IndUS Business Journal

Government to help open 3,000 Jan Aushadhi Stores across India

Aug 2, 2016 0

New Delhi–Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana (PMJAY), the central government will open 3,000 Jan Aushadhi Stores (JAS) pan India by the end of this fiscal to make quality drugs available at affordable prices, parliament was told on Tuesday.

“In order to open JAS proposed within government hospital premises, a one-time financial assistance is provided to the extent of Rs 2.50 lakh and the margin available for the retailers is 20 per cent so as to ensure a reasonable level of profitability for them,” Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh L. Mandaviya told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

In addition to the retailers’ margin up to 20 per cent, an 15 percent incentive on monthly sales subject to a ceiling of Rs 10,000 a month is also given for stores opened outside the government hospitals, he said.

For stores opened in northeastern states and Maoist-affected and tribal areas, the rate of incentive is 15 percent of monthly sales subject to a ceiling of Rs. 15,000 per month.

State governments, local bodies, individuals entrepreneurs, pharmacists, doctors, registered medical practitioners, NGOs, trusts, social and charitable institutions, private hospitals and self help groups or those with B.Pharma degree or D.Pharma diploma are eligible for opening of the stores.

Applicant should have own or hired space of minimum 120 square feet.

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Anu Yadav Leaves Tie-Boston as Executive Director, President Praveen Tailam Says Position Will be Filled Soon

Aug 2, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA—TiE-Boston Executive Director Anuradha Yadav has left the second-largest largest chapter of TiE-Global after serving less than two years but plans to stay engaged in the startup ecosystem in an advisory capacity with a few Boston-based startups.

TiE-Boston President Praveen Tailam said Yadav will be missed and the organization has already started interviewing candidates to fill the position of executive director soon.

Anu Yadav

Anu Yadav

“We are already in the process of interviewing candidates. We would like to bring someone with relevant experience in the startup ecosystem,” Tailam told INDIA New England News. “It is an influential position. TiE-Boston programs such as TyE, TiE Scaleup, TiE Angels and StartupCon are gaining tremendous visibility and making a very positive impact in the entrepreneurial community and is important to find the right candidate.”

In an e-mail interview from Austria, Yadav said she is presently taking some time off to spend with her husband and travel.

“In the near future, I look forward to working on our family foundation in honor of our father Dr. Dharam P. Yadav’s memory on a number of projects relating to health and development in India as he started out his professional career, post St. Stephens College, working for the planning commission focused on rural development initiatives and communication structures,” Yadav said. “This is a cause near and dear to my heart.  I also look forward to staying engaged in the startup ecosystem in an advisory capacity with a few Boston-based startups.”

Yadav joined TiE-Boston in late 2014, but had volunteered for Tie-Boston prior to that.

“I know TiE-Boston will find an Executive Director in the near future as this is a great opportunity for someone interested in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  TiE-Boston President Praveen Tailam is leading the search and the Board is actively engaged in the process,” Yadav said. “Although I am leaving the Executive Director position, I have been involved with TiE-Boston for 11 years (I used to Co-Chair the Social Entrepreneurship SIG for 4 years) and plan on staying engaged with the TiE-Boston community.”

TiE-Boston President Praveen Tailam

TiE-Boston President Praveen Tailam

When asked why did she leave TiE-Boston, Yadav said: “It has been an amazing experience to working with the TiE-Boston community, including the Board, charter members and volunteers and we did a lot in my nearly two year tenure.”

She said some of the goals accomplished during her time included:

  • Rebranding TiE StartupCon and almost doubling the number of attendees,
  • Launching TiE ScaleUp, our program to help companies between Seed and Series A financing,
  • Creating curated dinners to connect younger entrepreneurs with seasoned entrepreneurs,
  • Two successive years where TyE high school teams won in TyE Global,
  • Organizing deep dives in Tech, Cleantech and Social Entrepreneurship, and
  • Working with other awesome organizations in our ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in New England.”

“I am so grateful to have worked with such inspiring entrepreneurs,” Yadav said.

With her passion about helping entrepreneurs start and scale their companies, Yadav led TiE-Boston’s strategic initiatives and strengthened its innovative programs for entrepreneurs.

TiE-Boston provides programs to help all entrepreneurs from the high school level to those ready to fundraise.  Yadav has also been a longtime mentor and advisor to social impact companies at MassChallenge, the largest not-for-profit startup accelerator in Boston.  She also served as a trustee on the University of Vermont (“UVM”) Board of Trustees and is currently an Emeriti trustee as well as a member of the UVM Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Yadav graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Vermont and received her J.D., with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Upon graduating from law school, she clerked for the Honorable William K. Sessions, III, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Vermont.

For ten years, Yadav was a corporate attorney, practicing at State Street Bank and Trust Company, Ropes & Gray, LLP, Brown Rudnick, LLP in Boston, and DLA Piper LLP in Atlanta, GA. She has represented start-up companies from initial formation, through venture capital financings, and acquisitions.

Since 1997, TiE-Boston has been supporting entrepreneurs by offering education, mentorship, networking, and funding opportunities. TiE-Boston is a chapter of TiE-Global, the largest global not-for-profit organization fostering entrepreneurship. TiE-Boston members leverage the global network of members from 61 chapters in 18 countries. TiE has 12,000 members throughout the world, and has contributed over $250 billion in wealth creation.

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87 percent of Indian-worker exploitation complaints from Gulf nations

Aug 2, 2016 0

By Chaitanya Mallapur

As thousands of laid-off Indian workers in Saudi Arabia were said to be without food, 87 per cent of complaints received from Indian workers at Indian missions across nine countries were from six Gulf countries, with nearly half of those from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to government data.

Indian missions across nine countries received 55,119 complaints of ill-treatment and “exploitation” of Indian workers over the last three years, according to data tabled in the Lok Sabha by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Of these, the Indian mission in Qatar received 13,624 complaints, followed by missions in Saudi Arabia (11,195), Kuwait (11,103) and Malaysia (6,346).

On July 30, 2016, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj acknowledged the hunger facing laid-off Indian workers in Saudi Arabia.

“The number of Indian workers facing food crisis in Saudi Arabia is over Ten Thousand. It is not 800 as is being reported,” she tweeted.

Sushma Swaraj promised, through a series of tweets, “that no Indian worker rendered unemployed in Saudi Arabia will go without food”.

The complaints received from Indian workers include “non-payment/delayed payment or underpayment of salaries, long working hours, inadequate living conditions, physical harassment, non-renewal of visa and labour card on time, refusal to pay for medical treatment, denial of leave and air-ticket to home town on completion of contract period, forcible custody of passport and visa and refusal of leave or exit/re-entry permits”, the ministry said in its reply to parliament.

No specific complaint of sexual abuse was reported, the ministry added.

Twenty-four per cent of Indians jailed aboard in Saudi prisons

Saudi Arabia has more Indians in prison than any other country: 1,697 of 7,213, according to another Lok Sabha reply.

Saudi Arabia is followed by United Arab Emirates (1,143). The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain — account for half of all Indians jailed abroad and 87 per cent of mis-treatment complaints received from Indian workers.

The Indian mission in Saudi Arabia registered 1,676 complaints during the first half of 2016.

Poor working conditions put an Indian living in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait at 10 times the risk of death compared to an Indian living in the US, IndiaSpend reported in August 2015.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Kuwait report between 65 and 78 deaths per 100,000 Indian workers.

An average of 69 Indians die every year in the six Gulf countries. The corresponding figure for the rest of the world is 26.5, almost 60 per cent lower.

(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform, with whom Chaitanya Mallapur is an analyst.)

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Indian government unveils Twitter Sewa for telecom, postal sector complaints

Aug 2, 2016 0

New Delhi–The government on Tuesday launched a Twitter Sewa service for addressing the complaints and concerns of the common man and other stake-holders in the telecom and postal sectors.

The initiative was launched by Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) Manoj Sinha.

Manoj Sinha

Manoj Sinha

The Twitter Sewa handle to lodge complaints and concerns is @manojsinhabjp.

Sinha said the launch of the service is in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “minimum government, maximum governance” and through this live communications platform government can provide a transparent, clean and responsive and accountable administration.

The minister said the Telecom Ministry and Department of Post will compile a list of complaints from the Twitter Sewa and categorise them into immediate, mid-term and long-term complaints.

Sinha said the challenge is gigantic as India has the biggest postal network in the world and the number of mobile phone subscribers had already crossed 1 billion in January this year.

“Therefore, we are aware that complaints are going to pour in from across the country and in great numbers. But I would like to assure you that the Ministry will rise up to this challenge,” he added.

He also said there are chances that the Twitter Seva may be misused by some rogue elements but he expressed hope that Twitter authorities will take care of the same. (IANS)

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Pakistan does not need IMF support anymore: Minister

Aug 2, 2016 0

Islamabad– Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has claimed that the country does not need support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) anymore.

“Pakistan will soon stop looking towards IMF for assistance. The last session with IMF is underway right now,” Dar said in an interview to Dawn online on Monday.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar (Photo courtesy: Tribune, Pakistan)

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar (Photo courtesy: Tribune, Pakistan)

We will not go to IMF for assistance, Dar added.

The Finance Minister said that by 2050, Pakistan will become the 18th biggest economic nation across the world, Dawn online reported.

Earlier, a senior IMF official said that Pakistan’s economy was gradually gaining strength and its short-term vulnerabilities were also receding.

Clarifying the government’s plan regarding the newly envisioned property tax laws, Dar said “we haven’t announced any amnesty scheme regarding the transferring of property”.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will now determine the prices of property and all transactions will be done through a transparent process, Dawn online quoted the minister as saying.

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Sun Pharma to launch diabetes tablet in US

Aug 2, 2016 0

Chennai–Indian drug cmpany Sun Pharmacuetical Industries Ltd on Tuesday said it will launch the generic version of Glumetza, Metformin Hydrochloride tablets – a diabetes drug – soon in the US.

The company said in a statement, that one of its subsidiaries got the final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for generic version of Glumetza, Metformin Hydrochloride extended release tablets 500 mg and 1,000 mg.

“These Metformin Hydrochloride extended release tablets are therapeutic equivalents of Santarus Inc’s Glumetza tablets,” the statement said.

The tablets may have an annual sales of around $1.2 billion in the US, the company added.

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India: 7,700 Indian workers affected in Saudi Arabia, given shelter in 20 camps

Aug 2, 2016 0

New Delhi–In all, 7,700 Indian workers of four companies in Saudi Arabia, affected by financial crisis, have been given shelter in 20 camps, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said on Tuesday.

Giving a breakup of the figures, Swarup said 4,072 workers belonging to construction company Saudi Oger in Riyadh are in 10 camps: nine in Riyadh and one in Damman.

Vikas Swarup

Vikas Swarup

He said 1,457 workers belonging to SAAD Group, Dammam, are in two camps in Dammam; five workers belonging to Shifa Sanaya, Riyadh, are in one camp; 13 workers belonging to Taiya Contracting, Riyadh, are in one camp.

“In addition, there are 2,153 Indian workers belonging to Saudi Oger in six camps in Jeddah all of whom have been provided food by the Indian consulate,” Swarup said.

“So there are a total of 7,700 affected Indian workers in 20 camps.”

The Indian embassy in Riyadh convened a meeting of community social workers and volunteers on Monday, wherein the Ambassador apprised them of the ongoing problems faced by the Indian workers and sought the help of the community in collecting information about the affected workers from different companies in the Kingdom, Swarup said.

Each of the community workers were given a form to be filled in with the requisite information to be submitted to the embassy.

“Embassy teams visited six camps yesterday (Monday) in Riyadh,” Swarup said.

He said the information about each worker, about his total service, pending salary, desire to exit or to continue or to transfer to other companies was being collected separately.

“A team of the embassy is separately working in Dammam. This team yesterday met the labour officials to complete procedures related to the protection of legal dues of the workers, once they depart on final exit,” Swarup said, adding that the team was also in touch with the affected workers in the region.

He said Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh would be leaving for Jeddah on Tuesday night via Dubai.

“His on-ground assessment will determine future course of action,” Swarup said. (IANS)

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Indian Economy: Resolving to finance double-digit growth

Aug 2, 2016 0

By Amit Kapoor

The Indian economy is heading for interesting times. With the government trying to push key legislation like GST — possibly on Aug 3 — the future of the Indian economy is a topic on which a lot of consideration is presently being given. A recent World Bank report titled ‘India Development Update-June 2016’ sheds light on some of the pertinent aspects of the Indian economy.

First, it puts into perspective the present growth. The Indian economy has seen an acceleration of growth up to 7.6 per cent y/y in FY2016, up from an average of 6.5 percent from FY13-15. For continuing the momentum, the report stresses on the need to tackle four risks.

These include what may arise out of a deficient monsoon (which seems unlikely at present — given the flood like situation in several parts of India including the northeast and Assam). Second, even if the monsoon is normal, boosting rural consumption, especially after two years of deficient rainfall, seems a little difficult. Third, given the waning oil dividend, the government may find it difficult to meet the fiscal consolidation target to which it has stuck in the past. Finally, the export demand may continue to deteriorate amidst a tepid recovery in global economy.

These four risks will have to be tackled effectively to be able to grow and exceed the present growth rate that India is witnessing.

Second, the update focuses on the financial sector and its capability to finance double-digit growth. This includes looking at two related issues: a structural transformation of the financial sector into a more market-oriented and competitive one and addressing the issues of public sector banks (PSBs), most notably that of non-performing assets (NPAs) in the coming months.

Both these issues are important, especially considering the fact that the Indian financial sector, in spite of liberalisation, is still largely in the hands of the public sector. The problem of bad debt is one of the most pressing problems in the sector and will need solutions before it can look to finance double-digit growth.

The update also focusses on the impact of the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) on the state budgets and expenditure. The update has analysed the budgets of 20 states which account for more than 90 per cent of India’s GDP. The analysis tells us that total transfers to the states increased from 5.5 per cent of GDP (actuals) to 6.2 percent (budgeted estimates) in 2016-17.

The exercise also looked at three effects of implementing the FFC’s recommendations. These included the overall devolution effect (ODE), share effect (SE) and grant effect (GE). The analysis shows that all states gained but the extent of this varied significantly: from 0.06 percent of the GSDP in the case of Andhra Pradesh to 5.34 percent in the case of Mizoram.

Also, health and education expenditure increased in 13 of the 14 states for which data was available. This is in contrast to what has been a general perception on decreasing allocations to health and education. Rajasthan and Kerala stand out as spending the equivalent of 70 percent of additional resources on health, education and infrastructure.

The update also has some key suggestions. These include accelerating the development of capital markets in India, along with resolving the issues of road and power sector, which have resulted in the problems of accumulated NPAs in the past. Also, there is need is to look at increasing the commercial orientation of the banking sector.

Over the next few years, Indian policymakers should incorporate some of the key suggestions and aim at increasing India’s growth rate while addressing its imminent risks and challenges.

(The article is co-authored with Sankalp Sharma, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Competitiveness, India. Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness & Editor of Thinkers. The views expressed are personal.)

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Milk Problem: Over 60 percent of the milk produced in India is adulterated

Aug 2, 2016 0

New Delhi–The government on Tuesday admitted that milk adulteration remained a problem but said steps were being taken to deal with the challenge.

“Milk adulteration is a problem and we are trying to help out,” Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C.R. Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha.

C. R. Chaudhary

C. R. Chaudhary

Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government had already moved a Bill to amend the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. “The new bill addresses some of these issues,” Paswan said.

The remarks came after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor alleged that the National Survey of 2011 found that “over 60 per cent of the milk produced in India is adulterated, eight per cent by detergents”.

“Then we have urea, starch and formalin, all of which are going into our milk. Milk is drunk by children, pregnant women, by elderly people. It is a matter of national concern,” he said.

Tharoor added that the Standing Committee related to the food ministry had come up with a report “but we have not seen any action by the ministry”.

Answering supplementary questions, Minister Chaudhary said about 2.16 crore bogus ration cards had been detected.

He also said about 60 per cent of the ration cards have been linked with Aadhaar cards.

In a written reply, Paswan said grant was given from the Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF) to the states for setting up a corpus fund of Rs 10 crore towards undertaking consumer awareness activities.

BJP member Prahlad Joshi said: “Though people approach consumer forums and consumer courts, delay in justice is still a cause of concern. Adulteration in food, adulteration in milk, adulteration in tea and coffee, adulteration in petrol and diesel, all these things are still happening. People are being duped as far as prices are concerned.”

Minister Chaudhary said the government has adopted a lot of measures to address the problems of the consumers.

“In the 12th plan, Rs 409.29 crore has been allocated to enlighten the consumers and to push this whole programme forward. Similarly, we have the national consumer helpline,” he said.

The minister said some three lakh complaints were received each year.

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High Speed Talgo completes Delhi-Mumbai trial run but over three hours late

Aug 2, 2016 0

Mumbai–The Spanish-made Talgo high-speed train reached Mumbai from New Delhi on its third and final trial run on Tuesday but over three hours late owing to heavy rains, an official said on Tuesday.

The train, which left New Delhi at 7.55 p.m. on Monday evening, completed the 1,384 km trial run despite delays on account of heavy rains which flooded tracks in the Gujarat-Maharashtra border area. It reached Mumbai Central Terminus at 11.40 a.m. against the expected time of 8.31 a.m.

EMAIL PRINT 28 COMMENTS Heavy Rain Delays Arrival Of High Speed Talgo Train In Mumbai Talgo train, India's fastest train, with 9 lightweight coaches arrives in Mumbai. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

Heavy Rain Delays Arrival Of High Speed Talgo Train In Mumbai
Talgo train, India’s fastest train, with 9 lightweight coaches arrives in Mumbai. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

The Talgo, with nine lightweight coaches, is expected to cut down travel time between New Delhi and Mumbai by around four hours – from the existing 16 to 12 hours – though exact schedules are not yet finalized.

As the gleaming white train with pink double stripes and its logo passed by certain stations en route on the Mumbai suburban sector, many commuters waved at it, screamed in joy and clicked away pictures.

The Indian Railways termed the trial run a “great success”, saying it recorded 50 minutes gain from the scheduled run up to Ratlam.

It said around 10 km of rail tracks between Vapi-Bhilad-Mumbai route washed out due to heavy rainfall, affecting train services.

Further trials of this train are expected to be undertaken on August 5, 8 and 14 with higher speeds on curves and increasing to 140 kmph and 150 kmph with each trial.

After further trials and clearances for various parameters like safety, speed, stability and brake systems from the Commissioner of Railway Safety, the train is expected to be commissioned by Western Railway around March 2017.

Presently, the fastest trains on this sector are the Rajdhani Express and August Kranti Rajdhani Express which take around 16 hours to complete the journey.

The Talgo, often referred to as a ‘semi-bullet train’, comprises nine deluxe coaches, including two executive class, four chair cars, a cafeteria, a power car and a tail-end for the guard, staff and equipment.

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