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Ministry of HRD directs UGC to amend regulations regarding workload of teachers
May 27,2016

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has reviewed the recent amendment to the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education) Regulations, 2010.

Consequent on the review, the Ministry has issued a direction to the UGC, under Section 20(1) of the UGC Act, 1956, to undertake amendments in the Regulation. After these amendments are carried out, the position regarding workload will be as follows:-

(i) In the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education) Regulations, 2010, the overall workload of Assistant Professors and Associate Professors/Professors in full employment was prescribed to be not less than 40 hours a week for 180 teaching days. This workload remains unchanged, even with the amended Regulation.

(ii) The direct teaching-learning hours to be devoted by Assistant Professors (16 hours) and Associate Professors/Professors (14 hours) too will remain unchanged, as a consequence of the direction from the MHRD and subsequent notification by the UGC.

In consonance with established academic and teaching traditions, and with a view to reinforcing a student-centric and caring approach, teachers are encouraged to work with students, beyond the structure of classroom teaching. Indicatively, this could entail mentoring, guiding and counselling students. In particular teachers would be the best placed to identify and address the needs of students who may be differently-abled, or require assistance to improve their academic performance, or to overcome a disadvantage. There are no prescribed hours for such efforts, measured either in weeks or months. While they will not be included in the calculation of the API scores, these are nevertheless important and significant activities that could be carried out by teachers.

Teachers were required to allocate 6 additional hours per week, beyond the direct teaching-learning hours, on research. These hours can now be also utilized for tutorials/remedial classes/seminars/administrative responsibilities/ innovation and updating of course contents.

There will be no increase in the workload of teachers, after the amendments, in comparison with the workload prescribed earlier.

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Moodys: Greenfield expansion in India and expected restructuring of UK operations to drive Tata Steel and TSUKHs earnings improvement in FY2017
May 27,2016

Moodys Investors Service says its ratings on Tata Steel (Tata Steel, Ba3 negative) and Tata Steel UK Holdings (TSUKH, B3 negative) remain unchanged at this point in time, despite their weak operating results for the full year ending March 2016 (FY2016).

The two companies operating results for FY2016 while weak, were in line with our revised expectations in February at the time of the ratings downgrade.

Tata Steel reported consolidated revenue of INR1,172 billion and consolidated underlying EBITDA of INR79 billion, down 16% and 39% respectively from a year ago. Although, the results for the quarter ended March 2016 (QE3/2016) showed a substantial improvement over the previous trailing quarter with consolidated revenue and EBITDA of INR295 billion and INR23 billion, an increase of 5% and 171% respectively. The improvement in the operating performance was a result of the general uptick in global steel prices in February and March, after an all-time dip in January.

We estimate consolidated adjusted leverage of 8.7x at March 2016, slightly below the peak of 9.0x at December 2015. Looking ahead into FY2017 we expect leverage to correct towards 6.5x-7.5x, says Kaustubh Chaubal, a Moodys Vice President and Senior Analyst.

Tata Steels reported gross debt of INR862 billion at March 2016 rose by only INR55 billion from March 2015 debt levels, despite capital expenditure of INR115 billion and weak operations during the year.

The proposed sale of the long products business to Greybull Capital (unrated) and the companys intention to sell its UK business are credit positive, although there is no immediate impact on our ratings or outlook, adds Chaubal, who is also the Lead Analyst for Tata Steel and TSUKH.

The divestment of the loss making operations will reduce the drag on the European business profitability which has been under strain for a while; although much is unknown about the divestment contours including debt and pension liabilities to be transferred, which in particular will drive the impact, if any, on the ratings and outlook on Tata Steel and TSUKH, continues Chaubal.

Tata Steels India (TSI) business revenues and underlying EBITDA of INR382 billion and INR74 billion were down 9% and 27% from last year. EBITDA/tonne of INR7,744 for the full year was down 33%, although for QE3/2016 was higher by INR1,563 over the previous trailing quarter and represented price increases effected in February and March.

Tata Steels European operations reported revenue of INR674 billion and underlying EBITDA loss of INR6 billion, down 16% and 115% respectively for fiscal 2016. Steel prices in Europe also remained weak with cheaper imports from China and Russia. Tata Steels European operations registered a sharp 115% drop in its EBITDA/tonne to negative INR439 in FY2016.

In our view, continuing protectionist measures are imperative especially as global steel over supply prevails, exerting pressure on prices globally.

In India, we see the extension of the safeguard duty for three years until 2019 from an initial 200 day period, the imposition of an minimum import price (MIP) on some 173 grades of steel imports (in its current form until early August 2016), and a possible antidumping duty, as a reflection of continuing support for the ailing steel sector.

In Europe, we expect the European Unions (EU) anti-dumping duties on steel imports from China and Russia to provide some support to steel prices.

Increase in TSIs production with the commissioning of 3 million tonnes per annum (3mtpa) greenfield expansion at Kalinganagar which started commercial production in May 2016, a higher proportion of value added products in its product basket, and the expected completion of the restructuring of Tata Steel Europe will drive earnings expansion for Tata Steel and TSUKH and lead the path towards leverage correction.

We will watch out for the progress on the UK business divestments; clarity on divestment of liabilities including pensions and erasing the negative EBITDA impact of the UK facilities on TSUKHs credit metrics would be critical for any change in outlook to the TSUKH ratings. Credit metrics that would support such an action include adjusted leverage trending towards 7.0x and EBIT/interest coverage of at least 1.0x on a sustained basis.

As to a change in our outlook on Tata Steel to stable, other than the improvement in its operating and credit metrics as a result of the divestment of the lossmaking UK operations, we would need to see: (1) domestic steel prices continuing on their recovery path, or, on the back of an increase in steel volumes -- Tata Steel shows a substantial improvement in profitability, with consolidated EBITDA/tonne in the INR6,000-7,000 range; and (2) the companys free cash flow turns positive on a sustained basis.

Adjusted consolidated leverage trending towards 4.5x -- 5.0x would constitute a leading indicator for a change in Tata Steels outlook to stable.

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FICCI hails India-Iran Chabahar agreement as big leap forward in bilateral ties
May 27,2016

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry has welcomed the signing of the long envisioned agreement on developing the key Chabahar port between India and Iran as a landmark development and a big leap forward in co-operation between Iran and India. Prime Minister Narendra Modis outreach to Tehran has infused vigour into the momentum to develop connectivity, infrastructure and in Indias energy security goals.

Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Irans southern coast, is of great strategic importance for India. India and Iran had in 2003 agreed to develop Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman outside the Strait of Hormuz, near Irans border with Pakistan.

The bilateral agreement to develop the Chabahar port and related infrastructure signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, underlines the extraordinary strategic opportunities that present themselves for India in the region. The signing of commercial contract for the Chabahar Phase 1 will open a route to land-locked Afghanistan and cut transport costs/time by third. The development of the port for which India will provide $500 million will help Indian companies enhance engagement in Iran and gain access to Afghanistan & Central Asia. In the long run Chahabar will also serve as the point of origin for the proposed Iran-Oman-India pipeline.

A multiplier effect rests on the possibility that other international investors may also see the rationale of this important investment, thus paving the way for creation of a strategic bulwark that facilitates greater flow of people and goods among the three countries, as well as in the region and contributes to economic growth of Afghanistan.

FICCI also sees PM Modis timely visit to Iran setting the stage for boosting trade in a big way. The 12 MoUs signed between the two countries cutting across culture, science & technology, exchange of info& knowledge and many another aspects of economic engagement, as a significant effort to build enduring partnership.

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Rs.5,534 cr investment in basic urban infra under Atal Mission approved in 6 States for 2016-17
May 27,2016

Ministry of Urban Development will convene annual meetings of all States and Union Territories to discuss and review at the highest level progress of urban renaissance set in motion. A decision taken in this regard by the Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu was today conveyed to the six States that attended the meeting of the Apex Committee convened for approving annual action plans of States under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

Shri Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (UD), who is also the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Apex Committee informed the participating States that Ministers of Urban Development and Housing of all States/UTs, Mayors and Municipal Chairpersons, Secretaries of Urban Development of States/UTs, Mission Directors and Municipal Commissioners of all 500 AMRUT cities will be attending the two day conference for taking stock of progress of urban sector reforms, implementation of new schemes etc., initiated during the last two years as a part of urban renaissance. The first such conference will be held in the next two months.

Shri Gauba said that henceforth, the Ministry will approve States Annual Action Plans for the entire mission period based on which annual plans could be prepared and considered for approval before the commencement of a financial year to ensure timely execution.

The six participating States informed the Committee that action is in progress for obtaining Credit Ratings for over 100 mission cities and the process would be completed before the end of this year.

The Apex Committee chaired by Shri Rajiv Gauba approved a total investment of Rs.5,534 cr for providing household water taps, improving water supply, sewerage networks/septage management, storm water drains, urban transport and provision of open and green spaces in 111 Atal Mission cities in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand and Meghalaya. A total Central Assistance of Rs.2,453 cr will be given to these States.

Under first approvals under AMRUT during the current financial year, Rs.2,126 cr will be spent on providing water supply connections to unconnected households and augmenting water supply, Rs.2,848 cr on expanding sewerage networks, Rs.140 cr on storm water drains, Rs.190 cr on urban transport and Rs.101 cr for improving open and green spaces in 111 mission cities in the six States.

For 2016-17, approved investment in 34 mission cities of Madha Pradesh has been Rs.2,074 cr with Central assistance of Rs.862.80 cr, for 31 cities of Gujarat-Rs.1,401 cr with Central assistance of Rs.599.18 cr, for 29 cities of Rajasthan-Rs.1,120 cr with Central assistance of Rs.536 cr, for 9 cities of Odisha-Rs.531 cr with Central assistance of 265 cr, for 7 cities of Jharkhand-Rs.381 cr with Central assistance of Rs.164 cr and for the lone Mission city of Shillong in Meghalaya-Rs.26.67 cr with Central assistance of Rs.24 cr.

These six States proposed a total investment of Rs.43,569 cr by 2019-20 under AMRUT. The proposals include : Gujarat- Rs.15,375 cr, Odisha-Rs.10,226 cr, MP-Rs.8,279 cr, Rajasthan-Rs.5,498 cr, Jharkhand-Rs.3,919 cr and Meghalaya-Rs.172 cr.

With todays approvals, the total investment approved for improvement of basic urban infrastructure under Atal Mission has gone up to Rs.26,416 cr with a total Central assistance of Rs.12,347 cr.

The Apex Committee also approved release of Central assistance of Rs.520 cr for the JNNURM schemes under implementation.

The Committee also approved release of Central assistance of Rs.20.19 cr to Meghalaya as second installment for procurement of 240 buses and Rs.4.00 cr to Maharashtra for Bus depot at Ghansoli and development of Intelligent Traffic Management System.

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Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Approves Rebate For Containers Moved by Rail TO ICD Mulund
May 26,2016

JNPT Board has approved waiver of Rs. 728/- per container towards handling charges for all containers moved by rail to and from Inland Container Depot, Mulund on CONCOR rakes to be placed at JNPCT. ICD Mulund is strategically located & accessible by road & rail to the catchment area around Mumbai.

Similar waiver has been granted to 3 Container Freight Staions- Navkar, CWC and DRT on Exim containers which have either arrived through dedicated rakes or moved out through dedicated rakes placed on JNPCT lines. This initiative has been taken to encourage trade to shift to rail mode. This will be a win-win situation for all stakeholders and the local people, as this will decongest the roads & reduce pollution around the Ports vicinity.

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The Gross Production of Maize in Kharif and Rabi is estimated at 21.02 million tones, for the year 2015-16- Shri Radha Mohan Singh
May 26,2016

Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh here today said that Narendra Modi Government has initiated a number of significant schemes in last two years to strengthen the villages, the poor and the farmers. The positive results of these schemes have started showing up. The Minister said that despite two successive droughts, the gross production of maize in Kharif and Rabi is estimated at 21.02 million tones, for the year 2015-16.

Shri Singh added that due to the hard works carried out by the farmers, scientists and policy makers the area of maize farming has increased 2.9 times, the productivity 4.8 times, and yield has been 14 times more after 1950. He observed that this is a great achievement of the farmers. More than 308 improved maize hybrid/mixed varieties have been distributed for various climate related conditions in the country after 1957. During the last five years 30 high yielding hybrids and 10 mixed varieties have been released.The Agriculture Minister stated it in n++India Maize Summitn++, organized by FICCI.

Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister said that keeping in view the varied experiments of maize the Central Government is promoting maize farming with different schemes. The government is imparting subsidy on maize seeds through National Food Security Mission (NFSM) ( Rs.50 per kg on hybrid seeds and Rs. 15 per kg on composite seeds). Central Government is providing machineries like seed/grain dryers, sheller and seeds planters etc. to promote the farming of maize in the original states of Green Revolution ( Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh) so as to encourage varied crops of maize.

Shri Singh informed that Bihar has emerged as a power house of maize on global scenario. Now this state is posing challenge to the Mid-Western States of USA in the prospective of maize production. The Northern side of the Ganges and on either side of Kosi river, a stretch from Katihar, Bhagalpur to Madhepura, Seharsa, Khagaria and Samastipur has been converted into a maize producing zone. The farmers over here are yielding more than 50 quintal maize per acre.

The Minister said that government is encouraging public-private partnership in maize farming so that maize farming and related enterprises are strengthened. Shri Singh called FICCI to join this initiative and play a significant role in the field.

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I&B Ministry frames Policy guidelines for Central Government advertisements on websites
May 26,2016

In a major policy initiative concerning Central Government advertisements on online platform, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has framed guidelines and criteria for Empanelment of suitable agencies and Rate fixation for advertisements on websites. The aim of the guidelines is to devise principles and instruments to streamline the release of Government advertisements on websites. The policy emphasizes that only websites which are owned and operated by companies that are incorporated in India will be considered for empanelment by Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP). However, websites owned by foreign companies/origin can still be empanelled if such companies have branch offices which are registered and operating in India for at least one year.

The policy stipulates eligibility criteria for websites to get empanelled with DAVP which includes Unique Users (UU) per month data, which shall be cross-checked and verified by internationally accepted and credible third party tool that monitors website traffic in India. The guidelines aim to ensure that the visibility of Government advertisements online increased by strategically placing the ads on websites having higher Unique Users per month.

The policy requires that the websites shall run the Government ads through a Third Party Ad Server (3-PAS) engaged by DAVP for providing all relevant reports linked with online billing and will be used for verification of bills for payment. The Unique User Data of each empanelled websites will be reviewed in first week of April every year. The guidelines categorises the Unique User per month data of the websites into three categories which is mentioned below.

CategoryUnique Users per monthA5 million and aboveB2 million to 5 millionC0.25 million to 2 million

Key features of the policy guidelines include different rates for different ad properties like Standard Banners on Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPTI) basis and a minimum Click-Through Rate (CTR) of 0.30, Video ads per five second videos, Fixed Banner on home page with minimum display size of 300 X 250 pixels in a time frame on six-hour slots (6 am-12 noon, 12 noon to 6 pm, 6 pm to 12 midnight and 12 midnight to 6 am) and Fixed Video ads for 24 hour time slots on home page.

The policy emphasizes that DAVP shall be the nodal agency for all Central Govt Ministries / Departments for advertising through DAVP empanelled internet websites. However, autonomous bodies/PSUs can directly release advertisements but at DAVP rates and to agencies empanelled with DAVP.

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GST Legislation Likely To Be Passed By Rajya Sabha In Forthcoming Parliament Session: Additional Secretary, Ministry Of Finance
May 26,2016

Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Ajay Tyagi said that the government of the day was making all out efforts and trying its best to create consensus for the smooth passage of GST and hoped that the upper house of the Parliament would be able to pass the legislation in the forthcoming session of the Parliament.

With this move, the government would be able to create a uniform market for all goods and services in the country and among other sectors that would gain out of it would be the agriculture sector also in which multiple distortions exist as of now despite it being a state subject, he emphasised.

Addressing a Seminar on National Agriculture Market under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Tyagi further pointed out that bringing about uniformity in taxation and other areas of economic engagement is one of the prime objectives of the Modi government.

With the passage of much talked about GST, the distortions in goods and services would disappear but it would also make sure that multiple taxations including variant mandi taxes be rationalize after GST is enacted as it would also facilitate to bring about a placement of single national agriculture market in the country to enable the farmers to obtain the maximum gains of their produce.

Speaking on the occasion Executive Director, Commodity Derivatives Market Regulation, Department of SEBI, Mr. S K Mohanty said that national agriculture market for which the government of the day has made a beginning would be conclusive in due course of time as efforts are afoot to integrate over 500 mandis in the country through electronic mode.

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NITI Aayog Launches 500 Tinkering Labs for Schools and 100 Incubation Centres
May 26,2016

NITI Aayog is inviting applications from eligible schools/ organisations and individuals to apply for the three major schemes under Atal Innovation Mission: (a) establishing tinkering laboratories in schools (b) establishing new incubation centres and (c) scaling-up established incubation centres.

To foster creativity and scientific temper in students, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) will establish 500 Atal Tinkering Laboratories in schools. It will provide one time establishment grant-in-aid of Rs. 10 lakh for establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATL) in schools (grade VI - XII) across India. Further, an amount of Rs. 10.0 lakh would also be provided for each ATL over a period of 5 years for operational expenses of ATLs. Thus, an amount of Rs. 20 lakhs per Atal Tinkering Laboratory in each selected school will be spent. Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Competitions at regional and national scale will also be organised to showcase the innovations developed by the children.

AIM will also provide financial support to academic and non-academic institutions (companies/technology parks/group of individuals) to establish new incubation centres across India. These will be called Atal Incubation Centres (AIC). They will be established in subject specific areas such as manufacturing, transport, energy, health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc. These incubation Centres will provide pre-incubation facilities, common infrastructure and services such as technology development assistance, networking and mentoring, funding access, training and development, business support services (entrepreneurship development, marketing, finance and accounting, research, legal, regulatory, etc.) to innovators and startup entrepreneurs for developing solutions. AIMs objective is to setup 100 AICs during 2016-17. AIM will provide a grant-in-aid of Rs. 10 crore for establishing a new AIC over a period of 5 years towards capital investment as well as operation and maintenance expenses.

AIM will also provide scale up support of Rs. 10 crore over a period of two years to established incubation centres for augmenting their capacity. They will be shortlisted on the basis of key performance indicators. Both these schemes will radically transform the start-up ecosystem in the country by creating a network of incubation centres of world-class standards.

The guidelines for the implementation of these schemes have been developed after multiple intensive stakeholders consultations. A competitive approach will be used for the selection of applicants for establishing the above facilities. Applicants desirous of participating in these schemes can refer to the Atal Innovation Mission guidelines on and submit their applications online.

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Gartner Says Customer Relationship Management Software Market Grew 12.3 Percent
May 26,2016

Worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) software totaled $26.3 billion in 2015, up 12.3 percent from $23.4 billion in 2014, according to Gartner, Inc.

The merger and acquisition activity that began flowing through the market in 2009 continued in 2015, with more than 30 notable acquisitions, Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner. This has resulted in increased competition at the top end of the CRM market, with the continued focus of global vendors sales forces driving good growth worldwide in all CRM sub-segments but only for cloud or software as a service (SaaS) applications.

Overall, the top five CRM software vendors accounted for more than 45 percent of the total market in 2015 (Table 1). The top five vendors had very little change in ranking compared with 2014, although Adobe jumped into the fifth position, displacing IBM, as it continues to lead the CRM marketing segment with a focus on marketing agencies and the chief marketing officer (CMO).

CRM Software Spending by Vendor, Total Software Revenue Worldwide, 2015 (Millions of Dollars)



2015 Market

Share (%)



2014 Market

Share (%)


Source: Gartner (May 2016)

CRM growth is driven by cloud service revenue, which, in the application space, uses SaaS as the major delivery model, said Mr. Poulter. SaaS revenue grew 27 percent year over year, which is more than double overall CRM market growth in 2015. On-premises new license revenue declined 1 percent for the same period.

Salesforce continued to dominate the CRM market in 2015, with 19.7 percent of the market. Salesforce leads in revenue in the sales and customer service and support (CSS) segments of CRM, and it is now third in revenue in the marketing segment, where it is the fastest-growing segment among the top five.

Spending in North America continued in double digits as this market continued to generate the bulk of revenue (55.7 percent) in the overall CRM market. However, U.S. dollar figures were significantly impacted by currency swings in 2015, especially for those vendors with significant revenue from non-North American markets. Currency impacts typically show that overall EMEA results were down for companies with substantial EMEA revenue when reported in U.S. dollars. Companies that report in euros, such as SAP, show lower CRM growth at 0.6 percent in current U.S. dollars, but in constant currency, they show 12.8 percent growth.

Once again, emerging Asia/Pacific grew the fastest, with growth of 21.9 percent in 2015, closely followed by greater China with 18.4 percent growth. Middle East and North Africa and mature Asia/Pacific both achieved double-digit growth at 10.7 and 10.2 percent, respectively.

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Gartner Mobile App Survey Reveals 24 Percent More Spending on In-App Transactions Than on Upfront App Payments
May 26,2016

Mobile app users spend 24 percent more on in-app transactions than on upfront app payments, according to an online consumer survey* by Gartner, Inc. Consumer preference for in-app transactions indicates that the flexibility they offer is delivering a better customer experience than paid-for downloads.

Overall, the survey results showed that mobile app users are spending $7.40 on paid-for apps every three months and $9.20 on in-app transactions, resulting in a quarter more spending on in-app transactions, said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner. This confirms that once users are confident that an app delivers the expected value without having to pay upfront, they then find it easier to spend on in-app transactions.

Ms. Baghdassarian added that not all users will activate in-app transactions, especially those who cannot see the value of the app. However, those who see the value are more likely to spend higher amounts, with one user in three spending, on average, more than $5 a month.

The survey found that younger people are more confident with in-app transactions than their elders. Although in-app transactions typically drive higher mean spending across all age bands (except for the 35-44 band, where in-app transactions equal upfront payments), the gap between the two models is wider among the younger users n++ the 18-24 and 25-34 segments. Younger users are more confident in spending within an app than older users, who are more comfortable with the classic model of buying to own and use. For mobile app providers, going forward, younger generations are unlikely to lose confidence and expectations about in-app transactions.

The survey also found that more than 65 percent of respondents said their spending remained the same across paid-for downloads and in-app transactions. However, among users who have changed spending levels on mobile apps in the last year, 62 percent have increased their in-app transactions, versus 55 percent for paid-for downloads. There is appetite for in-app transactions, as they allow users to try before they buy and validate the offering before committing further, said Ms. Baghdassarian.

A great customer experience leads to users advocating a product or service; it also keeps the user a loyal and returning consumer of the service, said Ms. Baghdassarian. Mobile app providers should consider recurring in-app transaction options, as well as an all-encompassing one-off upgrade to a premium version of the app. A good approach is to sprinkle in extra features that drive in-app transactions along the life cycle of the app, so the user has the choice of what to pay for n++ la carte, while still offering the option to purchase the full package if desired.

Providers wishing to focus on offering the best customer experience should be wary of in-app advertising, which, according to the survey, has yet to prove that it delivers value to the user. Only 20 percent of survey respondents indicated that they often click on advertisements contained within mobile apps. More importantly, almost two-thirds said they do not click on ads within mobile apps.

Whatever the nature of the app n++ be it for a game, productivity, fitness or entertainment n++ there are opportunities to deliver extra value through in-app transactions. Delivering extra value will drive users engagement and, eventually, satisfaction, said Ms. Baghdassarian.

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India among 5th largest producer of e-waste in world: ASSOCHAM-KPMG study
May 26,2016

India has surely emerged as the second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers, but also the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste each year with telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 per cent of the e-waste, according to an ASSOCHAM-KPMG joint study. With more than 100 crore mobile phones in circulation, nearly 25 per cent end up in e-waste annually, said the study.

It is suggested that e-waste collection targets are implemented in a phased manner with lower and practically achievable target limits. The detailed implementation of procedures for collection of e-waste from the market needs to be followed. The phased manner for implementation of e-waste collection targets needs to be introduced. The steps should be taken to rationalize the various audits being conducted by various authorities, to ensure that same areas are not audited on a repeated basis.

The guidelines should be issued by DoT with respect to locations of tower and clearance requirements should be adopted across states to smoothen tower set up process. While releasing the study, Mr P.Balaji, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National council on Telecommunications & Director-Regulatory, External Affairs & CSR, Vodafone India said, the telecommunication Industry is committed to realize the Government Vision of Digital India. In the last 15 months alone operators have invested over 30% of the cumulative investment made in 20 years prior. Over 100 million handsets have been manufactured last year. A quick resolution on issues that will facilitate ease of doing business will accelerate achieving the Digital India Vision. We are confident that the Government which has set a fast pace of policy formulation and execution will support this endeavor, added Mr. Balaji. The unorganised sector in India is estimated to handle around 95 per cent of the e-waste produced in the country. Given the huge user base and vast reach of telecom in India, it is practically difficult and expensive for the handset manufacturers to achieve the targets prescribed in the rules from first year. It is suggested that e-waste collection targets are implemented in a phased manner with lower and practically achievable target limits. Also, the detailed implementation of procedures for collection of e-waste from the market needs to be followed.

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Ind-Ra: Reverse E-Auction May Lower Bilateral Power Prices
May 26,2016

The price discovery for power through the recent e-auction mechanism has been lower than the bilateral power trade prices, thus pushing down reference prices for short-term power tariffs, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Bilateral markets are a playing ground for large power traders and they provided a reference price for majority of the short to medium term price assumptions. Ind-Ra believes that in the event the e-auction platform emerges as the most efficient mechanism for price discovery, bilateral trade prices may track the e-auction prices. Ind-Ra believes the decline in bilateral power prices can impact the credit profiles of independent power producers (IPPs) with untied capacities which were trading through the bilateral route earlier.

The other critical aspect of the e-auction tariff is that it is quoted by the IPPs at the delivery point of the respective state periphery of the procurer and hence includes the costs that the IPP will have to bear including intra-state open access charges, transmission charges, point of connection injection charges and losses. Therefore, the net realisation to the IPP will be lower, which highlights the fact that the power market continues to be a procurers market and low net realisation for the IPPs can impact their cash flows. In fact leveraged IPPs may need to look for refinancing of debt.

The price discovery for power through the reverse e-auction has been quite favorable for the procurers, which may lead to higher demand in the reverse e-auctions in the future. Ind-Ra believes this will also impact the volumes of power which are sold through the power exchanges.

Ind-Ra notes currently the reverse e-auction is applicable on short-term power purchases (period of more than one day but less than one year) but consequently, due to the success of this method of bidding, the government may introduce the e-auction mechanism even for the purchase of medium to long term power.

Ind-Ra notes that the power tariffs in the e-auction compares quite favorably with the all India average price of INR2.91/kwh in April 2016 on the Indian Energy Exchange, with the bilateral all India weighted average price of INR3.90/kwh in March 2016 and with the average power purchase cost for the distribution utilities (discoms) in the respective states.

Till date four utilities have procured power through the reverse e-auction route, namely Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEBL), Torrent Power (TPL), Uttarakhand Power Corporation (UPCL) and Bihar State Power Holding Company (BSPHCL) at an average tariff of 3.23/kwh, INR3.02/kwh, INR2.80/kwh and INR3.30/kwh respectively. TPL emerged as the largest bidder in terms of quantity since it procured power over the longest time period, between May to October 2016. The below table provides a comparative analysis of the average prices along with the area specific prices on the exchanges.

In the current round of auctions, the procurers had the option of either requisitioning round the clock power (RTC) or power under different time slots. Most of the states needed different quantities under different time slots, while UPCL had two bids for supply of RTC power at tariffs of INR2.69/kwh in August 2016 and INR2.66/kwh in September 2016 which again compares quite favorably with the weighted average RTC price of INR3.97/kwh during March 2016. Additionally, under the short term bidding guidelines for the reverse e-auction, the tariff quoted is a single part tariff unlike a two part tariff consisting of fixed and variable costs. Ind-Ra has been highlighting that given the large fixed charges that distribution companies end up paying on the basis of availability and their weak financial health, they had been wary of singing a two part tariffs and were keen to sign a single part tariff.

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Maneka Sanjay Gandhi releases Draft Model Rules under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
May 26,2016

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi released the Draft Model Rules under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 in New Delhi today. The draft rules have been released for stakeholder comments and suggestions. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 has come into force from 15th January, 2016 repealing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

The Act is a comprehensive law with strengthened provisions for children in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection. Some of the key features include: special provisions for children who commit heinous offences in the age group of 16-18 years; inclusion of new offences committed against children, which were so far not adequately covered under any other law, such as giving intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug or tobacco products to children, sale and procurement of children for any purpose, corporal punishment in child care institutions, etc.; mandatory registration of all Child Care Institutions with punishment in case of non-compliance; and giving statutory status to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) to enable it to perform its function more effectively.

The Draft Model Rules, 2016 that repeal the Model Rules, 2007, are based on the philosophy that children need to be reformed and reintegrated into society. The Rules are appreciative of the development needs of children and therefore best interest of the child along with child friendly procedures is incorporated across the provisions and is the primary consideration.

One of the key features of the JJ Act, 2015 is special treatment of children in the age group of 16-18 years who commit heinous offences. The Draft rules prescribe detailed child friendly procedures for police, Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Childrens Court. The Board and the Childrens Court are to adhere to the principle of best interest of the child and the objective of rehabilitation and reintegration of the child in the society. Every state Government is required to set up at least one n++place of safetyn++ in a State for the rehabilitation of such children. The Rules prescribe for extensive services to be provided to such children through regular monitoring.

A principle of JJ Act, 2015 is that keeping children in institutional care should be a measure of last resort. The Act therefore provides for various de-institutionalization measures for children such as adoption, foster care and sponsorship. The Draft rules prescribe detailed procedures to give effect to these provisions. Various models of Group foster care were reviewed and studied before drafting the relevant provisions in the Rules. In addition to these, roles and responsibilities of various functionaries responsible to provide care and protection to children have been re-defined to bring clarity.

To facilitate quick and smooth adoption of children, the entire adoption process has been made online and transparent. Simplified procedures have been laid down for adoption by relatives. Child care institutions are required to develop linkages with Specialized Adoption Agencies so that the pool of adoptable children can be increased and these children can be brought into the adoption process. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which was earlier a society has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to function better. The Draft Rules prescribe for a comprehensive list of function of CARA, to facilitate its smooth functioning.

The JJ Act, 2015 includes a separate chapter on offences against child and several of the offences listed in this chapter were so far not adequately covered under any other law. These include sale and procurement of children for any purpose including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, giving children intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or tobacco products, use of child by militant or adult groups, offences against disabled children and, kidnapping and abduction of children. For the effective implementation of these provisions, the Draft Rules provides for child friendly procedures for reporting, recording and trial. It is proposed that every police station will have child friendly infrastructure, similarly special Childrens Room will be designated in every Court complex.

In addition to the Draft Rules, extensive Forms have also been drafted to standardize and simplify prescribed procedures. A total of 49 Forms have been drafted which is more than double the Forms in Model Rules, 2007. Separate individual care forms for children in need of care and protection and those in conflict with law have been created, form for social background report by the police, which was lacking earlier has been developed to assist the police in recording information about children. Form for period review of children in the age group of 16-18 years who are placed in n++place of safetyn++, will assist in proper review of the progress of the child and also ensure children are provided with adequate services for their rehabilitation. Several other forms related to periodic report by probation officer, case monitoring sheet, Comprehensive psycho-social report, Rehabilitation card, etc. will go a long way in better understanding and implementation of the Act and Rules framed thereunder.

The Ministry constituted a multi-disciplinary Committee to draft the model rules. The committee comprised of a Senior Judge and advocates, members of Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee, representatives of State Governments, representatives of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, mental health expert, and civil society organizations, all working in the field of child protection. After a comprehensive review of the Draft Rules by the Ministry, these are being released. Thereafter, Adoption Regulations and Model Foster Care Guidelines under the JJ Act, 2015 will also be placed in public domain shortly.

The Draft Rules are also being placed on the website of the Ministry for inviting suggestions /comments from the Civil Society Organisations, Non-Government Organizations, Individuals, State Governments/UT administrations and Ministries concerned. Comments are to be sent to the Ministry at email id within 15 days starting from 25 May 2016.

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Govt to offer incentives to young Start-ups: Dr Jitendra Singh
May 26,2016

On the completion of two years of completion of the NDA Government, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said here that Government will offer incentives to young Start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Addressing a meeting of the Department of Youth Affairs, Dr Jitendra Singh said that, since by coincidence he simultaneously holds the charge of both Northeast as well as Youth Affairs, he will try to coordinate between the two Ministries to supplement each others efforts for encouraging youth from all over the country to set up entrepreneurship in Northeast. Since Northeast has huge unexplored potential for organic products, he said, on behalf of the DoNER Ministry, it has been decided to create a n++Venture Capital Fundn++ for any youth who decides to initiate an enterprise in that region.

Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that during the launch of Start-up India initiative on 16th January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced some of the most incredible incentives including the provision of exit period of 3 months during which a youngster will have the option to decide whether to go ahead or to switch over to other alternative option. In addition, Start-up India programme also provides for a tax holiday for initial period, he said and suggested that the Youth Affairs Ministry should hold country-wide awareness camps and workshops to make the youngsters aware of all these provisions.

While the Ministry of DoNER will provide n++Venture Capital Fundn++ for Startups venturing in Northeast, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Department of Youth Affairs will provide added support through its establishments like Nehru Yuva Kendra and other youth centres.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Department of Youth Affairs has assumed special significance in todays 2016 India because more than 60% of countrys population is below the age of 35 years. The Start-up India Mission will be led by the youth of the country who will finally usher India into a world power in the next few years.

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