IndUS Business Journal

Global spin doctors to converge in India

Feb 28, 2016 0

Mumbai–Spin doctors from across the world will converge here for the Global PR Summit in April, being held perhaps for the first time in India.

The Global PR Summit, in association with the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI), has so far been held in 16 countries since its launch in 2010. Among some of its previous venues were Turkey, Russia, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Oman. Over the years, 1,892 brands have sent delegates to the various summits with more than 6,100 attendees.

The Indian edition will focus on the latest trends and challenges in the ever changing global PR and marketing world with a special focus on reputation management in the social media era. The event will feature a presentation on the new rules of reputation management by Mary Jo Jacobi, one of the world’s leading PR professionals and former VP Communications at BP America.

PRCI is a pan-India body of PR, media, advertising, HR professionals and mass communication teachers and students with chapters across 30 cities.

The India event thus offers a unique opportunity for communication professionals not only to network but to exchange thoughts and information, said veteran media professional B.N. Kumar, national president of PRCI.

“As PRCI has begun to spread its wings worldwide, the Global PR Summit offers us a great opportunity to work together to establish a World Communicators’ Forum, cutting across geographical boundaries. We all have a lot of insight to gain from each other’s experiences and work in the interest of societies around us. Let’s go beyond networking and partying and contribute to the society in a meaningful way,” Kumar said.

Kosta Petrov, chief experience officer of P World that owns the event brand, said: “We are very happy to bring the Global PR Summit to India as the nation has made giant strides in a cross-section of fields, including mass communication. We are equally happy to partner with PRCI which is focusing on creating knowledge platforms across the country. We eagerly look forward to meeting the great Indian PR professionals.”

Speakers at the event include Thierry Nicolet, SVP (Global Press Relations), Schneider Electric; Aliza Knox, MD (Online Sales), Twitter APAC; Colleen Harris, former press secretary to Princes Charles, William and Harry and official spokesperson for Wiliam and Kate’s Royal Wedding; Richard Stephenson, communications director, Civil Aviation Authority; Patricia Yates, director of Strategy and Communications, Visit Britain; and Jesse Ringham, Digital Communications Manager, Tate Museum.

M.B. Jayaram, chairman emeritus and chief mentor of PRCI, said: “PRCI has emerged as a truly pan-India PR professionals body with close to 30 chapters in as many cities. We look forward to gaining from the knowledge that will flow from the Global PR Summit.”

Deepak Menon, Business Strategist associated with the Summit, said: “We are glad to note that PRCI has been holding its Conclaves. I am now excited to bring the Global PR Summit with its truly international perspective to India. Such a workshop offers the rare experience and insight into care-taking of top brands that directly influence consumer perception and in turn sales. This experience will be a win-win for all of us.”

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Ratan Tata inaugurates 351-bed hospital in Mathura

Feb 28, 2016 0

Mathura– Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata here on Sunday inaugurated a 351-bed hospital that aims to provide better medical services to the western part of Uttar Pradesh.

Nayati hospital will have several advance techniques including high end CT, MRI, Linear accelerator, for radiation treatment, advanced Cath labs and blood banks, among others.

According to the hospital authorities, Nayati healthcare aims to transform the medical facilities in other tier-II cities apart from Mathura.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

“The new hospital inaugurated today at Mathura will provide much needed medical help and health care facilities for the people of the region. It is heartening to see a full- fledged speciality hospital being established in Mathura with a considerable personal sacrifice, driven by passion and a genuine desire to serve the community,” said Ratan Tata on the occasion.

Among several departments, the hospital specialises in includes Oncology, Orthopedics, Neurosciences, Pulmonology, Gastrosciences and Nephrology.

“Our aim has been to reduce the physical, emotional and economic burden of illness that blights the life of ordinary people in Tier-II and Tier-III towns by taking the treatment to the patient,” said Niira Radia, chairperson of Nayati Healthcare.

She further said: “We understand that illness of an individual can profoundly impact the psychological and financial wellbeing of the entire family. We, at Nayati, have felt deeply the need to bring advanced technology and clinical expertise together, both of which we have chosen with utmost care.”

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Modi to visit US, Belgium and Saudi Arabia in end of March

Feb 28, 2016 0

New Delhi (IANS)Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a three-nation visit on March 30 during which he will hold a bilateral summit with the EU in Brussels, attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, and become the first Indian prime minister to go to Saudi Arabia in six years.

Modi will visit Brussels on March 30 for the first India-European Union (EU) summit in four years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski said in a media interaction in December that India was an extremely important partner for the EU and the new economic and social agenda of the NDA government was specially attractive. He however had noted that that the relationship has not met both sides’ expectations despite the potential.

With India being an important trading partner of the 28-nation politico-economic union, he said the EU was “really interested” in completing a free trade agreement with it.

Modi had met presidents of the European Commission and European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Antalya in Turkey in November last year.

After Belgium, Modi will be in Washington on March 31 to attend the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) amid much speculation that he will meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines.

The NSS is expected to be attended by the leaders of around 50 countries.

On his way back, Modi will stop in Riyadh – a visit which assumes significance in the face of the current regional situation and strained relations between the Gulf kingdom and Iran, another strategically important country for India.

Saudi Arabia is also home to nearly three million Indian expatriates, most of whom are blue collar workers.

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Indian economy to grow 7-7.5 percent next year

Feb 26, 2016 0

New Delhi–Noting the challenge posed by a global slowdown, the Economic Survey 2015-16 tabled in parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday pegged India’s growth for the next fiscal in the 7-7.75 percent range.

Reviewing the major developments during the fiscal, the survey said that according to the Central Statistics Office, the growth rate of GDP at constant market prices is projected to rise to 7.6 percent in 2015-16 from 7.2 percent in 2014-15.

Authored by the finance ministry’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, the survey said: “India’s long run potential GDP growth is substantial, about 8-10 percent.”

“Amidst a gloomy international economic landscape, India stands as a haven of stability and will be the fastest growing major economy,” it added.

With exports declining in continuation for over a year, India’s trade deficit in April to January period of the fiscal also declined to $106.8 billion from $119.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2014-15.

The country’s current account deficit (CAD) during April-September period of the fiscal was at 1.4 percent of the GDP.

The Survey points out that the growth in agriculture sector in 2015-16 has continued to be lower than the average of last decade, mainly on account of it being the second successive year of lower-than-normal monsoon rains.

“Growth in industry is estimated to have accelerated during the current year on the strength of improving manufacturing activity,” the Survey said.

“Multilateral institutions in their latest assessments have underlined that in the short run, Indian growth may fall short of its growth potential of 8-9 percent,”

“But the economy could continue weathering the global sluggishness with resilience and consolidate the gains in macroeconomic stability in the year ahead,” it added.

The Survey notes that India’s external sector continues to be strong and sustainable because of strong macroeconomic fundamentals and low commodity prices.

“While export slowdown may continue for a while before picking up in the next fiscal, continuance of low global commodity prices augurs well for sustaining low trade and current account deficits,” it said.

Speaking of the reforms in India, the Survey said the economy is making great strides in removing barriers to entry for firms, talent, and technology “but less in relation to exit”.

It invokes the legend of the “charkravyuha” (maze) from the Mahabharata describing the ability to enter but not exit from business.

India has a disproportionately large share of inefficient firms with very low productivity and with little exit, the survey said.

“This lack of exit generates externalities that hurt the economy,” it added.

A critical short-term challenge confronting the economy is the “twin balance sheet problem” – the impaired financial positions of public sector banks and some corporate houses.

“The twin balance sheet challenge is the major impediment to private investment and a full-fledged economic recovery,” it said.

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India can gain over $500 bn yearly joining TPP

Feb 26, 2016 0

New Delhi– India could experience export gains of more than $500 billion per year, or 60 percent increase, from joining an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or participating in a comprehensive Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and the country’s national income would expand by 4 percent, or $200 billion, said the Economic Survey 2015-16.

SitharamanThe Survey, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in parliament on Friday, cited experts to say that India is most competitive in services trade and reduction of trade barriers in services among TPP members will result in growth in India’s services exports.

“The possible risks of not joining the TPP are difficult to quantify, but some of the research has highlighted the possibility of trade diversion and raised concerns about erosion of India’s share in exports to the US and Europe,” it said.

The TPP is a US-led trade agreement involving twelve Pacific Rim countries and concerning a variety of matters of trade and economic policy, on which consensus was reached in October last year after seven years of negotiations.

“The TPP is expected to make around 11,000 tariff lines duty free for its members, which may result in loss of competitiveness of Indian exports in these markets,” it added.

Noting TPP economies on average are more open than the Indian economy, the survey said the service trade restriction index of the World Bank indicates that the TPP economies are less stringent about entry of services than India.

Last month, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sought to reassure Indian industry that there would be no adverse impact of entering into the TPP agreement.

“There is nothing to worry about the adverse impact of TPP on India. We have taken necessary steps to boost India’s trade and investment in the wake of emerging new trade architecture,” she said in her address at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s annual partnership summit here.

Sitharaman also said the real implementation of TPP has a long way to go as till date, not a single TPP member has got it passed through their parliament.

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Extend e-Tourist visa window to boost tourism: Economic Survey

Feb 26, 2016 0

New Delhi–The Economic Survey 2015-16 suggested that the e-Tourist Visa window should be extended to 180 days instead of the current 30 days before tour and also stressed the need of a multiple entry e-Tourist Visa instead of the existing single entry to boost tourism.

The survey, presented in parliament on Friday by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, suggested “practical suggestions” to boost services sector including tourism.

Indian Finance Minister

Indian Finance Minister

“Extension of duration of stay to 60 days under e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) instead of 30 days and making available biometric facility in major ports to help cruise passengers get e-TV will assist in boost tourism in the country,” it said.

“To avoid delay the counters for e-TV tourists should be increased and the e-TV facility should also be extended to medical tourists,” it said.

The other measures suggested by the survey include examining the possibility of giving special incentives like tax-free bonds and income tax exemptions on profits used in reinvestment in the tourism sector, development of tourism infrastructure on public private partnership basis and by channelising corporate social responsibility (CSR) spends into India’s heritage development.

It said that there was a need to promote medical tourism in the Brand India Campaign instead of the current fragmented approach where individual hospitals had been promoting themselves as hospital destinations.

“Rapid immigration clearances for medical tourists, enhanced basic infrastructure for them at airports, streamlining the medical visa process and extending e-TV to medical tourists would help in boosting medical tourism,” it said.

“Medical tourism can be boosted by promotion of geriatric healthcare by leveraging our expertise in ayurveda, yoga and unani practices and by getting international accreditation for Indian hospitals,” the survey said.

It said that other steps like making railways more tourist friendly with cleanliness and hygiene, e-booking with special quotas for foreign visitors, introducing smart cards for e-payments across all tolls in India and national permit for tourist vehicles would improve the tourism sector in the country.

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2015 most polarised year after Partition: Chidambaram

Feb 26, 2016 0

New Delhi–The year past was perhaps the most polarised in India’s history after Partition in 1947, former finance minister P. Chidambaram said on Friday.

P. Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram

“The year did not end with the narrative of the economy. Instead, it ended with the narrative of intolerance, of confrontation, with more and more people apprehensive and insecure,” Chidamabaram said here at the launch of his latest book “Standing Guard — A Year in Opposition”.

“The year 2015 was perhaps the most polarised year of India’s history after Partition in 1947,” he said.

Declaring he was proud to be in opposition, which, however, did not mean “being an enemy of the government”, Chidamabaram cited Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar to say “a king without a critic will fail. A king must embrace his critic, listen to him and must fear the day when he has no critic”.

The audience at the packed Teen Murti House here also included former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

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Indian policy and business digest

Feb 25, 2016 0

Government Offers 25% Share to Pvt. Firms in Defense Production

Private sector manufacturers have an opportunity to pick up a 25% share of defense production, said A.K. Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of Defense. According to Gupta, the Government has identified 25 projects that it plans to open to the industry, adding that the Ministry has also simplified export procedures and eliminated licensing bottlenecks.

Govt. Approves More Solar Parks Exceeding Original Plan

India-lionThe total number of approved solar parks has risen to 33 in 21 states with an aggregate capacity of 19,900 MW, an official statement said. The number of solar parks exceeds the original plan of 25. Govt. has launched several projects like Scheme for Development of Solar Parks to achieve 20 GW through ultra mega solar parks.

Road Ministry Unveils Major Plan for Logistics Hubs and Ports

Speaking at the ‘Make In India’ Week, Minister of Roads and Highways Nitin Gadkari has announced policies for developing logistics hubs using 350 ring roads; development of 2,000 ports along 8,700 miles of coast and introduction of e-tolling across 360 toll plazas.

WTO Trade Facilitation Pact Cleared

The Cabinet has approved the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which seeks to ease customs procedures to boost commerce. The pact aims to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, for international trade. According to the WTO, full implementation of TFA could increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion annually.

Govt. Sets Definition of ‘Start-Up’

The Government has come out with a uniform definition of start-ups under which an entrepreneur with a turnover of less than $3.6 million can avail tax breaks and other benefits for a five-year period. Entities formed by splitting or re-construction of existing businesses will not be considered start-ups.

India-defense‘Make In India’ Racks Up $222 Billion in Pledges

The “Make In India” summit in Mumbai that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi closed with $222 billion in investment pledges. Amitabh Kant, Secretary of India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said he expected 80-85 percent of the pledges to convert into actual business, much of it from foreign investors.

USIBC: U.S. Firms May Invest $27 Billion in India Over Next 2 Years

American companies invested more than $15 billion since the Modi Government came to power and are expected to add an additional $27 billion over the next two years, according to the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). “The reforms undertaken by India in the last two years under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership are resonating very well with the U.S. companies,”the USIBC said.

Moody’s Pegs India’s GDP Growth at 7.5% in 2016, 2017

The Indian economy will grow at 7.5 percent in 2016 and 2017 and is relatively less exposed to external headwinds and will benefit from lower commodity prices, Moody’s Investors Service said. Amid low growth in global trade in goods, India’s large services export sector (IT services) provides another source of resilience.

India Gets First U.S. Business Center in Mumbai

Motivated by the commitment to rapidly expand U.S.-India investment and trade, the first U.S. Business Center in India has been inaugurated in Mumbai. Services available to U.S. organizations include accounting, payroll, compliance services, staff, recruitment and HR advisory, sales and business development support, market research and channel development.

Apple’s 1st Offshore Tech Development Center Set for India

Apple will build its first technology development center outside the U.S. in Hyderabad, India, with an investment of $25 million, likely employing about 4,500, and is set to start in the latter half of this year. Apple follows Google and Microsoft, which have said they will invest in the state.

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Google, TechHub join hands to boost Startup India initiative

Feb 24, 2016 0

New Delhi–Internet giant Google and global community for tech entrepreneurs TechHub on Wednesday announced their global partnership that will benefit startups from India for the first time.

The partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs will bring more opportunities to TechHub’s 700-plus tech startups around the world including India, said a statement released here.

Google supports TechHub’s work to help hundreds of tech companies scale up their businesses.

“In Bengaluru, we see a huge variety of startups creating innovative products, and we want to help them succeed both in India and all around the world. TechHub and Google for Entrepreneurs is a strong partnership that will empower Indian entrepreneurs to go global from the very beginning,” Elizabeth Varley, TechHub’s global co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.

Now TechHub members in Bengaluru and other TechHub locations in Riga, Bucharest, Madrid, Warsaw and London will have access to programmes and assistance from Google.

“TechHub’s ‘community first’ values and their focus on supporting founders and startups with education and programs align perfectly with the goals of Google for Entrepreneurs,” added David Grunwald, Google for Entrepreneurs’ head of EMEA Partnerships.

TechHub members hail from over 60 countries and every member can access Google in six international cities.

TechHub membership gives each entrepreneur access to every TechHub in the world and all the programmes and opportunities available there.

TechHub’s programme helped startups face the challenges of building and growing a global tech company, the statement said.

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Tata calls for scrapping ‘5/20’ norm for flying abroad

Feb 24, 2016 0

Mumbai– Tata Sons, owners of carriers Vistara and AirAsia, said on Wednesday the “5/20 rule” rule restricting new carriers from flying overseas should be scrapped as it gives an unfair advantage to foreign airlines that now dominate international air travel.

“The rule is discriminatory to Indian airlines as foreign airlines that do not meet these criteria are allowed to operate in Indian skies, but Indian airlines cannot enjoy reciprocal rights,” Tata said in a statement here.

It said the rule had allowed foreign airlines, led by Gulf carriers like Etihad and Emirates, to capture 70 percent of international traffic.

Both the Tata airlines are less than two years old and hence not eligible to operate international flights.

Vistara is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, while AirAsia India is a tri venture with Air Asia Berhard of Malaysia and Arun Bhatia’s Telstra.

In a tweet on Sunday, Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata had favoured waiver of the 5/20 rule, and charges older airlines were seeking it be retained but budget carrier SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh had joined issue, opposing his demand.

“It is sad to see incumbent (old) airlines lobbying for protection and preferential treatment for themselves against the new airlines, which have been formed in full compliance with prevailing government policy and providing air transport to Indian citizens in line with the dream of ‘New India’,” tweeted Tata.

Tata’s tweet follows a representation by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) comprising Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir to Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh on retaining the 5/20 norm, auctioning of additional seats to foreign carriers among other issues.

Meanwhile, the FIA on Tuesday criticised the lobbying by the Tata Sons airlines for removal of the 5/20 rule, saying it was in the “self-interest and not in “national interest” of the two carriers.

“FIA is deeply disturbed by the statements issued by Tata claiming to be in national interest but effectively in self-interest,” FIA said in a statement.

“They (Vistara and AirAsia) claim to be ‘Indian’ Airlines and so it is puzzling that they now do not wish to serve the Indian civil aviation growth story be a part of India’s future growth. They only wish to, it appears, serve their self-interest and establish themselves in India in order to fly International,” it said.

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