathrooms and currently sells products under premium GROHE and mass market American Standard brands in India.

“I would say currently India is not a very big part of our overall business globally. We are a USD 16 billion group globally and India is a very small part of that. But, we expect for the water technology businesses, India becoming our third largest market globally after China and the US,” LIXIL Asia Pacific CEO Bijoy Mohan told PTI.

When asked about the timeline to meet such expectation, he said: “That might take us 7-8 years to get there”.

Right now, India is probably number 15 globally, he added.

Elaborating on where the growth will come from, Mohan said, “In terms of volume and revenue in business, I would expect our largest business would be the pre-fabricated bathrooms. That will be the single largest business. It will lead the way for sure, because the value or size of the home or the bathroom is much bigger”.

Under its pre-fabricated bathroom system, LIXIL is offering integrated bathroom systems through construction of the entire bathroom in a factory, flooring, tiling, walls, piping everything together and deliver it within 16 hours at the proposed site.

“This we believe will be huge for India because of the construction demands, the scale that is required, there is not enough skilled labour to be able to do all of this on site and the speed of construction and regulations like now make it essential to complete a project at a certain period of time,” Mohan said.

LIXIL has been doing this in Japan for the last 50 years, he added.

The company has invested Rs 400 crore at its Vijayawada factory, which has a capacity to produce 1.2 million pieces of ceramics and can be doubled up. It has also set up a windows fabrication unit at Manesar at an investment of Rs 20 crore.

When asked if LIXIL would make further investments in India to meet its growth targets, Mohan said it may invest another Rs 100 crore to double the capacity of ceramics business in another three years. However, it is not decided on the same for the windows fabrication unit.

 

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India is Nestle’s fastest-growing key market, says Suresh Narayanan

“Source:IBEF”

New Delhi: Nestle India, the local unit of Nestlé SA, has emerged as the fastest growing key market for the Swiss food and beverages major in 2018, said Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director of the company’s India unit.

The Gurugram-based firm had posted a 10.8 per cent top line growth rate during the year. In 2018, its revenue grew to ~11,292.30 crore from ~10,192.20 crore year-on-year.

The India unit, which is now among the top 15 markets for Nestlé, is also expected to improve its ranking in the coming years, he said. However, the local market’s contribution to the global conglomerate’s ~634,782 crore sales remains minuscule at 1.78 per cent.

Nestlé India’s sales grew by double digit in January-March 2019 quarter backed by strong volume growth.

Nestlé India’s domestic sales, which comprises over 90 per cent of its total sales (which includes exports), grew 10.2 per cent in value and 9.3 per cent in volume.

According to Narayanan, its cluster approach, adopted a year ago, has contributed to the firm’s healthy growth in the recent quarters. Products under the brand Maggi, chocolates as well as confectionery items posted double digit volume growth while beverages saw high single digit growth in volume.

However, in the coming quarters, Nestlé’s growth may come down due to rising inflationary pressure and slowing pace of growth in rural markets may impact sales in the short-term.

Cost of materials like cereals, milk and packaging items are on the rise. “The cost of these items have gone up by 160 to 200 basis points in the last few months. If the monsoon remains below normal, as predicted initially, then the situation may deteriorate,” he said.

Moreover, a crunch in credit flow is impacting the wholesale channel that caters to rural markets in remote areas. The significance of the wholesale channel is immense for companies with higher share of rural sales. It usually caters to areas that are not covered by direct distribution. Nestlé India gets a fourth of its sales from the rural market.

To keep its growth momentum intact, the firm is planning to launch close to 35 products this year. Currently, Nestlé is getting 4 per cent of its sales growth from product launches. To capitalise on the superior growth of organic foods, Nestlé has ventured into the space with organic breakfast cereals. It plans to expand the horizon with similar products in other categories.

In the past three years, Nestlé India launched close to 40 products out of which 25 have been a hit so far, according to Edelweiss Securities’ estimates. “Success of launches, entry into new segments, proactive management and further margin improvement led by premiumisation” have improved the firm’s financial performance in recent quarters, it said.

However, the flurry of launches has led to a surge in its advertisement and promotional (A&P) expenses. In the January-March quarter, its A&P cost surged 22.5 per cent y-o-y and stood at 5.9 per cent of sales, compared to 5.3 per cent during the year-ago period.

 

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PE inflow in Indian retail real estate doubles to USD 1.2 bn in 2017, 2018: Anarock

“Source:IBEF”

New Delhi: Indian retail real estate sector attracted private equity investment worth USD 1.2 billion during 2017-18 calendar years, double from the previous two years, according to property consultant Anarock.

The consultant attributed the sharp rise in private equity (PE) inflow to further liberalisation in FDI policies such as 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail under the automatic route.

From an investment of USD 600 million during 2015-2016 calendar years, private equity inflows in retail real estate jumped to over USD 1.2 billion between 2017 and 2018.

Of total USD 1.84 billion inflow in the last 4 years (2015-2018), tier II and tier III cities attracted nearly 48 per cent funds (USD 880 million) against USD 960 million in tier 1 cities.

Top favoured tier II and tier III cities included Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Indore and Mohali.

US-based funds like Blackstone and Goldman Sachs have invested more than USD 1 billion between 2015-2018, while UAE, Singapore, Canada and Netherlands based funds were also active.

Shobhit Agarwal, MD & CEO – Anarock Capital says, “our report highlights the fact that unlike the commercial office sector, retail is to some extent geography-agnostic because its success depends on the spending power of its target audience.

“As a result, shopping malls in tier II and tier III cities have performed as well as, if not better than, their tier 1 counterparts. This also led to increase in rentals and profitability and caused PE investors to start considering investment options outside their accustomed tier I geographies, he added.

Anuj Kejriwal, MD & CEO – Anarock Retail said, “the opportunity that the Indian retail sector holds in store for PE investors is more than evident – as are the geographies they must focus on for optimum returns.

Anarock data reveals that around 39 million sq ft of organised retail space is expected to enter the market between 2019-2022. Of this supply, around 71 per cent is expected to come up in tier I cities, and the remaining 29 per cent in tier II and tier III cities, Kejriwal added.

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Spencer’s to acquire Nature’s Basket for ₹300 crore to increase footprint

“Source:IBEF”

New Delhi: R P Sanjiv Goenka Group-owned Spencer’s Retail Ltd is set to acquire gourmet retail chain Nature’s Basket Ltd for ₹300 crore, as it seeks to expand its footprint in the Western region, the company’s filings with the BSE show. The acquisition is subject to shareholders’ approval.

The deal will give Spencer’s access to 36 Nature’s Basket stores in prime locations of Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. The Kolkata-based retail chain will also get access to Nature’s Basket’s online platform.

On Friday, Spencer’s Retail shares rose 2% to ₹132.70 on BSE, while Godrej Industries Ltd, which owns Nature’s Basket, closed at ₹449.70, up 2.34% from the previous day’s close. “The board meeting held earlier today has approved a proposal for acquisition of the entire 100% stake held by Godrej Industries Ltd in its wholly owned subsidiary Nature’s Basket Ltd,” the statement said.

Investment banker Lodha Capital Markets advised Nature’s Basket Ltd on the deal.

Natures Basket, which began operations in 2005, sells fruits, vegetables, fish and meat, besides fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and staples.

The retail chain is known for stocking up on niche gourmet products, including imported food such as Italy’s Grana Padano Cheese, Blue Cheese, Parma Ham, and bluish-purple chips from the US.

It competes with the likes of Future Retail Ltd’s Food Hall, and Alibaba Group-backed Big Basket.

“Nature’s Basket has a strong portfolio of private label brands which has huge traction with its consumers. We believe there is huge potential to expand this to Spencer’s stores. It also has a strong e-commerce presence, and we believe that fits in well with our omni-channel strategy at Spencer’s,” said Shashwat Goenka, sector head, retail and FMCG, RP Sanjiv Goenka Group. “We realized that to further unlock the immense potential of this brand and to grow it to even greater heights, we need to pass on the torch to owners who have prioritized retail in their portfolio strategy and have the relevant ecosystems to take the business to the next level,” Tanya Dubash, executive director and chief brand officer, Godrej Group, said in a statement.

In 2017-18, Nature’s Basket contributed just about ₹291 crore to Godrej Industries’ consolidated revenue of ₹9,968.83 crore, the company’s annual report shows.

Spencer’s Retail Ltd, a separate listed entity, had earned total revenue of ₹1,051.81 crore in 2017-18, on a stand-alone basis, according to BSE filings. In 2018-19, it generated a total revenue of ₹2,214.98 crore. “Our key observation out of the Spencer’s-Nature’s Basket deal is that high-end grocery is very niche in India. It is also a very tough and loss making market. We also think that this consolidation is in favour of core retailers,” said Abneesh Roy, an analyst at Edelweiss Securities. Nature’s Basket has been reducing its dependence on imports by adding private labels, including L’Exclusif, which offers savories, ice-creams and chocolates.

 

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Adani stocks cheer incumbency wave in India, Australia

“Source:livemint”

  • Adani Enterprises rose as much as 29% in afternoon trade, its sharpest intraday gain in over two years.
  • Shares of Adani Enterprises have risen by about 170% since Modi assumed power.

New Delhi: Shares in various Adani Group companies, including those of flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd, surged on Monday after exit polls predicted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would return to power, even as Australian poll results also spelled good news for the Indian conglomerate.

Adani Enterprises rose as much as 29% in afternoon trade, its sharpest intraday gain in over two years. Other Adani Group stocks such as Adani Power, Adani Gas and Adani Green Energy Ltd were all up more than 15% in afternoon trading.

The rally in Adani stocks outshone a broader market rally, which saw the NSE index close 3.7% higher at 11,828.25 points, while the benchmark BSE index was 3.8% higher at 39,352.67 points.

The surge comes after exit polls on Sunday predicted that Modi may return to power with an even bigger majority in parliament, a far better showing than expected in recent weeks.

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s rapid ascent to the top tier of Indian business is often associated with the rise of Modi, who is also from the western state of Gujarat.

Shares of Adani Enterprises have risen by about 170% since Modi assumed power, compared to around 40% under the previous Congress-led regime.

Analysts say Adani Group’s rally on Monday was in line with the euphoria in Indian markets, but did not specify why the group’s stocks did so much better than the broader market.

“It is broadly an election-based rally. People are expecting reforms on the infrastructure side to continue,” said an analyst covering Adani Ports, which rose more than 10%.

Adani’s empire, which includes billions of dollars worth of investments in mining, ports, trading, electricity and gas among other things, has benefited from Modi’s emphasis on economic development. The business tycoon has in the past brushed off any notions that he has been granted undue favours.

Separately, news that Australia’s conservative coalition has swept back to power with an outright majority also boded well for Adani Mining Australia, which has been struggling for years to kick off its ambitious Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland due to environmental concerns.

Adani Mining Australia used the election results to slam the labour government in the state, saying the poll verdict reflected public consensus on the mine.

“Let’s hope they (Queensland state government) realise it is time to start listening to the people of Queensland,” Lucas Dow, Chief Executive of Adani Mining, said in a statement.

 

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Panasonic India eyes Rs 700 cr revenue from energy business by 2021

“Source:Business-Standard”

The company has divided its energy space business into two segments — energy storage and mobility solutions

Diversified technology firm Panasonic India is betting big on its energy-related business and expecting to clock around Rs 700 crore in revenue by 2021 from this vertical, said a top company official.

The company has divided its energy space business into two segments — energy storage and mobility solutions, Panasonic President and CEO said.

Panasonic Wednesday introduced its smart electric vehicle charging service ‘Nymbus’ to tap emerging opportunities in the mobility sector.

“This is a very important segment for us. Over all, from all energy related business by 2021, we are looking at a revenue of Rs 700 crore,” Sharma told PTI.

According to him: “The market opportunity would be around Rs 5,000 crore by then. This would include battery energy and electric charging business.” Nymbus is a charging service that combines charging stations, swap stations, on board charges, telematics systems and the virtual components like cloud service, analytics, intuitive dashboard and artificial intelligence.

The company has presently introduced Nymbus in Delhi NCR region and is currently available for two and three-wheelers only.

Panasonic has plans to expand charing solutions for other vehicle categories and to expand to 7-8 cities in the next three years.

“We have currently deployed our solutions in Delhi NCR. We aim to expand to 25 cities in the next five years targeting approximately one million vehicles,” said Panasonic India Head Energy Systems Division Atul Arya.

As part of the first phase, Panasonic has partnered with electric mobility service providers’ SmartE and qQuick, wherein Panasonic will be deploying the EV charging service on 150 SmartE electric three-wheelers and on 25 Quick 2-wheelers in the Delhi NCR region.

Panasonic is also expanding its storage battery system, which is based on Lithium Ion battery.

“This business is going on with reasonable pace, in line with the the rate of adoption which is happening in our country,” he said adding that such adoptions is happening in the areas of telecom towers and ATMs.

“I believe that in the next three years, it would have rapid expansion in critical applications, where diesel gensets are used such as hospitals, data centres etc,” Sharma said.

Panasonic energy business is part of its B2B business in India, which is presently contributing around 25 per cent in its revenues.

The company expects that in the next five years, its B2C and B2B to equally contribute 50:50 in its revenue, Sharma said.

 

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India’s services exports rise 6.6% in March; services imports up by 10.55%

“Source:Business-Standard”

India’s services exports rose by 6.6 per cent to $17.94 billion in March, according to the data released by the Reserve Bank Wednesday.

Services imports in March too grew by 10.55 per cent to $11.37 billion.

The trade balance in services for the month under review is estimated at $6.58 billion.

The data comes with a lag of 45 days. It is also provisional and undergoes revision when the Balance of Payments (BoP) data is released on a quarterly basis.

The services sector accounts for over 55 per cent in the country’s GDP and the government is taking steps to promote the growth of exports.

The government last year approved a Rs 5,000 crore package to promote 12 champion services sectors such as IT, tourism and hospitality.

 

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Global investors stay keen as Australia’s FDI stock reaches A$970 billion

“Source: Australian Trade and Investment Commission”

Overseas investment in Australia grew by 9.5% in 2018 according to the latest report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia’s stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) is now worth A$968 billion, having grown by an average 8.5% per year since 2011 – an exceptional performance by international standards.

Australia’s ability to attract foreign capital is reflected in global economic rankings. A. T. Kearney, the Chicago-based management consulting firm, released its 2019 investment Confidence Index on 7th May, and placed Australia ninth – globally – of countries most likely to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) over the next three years.

A.T. Kearney’s report shows Australia outranking Singapore (placed 10th), South Korea (17th) and Taiwan (22nd). The United States is currently the world’s most attractive destination for direct investment.

Strong investment helps raise growth prospects

Strong FDI is helping to raise expectations for Australia’s economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now forecasts that Australia’s real GDP will grow by an average rate of 2.7% a year from 2020 to 2024, up from an average rate of 2.5% a year from 2015 to 2019. The latest projected growth rate is the highest among major advanced economies.

This stellar performance reflects economic fundamentals that have powered 27 years of uninterrupted growth: our strategic location; liberalised trade with fast-growing economies; an openness to investment; and a business friendly environment. Strong FDI data is a global vote of confidence in our workforce and our strategic posture as a springboard for exports to Asia.

Europe and North America remain big investors but Asia is growing fast

The European Union (EU) and North America contribute almost half of all the investment that arrives on Australian shores. FDI from the EU surged by 14% to A$226 billion in 2018. Investment from the US rose 11% to A$214 billion, while Canadians increased investment by 15% to A$37 billion.

Japan is Australia’s second largest investor. With a total FDI stock of over A$106 billion in 2018, Japanese investors now hold 11% of the total stock of overseas investment in Australia. Japan has been Australia’s second largest source of FDI since 2015, when it overtook UK – traditionally Australia’s number two investor.

Main Sources of FDI

Since 2011, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia have each clocked up double-digit increases in FDI into Australia. China is now Australia’s fifth largest direct investor, with a total stock value of A$40 billion. Although Chinese FDI grew just 5% in 2018, average annual FDI growth since 2011 remains high at 15.7%.

Australian mines a magnet for overseas investors

But where is the investment going? In 2018, Australia’s mining sector garnered an astonishing 38% of the total stock value of FDI in Australia. This means that overseas investors have stock worth A$366 billion invested in Australian mining. In turn, this investment stokes Australia’s exports. As I shall highlight in a forthcoming analysis, iron ore remained Australia’s largest source of export revenue in 2017–18 worth A$61.4 billion, closely followed by coal worth A$60.4 billion.

Next most popular among overseas investors are Australia’s manufacturing and financial services sectors, followed by real estate. Together, these three sectors account for one third of total FDI stock value. Some of the less traditional destinations for overseas capital are also exciting interest. Australia’s utilities sector holds A$22 billion in overseas owned assets. Meanwhile, foreign investors hold stakes worth A$9 billion in Australia’s vibrant accommodation and food services sector.

The vital importance of FDI to Australia’s economy & exports

Over the past two decades, strong FDI has helped Australia increase its economic potential by injecting capital into emerging industries and increasing efficiency in existing ones. This investment is vital: Since 2005, Australia’s resources sector has absorbed almost 40% of all FDI in Australia – and this sector now delivers approximately more than half of Australian exports of goods and services.

Robust FDI is also a catalyst for change. Fresh investors bring new ideas, and innovation delivers better services for Australian consumers. FDI naturally seeks opportunities to increase efficiency, which in turn makes Australian companies more competitive in world markets. And FDI also creates business connections in new markets, especially in the Asia Pacific region which is the most dynamic region of the world’s economy.

 

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