Smartphones sales in India to see 60 percent growth

Mar 23, 2016 0

New Delhi–Sales of affordable smartphones with in-built camera and internet-enabled features are set to shoot up to 160 million in 2016-17 from 100 million in 2015-16, an Assocham study said on Wednesday.

Consequent to smartphones serving the needs of amateur photographers and enthusiasts, the rise of such phones is eating into the demand for digital cameras which witnessed a drop in sales by more than 35 percent in the last one year, the study said.

“Technology is changing at such a fast pace that product developers have to think ahead of times, or else the top selling products of the present times can become outdated, without the manufacturers and those dominating the market today realising it,” said Assocham secretary D.S. Rawat.

“There has been a subsequent rise in the demand of smartphones in the country in the last one year and one of the reasons behind this growing importance is largely due to the increase in social networking site.

“Most of the youth in the country share photographs online and upload photographs which has become a new trend in the metros thus giving rise to the need for smartphones,” Rawat added.

Smartphone sales more than doubled from 44 million units in 2013 to 100 million units in 2016. The volume of smartphone sales is expected to touch 160 million units by 2017, the study added.

“Another feature of the smart devices market in India is that the country has a huge telephone subscribers base of about a billion users who are becoming aspirational even at the bottom of pyramid,” said Rawat.

According to the Assocham survey, most of the respondents said the biggest advantage of clicking pictures with smartphones is that they can be shared instantly with friends and family– a feature which is absent with most of the point and short cameras.

Almost 75 percent of the sales of mobiles and tablets came from consumers residing in tier-I and tier-II cities.

As per the study, sales of personal computers and MP3 players have already started declining due to the impact of smartphone and tablet adoption.

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Edelweiss to acquire JP Morgan’s Indian assets

Mar 22, 2016 0

Mumbai– Edelweiss Asset Management Limited (EAML) on Tuesday announced an agreement to acquire JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) managed Indian onshore fund schemes, onshore mutual fund business and international fund of funds.

“Given the complementary business advantages and the significant business that JPMAM has built, this acquisition is a natural win for both Edelweiss and JP Morgan,” said Edelweiss Group chief executive Rashesh Shah in a statement about the deal which is subject to regulatory approvals.

JPMAM’s assets under management (AUM) stand at Rs.7,081 crore while the combined valued of JP MorganA and Edelweiss AUM amount to Rs.8,757 crore.

According to the statement, the acquisition will further bolster Edelweiss Group’s Rs.31,000 crore global asset management businesses.

To ensure business continuity and further growth, EAML has expressed its commitment to absorb majority of JPMAM’s employees.

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CBDT panel for ‘equalisation levy’ on foreign e-commerce firms

Mar 21, 2016 0

New Delhi–A Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) committee on taxation of e-commerce has suggested an “Equalisation Levy” of between 6-8 percent for business-to-business digital transactions, as per its report made public on Monday.

The committee had already submitted, in February, its report, which had formed the basis of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget 2016-17 proposal for an equalisation levy of 6 percent in order to tax income accruing to foreign e-commerce companies from India.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (File Photo)

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (File Photo)

“The committee included officers of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, representatives from the industry, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and tax experts,” said a finance ministry statement.

The committee has suggested that the levy be imposed on the amount paid to a non-resident by an Indian resident for specified digital services. It also suggested that this levy should not be a part of the Income Tax Act.

The specified services would include online advertising or any services, rights or use of software for online advertising, including advertising on radio and TV, designing, hosting or maintenance of websites, digital space for website, e-mails, blogs, facility for online sale of goods or services or collecting online payments.

It would also include use or right to use or download online music, online movies, online games and online software applications accessed or downloaded through the Internet or telecommunication networks.

The commitee has suggested introduction of the tax based on the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) principle earlier endorsed by G20 countries and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The budget for the next fiscal has proposed that a person making payment to a non-resident, without a permanent establishment, exceeding in aggregate Rs.1 lakh in a year for online advertisement, will withhold tax at 6 percent of the gross amount paid as an equalisation levy. The levy will only apply to business-to-business transactions.

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TiE-Boston Elects Praveen Tailam President

Mar 18, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA—TiE-Boston, the second largest chapter of TiE-Global, the biggest global not-for-profit organization fostering entrepreneurship, has elected Praveen Tailam as its new president for a two-year term, which starts on April 1.

Praveen Tailam

Praveen Tailam

TiE-Boston officials said that this year TiE-Boston had a two-way contest for the position of the president of the organization. Pallavi Singh, founder and CEO of Beacon Innovation Group, an intellectual property and innovation firm which provides support to entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, lost to Tailam.

Tailam serves as managing director of TiE-Angels Boston and Singh leads TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) program. Singh also serves as co-chair of TiE-Boston’s annual TiE StartupCon 2016.

“I was very pleased to see two qualified and dedicated, long-time volunteers and charter members interested in leading TiE-Boston. Pallavi is a leader of the TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) program and TiEStartupCon (the largest startup conference in the Northeast). Praveen leads TiEAngels (angel investment group) and has been an avid supporter of many other programs such as TiEScaleup (a focused mentoring for early stage companies), social events and TiE Global activities,” said TiE-Boston’s outgoing President Gaugarin Oliver. “The charter members elected Praveen and with his many years of experience supporting TiE-Boston, his connections in the Boston entrepreneurial ecosystem and his vision to take TiE-Boston to the next level, he will be a terrific president of TiE-Boston to continue the momentum.”

Pallavi Singh

Pallavi Singh

Since 1997, TiE-Boston has been supporting entrepreneurs by offering education, mentorship, networking, and funding opportunities. TiE-Boston is a chapter of TiE-Global, the largest global not-for-profit organization fostering entrepreneurship. TiE-Boston members leverage the global network of members from 61 chapters in 18 countries. TiE has 12,000 members throughout the world, and has contributed over $250 billion in wealth creation.

Tailam is an entrepreneur, investor, start-up advisor, conference speaker, mentor, and philanthropist with strong connections to TiE. As managing director of TiE Angels Boston, he handles operations including deal sourcing and closing, partnership development, and investor education and management.

Through his ties with universities and incubators, Tailam offers help and support to promising young entrepreneurs. He co-founded TiE Angels Alliance, a consortium of 15 TiE Angel groups from all across the country. TiE Angels Boston works with TiE Global. In addition, he co-manages multiple dental practices in New Hampshire and Maine in partnership with Aspen Dental, a leading nationwide Dental Service Organization.

Tailam founded Redtail Consulting, a Boston area IT consulting practice, in 2006 and managed the business through 2012. Additionally, he has managed enterprise scale messaging systems for companies in the technology, banking, and insurance sectors, including IBM, Putnam Investments and Wellpoint BCBS.

He holds a Masters Degree in Information Systems from Northeastern University and a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Osmania University. He enjoys music and travel and is an avid golfer, cricketer and squash player. A resident of the Greater Boston area for almost 22 years, Tailam currently lives in Nashua, NH, with his wife and two children.

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Advertising watchdog processes 1,000 misleading ad complaints in India

Mar 17, 2016 0

Mumbai–Advertising space watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) on Thursday said it has processed more than 1,000 complaints against misleading advertisements on behalf of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA).

On March 18, 2015, the DoCA appointed ASCI to monitor the web portal aimed at addressing misleading advertisements and arresting unfair trade practices.

Benoy Roychowdhury

Benoy Roychowdhury

GAMA stands for “grievances against misleading advertisements”.

“The need for government and self-regulatory body like ASCI to work together to provide effective and timely grievance redressal to consumers is key to tackle the issue,” DoCA secretary C. Viswanath said in a statement.

GAMA has received more than 1,000 complaints from individuals and consumer organisations like Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) which were processed by the ASCI.

“ASCI was entrusted with the responsibility of GAMA complaints processing. This co-regulation initiative between the government and ASCI has further enhanced effectiveness of protecting consumers,” said ASCI chairman Benoy Roychowdhury.

Misleading publicity against products and services ranging across telecom, banking, consumer durables, e-commerce and others sectors emanating from TV, print, online and other digital medium were complained upon.

The ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against some leading brands forcing them to withdraw the publicity material or modify it appropriately within the stipulate period.

The complaints are handled through a three-tier system. First, the complaints get processed by ASCI, the second level escalates non-compliance to a sub-committee headed by the joint secretary DoCA under the Inter Ministerial Monitoring Committee (IMMC), while at the final stage, the empowered regulator will act against persistent offenders, the statement added.

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Air India signs pact for leasing 14 Airbus A320neo aircraft

Mar 17, 2016 0

Hyderabad– Air India on Wednesday signed an agreement for leasing 14 Airbus A320neo aircraft with ALAFCO, a Kuwait-based leasing company.

The delivery of aircraft is likely to start from early next year. The agreement was signed on the inaugural day of India Aviation 2016, the country’s largest aviation conference and exhibition

Air India-HyderabadAir India CMD Ashwani Lohani and ALAFCO vice chairman and CEO Ahmad Al Zabin signed the agreement.

“This induction will augment Air India’s capacity in domestic market. Air India already has strong infrastructure maintenance facilities for the Airbus A320 family,” the state-owned carrier said in a statement.

“This is a very important partnership for Air India. The A320 aircraft will add strength to our existing fleet and enhance our role as a major player in the domestic market,” said Lohani.

The A320neo aircraft will come fitted with the new generation CFM leap engines which will reduce noise and emissions, enhance the operational efficiency and reduce fuel consumption by at least 15 percent while offering the passengers the best in class comfort.

Meanwhile, IndiGo displayed its first A320neo on the inaugural day of the aviation show.

The aircraft was delivered on March 11 after a direct flight from Toulouse to Delhi International airport lasting over eight hours, the company said in a statement.

IndiGo, India’s largest airline by passenger numbers is Airbus’ biggest A320neo customer having ordered a total of 430 aircraft placed in 2011 and 2015.

The A320neo ‘new engine option’ incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings from day one and 20 per cent by 2020. This is equivalent to a reduction of 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per aircraft per year. So far Airbus has won orders for over 4,500 A320neo aircraft.

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India Aviation 2016 begins in Hyderabad on March 16

Mar 12, 2016 0

Hyderabad–India Aviation 2016, the country’s biggest civil aviation show, will begin here on March 16.

The five day biennial aviation show will be formally inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee at Begumpet Airport.

Theme of this edition is “Indian civil aviation sector: Potential as global manufacturing MRO hub.”

Leading aircraft and helicopter manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, Textron, Embraer, Gulfstream, Dassault, Agusta Westland, Bell Helicopters, Russian Helicopters will take part in the show.

Some well-known engine manufacturers – CFM, UTC, GE Aviation, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney will showcase their products and expertise

The first three days will be only for business visitors while on the last days it will be thrown open to general public.

Latest aircraft will be displayed by various manufacturers and exhibitors.

Delegations led by ministers and senior government officials from more than 25 countries including US, Canada, France Jamaica, Mauritius, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Greece, Malaysia, UAE and others will participate

There will be an international conference and four different business sessions for India aviation.

A global CEOs Forum will also be held in conjunction with the show.

The event will also have ‘Make in India’ pavilion which will give an insight to the international audience on the investment opportunities and policies of the government in the civil aviation sector.

An awareness session will be held for the public on the various aspects on civil aviation such as manufacturing, MROs, safety, ATC, ground handling and career opportunities in these areas.

A theme pavilion will showcase the important milestones of the civil aviation sector in India, its growth story and how it will emerge as the third largest civil aviation industry by 2020.

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India unveils new norms for hydrocarbons licensing, pricing

Mar 10, 2016 0

New Delhi–Taking up some long-pending issues in the oil and gas space, India on Thursday approved a new policy for their exploration, and defined the pricing norms for existing and new discoveries made in difficult areas. Contracts for 28 old blocks were also extended.

Briefing the media on the decisions of a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the new oil and gas exploration policy will now be based on a revenue-sharing model, as opposed to cost-and-output-based norms earlier.

The difficult areas for which the new pricing norms have now been formulated are defined as those from deep-water, ultra deep-water and high-pressure, high-temperature areas. Such areas were not considered when prices were fixed for normal gas discoveries in October 2014.

The bulk of such fields are with Reliance Industries and state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp.

What could impact the discovered oil fields of Reliance Industries is a clause that says if there are pending arbitration or litigation cases pertaining to such assets, the new policy shall only become applicable upon the conclusion or withdrawal of legal proceedings.

The decision had an impact on the shares of Reliance Industries. They steadily fell during the day — from Rs.1,045 to Rs.1,012, to log a loss of 2.87 percent. The company said it will await the fine print before reacting.

The shares of ONGC closed higher by 0.29 percent at Rs.205.70.

On difficult discoveries, an official statement later said the price will be calculated once in six months. The government feels this could potentially monetise 28 discoveries and also lead to some major investment. Reserves associated with such blocks are valued at $28.35 billion.

The oil minister said production contracts on some of the discovered fields could not be signed during last two decades due to a number of reasons, including arbitration proceedings, court cases, observations by the official auditor on “gold plating” of costs and alleged scandals.

“Resources worth more than Rs.261,000 crore will be brought into production as the result of today’s cabinet decisions,” Pradhan said. “The decisions will also go a long way in generating employment, enhance transparency and reduce administrative discretion.”

He said the new exploration and licensing policy will allow production of both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons, including shale gas and coal-bed methane, under a single license. “It also provides for marketing freedom for crude oil and natural gas produced from the blocks.”

Among the other decisions of the cabinet pertaining to the oil and gas sector, a Rs.8,000-crore outlay was provided to extend subsidised cooking gas to 50 million poor families in the name of the woman member, and the extension of contracts for 28 older hydrocarbon blocks.

This apart, the cabinet cancelled the Ratna and R-Series field contract awarded in 1996 to a consortium of Essar Oil and Oil Pacific UK.

In his budget speech last month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said the government will extend incentives for the discovery and exploration of gas by providing companies the freedom to market the output.

“India is blessed with rich natural resources including oil and gas. However, their discovery and exploitation has been below our potential. Imports of hydrocarbons occupy a large share of India’s total imports,” Jaitley said.

“As part of our drive towards self-sufficiency, the government is considering to incentivise gas production from deep-water, ultra deep-water and high pressure-high temperature areas, which are presently not exploited on account of higher cost and higher risks,” he said.

He said companies will be provided calibrated marketing freedom, and also a pre-determined ceiling price discovered from global benchmarks. (IANS)

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Two Infosys founders sell shares worth Rs 862 crore

Mar 10, 2016 0

Bengaluru– Two co-founders of global software major Infosys Ltd — S. Gopalakrishnan and S.D. Shibulal — and their family members on Thursday announced they were jointly selling 75 lakh shares of the blue chip firm on stock exchanges for a combined value of Rs.862 crore.

“Both founders and their kin sold the shares through Citigroup Global Markets India Ltd broker at Rs.1,149.45 per share of Rs.5 at par value,” a statement said here.

Gopalakrishnan, who sold 50 lakh shares, resigned as executive vice-chairman in October 2014, while Shibulal, who sold 25 lakh shares, quit as chief executive in July 2014, paving way for Vishal Sikka as the company’s first non-founder chief executive.

“The sale was done to partially monetise their equity stake for personal reasons, including for the betterment of society through various philanthropic activities,” the statement noted.

Both the former executives nurtured the IT outsourcing major for over three decades in various capacities since its inception in 1981 and made it a professionally run company with a global presence.

“Even after Thursday’s sale, the founder group will have substantial shareholding in the company,” the statement added.

The company’s scrip, which opened on BSE in Mumbai earlier in the day at Rs.1,164 per share as against Tuesday’s closing price of Rs.1,178.50, however, ended Rs.32.55 lower at Rs.1,145.95 per share.


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How with $1.5 billion debt, business tycoon Vijay Mallya left India

Mar 10, 2016 0

New Delhi– Even as the Indian government on Thursday assured that “every possible action will be taken” against beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Congress hit out at the Centre asking “how did it allow Mallya to leave the country”.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday questioned the government as to how it allowed liquor baron Vijay Mallya to leave the country.

Vijay Mallya (Photo: Twitter)

Vijay Mallya (Photo: Twitter)

“I asked a clear question to Jaitley-ji, How did Mallya-ji escape from India? Someone who has stolen Rs.9,000 crore from the government, how did you allow him to leave the country,” Gandhi asked.

The issue was also raised in the Rajya Sabha by Leader of Oposition Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, who said Mallya should not have been allowed to leave as there were serious charges against him.

“He could have been identified even at the airport when he was leaving as he is a prominent figure and most people recognise him,” Azad said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley invoked the case of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi while countering Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s allegation that the government had failed to act against Mallya.

Quattrocchi was an Italian businessman who was sought until 2009 in India for criminal charges of acting as a conduit for bribes in the Bofors scandal.

Countering Rahul Gandhi’s allegation, Jaitley later told reporters: “Rahul Gandhi should understand that going away of Ottavio Quattrocchi and Vijay Mallya is not the same. When CBI had alerted government about Quattrocchi, it was a criminal case and the then government did not stop him.”

Jaitley also added that there is a legal procedure on impounding a passport and action could be taken only based on the provisions of the Passport Act.

During Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said Mallya, as of the end of November 2015, owed about Rs.90 billion to various banks in the country.

He was responding to the issue raised by Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who wanted to know why the government did not “confiscate” the passport of the chief of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

The Congress leader wanted to know why the government and State Bank of India did not act against Mallya in time, which helped him to flee.

Jaitley said every member of the house shares the concern raised by Kharge, but said the sanction of money to Mallya was made during the UPA regime.

“The banks have started taking action against the companies to recover the debt. Certainly every possible action will be taken against all the defaulters,” Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha.

“Some cases were filed in different courts across the country and some counter-cases were also registered,” he added.

Jaitley also said that as of November 30, 2015, the total dues compounded with interest stands to the tune of over Rs.9,000 crore ($1.5 billion) against Vijay Mallya’s companies.

“As far as accounts are concerned, first sanction was made by the consortium of banks in September 2004,” and then again in 2008. “These dates speak for themselves,” he said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said Mallya was “no saint” for the NDA regime.

Dissatisfied with Jaitley’s reply over Mallya leaving the country, the Congress and the Left parties staged a walkout.

Meanwhile, the biggest public sector lender State Bank of India denied any laxity on the part of the consortium of banks in seeking reliefs against the defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (KFAL), its promoters and holding-associated company.

It also refuted certain media reports (Not the IANS) purportedly blaming the SBI, the leader of the consortium, for the crisis and termed these as based on “hearsay and conjecture”.

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