GST to enable brand licensing industry to grow in India

Aug 20, 2017 0

Mumbai–The implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will enable brand licensing industry to grow in India and also allow retail industry to start respecting intellectual property rights, an official said on Sunday.

“Modern retail would unlock itself because of GST. The new tax system will provide level playing field for all the players. We will start respecting lot of intellectual property rights (IPs) now and it will boost the brand licensing business ” License India’s Chairman Gaurav Marya said on the sidelines of the India Licensing Expo 2017.

Brand licencing is basically renting the brand to an industry manufacturer or retailer to use it for promoting their own products in the potential market.

The GST also provides opportunities to lot of international brands to look at India, not only as a “big consumption market” but also as “level playing field”,” he said adding that the government has been supportive of regularising the trade.

In his address at the Expo, Viacom International Media Networks’ Vice President, Licensing and Business Development, Dan Frugtniet said the growth potential in terms of the market in India is huge.

Marya also said the two day Licensing Expo which commenced on Sunday provides an opportunity to unlock lot of domestic intellectual properties or brands for the international markets.

Renowned chef Sanjeev Kapoor meanwhile emphasised on monetising the core expertise or values that the country has. Inspired by R.K. Laxman’s cartoon character “Common Man”, his granddaughter Rimanika Laxman created “Common Woman”, which was launched at the Expo by Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu.

More than 100 global and domestic brands were present and over 5,000 delegates are attending.

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Huge opportunity in sustainable urbanisation in India: Amitabh Kant

Aug 18, 2017 0

New Delhi–Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Friday said that India has a “huge opportunity” to go in for sustainable urbanisation.

According to the Niti Aayog CEO Kant, urbanisation process has ended in the US, Europe and has almost been completed in China and that India can learn from these examples to go in for sustainable urbanisation.

“India has a huge opportunity that when we start the process of urbanisation… we have the possibility of doing a lot of innovative and sustainable urbanisation,” Kant said at a late night event here.

“We need to create cities which are compact, low polluting, which recycle water,which recycle waste. So, there is a huge opportunity for all of us to do sustainable urbanisation and create a model for the rest of the world,” he said.

Kant was speaking at the Directors’ Conclave and 27th IOD (Institute Of Directors) Annual Meet which was held here on Friday.

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300,000 shell companies uncovered: Modi

Aug 15, 2017 0

New Delhi– More than three lakh “shell companies” set up to facilitate generation of black money have been unearthed by the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.

“The drive against black money has led to the discovery of many shell companies. Following demonetisation, over three lakh companies have been found which are nothing but shell companies,” Modi said in his speech here on the occasion of Independence Day.

“Of these, the registrations of 175,000 companies have been cancelled,” he said.

Highlighting the enormity of the black money menace, Modi said up to 400 bogus firms were found to be operating from a single address.

Last week, stock markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) imposed trade restrictions on 331 firms suspected of being shell companies.

These securities were placed in suspended animation, implying that trade in these stocks will be permitted only once a month.

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Higher food prices in India accelerate July’s retail inflation

Aug 14, 2017 0

New Delhi– A rise in food and fuel prices led to a rise of 2.36 per cent in India’s retail or consumer price index (CPI) based-inflation in July, official data showed here on Monday.

According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, last month’s CPI inflation rose to 2.36 per cent from 1.46 per cent in June.

However, on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the country’s July retail inflation was lower than the 6.07 per cent CPI rate reported for the corresponding month of last year.

As per the ministry’s data, retail inflation in July was pushed higher by a rise in prices of cereals, milk-based products, meat and fish.

On a sequential basis, the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) rose by 3.21 per cent during the month under review when compared to June 2017.

The data on a YoY basis, showed that cereals prices in July edged higher by 3.97 per cent, and meat and fish recorded a sharp rise of 3.19 per cent.

Food and beverages during the month under consideration recorded a marginal rise of 0.43 per cent over the same month last year.

Among non-food categories, ‘fuel and light’ segment’s inflation rate accelerated to 4.86 per cent in July.

The rural CPI YoY ruled higher at 2.41 per cent, whereas in urban areas it was at 2.17 per cent.(IANS)

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Global cues, foreign fund outflows drag equity indices to 5-week lows

Aug 12, 2017 0

By Porisma P. Gogoi

Mumbai– The key Indian equity indices — the Sensex and the Nifty50 — dived into the bearish zone and settled at their five-week lows, as global cues, a bulk of quarterly earnings and substantial amount of foreign fund outflows urged investors to book profits.

On a weekly basis, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE lost 1,111.82 points or 3.44 per cent to close below the 32,000-mark at 31,213.59 points. The Sensex breached that level for the first time on July 13.

Meanwhile, the Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 9,710.80 points by shedding 355 points or 3.53 per cent. At one point on Friday, the Nifty50 fell below the psychologically important 9,700-mark, which was crossed for the first time on June 6.

“Markets corrected sharply this week after five weeks of consecutive gains. The Nifty began correcting after touching a high of 10,088 on Monday Aug 7, 2017,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Sectorally, there were no gainers for the week. The top losers were the realty, PSU banks, pharma and media indices.”

On the currency front, The the Indian rupee weakened by 55 paise to close the week at 64.13-14 to a US dollar from its previous week’s close at 63.58-59.

According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, the entire week was on the “sell side” with the S&P BSE Sensex falling nearly 1,000 points in just nine trading sessions of August.

“The carnage was seen more in small and mid-cap space which fell 20-30 per cent in a matter of days after hitting record highs last month,” Desai told IANS.

“Things turned cautious in the month of August when the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Monday placed trading curbs on 331 stocks of firms suspected to be shell companies.”

On August 8, stock market regulator SEBI imposed trade restrictions on 331 firms which were suspected of being “shell companies”. These securities were placed in suspended animation from the next day, as exchanges stated that the trade in these stocks would be permitted only once a month.

“Besides the spillover of the ‘shell’ shock, a flare-up in geopolitical tensions following North Korea’s nuclear tests and dozens of quarterly earnings kept markets in a tizzy,” said D.K. Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director, SMC Investments and Advisors.

“The sentiments in the market remained downbeat due to sustained capital outflows by foreign funds and retail investors on the domestic bourses. As a result, the Nifty fell below the 10,000-mark for the first time in two weeks,” he added.

Provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 2,615.9 crore, while domestic institutional investors bought scrips worth Rs 4,498.43 crore during August 7-11.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) divested equities worth Rs 549.47 crore, or $85.76 million, during the week ended August 11.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were: Tata Steel (up 3.59 per cent at Rs 596.15), Infosys (up 0.24 per cent at Rs 987.75), and Wipro (up 0.21 per cent at Rs 289.90).

The losers were: Tata Motors (down 13.95 per cent at Rs 374.40), Tata Motors (DVR) (down 12.66 per cent at Rs 223.20), Sun Pharma (down 10.92 per cent at Rs 451.30), Dr. Reddy’s Lab (down 10.37 per cent at Rs 2,011.35) and State Bank of India (down 8.12 per cent at Rs 280.65). (IANS)

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Japanese firm to invest Rs 1,000 cr in Andhra

Aug 10, 2017 0

Amaravati–Toray Industries Inc, a Japanese multinational corporation, will invest Rs 1,000 crore for the manufacture of technical textiles in Andhra Pradesh.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday approved the project, which will come up in Sri City, a special economic zone in Chittoor district.

The plant will be the largest among Japanese units in Sri City.

The project, the foundation stone for which will be laid next year, will provide direct employment to more than 100 people and indirect employment to 300-400 people. (IANS)

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More Indians going online for banking: Survey

Aug 9, 2017 0

New Delhi– More Indians are now using a mobile banking app or going online rather than just talking to a banking adviser on phone to address complex issues, a new survey said on Wednesday.

The survey, ‘Customer Experience in Banking’, by global tech company Avaya, which covered India, Britain, Australia and the UAE with 5,000 respondents, showed that customers in India were more likely to use a mobile banking app than customers in the other three countries.

According to the findinds, 26 per cent of Indian customers prefer to access services via bank’s website. The same number prefer mobile app rather than talking to a human agent — compared to 19 per cent in Australia, 21 per cent in Britain and 24 per cent in the UAE.

The report added that 58 per cent of Indian customers wanted to be alerted about a problematic or fraudulent transaction and 49 per cent want to be alerted when their credit card is up for renewal. This is the highest in all four countries.

“Today, customers use varied touch-points to access services, be it mobile app, website, contact centre or physical visit to a branch,” said Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Avaya, on the results of survey.

The most important factor for Indian customers is to have issues resolved on the first point of contact, with 37 per cent saying they would change banks after a bad experience, second only to the UAE.

Twenty-five per cent of Indian consumers are likely to voice their complaints on social media platforms compared to 15 per cent in the UK, while 44 per cent would let friends and family know about their issues.

“Customers today are looking for elevated and seamless services, and if they don’t get them they will look elsewhere,” Agrawal noted.

While 32 per cent of Indian customers said they have been kept waiting on the phone for lengthy periods, which is more than any other country surveyed, 22 per cent said they haven’t experienced any customer service issues, the lowest in all four countries. (IANS)

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I find it easier to work with celebrities: Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar

Aug 8, 2017 0

By Bhavana Akella

Bengaluru–Owing her success to big Bollywood names and social media, nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, who has worked with the likes of Kareena Kapoor Khan, says she finds it “easier” to work with celebrities than others for the commitment the former display.

“Celebrities and social media are the reasons why I could achieve success. The easiest thing to do for me is to work with celebrities. They’re hardworking, committed and understand why they should eat what they’re advised to,” Diwekar, who was here to launch her latest title “Pregnancy Notes: Before, During and After” (Westland; pp 220; Rs. 250) told IANS in a tete-a-tete.

“It’s harder to work with other people because they could take longer to fall into a routine,” she added.

Known for her traditional approach to diets, Diwekar’s practices stick to Indian roots by retaining ghee, rice and jaggery in one’s meals — ingredients that are often demonised by fitness practitioners.

The Mumbai-based fitness expert, who is also the author of “Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight”, rose to fame after she helped Kareena Kapoor Khan attain a “size zero” a few years ago for one of her films. Later she also guided the actress through diet charts and fitness tips during her pregnancy. Diwekar admits that the actress gave an impetus for penning down two of her books.

“Because of Kareena’s size zero, we had the opportunity to write “Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight”. And during her pregnancy, there were constant questions on how she was losing weight, what she was eating, etc. There was a curiosity among everyone, which is the main reason behind both my books. It was to put the right information out there and tell people that it’s something even they can adopt — it resonates with them.”

Rujuta Diwekar (Photo: Facebook)

Kareena has sent across an “important message” through her pregnancy, Diwekar believes. “I think she’s probably been the most photographed star during her pregnancy and carried herself with complete grace, not even once wanting to hide it and not stopping her work at any moment due to her pregnancy — I think it’s an important message to give people,” the author said.

“Every woman must be able to decide when she wants to get pregnant and once she has decided that she wants to be, she should really be enjoying her pregnancy and not fretting and fuming over getting out of shape, being scared if she will ever fit back into her skinny jeans, etc.”

Diwekar, who is the winner of the Nutrition Award from Hyderabad’s Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, shared that as a country, we need to be “confident about showcasing our diverse food traditions”.

“Eating ghee, rice and jackfruit — these are not borrowed ideas — we have all been born into this. Once we know that the way we have been eating is correct and when we hear it in more contemporary terms, it seems easier to stick to the ways. We are more likely to read about avocados than jackfruit seeds, goji berries than about jaggery, oats than about idli podi. If we’re confident about showcasing our diverse food traditions and put out the right information on how they can be used to heal various diseases, the change will be much faster.”

On the much-debated issue of companies offering menstrual leave for women, the fitness expert termed it a “half-hearted measure of looking after the women’s force”.

“I feel that if companies want to take care of their women’s force, they could give them a healthy snack like real fruits and coconut water in the office instead of coffee and biscuits. They could give them an hour out of work to exercise. I feel if you tell women they can take a day off when they’re menstruating, then you could tell them to take a day off when they’re ovulating or even sweating. It’s important that we have more women in the workforce,” she noted.

“Every woman should know that a period is a natural physiological process and if it’s hurting then she needs to take charge of her lifestyle and correct it. If one’s eating right and exercising right, every woman is capable of managing her period pains. For anything that requires medical attention like endometriosis, the pain will go on for 8 to 10 days. Will they not work all these days? My main problem with menstrual leave is that it’s not a sincere effort,” Diwekar contended.

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Indian stock market regulator initiates action against 331 suspected shell companies

Aug 8, 2017 0

Mumbai–Stock market regulator Sebi has asked major domestic equity indices to initiate action against 331 listed firms which are suspected of being “shell companies”.

The development comes a day after the market regulator directed the two major indices — National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) — through a letter to initiate action against the suspected firms.

The Sebi letter forwarded a list of 331 suspected “shell companies” identified by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

According to the letter, trade in all the 331 listed securities shall be placed in “Stage VI of the Graded Surveillance Measure (GSM)” with immediate effect.

“If any listed company out of the said list is already identified under any stage of GSM, it shall also be moved to GSM stage VI directly,” the letter said.

The stage VI of GSM framework mandates the exchange to allow trade in the identified securities only once a month under its trade-to-trade category.

The framework further mandates that any upward price movement in these securities shall not be permitted beyond the last traded price amongst additional surveillance measures.

The letter further read: “Exchanges shall initiate a process of verifying the credentials, fundamentals of such companies.”

“Exchanges shall appoint an independent auditor to conduct audit of such listed companies and if necessary, even conduct forensic audit of these companies to verify its credentials, fundamentals.” (IANS)

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Divestment will open doors to better future for Air India

Aug 6, 2017 0

By Rohit Vaid

New Delhi–Air India’s global expansion plans, along with the induction of more aircraft and pilots, would not be hindered by the government’s recent decision to divest its stake in the national carrier, the airline’s top official has said.

The “painful decision” of divestment would “open doors to a better future for the airline and its employees”, Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, told IANS in an interview here.

Lohani said he had been in “constant touch” with employees to allay their apprehensions over the divestment process.

“I have been in touch with employees through WhatsApp, e-mail, and by having one-on-one interactions. I have asked them — why should we slacken from our end? We should continue to do our best,” he said.

“As and when a decision is taken on the divestment we will make sure that employees’ genuine interests are put forth to the government,” Lohani added.

Elaborating on the company’s international and national expansion plans at its New Delhi-based HQ — Airlines House — Lohani said: “Our expansion plans are on track. We will start a new destination each month till October. A new route to Stockholm will be started in August, followed, a month later, to Copenhagen. In October, we will start our New Delhi-Los Angeles flight operations.”

“We also plan to start operations to Tel Aviv in Israel and Dallas and Houston in the US. Last year, we started operations to four new destinations and this fiscal we plan to introduce seven new flights,” Lohani said.

On Friday, the airline commenced flight operations from pilgrimage destination Varanasi to Colombo, Sri Lanka. In July, it had started a direct connection between New Delhi and Washington.

Last year, the airline added four new international destinations, including New Delhi-San Francisco, Delhi-Vienna, Delhi-Madrid and Ahmedabad-London.

According to Lohani, the airline might consider starting a flight to Nairobi, Kenya. Also on the cards are commercial operations on the Guwahati-Bangkok and Guwahati-Kunming (China) routes.

At present, Air India has a network of more than 30 destinations across the US, Europe, Australia, Far-East and South-East Asia, and the Gulf regions. It gets over 65 per cent of its revenue from overseas operations and has deployed most of its assets on foreign routes.

In addition to its international expansion plans, the airline hopes to introduce what is being touted as the “Necklace” or “Garland” flight on the domestic network from September-October.

The flight will start from Kolkata in the morning to Raipur from where it will head out to Indore and then on to Ahmedabad and Jaipur. Its final port of call will be New Delhi in the evening.

When asked about the extra aircraft and crew required for the current expansion drive, Lohani said: “We have already hired around 250 pilots and more are being inducted. The same is the case with inducting cabin crew. Aircraft acquisition on lease basis is also going according to plan.”

The airline hopes to add around 15 more aircraft to its fleet via the lease model by this fiscal-end. Most of these aircraft will be turbo-prop planes which will be used to connect the hinterland with metropolitan cities.

Currently, the airline has more than 115 aircraft in its fleet — a mix of wide-body Boeing B777s, B747s, B787 Dreamliner aircraft, and the narrow body Airbus A321s, A320s and A319 planes, apart from turbo-props.

The AI chief said that cost-saving measures undertaken, along with aggressive focus on international markets and route rationalisation efforts, are expected to raise the operating profit of the airline to around Rs 150 crore from Rs 110 crore in 2015-16.

“These figures might be inconsequential, but the significance they hold is the fact that a turnaround is taking place,” the airline’s chief said.

The airline might be experiencing a “slow-but-sure” turnaround; however its massive debt of over Rs 50,000 crore accumulated over the years has been one of the biggest obstacles to its financial viability, besides an ill-planned merger.

Lohani said: “We would have been in a much, much better position, if the debt situation was not so. The situation would have been different.”

Lohani maintained that employees remain the most important element for success. Outside his office, which is studded with priceless pieces of art that have been collected by the airline over years, a slew of employees from cabin crew to pilots await their turn to meet him.

The airline has over 11,000 employees, whereas at the group level, including its subsidiaries, the number of staffers goes up to about 20,000. (IANS)

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