IndUS Business Journal

Mahindra’s electric cars to empower NGO working for physically challenged

Dec 4, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Automobile maker Mahindra Electric on Monday donated three battery-driven cars under its CSR initiative to an Non-Government Organisation (NGO) working for the physically challenged.

“NGO Wheels of Change will use our customised electric vehicles (eVeritos) as cabs under its initiative ‘KickStart’ to enable differently abled to ferry their passengers safely,” Mahindra Electric said in a statement here.

The battery-powered cars have been modified to install a swivel out mechanism on the front co-passenger seat.

“The electric cars have been aligned to offer mobility for all, including the handicapped, under our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative,” said Mahindra Electric Chief Executive Mahesh Babu.

The company handed over a fast charging unit for use on the cars.

Karnataka’s Additional Transport Commissioner Hemantha Kumara gave the cars’ keys to NGO trustee Ritheesh Shetty here.

The not-for-profit NGO said it works to make the world accessible to people with disabilities and promote inclusion of marginalised communities.

“We have worked as research and design partner for KickStart Services Ltd to promote transporting people with disability and senior citizens,” Shetty said in the statement.

The customised electric cabs can also be hired by wheelchair users and crutch walkers to visit public places like parks, toilets and open grounds.

“The aim is to make public places accessible even to the handicapped than keep them in isolation,” added Shetty.

As part of the $19-billion Mahindra group, the electric vehicle subsidiary makes e2o Plus hatch, eVerito sedan, eSupro minivan and electric rickshaw e-Alfa mini. (IANS)

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India’s domestic passenger traffic rises over 20% in October: IATA

Dec 4, 2017 0

New Delhi– India’s domestic passenger traffic grew by 20.4 per cent in October, a global airline association said on Monday.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India’s domestic demand — revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) — was highest amongst major aviation markets like Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and the US.

The IATA data showed that India’s domestic RPK — which measures actual passenger traffic — rose by over 20 per cent in October compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

India’s domestic passenger traffic growth was followed by that of China at 10 per cent and Brazil at 7.7 per cent. (IANS)


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US companies commit continued investments in India

Dec 4, 2017 0

By Aroonim Bhuyan

New Delhi– Representatives of around 45 American companies met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad and expressed their commitment to continue investing in India, a top Indian American business leader has said.

Bombay Stock Exchange

These representatives were part of a delegation of the US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), a newly set-up non-profit organisation focused on deepening business relations between the US and India and enhancing the strategic relationship between the two countries.

“I can’t talk about the specifics (of the meeting with Modi) because it was off the record. But basically the companies did meet with the Prime Minister and they showed their commitment to continued investment into India,” USISPF President Mukesh Aghi told IANS in an interview.

The US looks at building its relationship with India on two broad principles. “One principle is that economic prosperity of India is good for America. And the second principle is a militarily strong India is good for regional stability,” Aghi said.

If India became economically more prosperous and there was more disposable income, people would tend to buy more US goods, or send more of their kids for education to the US, he said.

“If you look at this year, the enrollment of Indian students in the US went up by 12 per cent. So we have 186,000 Indian students in the US,” he stated.

“That’s one. Two, if you look at companies like Amazon, look at Uber, look at WhatsApp or Google, you know they have a tremendous market share in the Indian market. Their businesses grow because consumer spending is growing in India because of economic prosperity.”

On the defence side, Aghi said that if India became more prosperous, it would spend more money on defence.

“If you look at the last three years, the procurement with India has gone up to $15 billion,” he said.

“We are talking Make in India also from the manufacturing perspective of defence equipment. So, I think those principles are driving this relationship.”

On the current business environment in India, Aghi referred to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings which saw India jumping from the 130th rank to 100th.

“When this government came in 2014, India’s ranking was 142. And now it has come to 100. I think that is a positive sign and we will keep on urging the government to go to below 50. That should be the ambition,” he stated.

About the economic reforms being undertaken by the Indian government, he said these have been certified by credit rating agency Moody’s, which has upgraded India’s sovereign rating to Baa2 from its lowest investment grade of Baa after 14 long years.

“What the government is doing is the right stuff — which seems to send a strong message to investors also. Moody’s ranking is a positive sign, very positive,” he said.

On what were the key takeaways for USISPF from this year’s GES, which was held on the theme “Women First, Priority for All”, Aghi said: “I think the number one takeaway is that start-ups and entrepreneurship are important for job creation. That’s what India needs”.

He also stressed on the involvement and engagement of women entrepreneurs and women workers for the growth of GDP and economy.

“You know, a McKinsey report shows that by 2025, if you engage more women workers, it will have an impact of $12 trillion on the global economy,” the USISPF president said. (IANS)

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No problem cannot be solved if India, US work together: Obama

Dec 1, 2017 0

New Delhi– While hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his role in the Paris climate accord, former US President Barack Obama on Friday said that there is no problem that cannot be solved if India and the US work together.

“If India and the United States are working together, I believe there is no problem we cannot solve,” Obama said while addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.

Stating that both countries have much in common, he said: “That’s why I have always believed there is something more than the strength of the US-India alliance. I believe the partnership between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy is a defining partnership of the 21st century.”

He said that this partnership could chart the course for a better future at a time when democracy itself was being questioned.

“Globalisation, technical advances, terrorism, rising inequality, rapidly transforming climate, these have not only shaken the foundation of individual families but also our collective politics and our common institutions,” Obama stated.

He said that though the world today was less violent than most of human history, it was still being driven by old divisions, new conflicts and slaughter of innocent people.

He said that in these times of uncertainty, countries should shed the politics of “us versus them” and should instead embrace the commonalities that they share.

“Just look at how our two countries have succeeded having thrown off the yoke of colonialism, we crafted Constitutions that begin with the same three words – we the people,” Obama, the first US President to visit India twice while in office, said.

He said that the history together of India and the US speak through a common set of values – values of pluralism and tolerance, openness and rule of law, a liberal market-based economy that places the primacy of people’s individual rights, including the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

“We have to promote these values everyday because there is a competing narrative. These values are often under attack and if we are not constantly reinforcing them and passing them on to the next generation, they can wither away,” he said.

Obama said that he and Modi met an unprecedented nine times because all the key challenges in the world would be easier to achieve if India continued to play a larger role not only in the Asia-Pacific region but on the world stage.

“Just as we have to work to continue to alleviate inequality in our own countries, we still need to do more work to close the gap between rich and poor nations and making sure that fragile states don’t collapse, making sure that countries where young people have no hope finally get some hope, ” he said, while listing out some suggestions.

“That’s not just the right thing to do, the charitable thing to do, it is in our self interest, it is the smart thing to do for long-term stability.”

The second point he made was that most of the challenges that the world was facing have to be worked together in a multi-lateral fashion

“As powerful as the United States or India is, it cannot solve any of these problems alone,” Obama said.

“I was very appreciative of the critical role that India played and Prime Minister Modi played in forging the Paris accord to fight climate change. That was not an easy thing to do politically but it was the right thing to do.”

Referring to US President Donald Trump pulling his country out of the Paris accord, he said that though “there has been a pause in the American leadership”, the good news was that states, companies, universities and cities in the US were continuing to work to ensure that the country lived up to the obligations that it had made to the agreement.

“Third, I would point out that diplomacy still matters and that although we have not seen great power contests as we saw in the 20th century , with rogue states like North Korea and their missile launches, with disinfection in places like the Middle East where terrorism is still a constant threat, we can’t just rely on our military and our weaponry to solve those problems,” Obama stated.

He said that he deeply believed “in the liberal international order that together we have forged” that was not based on military power or national affiliation, but was based on principles, rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms. (IANS)

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GDP growth recovery to continue: Bibek Debroy

Dec 1, 2017 0

New Delhi– Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC-PM) Chairman Bibek Debroy on Friday welcomed the GDP growth recovery in the second quarter of the current fiscal and said the trend will continue in the future quarters.

“In the wake of various measures being undertaken by the Central government, this GDP growth trend will continue in the future quarters also,” he said, as per a statement from the advisory panel.

The NITI Aayog Member added that the EAC-PM had embarked on several initiatives which will contribute to stable economic growth and employment.

Official data released on Thursday revealed that a rise in the manufacturing sector’s output pushed India’s growth rate higher to 6.3 per cent during the second quarter of 2017-18 breaking a five quarters slump.

“Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has welcomed the GDP growth recovery in the second quarter of the current fiscal year reversing the declining trend in the last five quarters,” the advisory panel said.

“EAC-PM since its establishment has been focussing on various driving factors that influence economic growth of the country,” it added.

On a sequential basis, India’s GDP growth for Q2 of the current fiscal went up to 6.3 per cent, from 5.7 per cent reported during the first quarter of 2017-18.(IANS)

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Samsung files patent for palm scanning as password hint

Dec 1, 2017 0

Seoul– Samsung has reportedly filed a patent that explores using palm scanning to remember forgotten passwords.

“Samsung thinks a person’s palm can be used to help users remember their password by hiding the hint in those scattered lines, tech website SamMobile reported late on Thursday.

According to the 42-page patent, the company has envisioned a way for devices to use the front camera to take a picture and then the phone will be able to verify the identity, as long as palm lines match with the ones already stored in the smartphone.

“This isn’t a method for unlocking similar to iris or fingerprint scanning; instead, Samsung wants to use palm scanning to ensure that the user requesting for the password hint is the owner of the device,” the report added.

The company currently offers eye scans, facial recognition, fingerprint identification, pattern and PIN codes as security measures.

The South Korean tech giant is also expected to unveil its flagship Galaxy S9 and a foldable Galaxy X at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas. (IANS)

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No change in H1B visa system: US

Dec 1, 2017 0

Kolkata– Amid the H1B visa row in India, the US government on Friday said there has been no change in law regarding the H1B regime and the system continued to be as before.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for State for South Asia Thomas Vajda said no legislation has been passed so far on the particular category of visa.

“(There is) no change in the law today for H1B (visa) regime or system in the United States… President (Donald) Trump asked for review of the H1B system…but no steps have been taken. Many changes in law, so many cases, require changes of legislation. But so far no legislation has been passed on H1B. For the moment, the system remains as it has in the past,” Vajda told reporters after an interactive session with members of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Following Trump’s election as US president on a protectionist platform, the US has announced stricter norms for issuing the H1B and L1 visas.

India’s Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said in October that the issue of H1B and L1 visas, which have facilitated the entry of Indian IT professionals, has been raised strongly with Washington.

Responding to a query regarding reducing pet coke imports from the US, Vajda said the US sees energy as the most potential area for increasing economic activities.

“The US is committed to increase energy export and support for India’s economic development,” he said.

Vajda said both the governments of India and the US have been hopeful and supportive for completion of contract between the Westinghouse Electric Company and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India to build six nuclear reactors in India.

On the Rohingya refugee crisis, he said the US has been providing financial support for humanitarian purposes to the Bangladesh government through international organisations to help out over 600,000 Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August.

“We also continue to urge the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to have conversations and discussions that will facilitate the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingyas to Myanmar,” he added. (IANS)

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Rural demand, new launches push November auto sales higher

Dec 1, 2017 0

New Delhi/Chennai– Robust rural demand along with new offerings led automobile manufacturers to report healthy sales figures for November.

Passenger car major Maruti Suzuki India’s total sales rose 14.1 per cent to 154,600 units, from 135,550 units sold during the corresponding month of 2016.

“This (total sales) includes 145,300 units in the domestic market and 9,300 units of exports. The company had sold a total of 135,550 units in November 2016,” the auto major said in a statement.

Maruti Suzuki’s November domestic sales edged higher by 15 per cent to 145,300 units from 126,325 units.

Exports inched-up by 0.8 per cent, with 9,300 units that were shipped out during last month, up from 9,225 units sold abroad in November 2016.

Similarly, Hyundai Motor India too reported a healthy growth in its domestic sales.

The company’s November domestic sales rose by 10 per cent to 44,008 units from an off-take of 40,016 reported in the corresponding month of 2016.

Commenting on the November performance, HMIL Director for Sales and Marketing Rakesh Srivastava said: “Hyundai volume of 44,008 units is a growth of 10 per cent with strong performance of the newly launched bestseller Next Gen Verna along with Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta.

“Due to strong pull of festive demand on the strength of buoyant rural markets, we hope to build on this positive momentum with a cumulative retail sales of 200,000 units for the period September to December 2017.”

Other major manufacturer, Tata Motors’ domestic sales for November rose exponentially on the back of new product offerings.

The company’s November domestic passenger and commercial vehicle sales rose by 58 per cent to 52,464 units.

However, the company’s exports during the month under review declined by 12 per cent to 4,927 units shipped out due to a drop in volume in key commercial vehicles’ international markets such as Nepal and Sri Lanka.

On the same page, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) total sales rose by 18 per cent to 38,570 units last month up from 32,564 units sold during November 2016.

The company’s domestic sales increased by 21 per cent to 36,039 vehicles during November 2017, as against 29,869 vehicles sold during November 2016.

Conversely, exports for November 2017 stood at 2,531 vehicles, a de-growth of six per cent.

M&M also logged a growth of 13 per cent in the three wheeler segment last month selling 4,455 units as against 3,953 units sold during corresponding period in 2016.

“We expect our growth momentum to continue on the back of some recent refresh launches as well as the positivity of our product portfolio,” Rajan Wadhera, President, Automotive Sector was quoted as saying in the statement.

Passenger cars manufacturer Honda Cars India registered monthly domestic sales of 11,819 units in November 2017 against 8,029 units in the corresponding month last year.

Besides, Ford India’s combined domestic sales and exports in November reached 27,019 vehicles from 21,004 vehicles in the same month last year.

Two and three-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto a rise of 21 per cent in total sales, including exports, for November 2017 to 326,458 units from 269,948 units sold during the corresponding month of 2016.

Bajaj Auto’s total domestic sales last month stood at 179,835 units — up 16 per cent, while the overall exports edged higher by 27 per cent to 146,623 units.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) closed the month of November with stellar domestic sale which was up 44 per cent to 432,350 units.

Honda’s motorcycle sales grew by 56 per cent to 150,606 units, while scooter sales grew by 39 per cent to 281,744 units.

TVS Motor Company registered a sales growth of 12 per cent from 224,971 units sold in November 2016 to 251,965 units in the like month of 2017. (IANS)

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N.L. Sharma named Chairman of Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam

Dec 1, 2017 0

Shimla– Nand Lal Sharma has been appointed the Chairman and Managing Director of the public sector power generator Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN), the company announced on Friday.

Prior to this appointment, Sharma was the Director (Personnel) in the undertaking, an SJVN release said here. Before joing SJVN, he had served in the Himachal Pradesh Administrative Services in various capacities, the statement added.

SJVNL’s maiden 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri hydropower project, located in Himachal’s Kinnaur district, had started operating in 2004-05.

SJVNL’s 47.6 MW wind power station at Khirvire in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, generated 34 million units of electricity in the last fiscal and the company has also ventured into the field of solar power with the commissioning of 5 MW Charanka Solar Power Project in Gujarat in 2016-17.

Earlier this year SJVN said it had generated 9,045 million units of electricity at its three power plants in the last fiscal, surpassing the target of 8,700 million units.

SJVNL is a joint venture between the central and the Himachal Pradesh governments. The Centre holds 74.5 per cent stake, while the state government holds the remaining 25.5 per cent.

However, the central government sold 10 per cent equity in May 2010. (IANS)

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Google to mentor 4 new Indian startups

Dec 1, 2017 0

New Delhi– Google on Friday announced the four shortlisted Indian startups for its hands-on mentorship programme ‘Launchpad Accelerator’. With this batch, a total of 30 Indian startups have so far joined the class.

The shortlisted startups — BabyChakra, m.Paani, NIRAMAI and SocialCops — will join a group of startups shortlisted from all over the world at the Google Developers’ Launchpad Space in San Francisco in the US.

Class 5 of the mentorship will kick off on January 29 and will include two weeks of all-expenses paid training, as part of the the full six-month programme.

“These startups have been shortlisted based on their unique value proposition and use of latest technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Roy Glasberg, Global Lead, Google Developers Launchpad, said in a statement.

BabyChakra is a trusted care companion to Indian parents, from pregnancy to parenting.

m.Paani powers real-time, direct to consumer engagement, marketing, loyalty and insights for mass market consumers and retailers.

NIRAMAI is a healthtech startup that has developed a novel breast cancer screening solution while SocialCops empowers organisations to make better decisions through data.

Launchpad Accelerator is Google’s six-month programme that includes an intensive two-week boot camp in San Francisco and mentoring from over 30 teams across Google and expert mentors from top technology companies in Silicon Valley and globally.(IANS)

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