Supreme Court clears decks for dance bars in Mumbai

Mar 2, 2016 0

New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the decks for the issuance of dance bar licences to hotels and restaurants in Mumbai as it modified the conditions for the permit and dropped the insistence on installation of CCTV cameras at restaurants and dance performance area.

Supreme Court-India“The modified conditions along with conditions on which there is no cavil shall be complied with within three days (by the petitioner Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association) and the respondents (licensing authorities) shall issue the licences within ten days therefrom,” said the apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh in their order on Wednesday.

“We are sure, the authorities shall act in accordance with the command of this Court and not venture to deviate,” the court said in its order, clarifying it would brook no delay or dilly-dallying on the part of licensing authorities in complying with its order.

“We are certain that competent authorities will not conceive of anything to stall the grant of licence,” the court said in the course of the hearing.

The court order came after the Maharashtra government watered down some of the conditions for the grant of dance bar licences which the IHRA said were impermissible under the constitutional framework.

Not accepting Maharashtra’s stand on the installation of CCTV cameras in the restaurant and performance area, the court modified it and said: “CCTV cameras shall be fixed at the entrance of the premises in question but shall not be fixed in the restaurant or the permit area or the performance area.”

To separate the dance performers at the stage and the audience, the court accepted modification by senior counsel Jayant Bhushan appearing for the petitioner IHRA, and directed that there should be railing of three feet height and not the non-removable partition as suggested by the licensing authorities.

The court said only four dance performers would be permitted on the stage at a particular time with no restriction on the movement of other artists within the hotel premises.

“Four dancers can perform on the stage at one time but there can be other artistes at other places inside the premises,” the court said in its order.

Permitting a green room for the artistes, the court made it clear that no concealed cavity or a room would be created. “We so direct. Be it clarified, green room means green room in the manner in which it is understood in the classical sense,” the court said in its order.

Earlier, the condition concerning the verification of the “character and antecedents” said that “the licensee shall ensure that the character and antecedents of all employees is verified by the police”.

This was modified to say that the “criminal antecedents” of all the employees would be verified by police.

The petitioner IHRA told the court on February 24 that six of the conditions being imposed for the grant of licence were “impermissible under the constitutional framework”.

Besides, it had sought the modification of the condition providing for the police verification of the “character and antecedents” of the hotel employees.

On February 24, the court asked the Maharashtra government to submit its response to the objections to these conditions.

In the course of the last hearing on February 24, the petitioner IHRA told court that of 157 applications for the issuance of dance bar licence, the competent authorities have entertained 101 applications but they have been saddled with the conditions some of which are “absolutely impermissible under the constitutional framework”. (IANS)

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Indian budget sets divestment target of Rs.56,500 crore

Feb 29, 2016 0

New Delhi– The government aims to garner Rs.56,500 crore through disinvestment in state-run undertakings in the next fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.

Presenting the Budget 2016-17 proposals in parliament, Jaitley said of the total budget estimates, Rs.36,000 crore is estimated to come from minority stake sale in public sector undertakings (PSUs), while the balance Rs.20,500 crore will come from strategic sale in both profit and loss-making units.

For the current fiscal, the finance minister pegged the divestment receipts from minority stake sale in PSUs at Rs.25,312 crore as against the target of Rs.69,500 crore.

Volatile market conditions have impacted the government’s disinvestment plan this fiscal and it has so far sold stakes in 6 PSUs – Rural Electrification Corporation (Rs.1,608 crore), Power Finance Corporation (Rs.1,671 crore), Dredging Corporation of India (Rs.53.33 crore), Indian Oil (Rs.9,369 crore), Engineers India Ltd (Rs.640 crore) and, most recently, NTPC (Rs.5,030 crore).

Jaitley also announced that the Department of Disinvestment would be renamed as the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management.

He said central PSUs are being encouraged to divest assets in order to raise resources for new projects

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117 countries invited to participate in DefExpo 2016

Feb 28, 2016 0

Panaji–Over 900 defence-related companies are expected to participate in the DefExpo 2016, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday, adding that a final decision on shifting the international B2B event permanently to Goa would be taken its completion.

Briefing select journalists in at the defence ministry camp office here, he also said that four companies, including Bharat Forge would be showcasing guns manufactured in India at the event, which will be held from March 28.

“We have invited representatives from 117 countries and more than 900 companies are expected to participate in the DefExpo 2016,” Parrikar said, calling it a thumbs up for Make in India.

Asked whether Goa would be made a permanent venue for the Expo, which has been relocated to Goa from Delhi’s Pragati Maidan grounds due to renovation at the latter premises, Parrikar said that a call on this would only be taken “after completion of this expo”.

He also said that several defence ministers as well as a four star general from the US would also be attending the event.

The four-day expo will be held at the Naqueri plateau in Betul village located 45 kms south of Panaji. The relocation has been opposed by the opposition as well as civil society groups, which has accused the defence ministry of trying to hog real estate in a state which is already facing a land crunch. (IANS)

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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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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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Rajagopalan Named President of Time Inc. India

Feb 17, 2016 0

NEW YORK–Time Inc. has named Alwar Rajagopalan President of Time Inc. India. Rajagopalan, a finance and accounting veteran and former Vice President of Business Process Services of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., will oversee the expansion of the company’s growing Bangalore operation.

He begins his new role on February 19 and reports to Jeff Bairstow, Time Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer and Head of International Operations.

Alwar Rajagopalan

Alwar Rajagopalan

“Raj is a strategic and highly respected leader with a proven record for setting up and running successful global operations,” said Bairstow. “Given his executive management experience, Raj is the right choice to lead Time Inc. India as it continues to play a bigger role in our company. We are thrilled to welcome him to our family.”

Rajagopalan said, “I am very excited to lead Time Inc. India and continue to expand the capabilities of the Bangalore operation. There is enormous potential for us to become a more integrated and optimized asset for Time Inc.”

In 2009, Rajagopalan joined Tata Consultancy Services, where most recently he led the transition function for finance and accounts (F&A), supply chain management and human resources shared services center (HRSSC) for the company’s global customers. He previously served as Principal of the F&A practice of Aditya Birla Minacs Worldwide and was practice head of F&A and HRSSC at Cambridge Integrated Services India. He has also held senior positions at IBM Global Services India, GE Capital International Services and GE Lighting India, among other international companies. Rajagopalan has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Madurai Kamaraj University, and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Time Inc. India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Inc., one of the world’s leading media companies. It is a global in-house center located in Bangalore that provides global sourcing through processes within analytics, finance, technology, operations and shared services. The technology-driven company provides analytics around consumer retention, sales, advertising, supply chain management and finance for the more than 100 influential brands of Time Inc., such as Time, People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple, Southern Living, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine and Cooking Light.

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Amazon acquires India’s online payments company Emvantage

Feb 16, 2016 0

New Delhi–Global e-commerce behemoth Amazon on Tuesday said it acquired privately-held online payment solutions company Emvantage.

“Emvantage is a valuable addition to our team as we accelerate our payment offerings, ensuring the best in class online payment experience anywhere that customers shop with us,” said Amazon Payments India director Srinivas Rao in a statement.

Emvantage developed a series of payment solutions encompassing a payment gateway, mobile payment solutions and pre-paid card solutions.

“The acquisition of Emvantage will help Amazon accelerate the development of convenient and trust worthy payment solutions for customers and the ecommerce industry in India,” said the Amazon statement.

Without revealing the value of the acquisition expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2016, Amazon said all Emvantage employees will join its payments team to develop solutions for the Indian market.

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Ratan Tata: Replicate Silicon Valley

Feb 15, 2016 0

Mumbai–State governments should try to replicate benefits offered by hubs like the Silicon Valley in the US to spur entrepreneurship, Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata said on Monday.

“We need research centres to encourage youngsters to innovate, a venture-capital led financial environment to help entrepreneurs and industrial parks with benefits like those in Silicon Valley,” Tata said at a panel discussion on investing in Maharashtra at the ‘Make in India Week’ event here.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

Lamenting that infrastructure in Maharashtra failed to keep pace with the growth, Tata said for him, infrastructure was both physical and growth enabling.

“Over the years, where Maharashtra has failed is its infrastructure has not kept pace with growth. What we lacked is thinking big in skilling innovation and infrastructure for the growth that we could achieve,” Tata said at the event, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the state government.

“I will work with the industry to promote research and development in the state,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on the occasion.

India Inc honchos such as Reliance Industries director Nikhil Meswani, Bharat Forge chairman Baba Kalyani, Sun Pharma managing director Dilip Shanghvi, Mahindra & Mahindra executive director Pawan Goenka and Raymond group chairman Gautam Singhania participated in the discussion.

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Modi to open Make in India Week in Mumbai on Saturday

Feb 12, 2016 0

MUMBAI–Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Saturday inaugurate the Make in India Week 2016 being organised to give further momentum to the initiative, which has seen the country trump the US and China by attracting FDI worth $31 billion in the first half of 2015.

The prime ministers of Finland, Lithuania and Sweden will be among the top dignitaries from across the world who will be attending the Make in India Week being held from February 13 to 18, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement in the national capital.

Indian Prime Minister Mody

Indian Prime Minister Mody

Billed as the biggest promotional effort so far in the country of the government’s Make in India initiative, over 1,000 companies are expected to showcase their achievements at the event, which is themed “Innovation, Design and Sustainability”.

Around 70 countries will participate in the event, to be held at the Bandra-Kurla Complex here. Among these, Australia is sending delegation of 30 government and business leaders representing a range of expertise in multiple sectors.

The event will also have various states and sectors making a pitch for investments through specially organised seminars.

During the event, America’s Time magazine will for the first time give away their Time India Awards selected under the three separate categories of innovation, entrepreneurship and intelligent manufacturing.

US-based Forbes magazine in their latest annual list of the best countries for doing business in 2015 has ranked India 97th out of 144 nations, behind Kazakhstan and Ghana, scoring poorly on categories like trade and monetary freedom and tackling challenges like corruption and violence.

Forbes said that while the country is developing into an open-market economy, traces of its “past autarkic policies” remain.

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Ten steepest falls in key Indian equity indices since January 2015

Feb 11, 2016 0

The 10 steepest falls for two key stock market indices in India — the sensitive index of the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Nifty of the National Stock Exchange since january 2015, in percentage terms.

Aug 24, 2015: Nifty (5.92 percent), Sensex (5.94 percent)

Feb 11, 2016: Nifty (3.32 percent ), Sensex (3.40 percent)

Jan 06, 2015: Nifty (3.00 percent), Sensex (3.07 percent)

May 06, 2015: Nifty (2.74 percent), Sensex (2.63 percent)

Jun 02, 2015: Nifty (2.34 percent), Sensex (2.37 percent)

Mar 26, 2015: Nifty (2.21 percent), Sensex (2.33 percent)

May 12, 2015: Nifty (2.38 percent), Sensex (2.29 percent)

Sep 01, 2015: Nifty (2.33 percent), Sensex (2.23 percent)

Sep 04, 2015: Nifty (2.15 percent), Sensex (2.18 percent)

Jan 04, 2016: Nifty (2.18 percent), Sensex (2.07 percent)

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