IndUS Business Journal

Punjab National Bank detects $1.8 bn fraud at a Mumbai branch

Feb 14, 2018 0

Mumbai– Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches here, the bank said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges on Wednesday.

“The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance,” the filing by the bank said.

It had quoted the quantum of such transactions was to the tune of around $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore).

The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

This case has happened at a time when the Indian banking system is already grappling to tackle its swelling non-performing assets.

“Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad. In the bank these transactions are contingent in nature and liability arising out of these on the bank shall be decided based on the law and genuineness of underlying transactions,” the filing said.

The bank informed: “The matter is already referred to law enforcement agencies to examine and book the culprits as per law of the land.”

On February 5, the Central Bureau of Investigation had booked billionaire diamond service provider Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and an enterprise companion for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank of over Rs 280.70 crore last year.

Following the complaint, the CBI registered a FIR under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the four.

The stock of Punjab National Bank was trading at Rs 149.20 per share, down 7.70 per cent at the BSE at 1.59 p.m. (IANS)

Read More

IBM eyeing BFSI, telecom sector for growth in India

Feb 14, 2018 0

By Krishna SinhaChaudhury

Mumbai– When it comes to digital transformation, sectors like the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), and telecom, will become the growth engines for India and IBM is ready to meet the technology requirements, a top company executive has said.

“The biggest growth for us is going to come from the financial services. We are going to consolidate telco and look at new revenue streams because telco is an industry that is turning on its head. There’s going to be a lot of conversations around integrated telcos which is getting into network domains,” Lula Mohanty, Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services, told IANS in an interview.

IBM organised a two-day “The THINK Forum” here on February 12-13 attended by senior IBM and key business leaders from across the country who discussed the future of business and technologies that will shape the economy and society.

“The third vertical which we are very interested in is what’s going on in the domain of the retail industry in terms of Internet of Things (IoT) platforms as a service on products,” she noted.

When it comes to skilling and preparing a workforce for New-Age technologies like Artificial Intellignece (AI), robotics, Big Data and IoT, IBM is working with some of the state governments via skill development centres.

“We are also in talks with NITI Aayog and other learning and development organisations to understand what is the platform that we can put in place to skill more people,” Mohanty told IANS.

IBM recently announced a collaboration with the Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) to spur emerging technology skills in the domestic telecom industry.

IBM’s student developers’ programme (career education) that infuses software capabilities that are industry-specific and market-relevant has helped more than 24,000 students and faculty members develop industry-relevant software capabilities.

Present in India since 1951, IBM India has expanded its operations with regional headquarters in Bengaluru and offices across 20 cities.

With the aim to help Indian enterprises deliver next-generation consumer experiences, global consulting agency Bluewolf, an IBM company, also announced a new practice in the country with “Salesforce”, a global leader in the customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

The dedicated practice will leverage Bluewolf’s expertise and delivery capabilities in Augmented Reality (AR) and innovation strategy — combined with IBM’s leadership in cognitive and design-thinking with “Watson” — to help clients connect customer experience to value.

IBM currently manages 100-200 customers for the Salesforce practice in the country and expects the number to grow significantly in the coming years as enterprises and government agencies begin riding on digital transformation initiatives.

“India is one of the highest-growth markets for Salesforce,” said Sunil Jose, Senior Vice President and Country Leader, Salesforce India.

“We will continue to double our investments in the country. We welcomed our 1,000th employee in India in November last year. We will hire 1,000 more employees in Hyderabad alone by 2020,” Jose told IANS.

“We already have a strong base in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. India is the market that is continuously growing for us,” Jose added.

Highlighting the strategy for the country, he said: “To drive business value, success and growth for its customers, Salesforce will focus on customer-centric digital transformation.”

The customer relationship management (CRM) solutions provider also has a “Centre of Excellence” in Hyderabad, which is its first major centre in India. (IANS)

Read More

Not our job to recruit journalists for content: Facebook

Feb 14, 2018 0

San Francisco– In a clear message to news publishers, a top Facebook executive has emphasised that it is not their job to recruit people from media organisations for the content on the social media platform.

At the “Code Media 2018” conference in California organised by the famous tech portal ReCode, Facebook’s Head of News Partnerships Campbell Brown said “her job is to make sure there is quality news on Facebook”.

But “my job is not to go recruit people from news organisations to put their stuff on Facebook,” she was quoted as saying in The Verge late on Tuesday.

Facebook hired former NBC and CNN anchor Brown to lead its news partnership team last year.

When asked about why Brazil’s largest newspaper Folha de Sao Paolo had stopped publishing content to its six million Facebook followers, she said: “This didn’t come as a big surprise to me quite honestly”.

“Folha hadn’t been publishing regularly on Facebook for a while, she said. And in any case, it wasn’t her job to persuade them,” the report added.

“Publishers who want to be on Facebook …have a business model that works. If anyone feels this isn’t the right platform for them, they should not be on Facebook,” she was quoted as saying.

Facebook in October launched a new programme that would allow publishers to sell subscriptions to their news sites on Facebook.

At the event, Brown also announced a deal with Apple to commence the go-ahead of the subscription service programme in the Facebook iOS app.

Facebook recently rolled out an update to its News Feed that will prioritise local news that have a direct impact on the users and they can discover what’s happening in their area.

The update comes after the social media giant announced changes to News Feed that showed posts from friends and high-quality news sources.

Users can choose which news sources, including local or national publications, that they want to see at the top of their feed with the social media giant’s “See First” feature.

According to Alex Hardiman, Head of News Product and Brown, there are no constraints on which publishers are eligible, which means large local publishers will benefit, as well as publishers that focus on niche topics like local sports, arts and human interest stories.

“That said, small news outlets may benefit from this change more than other outlets because they tend to have a concentrated readership in one location,” Hardiman said recently.

In addition to prioritising local news, Facebook is also testing a dedicated section on Facebook that connects people to news and information in their community, called “Today In.” (IANS)

Read More

US intelligence warns against use of Huawei, ZTE smartphones

Feb 14, 2018 0

Washington– Top US intelligence officials have reportedly warned Americans not to use smartphones from Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE.

According to a CNBC report, the heads of CIA, FBI, NSA and the director of national intelligence expressed these concerns during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing late on Tuesday.

“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” FBI Director Chris Wray was quoted as saying.

“It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage,” Wray added.

Huawei responded to the concerns in a statement to CNBC, saying the company was aware of a range of US government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the US market.

“Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cyber security risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities,” the company said.

According to The Verge, Huawei is trying to sell the “Mate 10 Pro” device unlocked in the US but “the effort seems to have pushed the company to desperate measures – including getting users to write fake reviews for the handset”.

US lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would ban government employees from using Huawei and ZTE smartphones.

“The focus of my concern is … Chinese telecoms like Huawei and ZTE … are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government,” Republican Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was quoted as saying. (IANS)

Read More

Welspun India’s Q3 consolidated net falls 47%

Feb 13, 2018 0

Mumbai– Home textiles firm Welspun India on Tuesday reported a 47.08 per cent fall in its consolidated net profit to Rs 79.51 crore during the third quarter (Q3) of 2017-18.

The consolidated net profit of the company fell to Rs 79.51 crore from Rs 150.24 crore reported in the Q3 of 2016-17, the company said in a regulatory filing to the BSE.

The company reported a total income of Rs 1,414.30 crore during the quarter under review, down 7.07 per cent from Rs 1,521.82 crore earned in the corresponding period of FY17.

The stand-alone net profit of Welspun India stood at Rs 84.77 crore in Q3, FY18, down 29.18 per cent from Rs 119.69 crore reported in Q3, FY17.(IANS)

Read More

Max India posts Rs 1.02 cr net profit in Q3

Feb 13, 2018 0

Mumbai– Business conglomerate Max India Ltd on Tuesday said it closed the third quarter of the current fiscal with a net profit of Rs 1.02 crore, up from Rs 55 lakh posted for the quarter ended December 31, 2016.

In a regulatory filing with BSE, the company said that for the period under review, it had earned a total income of Rs 14.87 crore up from Rs 11.19 crore logged during the quarter ended December 31, 2016.

The company board has approved investment of Rs 39 crore in its wholly-owned subsidiary Antara Senior Living Ltd for a new project in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida. (IANS)

 

Read More

Delhi HC upholds order on shifting IndiGo’s operations

Feb 13, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld its order which dismissed airline IndiGo’s plea against DIAL’s decision to shift a part of its operations from Terminal 1 to the newly-opened Terminal 2 of the IGI here.

The court’s direction came while hearing an appeal filed by IndiGo, India’s biggest private airline by market share, challenging the single-judge order of December 20, 2017, upholding Delhi International Airport Ltd’s (DIAL) decision related to shifting a part of the airline’s operations to a new terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Rekha Palli observed that the decision of DIAL cannot be said unreasonable only because it may operate harshly against IndiGo and ruled that “when public interest competes with private interest, then the latter has to give way to public interest”.

“In the present case, public interest lies in expediting the redevelopment activity at T-1, which is a purely administrative decision,” the court said while pointing out to delay in renovation work.

“It is not as if IndiGo, and for that matter, SpiceJet and GoAir have been banished forever from T-1. If we may twist the American idiom, ‘My way or the Highway’ to fit the present context, then the IndiGo cannot be heard to say that it is either their way, or the runway,” the court said.

“IndiGo are tending to forget that this part relocation from T-1 to T-2 proposed by the DIAL is only a temporary measure and once T-1 is renovated and commences its operations after capacity building, all the airlines can operate from there full throttle and take wings.”

However, the division granted a last opportunity of one week to IndiGo and SpiceJet to approach DIAL to suggest other sectors that they would be ready and willing to shift from T-1 to T-2, as long as they collectively meet the yardstick of one-third passenger traffic volumes of their operations at T-1.

“In the event such a request is received by the DIAL within the stipulated timeline, the same shall be considered and a decision taken under written intimation to both the airlines within one week from the date of receipt,” the court said.

“If no such request is received within the stipulated timeline, then DIAL shall fix a deadline for shifting one-third of the flight operations of the concerned airlines from T-1 to T-2, under written intimation to them.”

On December 20, 2017, a single judge bench had rejected IndiGo’s plea.

“We are of the opinion that there is no illegality, arbitrariness or infirmity in the impugned judgment (December 20 order) that warrants interference. Moreover, the learned Single Judge has gone to the extent of watering down the option given by DIAL to IndiGo and SpiceJet by directing that in the event they make a request to shift one third of their operations by excluding the three identified sectors, i.e., Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, they may do so within one week from the date of the judgment,” the division bench said.

The court held that “logistics are aspects that need expertise in the technical field and have attendant financial and administrative dimensions of serious magnitude, apart from other practical considerations, best left to be handled by experts”.

DIAL, which operates the airport here, had asked three airlines operating from T-1 to shift a third of their flights to T-2 to enable it to expand the terminal to meet growing passenger traffic.

Defending its decision, DIAL had said T-1 had already exceeded its capacity and if airline operations were not shifted partially, it would lead to overcrowding of the airport.

DIAL had said the safety and security of passengers was its primary responsibility and in case of fire or a terror threat, an overcrowded airport would lead to serious consequences for which it alone would be answerable, not the airlines.

IndiGo contended that shifting partially from T-1 to T-2 would result in confusion and cause inconvenience to passengers. By this decision, IndiGo will be spread across three terminals as it operates international flights from Terminal 3 (T-3).

Seeking quashing of DIAL’s decision, IndiGo said the decision would strain its operations and proposed an alternative solution of giving the entire T-1 exclusively to it and shifting the other two carriers to T-2.

The DIAL had directed IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir to relocate their operations in “parts” and split their operations by shifting flights to and from some sectors, namely Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, to T-2.

It also said that the capacity of the three airlines to and from the three sectors would amount to around eight million persons per annum and shifting those to T-2 would considerably reduce the burden on T-1. (IANS)

Read More

Google shipped 3.9 mn Pixel devices in 2017

Feb 13, 2018 0

New Delhi– Google shipped 3.9 million Pixel and Pixel 2 devices in 2017 which is nearly double the units it sold in 2016 but a tiny fraction of the global smartphone market that numbers 1.5 billion units.

According to Francisco Jeronimo, Research Director at International Data Corporation (IDC), “#GooglePixel shipments continue to grow, but they still represent a tiny portion of the smartphone market.”

The Pixel sales is also less than a typical week’s worth of iPhone sales for Apple, 9to5google.com reported.

“Presumably, the jump to 3.9 million is largely thanks to the Pixel 2 but discounts on the original Pixel earlier in the year (and following the 2’s debut) could tip the numbers in the other direction,” the report added.

Google recently acquired Taiwan-based HTC’s smartphone design team for $1.1 billion. Google now has access to HTC’s intellectual property to support the Pixel smartphone family.

This is the second time Google has acquired a smartphone manufacturer. It announced a $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola Mobility six years back and in 2014, sold it again to Lenovo.

Last month, the price of the first-generation Rs 76,000 Pixel XL “quite black” colour variant was slashed by Rs 36,000 on e-commerce platform Amazon in India. (IANS)

Read More

Trump’s ‘America First’ policy worries Bill, Melinda Gates

Feb 13, 2018 0

New York– Microsoft Corporation co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda on Tuesday expressed their concern over US President Donald Trump’s “America First” philosophy in their annual letter to the world.

“More broadly, the America First worldview concerns me. It’s not that the US shouldn’t look out for its people. The question is how best to do that,” said Bill Gates.

Prime Minister Modi with Bill Gates (Photo: Twitter)

He said that engaging with the world instead of withdrawing from it has proven over time to benefit everyone, including Americans, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Even if we measured everything the government did only by how much it helped American citizens, global engagement would still be a smart investment,” he said.

Gates also said the Trump administration’s policies affect the foundation’s work in various areas, with “the most concrete example” of foreign aid, which can create jobs at home, prevent disease outbreaks from becoming epidemics, as well as make Americans more secure and poor countries more stable.

Although the Bill and Melinda Foundation disagrees with the Trump administration “more than the others we’ve met with”, Gates said, he and his wife still believed that “it’s still important to work together whenever possible”.

“We keep talking to them because if the US cuts back on its investments abroad, people in other countries will die and Americans will be worse off,” Gates added.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the foundation, said one of the duties of the US President is to champion American values on the world stage.

The President has a responsibility to “set a good example and empower all Americans through his statements and his policies”, she said.

The Gates’ made the statement in their annual letter answering the “10 toughest questions” they had received. Since 2009, the couple has published such correspondence with the world about their philanthropic work and lessons learned each year. (IANS)

Read More

India’s excess power capacity an aberration, should export: Minister

Feb 13, 2018 0

New Delhi– The excess power capacity in India is an aberration in a situation where large parts of the country are yet to get electricity, Power Minister R.K Singh said on Tuesday.

Adressing the Indian Power Stations conference here, he also said that India can explore export of power to neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, which were viable markets for export of power as the per unit cost of electricity was very high in these areas.

“If you look at the entire power sector, the demand has been suppressed because not everyone is connected.

“We have just started taking-off and are going to enter double digit growth. What we see as excess capacity today may not turn out to be enough if we unlock that demand,” he said.

The minister also said the rise in power demand will lead to an increase in demand for coal, for which India needs to be prepared.

“The unlocking of demand will come but with some constraints. We don’t have a shortage of coal but we need to put in place mechanisms to get coal from underground to over ground and then to the power stations,” he said.

The Minister said that state-run generator NTPC, earlier known as National Thermal Power Corp, must aim to become the biggest power producer globally.

“Globally, NTPC is currently ranked 12th in terms of power generation. But in my view, NTPC hasn’t reached its limit.

“Why can’t NTPC set up power plants in other nations and why can’t the company emerge as our multinational? Why can’t NTPC become world’s largest power generator,” he asked.

In this connection, Singh said that neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh were viable markets for power and the government is looking at sending teams to these countries to assess the demand. (IANS)

Read More