Business http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech.rss en Tue May 19 18:04:50 IST 2020 https://www.theweek.in/privacy-an-settlement.html gcmmf-which-markets-amul-products-registers-record-turnover <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/gcmmf-which-markets-amul-products-registers-record-turnover.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/2020/april/amul-butter-amul-shut.jpg" /> <p>Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), which markets the popular Amul brand of milk and dairy products, has registered a turnover of Rs 38,542 crore for the financial year 2019-20.</p> <p>According to an official spokesperson, the sales turnover of GCMMF is 17 per cent higher than the previous financial year. GCMMF aims to achieve a group business turnover of Rs 1 lakh crore and by 2024-25.</p> <p>Amul, which was ranked the 18th largest dairy organisation in the world in 2011, is now in the ninth position and has set the target of breaking into the top three bracket.</p> <p>Chairman of the GCMMF, Ramsinh Parmar, who presided over the 46th annual general meeting of GCMMF on Saturday, said the sales turnover had increased by almost five times from Rs 8,005 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 38,542 crore in 2019-20.</p> <p>He said the milk procurement had seen an increase of 138 per cent from 90.93 lakh litre per day in 2009-10 to 215.96 litre per day in 2019-20.</p> <p>He attributed the growth to high milk procurement price given to the farmers. In 2009, he said, the farmers were paid Rs 337 per kg fat whereas in 2019-20 they were paid Rs 765 per kg fat.</p> <p>The GCMMF chairman further said Amul converted global pandemic of COVID-19 into opportunity and procured additional 35 litres of milk per day.</p> <p>Vice chairman Jethabhai Bharwad pointed out that India now is self-sufficient in the dairy sector as our farmers produce enough milk to meet 100 per cent of the country’s demand for milk and dairy products.</p> <p>Dr. R.S. Sodhi, managing director, GCMMF, said the Rs 15,000 crore dairy infrastructure fund announced by the Centre will help the dairy industry to build around 4 to 5 crore litres of extra capacity.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/gcmmf-which-markets-amul-products-registers-record-turnover.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/gcmmf-which-markets-amul-products-registers-record-turnover.html Sat Jul 18 17:43:36 IST 2020 retail-segment-yet-to-come-out-of-lockdown-blues <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/retail-segment-yet-to-come-out-of-lockdown-blues.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/4/3/retail-shop-afp.jpg" /> <p>Despite more than 50 per cent retail stores across the country resuming operations, recovery has differed across various categories. Retail companies have focused on greater operational efficiency (cost structure optimisation) during the ongoing Unlock 2.0.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the extent to which this can be managed will need to be watched. As per a report by Anand Rathi Research for the fourth quarter (January-March), most of the retail companies had reported a steep 28 per cent decline in the innerwear category and a decline of 12.7 per cent in the branded apparel segment.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The mid-March shutdown had thrown up challenges to companies across the board. The report notes that companies are now focusing on reducing costs in rentals (through negotiations), capex, employee expenses (deferred payments, freeze on hiring, pay cuts), shutting stores and cutting overheads (marketing, conveyance, etc). On the other hand, working capital cycle stress, inventory pile-ups (no sales) and stretched receivables are squeezing working capital of retail companies.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“As the bulk of innerwear sales dropped towards the end of fourth quarter, revenues were more severely hit. Post reopening, demand for innerwear is expected to revive the fastest. Revenue of apparel companies declined 12.7 per cent, with a steeper fall in ethnic wear. While footwear declined 12 per cent, retail grew 9.8 per cent (DMart grew 23 per cent, while V-Mart slipped 3.4 per cent). Despite Covid-19&nbsp; triggered developments hampering some store openings toward the end-March, store additions were healthy. Managements have said that store openings will be on hold till the second half of FY21 or further clarity,” observed Vaishnavi Mandhaniya, Research Analyst at Anand Rathi.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Interestingly, in a recent webinar organised by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) focused on dine-out businesses in recent times, it was mentioned that the food industry was operational even during the world wars and had never faced such a shut down ever. It highlighted that the impact on businesses has been colossal. In the restaurant industry alone, 40 per cent businesses that shut in March might not ever open again.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, as India moves through Unlock 2.0, technology is what can help businesses not just recover from the impact, but also to grow. “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought enormous personal, economic and social damage to many and all. It has upended countless lives and has exasperated the many disruption efforts, laying bare the viability of many business models. Beyond that, it has provided a new set of acute shocks to seemingly sturdy businesses and principles that have guided our thinking as retailers for decades," remarked Kunal Mehta, GM – IT, Raymond Ltd.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was pointed out that restaurants or retail by nature is a social business, but ironically, the requirement of the new normal is social-distancing. Retail businesses need to learn to get the two together—getting people to go out and at the same time ensuring social-distancing norms are followed. It was observed that technology is going to play an important role in the entire process across all industries.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Research for customers had already moved online, but because of the sum of money involved in our category, most customers also wanted to do a physical verification of the products. And that’s why it has always been very important to be omni-channel and this will retain its importance for retail going forward,” said Ritesh Ghosal, CMO, Infiniti Retail Ltd- Croma—a TATA enterprise.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The webinar also highlighted that the restaurant industry is anticipated to be the first industry to bounce back and customers will want to see safety measures adopted, not just in front of the dining room but also in the kitchen. At the same time, barcodes and QR codes are going to lead the way forward for purchases in physical stores. Also, it was observed that going forward, the restaurants will scale down on the number of items on their menu. It was also pointed out that contactless dining is going to be the key going forward and paper menus will be replaced by digital and QR codes. Consumers will be able to order from their phones. The concept of drive-through will also gain momentum.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/retail-segment-yet-to-come-out-of-lockdown-blues.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/retail-segment-yet-to-come-out-of-lockdown-blues.html Sat Jul 18 16:59:46 IST 2020 govt-issues-notice-to-twitter-after-recent-hack <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/govt-issues-notice-to-twitter-after-recent-hack.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/2018/february/twitter-ceo-co-founder-jack-dorsey-pti.jpg" /> <p>India's cybersecurity nodal agency CERT-In has issued a notice to Twitter asking the micro-blogging platform for full details of the recent global hack targeting high-profile users, as it sought complete information on the number of Indian users affected as well as impact on data, a source said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The source privy to the development told PTI that CERT-In has also asked Twitter for information on the number of users from India who have visited the malicious tweets and links, and whether the affected users have been informed by the platform about unauthorised access to their Twitter accounts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The government has also demanded information of vulnerability exploited by attackers and modus operandi of the attack and sought details of remedial actions taken by Twitter to mitigate the impact of the hacking incident.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Twitter was not immediately available for comments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) swung into action after reports that hackers gained access to Twitter's systems to hack accounts of many global corporate leaders, politicians, celebrities and businesses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cyber attackers had hacked into the Twitter accounts of global high profile users - including former US President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden as well as many corporate leaders including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk - on Wednesday in a purported Bitcoin scam.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/govt-issues-notice-to-twitter-after-recent-hack.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/govt-issues-notice-to-twitter-after-recent-hack.html Sat Jul 18 16:02:19 IST 2020 2426-wilful-defaulters-owe-rs-147-lakh-crore-to-state-owned-banks-reveals-bank-union <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/2426-wilful-defaulters-owe-rs-147-lakh-crore-to-state-owned-banks-reveals-bank-union.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2018/5/13/gst-sec-money-afp.jpg" /> <p>As many as 2,426 wilful defaulters owed over Rs 1.47 lakh crore to 17 public sector banks, a leading bank labour union revealed on Saturday.</p> <p>Gitanjali Gems, promoted by Mehul Choksi, which owes Rs 4,644 crore to Punjab National Bank topped the list of wilful defaulters, according to the All India Bank Employees Association. Gili India and Nakshatra Brands, which were also a part of the Gitanjali Group, owed Rs 1,447 crore and Rs 1,109 crore each to the state-owned lender, the list showed.</p> <p>The data was based on a report by Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) as on September 30.</p> <p><a title="Bank is the culprit: Mehul Choksi in exclusive interview to THE WEEK" href="https://www.theweek.in/theweek/business/2019/03/29/bank-is-the-culprit-mehul-choksi-in-exclusive-interview-to-the-week.html">Choksi and nephew Nirav Modi were co-accused in the $2 billion scam</a> at PNB in 2018, which involved fraudulent issuance of letters of undertakings and letters of credit favouring the firms owned by the two, from one the lender’s branch in Mumbai.</p> <p>According to the Reserve Bank of India, a wilful default would be deemed to have occurred if a unit has defaulted in meeting its repayment obligations to the lender even when it has the capacity to honour the obligations or the unit has defaulted in meeting its payment obligations and diverted the funds for other purposes.</p> <p>The data shows that top 33 accounts (Rs 500 crore and above) had dues totaling Rs 32,737 crore. The major defaulters include Gitanjali Gems, ABG Shipyard, REI Agro, Ruchi Soya Industries, Gili India, Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery, Kudos Chemie, Nakshatra Brands and Coastal Projects among others.</p> <p>The most amount was owed to SBI; 685 wilful defaulter borrowers owed Rs 43,887 crore to the country’s largest lender, according to the data. It was followed by PNB, where 325 defaulters owed Rs 22,370 crore.</p> <p>Elsewhere, 355 wilful defaulter borrowers owed Rs 14,661 crore to Bank of Baroda and 184 wilful defaulters owed Rs 11,250 crore to the Bank of India.</p> <p>Bulging and alarmingly increasing bad loans by private companies is the only major problem faced by banks said AIBEA general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam. “If tough action is taken on them and money is recovered, our banks can play a bigger role in national development,” he said in a statement.</p> <p>Trinamool Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brian said the government was abetting “crony capitalism” at the cost of the poor. “Rs 1,47,350 crore looted from the common man. Enough to transfer lakhs of rupees to each jobless migrant worker,” he said in a tweet.</p> <p>The list of wilful defaulters was released by the AIBEA on the eve of the 51st anniversary of Bank Nationalisation that falls on July 19.</p> <p>In 1969, the then government led by Indira Gandhi had nationalised 14 private banks; another six were nationalised in 1980.</p> <p>In recent years, the Narendra Modi government has embarked on a <a title="Mega merger impact: How things stack up post consolidation of public sector banks" href="https://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/04/02/mega-merger-impact-how-things-stack-up-post-consolidation-of-public-sector-banks.html">move to merge several of the state-owned lenders</a>. Effective April 1, 2020, 10 PSU banks were amalgamated into four banks. Following the consolidation, there are only 12 banks now that are state-owned.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/2426-wilful-defaulters-owe-rs-147-lakh-crore-to-state-owned-banks-reveals-bank-union.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/2426-wilful-defaulters-owe-rs-147-lakh-crore-to-state-owned-banks-reveals-bank-union.html Sat Jul 18 21:17:30 IST 2020 with-release-of-e-commerce-guidelines-level-playing-field-for-e-shoppers <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/19/with-release-of-e-commerce-guidelines-level-playing-field-for-e-shoppers.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2018/2/24/online-shopping-rep-wiki.jpg" /> <p>Feeling short-changed by a host of e-commerce websites which are driving online sales, the consumers now have hope. The ministry of consumer affairs have drafted comprehensive guidelines to govern the consumer engagement of e-commerce companies, and any grievance can be taken to the consumer protection commissions.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under the new rules, every e-commerce entity will have to appoint a grievance redressal officer, and acknowledge all the grievances within 48 hours, and redress the complaints within one month. The entities will have to provide the location and contact details of even the sellers.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“No e-commerce entity shall impose cancellation charges on consumers cancelling after confirming purchase unless similar charges are also borne by the e-commerce entity if they cancel the purchase order unilaterally for any reason,” said the new rules released this week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The feature comes as a huge relief to the shoppers who sometimes have to face cancellation charges without an equal penalty for the seller.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As most of the e-commerce websites tend to revise prices of the commodities based on the demand, the new rules warn against manipulating the price of the goods or services offered on its platform “in such a manner as to gain unreasonable profit by imposing on consumers any unjustified price having regard to the prevailing market conditions...”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the new Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules, 2020, have been released by the ministry, it may take some time before it comes into force. These rules are part of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, which replaced the 1986 law. The other key provisions of the new Consumer Protection Act 2019 will come into force from July 20. The new act, which has replaced the three-decade-old one, will have provisions for setting up of mediation cells, increasing the pecuniary jurisdiction of the district, state, and national consumer commissions.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The e-commerce market is growing rapidly in the country, even though it was only 3.5 per cent of the total retail sale in the country. According to a Bain and Company report, country's e-commerce market will reach $100-120 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) with 300-350 million users in next five years, up from current 100-110 million shoppers. The current GMV was around $30 billion. The government is also preparing a separate e-commerce policy which will govern the operations of such entities with rules on data protection, and local goods usage. The pandemic has also forced the people to rely on the e-commerce websites to do most of their shopping, and the business was rising from the Tier-II and smaller cities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The e-commerce guidelines were keenly awaited as they provided reprieve to the consumers who gets the protection of the consumer commission, and brings transparency in their operations. Under the new Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, each e-commerce entity will have to appoint a nodal officer to ensure the provisions of consumer law, provide full details of its operations, contact details, address, landline and mobile numbers of customer care, and even put in place grievance redressal mechanisms wherein every complaint is resolved within one month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To present a level playing field for the consumers, every e-commerce entity shall only record the consent of a consumer afresh and not automatically, including in the form of pre-ticked checkboxes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In another interesting intervention, the rules say that no seller shall falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about goods or services or misrepresent the quality or the features of goods or services. This has been done so that biased reviews do not influence the consumer choices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rules bars the seller from refusing to take back the goods if they were defective, deficient or spurious.&nbsp;The rules also mandate accurate information related to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, cost of return shipping, mode of payments, grievance redressal mechanism, and also about the total price in single figure along with the breakup for all charges.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/19/with-release-of-e-commerce-guidelines-level-playing-field-for-e-shoppers.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/19/with-release-of-e-commerce-guidelines-level-playing-field-for-e-shoppers.html Sun Jul 19 10:33:41 IST 2020 us-fdi-to-india-crosses-dollar40-bn-business-advocacy-group <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/us-fdi-to-india-crosses-dollar40-bn-business-advocacy-group.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2019/6/12/fdi.jpg" /> <p>The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the US to India has crossed the $40-billion mark so far this year, reflecting the growing confidence of American companies in the country, the head of an India-centric business advocacy group has said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The American companies, during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has battered the world economy, have shown a great confidence in India and its leadership, said Mukesh Aghi, president of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), which keeps a track of the major US FDIs in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Year to date investment from the US, including the recent ones, is over $40 billion, Aghi said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In recent weeks alone, the announcement of the FDI into India has been over $20 billion, he said, referring to the announcements made by some of the top companies like Google, Facebook and Walmart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Investors' confidence in India is high. India still remains a very promising market for the global investors. If you look at the $20 billion not just the US, but (investment) has also come from other geographies such as the Middle East and the Far East.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, India still remains a very, very bullish market for the investor community, Aghi said in response to a question.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The USISPF has been working with New Delhi to bring in FDI into India playing a key role in encouraging American companies planning to move their bases out of China, he said, adding that the move was going on in the last three years of the Trump administration, but gained momentum during the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We feel that Prime Minister (Narendra Modi's) intention is very high. The challenges lie on the execution side. Efforts are being made to encourage manufacturing I've never seen it so better. The policy framework is moving in the right direction," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Early this week, Larry Kudlow, the White House Economic Advisor, told reporters that the US tech giants like Google and Facebook announcing big investments in India shows that people are losing trust in China and India is emerging as a big competitor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the same time, he rued that India continues to be a protectionist country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The question is how do you define protectionism... the administration here is saying America first and India is saying vocal for local, Aghi added.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/us-fdi-to-india-crosses-dollar40-bn-business-advocacy-group.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/18/us-fdi-to-india-crosses-dollar40-bn-business-advocacy-group.html Sat Jul 18 12:58:14 IST 2020 india-plans-to-store-oil-in-us-signs-mou-for-coop-in-strategic-petroleum-reserves <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/india-plans-to-store-oil-in-us-signs-mou-for-coop-in-strategic-petroleum-reserves.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/2019/October/crude-oil-pipeline-shut.jpg" /> <p>India is in advanced talks to store its crude oil in US strategic petroleum reserves as an insurance against any supply disruption or price spikes, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday.</p> <p>He said the two nations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bring cooperation on strategic petroleum reserves.<br> </p> <p>"We are also in an advanced stage of discussions for storing crude oil US strategic petroleum reserves to increase India's strategic oil stockpile," he told reporters after co-chairing the second India-US Strategic Energy Partnership Ministerial with US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette.<br> </p> <p>The US has 714 million barrels of oil storage capacity in its strategic petroleum reserve (SPR), the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil.<br> </p> <p>In comparison, India stores 5.33 million tonnes (about 38 million barrels) of crude oil in underground storages at three locations on the east and west coast, hardly enough to meet its 9.5 days needs.<br> </p> <p>International Energy Agency (IEA) prescribes its members to have at least 90 days of stock in the strategic reserves.<br> </p> <p>India has been looking to expand the storage capacity and is also exploring the possibility of hiring storage in the US to stock some oil that can be used in times of extreme price volatility or supply disruption.<br> </p> <p>"We are beginning to collaborate on strategic petroleum reserves as well and that is an important element of energy security," Brouillette said. "We are collaborating on renewable energy, nuclear energy, energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, and industrial sector."<br> </p> <p>Stating that the two nations are also looking at cooperation in hydrogen, he said, "It is a partnership between two great nations...when it comes to relations between the United States and India, economically and energy-wise, best is yet to come".<br> </p> <p>He said US oil supplies to India have jumped ten-fold to 2,50,000 barrels per day (bpd) between 2017 and 2019.<br> </p> <p>"Between 2017 and last year, US crude oil exports to India rose by nearly 10-folds to almost 2,50,000 barrels per day. Between March 2016 and May of this year, 68 LNG shipments of over 234 billion cubic feet were exported to India. India is now the single largest importer of US oil in the world," he informed.<br> </p> <p>The US is India's sixth-largest oil supplier.<br> </p> <p>India began importing crude oil from the US in 2017 as it looked to diversify its import basket beyond the OPEC nations. It bought 1.9 million tonnes (38,000 bpd) of crude oil from the US in 2017-18 and another 6.2 million tonnes (1,24,000 bpd) in 2018-19.<br> </p> <p>The volume that Brouillette mentioned translates into 12.5 million tonnes of oil imports in a year.<br> </p> <p>India, which is 85 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs, bought 101.4 million tonnes of crude oil from overseas between April 2019 and March 2020.<br> </p> <p>He said the US and India make no distinction between good and bad energy and believe in deploying every energy fuel and every technology.<br> </p> <p>Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said the strategic energy partnership has four primary pillars of cooperation -- oil and gas, power and energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable growth.<br> </p> <p>Through the strategic energy partnership, the US and India collectively seek to enhance energy security, expand energy and innovation linkages across the respective energy sectors, bolster strategic alignment, and facilitate increased industry and stakeholder engagement in the energy sector.<br> </p> <p>Also, a US-India Gas Task Force (GTF) has been set up, he said.<br> </p> <p>"The bilateral hydrocarbons trade alone has touched USD 9.2 billion during 2019-20, accounting for 10 per cent of the overall bilateral trade (between India and the US). We have also seen a significant reduction in the trade deficit between the two countries," Pradhan said.<br> </p> <p>The second India-US Strategic Energy Partnership Ministerial meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Washington in April this year but got postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.<br> </p> <p>The dialogue was held through video conferencing.<br> </p> <p>The government had in February 2018 elevated the India-US Energy Dialogue to a Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP). It was to be co-chaired by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas from the Indian side and US Secretary of Energy from the American side.<br> </p> <p>The SEP was formally announced during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US in June 2017, and the first ministerial meeting was held in New Delhi on April 17, 2018, between Pradhan and the then US Secretary for Energy Rick Perry.<br> </p> <p>The GTF had identified three key themes that need to be addressed to expand natural gas use in India and trade with the United States -- natural gas pricing - markets and regulation, strengthening of gas infrastructure, and stimulating natural gas demand growth.&nbsp;<br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/india-plans-to-store-oil-in-us-signs-mou-for-coop-in-strategic-petroleum-reserves.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/india-plans-to-store-oil-in-us-signs-mou-for-coop-in-strategic-petroleum-reserves.html Fri Jul 17 23:01:42 IST 2020 roshni-nadar-becomes-hcl-tech-chairperson-first-woman-to-chair-listed-indian-it-firm <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/roshni-nadar-becomes-hcl-tech-chairperson-first-woman-to-chair-listed-indian-it-firm.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/17/Roshni-Nadar-HCL.jpg" /> <p>The country's richest woman Roshni Nadar Malhotra on Friday became the first woman to head a listed Indian IT company as she took over as the Chairperson of $8.9 billion HCL Technologies from her father and billionaire Shiv Nadar.<br> </p> <p>Roshni, also a trained classical musician, came on the board of HCL Technologies in 2013 and was Vice Chairperson. She will continue as CEO of HCL Corporation, the holding company for all the group entities.<br> </p> <p>On Friday, HCL Technologies announced that its founder and chairman Shiv Nadar stepped down from the role and the company's Board of Directors has appointed his daughter, Roshni, as the new chairperson with immediate effect.<br> </p> <p>Shiv Nadar, however, would continue to be the Managing Director of the company with designation as Chief Strategy Officer, the company said in a statement.<br> </p> <p>HCL Technologies CEO C Vijayakumar said this was part of the company's succession planning exercise.<br> </p> <p>Roshni studied at Vasant Valley School, Delhi and graduated in communication with a focus in radio/TV/film from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. She also pursued MBA from Kellogg School of Management.<br> </p> <p>She worked with Sky News UK and CNN America as a news producer before joining HCL Corp in 2009, and within a year was made executive director and then CEO at the age of 27.<br> </p> <p>According to the company website, Shiv Nadar is the chairman of the USD 9.9 billion HCL Corp. HCL Group includes HCL Technologies, HCL Infosystem, and HCL Healthcare.<br> </p> <p>Former HCL Technologies CEO Vineet Nayar, who is a close friend of the Nadar family, described Shiv Nadar as his mentor.<br> </p> <p>"He (Shiv) is an institution in himself who has built many other great institutions which is so fascinating to watch and applaud. This took guts, intellect, passion and perseverance. There is only one of his kind that is why I call him the Shahenshah of the tech world. I wish him the best as he begins a new innings," Nayar said.<br> </p> <p>Nayar further said: "I am sure HCL will fly high under Roshni who leads with purpose, passion and pride. Exciting times ahead".<br> </p> <p>Roshni married Shikhar Malhotra, Vice Chairman of HCL Healthcare, in 2010 and the couple has two sons—Armaan and Jahaan.<br> </p> <p>According to the latest Hurun Rich List, Roshni is India's richest woman with a net worth of Rs 36,800 crore. In 2019, she ranked 54th on the Forbes World's 100 Most Powerful Women list.<br> </p> <p>A passionate environmentalist, Roshni established The Habitats Trust in 2018 that works towards protecting India's natural habitats and its indigenous species. She has driven transformational efforts in the area of education as a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation.<br> </p> <p>Industry body Nasscom tweeted a congratulatory message to Roshni. "Congratulations #RoshniNadarMalhotra on your new role as Chief of @hcltech. Excited to see another #WomanInTech take charge at the workplace! We are sure HCL will achieve even greater heights in the future under your leadership," it said.<br> </p> <p>Roshni has received several honours and accolades in recognition of her work both in business and in philanthropy.<br> </p> <p>She featured in 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women' list compiled and released by Forbes in 2017, 2018, and 2019, consecutively. She was also conferred with the Lewis Institute Community Changemaker Award by Babson College in 2017 and was recognized by Horasis, an internationally renowned think tank, as the Indian Business Leader of the Year 2019.<br> </p> <p>Roshni is also an alumnus of the Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGL, 2014-19), a unique and diverse community of the world's most outstanding, next-generation leaders, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.&nbsp;<br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/roshni-nadar-becomes-hcl-tech-chairperson-first-woman-to-chair-listed-indian-it-firm.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/roshni-nadar-becomes-hcl-tech-chairperson-first-woman-to-chair-listed-indian-it-firm.html Fri Jul 17 22:56:59 IST 2020 abheek-dutta-using-cloud-technology-is-the-best-way-to-combat-the-pandemic <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/abheek-dutta-using-cloud-technology-is-the-best-way-to-combat-the-pandemic.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/17/Abheek-Dutta-Henson-Group.jpg" /> <p>As industries wrap their heads around the current global crisis, there’s a young man from Jammu, who has been constantly providing solutions to overcome the challenges that this time has brought with it.<br> </p> <p>Meet Abheek Dutta, a software professional - currently serving as the Senior Vice President of the renowned Henson Group - who with his innovative ideas, strategic solutions and cutting-edge technology, is helping corporates, industries and startups to tide over many hurdles and challenges that this COVID era is offering.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>Always a bright Engineering student, Abheek wanted to do something on his own. Having previously employed with companies like TCS and IBM, Abheek usually sits at his office at World Trade Center, New York and Chandigarh .<br> </p> <p><b>Q: Tell us something about Henson Group and your role in it.&nbsp;<br> </b></p> <p>A: I am currently working as the country manager of Henson Info Solutions Private Limited, headquartered at New York (USA).&nbsp; Henson Group is a ‘partner of choice for Microsoft and its partners’, as it stands as an award-winning Azure Expert MSP Gold Certified Partner for licensing, consulting and managing services to corporations big and small.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>We are involved in providing a range of information technology solutions including cutting-edge cloud services. We design, develop, and maintain data including advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and so on.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p><b>Q: Has the impact of COVID-19 on India’s economy ushered in new possibilities of business growth using cloud technology?<br> </b></p> <p>A: Absolutely! There’s no doubt that we’re living in unprecedented times. The Covid-19 crisis has created immense fear and chaos. Businesses have got affected, with revenues falling rapidly and employee health greatly at risk. In such times, it is important for businesses to adapt to new methods of working which means, reducing the need to have physical interactions and relying on technology which is safe, more effective and far less expensive.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>I am glad that through our efforts, we’ve been able to convince a lot of companies to let go of keeping data physically in their premises and using cloud services that can be accessed online anywhere at any time.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p><b>Q: What do you think about the ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ movement that PM Modi has been emphasizing lately?<br> </b></p> <p>A: I totally agree with our honorable PM that now is the need to become self-sufficient and pave way for indigenous talent to come up. An incredible thing that works in our favor is the fact that the IT talent pool in India is astonishing. I have personally employed local talent from my hometown Jammu and I am proud to say that we have grown from a mere five to more than 150 employee plus associates company within a span of a two years only. It is a great opportunity for us - the entrepreneurs to give jobs to do something constructive for the amazing local talent we have.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p><b>Q: Which are the areas that your company would like to expand its services?&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> </b></p> <p>A: Cloud services, AI (Artificial Technology), Machine Learning and Big Data. I am proud of my hardworking and highly competent colleagues like Daljeet Singh, Randhir Singh, and Deepanshu Arora and I am sure we will continue to strengthen our offerings with our services to further boost ours as well as our country’s growth.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p><b>Q: Your advice to entrepreneurs facing various challenges due to COVID-19 and resulting economic fall?<br> </b></p> <p>A: I strongly feel that navigating this crisis is about remaining positive, and playing a meaningful role in your clients’ lives. Keeping the customer-first has never been more important. Aligning brand objectives to new customers should be your primary goal. This is a time to survive and tide over, personal profits will come later!&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>I am glad that at Henson, even during this time, we are making a strong statement by effectively increasing our workforce at all levels.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/abheek-dutta-using-cloud-technology-is-the-best-way-to-combat-the-pandemic.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/abheek-dutta-using-cloud-technology-is-the-best-way-to-combat-the-pandemic.html Fri Jul 17 21:29:52 IST 2020 tdsat-stays-trais-interim-direction-to-vodafone-idea-on-withholding-priority-plan <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/tdsat-stays-trais-interim-direction-to-vodafone-idea-on-withholding-priority-plan.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/2/17/vodafone-pti170220.jpg" /> <p>Telecom tribunal TDSAT on Friday stayed Trai's interim direction asking Vodafone Idea to withhold its priority plan that promises 4G network on a priority basis to certain premium users.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The tribunal's decision provides a temporary relief for Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier this week, VIL moved the tribunal challenging Trai's direction asking the company to withhold the plan till the matter is examined.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In its order on Friday, the tribunal said it would be open for Trai to proceed with the inquiry and pass final orders in accordance with law at the earliest after ensuring that requirements of natural justice are satisfied and VIL is given opportunity to explain any alleged contravention of extant directions of the authority.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Hence, the interim direction in paragraph 2 of the impugned letter dated 11.07.2020 is stayed until further orders," the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the impunged letter, Trai had asked VIL to withhold the plan.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/tdsat-stays-trais-interim-direction-to-vodafone-idea-on-withholding-priority-plan.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/tdsat-stays-trais-interim-direction-to-vodafone-idea-on-withholding-priority-plan.html Fri Jul 17 16:52:05 IST 2020 canada-to-infuse-dollar139-bn-to-provinces-for-safe-restart-of-economy <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/canada-to-infuse-dollar139-bn-to-provinces-for-safe-restart-of-economy.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/world/images/2019/6/4/justin_trudeau.jpg" /> <p>The Canadian Federal Government will pump CA$ 19 billion ($ 13.99 billion) into the country’s provinces and territories as part of Safe Restart Agreement aimed at economic recovery with precautions being exercised to prevent another outbreak of COVID-19, an <i>AP </i>report reads.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Funding under the Safe Restart Agreement will help provinces and territories, who have had to respond to COVID-19 in unique ways and have already made major investments and will continue to do so, in critical areas, such as healthcare, childcare, and municipal services. First Ministers recognize that the territories and smaller jurisdictions face distinct challenges and circumstances, which will need to be addressed separately," said Canada's First Ministers in a joint statement on Thursday.&nbsp;</p> <p>The funds will be released over a period of six to eight months with an aim to make the economy more resilient to such an emergency in the future.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under the Safe Restart Agreement, workers with up to ten days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19. Job-protected sick leave legislation or regulation will be created in provinces and territories.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per the agreement, funds will also be used to increase testing and contract tracing in provinces so that a future outbreak of COVID-19 is thwarted immediately. Besides this, funds will also be used to procure more PPE (personal protection equipment) for medical professionals and supportive mental health programs for Canadians facing substance abuse or other problems related to mental health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though many sectors in Canada’s economy has reopened, PM Justin Trudeau has warned that a daily threat of COVID-19 will not disappear till a vaccine is available.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“As we continue to deal with the impacts of the virus, we are committed to working with the provinces and territories to provide the support they need to help Canadians make it through this crisis. Together, our priority is to keep Canadians safe and healthy, while building a stronger, more resilient Canada for everyone,” he said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also said that the pandemic had resulted not just in a health crisis but also an economic crisis. “When we talk about the recovery phase, it’s not just about making sure we can detect, control and prevent future outbreaks. It’s also about helping people, businesses and entire communities adjust to our new normal,” added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/canada-to-infuse-dollar139-bn-to-provinces-for-safe-restart-of-economy.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/canada-to-infuse-dollar139-bn-to-provinces-for-safe-restart-of-economy.html Fri Jul 17 16:36:12 IST 2020 bsh-europes-largest-home-appliances-maker-sees-huge-growth-opportunities-in-india <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/bsh-europes-largest-home-appliances-maker-sees-huge-growth-opportunities-in-india.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/17/appliances-bsh.jpg" /> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced people to stay and work from home over the last few months, has hit businesses hard. However, one industry that has started seeing strong traction is home appliances, with industry executives stating demand has been strong for products like washing machines and dishwashers.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>BSH Home Appliances, which is a part of Germany’s Bosch, says demand for dishwashers has doubled since the lockdown started lifting and washing machines and dryers are also seeing a sales uptick as consumer preference shifts to convenience, hygiene and cleanliness. Higher-end mixers and grinders, too, seem to be in demand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Since the lockdown, we have witnessed a surge in the demand for dishwashers and we expect to continue seeing this surge. We have grown 2X over this month last year,” Neeraj Bahl, MD and CEO of BSH Home Appliances told THE WEEK.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The company’s production is also now coming back to normal with a 40 per cent workforce.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>BSH is not the only company seeing strong demand for appliances. In a recent interaction with THE WEEK, Kamal Nandi, executive vice-president at Godrej Appliances too had said that June had been a big surprise in terms of demand and they were reaching last year’s levels.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>BSH (earlier Bosch and Siemens), the largest home appliances manufacturer in Europe, sees huge growth potential in India, on the back of changing lifestyles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Siemens is a dominant leader in built-in appliances in India, followed by Bosch, which sold its one millionth washing machine unit in India with major demand from metro cities in south India. We also launched Bosch Modern Chulha for the bottom of the pyramid consumers in India,” said Bahl.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The company also has plans to open the first experience center for Gaggenau, German high-end appliances maker, in Mumbai, he added. “We are also in the process of transforming into a hardware plus company that provides not just excellent home appliances, but also services like detergents and other accessories. Our ambition is to be one of the top home appliance brands in India by 2025,” pointed Bahl.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>BSH, which entered India in 2010, had announced its refrigerator manufacturing factory in Chennai, two years ago. It already made front-loading washing machines in Chennai. The company has plans to invest Rs 300 crore in that factory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bahl said that BSH had plans to enter many other categories in the next 3-5 years and also increase the manufacturing capacity at the Chennai factory.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to India Brand Equity Foundation, India’s appliances and consumer electronics industry is expected to double to Rs 1.48 lakh crore by 2025, compared with Rs 76,400 crore in 2019.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/bsh-europes-largest-home-appliances-maker-sees-huge-growth-opportunities-in-india.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/bsh-europes-largest-home-appliances-maker-sees-huge-growth-opportunities-in-india.html Fri Jul 17 16:13:59 IST 2020 states-market-borrowings-skyrocket-76-percent-to-rs-193-lakh-cr-so-far-this-fiscal-report <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/states-market-borrowings-skyrocket-76-percent-to-rs-193-lakh-cr-so-far-this-fiscal-report.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/2019/October/cash-rupee--notes-india-rbi-currency-bank-payment-shut.jpg" /> <p>The states, reeling from massive revenue losses due to coronavirus lockdowns, have front-loaded their borrowings by a whopping 76 per cent so far this fiscal to Rs 1.93 lakh crore, says a report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Front-loading of market loans has been on the back of the Centre relaxing the ways and means advances norms to manage cash-flow mismatches due to the pandemic, says a report by Care Ratings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition, the Centre has also relaxed the fiscal deficit target from 3 to 5 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Between April 1 and July 14, the states' market borrowings have jumped to Rs 1.93 lakh crore, which is 76 per cent higher than the corresponding period last fiscal year, says the report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The aggressive borrowings will further shoot up the outstanding debt of all the states which has more than doubled to Rs 52.6 lakh crore in FY20, growing at an annual rate of 14.3 per cent between FY15 and FY20, notes the report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The outstanding debt has almost doubled in the last five years to Rs 52.6 lakh crore and the annual spike rate is much faster than the Centre's outstanding internal debt which clipped at 10 per cent during the same period.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Outstanding debt of the states includes market borrowings, power sector-specific Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) bonds, funds borrowed from the National Social Security Fund, banks, and other financial institutions, ways and means advances, loans from the Centre, provident funds, reserve funds and other contingency funds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ratio of states' outstanding debt to total internal debt, which is the combined debt of the Centre and the states has increased from 30.9 per cent in FY15 to 35.1 per cent in FY20, says the agency's chief economist Madan Sabnavis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>States are facing a dual challenge of addressing the current health crisis and simultaneously managing their finances amidst the pandemic as the nationwide lockdowns and the extended state-level lockdowns have adversely impacted their revenues, he said without quantifying how much is the revenue loss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The cumulative effect of this is likely to increase the overall outstanding debt of all the states which stood at Rs 52.6 lakh crore in FY20, he warned.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was a steep double-digit growth of 19 per cent in FY16 followed by 18.4 per cent in FY17 and this can be ascribed to funds raised by a few states through the UDAY bonds, which was applicable during FY16 and FY17, along with the aggressive borrowing to the tune of over 40 per cent from banks and financial institutions, according to the agency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That apart they also borrowed 20 per cent more from the markets in FY16 and FY17, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, better revenue collection in FY18 and FY19 helped the states arrest the growth in their outstanding debt to 12.7 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively but again picked up speed to 11.5 per cent in FY20, as they borrowed more from the Centre and markets, the report said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of the total debt, as much as 72 per cent is with the top 10 states. The list is led by Uttar Pradesh with an outstanding debt of Rs 6 lakh crore in FY20, accounting for 11 per cent of total debt of all the states, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the second slot is Maharashtra with an outstanding debt of Rs 5 lakh crore, accounting for 10 per cent of total debt of all states, followed by Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Andhra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and MP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, despite having a high debt burden, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka have a debt to GSDP ratio of under 25 per cent for the past many years, as stipulated by the 14th Finance Commission. On the other hand, UP, Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra, and Kerala have high debt levels and also the debt-GSDP ratio above the stipulated norms, the report said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In case of MP, the debt to GSDP ratio was below 25 per cent until FY19 but has slightly exceeded the 25 per cent target in FY20, the agency said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As many as 18 states have a debt-GSDP ratio of over 25, and of them 12 have it over 30, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Punjab, ranking 11th in terms of absolute debt, ranks first when it comes to the debt-GSDP ratio at 38.5, while Andhra, Bengal and Rajasthan have it above 30 and Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, Assam and Delhi and Puducherry have it below 20, the report said.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/states-market-borrowings-skyrocket-76-percent-to-rs-193-lakh-cr-so-far-this-fiscal-report.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/states-market-borrowings-skyrocket-76-percent-to-rs-193-lakh-cr-so-far-this-fiscal-report.html Fri Jul 17 15:34:39 IST 2020 another-apple-supplier-pegatron-to-set-up-plant-in-india <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/another-apple-supplier-pegatron-to-set-up-plant-in-india.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/images/2018/5/1/iphone-x-apple-store-beijing-reu.jpg" /> <p>Days after reports of Apple supplier <a title="Apple supplier Foxconn to invest $1 bn in India to expand Chennai plant" href="https://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/13/apple-supplier-foxconn-to-invest-dollar1-bn-in-india-to-expand-chennai-plant.html" target="_blank">Foxconn</a> planning to expand its facilities in India with a $1-billion investment, another iPhone manufacturer Pegatron is also planning to set up a plant in India. The Taiwan-based company has registered its India subsidiary in Chennai and is in discussions with various state governments to find land to set up factories, <i>The Economic Times </i>reported.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pegatron will be the fourth partner of Apple to set its footprint in India after Wistron, Foxconn and Compal Electronics. At present, only Wistron and Foxconn assemble iPhones in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wistron has already announced to expand its operation by increasing the manpower by about 10 times to 20,000 people over the next 2 years with an initial investment of around Rs 2,000 crore. Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Foxconn, which assembles iPhones in a factory in Sriperumbudur near Chennai, is planning to invest $1 billion to expand the plant.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The companies are expanding to India as they are trying to diversify their facilities outside China. With a number of factories in China, Pegatron is the second-largest iPhone assembler and depends on Apple for more than half of its business.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Soon after the COVID outbreak in China, the Narendra Modi's government had tried to woo foreign companies to set up shop in the country. In order to instill more confidence among companies to see India as the next investment destination, the Central government on April 1, notified schemes comprising total incentives of around Rs 48,000 crore to boost electronics manufacturing in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It also introduced the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, an electronic company has the potential to get an incentive of around Rs 7,500 crore if it scales up production to worth about Rs 1.5 lakh crore over next five years.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The government expects to generate manufacturing revenue potential of Rs 10 lakh crore and create direct and indirect jobs for 20 lakh people by 2025 through these schemes. India is looking as a base to manufacture and export, essentially diversifying its production out of China.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India has seen a surge of inward investment in recent weeks, with Google, Facebook Inc. and others pouring close to $20 billion into RIL's Jio Platforms. Google has committed to spending $10 billion over the next five to seven years to hasten India’s digital transition and Amazon.com Inc. has said it intends to export $10 billion of made-in-India goods by 2025.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/another-apple-supplier-pegatron-to-set-up-plant-in-india.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/another-apple-supplier-pegatron-to-set-up-plant-in-india.html Fri Jul 17 14:55:59 IST 2020 india-records-largest-reduction-in-number-of-people-living-in-poverty-un <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/india-records-largest-reduction-in-number-of-people-living-in-poverty-un.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/2019/May/Acute-Encephalitis-Syndrome-AES-Muzaffarpur-bihar.jpg" /> <p>About 273 million Indians moved out of multidimensional poverty between 2005-6 and 2015-16, according to a UN report, which noted that India has recorded the largest reduction in the number of people living in this category.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The data, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), shows that 65 out of 75 countries studied significantly reduced their multidimensional poverty levels between 2000 and 2019.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Multidimensional poverty encompasses the various deprivations experienced by poor people in their daily lives such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standards, poor quality of work, the threat of violence, and living in areas that are environmentally hazardous, among others.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of the 65 countries that reduced their Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) value, 50 also reduced the number of people living in poverty.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The largest reduction was in India, where approximately 273 million people moved out of multidimensional poverty over 10 years, the report said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report said that four countries—Armenia (2010-2015/2016), India (2005/2006-2015/2016), Nicaragua (2001-2011/2012) and North Macedonia (2005/2006-2011) halved their global MPIT value and did so in 5.5-10.5 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These countries show what is possible for countries with very different initial poverty levels. They account for roughly a fifth of the world's population, mostly because of India's large population, the report said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>MPIT is the Multidimensional Poverty Index estimate that is based on harmonized indicator definitions for strict comparability over time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Four countries halved their MPI value. India (2005/2006-2015/2016) did so nationally and among children and had the biggest reduction in the number of multidimensionally poor people (273 million), it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report noted that India saw the most people moving out of multidimensional poverty some 270 million people between 2005/06 and 2015/16.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a footnote related to the number of 273 million people moving out of poverty, the report said that the number of people living in multidimensional poverty in India is based on population data from United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) (2019), which imply a larger number of multidimensionally poor people in 2006; previous estimates were based on UNDESA (2017).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report additionally notes that India and Nicaragua's time periods cover 10 and 10.5 years respectively, and during that time both countries halved their MPIT values among children.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So decisive change for children is possible but requires conscious policy efforts, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fourteen countries reduced multidimensional poverty in all their subnational regions: Bangladesh, Bolivia, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Gabon, Gambia, Guyana, India, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nicaragua, Nepal and Rwanda.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report stressed that while the new figures released show that before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, progress was being made in tackling multidimensional poverty, that progress is at risk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the development landscape. But this data - from before the pandemic - is a message of hope. Past success stories on how to tackle the many ways people experience poverty in their daily lives, can show how to build back better and improve the lives of millions, Director of OPHI at the University of Oxford Sabina Alkire said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While data is not yet available to measure the rise of global multidimensional poverty after the pandemic, simulations for 70 countries in the developing world, based on the anticipated impacts of the virus on just two components of the global MPI nutrition and school attendance suggests how much impact the crisis could have unless it is addressed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In three scenarios of varying deterioration in which 10, 25 and 50 per cent of people who are multidimensionally poor or vulnerable become undernourished, and half of primary school-aged children no longer attend school, poverty levels could be set back 8 to 10 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"But even if we look only at the impact on nutrition, if anticipated increases in undernutrition are not prevented or swiftly reversed, the setback could range between 36 years," it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>COVID-19 is the latest crisis to hit the globe, and climate change all but guarantees more will follow soon. Each will affect the poor in multiple ways. More than ever, we need to work on tackling poverty and vulnerability to poverty - in all its forms," Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP Pedro Coneico said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The data shows that across 107 developing countries, 1.3 billion people, or 22 per cent, live in multidimensional poverty. The data also reveals that the burden of multidimensional poverty disproportionately falls on children.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Half of the 1.3 billion poor (644 million) have not yet turned 18, while 107 million are 60 or older, a particularly important figure during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 84.3 per cent of multidimensionally poor people live in sub-Saharan Africa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report also said that 10 countries account for 60 per cent of unvaccinated children, and 40 per cent of children unvaccinated for DTP3 live in just four countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Indonesia.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/india-records-largest-reduction-in-number-of-people-living-in-poverty-un.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/india-records-largest-reduction-in-number-of-people-living-in-poverty-un.html Fri Jul 17 11:49:14 IST 2020 shiv-nadar-steps-down-as-hcl-chairman-daughter-roshni-to-succeed <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/shiv-nadar-steps-down-as-hcl-chairman-daughter-roshni-to-succeed.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/17/shiv-roshni-nadar.jpg" /> <p>HCL Technologies co-founder Shiv Nadar has stepped down from the position of the chairman of the board of directors. Nadar's daughter, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, will succeed him with immediate effect. Roshni, who is currently the non-executive director, has been appointed as the chairperson of the board of directors with effect from July 17, 2020.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Shiv Nadar founded HCL along with Ajai Chowdhry, Arjun Malhotra and five others. Nadar would continue to be the managing director of the company with the designation as the chief strategy officer of the company, HCL Technologies said in a statement as it announced the quarterly results on Friday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The company posted 31.7 per cent rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 2,925 crore for the June 2020 quarter. The IT major had registered a net profit of Rs 2,220 crore in the April-June 2019 quarter (as per US GAAP). Its revenue grew 8.6 per cent to Rs 17,841 crore in the quarter under review, from Rs 16,425 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On a sequential basis, the topline was lower by 4 per cent from Rs 18,590 crore in the March quarter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>HCL Technologies expects its revenue to increase quarter-on-quarter by an average of 1.5-2.5 per cent in constant currency for the next three quarters, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the end of June 2020 quarter, HCL had 150,287 employees with a gross addition of 7,005 people. Its attrition for IT services (on last 12 month basis) was at 14.6 per cent.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/shiv-nadar-steps-down-as-hcl-chairman-daughter-roshni-to-succeed.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/shiv-nadar-steps-down-as-hcl-chairman-daughter-roshni-to-succeed.html Fri Jul 17 11:07:53 IST 2020 navrattan-green-crete-driving-ethical-economic-growth-in-post-covid-india <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/navrattan-green-crete-driving-ethical-economic-growth-in-post-covid-india.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/17/navrattan-group-pic.jpg" /> <p>At 545 million tonnes, the Indian cement industry is next only to China in terms of its annual production capacity. It generates more than 8 per cent of the global capacity and employs more than a million people. The per capita consumption of cement in India is less than 200 kg, much lesser than the world average of 500 kg. Despite that, Indian cement can be the driver of ethical economic growth for the country if it chooses the right path, i.e., less pollution, more environment-friendly, just like Navrattan Green Crete.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Himansh Verma, Chairman <a href="https://www.navrattangroup.com/">Navrattan Group </a>, whose subsidiary, Navrattan Green Cement Industry manufactures Green Crete, is quite positive about green cement being the game-changer of real estate development. He says, “Green cement will provide a new direction to the construction business. Most importantly, it will reduce pollution, which is a growing menace, despite the current lockdown. Speaking of metro cities, since green cement is made, literally, from the garbage, its production will also address the problems associated with waste management, taking a huge load off the authorities’ mind.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian construction industry, the real estate business in particular, has been sluggish during the first two quarters. But given the high domestic consumption and a dynamic rural base, it is believed to pick up again in the post-Covid era. With links to other significant sectors like cement, steel, chemical, etc, the construction industry will determine how bullish India’s economic growth will be once Corona is behind us.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the same time, the construction sector is one of the major pollutants in today’s world, despite also being the spine of economic health. The ‘fugitive dust’, burning of cement, carbon emissions &amp; indiscriminate use of power plus millions of tons of waste material every year is extracting a high cost from India’s environmental health at the same time. But with this revolutionary product, Navrattan Green Crete, produced by the Navrattan Group of Companies, will heal the earth, instead of killing it!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Research has established that using green cement has a plethora of benefits. Some of these are – reduced usage of cement for construction, made from discarded industrial waste like fly ash and slag thus cheaper than the regular cement, long-term strengths and higher ductility, which makes it ideal for usage in building high-rise buildings. Right from its manufacturing stage, green cement is environment-friendly because it emits less carbon dioxide in comparison to traditional cement.&nbsp; What’s more, the green cement can also bring down the carbon footprint by 40 per cent. And green cement has a great scope for the future!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With its population growth pegged to increase significantly by 2050, India will enjoy one of the largest building stock shares in the world, leading to a boom in the real estate business. With the business evolving at such a fast pace, it is only natural that the construction techniques and the material used should also be innovative. With the increase in its share of global construction activity, in the post-Covid era, India’s per capita consumption of cement will also rise from the current average of 200 kg. That makes it even more imperative to replace the regular Portland cement with green cement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Green building practices are going to be a USD 187.4 billion of the world market in the coming times, growing at an astounding annual rate of 8.6 per cent. Creating new infrastructure that doesn’t strangle the earth but lets it breath is the need of the hour. Today’s future-tech like green cement will be a part of life 10 years down the line. Keeping in mind the long-term efficiency and cost-reduction features of green cement, it is a foregone conclusion that Navrattan Green Crete is the cement of the future.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/navrattan-green-crete-driving-ethical-economic-growth-in-post-covid-india.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/17/navrattan-green-crete-driving-ethical-economic-growth-in-post-covid-india.html Fri Jul 17 15:59:26 IST 2020 india-us-discuss-possibility-of-free-trade-agreement <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/india-us-discuss-possibility-of-free-trade-agreement.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/2019/October/India-USA-India-US-United-States-flags-puzzle-relationship-shut.jpg" /> <p>India and the US have discussed the possibility of negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) and have expressed desire to conclude the talks for an initial trade package, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The issue was discussed during an informal tele-conversation between Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Thursday.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India and the US are negotiating a limited trade deal with a view to iron out differences on trade issues to boost economic ties.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The principals also conversed on the ongoing India-USA trade discussions and appreciated the substantial progress made by both sides on most of the outstanding issues.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"There was a desire expressed to conclude this initial limited trade package and recognising the complementarities of the India-USA bilateral trade, discussed the possibility of an FTA," the ministry said in a statement.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on some steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and greater market access for its products from sectors such as agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices, apart from cut in import duties on some information and communication technology products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the meeting, Goyal also flagged the pending 'US-India Social Security Totalisation Agreement'.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While appreciating India's concern, Secretary Ross mentioned that the statutory requirements of the US have to be fulfilled by India in this regard.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He offered to arrange a meeting between US Social Security Administrator and concerned Indian officials to discuss and find a possible solution, the statement said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India has been demanding early conclusion of the totalisation agreement or Social Security Agreement with the US. It aims to protect interests of professionals of Indian-origin who contribute more than USD 1 billion each year to the US social security scheme.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under this pact, professionals of both the countries would be exempted from social security taxes when they go to work for a short period in the other country.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Goyal also expressed concern on the US keeping certain Indian products (24 items) under TVPRA (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act) list and designating them as 'child labour sectors', thereby denying them the opportunity to participate in supply contracts of US government agencies.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On this, Ross offered to set up a meeting between the labour department officials of both sides, the ministry's statement said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, Goyal raised the issue of US ban on import of wild catch shrimp from India on the premise that fishing practices followed here were non-compliant with US regulations to protect sea turtles.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"He mentioned the various conservation measures taken by Indian maritime states in protecting the sea turtles. Secretary Ross appreciated India's concerns and agreed to facilitate a discussion between the officials of the US state department and Office of Marine Conservation with the Indian Department of Fisheries and Ministry of Forest and Environment, in this regard," it said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US remained India's top trading partner for the second consecutive fiscal in 2019-20. According to the data of the commerce ministry, in 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at USD 88.75 billion, as against USD 87.96 billion in 2018-19.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus. The trade gap between the countries has increased to USD 17.42 billion in 2019-20 from USD 16.86 billion in 2018-19, the data showed.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2018-19, the US had surpassed China to become India's top trading partner.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/india-us-discuss-possibility-of-free-trade-agreement.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/india-us-discuss-possibility-of-free-trade-agreement.html Thu Jul 16 22:24:36 IST 2020 nissan-unveils-magnite-sub-compact-suv-to-compete-with-brezza-venue <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/nissan-unveils-magnite-sub-compact-suv-to-compete-with-brezza-venue.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/16/Nissan-magnite-suv.jpg" /> <p>Nissan Motors on Thursday previewed its upcoming sub-compact ‘B-SUV’, the Magnite, revealing a concept design that will be very similar to the production variant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Magnite is intended to compete with the Hyundai Venue and Maruti Brezza in the sub-compact SUV space, one of the most dynamic and promising segments in the Indian auto sector today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The Nissan Magnite is an evolutionary leap in Nissan’s global SUV DNA. With cutting-edge technology onboard, it will be a game-changer in its segment. A bold offering in the sub-four-meter category, we are confident that Nissan Magnite will redefine the B-SUV segment for the industry. The Nissan Magnite is made on the philosophy of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ and has been designed in Japan while keeping in mind the requirements and aspirations of Indian customers.” said Rakesh Srivastava, Managing Director, Nissan Motor India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Magnite will be a “feature-rich premium offering with stylish design for a strong and dynamic road presence,” the company said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is speculated that the Magnite will share the same platform as the Renault Triber and upcoming Renault Kiger also a sub-compact SUV—that being the Common Module Family (CMF) A+ platform known for its roomy interiors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Autocar India speculated that the Magnite will sport a 72hp, 1.0-litre three-cycinder petrol engine with an option for a 95hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol version as well, similar to that of the Kiger. The SUV will come with manual and CVT gearbox options, and is expected to have feature-packed interiors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Magnite will be among 12 new models to be launched by Nissan globally over the next 18 months, eight of which will be in the African, Middle East and India regions. Its launch is planned in the current financial year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/nissan-unveils-magnite-sub-compact-suv-to-compete-with-brezza-venue.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/nissan-unveils-magnite-sub-compact-suv-to-compete-with-brezza-venue.html Thu Jul 16 21:58:49 IST 2020 indian-industry-stalwarts-find-merit-in-letsdothis-global--a-mul <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/indian-industry-stalwarts-find-merit-in-letsdothis-global--a-mul.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/16/letsdothis1.jpg" /> <p>Covid 19 has changed the way global business environment is evolving in an unprecedented way. Swanky offices are giving way to Work From Home and high-flying executives are hopping in the binary form from one screen to another on video calls. Amidst this, one thing remains constant - the consumer. Key to every business is the buyer who continues to stronghold. And this need gap across industries is being plugged through innovative and new-gen mechanisms being deployed by LetsDoThis Global.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Whether it was about establishing a global braintrust network across geographies to reduce the Six Degrees of Separation in the online world to Three Degrees and even less. Or, it was about creating business opportunities for many Indian brands to not only scale domestically but also explore oversees operations. LetsDoThis has been driving it all together. The world is responding to the calls from India. We are not only working meticulously towards taking India to the world, but also welcoming more global brands to India and setting up their operations here - in one of the largest consumer markets in the world, shares Pratik Gauri, Co-founder &amp; Chairman of Lets DoThis Global.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Expressing confidence in the growth trajectory, the Co-founder &amp; Principal Shailendra Dixit shared that the Covid scenario has made serious businessmen more patient and welcoming to new ideas and approaches to business growth. They are more open to technology and networking. The LetsDoThis business philosophy of Profits with Purpose is acknowledged by many more people today amidst COVID 19 crisis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>LetsDoThis Global has attracted top industry people to join the team. Within the last few weeks, some of the well established names have taken up key positions in this company which also is simultaneously in talks with well placed professionals to setup an entity in Europe, Latina America and Africa.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Prakash Shah, a career diplomat who has been Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from February 1995 to July 1997 has joined Lets Do This Global as Honorary Board Advisor. In August 1998, he was also appointed by Kofi Annan as a special envoy to Baghdad during the arms conflict in Iraq. From 1997 to 1980, he also served as Joint Secretary to Prime Minister of India; Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, and Indira Gandhi.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Jitender S Mehrok, a stalwart in the Sales &amp; Distribution space with 25 years of experience in Solar, broadcast satellite / entertainment, telecom, consumer non durable (FMCD) and other industry domains has joined Lets Do This global as Chief Executive Officer. Previously he was Senior Director (Operations) with D.Light energy in Business development, sales , marketing and retail operations across country as part of Green and multiple Brown field projects. His experience in setting up channel across various states in North India as Sr. Vice President at Tata Sky and Head of Sales &amp; Marketing for various circles at Vodafone will be key to the domestic and pan India scaling up the multiple clients LetsDoThis Global has signed up and continues to attract from the world over.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Jaspreet S Jolly - an experienced global professional and an astute trend spotter, has vast experience in consumer facing businesses covering all aspects of retailing, real estate, management consulting and franchising. He has worked with some of the most successful brands from India, US and Middle East like Whirlpool, Century 21 and Seniors helping Seniors from US, Tata group, Republic of Chicken, Technopak Advisors, 360realtors, Greatwall Infra, SSG infra, Mays foods (chaat bazaar), Oh So Stoned!, M -taxi and Cityfurnish from India , and Landmark group from Dubai. He will be leading the Business Growth vertical for LetsDoThis.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Welcoming them on board, Chairman and Co-founder Pratik Gauri warmly suggested, In our business, people are our biggest asset. Our biggest strength is our human capital and relationship capital. We work at the intersection of profits and purpose. We are inching closer to shaping up the 5th Industrial Revolution that I continue to advocate at every platform. The world as we know is changing. The Revolution is stirring and LetsDoThis Global is working tirelessly to claim the lead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/indian-industry-stalwarts-find-merit-in-letsdothis-global--a-mul.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/indian-industry-stalwarts-find-merit-in-letsdothis-global--a-mul.html Fri Jul 17 14:43:49 IST 2020 aramco-does-not-have-the-money-report-says-reliance-deal-stalled-due-to-covid-19 <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/aramco-does-not-have-the-money-report-says-reliance-deal-stalled-due-to-covid-19.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2020/7/16/Reliance-Industries-RIL-Aramco-logo-PTI-Reuters.jpg" /> <p>In August 2019, Reliance Industries (RIL) announced its plans to sell a 20 per cent stake in its oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco for an estimated $15 billion, dubbing the deal one of India’s biggest foreign direct investments to date.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By February of this year, <a href="https://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/02/19/reliance-saudi-aramco-to-soon-sign-stake-sale-pact.html">both parties were looking to close a binding agreement</a>, which would sell a minority stake in RIL’s oil-to-chemical division to Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer. However, differences had emerged over the deal’s structure and both parties were reportedly working to overcome these; there was even a suggestion that the deal could fall apart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the letter to shareholders released in RIL’s Integrated Annual Report 2019-20, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said Reliance was working to “complete the contours of a strategic partnership with Saudi Aramco. The partnership gives our refineries access to a wide portfolio of value-accretive crude grades and enhanced feedstock security for a higher oil-to-chemicals conversion.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In his address, however, Ambani said the deal had not progressed as per the original timeline, due to the “unforeseen situation in the energy market and COVID-19 situation”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, Reuters quoted sources saying Aramco was unable to pay the price agreed to “pre-COVID”, citing terrible refining margins which are expected to “remain subdued in Q3 at least”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“In reality, Aramco does not have the money,” the source said. The report quoted another source as saying that Reliance would wait for the market to recover before settling on a “drastic” revaluation of the asset.</p> <p>So far, neither Reliance nor Aramco have responded to the report.</p> <p>It is not just COVID-19 that has been hurting Aramco’s significant fortunes. In the first quarter of the year, Aramco reported a 25 per cent fall in net income, blaming the same on low crude oil prices, declining refining and chemicals margins and inventory re-measurement losses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="https://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/03/10/oil-prices-recover-russia-says-doors-not-closed-for-cooperation.html">The failure of OPEC+ talks in March</a> had led to a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, pushing oil prices to all-time lows. The impact of COVID-19 on demand added to this, <a href="https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/04/21/explainer-oil-prices-negative-us-wti-what-does-it-mean-consumers-pump-gas-prices.html">taking prices for future's contracts to negative territory</a> in the United States, as the cost of storing oil started to exceed the price of purchasing it, prompting buyers who had already agreed to purchase oil to dump the contracts before they received supplies that would prove too expensive to store.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Jamnagar, Gujarat, RIL runs the world’s largest crude-oil refinery, capable of processing 1.24 billion barrels per day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Initially, RIL planned to use the proceeds from the Aramco deal to achieve its goal of becoming net-debt-free. On April 30, its board approved hiving off the $75 billion oil-to-chemicals business into a separate division to enable to sale of a 20 per cent stake to Aramco.</p> <p>With the slump in oil demand, and forecasts from the International Energy Agency estimating that demand may not recover until 2021, there are many challenges to the deal. The news that the Aramco deal was delayed from the AGM contributed to RIL stock tanking by 4 per cent after the AGM—notwithstanding a slew of announcements by Reliance, <a href="https://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/15/ril-agm-2020-key-announcements-as-mukesh-ambani-maps-future-of-reliance.html">which has ambitious plans to expand beyond energy</a>.</p> <p>In addition, Reliance managed to become <a href="https://www.theweek.in/theweek/business/2020/07/02/well-oiled-machine.html">net-debt-free nine months ahead of schedule </a>through ever-expanding rounds of investment in Jio Platforms, which raised over $20 billion in exchange for around 33 per cent of stake in the firm sold to over 13 investors including Facebook, Google, Intel and Qualcomm, as well as through a Rs 53,125 crore rights issue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/aramco-does-not-have-the-money-report-says-reliance-deal-stalled-due-to-covid-19.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/aramco-does-not-have-the-money-report-says-reliance-deal-stalled-due-to-covid-19.html Thu Jul 16 18:26:06 IST 2020 housing-sales-hit-a-10-year-low-in-first-half-of-2020-due-to-covid-19 <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/housing-sales-hit-a-10-year-low-in-first-half-of-2020-due-to-covid-19.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/magazine/theweek/specials/images/2020/5/14/63-real-estate.jpg" /> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns announced to curb the spread of the virus since March have hit the real estate industry hard. The housing market, which had already been slow even before the pandemic hit, has been among the worst affected, while the commercial office market—in strong demand last year—has also suffered amid the wider economic uncertainties fuelled by the coronavirus.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the first half of 2020, housing sales in India’s top eight cities more than halved to 59,538 units, a decadal low, according to data released by Knight Frank, a real estate consulting firm. In the first half of 2019, 129,285 housing units had been launched.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The COVID-19 driven slump in demand has also had an impact on new launches, which fell 46 per cent year-on-year between January-June to 60,489 units, compared with 111,175 units, launched last year. “The residential real estate sector, which was going through a rough patch has got severely hit by the current crisis,” said Shishir Baijal, chairman and MD of Knight Frank India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If the first half were to be broken into two quarters, then data shows that sales in the January-March quarter declined 27 per cent. However, the April-June quarter saw sales plunge 84 per cent as mandatory lockdowns were in force in most cities. While sales in Pune and Bengaluru fell 73 per cent and 74 per cent respectively, in NCR, Chennai and Kolkata, there were no sales at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This will further put pressure on the already high unsold inventory. As of June 30, there were 446,787 unsold housing units in the top eight cities. Mumbai and NCR alone had an unsold inventory of 150,154 and 118,064 units respectively. Knight Frank estimates that it will take over 10 quarters just to sell this unsold inventory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The near-term outlook does not look great for the residential sector. The economy is expected to shrink this year and many firms have cut salaries or laid-off people. In these uncertain times, housing demand is unlikely to see any swift recovery and therefore, there is a need for the government to step in and help the sector, said Baijal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“With income uncertainty for the future, demand for housing will take a hit. While the RBI has announced the much required liquidity injecting measures and cut in policy interest rate, there is an urgent need for the government to come up with some demand boosting measures for the real estate sector.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The commercial market, which has been a bright spot for years in India’s realty market, too, has been hit hard by the pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the first half of this year, office leasing activity declined 37 per cent to 17.2 million square feet from 27.4 million square feet. Pune, NCR, Bengaluru and Hyderabad were among the worst hit, with demand falling 42 per cent to 47 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>New office space supply at 17.3 million square feet, were down 27 per cent from 23.9 million square feet in the same period, a year ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“With the economic uncertainties creating significant headwinds, we expect the office space take up to remain cautious. Most occupiers are expected to hesitate in committing to expansion in the current market scenario and may delay their leasing decisions for later,” said Baijal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the last few years, there has been a strong demand for quality office space, especially from technology companies. That has attracted many foreign investors to the Indian market. But now, as most people still work from home, companies exploring whether some roles could permanently be shifted to work from home environment and social distancing the norm wherever offices are reopening, the commercial market is likely to face many challenges, this year at least.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“For the office market, it will be a wait and watch till a more permanent solution to this pandemic is found,” Baijal added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/housing-sales-hit-a-10-year-low-in-first-half-of-2020-due-to-covid-19.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/housing-sales-hit-a-10-year-low-in-first-half-of-2020-due-to-covid-19.html Thu Jul 16 17:15:27 IST 2020 indian-pharma-industry-capable-of-producing-covid-19-vaccines-for-entire-world-bill-gates <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/indian-pharma-industry-capable-of-producing-covid-19-vaccines-for-entire-world-bill-gates.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/sci-tech/images/2018/5/1/microsoft-bill-gates-melinda-ap.jpg" /> <p>India's pharmaceutical industry will be able to produce COVID-19 vaccines not just for the country but also for the entire world, according to Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. A lot of "very important things have been done" in India and its pharma industry is doing work "to help make the coronavirus vaccine building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases", said the Co-Chair and Trustee of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking in a documentary—COVID-19: India's War Against The Virus—to be premiered on Discovery Plus this (Thursday) evening, Gates said India also faces a huge challenge due to the health crisis because of its gigantic size and urban centres with a lot of population density.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Commenting on the strength of India's pharma industry, he said, "India has a lot of capacity there—with the drug and vaccine companies that are huge suppliers to the entire world. You know, more vaccines are made in India than anywhere—starting with Serum Institute, that's the largest."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He further said, "But (there are) also Bio E, Bharat (Biotech), many others. They are doing work to help make the coronavirus vaccine, building on other great capacities that they have used for other diseases."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stating that India joined Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is a group working on a global basis to build vaccines platforms, Gates said, "I am excited that the pharmaceutical industry there will be able to produce not just for India but also for the entire world. (This is) What we need to reduce the deaths and make sure we are immune, which is how we end the epidemic."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gates said Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also a "partner with the government, particularly with the department of biotechnology, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the office of the principal scientific advisor provide advice and help about getting these tools going".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Commenting on the deadly virus breaching India's borders in the documentary which was shot extensively during the period of lockdown, he said, "India is still at the beginning of this, but there's a lot of very important things have been done.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It's a huge challenge with India because you've got a gigantic country. You've got your urban centers with a lot of density—and so that drives the spread. You have people moving around."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He, however, added: "Yet people are stepping up... Looking at how we reduce the spread while trying not to reduce food availability, equipment that people need."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Highlighting Gates foundation's role, he said it has "worked for the Indian government on health issues like introducing new vaccines over the last decade; and so when COVID-19 came along, we stepped in and said you know where are the gaps, we have been funding work on detection and isolation. We have been particularly active in UP and Bihar where we have done health delivery in the past."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The foundation is also working with the department of personnel and training to take their online training platforms and "are now using that guidance to help their frontline health workers", Gates said.&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/indian-pharma-industry-capable-of-producing-covid-19-vaccines-for-entire-world-bill-gates.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/indian-pharma-industry-capable-of-producing-covid-19-vaccines-for-entire-world-bill-gates.html Thu Jul 16 16:37:49 IST 2020 country-of-origin-tag-by-e-commerce-players-may-be-an-exercise-in-futility-say-experts <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/country-of-origin-tag-by-e-commerce-players-may-be-an-exercise-in-futility-say-experts.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2019/6/25/e-commerce-shopping-kart.jpg" /> <p>Though e-commerce players have agreed to display 'country of origin' tag on each and every product being sold in India in the wake of the <a title="PIL for display of country of origin on products via e-commerce: HC seeks Centre's stand" href="https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2020/07/01/pil-for-display-of-country-of-origin-products-sold-e-commerce-sites-hc-seeks-centre-stand.html">government move it make the tag mandatory</a>, the tag may not mean much as a product may have components from different countries. Hence, it could be said that a product has been manufactured across multiple locations.</p> <p>The government's aim was to bring awareness among the consumers of e-commerce firms about the country of origin—especially China—of the products they are buying. T<a title="E-commerce players need to display 'country of origin' on products Paswan" href="https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/business/2020/07/12/del100-biz-paswan-ecommerce.html">he whole exercise may be meaningless</a> as a product may be made in China, Taiwan or Germany and the knocked-down version may be assembled back in India.</p> <p>“One can question how relevant it is to say that the product is made in India. This is one important aspect that needs to be understood by the e-commerce players, sellers and buyers as a product may have components from different countries. Accordingly, the seller can declare the country of origin, and the e-commerce company has to invest energy in certifying the veracity of the information. The additional efforts by the e-commerce provider have costs associated and the same have to be borne by the buyers ultimately. Is this worth it? Very few buyers may value the information about the country of origin and hence the majority won’t like to pay the price for this additional information,” Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR Services, told THE WEEK.</p> <p>Currently, the barcode on certain products contains the information about the country of origin. “If a product is cheap and useful, the Indian customer will be willing to buy that despite the country of origin. They may not be willing to pay more for a product that has been assembled in India. Today, country of origin does not hold any good for any product as it has components from all over the world, making the overall exercise futile,” remarked B.S. Murthy of Leadership Capital.</p> <p>When contacted by THE WEEK both Amazon and Flipkart refused to comment on the move. Media reports say that Amazon has made it compulsory for all its sellers to display the 'country of origin' of new and existing product listings. However, it needs to be observed that the 'country of origin' tag won't have much of an impact on a consumer's buying decision. “ Will the consumer's decision sway, that's a moot point. Because consumers are utility maximising individuals. For a government's policy to imagine that consumers will be willing to pay higher prices for non-Chinese products, and are thus willing to decrease their own welfare, is slightly factious,” observed Alok Shende of Ascentius Consulting.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has hailed the decision of Amazon asking its sellers to display 'country of origin' for all products listed on its platform. The CAIT said the component of value addition should also be adhered to without any further delay. “We had raised this demand on June 15, 2020, in a communication sent to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. Taking an immediate cognizance of the issue, <a title="Sellers need to mention 'country of origin' on products for GeM platform" href="https://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/06/23/Sellers-need-to-mention-country-of-origin-on-products-for-GeM-platform.html">the government made it mandatory for its GeM (Government e-Marketplace) portal</a> to display the 'country of origin' by each seller followed by mandating the e-commerce portals to apply the same on their respective platform,” said Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT secretary general.</p> <p>“It will enable the customer to know what items he is purchasing. The Legal Metrology Act was amended in 2017, making it compulsory for e-commerce companies to display country of origin. It is astonishing that for three years, no effort was made by these e-commerce companies to implement such a legal binding. It is when we raised the issue on June 15, followed by convening a meeting by DPIIT with e-commerce companies, that the law was implemented. Other e-commerce players besides Amazon should also follow suit immediately. We will again call upon DPIIT to compel e-commerce companies to follow the law,” added Khandelwal.</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/country-of-origin-tag-by-e-commerce-players-may-be-an-exercise-in-futility-say-experts.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/country-of-origin-tag-by-e-commerce-players-may-be-an-exercise-in-futility-say-experts.html Thu Jul 16 18:20:27 IST 2020 fiat-chrysler-peugeot-sa-merger-company-named-stellantis <a href="http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/fiat-chrysler-peugeot-sa-merger-company-named-stellantis.html"><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="http://img.theweek.in/content/dam/week/news/biz-tech/images/2018/5/7/Fiat-Viaggio-2018.jpg" /> <p>More than six months after announcing their 50:50 merger, automobile companies Peugeot SA and Fiat Chrysler on Thursday announced that the resultant corporate entity will be named Stellantis. The new company will become the world’s fourth-largest carmaker.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stellantis has been derived from the Latin word ‘stello’ which means ‘to brighten with stars’. "Stellantis will combine the scale of a truly global business with an exceptional breadth and depth of talent, knowhow and resource capable of providing sustainable mobility solutions for the coming decades. The name’s Latin origins pay tribute to the rich history of its founding companies while the evocation of astronomy captures the true spirit of optimism, energy and renewal driving this industry-changing merger," the company said in a press statement.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the name has been settled upon, the two are yet to unveil a logo that will go on to become the corporate brand identity. The names and the logos of the group’s two constituent brands—Fiat and Peugeot—will remain unchanged.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the merger announcement last year, it was stated that the combined group will have a workforce of more than 400,000, total revenues of close to € 170 billion ($190 million) and annual unit sales of some 8.7 million vehicles of the brands Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, DS, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The joint entity will have “the leadership, resources and scale to be at the forefront of a new era of sustainable mobility,” PSA and Fiat Chrysler said. The tie-up will “deliver approximately € 3.7 billion in estimated annual synergies.” The merger is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The combined group would be headquartered in the Netherlands, and continue to be listed on the Paris, Milan and New York stock exchanges. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/fiat-chrysler-peugeot-sa-merger-company-named-stellantis.html http://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2020/07/16/fiat-chrysler-peugeot-sa-merger-company-named-stellantis.html Thu Jul 16 16:07:08 IST 2020