US-based Cloud-driven Citrix set to hire, invest more in India

May 25, 2017 0

By Nishant Arora

Orlando, Florida–As desktop virtualisation leader Citrix moves aggressively into the domain of enterprise mobility, Cloud and data analytics, the company is set to hire and invest more in India at a time when the country aims to digitally transform workplaces in a secure way.

With a 5,000-strong customer base in the country, Citrix has been in India for the past 15-20 years, but the real journey for the company started five-seven years ago when enterprises started adopting Cloud and real-time data analytics.

“We are bullish on India and looking forward to cement our position in an ever-growing market. The country is fast embracing technology. At the same time, the speed at which our Indian customers are implementing Citrix solutions is growing exponentially,” Stanimira Koleva, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), Citrix, told IANS.

Stanimira Koleva (Photo: Linkedin)

“I am surprised the way the country is transforming digitally — slowly but steadily at both the government and enterprise levels. Our discussions are now revolved around India in an entirely different way,” added Koleva, who has 25 years of industry experience across the globe and within the APJ region.

Citrix has built teams tasked to deal with the governments across the APJ region.

“We are looking at building strong partnerships with top system integrators in India who are already serving large government enterprises. For me, it is important to ensure that my service partners have latest, secure Cloud-enabled technology in place to serve the government sector,” Koleva emphasised.

For her, adoption of latest technology is on an upward trajectory in India. “We have leapfrogged into a new business model and are now pursuing partnerships with local vendors to deliver secure products to our customers in the country,” Koleva told IANS on the sidelines of ‘Citrix Synergy 2017’ event being held at the Orange County Convention Center here.

The company has a full-fledged research and development centre in Bengaluru.

“We are set to hire more people along with more investments in India at a time when a lot of global patents are originating from the R&D centre there,” Parag Arora, Citrix’s Area Vice President and Country Head, India Subcontinent, told IANS.

Arora sees four key trends that India is fast embracing — Cloud, mobility, Internet of Thing (IoT) and data analytics.

The public Cloud services market in India is projected to grow 38 percent in 2017 to $1.81 billion, according to the market research firm Gartner.

The highest growth will continue to be driven by Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is projected to grow at 49.2 percent in 2017, followed by 33 percent in Software as a Service (SaaS) and 32.1 percent in Platform as a Service (PaaS).

According to a recent Nasscom and Deloitte research report, the cloud market in India could be worth as much as $16 billion by 2020.

Sensing the opportunity, Citrix has accelerated innovation in Cloud with the introduction of new services like XenApp Essentials and XenDesktop Essentials that are native to Microsoft Azure but managed from Citrix Cloud.

In addition, Citrix Cloud now offers integration with Azure Active Directory for administrators, IoT capabilities and other new services in the labs area.

The company offers XenDesktop, XenMobile, XenApps, NetScaler and now SD-WAN — a new cost-effective solution that allows aggregation of different bandwidth, applications and networks.

“The industries we are chasing are banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), and telecom. IT services is another big area for us. We are already working with CIOs and employees at large software firms like Infosys and Wipro to help build secure platforms for their customers,” Arora informed.

Citrix is Secure by Design (SbD) so when banks deploy its solutions, security comes inbuilt.

“The whole IT landscape is changing. There has been a new level of awareness among the customers that security is by design and not something that comes into force after they face malware issues,” Arora said.

Aiming to make governments and enterprises more secure in the wake of the recent global ‘WannaCrypt” ransomware attack, Citrix this week announced a new secure digital workspace product, new-age Cloud services and Citrix Analytics.

Another key area for Citrix in India is health care. The company is working with some of the top hospitals to help patients’ data move seamlessly and in a secure way.

“Data is critical for the health care sector and Citrix, with its diverse product portfolio, can become a trusted ally,” Arora said.

According to Koleva, Countries in the APJ region have their own ways to deal with data privacy, protection and loss. “This is where Citrix fits in. We can not only prepare a strong base but also upgrade it to a level where governments will have more control over their data,” she noted. (IANS)

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Los Angeles judge issues arrest warrant for yoga guru Bikram Choudhury for failing to pay $7 million

May 25, 2017 0

Washington– A Los Angeles judge has issued an arrest warrant for Bikram Choudhury, the Indian American “hot” yoga guru, after he failed to pay more than $7 million in 2016 to his former lawyer who was the victim in a sexual harassment case against him.

Choudhury has not paid the lawyer and authorities believe that he has hidden his assets and left the country, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

The 69-year-old yoga guru had claimed last year that he was nearly bankrupt as his business was no longer thriving.

According to the report, the warrant, issued on Wednesday, allows authorities to arrest Choudhury if he returns to the US or, possibly, in Mexico.

Bikram Choudhury (Photo courtesy: Vikram Yoga Green Valley)

In January 2016, a jury determined that Choudhury had sexually harassed and then unfairly fired Minakshi “Miki” Jafa-Bodden, his onetime lawyer.

He was ordered to pay nearly $6.5 million in punitive damages in addition to $924,000 in compensatory damages.

Jafa-Bodden was general counsel to Bikram’s Yoga College of India but was fired after refusing to cover up allegations that Bikram had raped and sexually assaulted a yoga student.

“I feel vindicated,” she told ABC News in 2016. “I’m elated.”

She convinced the jury that Choudhury had repeatedly sexually harassed her and subjected her to obscene comments about women.

Jafa-Bodden also claimed she was fired after she tried to investigate another woman’s sexual harassment and rape allegations against the yoga guru.

During the trial over Jafa-Bodden’s allegations, Bikram strongly denied sexually assaulting any women. He also denied having any sexual contact with his students or followers. His bail was set at $8 million.

Choudhury was one of the pioneers of yoga in the US, setting up shop in Beverly Hills in the 1970s. His client list included top celebrities like Madonna, Andy Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow and Goldie Hawn.

His yoga studios are franchised worldwide.

Outside of court on Wednesday, Jafa-Bodden celebrated her latest legal victory, saying: “It’s a win for women everywhere who’ve endured sexual harassment.”

“To have that bench warrant issued for Bikram… It sends a message to a debtor like Bikram that he will be held accountable and that the wheels of justice, although they don’t turn as fast as we would want them to, they do turn,” she said. (IANS)

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Boston Judge Mulling Over Raman Handa’s Fate

May 25, 2017 0

BOSTON—A Boston federal judge is mulling over the fate Raman Handa, the former owner of well-known Boston jewelry chain Alpha Omega Jewelers who has been charged with defrauding the company with $7 million dollars in missing or unaccounted for inventory.

“On May 4th, Handa was arraigned in federal court and pleaded not guilty,” Liz McCarthy, public affairs specialist at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, told INDIA New England News. “On May 17th there was a hearing in which the defense argued to dismiss the indictment for violation of the defendant’s six amendment right to a speedy trial.”

Raman Handa (Photo courtesy: Mass Live)

McCarthy said Handa remains free on a $1.2 million bond and with GPS location monitoring, and travel restricted to Massachusetts.

“The judge took the mater under advisement and has not yet issued a ruling,” said McCarthy.

Handa, 67, was arrested on Feb 21, at Los Angeles International Airport as he returned to the United States from India, where he had been living for almost 10 years, following a scheme to defraud the company’s former lenders.

According to the indictment, Handa was the owner of Alpha Omega Jewelers, a luxury watch and fine jewelry retailer in the Boston area. From May 2007 to December 2007, Alpha Omega experienced severe financial troubles, and had difficulty keeping current with loans it had with several banks. As part of the scheme to defraud Alpha Omega’s lenders and to obtain additional loans, Handa allegedly fabricated inventory on reports that were submitted to the banks. These reports were used by the banks to calculate the credit limit for Alpha Omega, and included inventory such as luxury watches and high-end items from Indian jewelry vendors, that Alpha Omega never in fact possessed.

On Dec. 15, 2007, Handa and his family abruptly left the United States. After discovering Handa’s departure, Alpha Omega’s lender took control of the company and conducted a detailed review of Alpha Omega’s inventory. According to the indictment, the review revealed over $7 million dollars in missing or unaccounted for inventory.

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years supervised release and a fine of $250,000 on each count. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Google selects six Indian startups for accelerator program

May 24, 2017 0

New Delhi–Google on Wednesday announced that it has shortlisted six Indian startups for the fourth class of Google Accelerator Programme that will kick-off from July 17 at the Google Developers Launchpad Space in San Francisco.

With this batch, a total of 26 Indian startups have so far joined the launchpad accelerator programme from India.

“These startups were shortlisted from hundreds which applied this year, based on their unique value proposition and use of latest technologies like machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to build high-impact solutions,” Paul Ravindranath G., Programme Manager, Google India, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Paul Ravindranath

The programme will include two weeks of all-expense-paid mentorship bootcamp.

This batch of startups will gain from Google`s new curriculum that will help the startups to dig deeper into machine learning and AI and help them leverage Google’s latest technologies to scale their apps.

In the six-month programme, these startups will undergo intensive mentoring from 20-plus teams across Google and mentors from top technology companies in the Silicon Valley.

Additionally, they will receive equity-free support and credits for Google products. After returning from San Francisco, these startups will work closely with Google in India. (IANS)

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India to allocate more air routes by August

May 24, 2017 0

New Delhi–The central government on Wednesday said that it will allocate more air routes under its regional connectivity scheme — UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) — through the second round of bidding by August.

According to Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the government will soon launch the second round of bidding under RCS-UDAN after reciving stakeholders’ views on some proposed changes to the scheme which are intended to make it simpler and attractive for participation.

P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju

The ministry will organise a stakeholder consultation meet on June 7 and will accept stakeholders’ comments on the proposed changes by June 9, 2017.

At the same event, Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey pointed out that the ministry is planning to host an “interactive meet” between state governments and airlines for the second round of bidding for Udan routes on July 7, 2017.

On April 27, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the first Rs 2,500-an-hour flight between Shimla and New Delhi.

The scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released last year.

On March 30, 2017, the central government under the first round of bidding for the scheme awarded contracts to five companies to operate flight services on 128 routes that will connect 70 airports.

The airline companies chosen during the first round of bidding were Airline Allied Services (Alliance Air), SpiceJet, Turbo Megha Airways, Air Deccan and Air Odisha.

The objective of RCS, christened as UDAN is to enhance air passenger traffic in the country by stimulating demand on regional routes. (IANS)

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India’s macro-economic indicators improved in last three years: Modi

May 23, 2017 0

Gandhinagar–Fuelled by Aadhaar and Jan Dhan Yojana, India has improved upon all the macro-economic indicators over the last three years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.

“The fiscal deficit, balance of payments deficit and inflation have all come down while the GDP growth rate, foreign exchange reserves and public capital investments have increased,” Modi said while inaugurating the 52nd annual meeting of the African Development Bank here.

The Prime Minister said India had taken huge strides in development and could share with Africa some of the strategies used by his government over the last three years.

He said two crucial factors behind India’s growth story were universal banking and universal biometric identification.

“The first set of changes we made was in the banking system. We launched Jan Dhan Yojana under which over 280 million bank accounts have been opened for the poor in rural and urban areas.

“Thanks to the initiative, virtually every Indian family has a bank account,” he said.

The second crucial element was the universal biometric identification system called Aadhar, Modi said.

“It prevents claiming of benefits by those who are not eligible. It enables us to ensure that those who deserve government aid receive it by easy while eliminating non-genuine claims,” he said.

Modi said by paying subsidies directly to the poor rather than indirectly through price concessions, India achieved large fiscal savings.

He said India and Africa had a long history of cooperation with strong ties lasting for centuries.

“India’s partnership with Africa is based on a model of cooperation which is responsive to the needs of African countries.”

“After assuming office in 2014, I have made Africa a top priority for India’s foreign and economic policy,” the Prime Minister said.

He said while he himself visited six African countries ever since becoming the Prime Minister, there was no country in Africa that has not been visited by an Indian minister in the last three years.

He said that Africa-India trade had multiplied in the last 15 years with it doubling in just the last five years to reach nearly 72 billion dollars in 2014-15.

“From 1996 to 2016, Africa accounted for nearly one-fifth of Indian overseas direct investments.”

The Prime Minister said most of the challenges facing both India and Africa were the same including uplifting farmers and poor, and empowering women.

“Our challenges also include ensuring our rural communities have access to finance and building infrastructure within financial constraints and maintaining macro-economic stability so that inflation is contained,” he said.

Modi added while India cannot compete with Africa in long-distance running in sports arena, “but I can assure you that India will always stand with you shoulder to shoulder supporting you in the long and difficult race for a better future”. (IANS)

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Economic development linked with internal security: Amitabh Kant

May 23, 2017 0

New Delhi– NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Tuesday stressed the need to focus on economic development as well as internal security for the country’s growth, saying both are closely linked with each other.

“Economic development is closely linked with internal security. Actually they have a symbiotic relationship. You can’t have economic development without internal security and you can’t have internal security without economic development,” Kant said while inaugurating the first National Conference of Micro Missions of National Police Mission.

The two-day event was organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).

Kant, a 1980 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of Kerala cadre, said if police does not act as major agent in social change, it will be very difficult for India to rapidly grow.

Niti Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant

“We need to completely take a fresh look. My belief is that it will be very difficult for India to rapidly grow unless and until police does not act as a major agent of social change.”

“My belief is also that since police has very large presence on the ground, it can provide very valuable feedback to the states and the government in the functioning of many of the schemes in a very effective manner,” Kant said.

He said security scenario was rather tough once in India but among all those challenges he saw a great opportunity as well. “With every passing year, India has emerged stronger.”

Kant said that upgradation of internal security needs improvement in policing and it is not dependable on central money assistance. “Money is not the real limiting factor to delay improvement in policing, there are other issues.”

“There is need to strengthen police stations… The improvement of police stations in one hand will improve the prevention and detection of crime and other hand improve citizens’ interface with the police and it will improve internal security,” Kant said.

“The second is to improve citizen policing. People want quick resolution to their problem. From the other prospective the people are a great resource to police because of willingness of helping the police.”

“The third,” he said, “is an issue of court cases. Around three crore case are pending in various courts in India. According to one analysis, if the nation’s judges close 100 cases every hour without eating or sleeping, it will take 35 years to catch up. Therefore we need to improve the judicial system.”

The event covered sessions on the eight micro missions working under the BPR&D on issues including proactive policing and visualizing future challenges — extremism and Maoism, mob violence, cyber crime, money laundering, narco terrorism, human trafficking and others.

Special Secretary (IS) Home Ministry Rina Mitram, BPR&D Director Meeran C. Borwankar, Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) R.R. Bhatnagar, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) chief Krishna Chaudhary were present on the occasion.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi will be the chief guest during the valedictory session on May 24. (IANS)

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Jaitley files fresh defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against Kejriwal

May 22, 2017 0

New Delhi–Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday filed a second civil defamation suit of Rs 10 crore in the Delhi High Court against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the word “crook” used by his lawyer.

Jaitley sought Rs 10 crore as damages after Ram Jethmalani used objectionable words against the Union Minister in an open court.

This is a separate case from the ongoing DDCA defamation suit against the Chief Minister and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders that Jaitley filed in 2015.

On May 17, Jaitley and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani clashed in the court with the Minister taking strong objection to the word “crook” used during cross examination in the earlier defamation case.

Arun Jaitley

“I intend to show that this man (Jaitley) is a crook,” Jethmalani had said, prompting strong objection from the Minister.

Jaitley, who was being cross-examined, furiously asked Jethmalani whether the word “crook” used by him was in his personal capacity or as per the instruction of Kejriwal.

To which, Jethmalani had said that it was used by him on instructions from his client (Kejriwal).

Jaitley then threatened to seek higher damages.

“I will aggravate the charges against the defendants (Kejriwal)… There is a limit to personal malice,” he had said after Jethmalani said he wanted to prove his point that the Union Minister was a “crook”.

Jaitley’s counsel had objected to Jethmalani referring to the Minister as being “guilty of crime and crookery”.

Jaitley was being cross-examined by Jethmalani in connection with the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) defamation case filed by the Minister.

In December 2015, Jaitley filed a civil defamation suit against Kejriwal and AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee, claiming that they made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving the DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.

Jaitley had sought Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal and other AAP leaders in the DDCA case as well.

He had claimed that the AAP leaders attacked him over alleged irregularities and financial bungling in Delhi’s cricket association, of which he was the President for about 13 years. (IANS)

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India to have science infrastructure sharing policy soon

May 21, 2017 0

By Sahana Ghosh

Kolkata–India is formulating a policy on maintaining and sharing science infrastructure so that R&D facilities do not remain limited to academia but are also accessed by industry, according to a senior bureaucrat of the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

“The idea is to create infrastructure which becomes shareable, which becomes sustainable and is also accessible to our industry. A whole lot of scientific infrastructure is not available to our industry. We are going to come up with a policy this year, about maintaining, sustaining and effectively using scientific infrastructure in a shared way,” Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of a DST Conclave here.

Ashutosh Sharma

A web portal is being envisaged to implement the policy, Sharma said.

“Indian institutes have R&D labs. We will tell people about the models by which they can share the infrastructure in a transparent way. So in a website, anybody can book a slot and put in a request to access instruments in different labs,” he explained.

Talking about broad contours of the policy, he said it would also aim to reduce redundancy and duplication of scientific equipment in institutions.

“Since it’s a policy, not a law, the challenge lies in implementation. We have to make people aware of the idea contained in the policy, let them see the value for themselves. That’s the only way,” he said.

One example of such infrastructure sharing is the EU-funded PAERIP project to share resources between Europe and Africa. PAERIP created the first-ever inventory of research infrastructure in the two continents.

At the DST Conclave, where the ministry took stock of the R&D situation across institutes, Sharma also flagged a key issue: The lack of coordination among institutions.

“One issue is coordination among institutions where they are doing similar things. So it makes sense for them to do it together. The new policy on sharing infrastructure will also help in that direction,” he said.

In addition to the science infrastructure policy, a major thrust this year would be on the Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical System (CPS) programme.

CPS is a mechanism controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms, tightly integrated with internet and its users.

Computing and communication system bridges with the physical world are referred to as Cyber Physical Systems. CPS are physical and engineered systems whose operations are monitored, coordinated, controlled and integrated by a computing and communication core.

“This year we will start a new programme in cyber physical systems which includes deep learning, smart machines, machine intelligence, IoT (Internet of Things), etc. We have to start making preparations for it now in terms of generating capacity, human resources and infrastructure,” he said.

In addition, Sharma said, India has initiated collaboration on cyberspace with Israel, IoT & BigData with Japan, robotics and advanced materials with South Korea.

“Much more is in the pipeline in emerging areas of research,” he said.

To shore up the number of women in IITs, Sharma said 50,000 girls in high schools will be prepared for admission in technical training institutes.

“We are targeting 50,000 girls in high schools, a certain percentile from the top, to prepare them for leadership positions in IITs, especially in those institutes where representation is low. It’s not only technical training but also looking at the cultural aspect.

“Often, women are thinking maths is not really for them while their parents don’t want to send them away from home and there are the expenses involved. So we have to look into all these aspects,” he added. (IANS)

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Kailash Satyarthi rescues nine bonded children

May 19, 2017 0

New Delhi–Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Thursday rescued nine children from an illegal factory here where they were slaving away after being trafficked from Bihar.

Satyarthi and his NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) raided the premises in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj area and rescued the children aged between seven and 15 years, the activist told IANS.

All the children were from Katihar in Bihar, were confined in two rooms and forced to produce Christmas gifts for the Western market.

Kailash Satyarthi

“These children were working in a manufacturing unit producing shining Christmas decoration items,” Satyarthi said.

It was the second raid in which he personally took part since getting the Nobel prize in 2014.

He said the workshop was located in a narrow lane.

Satyarthi said he went there himself because the activist who had detected the bonded children had been identified by some locals.

“I did not want to give him this responsibility to rescue the children as he could have been attacked,” he said. “I was once attacked in this area seven or eight years ago.”

But as Satyarthi landed there with his team, he himself got recognized as a Nobel prize winner.

“In no time a large number of people gathered and began shaking hands with me. Everyone welcomed me. And we easily rescued the children as our women activists entered the workshop and spotted the kids.”

The rescued children will be taken to a centre run by Satyarthi’s NGO for rehabilitation, he said. The workshop has been sealed and a police case has been filed against the absconding owner.(IANS)

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