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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Four killed in reactor blast in Hyderabad factory

Feb 7, 2016 0

HYDERABAD– Four workers were charred to death when a reactor exploded in manufacturing unit of pahramceutical firm in Maheswaram on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Monday, police said.

Two others were injured in the explosion that occurred in Asita pharma and drugs factory in Mankhal industrial area of Maheswaram in Ranga Reddy district.

The explosion caused huge fire. Four workers who were working near the reactor were charred to death. The injured were rushed to a hospital.

The deceased have been identified as Kosaram, 26, Dasru Rai, 24, Deva, 23, and Jogaram, 25.

They all hailed from Chhattisgarh.

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Business chamber urges women-friendly budget to help them join workforce

Feb 7, 2016 0

NEW DELHI–Business chamber Assocham said on Sunday it has suggested the government should hike the children’s education allowance and offer tax exemptions to creche facilities in the union budget for 2016-17 to encourage more women join the workforce.

“To encourage more women in the workforce, it is desirable that a specific provision be introduced for allowing exemption for creche provisions,” the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has said in its pre-Budget recommendations on direct tax to the finance ministry.

“While we are confident about a positive multiplier effect of leaving more money in the hands of tax payers, a lot of women-specific proposals should be brought in the Budget so as to empower them economically,” Assocham president Sunil Kanoria said in a statement here.

Assocham has asked for provision of allowance of up to Rs.2,500 per child every month for up to two children.

“To supplement household income, more women are entering the job market. With increased phenomenon of nuclear families, working women need support in terms of care of young children while they are at work,” it said.

It wants the children education allowance exemption limit raised to Rs.1,000 per month from the current Rs.100.

“The limit for children education allowance is too low as compared to the prevailing school fee and was fixed in 1988-99,” it said.

It has also requested that hostel expenditure allowance, which is exempted per child up to Rs.300 per month for a maximum of two children, be increased to Rs.3,000 per month, noting the limit was also fixed in 1988-89,” it added.

Besides, the current exemption limit of Rs.15,000 per annum for medical expenses reimbursed by the employer needs to be revised to at least Rs.50,000 and extended to retired employees as well, Assocham said.

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Indian economic recovery likely to slow: Nomura

Feb 7, 2016 0

NEW DELHI–India’s economic growth momentum is likely to slow down in the face of weak external conditions and sluggish investment demand, according to the Japanese financial services firm Nomura.

Nomura’s proprietary indices for India, together with the high frequency data, indicate some slowdown in the growth momentum towards end-2015 and a high likelihood of further monetary policy easing, it said in a research note.

There is a “downside risk” to its baseline forecast of 7.8 percent GDP growth in 2016, it said, adding that a reading still above 100 on the Nomura Composite Leading Index “suggests a mid-cycle consolidation, rather than the start of a downturn” in India.

“The economic recovery, which began in the fourth quarter of 2014, is headed into a consolidation zone into the second quarter of 2016,” Nomura said.

While improving urban consumption demand and a robust transportation sector are supporting growth, weak external conditions and sluggish investment demand are weighing on the pace of the recovery, it said.

The report also said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to deliver a final 25 basis points rate cut in April, utilising the room afforded by lower commodity prices.

“Beyond that, we expect the RBI to stay on hold until end-2016. We will monitor our growth and policy indicators on a monthly basis for early signs of any further deterioration in growth outlook or possible room for further easing,” it said.

Earlier this week, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan left the central bank’s short-term repo rate at which it lends to commerceial banks, unchanged at 6.75 percent, citing inflation risks and growth concerns, and saying further easing of monetary policy would depend on the government’s forthcoming budget proposals.

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IIT-Delhi alumnus Soumitra Dutta to head Cornell’s new business college

Feb 6, 2016 0

By Arun Kumar

WASHINGTON– Soumitra Dutta, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, will become the dean of a new integrated College of Business being launched by the Cornell University during the 2016-17 academic year.

Dutta currently is dean and professor of management and organizations in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Soumitra Dutta

Soumitra Dutta

He is considered an authority on the impact of new technology on the business world, especially social media and social networking, and on strategies for driving growth and innovation by embracing the digital economy.

The Ithaca, New York based Ivy League institution announced that the new college was aimed at cementing the university’s position as a world-class centre of teaching and research for business management and entrepreneurship.

The new College of Business will comprise Cornell’s three accredited business programmes: the School of Hotel Administration (SHA), the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Each school will maintain its unique identity and mission, while their collective capabilities will be strengthened by bringing together faculty, curricular offerings, and programmes within a cohesive College.

The establishment of the College, through a change in the niversity’s bylaws, was unanimously approved by the Cornell Board of Trustees at its meeting on January 30.

The Cornell College of Business will be one of the most comprehensive business schools in the US with 145 research faculty and nearly 2,900 undergraduate, professional, and graduate students.

“At the heart of Cornell is a mission to apply knowledge for public purpose and educate the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs to solve some of the world’s major challenges,” said President Elizabeth Garrett.

“Being able to leverage Dyson’s strength in international development and agricultural economics, SHA’s expertise in hospitality, entrepreneurship, and real estate (through the Baker Programme in Real Estate), and Johnson’s depth in economics, finance, and executive training will naturally lead to a College of Business that stands out for its unparalleled breadth of instructional excellence,” said Dutta.

“A more prominent and collaborative platform will elevate opportunities for faculty to conduct innovative research and be at the forefront of their fields.”

“Bringing together Cornell’s three business schools will also establish an effective administrative structure that will be immensely beneficial to the University’s ability to continue to attract the best and brightest faculty and students,” Dutta said.

Dutta has earlier served as the Roland Berger Chaired Professor of Business and Technology and was the founder and academic director of the eLab at INSEAD, a top-ranked graduate business school in Fontainebleau, France.

Previous roles Dutta has held during his 23-year tenure at INSEAD include dean of external relations; dean of executive education; and dean of technology and e-learning.

Dutta received a B.Tech in electrical engineering and computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi.

He received an MS in business administration, an MS in computer science, and a PhD in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Indian Firm Allygrow Technologies Acquires the Engineering Services Arm of Michigan-Based Ranal

Feb 5, 2016 0

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich.–Allygrow Technologies, a technology-driven company focused on core engineering design, development and manufacturing engineering services for the automotive, hi-tech, medical devices and heavy industries, announced acquisition of the engineering arm of Michigan-based Ranal, a leading provider of high-end manufacturing engineering services.

This aligns with the company’s aggressive growth strategy to become a pure play Engineering Research and Development Services (ERDS) provider with end-to-end capabilities and significant global footprint.

Prashant Kamat

Prashant Kamat

Ranal will complement Allygrow’s design engineering and product development expertise with its high-end competency in manufacturing engineering services to provide a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to customers. Through its delivery centres in the US (Detroit) and India (Bangalore), Ranal will benefit Allygrow with multi-location delivery setup, access to local talent, and ready customer base in America, Europe and Asia. Ranal brings expertise of working with OEMs and Tier 1s such as General Motors, Caterpillar, KUKA, Valiant, among others.

The deal with Ranal immediately follows the acquisition of Munich, Germany-based AE Automotive Elements GmbH, a high-end product engineering firm by Allygrow.

Prashant Kamat, Founder & CEO, Allygrow Technologies, said: “With the acquisitions, Allygrow has touched a top line of around USD 15 million in less than 6 months of inception, manifesting the fast-track growth we have embarked on. We aim to reach USD 100 million in revenue over the next 4 to 5 years, and gain impetus in areas such as aerospace, medical technology and embedded space.”

“We have identified additional targets (between $ 25 to $ 30 million size) in the chosen verticals and discussions are in advance stages for the same. We have also initiated discussion for funding of the same,” Prashant added.

Rakesh Mahajan, CEO, Ranal, said: “Allygrow’s strengths in product development will complement Ranal’s expertise in manufacturing engineering, which definitely is a growing segment. I am sure our team members will have great prospects ahead.”

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Foreign Investment in India up while dipping globally

Feb 4, 2016 0

BENGALURU– India was the only country with rising Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) while it was falling the world over, said Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday.

“India is the only country witnessing a 38 percent FDI rise, while globally it dipped to 16 percent,” said Sitharaman at the valedictory session of the Invest Karnataka 2016 Global Investors Meet (GIM).

SitharamanPraising Karnataka, she said the state contributes six percent of the nation’s GDP and is growing at the rate of seven percent. “Karnataka is the third largest recipient of FDI and it will be higher after the GIM,” she said.

Listing the efforts of Indian government to promote and nurture the IT industry, she said Indian government always raises the issue of free movement of people at all bilateral and multilateral engagements.

“We place great emphasis on the free movement of people at all bilateral and multilateral meetings… so that our IT employees can freely move between countries on their professional assignments,” said Sitharaman.

The commerce minister disapproved the recent US visa fee hike and said she took it up with the US government.

“Why such unreasonable visa fees should be imposed on the Indian IT companies? We are not against paying visa fees but against unreasonable visa fees.”

US President Barack Obama on December 19 signed into law a $1.8-trillion spending package, which includes a hefty $4,000 fee for certain categories of H-1B visa and $4,500 for L-1 visa.

Sitharaman lauded Tumakuru to emerge as an investment and manufacturing hub.

“Tumakuru was chosen from among 12 places by Japanese prime minister when they taking a call on where to direct Japanese investment in India,” she said.

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Karnataka mops up 121 agreements, Rs.1.33 lakh crore at investors’ meet

Feb 4, 2016 0

BENGALURU– In contrast to its high expectations, Karnataka has managed to get only Rs.1.33 lakh crore of investments at the fourth edition of its global investors meet (GIM), a state minister said on Thursday.

“We have signed 121 agreements and expression of interest to the tune of Rs.1.33 lakh crore at the GIM,” Industries Minister R.V. Deshpande said at the valedictory function on the second day of the three-day mega event here.

The state government, however, secured 56 percent (Rs.1.75 lakh crore) of the total investment (Rs.3.08 lakh crore) received during 10 months of 2015-16 since April and approved by its high power committee and single window agencies.

“The total investments (Rs.3.08 lakh crore) we garnered will generate 6.7 lakh jobs across the state,” Deshpande said.

Admitting that mobilising investments was a continuous process, he told the delegates that the state’s focus was on implementing projects since the previous Congress government had launched the GIM in 2000.

“Of the Rs.27,000 crore investments received then (2000), proposals worth Rs.18,000 crore were executed with 66 percent implementation rate,” said Deshpande, who held the same portfolio in the then Congress government (1999-2004).

The investments are in the state’s focus sectors – manufacturing, pharma, bio-technology, IT, agri-business, urban infrastructure, infrastructure and tourism.

“Investments will be made across the state, including Bellari, Bengaluru Rural, Dakshina Kannada, Kolar, Ramanagaram Shivamogga and Tumakuru,” Deshpande told the delegates, including central and state ministers.

“We have appointed an official to follow up all projects above Rs.200 crore. We also commit to have all projects approved by the high power committee and single window committee before May 15,” he added.

Giving break-up, the state industries department said of the 121 agreements entered into with investors and valued at Rs.133,177 crore would generate 193,905 jobs.

“Of the total (6.7 lakh) jobs, 1,080 projects approved since April 1, 2015, with a combined investments of Rs.175,633 crore will create 477,026 jobs,” the department said in a statement.

Of the 121 projects received at the GIM, 25 are in food and agri-business sector, followed by 16 in energy, 12 in IT, seven in real estate, five each in oil & gas, and urban infrastructure, three each in cement, industrial infrastructure, manufacturing, pharma, steel, telecom, textiles & garments and tourism, two each in aerospace, biotech, electronics, healthcare and machinery and one each in chemicals, education, engineering, infrastructure, retail, and warehousing and logistics.

Sectors like automobile, services, sports, sugar and waste management drew blank.

Of the big ticket investments, Adani Green Energy Ltd has committed to invest Rs.18,500 crore, followed by JSW Steel Ltd Rs.12,396 crore, Geitso Green Energy Ltd Rs.10,000 crore, Essel Infra Projects Ltd Rs.7,200 crore and Shriram Properties Ltd Rs.5,920 crore.

“The energy sector got the highest investment of Rs.1 lakh crore, followed by steel sector with Rs.38,000 crore and chemicals Rs.24,000 crore,” the statement added.

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Sri Lankan-born Alere CEO Namal Nawana to receive $11.1 million in one-time payout after acquisition by Abbott

Feb 4, 2016 0

WALTHAM, MA– Sri Lankan-born Alere CEO Namal Nawana would receive about $11.1 million in one-time payouts after the Alere’s acquisition id completed by Abbott Laboratories, according to media reports. Nawana took over as CEO when Alere founder and former CEO Ron Zwanzger resigned in 2014.

Namal Nawana

Namal Nawana

Quoting financial filings, Boston Business Journal reported that Nawana would receive about $11.1 million in one-time payouts, which includes a continuation of his salary for 18 months, totaling $1.3 million; a $201,000 cash award; the acceleration of vesting of what the company then estimated to be $7.9 million in restricted stock and options; and another $1.65 million in gross-up payments to help cover his tax hit form the change-in-control payout.

Nawana also holds 81,000 shares of company stock worth around $4.5 million, according to Bloomberg quoted by Boston Business Journal.

Nawana has been with the company since 2012, originally as chief operating officer. His assumption of the CEO role came after a months-long battle between the company’s former management and one of its investors, Coppersmith Capital, which had been advocating for the company to sell off less profitable parts of the business and align itself for a sale, Boston Business Journal said.

Four other officers — CFO David Teitel, and Daniella Cramp, Sanjay Malkani and Avi Pelossof, the heads of Alere’s cardiometabolic, toxicology and infectious disease units — also stand to receive change-in-control payments and benefits valued between $2.3 million and $3.6 million, according to Boston Business Journal.

Abbott and Alere this week announced a definitive agreement for Abbott to acquire Alere, for $5.8 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will pay $56 per common share at a total expected equity value of $5.8 billion. Once the transaction is completed, Abbott will become the leading diagnostics provider of point of care testing. Abbott’s total diagnostics sales will exceed $7 billion after the close.

Nawana was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Australia. He holds an Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Medical Science degree from the University of Adelaide in Australia and an MBA from the Henley Business School in the United Kingdom.

Before joining Alere, Nawana held various global leadership roles during his 15-year tenure at Johnson & Johnson. He most recently served as Worldwide President of DePuy Synthes Spine, a Johnson & Johnson company. Prior to that role, Nawana held general management positions spanning the globe, including Area Vice President for Johnson & Johnson Medical in Australia and New Zealand and Chairman of the DePuy Asia Pacific Franchise Council.

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