Delaware South Asian Bar Association Celebrates 10th Anniversary, Announces New Board

Jul 6, 2017 0

Wilmington, Delaware— The South Asian Bar Association of Delaware (SABA DE), which celebrated its 10th anniversary last month with an event featuring Paul Grewal, Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, announced its new Board of Directors:

Faiz Ahmad

President: Faiz Ahmad, Partner, Skadden
Vice President: Shanti Katona, Partner, Polsinelli
Secretary: Roopa Sabesan, Delaware Department of Justice
Treasurer: Santosh Coutinho, Fish & Richardson
SABA National Rep.: Bindu Palapura, Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
VP Attorney Outreach: Sanjay Bhatnagar, New Castle County Law Department
VP Judicial and Law Student Outreach: Nitika Fiorella, Fish & Richardson
VP Community Outreach: Monil Amin, Delaware Department of Justice
VP Programming: Anne Gwal, Exelon
VP Communications: Emilie Ninan, Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP

“I’m extremely proud of what SABA-DE has accomplished in its first ten years and am excited about the organization’s future,” said incoming president Faiz Ahmad. “SABA-DE will continue to actively support its members, the Delaware legal community and the larger community with mentoring programs, sponsorship of diversity pipeline projects, programs on substantive topics of interest and joint events with our fellow bar organizations.”

Over the last decade, SABA-DE has hosted many high-profile speakers including U.S. Court of Appeals Judge, Sri Srinivasan; Fmr. Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal; Fmr. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara; SCOTUS practitioners, Kannon Shanmugam, Pratik Shah and Tejinder Singh who have collectively argued more than 35 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court; and authors Saira Rao and Deepa Iyer.

In addition to its “An Evening With…” Speaker Series, SABA-DE has been recognized for its timely programming tackling current events such as the market meltdown and human trafficking. SABA-DE, which was recognized as “Chapter of the Year” in 2012 by its parent organization, the South Asian Bar Association of North America, is also the home chapter of two presidents of the national organization.

SABA-DE is a voluntary bar organization with a mission to serve the needs of attorneys, law students, other individuals and communities of South Asian descent, and act as a resource regarding the increasing social, economic, and legal intersections between the U.S. and South Asia.

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Tata Sons hits back at Cyrus Mistry’s allegations on AirAsia

Jul 5, 2017 0

Mumbai–The Tata Sons on Wednesday strongly refuted a statement by its ousted Chairman Cyrus P. Mistry which sought to insinuate wrongdoing in the affairs of AirAsia India by Tata Trusts’ Managing Trustee R. Venkataramanan.

On the contrary, AirAsia India – with the support of Tata Sons – has taken definitive steps both in civil and criminal courts which have cleared the air in relation to the “mischievous” allegations made by the SP Group Companies in the National Company Law Tribunal, it said.

“Tata Sons is of the view that the frivolous allegations levied by Mistry and the SP Group are value destructive,” the company said.

Contrary to Mistry’s allegations, the Tata Sons emphatically denied “any conduct which could be said to be oppressive or resulting in mismanagement” and said it ironical that Mistry continues to make statements that his actions are in the interest of the Tata group.

Cyrus P. Mistry

“On the contrary, his actions thus far have consistently harmed the reputation of Tata group. Tata Sons continues to evaluate its legal options in this regard,” the company said.

The company pointed out that it has the highest respect for the judiciary and has never resorted to “muzzle and interfere with legal proceedings” as alleged by Mistry.

The Tata Sons statement came a day after a Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate issues process (summons) to Mistry and his brother Shapoor Pallonji and others in connection with a Rs 500-crore criminal defamation case filed by Venkataramanan.

The magistrate has ordered Mistry and other accused to appear before the court, or be represented through their lawyers, on August 24 when the next hearing is scheduled.

Shortly after this, Mistry on late Tuesday issued a statement terming the criminal prosecution for alleged defamation as an “ill-advised and immature proxy battle” through Venkataramanan.

He added that Venkataramanans’ role in AirAsia is the subject matter of several investigations by law enforcement agencies.

Last year, on October 24, the Tata Sons’ board had ejected Mistry as its Chairman.

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GST roll-out smoother than anticipated: Jaitley

Jul 5, 2017 0

Mumbai–Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that despite the anticipation of initial disruptions on account of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the roll-out of the new indirect tax regime from July 1 was smooth and without any significant glitches.

“When GST was implemented from July 1, it was anticipated that huge amount of disruptions would be caused. We in the government were factoring it. But the switch-over was smooth. We didn’t see any significant disruption due to GST roll-out,” Jaitley said through e-conferencing from New Delhi.

He was speaking at the 4th State Bank of India (SBI) Banking and Economics Conclave held here.

Arun Jaitley

“I haven’t seen even a whisper of opposition after GST,” he said, adding that there were some concerns which led some sections to protest.

Lauding the adoption of GST resolution by Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Jaitley said that it is the consumers’ will that has prevailed over separatists who did not want economic integration.

“With applicability of GST in J&K, means that in the debate in J&K, the consumers have eventually prevailed. The strength of public opinion has been towards supporting economic reforms,” he said.

He said that with the combination of GST and demonetisation, the tax base ratio should go up over a period of time.

Asserting that the Indian economy was becoming more competitive in many sectors, he said that the next one-two years will be the “period of implementation” for the country.

“The economy is becoming more competitive in many areas like infrastructure creation. Aviation sector is becoming a success story. The direction in which Indian economy is moving, the consistency, it indicates something which is not reversible,” Jaitley said.

India has the capacity to sustain a high level of growth through the next decade, he said. (IANS)

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India, Israel sign seven agreements

Jul 5, 2017 0

Jerusalem– India and Israel on Wednesday signed seven agreements, including three on space cooperation, following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.

A Plan of Cooperation was signed between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) regarding cooperation in atomic clocks.

Both ISRO and ISA signed a MoU on cooperation in GEO-LEO Optical Link. ISRO and ISA signed another MoU on cooperation in electric propulsion for small satellites.

An MoU was signed between the Department of Science and Technology, India, and the National Technological Innovation Authority, Israel, for setting up an India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F).

India’s Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation signed an MoU with Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources on a national campaign for water conservation in India.

An MoU on state water utility reform was signed between the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of Israel.

The two sides also signed the India-Israel Development Cooperation on a three-year work programme in agriculture from 2018 to 2020. (IANS)

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Symphony of Weaves mesmerizes at Textiles India 2017

Jul 1, 2017 0

Gandhinagar– “Symphony of Weaves”, a fashion show curated and produced by IMG Reliance Industries Ltd on the opening day of Textiles India 2017 at Mahatma Mandir here on Friday, was a unique fashion presentation celebrating the story of Indian textiles in the form of exquisite innovations in craft and design.

Textiles India 2017 is positioned as the first ever global B2B textiles event in India, from June 30-July 2 bringing to the fore the inspiring vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – “From Farm to Fibre, Fibre to Factory, Factory to Fashion, Fashion to Foreign Exports”. Textiles India aims to showcase the strength of the value chain in India.

The show presented a compelling story of the textiles of India, focusing on innovations in craft and design. It was the largest curated presentation of Indian textiles on the runway that unfolded the story of growth and development of the Indian textiles sector and its transformation to become a global power.

Inspired by the seven key notes of music that form the Sargam, a fundamental base for any tradition of music, the show celebrated textiles of India and showcased the entire spectrum through seven key segments covering Cottons, Silks, Wools, Embroidery, Hand-Dyed and Hand printed, Modern/Industrial and Futuristic Sustainable textiles of India.

Leading Indian designers have joined hands with master-craftsmen to showcase their work in heritage handlooms, handicrafts as well as modern and futuristic textiles. The textile panaroma spans across regions and states of North-East India, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam and many more.

The fashion show featured the designs from a combination of 31 established and emerging designers and master craftsmen/weavers from across different textile traditions, languages and states of India.

The story of the evolution of cottons in India was showcased by designers such as Anavila Misra, mastercraftsmen Chaman Siju from Kutch and Richana Khumanthem from Manipur as well as Wendell Rodricks for Goa Kunbi Cotton Handlooms. The rich legacy of Indian silk included Banarasi Silks by Sanjay Garg, Meghalaya Ryndia Silk by Daniel Syiem and Tussar handlooms from Jharkhand by Shruti Sancheti. Rahul Misra and Rajesh Pratap Singh among others showcased the story of evolution of Wool.

The embroidery category was presented by eminent designers such as Anamika Khanna, Anita Dongre, Manish Malhotra, Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal, Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliani among others. Young gen next label Poochki collaborated with Master craftsman Berulal Chippa from Rajasthan to showcase Bagru handicraft and Vineet Rahul collaborated with Mohammed Yusuf Khatri from Bagh, Madhya Pradesh to showcase Bagh handicrafts in high end fashion. Gaurav Gupta and Pankaj & Nidhi presented modern textiles and in the final segment Abraham & Thakore, Amit Aggarwal, Hemang Agrawal and Manish Arora presented modern and futuristic textiles that included man-made fibres, metal yarns and sustainable recycled fabrics.

Symphony of Weaves fashion show (Photo: Anita Dongre via Vogue)

Talking about how such shows are going to bridge the gap between designers, craftspeople and government, Dongre told IANS: “It’s for the first time that such a large initiative is done by the textile industry that everyone has come together to showcase what they got or are known for. Our textile industry is very versatile and no other country has this versatile textile industry like ours, so it’s good to see so many foreign buyers coming under one roof.”

Jaspreet Chandok, Vice-President & Head- Fashion, IMG Reliance said the show was an extension of what they are doing at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW- a bi-annual show organized by IMG Reliance).

“We have such a strong designing linkages on board that they come all the way to Gandhinagar to support us. This shows how much they support us at IMG Reliance.”

Giving reference of a craftsman, he added: “Chaman Siju, a craftsman from Kutch who we discovered and put on Lakme Fashion Week stage on the Artisans of Kutch show that we did six months back, got the felicitation from Prime Minister today.”

The lavish set had a circular ramp and a huge spindle as the centre piece. The backdrop installation for the show was inspired by the handloom jacquard attachments for punching pattern cards that is considered as an initial version of the modern computer.

The Symphony of Weaves fashion show was attended by Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani, Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles, and Industry Commissioner of Gujarat Mamta Verma. (IANS)

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India launches historic indirect tax regime GST

Jul 1, 2017 0

New Delhi–The Goods and Services Tax (GST), India’s biggest tax reform since Independence, rolled out past midnight Friday in the precincts of the hallowed Central Hall of Parliament to usher in a new indirect tax regime in an event that sought to evoke memories of the famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ night the country got freedom in 1947.

A minute after the stroke of midnight, President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed the button to launch the new indirect tax regime on a digital screen with “GST” emblazoned on it in a golden hue.

Conceived on the principle of ‘one nation, one tax, one market’, the tax that subsumes 17 central and state levies was launched in the presence of Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, MPs, chief ministers, state finance ministers, officials of the Centre and states.

Notwithstanding the fact that the GST Law was a consensus product evolved over 14 years, the function in colorfully-decked Parliament House was boycotted by major opposition parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress, RJD, DMK and Left parties, saying the government was making a spectacle of a legislation for self-promotion, a charge Jaitley rejected. In keeping with his party’s decision, former Primer Minister Manmohan Singh kept away from the event. However, MPs and leaders of Congress allies NCP and Samajwadi Party attended the function.

Addressing the gathering, President Pranab Mukherjee said the introduction of GST is a moment of precedent for the country and a matter of personal satisfaction for him because of his role as Finance Minister earlier. “I had always believed that GST was a matter of time and was happy when it was enacted and I gave assent to the Constitution amendment last year,” he said.

He said the new law is a tribute to the maturity and wisdom of Indian democracy. The GST Council was a unique experiment under the Indian Constitution because of the shared sovereignty.

In his speech, Modi said the roll out of GST is the best example of cooperative federalism and success of Indian democracy. “The credit for the new law does not go to one party or one government but was a shared legacy of all,” he said.

In a veiled rejoinder to opposition criticism of the midnight function in Parliament, the Prime Minister said there cannot be a “better and sacred” venue than the Central Hall for the historic roll out.

The GST process cannot be confined to just economic system but was a collective effort of all, he said, adding it was a product of long discussions among the best brains of the country. “It is an example of Team India’s strength and ability,” he said.

Referring to the eminent personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Babu Rajendra Prasad who had adorned the Central Hall, Modi said like Patel had integrated the country, the GST would integrate the country economically.

He described the GST as ‘Good and Simple Tax’ — good because there will be no tax on tax and simple because there will be only one form of tax. It will also help eliminate black money and corruption because of the transparency it seeks to bring in, he said.

Modi said whatever was lacking in growth and development of the country, GST will provide the opportunity to realise them.

Ahead of the launch, the GST Council slashed the rate of fertilisers from 12 per cent to 5 per cent and of exclusive parts of tractors from 28 per cent to 18 per cent to reduce the burden on farmers.

The launch of GST, which the government claimed would result in reduction of prices of articles of common consumption, also came amidst fears from various business sections that prices would go up under the new regime.

Welcoming the gathering, Jaitley described GST as the biggest and most ambitious tax reform which is an achievement of the country through consensus. It highlights the fact that India can rise above narrow politics and work for country’s benefit. In making the GST, neither the Centre nor the states gave up their sovereignty.

He said all MPs, state governments, political parties, state finance ministers and dedicated officials of the Centre and states deserved to be appreciated for realising the project of GST Law.

Jaitley said under GST, the revenues will go up as the compliance goes up and the GDP will also increase.

Parliament’s Central Hall has witnessed such a function only on three occasions earlier. First was on the occasion of Independence when first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made the famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech. The second was on the occasion of silver jubilee of Independence in 1972 and golden jubilee in 1997.

The GST is expected to check tax evasion and broaden tax base. In the new regime, all filings will be done only through electronic mode to ensure non-intrusive administration. This will minimise taxpayers’ physical interaction with the tax officials.

The GST regime seeks to reduce rates of over 50 per cent of items of daily use and charge others at much lower rate of 5 per cent, 12 per cent and 18 per cent.

A higher tax rate is imposed on luxury and sin goods at 28 per cent in the new regime. Certain services like telephone, banking and insurance are expected to feel the pinch of higher taxes.

The GST also promises taxpayers a refund against their sales within 60 days. Similarly, exporters will get refund within seven days. For protection of consumer rights, the new law provides anti-profiteering provisions. In a departure from the normal practice, the GST will be administered together by the Centre and the states.


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Mukesh Ambani keeps salary unchanged at Rs 15 crore

Jun 28, 2017 0

Mumbai– Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani has kept his own salary unchanged at Rs 15 crore, said the company’s annual report for 2016-17.

This is the ninth consecutive year since Ambani’s compensation package has been set at Rs 15 crore.

Mukesh Ambani

“The Chairman and Managing Director’s compensation has been set at Rs 15 crore as against Rs 38.75 crore as approved, reflecting his desire to continue to set a personal example for moderation in managerial compensation levels,” said the company’s annual report.

Ambani’s compensation includes salary and perquisites, allowances, retiral benefits, commission (payable) and performance linked incentive (payable). (IANS)

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Cabinet nod to in-principle divestment of Air India

Jun 28, 2017 0

New Delhi– The Union cabinet on Wednesday gave in-principle approval for Air India’s stake divestment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said here.

“In-principle approval for Air India divestment has been given,” the minister said at a press briefing after the Union cabinet met here.

“The Civil Aviation Ministry’s proposal for formation of a group under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister to decide the modalities of divestment process has also been accepted.”

However, the minister did not divulge any time frame for the formation of the group or the submission of a final report by the panel which will be formed to look at the quantum of stakesale.

Jaitley said that the members of the panel will be decided by the Prime Minister.

On June 20, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had said that the NITI Aayog’s recommendation on the future of the national passenger carrier has been presented to the Union cabinet which will take a call on it.

Sinha that time had said that inter-ministerial consultations on the future of the airline have been completed and “are being summarised and presented” to the cabinet.

In a recent report to the Civil Aviation Ministry, the NITI Aayog recommended strategic disinvestment in the loss-making Air India, by which government control would be transferred to a private owner. (IANS)

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Vice President Mike Pence Speaks on Growing the U.S.-India Partnership at the U.S.-India Business Council’s 42nd Annual Leadership Summit

Jun 28, 2017 0

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Celebrating its 42nd year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce U.S.-India Business Council’s (USIBC) Annual Leadership Summit this week featured Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and other high-ranking government and private sector leaders to address USIBC members and guests.

The Leadership Summit focused on the important role of the private sector in advancing the ties between the two countries, the future of the U.S.-India economic relationship, as well as strengthening and deepening the U.S.-India defense partnership.

“The partnership between the U.S. and India has never been more important,” said John Chambers, USIBC chairman and executive chairman of Cisco. “Both governments are deeply committed to creating greater economic opportunity for their citizens. The USIBC does just that by advancing bilateral cooperation between the two nations. I’m incredibly proud of the impact we’ve had so far in driving economic growth, job creation, innovation and entrepreneurship in both nations, and we look forward to shaping the future of both countries by doubling down on our efforts in the years to come.”

The summit welcomed addresses from the Ambassador of India to the United States Navtej Sarna and Congressman Pete Sessions, chairman of the House Committee on Rules.

USIBC presented its prestigious annual “Global Leadership Awards” to Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company, and Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group. Both were honored for creating inclusive business environments, integrating India in the global supply chain and advancing core values such as manufacturing, innovation and scale in tough market conditions.

USIBC Chairman & Executive Chairman, CISCO, John Chambers with Vice President of U.S.A. at USIBC’s 42nd Annual Leadership Summit

“Advanced technologies from companies such as Dow will deliver decisive contributions to help India realize its full potential, including economic diversification, sustainable growth and innovation,” Liveris said. “It is my honor to accept this award on behalf of Dow’s many innovators, manufacturers and problem-solvers who work every day to strengthen the U.S.-India partnership.”

“I would like to thank the U.S.-India Business Council for honoring me with the Global Leadership Award. The United States and India enjoy a strong economic relationship, both in terms of trade and investment. With India’s strong expected growth over the next few years, this relationship will grow multifold and will be helped by the excellent work by the U.S.-India Business Council,” said Godrej on receiving the award.

“It is our pleasure honoring these two industry leaders that have made tremendous strides in their businesses. They are indicative of the power of private enterprise in building strong ties between India and the U.S. As both governments prioritize their domestic and foreign trade policies, we encourage fostering environments that grow businesses and advance economic opportunity in both India and the United States. We also congratulate President Trump and Prime Minister Modi on having completed a successful first round of talks and look forward to future engagements,” stated USIBC President Mukesh Aghi.

“The U.S.-India relationship is a powerful bond that has produced enormous value and advancements for both countries and the world over – from technology and industry to culture and education. By promoting and stimulating closer collaboration, particularly through the increased flow of trade, knowledge and diplomatic relations, we stand to create enormous value for companies, communities and individuals of both nations. The endeavors led in partnership by Prime Minister Modi, influential organizations like the USIBC and U.S. industry are critical to this endeavor. As a proud member supporting the efforts of the USIBC, we applaud all those who have stepped up to drive changes that will realize the full potential of this relationship,” Dinesh Paliwal, president and CEO of Harman International, said.

“India-U.S. trade relations have the opportunity like never before of growing exponentially under Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and President Trump’s ‘America First’ visions; the synergy between the two must be explored and exploited towards mutual benefit. SpiceJet is pleased to have announced an order of 205 Boeing 737 Max aircraft worth $22 billion, creating or sustaining 132,000 jobs in the U.S. An additional order of 20 airplanes was announced June 19, further adding 13,000 jobs in the U.S. There is now an opportunity for technologically advanced American companies to ‘Make in India’, including the likes of Boeing, to build commercial airplane parts in India. Please come and leverage the advantages of not only the fastest growing economy in the world but also the fastest growing aviation market in the world,” said Ajay Singh, CEO, SpiceJet.

The summit featured a dialogue on “Achieving Common Goals: Prosperity & Jobs for All” moderated by Politico Editor P. J. Joshi and featured global CEOs Andrew Liveris, Adi Godrej, and Ajay Singh. The discussion highlighted major occurrences in the global economy that could influence the future of the workforce and employment, challenges that businesses face in the current environment, as well as the importance of U.S.-India partnership for the global economic order.

The Summit also held a panel discussion on the U.S.-India defense and strategic partnership, with Congressman George Holding, Co-Chair, U.S.-India House Caucus and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Co-Chair, U.S.-India House Caucus. Moderated by USIBC Board Member and Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin International John Rood, the panelists discussed the growing opportunities for both nations in building a dynamic strategic partnership.

USIBC also presented its inaugural “Artistic Achievement Award” to Yashwant Shirwadkar, a visionary and master in impressionistic landscape painting inspired by scenic cities in India.

Attending companies included leaders from MasterCard, Bank of America, Boeing, Amazon, General Atomics, Transunion, American Tower, Prudential Financial, KPMG, Caterpillar, Amway, and Spice Jet, among others.

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Mumbai to host India’s biggest apparel trade expo in July

Jun 27, 2017 0

Mumbai– With the participation of around 1,000 brands, Mumbai is set to host the largest apparel trade show in India, the 65th National Garment Fair, from July 10 to 12, an official said here on Tuesday.

Organised by Bhumiworld Industrial Park, a fast-developing industrial hub in Thane, the fair is likely to be inaugurated by Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) President Rahul Mehta told the media here.

The fair will be organised at the NSE Grounds, Goregaon, and will be spread over an area of six lakh square feet. It will have 881 stalls exhibiting 1,005 brands by 822 exhibitors. Comprising men’s, women’s, kids’ and other garments, it will be the largest fair till date, said Mehta.

Smriti Irani replaced by Prakash Javadekar in the Human Resource Development Ministry

The fair have three main networking sessions involving agents and distributors, high street retailers, and national chain stores and e-commerce companies.

About the current garments market scenario, Mehta said it was “disturbed” due to demonetisation and the upcoming Goods and Servicee Tax regime and the turmoil is likely to continue for two-three months till Diwali.

However, coupled with a good monsoon forecast and the GST stabilising by Diwali, the industry prospects would improve, he said.

On the global front, India failed to fulfill its export targets for 2016-2017 due to global recession and heavy competition from China, Bangladesh and Vietnam, though there has been a growth in exports to around 13 per cent in dollar terms since the past few months, Mehta said.

Welcoming the GST as a beneficial reform in the long run, Mehta said certain provisions like job working in garmenting, which will attract 18 per cent GST, will initially deal a major blow to smaller manufacturers.

Later this month, the CMAI will participate in the Centre’s three-day Textiles India 2017 expo, starting June 30 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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