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Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella reaffirmed the company's commitment to India by unveiling a slew of India focused product rollouts, including a lighter version of Skype, on Wednesday in Mumbai


Skype Lite, a lighter version of the video and voice calling software, has been especially designed for use in India's patchy telecom networks. With just a 13 MB footprint, the app allows communication and collaboration over low bandwidth networks including 2G connections and has features specifically designed for India including managing SMS by removing clutter, mobile data and WiFi usage monitoring, India-focussed Skype bots and power saving functionality


The app will also have Aadhaar based verification feature built-in, with Microsoft partnering with India stack for this feature. “Aadhaar gives India the opportunity to own control over data. It also makes us as an MNC to operate in India responsibly by making sure that our services support the India stack and that’s what we are doing with Skype,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, who is on the last leg of his three day visit to India. The integration of Aadhaar to the Android app will be complete by June 2017 and will help users verify unknown callers for transactions like job interviews, sale of good and property transactions


“We see job interviews as being the core use case for Skype. We hope to further expand that to government and technology consumer scenarios. I could imagine Skype Lite being used for application of new licences, permits or a number of different government processes,” Eugene Ho, Director of Products at Skype told ET. Skype Lite will be available in 7 local languages and English


Project Sangam is another India-first rollout that the company announced. A joint initiative from Microsoft and LinkedIn, Project Sangam allow users to register using Aadhaar to register on LinkedIn and enroll for skill development programs. Once the skills training programs are completed, their LinkedIn profiles will be updated and shortlisted for potential employers


“Linkedin has a global white collar network globally, and we are now establishing the same at lower levels through Project Sangam. We are backing it up with Aadhaar so that verification of profiles can be done and at the same time, ensure that governments have all the capabilities to understand who’s getting trained and who’s not,” Anil Bhansali, MD – R&D at Microsoft India told ET


Microsoft has also joined hands with India’s largest lender State Bank of India to bring on board the bank on its Office 365 cloud platform. “It is phenomenal to see the digital transformation where some of the largest banks are now deciding that they want to be able to take advantage of what the cloud gives them so that they can be more of a technology company,” said Nadella. The partnership with SBI follows Microsoft’s strategic cloud partnership with Flipkart which will see the Indian ecommerce giant adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud computing platform


In keeping with the Indian government’s ambition of enabling smart cities, Microsoft is also looking to leverage its cloud technologies to work with the Maharashtra government on the ‘Smart Villages’ program. With the pilot having begun in the village of Harisal in Maharashtra, Nadella outlined that Microsoft’s vision was to take the program to over 100 villages in the state.



Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecoms network operator, on Thursday said it would buy Telenor (India) Communications Pvt Ltd, in a deal that will bolster Airtel’s footprint with additional spectrum in the 1800 MHz band


Airtel will buy Telenor’s India operations in seven circles - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Assam, the compan


In a separate statement, Telenor said that the transaction will not trigger any impairment. As of fourth quarter 2016, the remaining value of tangible and intangible assets in Telenor India amounted to NOK 0.3 billion. The transaction is expected to close within 12 months,” Telenor said


Airtel is India’s largest wireless operator with over 269 million subscribers and a revenue market share of over 33 per cent. As the new owner, Airtel will take over Telenor India’s spectrum, licenses and operations, including its employees and customer base of 44 million


“The proposed acquisition will include transfer of all of Telenor India’s assets and customers, further augmenting Airtel’s overall customer base and network. It will also enable Airtel to further bolster its strong spectrum footprint in these seven circles, with the addition of 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band,” Airtel said


Telenor India’s operations and services will continue as normal until the completion of the transaction


“On completion, the proposed acquisition will undergo seamless integration, both on the customer as well as the network side, and further strengthen our market position in several key circles. The customers of Telenor India will now be able to enjoy ...a range of Airtel’s world-class products and services,” Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said


The acquisition of additional spectrum through this transaction, which made an attractive business proposition, has further enhanced Airtel’s spectrum portfolio, Vitthal said


“Finding a long term solution to our India business has been a priority for us, and we are pleased with our agreement with Airtel. The decision to exit India has not been taken lightly. After thorough consideration, it is our view that the significant investments needed to secure Telenor India’s future business on a standalone basis will not give an acceptable level of return,” Sigve Brekke, chief executive officer of Telenor Group, said


With effect from the first quarter of 2017, Telenor India will be treated as an asset held for sale and discontinued operations in Telenor Group’s financial reporting


Telenor announced its entry into India in 2008. In 2016, Telenor India’s revenues were NOK 6.0 billion and the operating cash flow was NOK -0.4 billion.



India's millennial population is a massive disruptive force and driven by this supportive demographics alongwith government's policy action, Indian economy is likely to reach USD 5 trillion by 2025, says a report.


India's USD 2.2 trillion economy makes it the seventh largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP (and the third largest in PPP terms), but the country's per capita income is less significant.


With a per capita income of USD 1,700, India ranks well behind some of the key emerging markets, like China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, and Turkey.


"We expect a confluence of supportive factors, led by demographics, government policy action, and globalisation, to lead to a sustained period of productive growth in the medium term," Morgan Stanley said in a research note adding "in our base case, we expect the Indian economy to reach USD 5 trillion by FY2025.


By financial year 2024-25, Morgan Stanley expects per capita income to rise 125 per cent to USD 3,650.


The report said India's millennial population of 400 million is the largest in the world and is armed with around USD 180 billion in spending power and with high smartphone adoption and widespread availability of mobile broadband infrastructure, it will become a disruptive force faster than most businesses expect.


The population dynamics will therefore be a key force in shaping India's overall growth trajectory and also in shaping how product markets will develop as the preferences of the population evolve, Morgan Stanley said.


The report, however, noted that the demographics factor alone is not sufficient for an acceleration in GDP growth. It is important that the working age population is adequately skilled to participate in a globalised competitive environment.


"The next leg of harnessing this young and better skilled population would require creation of adequate employment opportunities, which is an opportunity and a challenge for India," it said.


Source:Money Control

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today approved the enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects. The enhanced capacity would ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above in various parts of the country. Smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly States where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain, will also be considered under the scheme. The capacity of the solar park scheme has been enhanced after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the States.


The Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will be set up by 2019-20 with Central Government financial support of Rs.8100 crore. The total capacity when operational will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year which will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle.


It would also contribute to long term energy security of the country and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reduction in carbon emissions and carbon footprint, as well as generate large direct & indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries like glass, metals, heavy industrial equipment etc. The solar parks will also provide productive use of abundant uncultivable lands which in turn facilitate development of the surrounding areas


All the States and UTs are eligible for benefits under the scheme. The State Government will first nominate the Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) and also identify the land for the proposed solar park. It will then send a proposal to MNRE for approval along with the name of the SPPD. The SPPD will then be sanctioned a grant of upto Rs.25 Lakh for preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Solar Park. Thereafter, Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of up to Rs. 20 lakhs/MW or 30 percent of the project cost including Grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be released as per the milestones prescribed in the scheme. Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI) will administer the scheme under the direction of MNRE. The approved grant will be released by SECI


The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with State Governments/UTs. The State Governments/UTs are required to select the SPPD for developing and maintaining the solar parks


Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is already implementing a scheme for development of at least 25 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW, which was launched in December 2014. As on date, 34 solar parks of aggregate capacity 20,000 MW have been approved which are at various stages of development.



Australia is the world’s most popular country for migrating millionaires, who are drawn Down Under by a successful healthcare system, high levels of safety and its proximity to emerging markets in Asia, a new report has found.


Around 82,000 millionaires migrated last year, up from 64,000 in 2015, according to global market research group New World Wealth.


Of those, an estimated 11,000 millionaires made their way to Australia, putting it on top of the table for the second year in a row. That compared to 10,000 who moved to the United States, and 3,000 who moved to the UK.Part of Australia’s appeal to the wealthy is its location, which makes it a good base for doing business in emerging Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.


It also boasts one of the leading healthcare systems in the world, while it is “relatively immune to the turmoil in the Middle East and the related refugee crisis in Europe,” the report adds.


“Australia’s superior growth over the past decade has also no doubt had an impact on confidence and business opportunities,” it says.“Over the past 10 years, total wealth in Australia has risen by 85pc compared to 30pc growth in the US and 28pc growth in the UK.


“As a result, the average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average US or UK citizen, which was not the case 10 years ago.”


In 2012, Australia launched a new type of visa for wealthy foreigners who are willing to invest millions in the country.


However, it suffered its biggest economic contraction since the financial crisis in the third quarter, as the economy shrank by 0.5pc in the three months to September compared to the previous three months as torrential rain and falling business investment took their toll.


New Zealand, Canada and the UAE were among the other countries to experience large inflows of millionaires, while France, Turkey and Brazil were three nations to have lost the most.Millionaires leaving a country is seen as a concern for the local economy. Around 30pc of millionaires are business owners, employing large numbers of people, according to the report, while they also pay large amounts of income tax.


New World Wealth’s study, its fourth annual report, added that very few millionaires - defined in the study as individuals who have net assets of $1m or more - have left the UK since the vote to leave the European Union, while there continues to be a flow of millionaires into Britain.


“Going forward, we expect HNWI [high net worth individuals] migration into the UK to continue, despite Brexit,” it said. “In particular we expect large HNWI inflows from France, China, India, the Middle East and Africa into the UK. However, on the flip side, we do expect some UK HNWIs to move to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US over the next 10 years.”


Source:The Telegraph