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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Government for more changes in Companies Act, SEBI rules

Feb 9, 2016 0

NEW DELHI– More changes might be required in the Companies Act and in the markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations for listed companies to strengthen corporate governance, the government said on Tuesday.

“There are more changes that might be required in the Companies Act…there are more changes that may be required how SEBI deals with listed entities to strengthen corporate governance,” Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said at an event here on corporate governance organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

“We are seeing major changes on corporate governance…major changes in the nature of capitalism. This is well established within the framework we are following being a pro-poor as well as pro-market government,” he added.

The minister also said the whole process and manner of corporate governance is very important for building businesses.

“So governance is going to be very important for us. If we are not able to sustain and follow the best standard of corporate governance it will be very difficult for our corporates to attract investment and talent to build businesses,” he said.

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US to enhance assistance for Indian civil aviation safety

Feb 9, 2016 0

NEW DELHI–The central government on Tuesday said that the US will provide further financial assistance for strengthening safety related aspects of India’s civil aviation sector.

According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Indian aviation regulator has entered into a grant agreement with the United States Technical Development Agency (USTDA).

The ministry elaborated that the grant agreement has been signed under the India aviation safety technical assistance phase II.

“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and USTDA signed the grant agreement for India aviation safety technical assistance phase II in New Delhi today,” the ministry said in a statement.

“USTDA will be partially funding the assistance to the tune of $808,327 and contractor ‘The Wicks Group’ (TWG) will share the cost of assistance at $75,000. Government of India’s contribution is for an amount of $446,866.”

The ministry cited that the USTDA’s assistance was necessitated after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) raised certain safety concerns about Indian aviation in its 2012 audit.

“Following this the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of USA carried out an ‘International Aviation Safety Assessment’ (IASA) audit in September 2013 and a review in December 2013, and India was assigned category II rating in January 2014,” the statement said.

“In March 2014, USTDA in coordination with FAA approached DGCA and offered assistance under a USTDA grant agreement project to address the FAA-IASA findings and help restore category I status to India.”

The ministry pointed out that under the grant agreement’s phase I, US based contractor TWG assisted DGCA in addressing the findings and prepared for a reassessment by FAA in December 2014.

“Based on this reassessment and a follow-up visit in March 2015, India’s category I status was restored in April 2015,” the statement added.

“Phase II of the current project is aimed at sustaining efforts undertaken during 2014 for restoration of IASA category I status and bringing in more systemic improvements in the area of operation, airworthiness and licensing. It will include components on general aviation and business aviation.”

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Over 100,000 jewellery shops on strike in India on February 10

Feb 8, 2016 0

KOLKATA– Over 100,000 jewellery shops owing allegiance to more than 300 associations across India will observe a day’s token strike on February 10 in protest against the government rule making PAN card proof mandatory on purchases of Rs.2 lakh and above.

“We strongly oppose this regulatory measure which has badly hit millions of jewellers and artisans employed in this industry. All associations are jointly discussing a protest plan across the nation and have declared there will be a token strike on February 10,” All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) director Bachhraj Bamalwa told the media here.

He said the PAN card rule has discouraged majority of semi-urban and rural jewellery buyers, who are engaged either in farming with no income tax obligation or in small trade practices.

“With just 22.3 crore PAN cards issued in India, how can the industry survive with such restrictions?” Bamalwa asked.

He said the restriction on jewellery buyers has already dented business volumes, with the total turnover dropping over 30 percent since the imposition of the restriction about a month ago.

The slowdown has affected jobs of millions of workers, artisans and small traders.

GJF zonal chairman (east) Sankar Sen said the jewellers were losing customers mainly in small towns and rural areas where a majority of population don’t have PAN cards.

He said the GJF was in touch with the union finance ministry and has urged it to make PAN card mandatory on jewellery purchases of over Rs.10 lakh instead of the present Rs.2 lakh.

From January 1, PAN card was made mandatory for all transactions above Rs.2 lakh in cash or through card in the entire gems and jewellery sector.

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