Only 17 percent of total 85,000 visas go to Indian companies per year: Official

May 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– A large chunk of US firms ride on the back of the services provided by Indian companies, Information Technology Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Tuesday adding that only 17 per cent of the total 85,000 visas issued every year by the US go to Indian companies.

“I’m sure that as and when the US government does the meeting for review of the H1-B visa regime, they will take into account what has been the value added by the Indian companies — the fact that only 17 per cent of the total 85,000 visas go to Indian companies, and that a very large number of US companies actually ride on the back of the services provided by the Indian companies,” said Sundararajan at the inaugural session here of Broadband India Forum.

“The Indian government is already in very close co-ordination with the US authorities, and the value proposition and the partnership India has with the US… this is well known. So, we hope that any changes or any review will be built on that foundation.”

Aruna Sundararajan

Sundararajan said that with new technologies emerging, people are moving from one vertical to another.

“Some of the companies which have been named have clarified that there is nothing different this year from earlier years. As part of their annual appraisals, they may not be renewing the contracts with some people. But it would be absolutely incorrect to assume that suddenly this year a large number of jobs are being shed,” she told reporters here.

The IT secretary further added: “It is true that new technologies are emerging. Digital payments, cyber security, big data, Cloud — all these are growing. Start-ups are growing. So, some people may move on from one sector or one vertical to another.”

“But overall I won’t categorically mention here that any report is interpreting this change as a large scale loss of jobs in the IT sector, that would be factually misleading and incorrect.” (IANS)

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Indian Ministry of Food Processing Industries Official Visits US, Urges Firms to Take Advantage of India’s Liberalized Foreign Investment Rules

May 4, 2017 0

WASHINGTON, DC– Jagdish Prasad Meena, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, has bugun an intensive two-day round of meetings with high-level officials from several Chicagoland food services, logistics and restaurant companies, urging them to take advantage of India’s liberalized foreign investment rules, readymade infrastructure and improving ease-of-doing-business climate.

Given its size and location in the Midwest, Chicago has been the hub of the U.S. food and food processing industry and is home to many of the world’s leading food and agriculture companies. Special Secretary Meena will meet with Potbelly, headquartered in downtown Chicago, and Mondelez, which has a bakery in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Meetings are also scheduled with Sensient, Griffith Foods, and Ingredion, etc.

Jagdish Prasad Meena

Under Prime Minister NarendraModi, India has significantly liberalized foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations, and now allows 100 percent FDI in manufacturing of food products and 100 percent FDI in trading including e-commerce in food products manufactured and/or produced in India. India has undertaken several national and state-level programs to improve the nation’s standing in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business Index.

India’s food processing industry is experiencing significant growth and boasts existing infrastructure in new Mega Food Parks around the country as well as state-of-the-art Cold Chain facilities.

From Nov. 3-5, 2017, New Delhi will host the World Food India 2017, a first-of-its-kind mega-scale event showcasing the large agricultural/horticultural produce base of India and its huge young population, providing a ready market providing immense investment opportunities for the entire food processing and food retail sector. Leading U.S. companies are invited to learn about India’s proactive policies and profitable opportunities available across the entire food processing and food retail value chain.

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White House welcomes Infosys move to hire 10,000 Americans

May 3, 2017 0

Washington–The White House has welcomed the announcement by global software major Infosys to hire 10,000 American workers in the next two years, calling it a “political victory”.

“We’re glad to see companies like Infosys see opportunity in the American economy again,” said Ninio Fetalvo, a White House spokesman, in a statement to the Washington Post.

Infosys on Tuesday announced that it would hire 10,000 American workers in the next two years and would set up four technology and innovation hubs across North America to focus on cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud and big data.

The first hub will open in the midwestern state of Indiana in August and is expected to create 2,000 jobs by 2021 for American workers.

“The hubs will have technology and innovation focused areas and serve clients in key industries such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and energy,” said the firm in a statement.

The White House characterised the Infosys announcement as a political victory, pointing to it as further evidence that companies are renewing investment in the US as a result of the Trump administration’s “pro-growth economic agenda”.

Clients in the US contribute about 60 per cent of the company’s software export revenue per year.

“We are committed to hiring 10,000 American technology workers over the next two years to help invent and deliver the digital futures for our clients in the US,” said Infosys Chief Executive Vishal Sikka in the statement.

The $10.3-billion company will hire experienced professionals as well as recent graduates from major universities and local and community colleges to create talent pools for the future.

The decision to ramp up local hiring by Indian IT majors like Infosys, TCS and Wipro comes also in light of Trump’s order to ensure that H-1B visas were awarded to the most skilled and highly-paid. (IANS)

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India-US military logistics pact could be functional by July

Apr 27, 2017 0

By Anjali Ojha

New Delhi– The landmark Indo-US logistics pact that provides for cashless refuelling, replenishment and related services to the militaries of the two countries could be functional as early as July with most of the kinks ironed out, informed sources said.

“The agreement is likely to be implemented before the Malabar exercise,” the sources told IANS referring to the annual India-US-Japan naval drill in the Bay of Bengal that is slated for July.

Manohar Parrikar, then India’s Defence Minister and his US counterpart at the time, Ashton Carter, had inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) last August.

Under this, both countries will designate military facilities on either side for facilities like refuelling and replenishment — with the books being balanced at the end of year.

During joint exercises like Malabar, both countries were required to make payments each time for using each other’s facilities. Now, the accounts will be settled once a year.

According to the sources, the details of the agreement have been worked out, with India sharing its “point of contact” list. The US had shared its list last year.

This list lays down the ports globally where vessels of the two countries can dock to take on supplies.

The sources also said that the vexed issue of arriving at a common accounting system for the three services has also been resolved.

The agreement had been pending for 10 years, with the former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government fighting shy of expressing its opinion one way or the other.

It comes at a time when the US has been vocal about the growing activities of China in the South China sea and has repeatedly stressed on freedom of navigation.

LEMOA is a tweaked, India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which the US had first proposed in 2004 at the sixth meeting of the India-US Defence Policy Group.

The LSA, in turn, is a version of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that the US has with several NATO nations.

India had provided logistics support to the US during the 1990-91 Gulf War, when the Chandra Shekhar-led government under Chandra Shekhar granted overflight rights US militaty planes and even permitted refueling — but revoked this after protests.

During the 2004 Tsunami, US support came in handy with India lacking the capability to provide assistance to the vast affected areas, as it did after 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Experts say the agreement will help provide such humanitarian assistance in future.

Laxman Behera, a member of IDSA’s Defence Economics and Industry Centre, termed the pact a “step forward” in consolidating the India-US strategic partnership.

“This is another example of growing proximity in relations between the two countries. It will be helpful for India, because if the army, navy or air force goes somewhere, you would not have to complete the formalities for logistics support,” Behera told IANS.

The pact will benefit the navy the most, he added. (IANS)

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US-based FireEye’s Helix security solution now available in India

Apr 20, 2017 0

New Delhi– US-based cyber security company FireEye on Thursday announced that its Helix automated security platform is now available globally including in India.

FireEye Helix addresses customers’ security problems by applying FireEye “iSIGHT” intelligence, orchestration and Mandiant expertise to any security operations environment and delivers simplified and integrated security operations experience.

Helix does this by over 300 technology integrations with basic security tools in-use by customers, including next-generation firewalls, anti-virus and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) that provide real-time analysis of security alerts generated by network hardware and applications.

Grady Summers

“With Helix, we are delivering the basis of simpler, integrated, and automated security operations with a powerful, central hub that will reduce risk and costs for our customers,” Grady Summers, Chief Technology Officer at FireEye, said in a statement.

Helix combines machine, adversary, and breach intelligence to identify and detect threats. It delivers automation and orchestration that increases response speed, shrinks alert-to-fix time and lowers cost of operations.

For the existing FireEye customers, simple upgrade programmes are available.

Additional features are available as add-ons subscriptions to the Helix platform, including ‘Expanded Automation Capabilities’, ‘Enhanced Malware Analysis’ and more.

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Mumbai-based Asset Vantage acquires US firm

Apr 19, 2017 0

New Delhi–Mumbai-based fin-tech company Asset Vantage on Wednesday announced the acquisition of US-based Financial Navigator Inc., an integrated general ledger and portfolio tracking software provider, for an undisclosed sum.

With the addition of Financial Navigator, Asset Vantage will expand into the wealth management accounting software market in North America, the company said in a statement.

“Combining our firms will enable clients to benefit from Asset Vantage’s next-generation, fully featured, cloud/mobile-based solution,” said Sunil Dalal, Chairman of UniDEL Group, Asset Vantage’s parent company, in a statement.

“The entire team at Financial Navigator is eager to join forces with Asset Vantage,” added Ed Van Deman, CEO, Financial Navigator.

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Google brings certified Developer Agency network to India

Apr 3, 2017 0

New Delhi–In a move to help developers create high-end quality apps, Google on Monday announced its second batch of certified agencies from India which have received dedicated training and access to Google’s latest products and application programming interface (APIs).

Google now has six certified partner agencies in India that includes Mutual Mobile, Cognitive Clouds, TechJini, [x]cube LABS, Divum and GoodWorkLabs.

“India has a large population of developers and agencies that are catering to the growing demands of building the next generation of solutions for India’s fast growing startup ecosystem,” said David McLaughlin, Director, Global Developer Ecosystem, in a statement.

As part of Google’s Developer Agency Programme, agencies will develop their expertise in using Google technologies and will be recognised as ‘Google Developers Certified Agency’.

Additionally, developer agencies will receive training on latest Google APIs, developer technologies and best practices, invitations to events specially designed for software development agencies, recognition and showcase opportunities and participation in Early Access programmes, among others.

“We are positive that through Developer Agency Programme, developers will be able to create great products that will benefit not only the agency but also the entire ecosystem in India,” McLaughlin added.

Launched in 2015, the Developer Agency Programme impacted more than 100 apps in India last year developed by these agencies with cumulative count of over 100 million users.

“It is great to be a part of Google Developer Programme as it has opened channels to work directly with Google engineers,” added Shyamal Mehta, Co-Founder, Techjini, a Google certified agency. (IANS)

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Indian envoy meets US senator, discusses bilateral ties

Mar 30, 2017 0

Washington–Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, has met Senator Bernie Sanders and discussed bilateral ties between the two countries.

A tweet by the Indian Embassy in the US on Wednesday said: “Ambassador Navtej Sarna warmly received by Sen. Bernie Sanders; enjoyed discussing positive outlook for Indian economy, strong #IndiaUSbonds & shared regional perspectives.”

According to the embassy, the Sarna-Sanders meeting was restricted to discussions on US-India relationship, Indian economy and a few other issues, The American Bazaar Online reported.

Sanders, who is the longest-serving independent in the US congressional history, had lost to his fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primaries.

He is now serving his second term in the US Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 per cent of the vote.

Sanders and US President Donald Trump are on opposite sides when it comes to some of the major decisions taken by the latter. Sanders had attacked Trump’s position on climate change and called it “pathetic and an embarrassment to the world”.

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U.S.-India Business Council and Ministry of Finance to host seminar on accelerating PM Modi’s vision of a cashless India

Mar 27, 2017 0

New Delhi- The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India will host the first symposium on “Accelerating Digital Payments and Deepening Financial Inclusion” on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in New Delhi.

The symposium brings together a diverse set of stakeholders, including government, private and public industry such as banks, payment service providers, product providers, and aggregators, and end users, along with industry associations, think tanks and civil society to explore how best to leverage the momentum of Prime Minister Modi’s “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana” initiative.

Participants will discuss the challenges in digital payments ecosystem and contribute to potential solutions with their unique perspectives and capabilities. The symposium will also examine expanding the reach and effectiveness of financial inclusion initiatives, and the tools necessary to ensure that all of India’s citizens participate in India’s digital financial future.

The symposium will begin with a keynote address by Smt. Anjuly Chib Duggal, Secretary, Department of Financial Services and special remarks by Dr. Saurabh Garg, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance. Ms. Kaku Nakhate, Country Head, Bank of America, and Mr. Anupam Pahuja, Managing Director & CEO, PayPal India will provide remarks on behalf of the industry.

The closing plenary will comprise of a fireside chat between Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog; Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, MeitY; Mr. Richard Nash, Head- Global Government Affairs, PayPal; and Mr. Sudipto Mundle, Emeritus Professor and Member of the Board of Governors, National Institute of Public Finance & Policy.

Mukesh Aghi

Speaking about the event, Dr. Mukesh Aghi, President, USIBC, said, “With the Government’s strong commitment towards making India a cashless society, it is imperative that we deliberate on the challenges to achieving a digitally driven economy. Industry stands ready to create innovative solutions to build a digital infrastructure that supports efforts underway for maximum financial inclusion.”

Some of the other eminent speakers that will be attending the event include Dr. Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, MeitY; Mr. Gaurav Batra, Group Head, South Asia, Mastercard; Mr. Sriraman Jagannathan, Vice President – Payments, Amazon India; Mr. Manoj Adlakha, CEO-India, American Express; Ms. Debopama Sen, Head of Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citibank India; Mr. Bob Varnadoe, Global Chief Information Security Officer, NCR Corporation; Mr. Peeyush Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat; Mr. Iain Allison, Head of APAC and Europe Cross Border Remittances, PayPal; Mr. Shashi Arora, Managing Director & CEO, Airtel Payments Bank; Mr. Ashwin Mehta, Chief General Manager (Rural Banking), State Bank of India and; Mr. Ritesh Pai, Senior President & Country Head, Digital Banking, Yes Bank.

Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization, comprised of 400 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi.

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US Senators push Trump on defense deals, production of F-16s in India

Mar 25, 2017 0

Washington– Two senators have written letters to the Trump administration to push for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to India as well as to approve a drone sale to the country, a media report said.

Senators John Cornyn and Mark Warner sent letters this week to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis, urging them to sign off on the F-16 production line in India and approve the export of the Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft, a non-lethal maritime surveillance platform, the Hill online reported on Friday.

The pair — co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus — said that both sales would bolster the US-India military relationship.

John Cornyn

India has been looking to buy new fighter aircraft since 2007 and in October relaunched a competition with the F-16 and the Saab Gripen (multi-role fighter aircraft) as the two contenders, said the report.

US aerospace company Lockheed Martin has since pledged to open a production line in India for the F-16s, but the plan was yet to be approved by the new administration.

Both senators urged Mattis and Tillerson “to weigh in forcefully with the White House on the strategic significance of the deal”, arguing the F-16 production line solely relies on international buys, with the last aircraft made for the US in 1999.

Mark Warner

“Keeping the F-16 in production will help sustain a fleet of over 1,000 aircraft currently in the Air Force and help preserve thousands of American jobs. It will help maintain 800 high value design and engineering jobs in the US, and extend the only scalable single engine 4th generation fighter aircraft as a significant security cooperation tool for the US,” wrote Cornyn and Warner.

The two senators also pushed for the sale of the Guardian aircraft to India in a separate letter.

India requested the Guardian in June, a request that has been pending with the US government since, reported the newspaper.

“The Guardian is exclusively manufactured in the US, and a potential sale to India is estimated to be valued at over $2 billion across the life of the programme,” the second letter stated. (IANS)

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