Air India lifts ban on Shiv Sena MP

Apr 6, 2017 0

New Delhi–Air India on Friday lifted its ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, whose flight bookings had been cancelled repeatedly after he assaulted an officer of the national carrier last month.

Official sources told IANS that the ban was lifted after the Civil Aviation Ministry wrote to the airline, a day after Gaikwad expressed “regrets” over the March 23 incident.

The sources said the Ministry took the decision after the MP assured that such incidents won’t be repeated.

Gaikwad on Thursday apologised in the Lok Sabha for the assault on an airline staffer but defended himself, an ugly situation arose as two Union Ministers got involved in heated exchanges and almost came to blows.

Gaikwad’s party colleagues in the Lok Sabha demanded lifting of the flying ban against him and the party threatened to boycott an April 10 National Democratic Alliance meeting in case the matter was not sorted out at the earliest.

Unhappy with the government response, Union Minister Anant Geete, of the Shiv Sena, questioned how an attempt to murder charge could be slapped against Gaikwad.

Ravindra Gaikwad

Geete and Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju almost came to blows as the latter maintained that flight safety was paramount. Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Textiles Minister Smriti Irani intervened to save the situation.

As Shiv Sena MPs surrounded Raju, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs S.S. Ahluwalia rushed to his support.

Raju and Geete were subsequently taken to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s chamber where, sources said, the Speaker discussed the issue with them.

Gaikwad, who is facing ban from various airlines from flying after he assaulted an Air India official with his footwear on March 23 after his Pune-Delhi flight landed at the Delhi airport, also wrote a letter to Raju on Thursday requesting the flying ban on him be lifted.

But the national passenger carrier did not remove the ban but sources in the Civil Aviation Ministry said that they are looking into the matter after Gaikwad’s assurance that such incident will not be repeated.

An Air India official told IANS that the airline has beefed up security to protect its employees at Mumbai and Pune following an alleged threat by Shiv Sena to disrupt the company’s operations if the ban is not revoked.

Gaikwad raised the issue of flying ban on him during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha and demanded it be lifted.

He said he apologises for his behaviour in Parliament but will not do so to the 60-year-old flight official.

Giving his version of the incident, Gaikwad said he was made to travel in economy class despite having a business class ticket. After the Pune-Delhi flight landed, he said, he asked for the complaints register.

“After 45 minutes, an officer came. I talked to him calmly, but he asked: Who are you? I asked him: Who are you? He said he is the ‘father of Air India’. When I said I am a politician, one of them said: ‘But you are not Narendra Modi. Are you?,” said the MP, alleging that the airline staff held him by the collar after which he pushed him.

“I am staring at a ban across all airlines,” Gaikwad said and claimed that the charges against him were “unfounded” and should be taken back.

“If the dignity of Parliament has been hurt, I apologise to Parliament, but not to the officer,” he said.

Gaikwad was backed by Geete, the Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises.

Raju, however, said safety was paramount in a flight.

“There is a process of law and it will take its own course. When I made submission to the house (earlier), I said it is not an MP, but a passenger. I have nothing to add here.

“If you want to defuse the situation you can; if you want to aggravate the situation, you can. In machines where people fly, safety is important and safety will not be compromised,” he said.

Shiv Sena members protested, after which Speaker Mahajan adjourned the house till 12.45 p.m.

The house was adjourned twice thereafter for 15 minutes each.

Rajnath Singh then promised an amicable solution. “We have reached a conclusion. The Civil Aviation Minister will talk to stakeholders and find out an amicable solution.”

Later, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told reporters there is a conspiracy behind the flying ban and the party will expose it at an appropriate time.

“If separatists, rapists and terrorists are allowed to travel on flights, then why not an MP,” he wondered.

Raut said the government had assured of an amicable solution at the earliest.

He said if flying ban on Gaikwad is not lifted, the party will boycott the meeting of National Democratic Alliance meeting on April 10.

Meanwhile, the airlines unions supported the company and its Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani.

Union representing employees of all airlines and airport operators – the Federation of All India Aviation (FAIA) also said that it will not allow any disruption in Air India’s operations at Mumbai and Pune. (IANS)

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Panasonic eyes Rs 1,200 crore in revenue from India in 2018

Apr 6, 2017 0

By Anuj Sharma

New Delhi– As Japan giant Panasonic turns 100 next year, the company aims for Rs 1,200 crore ($185 million) in revenue from India, with a renewed focus on connected devices and moving from a product-based approach to a solution-based approach, a top executive from Panasonic India has said.

Panasonic India currently contributes two per cent to the parent company’s global revenues, and it aims to make it five per cent in the next three years.

“This year will witness a fundamental shift in the way we conduct our business. We expect to wrap up this year somewhere with Rs 1,000 crore and next year, we are looking at Rs 1,200 crore in revenue from India,” Manish Sharma, President and CEO of Panasonic India and South Asia, and Vice President, Appliances Company, Panasonic Corporation, told IANS in a recent chat.

Manish Sharma, President and CEO Panasonic India and South Asia and Vice President, Appliances Company, Panasonic Corporation

Connected solutions that help make a meaningful difference to consumers’ lives will decide how the future is going to be.

The company has launched several solutions ranging from city surveillance, Toughpads, display panels and high-definition video conferencing in the recent past.

“We are now finding our own space in this era of digital convergence which is happening and feel that we are ready to provide such solutions as hardware — connected devices are our strength,” Sharma added.

According to industry analysts, there are nearly 23 billion connected devices and the number is expected to double to over 50 billion by 2020. By June 2017, some 510 smart city projects with a total investment of Rs 20,669 crore are expected to take off.

To be part of the bandwagon, Panasonic is working on two-pronged approach: building some of the digital capabilities in house and with companies as application partners.

Aiming to give users a connected experience, Panasonic India last month launched two new smartphones that are equipped with “Arbo” — an indigenously developed artificial intelligence (AI)-based virtual assistant.

“AI has been dubbed as the technology which in the future will shape the product interface and the way we interact with our smartphones; with this pilot advancement we hope to not only enhance our market share but also further strengthen our position within the industry,” Sharma told IANS.

Another successful product for the Indian market is Panasonic Toughpad — a series of rugged tablet computers certified to meet the IP65 and MIL-STD-810G specifications for drops (up to four feet), shock, vibration, altitude, humidity, extreme temperatures and are used in fields like construction, defence, public safety, emergency services, government, healthcare and law enforcement, etc.

The company recently supplied 3,500 Toughpads to the Uttar Pradesh police. The devices are installed in survellience vehicles to keep the security personnel updated and connected with the control room.

While the company’s connected solutions’ division is set to grow 20 per cent over last year, growth in the consumer division would be nearly 22 per cent this year, Sharma noted. (IANS)

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Infosys Board has let down founders: Ex-Director Balakrishnan

Apr 5, 2017 0

By Fakir Balaji

Bengaluru– Global software major Infosys’ Board is under fire again, this time from its former Board Member V. Balakrishnan for letting down its founders by giving a whopping wage hike to Chief Operating Officer U.B. Pravin Rao.

“The present Infosys’ Board has let down its founders and lost credibility to continue. Its members should be replaced with new people,” Balakrishnan told IANS on Wednesday, two days after the company justified giving Rao a 70 per cent wage hike even after Co-Founder N.R. Narayana Murthy opposed it in private.

Backing Murthy for raising the red flag at a time when the Indian IT industry was facing lot of pressure due to global headwinds, he said the present Board had lost moral courage by favouring executives and ignoring employees.

V. Balakrishnan

“What moral courage the Board will have to face the employees after denying them similar favour. You can’t justify a 70 per cent wage hike for a senior executive when salaries of middle and senior level techies were muted,” contended Balakrishnan.

Defending Murthy for sharing his concerns with the media on Sunday over the wage hike to Rao when entry-level and junior employees were not given wage increase over the last two-three years, Balakrishnan said the Chief Founder was forced to go public after the Board ignored his advice and feelers privately.

“What could Murthy do when the Board for the second time had not considered his opinion, which is valid, as evident from the points he raised in the e-mail to the media on April 2? I think it was his last option, having exhausted all avenues to convince the Board of his concerns and values,” he said.

Murthy, who founded Infosys with six other co-founders 35 years ago, raised lapses by the Board in corporate governance in February, which blew into an all-out war between the promoters and the Board headed by Executive Chairman R. Seshasayee and CEO Vishal Sikka.

Noting that there was a disconnect between the Board and its founders who toiled to build the company from scratch, the former Director said when the industry was going through pain, it was immoral to pass it on to the employees than taking and enduring it.

“The Board should have deferred the decision and waited for the industry to turn around. There is a disconnect between the Board and its past, as none of its members carries the cultural legacy of the company and has no sense of history,” lamented Balakrishnan.

Recalling the saying “practice before you preach”, he said the leadership should take the pain and set an example.

“In this respect, Murthy raised a valid point because at the end of the day, it is the Board which should take the moral responsibility and face the pain than passing it to others down the line,” he reiterated.

On the company’s defence that 67 per cent of the shareholders had approved the wage hike proposal in a postal ballot, Balakrishnan said since one-third of shareholders had opposed it (proposal), the Board should have been sensitive to the latter’s decision instead of going ahead with the majority.

“It is the for the first time the company’s history that a Board proposal was voted against by a section of the investors in contrast to the unanimous approval of its resolutions in the past either through postal ballot or show of hands,” he said.

Other Co-Founders, including Nandan Nilekani, S. Gopalakrishnan and S.D. Shibulal who steered the company as Chief Executives, however declined to join the issue in public though they had conveyed their views to the Board in private. (IANS)

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Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. Hires Ateesh Chanda to Serve as General Counsel

Apr 5, 2017 0

PROVIDENCE, RI–Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., one of the nation’s prominent minority- and woman-owned municipal and corporate finance firms, announced the hiring of Ateesh S. Chanda to serve as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. He will be based in the firm’s newly-established Rhode Island office.

Chanda, practiced law at the New York law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP for eight years, where he represented major financial institutions in complex regulatory matters and in litigation.

Ateesh S. Chanda

He has previously held positions in the office of U.S. Senator Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island and in the chambers of Hon. Bruce M. Selya at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.. Chanda has also worked at the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre in New Delhi, India, and at Human Rights Watch in New York. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations, with honors, from Brown University and his J.D. from Georgetown University.

“I am thrilled to have Ateesh come on board at this exciting time for the firm,” said Chairwoman and CEO Suzanne Shank. “As we come off a year of record transaction volume, we are fortunate to have as our new general counsel someone with the depth and breadth of experience in the financial and regulatory worlds that Ateesh brings.”

“I am excited to be joining a team of industry leaders who are laser-focused on their clients,” said Chanda. “It’s an incredible opportunity to get involved in work that is so important to municipal and state governments and the communities they serve.”

SCSCO has transacted more than $1.4 trillion of municipal bonds and $1.1 trillion of corporate bond and equity transactions since its founding in 1996. It earned the distinction in 2010 of becoming the first minority-owned firm to rank among the top 10 senior managers of municipal bonds, as ranked by Thomson Reuters. The firm has been ranked as the No. 1 minority- and woman-owned municipal finance firm for 18 consecutive years.

It has dual headquarters in New York and Oakland, CA, as well as 18 offices nationwide including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Antonio, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, DC.

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Changed H-1B visa norms don’t mean much for India: Nasscom

Apr 5, 2017 0

Bengaluru– The Indian IT industry body Nasscom on Tuesday said the clarifying guidance by the USCIS on eligibility for computer programmers under the H-1B visa norms will have little impact on its members, as the clarification has been the adjudicatory practice for years.

“The March 31 USCIS memorandum reinforces an existing practice by adjudicators and clarifies requirements for certain computer professionals,” said the National Association of Software Services and Companies (Nasscom) in a statement in Bengaluru.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) On March 31 issued a clarification that computer programmers, to be eligible under the H-1B visa norms, must prove that theirs is a specialty occupation. Merely obtaining a computer degree may not be enough.

Coming just ahead of start of the new season for H-1B visas for skilled workers, it was largely seen as the tightening of norms by the US authorities for hiring computer programmers, thus putting a squeeze on Indian IT companies.

US embassies the world over started accepting next year’s H-1B visa petitions from April 3. Indian techies have been the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visas — obtaining about 70 per cent of such visas — with companies posting thousands of employees to the US.

This visa allows work in the particular area for six years, extendable after that. It is also the route to a US permanent residency or a US Green Card.

Noting that several of its members have applied for visas for higher level professionals this year, the apex body said the evidence showed that the jobs were complex and required professional degrees.

“Our member companies provide skilled talent and solutions to US firms. The H-1B visa system exists specifically because of the persistent shortage of highly-skilled domestic IT talent in the US,” the statement pointed out.

Indian IT companies would continue to provide skilled talent and solutions to fill that gap and keep US firms competitive globally, it added.

In its policy memorandum, the USCIS mentioned: “Based on the current version of the Handbook, the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation.”

The memorandum said: “A petitioner may not rely solely on the Handbook to meet its burden when seeking to sponsor a beneficiary for a computer programmer position. Instead, a petitioner must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation…”

The US Congress has set a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per fiscal year. Additionally, 20,000 such visas are given to those with Master’s or higher degrees from the US.

At the same time, the immigration services have moved to detect H-1B visa frauds in the US by taking a “more targeted approach” on site visits across the country aimed at finding out if employers were evading their obligations to make a good faith effort to recruit US workers.

“Too many American workers, who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged,” says a press release issued by the USCIS on Monday, adding that “protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority of USCIS”.

The Immigration Services warned employers that they would not be allowed to “abuse the H-1B programme”, which it said affects US workers negatively, decreasing wages and job opportunities — a position that US President Donald Trump has often endorsed.

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YouTube bullish on Indian market: Top executive

Apr 5, 2017 0

New Delhi– India is a key market for YouTube and this is why the company has introduced several features to enhance the visual experience for the Indian users in the recent past, a top company executive has said.

YouTube on Wednesday released a beta version of the “YouTube Go” app in Google Play Store in India. The app, released after months of expanded testing and refinement, will be released in other emerging markets later.

According to Jay Akkad, Product Manager at YouTube, “one thing that we really wanted is to take the platform further to reach a wider set of audience — the audience which is coming online for the first time and who have lower speed data plans. To cater to them, we launched ‘YouTube Go’.”

Jay Akkad

“Since ‘Google for India’ event in September last year, we have been expanding the pool of users that have access to the app. It has been a good six-month journey where we learned a lot from the users and then worked on various aspects of the product,” Akkad told IANS.

“We will launch the app in one city first and after the feedback, we will work to launch it in more cities,” he added.

When asked about the response of Indians who have gone through the beta version of the product, Akkad said the response has been positive.

“We received the feedback regarding how we can make it more effective and engaging. We have received multiple feedbacks and have tried to include all that in the app,” Akkad noted.

YouTube has spent a huge amount of time at its India R&D centre for developing the app.

“We went to 15 different cities. In general, someone from our team was always in India talking to users and learning about what’s going on,” Akkad said, adding that the app has been conceptualised keeping in mind the four principles that the Indian audiences care about.

The app provides a fresh and relevant video recommendation tailored to one’s preferences. It is designed to be offline first and improve the experience of watching videos on a slower network.

The app gives users more control over data usage by providing choice and transparency into the amount of data spent on streaming or saving videos. It allows users to share videos quickly and easily with friends nearby.

“YouTube Go” home screen features trending and popular videos in an area so that a user can find and discover videos that his/her community cares about.

On “YouTube Go”, a user can see a preview of the video when he/she taps on a thumbnail, giving a better sense of what the video is about. A user can also choose to save a video for offline viewing later.

Johanna Wright, Vice President (Product Management) at YouTube, in September announced that “YouTube Go” has an easy user interface, works on low connectivity and cuts cost in data usage.

Akkad said that when it came to cut the cost, the developers focused on both the aspects — the use of data while watching a video and predictability of how much data is being used.

Based on browsing history, patterns and languages, the new app will also serve 10 new videos every week. (IANS)

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Modi made 56 foreign visits as PM, 4-times to US

Apr 5, 2017 0

New Delhi– Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made 56 foreign visits since assuming charge in May 2014, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

According to a list provided by Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, after first visiting Bhutan in June 2014, Modi visited the US four times, and Nepal, Japan, Russia, Afghanistan and China two times each.

In September 2014, he combined his bilateral visit to Washington with a visit to New York for the UN General Assembly session.

Narendra Modi

In September 2015, he visited New York for the UN General Assembly session during the course of which he again met then US President Barack Obama and then proceeded to San Jose, California, where he interacted with top Fortune 500 CEOs.

The Prime Minister made his third visit to the US in the spring of 2016 for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington during which he highlighted India’s role and commitment to the global partnership in nuclear security.

He again visited the US at the invitation of Obama in June 2016 during the course of which he addressed the US Congress.

Modi paid an official bilateral visit to Nepal in August 2014, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 17 years, and again visited the Himalayan nation in November 2014 to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit.

He visited Japan in the autumn of 2014 and then in November 2016, both times to attend the annual bilateral summit.

The Prime Minister visited Russia in July 2015 to attend the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in Ufa and then again in December 2015 to attend the annual bilateral summit.

He visited Afghanistan in December 2015 during which he jointly dedicated with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani the country’s new parliament building built with Indian aid, and again in June 2016 to jointly dedicate the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in Herat province.

He went to China on a bilateral visit in May 2015 and then again in September 2016 to attend the G20 Summit in Hangzhou.

In May 2015, he became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Mongolia marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Mongolia.

His visits to the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Seychelles in March 2015 and to the United Arab Emirates in August 2015 were the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 34 years.

Among other major nations, Modi made bilateral visits to Canada in April 2015 and to Britain in November 2015.

In November 2014, he visited Australia to attend the G20 Summit in Brisbane and then stayed back for a bilateral visit. (IANS)

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Intel bets on India to boost artificial intelligence usage

Apr 5, 2017 0

Bengaluru–Global chip maker Intel on Tuesday announced a string of initiatives to boost the usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in diverse sectors by collaborating with partners and customers across the country.

“Our developer education programme will educate 15,000 scientists, developers, analysts and engineers on AI technologies, including Deep Learning and Machine Learning in India,” said Intel South Asia Managing Director Praksh Mallya here.

AI is a software programme that makes computers and machines think intelligently and faster with more predictability than a human mind. AI is also the main workload in data centres which operate in line with the Moore’s Law of computing power doubling every year.

Praksh Mallya

By 2020, the industry expects more servers to process data analytics than other workloads and analytics predictors will be built into every application.

Intel powers 97 per cent of data centre servers running AI workloads and offers flexible performance-optimised portfolio of solutions.

Through 60 programmes in a year, the initiatives will empower the community with the know-how for AI adoption with ready-to-deploy platforms and tools for solution development.

“As India undergoes digital transformation, the data centre and the intelligence behind the data collected will enable the government and industry to make quick decisions based on algorithms,” said Mallya on the margins of Intel’s ‘AI Day 2017’.

The company’s Indian subsidiary is collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Wipro, Julia Computing and Calligo Technologies for using AI in the country.

“Our collaboration with the industry and the academia will help democratise AI, by reducing entry barriers for developers, data scientists and students,” noted Mallya.

The subsidiary is targeting the BFSI (Banks, Financial Services and Insurance), telecom, and e-commerce sectors, across High Performance Computing (HPC), big data and Internet of Things, which are complementary to AI,” added Mallya.

The onset of AI-based technology in India is evident in e-commerce and research, where entities using data analytics are looking to explore AI.

“Our research groups are working on implementation of evolutionary algorithms in parallel environments and using Intel platforms and software tools to deploy, parallelise and optimise systems,” said IIT-Patna Director Pushpak Bhattacharya.

With its unified approach, Intel leads the AI computing era through hardware and software designed for building AI applications across industries.

Intel’s collaboration with companies like Google and is acquisitions, including Saffron, Movidius, Nervana Systems and Mobileye, further its AI capabilities, giving it an edge at a time when embedded computer vision is becoming increasingly important the world over.

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Post-merger, State Bank of India opens with 500 million customers

Apr 3, 2017 0

Mumbai– After the merger of five associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, top public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) began operations on Monday with 500 million customers.

The associate banks which merged with the SBI are State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank Of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Travancore besides the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.

“The SBI opened as ‘one bank’ today and will continue to operate in the same manner as before post-merger. New products and services will come across more seamlessly,” SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told the media.

Bringing cheer to its old customers, SBI also cut the base rate by 15 basis points (bps) to 9.10 per cent with effect from April 1. Earlier, the base rate stood at 9.25 per cent.

The base rate will be effective for those who have raised loans prior to April 1, 2016.

Arundhati Bhattacharya

Meanwhile, the marginal cost-based lending rate (MCLR), applicable to those who have raised loans after March 31, 2016, remains unchanged. The one-year MCLR rate is at 8 per cent while the three-year rate stands at 8.15 per cent.

Bhattacharya said the combined entity will enhance productivity, increase operational efficiency, mitigate geographical risks, drive synergies across multiple dimensions and ensure higher levels of customer delight.

With the merger, SBI is now catapulted among the top ranking 50 banks in the world in terms of assets now worth Rs 37,00,000 crore.

It now has a deposit base of over Rs 26,00,000 crore and advances of around Rs 18,50,000 crore, 22,500 branches, including SBI’s 20,000 alone, and 58,000 ATMs. SBI also has 191 foreign offices in 36 countries.

The treasuries of the SBI and associates have also been integrated and have now started work as a single entity after the merger.

Now, the bank will undertake various audits before full data integration, which is likely to be completed by April 24 and lead to complete integration of its IT systems, Bhattacharya added.

She said the SBI had made an additional provision of Rs 8,600 crore towards non-performing assets of the associate banks where the cost of funds were higher than SBI.

She assured that no nasty surprises on NPAs were expected in the coming days.

Bhattacharya added that the shares swap of the associates had also been completed and these were listed on the exchanges.

Of the five associates, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Hyderabad were not listed entities.

The merger-related blackout of e-channels lasted only three hours and now a seamless integration of web-channels had been achieved, the bank said.

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Cash component reduced, higher stock incentives to Pravin Rao: Infosys

Apr 3, 2017 0

Bengaluru– A day after Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy termed the board-approved compensation hike for COO U.B. Pravin Rao as “not proper”, the IT major on Monday said it has “reduced the cash component” of his compensation and introduced “higher stock incentives”.

It said that it undertook a comprehensive survey of best practices and benchmarked senior management compensation with key Indian and global companies to attract and retain top quality talent.

“The compensation structure revised thereafter reduces the proportion of cash component in the total compensation and has introduced higher stock incentives (to be vested over a 4-year period); it was rolled out for the entire senior leadership including Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer,” Infosys said in statement on Monday.

N.R. Narayana Murthy

“The cash component of his compensation has decreased from Rs 5.2 crore (including annual cash bonus) to Rs 4.6 crore, a decrease of 10.6 percent. The performance-based component of the compensation (directly linked to company and individual performance) has been increased from 45 per cent to 63 per cent of total compensation.

According to the IT major, the net increase in Pravin Rao’s compensation for FY 18 (2017-18) will be 1.4 per cent, given the four years vesting period of stock. This could go up to 33.4 per cent in fourth year, assuming similar grants are made in subsequent years based on company and individual performance.

Referring to Rao’s compensation revision, CEO Vishal Sikka said that his commitment and contribution to the company has been immense, and his partnership over the past 3 years has been critical to the successes and growth of the company.

U.B. Pravin Rao

The revised compensation proposal was placed before the shareholders and the recommendations have been approved by 67 per cent of the company’s shareholders in a postal ballot, the results of which were disclosed to the stock exchanges on Saturday.

“… acknowledges the sentiments of shareholders who have not voted in favour of the resolution, and has also taken careful note of the statements expressed by the company’s promoters,” the company added.

Murthy, in an email on Sunday, said giving nearly 60 per cent to 70 per cent increase in compensation for a top level person (even including performance-based variable pay) when the compensation for most of the employees in the company was increased by just 6-8 per cent was “in my opinion, not proper”.

“This is grossly unfair to the majority of the Infosys employees including project managers, delivery managers, analysts, programmers, sales people in the field, entry level engineers, clerks and office boys who are toiling hard to make the company better. The impact of such a decision will likely erode the trust and faith of the employees in the management and the board,” he had said. (IANS)

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