IndUS Business Journal

Citrix realigns focus to provide unified solutions in Indian market

Dec 5, 2017 0

By Nishant Arora 

New Delhi– With distruptive technologies fast gaining ground, global IT companies are realigning their focus in the Indian market. Sensing opportunity, desktop virtualisation leader Citrix is all set to help customers build secure, modern workplaces by unifying apps, data and services.

Work is transforming and there are many forces at play. The most notable is the rise of Cloud, Mobile, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) which are creating new business models at the cost of old ones and empowering users like never before.

At this juncture, says Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix, the scale of digital transformation at enterprises requires a thoughtful strategy that balances data security with ease of access and maintains control while optimising user flexibility.

“We at Citrix have strategically realigned our focus on providing solutions in the Indian market that aid the creation of digital workspaces. We intend to provide solutions that allow for integration of transformative technologies without causing interruption to the delivery continuity,” Joshi told IANS in his first interview to any media after joining Citrix.

Joshi, who was associated in various leadership roles in sales, marketing and operations with Microsoft, joined Citrix in August this year. He is responsible for accelerating and transforming the business in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Nepal.

“Citrix will continue to support businesses in their transition, through focused offerings in the Cloud, mobility and the virtualisation space in India,” Joshi added.

Citrix provides server, application and desktop virtualisation, networking, software as a service and cloud computing technologies.

For the third quarter in fiscal year 2017, Citrix achieved revenues of $691 million, compared to $669 million in the third quarter last year — representing a three per cent revenue growth.

Citrix solutions are in use by more than 400,000 organisations and 100 million users globally, including in India.

“We understand that Indian businesses are heterogeneous and there are no one-fit-all solutions that will work. In alignment with these specific requirements that differ in factors like scale and IT needs, Citrix is well positioned to deliver suitable solutions that effectively address businesses’ definite tasks,” Joshi noted.

The world is headed for a future in which everything will be connected to the Cloud — not just traditional servers and clients but any kind of industrial plant, building, vehicle, machinery and device.

“Indian conglomerates see digitisation as a necessity to be competitive and engage their customer base actively. Citrix is helping many enterprises achieve this balance. Historically, our virtualisation technologies have been chosen by many government entities to deliver a secure, reliable and accelerated access to traditional distributed computing,” the top company executive said.

With nearly 5,000 customers in India, including Mafatlal Industries, BPO firm Aegis, Pune-based multi-speciality Hospital Ruby Hall Clinic and agri-sciences company PI Industries, Citrix has been in the country for the past 15-20 years, but the real journey started some five-seven years ago when enterprises started adopting Cloud and real-time data analytics.

The company is now set to hire and invest more in India.

“We are bullish on India and looking forward to cement our position in an ever-growing market. The country is fast embracing technology. At the same time, the speed at which our Indian customers are implementing Citrix solutions is growing exponentially,” Stanimira Koleva, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), Citrix, had told IANS earlier.

According to Joshi, there has been a thrust for digitisation of processes and financial institutions in the country are fast embracing digital operations, hyper-integrated banking apps and back-office automation.

“Citrix is the primary technology provider in this space. We have found a number of government, banking, finance and insurance companies that are activity pursing digital transformation and simultaneously investing in security to protect their assets,” Joshi told IANS.

Citirx technologies enable apps and data to run securely in the data centre instead of the end-point device which has multiple security vulnerabilities. They allow employees to access all apps and data on any device, while giving IT the means to maintain security with uniform policy enforcement, full compliance and efficient control.

“Besides the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, we see the public, telecom and ITeS sectors undergoing tremendous transformation. They are steadily adopting Cloud, mobility and virtualisation solutions to bring efficiency to their operations,” Joshi said.

With India headed in the direction of becoming a mobile-first, digital economy, Citrix expects the demand for secure solutions to become universal.

“Citrix has always been vocal about partners playing a crucial role in cementing our position as a reliable and credible solutions provider in the India market. We have managed to gain a sizable market share because of our partners’ successful articulation of our offerings,” Joshi noted. (IANS)

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Bleak prospects for Indian economy for next few quarters

Dec 5, 2017 0

By Amit Kapoor

The much-awaited second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures were released last week. It must have come as a relief to the Modi government that economic growth is finally on the upswing. After five successive quarters of decline, growth inched up to 6.3 percent in the July-September quarter after hitting rock bottom at 5.7 percent in the previous quarter. There was a mild sentiment of euphoria over this turnaround, but it is instructive to point out that even the worst quarter after the 2008 recession took India to a low of 6.9 percent. Clearly, we’ve left the last decade far behind.

Some might say that the comparison is unfair since the global economy was conducive to such levels of growth at the time. However, the impact of domestic factors in the growth decline over the previous five quarters cannot be refuted as OECD estimates put global growth to be the fastest since 2011. Also, demonetisation and GST were not the only two culprits of the slowdown in growth since it had begun much earlier. Private investment sentiments had already been muted due to a rising stock of bad loans.

Nevertheless, the adverse impact of all these factors seem to be nearing their end. A rise in GDP growth rate points to the fact that the impact of demonetisation and GST is finally wearing off and the government has over the last few months taken some crucial steps to deal with the problem of bad loans. But are we out of the woods yet?

The data released last week does not paint a promising picture. First, the growth rebound was brought about largely on account of the manufacturing sector. It grew by seven percent as compared to a paltry 1.2 percent during the April-June quarter. However, curiously, this figure is much higher than the 2.2 percent year-on-year growth in the same quarter based on the index of industrial production (IIP) data. The gap can only be explained by differences in methodology.

The IIP measures the change in production volumes as compared to the previous year while the GDP calculation measures the value addition taking place in the economy. Therefore, if production volumes remain the same over the year, IIP data will show no growth, but in the same scenario, if the price of inputs fall, GDP will grow positively. This is exactly how the recent growth in manufacturing has come about. Production volumes have not expanded as commensurately as production value. This is not a positive sign for a developing economy like India, where demand for jobs is ever expanding. Growth will not matter much if real production does not take place.

Second, a factor of growing concern for the economy is the problem of the fiscal deficit. The day GDP figures came out, stock markets reacted negatively due to the slippage on the fiscal front. Private investments have not seen any substantial revival since the last quarter and, in fact, gross fixed capital formation as a percentage of GDP has actually declined. The only thing keeping the economy running was increased government spending, but even that has been stretched beyond its limits. Barely more than half a year has passed, and the government has already spent 96 percent of its annual target. Since the government has made clear its intentions of sticking to the fiscal target, future growth prospects do not look promising and will solely depend on a revival of private sentiments.

Finally, a big worry for the Indian economy is its underperforming export sector. The growth in exports took place at merely 1.2 percent in the last quarter, which is hard to explain at a time when the global economies are at one of their strongest phases of growth in a long time. It is absolutely crucial to address this issue because, as repeatedly pointed out by veteran economic journalist Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, no country in history has managed to grow at seven percent on a sustained basis without an export growth of at least 15 percent. India’s subdued export performance is puzzling and it needs to figure out what is inhibiting its growth. The recently-implemented GST framework could have put a spoke in the wheel. Addressing these policy bottlenecks can bring exports to an upward growth path.

All these factors, combined with the fact that private investment continues to remain weak, point to bleak prospects for the Indian economy. This will remain true for the next few quarters. Hopefully, when the complete impact of the recent string of reforms with GST, Real Estate Act and Bankruptcy Code start to kick in, a revival in private sentiments will take place and drive manufacturing and exports in the process. Until then the only ray of hope resides with the favourable external sector as a lucrative source of demand. (IANS)

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US golden visa scheme may be extended: Experts

Dec 5, 2017 0

By Aroonim Bhuyan

New Delhi– Though the three-month extension of the US’ EB5 visa scheme ends on December 8, experts are of the view that the scheme, popularly known as the “Golden Visa”, is likely to be extended.

“Although the discussions over revising the EB5 visa programme have been long due, investors continue to apply as EB5 Visa offers an attractive path to permanent residency in the United States,” Jeff DeCicco, CEO and Chief Compliance Officer of CanAm Investor Services, told IANS in an e-mail interview.

Stating that the current US administration is “very active” in reforming immigration laws, DeCicco said: “While it is highly unlikely the programme will be done away with, there is a high likelihood that the investment amount will be increased. In our opinion, the said increase will not be effective immediately. We feel Congress will give a 30 to 60 days’ notice prior to implementing the new laws.”

Introduced by the US Congress in 1990, the EB5 visa programme allows an individual to invest $500,000 in either of two Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) — a high unemployment area in a US metropolis or a rural area outside of a metro — or $1 million in a non-TEA area that can create 10 or more jobs and get US citizenship in a shorter time than H1-B visa holders.

With US President Donald Trump calling for stricter norms for issuance of H1-B visas, largely availed by Indian IT firms, the EB5 visa has been in demand for the shorter route to citizenship it offers.

A private member’s bill was also introduced earlier this year in the US Congress by Democrat Zoe Lofgren which seeks to increase the minimum salary of an H1-B visa holder to a whopping $130,000 from the current minimum of $60,000.

At the same time, the EB5 visa programme has also come under controversy with critics saying that it puts up US citizenship for sale. However, the US Congress in September this year extended the scheme by three months.

Stating that authorisation for the EB5 programme has been carried on a temporary basis on Congressional spending bills since September 2015, Rogelio Caceres of LCR Capital said that key figures in the US Senate, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, have been negotiating an EB5 reform bill “in good faith and have made considerable progress”.

“Based on discussions with our team in Washington, D.C., it is very possible that the principal negotiators will come to an agreement in principle in December, which, along with reforms, will likely provide the programme with a five-year reauthorisation,” Caceres said.

Asked what it would mean for Indian applicants in case the EB5 visa scheme gets extended, Mark Davies of Davis and Associates LLC said that Indian applicants needed to be very mindful of two issues looming over the EB5 scheme: A likely price increase and retrogression.

“While most commentators believe the December 8 is a ‘red herring’, combined with these two issues make it highly desirable for Indian investors to make their EB5 move quickly,” Davies said.

Asked about the demographic profile of Indians applying for the EB5 visa, he mentioned students studying in the US, workers on H1B visas already in the US, business owners looking to expand into the US and families looking to relocate to the US.

According to DeCicco, the Trump administration has brought all visas under hard scrutiny.

“They have implemented tougher regulations on immigration and have increased the screening process of applicants under each category,” he said.

“In these times, we feel it is especially important for EB5 investors to work with experienced immigration attorneys and companies that have a long track record of successful EB5 ventures.”

However, Caceres is of the view that the Trump administration supports the EB5 programme as it creates tens of thousands of new American jobs each year, all at no cost to the taxpayer.

“They are keen to see much-needed investor protection reforms instituted to help weed out the bad actors in the programme,” he said.

As for the kind of investments made by Indians under the EB5 programme, Caceres said: “Seventy-four per cent of Indians select real estate projects, as do most other nationalities. Certain areas of the country are also very interested in restaurant franchises and hospitality industries.” (IANS)

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Facebook opens new office in London, to hire 800 people

Dec 4, 2017 0

London– Facebook has opened a new office in London and has announced that it would hire 800 people which will take the total strength of its employees in Britain to 2,300 workers by the end of 2018, the media reported on Monday.

The new seven-storey office building in central London will make the British capital Facebook’s largest computer engineering base outside of the US, The Telegraph reported.

“Today’s announcements show that Facebook is more committed than ever to the UK and in supporting the growth of the country’s innovative start-ups,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Facebook opened its first office in London 10 years ago. The new building will house developers and sales staff.

Google, Apple and Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, have expanded their operations in London since the Brexit vote last year, the report added.

“It’s a sign of confidence in our country that innovative companies like Facebook invest here, and it’s terrific news that they will be hiring 800 more highly skilled workers next year,” Chancellor Philip Hammond said. (IANS)

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Indian companies raise Rs 49,175 cr via IPOs during the ongoing fiscal

Dec 4, 2017 0

Mumbai– Indian companies have raised Rs 49,175 crore in just the first seven months of the current fiscal, a State Bank of India (SBI) research report said on Monday.

According to the Economic Research Department (ERD) in the SBI Corporate Centre, surge in the country’s stock markets, along with easing of listing criteria encouraged many firms to hit the equity indices for capital.

“The rising interest in IPO could be attributed to a number of reasons… the easing of listing criteria for MSME resulting in more number of companies hitting the capital market and on the other hand, increased interest is from retail investors and strategic investors like sovereign wealth funds who view the rising market as an opportunity to deploy money,” the SBI Ecowrap report said.

“Moreover, the surge in the secondary market in general has encouraged many companies to hit the equity market for capital in search for better valuations. When the market rise it is the best time for promoters to raise money from the market.”

The report pointed out that over 110 Indian companies have raised Rs 49,175 crore in just the first seven months period of the current fiscal. The Indian IPO market picked up with 70 and 106 companies which were listed in the last two years.

“This further gained momentum in the current fiscal with 112 companies already hitting the IPO market till October 2017,” the report said.

“India raised a whopping Rs 46,121 crore and Rs 49,438 crore in FY10 and FY11 respectively. After this the market had turned lukewarm. In the current fiscal, Indian companies have raised Rs 49,175 crore in just 7 months period. Interestingly, this is more than the amount raised between FY12-FY16 put together.” (IANS)

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India, Japan, Africa cooperation reflects our outreach philosophy

Dec 4, 2017 0

New Delhi– In line with India’s philosophy, the government is committed to reach out as widely as possible to the world and trilateral cooperation between India, Japan and Africa is an expression of this policy, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Monday.

Addressing industry chamber Assocham organised trade and investment forum here on “India-Africa Trade@2020 and Emerging India-Japan-Africa Triangular Co-operation”, Naqvi said it was a measure of the country’s Africa policy that saw a record number of African leaders attending the Third India-Africa Forum Summit held here in October 2015.

“Our government is committed to reach out as far and wide as possible, which is why there were so many heads and leaders of African countries who came to India for the last India-Africa Forum Summit.

“In the new India, with a safe and strong economy, we are now speaking of changing the world…in the sense of changing the way that they perceived India up to now,” he added.

Earlier this year, India hosted a special session on India-Japan cooperation for the development of Africa at an annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in 2016 led to the conceptualisation of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), which is an important component of the India-Japan Vision 2025 for the Indo-Pacific Region.

Japan is keen to collaborate with India in order to decrease market risks in Africa and both countries agreed, in 2010, to institutionalise the India-Japan Dialogue on Africa. (IANS)

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Infosys Foundation gives Rs 15.7 cr to Tata Institute for research work

Dec 4, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Global software major Infosys’s philanthropic arm, Infosys Foundationon Monday announced a combined grant of Rs 15.7 crore to fund research and mentoring activities of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s (TIFR) International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS).

As part of the agreement between the Foundation and ICTS, of the total grant, Rs 4 crore will be for the travel of 25 overseas students to India each year under the Infosys Foundation ICTS Visitor Fellowship for its programmes.

“About 20 of ICTS students will also travel abroad under the Infosys Foundation ICTS Excellence Grant,” said the Foundation in a statement here.

The city-based ICTS’s programmes enable physicists, astronomers, cosmologists, mathematicians, biologists, students and researchers from the world over to solve questions on nature and discover structures across sciences.

“The Centre also strives for unifying knowledge, in-house research by faculty in theoretical sciences, science outreach that harness young minds and connects students with public interested in the latest developments of scientific research,” said the statement.

The grants are for students to participate in academic activities abroad and forge partnerships with educational institutions the world over, it said.

About Rs 7.5 crore of grant is for organizing lecture series by Indian and overseas experts, to exchange ideas and explore research opportunities in science and mathematics.

The lectures would be known as the Infosys ICTS Chandrasekhar Ramanujan and Turing Lecture Series, said the Foundation.

The lecture series will include Chandrasekhar lectures in physical science; Ramanujan lectures in mathematical sciences and Alan Turing lectures in computer science, engineering and biology.

Another Rs 3.35 crore grant is for about 200 students, faculty and post-doctoral students to support the 12th Kavil Asian Winter School (KAWS) on Strings, Particles and Cosmology 2018.

To be held here January 8-18, KAWS 2018 will bring together theorists from Japan,AChina and India to discuss about the latest developments in particle physics.

The grant will also be used for travel of speakers and participants from India to Strings 2018, an annual conference on string theory of particle physics, to be held at Japan’s Okinawa.

About Rs 85 lakh will be for the Homi Bhabha Chair Professorship to support research and mentoring. As part of the agreement between the Infosys Foundation and TIFR, the Chair would be called the Infosys Homi Bhabha Chair Professor. The current chair holder is Professor Spenta Wadia, the founding director of ICTS. (IANS)

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Paypal-owned Canadian firm leaked 1.6 mn customers’ records

Dec 4, 2017 0

New York– Global digital payments platform Paypal has identified a potential compromise of personally identifiable information for approximately 1.6 million customers on TIO Networks — a Canadian payments platform owned by Paypal.

“The PayPal platform is not impacted in any way, as the TIO systems are completely separate from the PayPal network, and PayPal’s customers’ data remains secure,” TIO Networks said in a statement.

PayPal paid $233 million in cash to acquire TIO Networks in July this year.

On November 10, PayPal suspended TIO’s operations after it discovered security vulnerabilities in the firm’s platform.

“The operations of TIO Networks were suspended to protect customer data as part of an ongoing investigation of security vulnerabilities of the TIO platform,” the company said on Monday.

The ongoing investigation uncovered evidence of unauthorised access to TIO’s network, including locations that stored personal information of some of TIO’s customers and customers of TIO billers.

The company was yet to contact all customers, billers and retailers affected by the leak.

“Individuals who are affected will be contacted directly and receive instructions to sign up for monitoring,” the company added.

“We will continue to communicate important updates to customers,” TIO added.

Paypal has 218 million active account holders,

Available in more than 200 markets around the world, the PayPal platform, including Braintree, Venmo and Xoom, enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies. (IANS)

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India, Germany ink loan agreements

Dec 4, 2017 0

New Delhi– India and Germany on Monday signed a series of financial agreements, including one for an 200 million euro loan for an environment-friendly urban mobility project.

The inter-governmental umbrella agreement for the various funding projects were signed here, a Finance Ministry release said.

“The Government to Government umbrella agreement was signed here today (Monday) to formalise an amount up to euro 200 million for financial cooperation in the form of loan for the project ‘Climate Friendly Urban Mobility III’ and 11 million euro accompanying measures in form of grant for four projects,” it said.

The first part of the agreement had already been signed in May, it added.

Besides, four other agreements were signed between India’s Department of Economic Affairs and German government-owned development bank KfW under the framework of Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation.

One loan agreement signed with KfW is for the project “Community-based sustainable Forest Management Component I Manipur” that entails a financing of Euro 15 million.

The broad objectives of the project are restoration of degraded forests in upper watersheds, reclamation of abandoned shifting cultivation areas, biodiversity conservation, water resources conservation and livelihood improvement of forest dependent rural and tribal people in the project area, the statement said.

The other loan agreements signed were for projects under the Madhya Pradesh Urban Sanitation and Environment Programme (50 million euros), the Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development Odisha Phase II (55 million euros) and the Green Energy Corridor Intra-State Transmission System in Maharashtra (12 million euros), it added.(IANS)

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15th Finance Commission holds first meeting, to seek inputs from all stakeholders

Dec 4, 2017 0

New Delhi– The 15th Finance Commission on Monday decided to expeditiously hold wide-ranging consultations with all stakeholders on national, state and grassroot levels to “suitably address” the wide-ranging terms of reference it has been assigned.

It also recognised the need to undertake analytical papers, analysis from leading research organisations and seek academic inputs and interactions with leading think-tanks and domain knowledge experts to come up with its recommendations, said a statement from the Finance Ministry.

The announcement came after the panel, constituted on November 27, held its first meeting at North Block here which was chaired by N.K. Singh and attended by all its members. Before the meeting, Singh and other members called on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his office.

The Finance Ministry statement said the Commission was cognisant that it has been assigned “wide-ranging terms of reference which needed to be suitably addressed”.

“Towards this objective, it was felt that wide-ranging consultations with all stake holders including various central ministries, all state governments, local bodies, panchayats and political parties of each state needed to be expeditiously initiated,” it added.

The panel has been tasked with deciding the distribution of shareable central tax proceeds among centre, states and local bodies.

Its terms of reference also include proposing measurable performance-based incentives for states on efforts made by them in various fields including expansion and deepening of tax net under GST, achievements in implementation of flagship central schemes and disaster resilient infrastructure, reaching sustainable development goals, and quality of expenditure.

During the meeting, the Commission also approved setting-up of its office at Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan at Janpath here. (IANS)

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