Banks profits down due to provisioning for bad loans: Jaitley

Sep 16, 2016 0

New Delhi–Indian state-run banks have collectively made an operating profit of nearly Rs 35,000 crore this fiscal, but the massive provisioning for bad debts has pared their net profit down to Rs 222 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

“PSBs (public sector banks) have collectively made an operating profit of Rs 34,967 crore this year, but after allowing for the provisioning for bad loans, among others, net operating profit works out to Rs 222 crore,” Jaitley told reporters following a performance review meeting here with heads of state-run banks and financial institutions.

Jaitley-USMany state-run banks had reported huge losses for the first quarter ended June 30, owing to a sharp rise in provisioning for NPAs (Non Performing Assets) on account of an asset quality review ordered by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

In this connection, Jaitley pointed to the steel and infrastructure as the main sectors that provoked the asset quality review.

“The major contributors to the banks’ situation have been the steel and the infrastructure sectors,” the minister said.

“However, with the imposition of the MIP (minimum import price – to check cheap imports) the big steel companies’ balance sheets have started turning,” he added.

Noting that many of these long-troubled companies, have started paying the interest on their borrowings, Jaitley said: “Till the interest dues are paid, the asset (loan) is considered non-performing and deemed as such in the bank books.”

Jaitley held a quarterly performance review meeting with the Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors of PSBs and financial institutions here.

“The Finance Minister will review the progress of credit and growth and asset quality especially with regard to priority sectors lending including credit flow to agriculture, insurance sector, micro and small enterprises (MSE), minorities, SC and ST, education and housing loan among others,” a ministry statement said on Thursday.

“The issues relating to financial inclusion and literacy as well as non performing assets, or banks’ bad loans, are also likely to be discussed at the meeting,” it added.

The government last month announced infusion of Rs 22,915 crore capital for 13 PSBs, as part of the first tranche of capital infusion for the current fiscal.

Noting that the highway sector had picked up, while recent measures announced for the construction sector will add liquidity to these stressed accounts, Jaitley said.

Late last month, the government approved new norms for the construction sector to ensure quicker resolution of disputes, kick-start stalled projects and make access to financing easier.

Among the measures approved are release of 75 per cent of money earmarked for infrastructure companies towards completion of existing projects and coverage of disputes between companies and civic bodies under a new arbitration law. The 75 per cent of the arbitral award amount owed by government agencies will be deposited into an escrow account, which can be used to repay bank loans or to meet commitments in ongoing projects.

“The broad picture is that PSBs still face the challenge of high NPAs. Detailed discussions have taken place in this regard, while the new RBI norms and changes in legislation like the new Bankruptcy Code and the DRT (Debt Recovery Tribunal) law have helped to empower the banks,” Jaitley said.

He described the NPAs situation as being “not static or permanent”.

“There has been a lot of provisioning on account of NPAs. With an uptick in the sectors a large part of these would become de-provisioned and the accounts themselves would get upgraded,” he added.

The minister also said the Department of Financial Services and the RBI would prepare a policy on how to deal with those companies which have got a lot of stressed assets in the real estate sector.

The review meeting would be continuing for the rest of the day, Jaitley said.

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Here is how liberalization in India changed lives, lifestyles

Sep 15, 2016 0

By Vishal Gulati

Chandigarh–Author-journalist Ashwini Bhatnagar’s fourth book — and first work of fiction — is bang on time in terms of topicality.

This is the 25th year of India’s tryst with globalisation and as the media and experts discuss its economic fallout and the emergence of India on the world stage, Bhatnagar gives us the human take on it — the shaping of the 1990s generation that was then hailed as Gen Next.

“The High Bouncing Lover” (Ocean Books/ Rs 300/pp 201) is a page-turner and is also deeply reflective of how liberalisation changed lives, lifestyles, thought patterns and attitudes.

the-high-bouncing-loverIt traces the passage of individuals and families from near poverty to affluence and from timidity to courage — the hallmark which defined the upwardly mobile 1990s generation.

“The book is about transition,” Bhatnagar told IANS. “Transition from scarcity to affluence, from one lifestyle to another, transition in mindsets and relationships — from familiar bonds to alienation, from despair to hope and despair again, and exploration of love. It explores the nuances amongst dramatic situations and reveals the drama in what is unsaid, unexpressed.”

“This may sound very complex,” he added for good measure, yet “it’s really a simple narration of how we adopt, adapt and abandon as we slip into one life situation after another”.

Bhatnagar says the 1990s were marked by a “series of exhilarating dares” by young people who came out of “pre-fabricated” lives of the preceding decades and created companies and careers which took India to the global centre-stage.

ashwini-bhatnagar“As a journalist in the 1990s,” he said, “I came across scores of young people who transited from near poverty to magnificent affluence. I heard their stories and decided to tell them because they represent such an important part of our contemporary history — our present-day society.”

The central character of the novel, Dina Nath alias Danny, represents the aspirational side of the 1990s generation — people who believed in their merit and could brand themselves again and again to capitalise on market needs.

“They were the real heroes who created the economic and social environment as we know it now and which we take for granted,” Bhatnagar said.

Before the 1990s, India was “dull, drab and dreary; unexciting, and then the skies opened up. Suddenly, another life sprang up. Ability, agility and aspiration began to thrive. The transition started to happen”.

“The 1990s were so exciting. You could really go anywhere in life if you put your mind to it,” the author said.

In fact, the 1990s define the “let’s-move-on” moment of our history, not only in terms of an economic shift but also as a tectonic shift in social mobility and relationships — “the quick unpacking and packing of emotions and needs” became a lifestyle.

“The High Bouncing Lover” is not a corporate story. It doesn’t focus on corporatisation but on its impact. It’s a human story, a social story,” he said, adding: “It’s also an interesting love story.”

“It is a tragic love story too, if you go by the traditional meaning of a love story. But in the 1990s, love itself was in transit. It was transiting from the heavily emotional to the pragmatic. The feeling of loss stayed but one had to move on, address other competitive aspirations as well. Love was just one part of life, not the whole life,” he explained.

“The top priority then was wholesomeness of life — to escape from the drabness of Indian-ness pre-1990 by travelling light for quick flight. It created its own conflict but also the means to manage it.”

The novel, say critics, works through its characters. Each one is a distinctive slice from the lives of the 1990s generation — meritorious, empowered, seemingly whimsical but intensely pragmatic. They were, in fact, the people who created a brave new world in which the new millennium generation thrives today.

Bhatnagar’s three earlier books wre “Shadow’s Word”, “Magic of the Fanciful: Essay from Journalism” and “Doosri Azadi”.

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Two India-born MIT scientists win prestigious US awards, including $500,000

Sep 14, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA– Two Indo-American scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been conferred with prestigious awards for their path-breaking inventions.

Nasik-born Ramesh Raskar, an imaging scientist and inventor at MIT, has been awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize 2016, it was announced at Cambridge, in Massachusetts, on Tuesday.

Ramesh Raskar

Ramesh Raskar

Dinesh Bharadia, researcher at MIT, won the Paul Baran Young Scholar Award of the US-based Marconi Society.

Raskar, 46, is the co-inventor of radical imaging solutions including femto-photography — an ultra-fast imaging system that can see around corners — low-cost eye-care solutions for the developing world, and a camera that allows users to read pages of a book without opening the cover.

“We are thrilled to honour Ramesh Raskar, whose breakthrough research is impacting how we see the world,” said Dorothy Lemelson, chair of the Lemelson Foundation, in a statement.

The technology, currently in development for commercialisation, uses ultrafast imaging to capture light at 1 trillion frames per second, allowing the camera to create slow motion videos of light in motion.

“Ramesh’s femto-photography work not only has the potential to transform industries ranging from internal medicine to transportation safety, it is also helping to inspire a new generation of inventors to tackle the biggest problems of our time,” Lemelson added.

“Everyone has the power to solve problems and through peer-to-peer co-invention and purposeful collaboration, we can solve problems that will impact billions of lives,” observed Raskar, who is also Associate Professor at MIT.

Dinesh Bharadia

Dinesh Bharadia

He plans to use a portion of the Lemelson-MIT Prize money to launch a new effort using peer-to-peer invention platforms that offer new approaches for helping young people in multiple countries to co-invent in a collaborative way, the statement read.

A doctorate from Stanford University in April 2015 and a graduate in electrical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, Bharadia, 28, who hails from Ichalkarnji in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district, has been awarded for his contribution to radio waves.

“Bharadia has been chosen for the 2016 Paul Baran Young Scholar Award for his contribution to send and receive radio (wireless) signals, including mobile telephony and data on the same channel (wave),” the Marconi Society said in a statement.

“Bharadia’s research disproved a long-held assumption that it is not possible for a radio to receive and transmit on the same frequency band because of the resulting interference,” the statement said.

The Marconi young scholar award includes $4,000 (Rs. 2,67,870) prize and expenses to attend its annual awards event.

He will receive the award at a ceremony in Mountain View, California, on November 2.

Bharadia’s technology can be used in India to build relays which can listen to signals from a cellular tower, transmit them instantly and extend the range across the country.

It also has the potential for multiple applications such as building novel wireless imaging that can enable driverless cars ride in severe weather conditions and help blind people to navigate indoors.

According to his Stanford PhD guide Sachin Katti, Bharadia’s work enables a host of new applications, from low-power Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity to motion tracking.

Explaining his work, Bharadia explained that when two persons are shouting at each other same time through telephony, neither can hear as they are using the same frequency.

“The noise in your ears (interference) from your shouting prevents you from hearing the other person. That’s why radios use two different frequencies to transmit and receive simultaneously,” he said.

The shouting analogy shows that the interference is stronger than the signal the radio is trying to receive and the resulting interference depends on the environment and its reflectors, changing in real-time as people move around.

“Bharadia has demonstrated that systems can overcome all such obstacles by inventing new formulas that could in real-time model the non-linear, time-varying self-interference cancellation circuits, said the statement.

Stanford University emeritus professor Arogyaswami Paulraj said Bharadia’s work in full duplex radio technology had helped advances in the domain by multiple research groups worldwide, including one group at IIT-Madras.

“Practical use of full duplex in mobile radios may not be far off,” Paulraj told IANS in an e-mail from California.

Co-incidentally, Paulraj was winner of the 2014 Marconi Prize in honour of his pioneering work in developing wireless technology to transmit and receive data at high speed. The 4G mobile phones used for voice, data and video and WiFi routers operate on Multiple-Input-Multiple Output (MIMO) technology pioneered by Paulraj.

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Pradhan holds auction road show in European oil capital Aberdeen

Sep 14, 2016 0

London–On the final day of his road shows abroad to attract foreign investors to exploit India’s small oil and gas fields, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday visited Scotland’s Aberdeen, considered the oil capital of Europe.

“Visiting Aberdeen, Scotland on shore of North Sea; it’s known as Houston of UK since it hosts oil industry, producing Brent oil in North Sea,” Pradhan tweeted.

Pradhan was accompanied by the Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse on his visit.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

“Met Mr Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Minister for Innovation & Energy;agreed to expand cooperation,esp in technology,” Pradhan said in a separate tweet.

“I’d like to take this opportunity of welcoming Minister Pradhan to Scotland and wish him a successful and fruitful visit,” the Scottish Minister said.

“Scotland is home to one of the most respected and experienced oil and gas sectors across the globe and recognised globally for its strengths in innovation, technology, skills and training. The current downturn is impacting on the sector but we are doing everything in our power to ensure it remains a key player in the long term,” Wheelhouse added.

On Wednesday, Pradhan also addressed an investors meeting on the upcoming auction of India’s 67 hydrocarbon discovered small fields (DSF)

“At Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen; RGU is hosting our meeting with investors for Discovered small field,” Pradhan said in another tweet.

“Addressed a gathering of investors & technology leaders in RGU; offered them prospects of investment in DSF bidding,” he said.

“Visited Drilling simulation centre in RGU; impressed to see such hi-tech facility in university used by global majors,” he added.

On Monday, Pradhan assured investors that the government will “proactively facilitate” their working in the Indian oil and gas sector.

He also inaugurated the physical data room here of the DSF Bid Round, and met British Energy Minister Greg Clark.

India’s Petroleum Ministry along with the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) has organised this series of interactive meet-cum-roadshows between September 9-14, earlier in Singapore and currently in Britain.

“During the meetings, Pradhan is expected to highlight the paradigm shift in the policy regime for the exploration and production sector in India and the improved investment environment for E&P (exploration and production) companies under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) which emphasises on improving the ease of doing business and operational autonomy to attract investment,” DGH had said in a statement.

Road shows were earlier held in July in the US and Canada, for the auction of India’s 67 hydrocarbon discovered small fields.

Bidding is open between July 15 and October 31.

The auction will be under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy approved in March, which is based on a revenue-sharing model as opposed to cost-and-output-based norms earlier.

Under the Discovered Small Field Policy, the government is offering for bids 67 discovered small fields in 46 contract areas spread over nine sedimentary basins on land and in shallow and deep water areas.

The offered fields hold 625 million barrels of oil and gas reserves.

Of the 46 small fields, 26 are on land, 18 offshore in shallow water and two in deep water.

While 28 discoveries are in Mumbai offshore, 14 others are in the east coast’s Krishna-Godavari basin.

Eventual operators will be issued a single licence for exploration of conventional and non-conventional hydrocarbons and will have the freedom to sell oil and gas at “arms length” market prices. There would be no cess on crude oil. (IANS)

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Mamata redeems promise, returns land to Singur farmers

Sep 14, 2016 0

Singur, West Bengal–Redeeming a pledge she made years back, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday returned 9,117 land records to farmers and compensated 800 peasants from whom land had been taken against their will for the Tata Motors’ Nano project.

Mamta Banerjee

Mamta Banerjee

Amid chants and songs eulogising the state and the chief minister, thousands watched as Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, personally handed out the documents to many of the farmers who responded with warm smiles and touched her feet in gratitude at the Singur Diwas venue here at Sanapara.

It was the same spot of the Durgapur Expressway where Banerjee had held a 16-day sit-in protest in 2008 demanding 400 acres out of the total 997.11 acres acquired for the project be returned to the “unwilling farmers”.

Lending a hand at the packed event were her party leaders including celebrities like actor Dev Chatterjee.

Intellectuals and activists including Narmada Bacho Andolan founder member Medha Patkar, who had supported Banerjee’s staunch stance on the issue right at the outset, were also present.

A replica of an agricultural field installed at the venue in Hooghly district struck a chord with the peasants who erupted in joy and were overwhelmed with the celebrations which came two weeks after the Supreme Court struck down the land acquisition made by the erstwhile Left Front government and ordered the land be returned to the cultivators. (IANS)

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Four Indian-Americans and One Indian in the 35 Innovators Under 35 List of MIT Technology Review

Sep 14, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Four Indian-Americans are included in the MIT Technology Review’s prestigious 35 Innovators Under 35 list for the year 2016. They are: Dinesh Bharadia, Jagdish Chaturvedi , Maithilee Kunda and Sonia Vallabh. Samay Kohli of India and Bangladeshi-American Ehsan Hoque were also included in the list. (Photos, bios and description by MIT Technology review)

“The people in our 16th annual celebration of young innovators are disrupters and dreamers. They’re inquisitive and persistent, inspired and inspiring,” said MIT Tech Review. “No matter whether they’re pursuing medical breakthroughs, refashioning energy technologies, making computers more useful, or engineering cooler electronic devices—and regardless of whether they are heading startups, working in big companies, or doing research in academic labs—they all are poised to be leaders in their fields.”

The magazine said that these innovators are building the stuff of the future, from a smart sweatband to tomorrow’s memory technology.

Here are the brief bios of four Indian-Americans as published by MIT Technology Review:

Dinesh Bharadia, 28

Dinesh Bharadia

Dinesh Bharadia

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

A seemingly impossible radio design will double wireless data capabilities.

Dinesh Bharadia invented a telecommunications technology that everyone said would never work: he found a way to simultaneously transmit and receive data on the same frequency.

Because the signal from broadcasting a radio transmission can be 100 billion times louder than the receiving one, it was always assumed that outgoing signals would invariably drown out incoming ones. That’s why radios typically send and receive on different frequencies or rapidly alternate between transmitting and receiving. “Even textbooks kind of assumed it was impossible,” Bharadia says.

Bharadia developed hardware and software that selectively cancel the far louder outgoing transmission so that a radio can decipher the incoming message. The creation of the first full-duplex radio, which eventually could be incorporated into cell phones, should effectively double available wireless bandwidth by simply using it twice. That would be a godsend for telecom companies and consumers alike.

Samay Kohli, 30

Samay Kohli

Samay Kohli

GreyOrange

After greasing the wheels of India’s e-commerce boom, this executive eyes overseas expansion.

Homegrown e-commerce companies in India are slashing prices and delivery times as they battle to serve the country’s burgeoning middle class. Many of these companies are able to do it because of warehouse automation technologies developed by Samay Kohli and his team at the robotics firm GreyOrange.

Two of GreyOrange’s Butler robots, which are designed to be warehouse workhorses.

GreyOrange sells swarms of “Butler” robots, which store products and bring shelves to human workers, and “Sorters,” which automatically scan and sort packages of any size or shape. The company boasts 92 percent of India’s warehouse automation market, a sector that Kohli thinks “can become humongous.”

With offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, the company isn’t content serving India alone. It plans to expand into the Middle East and China this year, and within two years Kohli expects to be exporting warehouse robots to Europe. He hopes to get a first-mover advantage over other robotics startups chasing the same opportunity—one that became even larger after Amazon bought the warehouse automation company Kiva Systems in 2012 and brought its technology in house rather than selling it to Amazon’s e-commerce rivals.

Kohli and his cofounder Akash Gupta launched the company in 2011, after developing, while in college, what they believe to be India’s first humanoid robot. Seeing China’s e-commerce boom, they spotted “an industry ripe for disruption,” says Kohli.

Maithilee Kunda, 32

Maithilee Kunda

Maithilee Kunda

Vanderbilt University

People on the autism spectrum are inspiring her novel approach to creating artificial intelligence.

“My research began in graduate school when I was working on artificial-intelligence systems and read Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science who talks about how her autism gives her this unique visual way of thinking compared to most people.

“I thought: That’s interesting. Most AI systems are not ‘visual thinkers’ like her. Most AI systems use variables, numbers, lists, and so on, and they reason using mathematical and logical operations. These systems are ‘verbal thinkers.’ What if you had an AI system that used data made up entirely of images and reasoned only using visual operations, like rotating images around or combining images together? If Temple Grandin can do amazing things because of her visual thinking abilities, it seemed to me that the same should be true of AI systems.

“I’ve been taking what we learn from people on the autism spectrum who have interesting visual abilities and building that into AI systems. It’s early, but I expect that they ultimately will be very valuable. If we want to help students learn to solve difficult problems, then we ought to have several AI tutors that can show students different ways of solving the same problem. If we want to help doctors find patterns of disease outbreaks, then we ought to have multiple AI analysts that can sift through the data using different styles of pattern finding.”

Jagdish Chaturvedi, 32

Jagdish Chaturvedi

Jagdish Chaturvedi

InnAccel

This doctor can laugh about the complex path he took to becoming an innovator.

“I invented a low-cost ear, nose, and throat—ENT—imaging device. So I call myself the first ENTrepreneur! Sorry—cheesy joke; I’m also an amateur standup comedian. I love performing. It’s how I de-stress. But I also find comedy helps sharpen my observational skills.

“Those skills helped me invent Entraview, which has helped 200,000 patients. As a trainee doctor I saw many farmers with advanced throat cancer. I discovered that expensive imaging systems were only available in major cities, so rural doctors relied on outdated mirrors and headlamps. I asked my boss why no one had tried attaching endoscopes to small off-the-shelf cameras. He said, ‘Why don’t you?’

“Entraview was a big learning curve for me. I worked with a design firm but got too involved trying to create a one-size-fits-all device. I’d nearly exhausted my funds when my boss said, ‘Go learn the right way to do this.’

“The Stanford-India Biodesign program teaches Indian doctors and engineers how to invent. Their process showed me where I’d gone wrong and gave me the connections to arrange a pitch with Medtronic. We simplified and focused on ears. Not the original goal, but the path of least resistance to market, and now the platform can evolve.

“I’ve since contributed to 18 medical-device inventions, and I’m now clinical lead at a med-tech incubator, InnAccel, where I help multiple startups while still practicing medicine, to keep me grounded with clinical needs.

“India imports 75 percent of its medical tech. We have great inventors, but most make the same mistakes because they don’t get the innovation process. The first step is finding the right team.”

Sonia Vallabh, 32

Sonia Vallabh

Sonia Vallabh

Broad Institute

A devastating personal diagnosis led her to become a scientist on the trail of a cure.

Five years ago, Sonia Vallabh graduated from Harvard Law School and went to work at a small consulting company. But a stunning medical diagnosis made her change course completely: she learned she has a genetic mutation that causes a deadly brain disease. Today she and her husband work in a lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and have published research showing a possible pathway to a treatment. As she told the tale at an event on precision medicine with President Obama in February:

“At the heart of my story is a single typo in my genome.

“We all carry around thousands of typos in our DNA, most of which don’t matter much to our health—but my typo is an unusually clear-cut case. It’s a single change in a particular gene that causes fatal genetic prion disease, where patients can live 50 healthy years but then suddenly fall into deep dementia and die within a year. And there’s no treatment—at least, not yet.

“In 2010, I watched this disease unfold firsthand. I had just married my husband, Eric Minikel. My mom, healthy at 51, had single-handedly organized our beautiful wedding. Then, all of a sudden, we were watching her waste away before our eyes. We had no name for what we were seeing. It was only from her autopsy that we learned there was a 50 percent chance I’d inherited the genetic mutation that killed her.

“We decided right away I’d get tested. We wanted to know what we were up against. After months in agonizing limbo, a geneticist confirmed our greatest fear: The same change that was found in your mother was found in you.

“Knowing the hard truth has given us a head start against our formidable medical enemy.”

“Knowing the hard truth has given us a head start against our formidable medical enemy. We waged a campaign to educate ourselves—taking night classes, attending conferences, and eventually taking new jobs in research labs. We retrained as scientists by day and applied what we were learning to understanding my disease by night. Four years later, we’re devoting our lives to developing therapeutics for my disease.

“We know the road ahead is uncertain—no amount of hard work can guarantee there will be a treatment for me when I need one. We are going to do everything we can, hand in hand with creative allies from every sector, to build this bridge as we walk across it and develop a treatment that could save my life, and the lives of many others.”

Ehsan Hoque, 34

Ehsan Hoque

Ehsan Hoque

University of Rochester

If you want to be the life of the party, practice by talking to a machine first.

Can computers teach us to be our best selves? Ehsan Hoque, a researcher at the University of Rochester, believes so. He has created two computer systems that train people to excel in social settings.

One program has a virtual businesswoman that can recognize your expressions and statements so she can nod, smile, and prompt you with further questions as you chat with her. At the end of the conversation she’ll give you feedback about your interpersonal performance, including your body language, intonation, and eye contact.

Hoque also designed a pared-down mobile version, free for anyone with Internet access to use. There’s no animated character; instead, it records video and sends you a write-up about your social skills, noting the speed of your speech, the pitch and loudness of your voice, the intensity of your smiles, and whether you overused certain words.

All of Hoque’s research comes back to his brother, a teenager with Down syndrome. Hoque is his brother’s primary caretaker and has seen how difficult social interactions of any kind can be for him, especially in school. But Hoque hopes his tools will be useful to all kinds of people—individuals with Asperger’s, customer service representatives, nervous students with looming class presentations, or even just someone gearing up for a date or an interview.

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Reliance Capital to list home finance business

Sep 13, 2016 0

Mumbai– The board of Reliance Capital, part of the Anil Ambani-led group, on Tuesday approved a proposal to independently list its home finance business on the stock exchanges.

The independent listing of Reliance Home Finance is expected to unlock substantial value for existing shareholders of Reliance Capital, the company said in a statement.

Anmol A. Ambani, Director, Reliance Capital

Anmol A. Ambani, Director, Reliance Capital

“The listing of Reliance Home Finance will also lead to increased management focus and accelerated growth in the home finance business,” it added.

“To address the needs of this sector, Reliance Home Finance has charted an aggressive growth plan in this space, and aims to increase its book size to over Rs.50,000 crore in the next few years,” said Anmol A. Ambani, Director, Reliance Capital.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a goal of affordable housing for all by 2022. There is presently an estimated shortage of 100 million residential units in India,” he said.

“We expect the listing and allotment of shares in Reliance Home Finance, free of cost, to unlock significant value for our almost one million strong shareholder family.”

According to the proposal, 49 per cent stake in Reliance Home Finance will be allotted to all shareholders of Reliance Capital, in the ratio of one share free of cost in Reliance Home Finance for every one share held in Reliance Capital.

Reliance Capital will hold a 51 per cent stake in Reliance Home Finance, and the company will be adequately capitalised to grow the lending book to over Rs 20,000 crore in the next 18 months.

The proposal is subject to necessary shareholders’ and other approvals.

Reliance Home Finance, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Reliance Capital, provides a wide range of loan solutions in housing and related construction.

The company reported an annual asset base under management of Rs 8,259 crore ($1.2 billion) during the quarter ended June 30, 2016.

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India to lead world in key categories: US envoy

Sep 13, 2016 0

New Delhi– US Ambassador to India Richard R. Verma on Tuesday said that by 2030, India will lead the world in key categories, including by becoming the third largest economy.

“The great promise in our (India-US) partnership lies not only in our work together, but also in India’s rising influence and confidence on the global stage, which of course is generated from strength here at home,” Verma, who is of Indian origin, said while delivering the 17th Annual Justice Bodh Raj Sawhney Memorial Trust Oration at the National Law University here.

Richard Verma

Richard Verma

“By 2030 – less than 15 years from now – India will lead the world in key categories: it will be the most populous nation, with the largest middle class, the largest number of college graduates, the third largest economy, the most patent holders, and most mega-cities,” he said speaking on the theme of “Advancing our Shared Values”.

“You will lead the world in internet and smart phone users. Development and infrastructure growth will be phenomenal, just imagine how much will change given that two-thirds of the infrastructure and cities of modern India are yet to be built”.

Speaking on India-US ties, he said that the relationship has been “on a strong trajectory for the past decade, has made great strides in the past two years in particular”.

“Our two leaders, Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and (US) President (Barack) Obama have met eight times, including last week in China and then again in Laos,” he stated.

“We have well over 100 initiatives that were launched in three big bilateral summits and there are nearly 40 government-to-government working groups that meet regularly on everything from global health and defense to cyber security.”

Citing the reasons for the growth in ties between the two sides, one was the “certain chemistry between our two leaders, that’s for sure”.

“Second, so many people of goodwill have been working on this relationship for decades – and it’s their hard work that has begun to pay off,” the Ambassador said.

“And, third, our people-to-people ties have only grown stronger – there are now some three million Americans of Indian descent in the United States. They serve as a natural bridge for so much of what we do.”

Verma described the Indian Constitution as a document that is the foundation for the shared values between India and the US.

“The American and Indian Constitutions start with the same three words “we the people,” he said.

“We are governed by the rule of law, by the people and for the people. We have complex systems for checking and balancing government excess,” he said.

He said both countries hold free and fair elections, both have federal systems, with strong and diverse states, with shared power between the central and state governments, both have bicameral parliaments, and the exceptional militaries of both countries are overseen by civilians.

“We do not share these values with every other country. As we know, not all countries choose democracy, inclusiveness, equal rights or free elections,” the Ambassador said.

“Therefore, these are the roots of a special bond we share with India. The United States set out on this democratic path 240 years ago, while India shed its colonial rule some 70 years ago.”

He said that when Obama visited India in January of 2015 as the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations, the US and India made their views clear in a joint agreement reached on the Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific.

“It was not a long or complex document – it stands at just a bit more than a single page,” Verma said.

“But its brevity belies the historic nature of the enterprise on which the United States and India agreed to embark together.”

The Ambassador said that India’s rise not only presented opportunities for India, but can shape a brighter future for Asia and beyond.

“That is why the United States unabashedly supports India’s rise as a great power on the world stage,” he said.

“India’s reach and influence reaches well beyond the Indian Ocean and South Asia.” (IANS)

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Three Indian women ranked in 50 Most Powerful Women International List of Fortune Magazine

Sep 13, 2016 0
Arundhati Bhattacharya-SBI

Arundhati Bhattacharya

New York–State Bank of India’s chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI Bank’s chief Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma ranked in the top twenty of the ’50 Most Powerful Women International’ list released by Fortune.

The list, which considered women based outside the US, placed Bhatacharya at the second spot while Kochhar was ranked at fifth. Sharma was on 19th position.

Eurozone’s largest bank by market value, Banco Santander’s Group Executive Chairman Ana Botin topped the list.

Elaborating the profile of SBI chief, Fortune said: “Bhattacharya’s profile has risen during her three-year tenure atop India’s largest bank, a 210-year-old institution.”

The SBI Chairperson, who was speculated to succeed Raghuram Rajan, as governor of the Reserve Bank of India, orchestrated SBI’s merger with six other groups. Once the merger completes, the bank will become one of largest lenders in Asia.

Chanda Kochhar

Chanda Kochhar

“She has continued her high-profile battle with the bank’s bad loans, while courting overseas partners invest in the stressed assets,” Fortune said.

Beside, ICICI Bank’s Managing Director and CEO Kochhar was acknowledged as a “visionary” even by rival bankers.

“After seven years at the helm of India’s largest private sector lender, with consolidated assets of $139 billion, Kochhar has overhauled the nation’s consumer retail business,” Fortune said while highlighting her effort to augment the bank’s performance.

Though bad loans eroded income growth this year, she has engaged turnaround experts to help ditch those distressed assets, it said.

Acknowledging Sharma’s contribution to the private lender, Fortune said:

Shikha Sharma

Shikha Sharma

“Sharma has grown Axis from an underrepresented bank to the nation’s fastest growing private sector lender, with revenue up 15 per cent to $7.9 billion in 2015 and nearly 3000 branches across 1,800 cities and towns.”

In May, Sharma issued a $500 million green bond at the London Stock Exchange – Asia’s first such certified bond in support of green energy and environmentally friendly projects. It was oversubscribed twice, it said.

Last week, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was ranked second and was the only woman of Indian-origin in Fortune’s list of the 50 most powerful women in the US.

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HP bullish on Digital India, eyes smaller towns for growth

Sep 13, 2016 0

By Nishant Arora

Boston–The laptop and printer major HP Inc is committed to the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative and is working closely with various state governments to empower the rural people in tier II and tier III cities where the future growth lies, top HP executives have said.

“Although HP already has a strong presence pan-India, it is now spreading into tier II, III and even IV cities to empower small and medium businesses (SMBs) and bring its low cost, disruptive technology right at their doorsteps,” Richard Bailey, President, Asia Pacific and Japan at HP Inc, told IANS in an interview.

Richard Bailey

Richard Bailey

“We are working very closely with the Narendra Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative and is in touch with state governments to realise the dream of connecting India with our low-cost, disruptive offerings,” Bailey added.

HP has acquired Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s printer business for $1.05 billion, besides launching 16 new A3 LaserJet and PageWide Platforms based on the powerful multi-function printing (MFPs) technology.

The acquisition positions HP to disrupt the $55 billion copier industry — a segment that has not been innovated in decades.

“We are currently working with our channel partners in India to understand the A3 market better,” Bailey said.

According to Gurpreet Brar, Director, Commercial Channel Sales, Printing and Personal Systems (HP India) with the GST coming soon, the consumption of information technology is going to grow exponentially and HP is ready the fill the gap.

“The time is really bullish. We are witnessing the growth across the country and are focused on top 30 states where retail is really going to expand,” Brar told IANS.

According to a latest report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), HP achieved 44.7 percent shipment share in Q1 2016 and remained as the market leader in India.

In the laser segment, HP continued to be the market leader with 57.7 percent market share, followed by Canon and Samsung at the second and third position, respectively.
The 16 new LaserJet and PageWide printers based on the MFP technology are set to change the printing landscape in the country.

“Some of the printers will be available in India in middle and towards the end of 2017. We are focused on the growing market in the country where we are already number one in the LaserJet printing space,” Bailey told IANS.

According to Brar, he is flooded with queries from his channel partners and customers alike.

“People are eagerly waiting for the disruptive A3 LaserJet and PageWide platforms to arrive in India. We are very bullish and looking for a major growth trajectory in days to come,” Brar told IANS.

Calling the new LaserJet and PageWide platforms a “real disruptive play”, Enrique Lores, President, Imaging & Printing, HP Inc, said that HP can now deliver the industry’s most advanced lineup of A3 MFP and A4 laser print solutions for the office.
“The complexity of traditional copiers makes repair and maintenance too inefficient for our partners and customers,” added Lores.

“By leveraging our superior printing technology, we can change the status quo with next generation A3 multi-function printers that improve the overall customer and partner experience. This is what we mean by reinventing printing,” Lores said. (IANS)

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