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Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Technologies for Information Security in 2016
Jun 20,2016

Gartner, Inc. highlighted the top 10 technologies for information security and their implications for security organizations in 2016.

Information security teams and infrastructure must adapt to support emerging digital business requirements, and simultaneously deal with the increasingly advanced threat environment, said Neil MacDonald, vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow Emeritus. Security and risk leaders need to fully engage with the latest technology trends if they are to define, achieve and maintain effective security and risk management programs that simultaneously enable digital business opportunities and manage risk.

The top 10 technologies for information security are:

Cloud Access Security Brokers

Cloud access security brokers (CASBs) provide information security professionals with a critical control point for the secure and compliant use of cloud services across multiple cloud providers. Many software as a service (SaaS) apps have limited visibility and control options; however, SaaS adoption is becoming pervasive in enterprises, which exacerbates the frustration of security teams looking for visibility and control. CASB solutions fill many of the gaps in individual cloud services, and allow chief information security officers (CISOs) to do it simultaneously across a growing set of cloud services, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) providers. As such, CASBs address a critical CISO requirement to set policy, monitor behavior and manage risk across the entire set of enterprise cloud services being consumed.

Endpoint Detection and Response

The market for endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions is expanding quickly in response to the need for more effective endpoint protection and the emerging imperative to detect potential breaches and react faster. EDR tools typically record numerous endpoint and network events, and store this information either locally on the endpoint or in a centralized database. Databases of known indicators of compromise (IOC), behavior analytics and machine-learning techniques are then used to continuously search the data for the early identification of breaches (including insider threats), and to rapidly respond to those attacks.

Nonsignature Approaches for Endpoint Prevention

Purely signature-based approaches for malware prevention are ineffective against advanced and targeted attacks. Multiple techniques are emerging that augment traditional signature-based approaches, including memory protection and exploit prevention that prevent the common ways that malware gets onto systems, and machine learning-based malware prevention using mathematical models as an alternative to signatures for malware identification and blocking.

User and Entity Behavioral Analytics

User and entity behavioral analytics (UEBA) enables broad-scope security analytics, much like security information and event management (SIEM) enables broad-scope security monitoring. UEBA provides user-centric analytics around user behavior, but also around other entities such as endpoints, networks and applications. The correlation of the analyses across various entities makes the analytics results more accurate and threat detection more effective.

Microsegmentation and Flow Visibility

Once attackers have gained a foothold in enterprise systems, they typically can move unimpeded laterally (east/west) to other systems. To address this, there is an emerging requirement for microsegmentation (more granular segmentation) of east/west traffic in enterprise networks. In addition, several of the solutions provide visibility and monitoring of the communication flows. Visualization tools enable operations and security administrators to understand flow patterns, set segmentation policies and monitor for deviations. Finally, several vendors offer optional encryption of the network traffic (typically, point-to-point IPsec tunnels) between workloads for the protection of data in motion, and provide cryptographic isolation between workloads.

Security Testing for DevOps (DevSecOps)

Security needs to become an integral part of DevOps style workflows n++ DevSecOps. DevSecOps operating models are emerging that use scripts, recipes, blueprints and templates to drive the underlying configuration of security infrastructure n++ including security policies such as application testing during development or network connectivity at runtime. In addition, several solutions perform automatic security scanning for vulnerabilities during the development process looking for known vulnerabilities before the system is released into production. Whether security is driven from models, blueprints, templates or toolchains, the concept and the desired outcome are the same n++ an automated, transparent and compliant configuration of the underlying security infrastructure based on policy reflecting the currently deployed state of the workloads.

Intelligence-Driven Security Operations Center Orchestration Solutions

An intelligence-driven security operations center (SOC) goes beyond preventative technologies and the perimeter, and events-based monitoring. An intelligence-driven SOC has to be built for intelligence, and used to inform every aspect of security operations. To meet the challenges of the new detection and response paradigm, an intelligence-driven SOC also needs to move beyond traditional defenses, with an adaptive architecture and context-aware components. To support these required changes in information security programs, the traditional SOC must evolve to become the intelligence-driven SOC (ISOC) with automation and orchestration of SOC processes being a key enabler.

Remote Browser

Most attacks start by targeting end-users with malware delivered via email, URLs or malicious websites. An emerging approach to address this risk is to remotely present the browser session from a browser server (typically Linux based) running on-premises or delivered as a cloud-based service. By isolating the browsing function from the rest of the endpoint and corporate network, malware is kept off of the end-users system and the enterprise has significantly reduced the surface area for attack by shifting the risk of attack to the server sessions, which can be reset to a known good state on every new browsing session, tab opened or URL accessed.

Deception

Deception technologies are defined by the use of deceits and/or tricks designed to thwart, or throw off, an attackers cognitive processes, disrupt an attackers automation tools, delay an attackers activities or disrupt breach progression. For example, deception capabilities create fake vulnerabilities, systems, shares and cookies. If an attacker tries to attack these fake resources, it is a strong indicator that an attack is in progress, as a legitimate user should not see or try to access these resources. Deception technologies are emerging for network, application, endpoint and data, with the best systems combing multiple techniques. By 2018, Gartner predicts that 10 percent of enterprises will use deception tools and tactics, and actively participate in deception operations against attackers.

Pervasive Trust Services

As enterprise security departments are asked to extend their protection capabilities to operational technology and the Internet of Things, new security models must emerge to provision and manage trust at scale. Trust services are designed to scale and support the needs of billions of devices, many with limited processing capability. Enterprises looking for larger-scale, distributed trust or consensus-based services should focus on trust services that include secure provisioning, data integrity, confidentiality, device identity and authentication. Some leading-edge approaches use distributed trust and blockchain-like architectures to manage distributed trust and data integrity at a large scale.

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Manufacturing and Services, Urban Consumption Keep Indian Economy on Growth Path
Jun 20,2016

The Indian economy will continue to post robust growth in the coming years, says the latest India Development Update of the World Bank. The Update also reviews the current challenges in Indias financial sector and analyzes some of the impacts of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission on Indian states.

According to the Update, Indias economy expanded at a faster pace in financial year (FY) 2016[1] even as a number of its growth engines stalled. Agriculture - having faced two consecutive drought years - rural household consumption, private investments, and exports have not performed to potential. The oil bonanza most directly benefited the government, which for the first time in five years exceeded its revenue collection targets and used the resources to contain the fiscal deficit, transfer more resources to states, and spend more on infrastructure. Capital spending by the central government was ramped up, its efforts amplified by state governments that had additional resources from larger fiscal devolution.

But it was urban households who were the main drivers of growth in FY 2016. The manufacturing and services sectors, which expanded 7.4 and 8.9 percent, respectively, also created urban jobs. Inflation abated, primarily because of lower food prices. Lower inflation raised real incomes, and allowed RBI to cut interest rates, which favored the financially-connected urban households.

To remain on this growth path and sustain growth at 7.6 percent into FY17, the challenge for the Indian economy is to activate the stalled engines - agricultural growth and rural demand; trade; and private investment, while ensuring that demand from urban households and public investments, what the Update describes as the working engines of the economy, do not run out of fuel. The dissipation of the large boost from historically low oil prices in the past year will make this a challenging task, but prospects of a normal monsoon will help, the Update suggests.

The Update, a twice yearly report on the Indian economy and its prospects, expects Indias economic growth to be at 7.6 percent in 2016-2017, followed by a modest acceleration to 7.7 percent in 2017-2018 and 7.8 percent in 2018-2019. Even while uncertainty about the momentum of growth is high and downside risks substantial, these risks can be balanced in the short run by the possible upside from a favorable monsoon, says the Update. According to the Update, the most significant near-and medium-term risks stem from the banking sector and its ability to finance private investment which continues to face several impediments in the form of excess global capacity, regulatory and policy challenges, in addition to corporate debt overhang.

n++There are good reasons for confidence in Indias near-term prospects. However, a pickup in investments is crucial to sustain economic growth in the longer term. The recently approved Bankruptcy Code is helpful in this regard, and once it is implemented it will help unleash the productivity that Indian firms need in order to create jobs and become globally competitive,n++ said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.

In less than three decades, Indias financial sector has evolved from an essentially state-controlled system toward one with greater participation of private banks and generally more competition. Banks currently have capital levels in excess of regulatory requirements, regulations have been strengthened, and overall credit growth in real terms has been resilient. On the other hand, concerns have arisen about growing non-performing assets (NPAs) and declining credit growth, particularly in public sector banks (PSBs).

The Update suggests two key reform fronts for the financial sector. First, accelerate the ongoing structural transformation of the sector toward one that is more market-oriented and competitive, for example by providing a roadmap for relaxing government mandates on banks. Second, address the NPA challenge, both by its branches (through recapitalization of PSBs and providing tools for banks to manage stressed assets), and its roots (through stronger governance of both commercial banks as well as the corporate sectors that have generated the largest share of NPAs).

n++Indias financial sector has performed well on many dimensions and can be a reliable pillar of future economic growth. However, accelerating structural reforms and addressing the non-performing asset (NPA) challenge remain urgent tasks,n++ said Frederico Gil Sander, Senior Country Economist and main author of the India Development Update.

Another significant step taken by the government has been the greater devolution of the spending power from the center to the states and local bodies, the Update says. States are now responsible for 57 percent of the spending, which accounts for 16 percent of GDP. Of this, nearly 74 percent of the funds are untied (compared to an average of 57 percent during the 13th Finance Commission period), allowing more flexibility to states.

An analysis of the FY17 budget documents of 20 states suggests all states gained following the implementation of the 14th FC recommendations in FY16, but the extent of gains varied significantly. Tax devolution increased everywhere, even for states that saw a reduction in their inter-state share, such as Bihar and Rajasthan. Overall, transfer of grants to states increased by 0.7 percent of GDP in FY16 compared to the budget estimate of a net increase of 0.5 percent.

Health and education expenditures increased in almost every state in FY16. Combined health and education expenditures increased in 13 of the 14 states for which data was available. Education expenditures generally increased more than health, likely on account of implementation of the Right to Education Act and as states allocated additional amounts to cover lower contributions from the centrally sponsored schemes. On average, states increased health and education expenditures by 0.4 percent of GSDP. Uttar Pradesh spent over one-third of its additional resources on health and education. Rajasthan and Kerala stand out as spending the equivalent of over 70 percent of additional resources on health, education, and infrastructure.

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Gartner Says IT Spending in the Banking and Securities Industry in the Mature APAC Region to Reach $22 Billion in 2016
Jun 20,2016

IT spending by banking and securities firms in the mature Asia/Pacific region will reach $22 billion dollars in 2016, a 0.47 percent increase from 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. This forecast includes spending on internal IT services (including personnel), IT services, software, data center technologies, devices and telecom services.

Gartner said the mature Asia/Pacific region consists of the following countries: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. In U.S. dollar terms, Singapore will have the highest growth rate in 2016 at 3.2 percent, followed by New Zealand at 1.3 percent.

Software will grow the fastest at 6.3 percent, as firms in the banking and securities industry invest more in online, mobile, analytics and data solutions. Solutions that help firms grow revenue on digital channels move up in priority. The banking and securities industry has increased attention to growth of the new financial technology (Fintech) market, leading to investments and partnerships.

There is a push towards using digital technologies to achieve revenue growth. This is not only in using online and mobile channels, but for better use of data and analytics across all channels, said Rajesh Kandaswamy, research director at Gartner.

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Major impetus to job creation and infrastructure: Radical changes in FDI policy regime; Most sectors on automatic route for FDI
Jun 20,2016

The Union Government has radically liberalized the FDI regime today, with the objective of providing major impetus to employment and job creation in India. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. This is the second major reform after the last radical changes announced in November 2015. Now most of the sectors would be under automatic approval route, except a small negative list. With these changes, India is now the most open economy in the world for FDI.

In last two years, Government has brought major FDI policy reforms in a number of sectors viz. Defence, Construction Development, Insurance, Pension Sector, Broadcasting Sector, Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Cardamom, Palm Oil Tree and Olive Oil Tree Plantations, Single Brand Retail Trading, Manufacturing Sector, Limited Liability Partnerships, Civil Aviation, Credit Information Companies, Satellites- establishment/operation and Asset Reconstruction Companies. Measures undertaken by the Government have resulted in increased FDI inflows at US$ 55.46 billion in financial year 2015-16, as against US$ 36.04 billion during the financial year 2013-14. This is the highest ever FDI inflow for a particular financial year. However, it is felt that the country has potential to attract far more foreign investment which can be achieved by further liberalizing and simplifying the FDI regime. India today has been rated as Number 1 FDI Investment Destination by several International Agencies.

Accordingly the Government has decided to introduce a number of amendments in the FDI Policy. Changes introduced in the policy include increase in sectoral caps, bringing more activities under automatic route and easing of conditionalities for foreign investment. These amendments seek to further simplify the regulations governing FDI in the country and make India an attractive destination for foreign investors. Details of these changes are given in the following paragraphs:

1. Radical Changes for promoting Food Products manufactured/produced in India

It has now been decided to permit 100% FDI under government approval route for trading, including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India.

2. Foreign Investment in Defence Sector up to 100%

Present FDI regime permits 49% FDI participation in the equity of a company under automatic route. FDI above 49% is permitted through Government approval on case to case basis, wherever it is likely to result in access to modern and state-of-art technology in the country. In this regard, the following changes have inter-alia been brought in the FDI policy on this sector:

i. Foreign investment beyond 49% has now been permitted through government approval route, in cases resulting in access to modern technology in the country or for other reasons to be recorded. The condition of access to state-of-art technology in the country has been done away with.

ii. FDI limit for defence sector has also been made applicable to Manufacturing of Small Arms and Ammunitions covered under Arms Act 1959.

3. Review of Entry Routes in Broadcasting Carriage Services

FDI policy on Broadcasting carriage services has also been amended. New sectoral caps and entry routes are as under:

Sector/ActivityNew Cap and Route

5.2.7.1.1

(1)Teleports(setting up of up-linking HUBs/Teleports);

(2)Direct to Home (DTH);

(3)Cable Networks (Multi System operators (MSOs) operating at National or State or District level and undertaking upgradation of networks towards digitalization and addressability);

(4)Mobile TV;

(5)Headend-in-the Sky Broadcasting Service(HITS)

100%

 

Automatic

5.2.7.1.2 Cable Networks (Other MSOs not undertaking upgradation of networks towards digitalization and addressability and Local Cable Operators (LCOs))Infusion of fresh foreign investment, beyond 49% in a company not seeking license/permission from sectoral Ministry, resulting in change in the ownership pattern or transfer of stake by existing investor to new foreign investor, will require FIPB approval

4. Pharmaceutical

The extant FDI policy on pharmaceutical sector provides for 100% FDI under automatic route in greenfield pharma and FDI up to 100% under government approval in brownfield pharma. With the objective of promoting the development of this sector, it has been decided to permit up to 74% FDI under automatic route in brownfield pharmaceuticals and government approval route beyond 74% will continue.

5. Civil Aviation Sector

(i) The extant FDI policy on Airports permits 100% FDI under automatic route in Greenfield Projects and 74% FDI in Brownfield Projects under automatic route. FDI beyond 74% for Brownfield Projects is under government route.

(ii) With a view to aid in modernization of the existing airports to establish a high standard and help ease the pressure on the existing airports, it has been decided to permit 100% FDI under automatic route in Brownfield Airport projects.

(iii) As per the present FDI policy, foreign investment up to 49% is allowed under automatic route in Scheduled Air Transport Service/ Domestic Scheduled Passenger Airline and regional Air Transport Service. It has now been decided to raise this limit to 100%, with FDI up to 49% permitted under automatic route and FDI beyond 49% through Government approval. For NRIs, 100% FDI will continue to be allowed under automatic route. However, foreign airlines would continue to be allowed to invest in capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air-transport services up to the limit of 49% of their paid up capital and subject to the laid down conditions in the existing policy.

6. Private Security Agencies

The extant policy permits 49% FDI under government approval route in Private Security Agencies. FDI up to 49% is now permitted under automatic route in this sector and FDI beyond 49% and up to 74% would be permitted with government approval route.

7. Establishment of branch office, liaison office or project office

For establishment of branch office, liaison office or project office or any other place of business in India if the principal business of the applicant is Defence, Telecom, Private Security or Information and Broadcasting, it has been decided that approval of Reserve Bank of India or separate security clearance would not be required in cases where FIPB approval or license/permission by the concerned Ministry/Regulator has already been granted.

8. Animal Husbandry

As per FDI Policy 2016, FDI in Animal Husbandry (including breeding of dogs), Pisciculture, Aquaculture and Apiculture is allowed 100% under Automatic Route under controlled conditions. It has been decided to do away with this requirement of controlled conditions for FDI in these activities.

9. Single Brand Retail Trading

It has now been decided to relax local sourcing norms up to three years and a relaxed sourcing regime for another five years for entities undertaking Single Brand Retail Trading of products having state-of-art and cutting edge technology.

Todays amendments to the FDI Policy are meant to liberalise and simplify the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in the country leading to larger FDI inflows contributing to growth of investment, incomes and employment.

Powe

Gartner Says Government IT Spending in India to Reach $7 Billion in 2016
Jun 20,2016

The government in India will spend $7 billion US Dollars (USD) on IT products and services in 2016, an increase of 3.1 percent over 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. This forecast includes spending on internal services, software, IT services, data center, devices and telecom services. Government comprises state and local governments and national government.

IT services (which includes consulting, software support, business process outsourcing, IT outsourcing, implementation, and hardware support) is expected to grow 8.8 percent in 2016 to reach $1.6 billion USD - with the business process outsourcing sub-segment growing by 22 percent.

Telecom services will be a $1.5 billion USD market, with the mobile network services sub-segment recording the fastest growth of 3.5 percent in 2016 to reach $793 million USD.

Government spending on software will total $938 million USD in 2016, a 9.9 percent increase from 2015, said Moutusi Sau principal research analyst at Gartner. The software market will be led by growth in infrastructure.

Internal services will growth 5.8 percent in 2016 to reach $1.5 billion USD. Internal services refer to salaries and benefits paid to the information services staff of an organization. The information services staff includes all company employees that plan, develop, implement and maintain information systems.

The Digital India initiative continues to be drive investments in the government, led by access of government services on mobile devices (part of the mobile government), and expansion on broadband services, said Ms. Sau.

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No Fee for MSME Registration
Jun 20,2016

Ministry of MSME has clarified, that Udyog Aadhar Memorandum is the only form of registration for MSMEs in India and there is no fee for the registration. This has been clarified in view of some complaints received by the ministry, regarding fee charged by certain agencies for facilitating the registration.

It may be pointed out that filling of Udyog Aadhar Memorandum can be done only on the portal http://www.udyogaadharmemorandum.gov.in created by the Ministry. There is no fee charged for this purpose. The filling process is simple and the entrepreneurs can register without seeking any third party assistance. If required, assistance can be sought from the General Manager of their respective District Industries Centre for filing their Udyog Aadhar Memorandum.

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142 villages electrified last week ; 8,384 villages electrified till date under DDUGJY
Jun 20,2016

142 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 13th to 19 th June 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY). Out of these electrified villages, 6 villages belong to Arunachal Pradesh , 80 in Assam, 16 in Jharkhand, 15 in Meghalaya ,5 in Rajasthan , 8 in Odisha, 3 in Uttar Pradesh, 5 in Bihar, 2 in Karnataka, 1 each in Chhattisgarh, and Himachal Pradesh.

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Ind-Ra: CAD Seen Higher at 1.3%-1.5% of GDP for FY17
Jun 20,2016

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has revised its FY17 estimate for current account deficit (CAD) to 1.3%-1.5% of GDP from 1.2%. This is based on the lower remittances and lower software earnings seen in 4QFY16.

CAD came in marginally lower at 1.1% of GDP in FY16 than Ind-Ras expectation of 1.2%.It narrowed to USD22.1bn in FY16 as against USD26.8bn in FY15 primarily led by a contraction in the trade deficit to USD130.1bn from USD144.9bn. CAD for 4QFY16 came in at USD0.3bn (0.1% of GDP), sequentially lower than USD7.1bn (1.3% of GDP) in 3QFY16, and also marginally lower than USD0.7bn (0.1% of GDP) in 4QFY15.

A low CAD suggests stability on the external front. However, there are two sides to a lower CAD for an economy like India that is reliant on private transfers, mainly remittances, and services exports to maintain a healthy and sustainable current account position. On one side, the low crude prices and collapse in the global prices of commodities have resulted in a lower trade deficit. On the other side, oil-rich economies in the Middle East have suffered due to low oil prices, which impacted the remittances of workers working overseas. Remittances or private transfers declined to USD63.1bn in FY16 from USD65.5bn in FY15. On a quarterly basis, private transfers declined to USD15.2bn in 4QFY16, which is the lowest since 1QFY12. Services exports declined to USD69.7bn in FY16 from USD76.5bn in FY15. Within services, software services sequentially declined to USD17.3bn in 4QFY16, which is a lower level than in the previous three quarters of FY16 although it has held up on a yearly basis (FY16: USD71.5bn; FY15: USD70.4bn).

On the whole, India appears to be a net beneficiary of low oil prices despite low services and merchandise exports. The import of crude petroleum and its products declined to USD52.4bn in FY16 from USD81.5bn. Ind-Ra believes sluggish global growth and weakness in prices will continue to impact exports growth, while weak domestic demand will keep a check on imports growth.

Net foreign direct investment inflows increased to USD36bn in FY16 from INR32.6bn in the previous year. However, sequentially net foreign direct investment inflows declined to USD8.8bn in 4QFY16 from USD10.7bn in the previous quarter. Net portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of USD4.1bn in FY16 (net inflow of USD41bn in FY15). In 4QFY16, portfolio investment outflow was USD1.5bn mainly due to debt outflows of USD970m.

The forex reserves increased by USD17.9bn in FY16, which is much lower than the USD61.4bn accretion to forex reserves registered in FY15. In 4QFY16, the accretion to forex reserves was lower at USD3.3bn than the USD4.1bn in the previous quarter and USD30.1bn in 4QFY15.

In the past, net inflow in the capital account has been the saviour of a high CAD. However, a closer look at the 4QFY16 numbers suggests that capital account surplus in 4QFY16 was the lowest since 2QFY14. Foreign currency non-resident deposits maturity starting from September 2016 is likely to put further pressure on the overall capital account, but given the forex reserve and the Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) advance planning, it is unlikely to be disruptive.

The rupee will be mostly supported by the comfortable current account gap in FY17. As the concern from US Federal Reserves action has mostly been alleviated, the scope for an uptick in domestic growth and global risk appetite will determine the rupee trajectory. In the near term, UKs referendum will be critical, and Brexit can cause major instability in the global currency market. Nonetheless, Ind-Ra expects the rupee to remain stable due to a steady domestic macroeconomic environment.

From the bond market perspective, embryonic forex flows may be fruitful. With limited scope for a considerable improvement in portfolio flows, open market operations purchase will remain the preferred option for RBI to keep systemic liquidity at ease. In the current conjecture, with the least visibility of any rate action by RBI, incremental open market operations purchase could be the major determinant of the bond market performance henceforth.

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Overall Business Confidence Index increases by 7 points...however caution still underlines the mood of India Inc.
Jun 20,2016

The results of FICCIs latest Business Confidence Survey indicate an improvement in the confidence levels of members of India Inc. The Overall Business Confidence Index was seven notches higher at 64.3 in the present round, vis-n++-vis the value of 56.7 in the last round. This comes on the back of an improvement noted in both Current Conditions Index and Expectations Index. The proportion of respondents citing a moderately to substantially better performance vis-n++-vis last six months noted an increase at all the three levels - economy, industry and firm level. Also in the current round, participants seemed more positive about the near term prospects.

The Indian economy has moved into a zone of stability with key economic parameters strengthening. The reform process initiated by the Government has been noteworthy. The efforts made towards providing a conducive business environment have started yielding results and have improved the overall business sentiment.

However, what remains a concern is muted recovery in the industrial sector. The manufacturing growth numbers have not been very encouraging and the same is reflected in the financials of the companies as well. The latest survey results indicate not much improvement in the operational parameters of the companies. While the outlook with regard to parameters like sales, exports and employment did note an improvement; the respondents didnt seem optimistic about investment prospects and improvement in profit levels.

About 35% respondents said that they expect higher investments over the period April-September 2016, vis-n++-vis 41% stating likewise in the previous round. The companies remain cautious about undertaking fresh investments and about 46% respondents said that they foresee no change in investment levels.

Also, given the slew of measures undertaken in about past two years to kick start investments, the respondents were asked to indicate if they have witnessed any improvement in investment activity in and around their area of operation - and a majority of them said that they are yet to see investment fructifying. Amidst those who indicated that investments are taking place reported activity mostly in infrastructure projects including roads and highways, railways, renewable energy and defence.

With regard to sales prospects, respondents anticipated an improvement in the performance. About 58% of the participating companies said that they foresee higher sales over the coming six months. In the previous survey, 48% companies had reported the same. The anticipated pickup in sales despite investment intentions remaining subdued indicates companies looking at rolling out unutilized capacity. About 54% of the participants in the current survey reported a capacity utilization of more than 75%, in the last round the corresponding figure was 30%.

Weak demand has been one of the key constraining factors for businesses. The demand conditions have not been very favorable with both global and domestic factors at play. The global economy is still not in recovery mode and growth remains scattered. Further, two consecutive years of drought has impacted the domestic demand adversely, especially in the rural segment. In fact, in the current round about 64% of the participants indicated demand situation to be worrisome. Nonetheless, forecast of a normal monsoon is expected to bring in some improvement in the domestic demand situation.

Further, 32% of respondents in the latest round reported that they would consider hiring more people in the coming six months; the corresponding number in the last round was 23%. However, still a majority 61% of the participants did not foresee any fresh hiring over the near term.

A marginal improvement was noted in the proportion of respondents expecting higher exports over the near term. However, the global economic situation remains fragile and any firm recovery remains elusive. Thus external situation will continue to pose a challenge over the near term and would take some more time to strengthen.

With respect to the credit, the situation seems to have improved with a decline noted in the proportion of respondents citing availability and cost of credit as constraining factors. The Reserve Bank of India has cut the repo rate by 150 bps since January 2015. The transmission through banks is expected to improve with the recent reduction in small savings interest rate as well as the introduction of the marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR).

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Companies are adding yoga at workplace to boost productivity: ASSOCHAM survey
Jun 20,2016

Over 53% of the corporate companies are opting for yoga sessions in workplace to boost productivity, reduce sick days, increase mental clarity, combat fatigue, improve memory, fight stress and increase workplace satisfaction, an ASSOCHAM paper coinciding with the n++International Yoga Dayn++ (June 21) noted.

As per the ASSOCHAM recent estimates, there is about a 35 percent annual increase in demand for yoga learning in India with a growing publicity and health awareness. This demand trend will accelerate further to become multi-billion dollar market in the form of health clinics, ayurveda resorts, holiday camps, corporate training etc, conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) paper on n++International Yoga Dayn++.

The number of employee from the corporate world who seek yoga classes have gone up by about 35-40% this year compared with last year (20%), said Dr. B K Rao, Chairman of ASSOCHAM Health Committee Council. Many B-Schools are also taking the lead from corporate to have compulsory yoga modules to minimize the stress of the candidates.

According to the findings, nearly 53% of corporate companies are participating in yoga sessions in their offices as stress management activities and many individuals are also opting for personalized yoga classes at home. The corporate industry is looking to promote healthier practices for their employees to boost productivity, adds the survey.

Increasingly demanding schedules and high stress levels are leading to depression or general anxiety disorders in individual lives and have wide ranging effects like daytime fatigue, physical discomfort, psychological stress, performance deterioration and increased absenteeism. Almost 60 to 65% of executives are suffering from stress-related diseases, said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM while releasing the survey.

ASSOCHAM Co-Chairman of Health Committee Council Dr. H K Chopra said, n++Yoga helps people to think clearly, sharpens intelligence, improves learning ability, helps cope with problems and produces better job performancen++. Having yoga in the workplace offers a convenient way for employees to have a balanced life and to fit a workout in, without having to leave the premises.

As per ASSOCHAMs corporate employees survey result, around 45.5% of the sample population are suffering from depression or general anxiety. Obesity is the second hard hit disease that was observed among the respondents, with 23% of the sample corporate employees suffering from obesity alone can modify occupational morbidity, mortality and injury risks that can further affect workplace absence, disability, productivity and healthcare costs. High blood pressure (B.P) and diabetes are the third and fourth largest disease with a share of 9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively as suffered among the corporate employees. Spondolysis (5.5 per cent), heart disease (4 per cent), cervical (3.0 per cent), asthma (2.5 per cent), slip disk (1 per cent) and arthritis (1.5 per cent) are the diseases that are mostly suffered by corporate employees.

The following statistics are sad and shocking, nearly 40.5% of corporate employees sleep less than 6 hours in a day due to high stressed levels that arise out of tough targets set for themselves by employers and cause diseases like depression, hypertension, sugar etc.,

The demand for yoga instructors has increased in the last one year. The increase in awareness on yoga is helping the market grow. In India, a yoga instructor, can earn between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 60,000 a month, adds the paper.

Yoga is not only the greatest stress buster, but it is also an effective therapy option. It prevents and cures diseases and promotes general good health as it imparts mental, spiritual, and physical well being, said Dr. Rao.

As per the findings, Yoga sessions are introduced for an hour daily, from Monday to Friday, or for three days a week, depending on the employees requirements. The benefits of a workplace wellness program, improve presenteeism, Control/reduces escalating health care costs, improve productivity, increases employee loyalty and reduces attrition rate, employees leading healthy lifestyles tend to take lower sick leaves with improved work performance and increased productivity that reduces overall costs of the organisation.

The report is based on the views of 1,500 corporate employees from 250 companies across 18 broad sectors like media, telecom and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) etc.

The report included the major cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabd, Pune, Chandigarh, Dehradun etc. A little over 200 employee were selected from each city on an average.

Around 55 per cent of the survey respondents fall under the age bracket of 20-29 years, followed by 30-39 years (26 per cent), 40-49 years (16 per cent), 50-59 years (2 per cent) and 60-69 years (approximately 1 per cent). The survey was able to target corporate employees from 18 broad sectors, with maximum share contributed by employees from IT/ITes sector (17 per cent).

Employees working in engineering and telecom sector contributed 9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively in the questionnaire. Nearly 6 per cent of the employees belonged from market research/KPO and media background each. Management, FMCG and Infrastructure sector employees share is 5 per cent each, in the total survey. Respondents from power and real estate sector contributed 4 per cent each. Employees from education and food & beverages sector provided a share of 3 per cent each. Advertising, manufacturing and textiles employees offered a share of 2 per cent each in the survey results.

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Workshop on Ways to Promote Water Transportation
Jun 20,2016

The Ministry of Shipping is organizing a workshop with various stakeholders and industry representatives on 20th June 2016 to discuss ways and means to promote water transportation and make it competitive to roads and railways transportation.

The waterways mode of transportation is fuel-efficient, environment - friendly, and capable of easing traffic congestion on roads and railways thus preventing loss of human lives due to accidents. The Government of India is committed to promote coastal shipping and inland waterways transportation and has envisioned the increasing of the share of waterways transportation mode from the present level of 7% to 10% by 2020.

To optimize utilization of waterways as a transportation mode many important steps have already been taken, which include (i) moderating manning and technical requirements for vessels operating within Indian territorial waters through a river sea vessel notification; (ii) declaring the inland vessel limits for facilitating coastal trade operations; (iii) issuing coastal shipping rules for coastal vessels operating within 20 miles off the coast; (iv) advising major ports to introduce green channel for coastal cargo, priority berthing for coastal vessels and construction of exclusive coastal berths; (v) exempting customs and Central Excise duty on bunker fuels (IFO 180 and IFO 380 CST) for use by coastal vessels carrying EXIM cargo or empty containers or domestic cargo between two ports, in India; (vi) bringing abatement of service tax at 70% for coastal shipping at par with road and rail; (vii) simplification of customs procedures, etc.

To provide thrust to the transportation of automobile cargo through waterways, apart from relaxing cabotage for Roll-on-Roll-off vessels, the wharfage charges on per unit basis, instead of on ad volarem basis, have been introduced for major ports and tariff is prescribed at concessional rates for Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) vessels on coastal voyage for transporting cars from one Indian port to another Indian Port.

As a step towards finalizing the operationalization of the above initiatives, the workshop is being organized with participation of Indian Waterways Authority of India, Director General of Shipping, INSA, ICCSA, logistics companies and freight forwarders and other stakeholders to seek their views on modal shift of cargo transportation to coastal shipping and waterways, and to remove impediments and make water transportation competitive.

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Textiles Minister dedicates five Solarised Community Centres and 100 Shelter Homes for benefit of wool growers in Ladakh
Jun 18,2016

The Union Textiles Minister Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar dedicated five Solarised Community Centre and 100 shelter homes for the benefit of the nomads (wool-growers) involved in Pashmina sheep rearing, in very hard conditions; in Ladakh region.

The Minister, while interacting with the nomads announced that all other kinds of help in respect of marketing of raw pashmina and linking pashmina products with tourism would be facilitated by Government of India.

The Minister also informed that during the last two years, animal productivity (average pashmina yield) has gone up by 9.30%. He said that mortality of livestock has come down and critical rural infrastructure has been created under the scheme during this period, in remote and nomadic areas, situated mostly in border areas. Shri Gangwar noted that the health and body weight of animals have improved, socio-economic status of Pashmina breeders has improved and returns from Pashmina wool have gone up. The Minister said that Pashmina development schemes have ultimately resulted in increase profitability to herders engaged in Pashmina goat rearing, making it extremely popular among the livestock-rearing nomads of the Ladakh region.

Background

Honble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to Leh on 12th August, 2014, announced Pashmina Promotion Programme (P-3) with additional financial assistance of Rs. 30 crore for improving quality and quantity of pashmina wool as well as living standards of nomads (wool growers) of Ladakh region.

Consequently, the Ministry of Textiles developed the Pashmina Promotion Programme (P-3) for these purposes, which was launched by Honble Minister of State for Textiles (Independent Charge), Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar in October 2014; the Minister also laid the foundation stone for a Pashmina Dehairing Plant building at Leh on the occasion.

Under this Programme, financial assistance is being provided under different components like Creation of Common Pashmina Facilitation Centre for Wool testing, Disease Surveillance Centre, Geographic Information System (GIS) Lab, Shelter for Nomads, Portable Electric Units for Handloom Spinning/Weaving, Solarised Community Centres, Open Fodder enclosures, Distribution of Foundation Stock (male & female goats) to farmers and construction of Shelter for Housing of Pashmina animals.

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Innovative Approach, Passion, Patience And Element Of Luck Make An Entrappers: MD, Harvest Gold At PHD Chamber
Jun 18,2016

Managing Director, Harvest Gold Industries Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Adil Hassan on Wednesday suggested innovative approach coupled with passion and patience as significant milestones to turn to be entrepreneurs without inheritance of business background.

Delivering his CEO Talk, organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry at its Young Business Leaders Forum, Mr. Hassan tendered an advice to aspiring entrepreneurs to take calculative risk, especially in choosing partners as your association with them can make and mar your business prospects.

He also emphasised that innovative approach with passion and patience should have sufficient support of the element of luck to make your business grow and expand in the absence of which, the business and even the best of entrepreneurial skills could collapse.

Entrepreneurial talent and skills make and motivate the aspiring business start-ups work for 24x7 as in modern businesses the calculative risks pay off rich dividends to those who have the capacity to work consistently without any break.

In his welcome remarks, Vice President, PHD Chamber, Mr. Anil Khaitan emphasised saying that the aspiring business lot need to be fearless to cut the mountains and face business challenges with fortitude and capacity to think differently.

Secretary General, PHD Chamber, Mr. Saurabh Sanyal praised the quality and precision with which the Harvest bread is made and attributed its success to the best quality processes that the product goes through the various value engineering and product processes.

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Launch of Korea Plus
Jun 18,2016

The Commerce & Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and Mr. Joo Hyunghwan, the Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy, Government of the Republic of Korea, today, launched Korea Plus, a special initiative to promote and facilitate Korean Investments in India.

An MOU for establishing Korea Plus was earlier signed between the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Govt. of the Republic of Korea and Invest India, the National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency of India in January 2016. This MOU came as an outcome of the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to South Korea in May 2015.

The launch took place in the presence of Mr. Cho Hyun, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India, officials of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Invest India team and several Korean Business delegates.

Korea Plus, operationalized on June 18, 2016 comprises of a representative from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Energy, Government of the Republic of Korea and representative from Korea Trade Investment and Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and three representatives from Invest India.

The mandate of Korea Plus covers the entire investment spectrum including supporting Korean enterprises entering the Indian market for the first time, looking into issues faced by Korean companies doing business in India and policy advocacy to the Indian Government on their behalf. Korea Plus will act as a mediator in arranging meetings, assisting in public relations and research/evaluation and provide information and counselling in regard to Korean companies investing in India.

India and the Republic of Korea relations have made great strides in recent years and Korea Plus will act as a catalyst in making these relations even more robust.

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All States Agree to Provide Power to all Households in 18452 villages by May 2017
Jun 18,2016

The Union Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, Shri Piyush Goyal has said that all the states have resolved to provide 24x7 power for all by March 2019 or earlier in their respective states. Further all states, except LWE affected, have also resolved to electrify all remaining unelectrified villages by 31st December 2016 and states will award contracts in the next 30 days for this work. Announcing this at a press conference at the state Power Ministers Conference, Shri Goyal said that states also agreed for providing 100 percent power to all households in 18452 villages in the country in a mission mode by 1st May 2017.The participating states also resolved to ensure that operational and financial milestones in the MOU for UDAY would also be implemented. In a landmark decision all states resolved to procure henceforth only Smart Meters which are tamper proof and communication enabled. The Minister said the cost of these smart meters has been brought down by 60 percent from Rs 8000 to Rs 3223 as a result of central procurement and the endeavor is to go for only such meters in the future for 25 crore consumers in the country.

The Minister also announced that one 4 digit all India number 1912 has been started for consumer complaints across the country. Sharing the outcome of the 2 day meeting, he said it was a successful fruitful dialogue over two days and everyone worked in service of the poor and farmers in a cooperative and collaborative manner demonstrating the strength of our democracy. Shri Goyal said the meeting disproved the notion that different political interests cannot bring about commonality of a purpose. The meeting also discussed Hydro power policy and sought to work out ways of reviving small (25 MW or less) stalled hydro projects with cooperation from the states to provide new thrust to the hydro sector. He said a committee for this has been set up which will submit its recommendations by 30th September 2016.

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