IndUS Business Journal

Punjab approves new business development policy

Oct 16, 2017 0

Chandigarh– Faced with the daunting task of reviving economic and industrial activity in the state, the Punjab Cabinet on Monday approved a new business development policy, paving the way for fixing of industrial power tariff at Rs 5 per unit and a one-time settlement of industrial loans.

Under the new ‘Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017’, the industrial power tariff is proposed to be made effective from November 1 and will be applicable for five years. It will apply for the existing and new industries.

“Besides providing for incentives for expansion, modernisation and upgradation of existing units at par with new units, the new policy envisages a one-time settlement for industries against loans taken from the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, the Punjab Financial Corporation and the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Ltd,” a state government spokesman said.

The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

“The One Time Settlement (OTS) Policy, 2017, would help in releasing the blocked industrial investments and assets to put the same into productive use so as to revive the existing industries in Punjab,” the spokesman added.

“It will also result in reducing the burden of litigation of these corporations and generate revenues for their developmental activities.”

Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh abstained from discussion on the one-time settlement of loans as his company would also benefit from the move, said the spokesman.

Under the new industrial policy, industrial infrastructure development will be on priority agenda under the provisions, which provide for development of border districts, extreme border zone and ‘Kandi’ areas.

He said that the new policy is aimed at promoting ease of doing business to attract investment in Punjab. (IANS)

Read More

Odisha invites investment in downstream aluminium sector

Oct 16, 2017 0

Bhubaneswar– In order to promote investments in downstream aluminium sector, the Odisha government on Monday held discussions with over 70 Indian companies and invited them to invest in Odisha’s downstream ecosystem.

The Industries Department organised the event here in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry and highlighted the advantages of investing in Angul Aluminium Park, a first-of-its-kind project in the subcontinent with the facility to directly obtain molten aluminium from the smelter.

With the demand of aluminium expected to rise further, Odisha is setting up the Angul park. The state is the largest aluminium producer in India and accounts for 54 per cent of the country’s total smelting capacity.

Spread over 223 acres, the park will create ample opportunities for downstream industries in the state, said an official.

CII Chairman (Odisha) and Nalco CMD T.K. Chand said: “There is a huge opportunity for downstream products in the state. Investors will be getting developed land, power and training facilities. Additionally, the state government will also assist investors in setting up their operations.”

The downstream industry will have a cost benefit of Rs 10,000 per tonne and enough raw material committed to them. Nalco will provide hand-holding to all downstream and ancillary units, said Chand.

Industries Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said: “Odisha is a mineral rich state and by developing world-class infrastructure, we aim to provide an ideal business ecosystem for all related sectors to flourish. We have already received several investment proposals for the Angul park and aim to create around 15,000 job opportunities through the project.”

Investments in aluminium downstream sector have been gaining momentum in Odisha. Over five years, the state has attracted investments of Rs 893 crore, including proposals by Bahrain-based Midal Cables and Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) subsidiary Grid Conductors.

Four of the five proposals drawn are for the aluminium park developed jointly by Nalco and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation at Angul.

S.K. Mohanty, CEO, Angul Aluminium Park, said: “Odisha accounts for 50 per cent of the aluminium production in the country. The aluminium refining capacity has gone up to 5.775 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) from 0.80 MTPA and smelting capacity to 2.634 MTPA from 0.509 MTPA. Availability of abundant raw material from Nalco, Vedanta will be very crucial for the downstream aluminium and ancillary industry.”

Companies from India like KEI Industries, Jindal Steel, Havells India, Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Sterlite Technologies Ltd attended the event. (IANS)

Read More

Punjab allows ‘Right of Way’ to lay irrigation pipelines

Oct 16, 2017 0

Chandigarh– The Punjab Cabinet on Monday approved granting ‘Right of Way’ to government departments concerned or farmers to enable them to lay underground irrigation pipelines through other land holders’ areas.

The amendment to the existing law will allow the laying of underground irrigation pipelines at a depth of 3 feet beneath the surface of land as per demarcated line, a state government spokesperson said on Monday.

The Cabinet “approved the incorporation of a new Section 14-A in Chapter III as an amendment in Punjab Land Improvement Schemes Act 1963 (Act no 23 of 1963)”, the spokesperson said.

“The amendment would give the ‘Right of Way’ to the Soil and Water Conservation Department and the farmers against payment, as per prevailing market rates, of compensation on account of crop damage or damage to any structure.”

The amendment was necessitated by the fact that land holders or entities or agencies holding land often did not allow the underground pipeline to pass through their land, thus depriving the farmer, with land located on the other side, of much-needed irrigation facilities, it was pointed out in the proposal sent to the cabinet in which approval was sought.

“Farmers with a single source of irrigation and fragmented agricultural land holdings were the worst affected due to the existing lacunae in the law. Absence of legal rights on this count was also holding up several government-funded projects,” it said.

To ensure implementation of the scheme, a district level committee under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner and comprising representatives from Revenue, Agriculture, Forest, Public Works and Soil Conservation Departments would be formed.

The proposed committee would be entrusted with the task of determining the amount of compensation to be paid to the land holder, the spokesperson said.

Laying of underground pipelines for irrigation is the most effective way for efficient use of water resources in agrarian Punjab. (IANS)

Read More

EU adopts total ban policy on investment in N. Korea

Oct 16, 2017 0

Brussels– The European Union (EU) on Monday adopted a total ban policy on EU investment in North Korea, in a bid to ratchet up economic pressure on the Northeast Asia country over its ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

The total ban, taking effect immediately, is one of the EU’s autonomous measures against North Korea which was adopted by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg, according to a statement of the Foreign Affairs Council.

The ban was previously limited to investment in the nuclear and conventional arms-related industry.

The Council also slapped a total ban on the sales of refined petroleum products and crude oil to North Korea, and slashed the amount of personal remittances transferred to Pyongyang from 15,000 euros ($17,7000) to 5,000 euros ($5,900).

Furthermore, the Council added three persons and six entities to a blacklist of those subject to an asset freeze and travel restrictions, bringing the backlist to 41 individuals and 10 entities.

The EU has carried out all UN sanctions against North Korea, in addition to its autonomous restrictive measures against Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council on September 11 unanimously adopted a resolution to impose fresh sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear test on September 3 in violation of the previous Security Council resolutions.

The new sanctions severely restrict Pyongyang’s oil imports, and ban its textile exports worth $800 million dollars and the remittances from about 93,000 overseas North Korea labourers.

Reiterating that the “dual–track approach” and the “suspension for suspension” initiative are practical methods to solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has called on all relevant parties to actively support China’s efforts to push for dialogue and negotiation, and play a constructive role for a peaceful solution of the issue.

Pyongyang on September 3 detonated a hydrogen bomb capable of being carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the sixth nuclear test it has undertaken, running counter to relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula. (IANS)

Read More

Micro financer KrazyBee raises $8 mn venture fund

Oct 16, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Micro-lending start-up KrazyBee on Monday said it raised $8 million (Rs 5.2 crore) in its first round of funding (Series A) from Xiaomi Technologies and Shunwei Capital.

“The latest fund will be used to strengthen our risk model and algorithm, catering to new market segment, focus on product diversification and geographical expansion,” said the city-based micro-lender in a statement here.

E-city Ventures and RK Group also participated in the funding, which is a mix of unspecified equity and debt ratio.

With a seed fund of $2 million and a pre-series A funding of $3 million, the start-up has raised $13 million capital till date.

“Our company’s mission is to make credit for young professionals and college students in India accessible and affordable. We realized very early that to grow and sustain in this industry, having a steady source and lower cost of funds is quintessential,” said its CEO Madhusudhan E. in the statement.

The firm, founded in May 2016, provides under-graduate/post-graduate students under the age of 30 with cash credit, two-wheeler credit, college semester/tuition fees credit among others.

It currently has over three lakh registered users on its application and processes nearly 1700 loan applications each day.

The micro-lending platform has been operating across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mysore (Karnataka) and Vellore (Tamil Nadu), and has recently expanded to Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Nashik (Maharashtra) and Manipal (Karnataka). (IANS)

Read More

CPI-M attacks Centre on economic slowdown, jobless growth

Oct 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– Attacking the central government on “slowdown in economy and jobless growth”, the CPI-M on Monday accused it of “creating more jobs outside India by focusing on imports” than within the country.

“It is now a well-established fact that the economy is virtually coming to a grinding halt,” Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters after a meeting of its Central Committee here.

“There is a decline in every sector. The services sector, for the first time, is contracting.”

“Imports have gone up whereas industrial production has declined. That means the Modi government is creating more jobs outside India, whereas virtual de-industrialisation is taking place after demonetisation in India,” he said.

Taking a dig, Yechury said the Modi government’s ‘acchhe din’ promise was never fulfilled and the people were in fact now demanding return of their ‘bure din’ (bad days).

He said that due to the combined effects of Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation, “a very rapid phase of domestic de-industrialisation has set in the country”.

At the same time, the burden on the people is increasing, Yechury said.

The CPI-M leader said that while the central government was writing off non-productive assets of banks vis-a-vis big corporates, no such relief was available for small farmers unable to repay their loans.

“The Central Committee condemned the NPA write-offs of big corporates totalling more than Rs 2 lakh crore instead of initiation of recovery proceedings. In sharp contrast, when small farmers and those owning small amounts to banks are unable to pay back, their properties are confiscated,” a CPI-M statement said. (IANS)

Read More

Footwear institute gets ‘national importance’ status, can now award degrees

Oct 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– With the grant of ‘Institute of National Importance’ status, the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) can now award degrees to its students, the government announced on Monday.

“The government commitment to resolve the degree issue has culminated in the grant of the said status to FDDI. The FDDI now has the autonomy to design its courses as per the requirement of industry and award its own degree to the students,” Minister of State for Commerce C.R. Chaudhary told reporters here.

“With this, the government has ensured upgradation of FDDI to a position of eminence so as to enable the institute to effectively serve the sector,” he added.

C.R. Chaudhary

The provisions of the FDDI Act, 2017, passed by Parliament in July, came into force with their notification on Monday.

“The FDDI can now independently develop and conduct courses leading to graduate and postgraduate degrees, doctoral and post-doctoral courses and research in the areas of footwear and leather products design and development and allied fields,” he added.

The institute is currently imparting skill-based graduate and postgraduate courses in footwear, leather goods, retail and management to around 2,500 students in eight campuses across India.

The FDDI will now be able to enroll around 2,500 more students in the coming academic session across 12 campuses, of which four new ones at Patna, Hyderabad, Ankleshwar, and Banur will become functional from the next session, Chaudhary said.

He said the government is givng special attention to the footwear sector as it employs over 4.4 million people, he added. (IANS)

Read More

Norteast emerging as new start-up spot: Minister

Oct 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– Union Minister of State for Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh claimed that the area was fast emerging as the new start-up destination for youngsters from all over India, an official statement on Monday.

Due to improvement in connectivity and transport facility in the last two years, coupled with concentrated administrative focus, more and more youngsters are now heading towards the northeastern states to venture into entrepreneurship and take advantage of its unexplored potential, he said, according to a DoNER Ministry statement.

Jitendra Singh

Citing an example, he said in certain areas of Northeast, including states like Arunachal Pradesh, “while almost 40 per cent of the fruit goes waste on account of lack of adequate storage and transport facilities, the same can be used to produce and manufacture fresh and pure fruit juice at a much more cost-effective price”.

During an interaction with youngsters here on Sunday, Jitendra Singh also pointed out that many new airports coming up at Pakyong (Sikkim), Itanagar and Shillong, which along with a time-bound plan to lay broad-gauge rail track, would bring in further ease of doing business.

“Another sector of entrepreneurship which is fast emerging in Northeast is the medical and healthcare sector.

“For years, there has been a trend for patients to shift outside the region, mostly to Kolkata or Vellore, but the encouragement given to the private corporate sector has now resulted in the opening of new hospitals within the region itself and young entrepreneurs are taking the lead,” he said. (IANS)

Read More

One in three smartphones to be AI-ready in 2020

Oct 16, 2017 0

New Delhi – One in three smartphones — roughly over half a billion — shipped in 2020 will have machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities at the chipset level, new research said on Monday.

According to Counterpoint’s ‘Components Tracker Service’, Apple, with its Bionic system on chip (SoC), will drive native AI adoption in smartphones, making the iPhone maker a leader in the AI-capable chip market through 2020.

Huawei, with its HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC, is second in the market after Apple with AI-capable smartphones.

“The initial driver for the rapid adoption of AI in smartphones is the use of facial recognition technology by Apple in its recently launched iPhone X,” said Counterpoint Research Director Jeff Fieldhack.

“Face recognition is computationally intensive and if other vendors are to follow Apple’s lead, they will need to have similar on-board AI capabilities to enable a smooth user experience,” he added.

Qualcomm is expected to unlock AI capabilities in its high to mid-tier SoCs within the next few months.

Qualcomm should be able to catch up with Apple and Huawei and is expected to be second in the market in terms of volume by 2020, followed by Samsung and Huawei.

“With advanced SoC-level AI capabilities, smartphones will be able to perform a variety of tasks such as processing natural languages, including real-time translation; helping users take better photos by intelligently identifying objects and adjusting camera settings accordingly,” explained Counterpoint Research Director Peter Richardson.

Machine learning will make smartphones understand user behaviour in an unprecedented manner.

Analysing user behaviour patterns, devices will be able to make decisions and perform tasks that will reduce physical interaction time between the user and the device.

“Virtual assistants will become smarter by analysing and learning user behaviour, thereby uniquely serving each user according to their needs,” Richardson added.

According to Research Analyst Shobhit Srivastava, there is also growing potential in for AI-capable devices to play a key role in health care.

“Machine learning algorithms can be used to generate health and lifestyle guidance for users by analysing combinations of sensor data and user behaviour,” said Srivastava. (IANS)

Read More

Indians love to share personal data on social media platforms

Oct 16, 2017 0

New Delhi – People in India are a happier lot when it comes to connect via social media platforms and 39 per cent of them trust the information they see on social media channels as compared to 32 per cent globally, new research said on Monday.

Only 29 per cent of Indian consumers have concerns about the amount of personal data brands have on them, compared to 40 per cent globally and rising to as high as 56 per cent in Australia, according to the global insights company Kantar TNS.

Just 27 per cent objected to connected devices monitoring their online activities, compared to 43 per cent globally.

“The desire to connect via social media has been the driving force behind a substantial part of the digital revolution in India, and as a result, engagement and trust on social platforms continues to be high,” said Anusheel Shrivastava, Executive Vice President, Kantar TNS India.

Kantar TNS surveyed 70,000 people across 56 countries and conducted 104 in-depth interviews as part of the “2017 Connected Life” study.

The findings showed that for the most part, consumers in India have not yet realised the trade-offs intrinsic to a connected lifestyle that have caused other countries to become more cynical about the way companies are using the personal information.

Despite this open attitude, Indians are not as trusting of global brands as other countries in the APAC region, with 38 per cent trusting big global brands in comparison to 54 per cent in both Vietnam and Myanmar, and 47 per cent in Indonesia.

The mobile-first environment has resulted in connected consumers trying newer forms of interaction with brands as 36 per cent of consumers in India were happy to interact with chatbots online.

The study also revealed that a third (33 per cent) of Indians said that they are willing to pay for products using their mobile phone.

“Brands in emerging countries see higher levels of consumer trust today than those in developed ones but they shouldn’t take it for granted. To build and protect trust, brands need to put the customer first,” noted Michael Nicholas, Global Lead of Connected Solutions, Kantar TNS. (IANS)

Read More