IndUS Business Journal

90 percent of England hospitals hit by nurse shortage

Dec 21, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– Nine in 10 hospitals in England fail to provide enough nurses for patients, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) said in a new report on Monday.

According to a monthly report, 207 of 225 hospitals in England were found unable to meet their targets for safe levels of nurses on wards. Among those, 81 percent of hospitals could not meet targets for night cover, while 79 percent missed both day and night, Xinhua reported.

It said that in some hospitals, one nurse needs to take care of 22 patients.

A survey, which consulted about 1,000 nurses, also showed that they were under great pressure because they were unable to provide safe levels of care, and half of them said there were rarely or never enough nurses available.

Three-quarters of respondents said they were forced to leave patients with not enough of the required care.

Media reports said it was not a secret that hospitals in England were facing nurse shortage, and a considerable number of hospitals have had to rely heavily on overseas recruitment.

“Staffing is a priority. We have put more than 7,600 additional nurses on our wards since May 2010 and there are 50,000 nurses currently in training,” said a spokesman of Britain’s department of health.

“We know that there are big challenges for hospitals, so we are helping the NHS to employ the staff it needs at a fair price by clamping down on rip-off staffing agencies and identifying billions of pounds of back-office savings so that as much money as possible goes to the front line,” he added.

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India Tables Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill

Dec 21, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– Here are the ighlights of the bill for an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code that was introduced in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday:

– Consolidates into a single law a host of legislations that deal with the subject;

– Aims to speedily adjudicate such cases for higher recovery of debt and money;

– Allows operational creditors like employees to also call for insolvency resolution;

– Proposes Insolvency Regulator to exercise regulatory oversight over insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and informational utilities;

– Moots two separate Insolvency Adjudicators — one with jurisdiction over companies and the other over insolvency and bankruptcy resolution of individuals;

– Proposes to regulate insolvency professionals and insolvency professional agencies, under regulator’s oversight;

– Proposes fast-tracking resolution of insolvency cases and improve recoveries of amount lent to companies within a timeline of 180 days, extendable by another 90 days;

– Proposes insolvency resolution process for individuals where the creditors and the debtor will engage in negotiations to arrive at an agreeable repayment plan of debts;

– Moots “Fresh Start” process for indigent individuals with income and assets lesser than specified thresholds; and

– Proposes insolvency information utilities which would collate, authenticate and disseminate financial information from listed companies and creditors of companies.

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PepperTap raises $40 million in Series B funding

Dec 21, 2015 0

NEW DELHI–Online grocery portal PepperTap said on Monday it has closed its Series B round of funding, with an additional $4 millon from Innoven Capital, in addition to the $36 million raised recently from SnapDeal, Sequoia India, SAIF Partners, Ru-Net, Beenext & JAFCO Asia.

The total fund raised in PepperTap now stands at around $51.2 million, a company statement said.

The company has taken over Bengaluru-based hyperlocal grocery delivery startup, Jiffstore for an undisclosed amount. Jiffstore’s team will join PepperTap’s Gurgaon and Bengaluru offices.

PepperTap has also entered into marketing tie-ups with other start-ups who will collaborate with them in a cross-marketing activity to bring attractive gifts for the users.

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Starvation, water scarcity have hit Bengal tea garden workers

Dec 21, 2015 0

KOLKATA– Scarcity of water and food are the major concerns for tea gardens workers in northern West Bengal, where work has been suspended and deaths are frequent, a report by a group of civil society organisations said here on Monday.

Tea bagan in IndiaDeaths in the region’s tea gardens have made headlines this year, even as a minister claimed not a single death due to starvation has taken place there.

In the wake of reports of deaths, an umbrella group of organisations like G-NESEP, NAPM, MASUM, ActionAid, DISHA and also comprising academicians, human rights activists and doctors, visited the gardens on November 24 and November 25, and released the findings here on Monday.

The right to food of workers in the Bagracote (Jalpaiguri district) and Dumchipara (Alipurduar district) gardens, owned by a particular company, was being “completely violated”, according to the report which highlights the “deprivation of basic human rights and living with dignity”.

The report said “most of the tea gardens owned by this company are under complete work suspension since 10 to 12 months, but have not been officially declared as closed”.

It further revealed that “permanent workers, who are to receive Rs.1,500 per month as employees of closed tea gardens under the FAWLOI (Financial Assistance to the Workers of Locked-Out Industrial Units) are being deprived of that minimum benefit”.

In Dumchipara, after the closure of the food distribution system, the families have been brought under the Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme but the amount of food grains reaching them is less than half of what they should be getting, the findings show.

“Prolonged starvation has caused malnutrition, frail health and abnormal losing of body weight. A considerable number of people are suffering from lack of appetite, vomiting, swelling kwashiorkor, jaundice, tuberculosis etc.,”

The report also sheds light on the provision of water.

“Since closure or work suspension, supply of water has been withdrawn in Dumchipara. In Bagracote, the workers’ families have to pay for the supply,” said Sasanka Dev, on behalf of the group.

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Small cities, e-commerce will reshape Indian FMCG sector: Report

Dec 21, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– India’s smaller towns and cities are expected to contribute more in shaping future demand for the fast moving consumer goods sector, while e-commerce companies will contribute increasingly larger share of sales for such companies, a report said on Monday.

Abheek Singhi

Abheek Singhi

“Re-Imagining FMCG in India”, a joint report by industry chamber CII and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), said growth in disposable income, increased urbanisation, and the increase in the number of nuclear households are driving growth of the Indian branded FMCG sector estimated to be currently worth around $65 billion.

“The growth opportunity is massive, yet, the shape of this opportunity would be very different in the future. We expect greater premiumization, tier 2-4 towns to be the drivers of growth,” BCG director Abheek Singhi said at the release of the report.

The report said that households with more than Rs.10 lakh annual income would account for 50 percent of the spending in the category.

“This would lead to premiumization across categories – from unbranded to branded – and ‘luxuriating’ of products,” the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said in a release here.

The report said companies will need to focus on tier 2 and 3 cities and rural regions, as their contribution will be an important source of demand for the sector as more and more consumers move from the non-branded to the branded segment.

It estimates that by 2020, more that 150 million consumers would be digitally influenced in FMCG.

“Their decision making process would be influenced by digital. These consumes would spend more than $45 billion on FMCG categories,” CII said.

“Companies would need to build capabilities in digital marketing and would also need to push for greater clarity on the role of new emerging channels like e-commerce would play for them and how should they engage with these new channels without conflicting their brick and mortar partners,” it added.

On this trend, Singhi said: “The combined effects of these demographic shifts with the emergence of new channels like e-commerce, proliferation of the internet connectivity and consumption of digital media, will reshape the FMCG sector.”

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US visa fee hike not to have adverse impact: Narayana Murthy

Dec 18, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– The recent hike in US visa fees will not have an adverse impact on the Indian IT industry growth, Infosys founder N.R.Narayana Murthy said here on Friday.

Narayan Murthy

Narayan Murthy

“I don’t think it is an issue at all… $2,000 or $4,000 that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you have to provide excellent value to customers,” he told reporters after holding a meeting with the Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The US Congress has slapped a special fee of up to $4,500 on the H-1B and L-1 visas, used mostly by Indian tech employees going to the US for work.

Narayana Murthy said the value of Indian IT services industry is so high to the US corporations that these issues will not come in the way of the Indian It industry growth.

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NRI deposits in Kerala banks surge

Dec 18, 2015 0

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM-There has been a surge in non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits in Kerala banks which have touched Rs.121,619 crore in September 2015, up from Rs.80,809 crore as on September 2013, according to banking stattistics.

These figures were revealed at the 117th meeting of the State Level Bankers Committee held here on Friday.

The total deposits of the commercial banks in Kerala as of September touched Rs.338,902 crore, up from Rs.252,338 crore in September 2013, while total advances during the same period went up to Rs.222,791 crore, up from Rs.181,166 crore in September 2013.

The statistics also pointed out that in the first six months of the current fiscal, commercial banks in the state have disbursed Rs.38,816 crore in the priority sector, which is 37 percent of the total disbursement target of Rs.104,937 crore for priority sector for 2015-2016.

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India sees ‘minimal’ impact of US rate hike, markets upbeat

Dec 17, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– India on Thursday said the economy was resilient and well insulated to cope with any impact of the hike in US interest rates even as the key equity market indices in the country reacted positively to log the sharpest rally in over a month.

“We’ve to consider how the Fed (US Federal Reserve) is going to raise its rates, going forward,” Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, himself a former investment banker, said. “We’re very well-equipped to deal with any turmoil or volatility that may ensue as the Fed raises rates.”

Bombay Stock Exchange

Bombay Stock Exchange

Earlier, it was widely feared that any rise in the US interest rates — the first since 2006 — could trigger a flight away of investments into the global financial market to America, as it potentially makes investments there a bit more attractive.

But the Indian equity markets have taken the development positively, at least for now — a line taken by the Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, who saw “quite minimal” volatility in the Indian markets.

Even in the currency markets, not much impact was seen and some even felt the rupee could firm up.

“The rupee is likely to emerge as a gainer in near term,” said Bansi Madhavani of India Ratings and Research, adding that the Indian currency could consolidate in the 66.3-66.6 to a US dollar range as it was better placed due to its macro-fundamentals.

“As far as India is concerned, we are really well-cushioned. Inflation is coming down, fiscal deficit situation is very good, external situation is also robust. So, I think for all these reasons, impact on India would be very minimal,” Madhvani added.

The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange closed the day’s trade up 309.41 points or 1.21 percent, and the broader Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also rallied sharply to end with a gain of 93.45 points or 1.21 percent up.

From the government, among the first to react on the US Fed decision led by chair Janet Yellen, was Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.

“The US Fed rate hike and reference to gradualism are on expected lines,” he said, referring to a marginal hike of 25 basis points in the rates from near zero levels. “India (is) well prepared. US Fed confidence on recovery is good news for our exports, especially from IT sector.”

The US Fed move was widely expected. The rate hike, though a small one, is being seen as a sign of how much the US economy has healed since the 2007-08 financial crisis — a reason, perhaps, for the Indian equity indices to log gains for the fourth straight session.

Stakeholders and ratings agencies also echoed similar views.

“The Fed’s decision to raise the US interest rate by 0.25 points is as anticipated. We do not expect any major impact on India. Our economic fundamentals remain strong with improved growth and twin deficits largely under control,” A. Didar Singh, Ficci secretary general, said.

“The rate hike also signals a stronger US economy, which bodes well for the pick-up of demand globally and hence for Indian exports of goods and services,” Singh added.

Even credit rating agency Fitch said India was well insulated. “India is not immune to potential general emerging market jitters related to the Fed lift-off, but it is better placed than many of its peers for a number of reasons,” said Thomas Rookmaaker, director of Sovereign Ratings.

According to him, firstly India’s external balances have significantly improved since mid-2013, with foreign exchange reserves rising by some $65 billion to $353 billion as of November 2015, and the current account deficit narrowing.

Secondly, India is less dependent than several of its peers on commodity exports, and has thus not been negatively affected by the global rout in commodity prices, he added.

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Novartis opens new office complex in Hyderabad

Dec 17, 2015 0
Novartis Global Headquarters

Novartis Global Headquarters

HYDERABAD– Novartis Group on Thursday opened its new office complex Novartis Knowledge City, the largest of its five global service centres.

Telangana’s Information Technology Minister K. Tarakarama Rao inaugurated the new complex of Novartis Global Service Centers (NGSC), a nine-storied structure with a gross area of 800,000 square feet, or sufficient space to enable Novartis to absorb future growth.

The other global NGSCs are in Mexico City, Dublin, Prague, Kuala Lumpur.

With about 3,500 employees, Novartis Business Services (NBS) in Hyderabad provides services in IT, financial reporting and accounting, human resources services, procurement and product lifecycle services. Pharma development focuses on data management, statistics, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilence and clinical trial operations.

Novartis, which started operations here in 2007, had two offices at Mindspace in the Hitec City, which have now moved to the new complex, the company said in a statement.

The company’s third location in the city – the lab facility at Genome Valley, will continue its operations at the same site.

The company expects to drive collaboration, efficiency and productivity gains by providing centralized services.

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India 97th on Forbes best countries for business list

Dec 17, 2015 0

By Arun Kumar

WASHINGTON–India has been ranked 97th, three notches below China, in Forbes annual ranking of the best countries for business with Denmark topping the list for the sixth time in ten years.

European countries represent two-thirds of the top 25 with the US sliding four spots to No. 22, continuing a six-year descent since 2009 when the US ranked second overall.

Denmark ranked in the top 20 in all but one of the 11 metrics used by Forbes to gauge the Best Countries for Business. It finished 28th for red tape.

New Zealand moved up one spot to No. 2 (it ranked first in 2012). Rounding out the top five are Norway, Ireland and Sweden.

While the US fell in Forbes ranking, the world’s next four biggest economies all improved their overall standing. Britain and Japan both moved up three spots to No. 10 and No. 23 respectively.

Germany improved two places to No. 18. China rose from No. 97 to No. 94.

India is developing into an open-market economy, yet traces of its past autarkic policies remain, Forbes said.

India’s rankings on the 11 metrics were: Trade Freedom 125, Monetary Freedom 139, Property Rights 61, Innovation 41, Technology 120, Red Tape 123, Investor Protection 8, Corruption 77, Personal Freedom 57, Tax Burden 121 and Market Performance 65.

India’s growth in 2014 fell to a decade low, as India’s economic leaders struggled to improve the country’s wide fiscal and current account deficits, the business magazine noted.

Rising macroeconomic imbalances in India, and improving economic conditions in Western countries led investors to shift capital away from India, prompting a sharp depreciation of the rupee, Forbes noted.

However, investors’ perceptions of India improved in early 2014, due to a reduction of the current account deficit and expectations of post-election economic reform, resulting in a surge of inbound capital flows and stabilization of the rupee.

The outlook for India’s long-term growth is moderately positive due to a young population and corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy, Forbes said.

However, India has many challenges that it has yet to fully address, including poverty, corruption, violence and discrimination against women and girls, an inefficient power generation and distribution system and ineffective enforcement of intellectual property rights, it said.

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