IndUS Business Journal

How to make it through the great American solar eclipse on August 21 successfully

Jun 22, 2017 0

By Mandy Bular

United States of America is going to undergo a historic and a universal event in the most literal sense of meaning as the moon is going to cover up the sun completely making a path of totality over a certain area of America. This is a total solar eclipse basically that is proposed to happen on the 21st of August this year. Quite obviously, there are bubbles of expectations as well as excitements throughout the world as everybody is trying somehow to make it to America in order to view this once in a lifetime event that the cosmos will be gifting us.

Mandy Bular

What’s so special about the path of totality?

Solar eclipses are quite common and keep happening in some part of the world or the other after certain intervals of time but when it comes to a total solar eclipse, the event becomes a little extraordinary in its own way. This happens because the disc of the moon covers the disc of the sun completely and this particular event is not at all very frequent or general thing to happen in the universe. In fact, the cosmic magic has a great role to play in this path of totalitythat occurs after some superb spells of geometry and other sciences that go in the huge universe.

The heavenly bodies especially those of the solar system are in the same line only once in eighteen months when they come together while revolving around in their respective orbits. The orbiting of the moon, the satellite around the earth is at an average of 2, 39,000 miles or roughly around 3, 85,000 kilometers from Earth. Hence, undoubtedly this is a pretty rare phenomenon and one cannot afford to miss a chance of watching the same happen, especially those staying or travelling to US during that time.

Visibility related facts about the total solar eclipse in the US

Apart from the total solar eclipse that will be visible in the periphery of Oregon to South Carolina in the US, there will be a partial solar eclipse visible from some surrounding areas of the US as well. In this case, the moon will be found to cover just a part of the sun and not the complete sun’s disc as is the case of total solar eclipse. Usually, the frequency of occurrences of normal solar eclipses are two to five times per year on an average but total solar eclipse happens after every 18 months and therefore, the path of totality invariably has to be explored at any cost this year!

Places to look out for during the D-day

The main areas of the United States where one can head to for making it count on the day of total solar eclipse are Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

(Mandy Bular is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She enjoys writing about various places and topics and has recently taken a fascination with The Great American Total Solar Eclipse, the path of totality and how best to view it.)

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Is India Open for Business: Asks Largest US Manufacturers Association

Jun 22, 2017 0

Washington, D.C.– The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States that represents small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states, has given a poor rating to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts in enhancing India-US commercial ties and has urged the US government to press India for concrete action.

The Scorecard on India’s business environment shows insufficient progress on many of the same trade and market access barriers that have long troubled manufacturers trying to invest and trade in India. US manufacturers want President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to work together on policies to level the playing field and strengthen the U.S.-India commercial relationship.  The Scorecard is entitled: Is India Open for Business?

The NAM Scorecard report was released ahead of Modi’s visit to the United States this month. Modi is scheduled to meet President Donald Trump on June 26 in Washington, DC.

“In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged a pro-business agenda as he came into office. Since then, Prime Minister Modi has publicly committed to improve the ease of doing business and promote manufacturing in speeches, campaigns, and business engagement. Have these efforts created real progress for manufacturers?” the Scorecard asked. “Resume and expand dialogue with the United States on key commercial issues that are holding back a stronger bilateral commercial relationship,” the NAM Scorecard said.

Narendra Modi

In order to promote a robust U.S.–India commercial relationship, the United States must press India for concrete action, NAM said. Here is the NAM Scorecard and recommendations:

In Progress

  • Streamline onerous licensing and government approval processes that make it more difficult for foreign and domestic companies to do business in India.
  • Quickly and robustly implement critical components of India’s National IPR Policy, including revising and streamlining IP laws and administrative processes.
  • Fully implement India’s immediate commitments under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement to eliminate non-transparent customs and border practices and set short timelines to implement the remainder of the agreement.
  • Finalize details of India’s nuclear liability pool to provide a clear, predictable environment for foreign nuclear operators to evaluate their ability to invest and operate in the market.

Mixed

Fully open India’s investment environment for manufacturers in the United States, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership across manufacturing industries and eliminating bureaucratic hurdles.

Here are the issues with “X” mark in the NAM Scorecard:

  • Establish and implement a clear process requiring all agencies to institute a mandatory 30-day “notice and comment” period for proposed rules.
  • Reduce current high tariffs—including those that do not align with India’s commitments under the Information Technology Agreement—and avoid imposing burdensome new tariffs on manufactured products.
  • Fully eliminate forced localization rules impacting key manufacturing sectors, such as solar energy, information technology and medical equipment.
  • Fully comply with WTO decisions that ruled against Indian industrial policies, including those in solar energy and poultry.
  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to innovation through policies and practices that allow inventors of all nationalities to register, protect and use their IP in India.
  • Improve trade secret protection in India, making specific, concrete changes to law and practice that build on constructive bilateral dialogue.
  • Address structural barriers that prevent effective IP enforcement in India, including both policy barriers and limited enforcement capacity and political will.
  • Eliminate unwarranted restrictions on cross-border data flows that harm manufacturers and their ability to operate in both the United States and India.
  • Halt recent moves to impose price controls on medical device and pharmaceutical products that have raised major red flags about India’s business environment.

NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States.

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Smashbox founder excited for India expansion

Jun 20, 2017 0

Mumbai–Davis Factor, founder of Smashbox — a Los Angeles based cosmetic brand that was launched in India earlier this week, says he is excited to bring the experience of his make-up brand to India.

The cosmetics brand opened its first counter in Sephora in the Palladium Mall here om June 16.

“Namaste India! I’m so excited for you to experience everything Smashbox is — energetic, trendy, creative and colour obsessed. From LA to Mumbai, let’s get this colour story started!” Davis Factor, founder, Smashbox Cosmetics, said in a statement.

The make-up brand is available in Sephora outlets in Mumbai and New Delhi. It will make its digital presence on Nykaa in August.

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India-born Ishan Palit becomes first non-German board member of a German Company

Jun 20, 2017 0

New Delhi–Munich-headquartered safety, quality and sustainability solutions company TÜV SÜD on Tuesday announced the appointment of India-born Ishan Palit as its global Chief Operating Officer.

The German company, in a statement, said this appointment marks the first time in the 150-year history of the TÜV organisation that a non-German executive has been designated as member of the board of management.

Ishan Palit

According to the company, Palit will be responsible for operations and sales across all divisions and geographies, including the German market.

Mumbai-born Palit’s career at TÜV SÜD spans 23 years, including the founding of the company’s India subsidiary in 1994.

He studied in the US and the UK and holds a Bachelors Degree from Davidson College, US, a General Degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, UK, and a Masters in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University, US.

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India’s unemployment rate falling, says Labor Minister

Jun 18, 2017 0

New Delhi–Amid the raging debate on jobless growth in India, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said on Saturday that the rate of unemployment is going down in India.

Talking to reporters here, Dattatreya said his ministry would soon share with the public the data on unemployment.

The minister’s remarks came even as the NDA government faced severe criticism for promoting “jobless growth”, after a Labour Bureau quarterly survey showed that only 1,35,000 jobs were added by certain sectors in a quarter in 2015.

Another survey by the Labour Bureau said that unemployment in India was at a five-year high of five per cent of the workforce who are 15 years and above.

Dattatreya said that while employment was being generated through a slew of initiatives taken by the government, including Make in India, Skill India and Digital India missions, the problem was with the collection of data.

“To capture data more accurately, we need to do it through some new initiatives,” he said.

Facing criticism for not creating enough jobs, the government set up a task force in May to produce authoritative annual nationwide employment data based on household surveys.

Labour Secretary M. Sathiyavathy, who is part of the task force headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya, said the quarterly reports coming out of the Labour Bureau were unreliable for measuring employment as the sample size was “very small”.

“It is an enterprise-based survey covering about 10,600 enterprises across only eight sectors, she said.

“The biggest challenge is that the Labour Bureau survey covers only those enterprises which employ more than 10 people.

“In India, 98.5 per cent of the enterprises have less than ten employees. So we are, in effect, not covering 98.5 per cent of the enterprises in the country,” Sathiyavathy told reporters.

She said there was a need to expand this survey to ensure that it reflected the actual ground reality.

“So, the idea of the task force is to focus on these issues and ensure that we come up with some methodologies wherein we come out with a survey or any other way of data analytics where real situation on the ground is reflected.”

According to her, the task force would give its recommendations by next week. (IANS)

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14 companies to set up units at Telangana Medical Devices Park

Jun 18, 2017 0

Hyderabad– As many as 14 companies have come forward to set up their units at the Medical Devices Park which was launched at Sultanpur in Sangareddy district of Telangana near here on Saturday.

Telangana’s Minister for Industries K.T. Rama Rao, who launched the park along with Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao, said these companies would invest Rs 425 crore and create direct employment for 4,000 persons and indirect employment for 8,000.

The ministers handed over the documents of the land that was allotted to the 14 industries, which include Apollo Hospitals and information technology services firm Cyient Limited.

Coming up over 250 acres, the park will have a dedicated ecosystem for MedTech innovation and manufacturing.

Officials said this would be the largest facility in India for medical devices and electronics and will focus on medical innovations, R&D and manufacturing.

Rama Rao also announced that they will have a MoU with China Medical City located at Taizhou and another Medical Devices Park located in Gwangju in South Korea to exchange knowledge with them.

The facility would further strengthen Hyderabad’s leading position as in life sciences and pharma industry. Rama Rao pointed out that Hyderabad is also known as medical tourism destination across Africa, Middle East and other countries.

Rama Rao, who is son of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, said the facility would promote innovation. “We have also started working on a prototyping lab, which will help in bringing down the cost of medical care in the country,” he added. (IANS)

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Indian industry prepared for GST rollout from July 1

Jun 18, 2017 0

New Delhi– As the GST Council meets here to finalise issues before the Goods and Services Tax is implemented from July 1, industry lobby CII said on Sunday that Indian industry is ready for the rollout of the pan-India indirect tax regime.

“GST is the most significant indirect tax reform introduced in the country since Independence,” Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said in a statement here. The GST will replace the existing myriad central and state levies on goods and services.

“GST has been finalised after a collaborative and consultative approach and we look forward to its introduction,” he added.

The agenda of the GST Council meeting here currently underway includes discussion on postponing the requirement for filing returns under the GST as the IT infrastructure required for it is not yet ready.

CII said it is organising over 100 workshops across the country to enable enterprises to comply with the new regulations. The workshops are expected to reach out to around 5,000 enterprises. A helpline has been established where participants can request for clarifications, it said.

An awareness campaign has also been launched to inform industry about the processes related to GST, the statement added. (IANS)

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GST to rollout on July 1

Jun 18, 2017 0

New Delhi–The GST Council on Sunday unanimously agreed on July 1 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax despite some pending issues, with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that India does not have the “luxury of time” to defer implemention of the new indirect tax regime.

“The GST Council categorically agreed on the implementation of GST from July 1,” Jaitley told reporters here after the penultimate meeting of the Council before the single pan-India GST is officially rolled out on the midnight of June 30, replacing the existing myriad central and state levies on both goods and services.

“A number of companies and trades have been raising the issue of the lack of their own preparedness. We do not have the luxury of time to defer implementation of GST,” he said, announcing that the next meeting of the Council headed by him would be held on June 30.

Regarding the government’s preparedness, Jaitley noted that over 80 per cent registered entities have already received their provisional GST registrations.

“If you take from the old system of registrations, then there are 80.91 lakh assessees, of whom some will get excluded. Registrations are going on satisfactorily and 65.6 lakh have already taken provisional registration, which is good enough to file returns,” he said, adding that some new trades will come under the GST for the first time.

Arun Jaitley

In this connection, the Finance Minister said that the Council has allowed businesses a relaxation of time for the first two months (July-August) for filing their returns. These would also need to submit only a simple declaration initially, and would have time to furnish the exact “invoice-by-invoice data” later.

The GST Council on Sunday also decided on a two-slab structure for taxing lottery tickets, which Jaitley said proved to be a contentious issue.

While state-run lotteries will be taxed at 12 per cent under the GST, state-authorised private lotteries will attract tax at the highest rate of 28 per cent.

The Council deferred a decision on e-way bills due to lack of consensus, which means states which have an e-way bill structure in place can continue with it, while others are exempt.

“Till a consolidated rule is framed by consesnsus, the transient rule will continue,” Jaitley said on the e-way bill issue.

E-way bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the GST Network (GSTN) portal. Movement of goods of more than Rs 50,000 in value cannot be made by a registered person without an e-way bill.

The e-way bill will be optional under the Goods and Services Tax, as decided by the GST Council.

Briefing reporters here during a pause in the Council’s 17th meeting, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said that he has requested that textiles and fertilisers be exempted from the GST.

He also said that commercial tax from all border posts will be removed from July 1 with the implementation of the GST.

Ramakrishnudu also said that the Council turned down all the other representations for revision in rates, after it had agreed to revision for a numeber of items at its previous meeting here on June 11.

Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the e-way bill will be optional under GST.

“States which have an e-way bill structure in place can continue with it. However, since Maharashtra does not have a e-way bill facility, the state will not be implementing it,” he said.

The Council also considered the revision of tax on hotel rooms and decided that while those in the range of Rs 2,000-Rs 7,500 a day tariff would face 18 per cent tax, rooms with daily tariff above Rs 7,500 would be taxed at 28 per cent. Restaurant service in 5-star hotels would attract 18 per cent tax, Jaitley said.

He revealed that only three states — Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir — are still to complete their necessary legisaltive formalities for implementing the GST regime. (IANS)

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Annapoorni Sankaran Honored With BU’s Silver Shingle Alumni Award

Jun 16, 2017 0

HOUSTON– Annapoorni Sankaran, shareholder in the Houston office of the global law firm Greenberg Traurig, has been awarded Boston University’s School of Law’s Silver Shingle Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession.

The Silver Shingle Award was established in 1967 to recognize graduates who have contributed significantly to the legal profession, the community, and the School of Law.  The Silver Shingle recognizes alumni whose contributions within the profession exemplify leadership, ethics, and integrity, and whose accomplishments reflect great credit upon their profession.

Annapoorni Sankaran

Sankaran received her B.A. cum laude in political science from Boston University and her J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.  While in law school, she was named the G. Joseph Tauro Scholar and served as case and note editor on the Probate Law Journal.

Sankaran is a commercial litigator at Greenberg Traurig with subspecialties in bankruptcy and bankruptcy litigation.  She represents institutional and individual clients in all stages of business disputes.

The Silver Shingle Award was presented to Sankaran in Boston at the Annual Silver Shingle Awards Gala, which occurred this year on June 10 during the 2017 Reunion Weekend.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GTLaw) has more than 2,000 attorneys in 38 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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India needs legal infrastructure to lead in artificial intelligence

Jun 15, 2017 0

New Delhi–In order to become a frontrunner in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), India should take the lead in establishing a legal infrastructure on its application, a study said here on Thursday.

According to a recent Assocham-PwC joint study titled “Leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics for sustainable growth”, an early public sector interest could trigger a spurt of activity in the AI field in India, instead of waiting for technology to reach a level where regulatory intervention becomes necessary.

The study said a range of applications for AI techniques in large-scale public endeavours like “Make in India”, “Skill India” and others could range from crop insurance schemes, tax fraud detection, detecting subsidy leakage and security strategy.

“If investments are made in the two initiatives without due cognisance of how Industry 4.0 (the next industrial revolution driven by robotic automation) may evolve with respect to demand for workforce size and skill sets, there is a possibility of ending up with capital-intensive infrastructures and assets that fall short of being optimised for automated operations and a large workforce skilled in areas growing beyond the need for manual intervention only,” it added.

Information technology (IT), manufacturing, agriculture and forestry are certain sectors that are expected to experience shrinkage of employment demand as robotic systems and machine learning algorithms take up several tasks, the study said.

Highlighting how AI can be effectively used in execution of government schemes, the study pointed out that “deep learning”, a part of AI, can be employed to tackle prevalent issues.

“It is essentially a process that can be used for pattern recognition, image analysis and natural language processing (NLP) by modelling high-level abstractions in data which can then be compared with various other recognised contents in a conceptual way rather than using just a rule-based method,” it said.

The study added that in comparison to the West and frontrunners of AI adoption in Asia, such as China and Korea, the culture and infrastructure needed to develop a base for the adoption of AI in mainstream applications in India is in need of an impetus.

“As such it is imperative in India to foster a culture of innovation and research beyond the organisation as is common in global technology giants,” it added. (IANS)

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