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Governments need to implement more ambitious policies to address the global challenges facing agriculture, notably a shift away from direct support to farmers towards greater assistance for innovation systems that will improve productivity and sustainability, according to a new OECD report.
Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2016 finds that support to producers in OECD countries has roughly halved in intensity over the past 30 years, and now amounts to 17% of gross farm receipts. Average support levels in the emerging economies have increased from very low or even negative levels, to approach the average level of OECD countries.
The averages mask widely divergent levels of support across the countries:
n++Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Ukraine, the United States, and Viet Nam have support levels below - in some cases well below - the OECD average.
n++Support levels in the European Union (as a whole), the Russian Federation and Turkey are roughly at the OECD average, while China is just slightly higher.
n++Support levels in Indonesia are much higher, but still well below the highest levels of support provided by Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway and Switzerland.
Together, the 50 countries covered in this years report provided an annual average of USD 585 billion (EUR 469 billion) of support to their agricultural producers in the years 2013-15, and an additional USD 87 billion (EUR 69 billion) on general services supporting the sector.
The report shows that gradual progress has been made across the OECD in moving away from potentially distortionary policy instruments such as price support and input subsidies towards policies that do not directly influence farm production decisions. This has occurred to different degrees and at different speeds, with changes particularly slow in the group of countries with the highest levels of support and protection.
In parallel, some emerging economies are shown to be moving in the opposite direction, increasing the use of price and production-linked support policies. On average, 68% of support to farmers in countries studied was provided in the form of market price support, payments based on output or on input use without constraints. These measures distort production decisions and can significantly distort markets and trade.
The OECD points out the need for a reorientation of current food and agriculture policies, with a particular shift in the focus of farm policies to address the emerging opportunities and challenges confronting the sector: improving productivity growth, sustainable use of natural resources and resilience of farm households.
Investments in people - education, skills, and in some cases health services - as well as those in strategic physical infrastructure and agricultural innovation systems that are responsive to the needs of producers and consumers are required. Less public expenditure should be spent on direct support to farms, especially in the forms of support that are the most production and trade distortive, like market price support, payments based on output and input use, the OECD said.
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While global markets gear up ahead of the United Kingdoms European Union referendum decision, the Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) governor Dr Raghuram Rajans decision to not continue for a second term will send jitters in domestic markets, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). The rupee is likely to stay on the backfoot, on account of renewed volatility and is likely to trade in the range of 67.10/USD-67.85/USD this week (67.09/USD at close on 17 June 2016). The bond market too is unlikely to cheer the governors announcement and may trade in the range of 7.50%-7.58% this week (7.50% at close on 17 June 2016).
Rethinking of the Rate Outlook: The week started with the exit announcement of the RBI governor Dr Rajan. On the other hand, the United Kingdoms future with the European Union will be decided by the end of this week. The agency believes the forming of the monetary policy committee in coming months will further strengthen the sustainability of the policy stance of an institution over its leader. In this context, Ind-Ra expects initial nervousness in the market to settle down in the course of the week.
Rupee to Take a Knock: Dr. Rajan was at the helm of steering the rupee amid extreme volatility in the 2013 taper episode. His effective resignation could therefore push the currency on the backfoot as an immediate reaction. Ind-Ra believes that while the exit in itself may not trigger major incremental portfolio outflows, the medium-term impact would be more pronounced. At the same time, investors will also be concerned over the management of the upcoming redemption of the FCNR B deposits, against the backdrop of a regime shift at the RBI.
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A total of 14,00,740 antiquities have been documented and Data of 3.15 lakhs of Built Heritage & Sites (BH&S) and antiquities has been uploaded on National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA) website. NMMA has documented 61,132 antiquities so far through Documentation Resources Centre. In addition, 15000 more antiquities were documented by 31st March 2016. Out of remaining raw data of 47,000 of 80,000 sites available with NMMA (32,832 templates were computerised during the year 2014-2015) on Built Heritage and Sites collected from IAR, INTACH, D-Forms etc., NMMA documented and computerised 45,000 Templates during the period April-December 2015. Browsing of the uploaded data may be done on NMMA website www.nmma.nic.in.
Approximately 45000 sites (unprotected) with archaeological remains were documented by Research Associates engaged contractually by NMMA from Secondary Source like District and Imperial Gazetteers, journals published Catalogues brought out by State and University Archaeology Depts. un-published Universities thesis, Survey Report etc.
India has an extraordinarily rich, vast and diverse cultural heritage in the form of built heritage, archaeological sites and remains since prehistoric times. The sheer magnitude in number alone is overwhelming and these are the symbols of both cultural expression and evolution. There now appears to prevail a fundamental lack of knowledge, understanding and, perhaps, interest in our past: in what constitutes the heritage of India, the process that governed its coming into being, and how this heritage relates to the people. Its manifestations expressed in cultural forms are losing their traditional essence in rapidly transforming lifestyles in an era of industrial growth.
There is, however, no comprehensive record in the form of database where such archaeological resources in terms of built heritage, sites and antiquities can be referred. As a result this finite, non-renewable and irreversible resource of our country is fast disappearing without any record for the posterity. Therefore there is an urgent need for a proper survey of such resources, and based on that an appropriate archaeological heritage resource management and policy can be formulated. In view of the above, Prime Minister of India made an announcement on Independence Day, 2003 for setting up of a National Mission on Indias Tangible Heritage. Accordingly the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities was launched on 19th March 2007.
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240 of the largest 500 corporate borrowers contributing INR11.8trn to the total debt of INR28.1trn are exposed to a significant risk of refinancing INR1.4trn debt in FY17, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).
The agency has bucketed these 240 entities into the ERR (elevated risk of refinancing) and Stressed (already in default) categories. INR5.1trn debt falls under the Stressed category and another INR6.7trn debt is under ERR for FY17. Ind-Ras analysis indicates that entities in the ERR category holding INR4.6trn of debt could already be delinquent while the other entities holding the balance INR2.1trn of debt are solvent and may be able to raise financing with additional collateral. They, however, remain exposed to downside risks in the event of liquidity stress and/or escalation in risk aversion by banks.
According to Ind-Ras analysis, 80% (INR1.7trn) of the FY17 refinancing requirements stems from 100 entities out of which 39 (INR527bn) entities belong to the Stressed category and 33 (INR600bn) belong to the ERR category. Ind-Ra believes entities in the ERR category whose total asset coverage ratio and/or interest cover ratio are below 1x will face difficulties in debt refinancing given banks (especially public sector units) risk aversion to such stressed assets and capital unavailability. The median credit metrics for the ERR category deteriorated over FY11-FY16 driven by increasing debt and lower growth in operating profits.
Entities in the HER (high ease of refinancing) and MER (medium ease of refinancing) categories (52% of total debt) have refinancing requirements of INR153bn and INR557bn, respectively, for FY17. Ind-Ra believes these entities would gain a competitive advantage with improvements in domestic demand. This is because of their stronger operating profitability, positive cash flows, and larger cash and liquid investments than those of the ERR and Stressed category corporates. These entities have stronger business and financial profiles, additional collateral or parental /or group support to manage repayments as well as plan for the next phase of growth capex and investments and acquisitions. However, most of these entities are unlikely to venture significantly into growth capex before 2HFY19. Ind-Ra elaborated this in itsCorporate Risk Radar report published in March 2016.
Capital intensive and commodity-linked sectors are primarily in the Stressed and ERR categories and would continue to pose risks to creditors during the course of FY17. On the other hand, the consumption and low leveraged sectors are primarily in the HER and MER categories and would continue to gain traction. The sectoral break-up of refinancing required indicates a significant concentration in leveraged sectors such as metal and mining, infrastructure and construction, oil and gas, power and telecom which together contribute 60% to the total debt and 47% to the total refinancing requirement.
Some of the ERR category entities benefit from group/parental support reflected in their investment grade ratings (39% having BBB- and above on the domestic scale). However, many are believed to have a significant downside risk, given that the cash flow improvements, if any, would likely be insufficient to improve the financial positions of these entities meaningfully in FY17. However, HER and MER categories have a high proportion (in excess of 85%) of investment grade entities benefitting from improving cash flows, flexibility of offering collateral or group/ or parental support.
The banking sector exposure to the ERR (FY15: 24.9%, FY12: 26.8%) and stressed (18.7%, 19.5%) groups has grown at a muted level since FY12, while the exposure to the HER (31.2%, 29.7%) and MER (25.2%, 24%) categories has increased. ERR and Stressed category corporates continue to have a high dependence on the domestic banking system. Given their weak credit metrics and negative free cash flow, their ability to access domestic capital markets or tap foreign currency markets is limited. Ind-Ra analysed the top 10 mutual funds houses have an exposure of INR670bn in the top 500 corporates. The exposure in the ERR category is 4% and in the Stressed category is negligible at 0.3%, while it is significant in the HER (45%) and MER (51%) categories.
Ind-Ra in its earlier report on refinancing risk of top 100 borrowers published in January 2014 had analysed the 100 largest corporate borrowers. In FY15, of the 20 entities identified to be the ERR category, four are currently in default and another 10 are under stress. The report has been extended to the top 500 borrowers and the categorisation will provide help banks and investors in their credit decisions.
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Students, stressed-out young professionals, CEOs and retirees have embraced yoga in large numbers as gymnasiums across metros have seen a spurt in yoga practitioners willing to attain health and toning benefits of this ancient system of exercise and spiritual development, according to an ASSOCHAM survey-cum-analysis.
There has been a spurt in number of people that have taken up yoga by up to 30 per cent, most of whom have been inspired by many celebrities and media attention that it has garnered, noted a survey on Yoga or Gym, conducted by the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation in 10 metros - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai.
ASSOCHAM representatives interacted with 100 gym trainers/fitness professionals and about 1,000 people sweating it out at the gymnasiums across the aforesaid cities to ascertain which is a better workout regime.
The survey was conducted during the course of past two months in wake of the International Day of Yoga celebrated globally on June 21.
Majority of the gym trainers said that there has been an increase in number of female clients by over 50 per cent since they began conducting yoga sessions at their gymnasium and in general the number of yoga practitioners has fuelled by about 25-30 per cent during the course of past one year.
On being asked which is a better workout regime, about 25 per cent gym regulars said they had switched to yoga after first few sessions owing to increased flexibility, toning, strengthening and other such benefits of meditation and breathing exercises, noted the ASSOCHAM survey.
Besides, many even said that yoga has helped them fight everything from addiction and lower back pain to diabetes and aging, in addition to boosting overall well-being and stress relief.
Additional benefits like improved digestion and concentration together with less of fatigue and tiredness has helped people in performing better at work and some even said that they no longer feel guilty if at all they skip going to gym by a day or two as yoga can be practised at home and even at office.
However, majority of gym trainers advised to combine yoga and gym sessions to get desired results of physical benefits and mental stimulation.
Yoga has grown in India from an ancient spiritual practice to big business and premium lifestyle, considering that there are an estimated four crore yoga practitioners across the country spending about Rs 1,000 crore on designer yoga-wear, mats, towels, luxury retreats thereby promoting the fitness industry, said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the ASSOCHAM survey.
Yoga which can be traced back roughly 5,000 years, is a tradition that has stood the test of time, more so in a world of exercise trends and diet fads, said Mr Rawat.
One of the key reasons for increased popularity of yoga is that of late it has developed as a panacea for the ailments of modern society n++ tech overload, disconnection and alienation, insomnia, stress and anxiety, he added.
The sudden boom of interest in yoga will fuel the demand for getting more trained yoga instructors, yoga studios and gymnesiums across India in the coming future, further said Mr Rawat.
Yoga also holds significant potential to boost both domestic and foreign travellers inflow, especially in places like Rishikesh and others to become certified yoga instructors, demand of whom is likely to surge in wake of the growing popularity as yoga goes mainstream, highlighted the ASSOCHAM survey-cum-analysis.
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The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) in Myanmar was conceptualized and is being administered by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) with a view to facilitate connectivity between the mainland and the North Eastern States of the country through maritime shipping, inland waterways and roads of Myanmar. The link between North Eastern States of India and Myanmar will pave the way for enhanced trade & commerce across the border and enable cultural and social integration at the regional level. MEA had appointed Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) as the Project Development Consultant (PDC) for the implementation of the Port & Inland Water Transport (IWT) component of the Kaladan Project on 19 March 2009 and by Supplementary Agreement dated 28 April 2016.
India Ports Global (IPGPL) has been established as a Joint Venture between Kandla Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust for the purpose of development of ports overseas. IPGPL was asked to partner IWAI in the Kaladan project as a sub-PDC. This was suggested mainly to use and develop the capabilities of IPGPL which has been created for a specialized purpose, completing the implementation of Kaladan project within the scheduled timeframe of April 2019 and to provide relief to IWAI whose responsibilities have increased manifold due to declaration of 106 new National Waterways and implementing the ambitious Jal Marg Vikasn++ project.
Accordingly, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between IWAI and IPGPL on 1.6.2016 for implementation of the following three additional works, which are independent of the on-going works and are estimated to cost Rs.476 crore.
(i) Container handling facilities at Sittwe & Paletwa
(ii) Operation & Maintenance of the completed works
(iii) Wrecks removed in Sittwe Port basin area
IWAI shall remain as the overall PDC to MEA for implementation of PORT & IWT component of Kaladan project.
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Ministry of Shipping has formulated a new Berthing Policy for Dry Bulk Cargo for all Major Ports which will come into effect from 20th August, 2016. The objective of the new Berthing Policy is to:
n++ Provide a standardized framework for calculation of norms, specific to the commodity handled and the infrastructure available on the berth
n++ Design norms with the objective of driving higher productivity and achieving near-design capacity of the available equipments/infrastructure in order to:
Reduce berthing time & overall turn-around time of ships; drive higher cargo throughput using the available infrastructure in the Major Ports.
Improve utilization of port assets and create additional capacity without any significant capital investment.
Increase competitiveness of the Major Port by creating value for the trade through reduced logistics cost.
n++ Reassess the capacity of the berths based on the expected performance of the berth equipments and vessels derived from performance norms.
n++ Standardize anchorage charges across Major Ports to reduce turnaround time.
All the Major Ports will be holding trade meetings between 1st July to 18th July, 2016 to sensitize the norms, incentives, penalties & charges to be implemented. The policy will be implemented by all Major Ports by 20th August, 2016.
Dry bulk cargo currently makes up >26% of the cargo handled at the 12 major ports. Furthermore growth in coastal shipping is expected to add ~100-150 MMTPA of additional dry bulk cargo at ports by 2020-25. Recent benchmarking of ports performance across key dry bulk commodities has identified significant scope for improvement of productivities in-comparison to best-in-class peers. The low productivity has contributed to high turn-around times in addition to resulting in higher berth occupancy levels across major ports. Furthermore, low productivity prevents ports from being able to utilize the full capacity of exiting assets, thereby directly diminishing return on investment for ports. Significant productivity improvements are therefore necessary at major ports not only to ensure additional dry bulk cargo throughput, but also for avoidance of CAPEX in additional capacity creation.
Performance norms and penalties linked to performance norms are used by most international ports to improve overall productivity of operations. For instance, major international coal loading ports such as Newcastle and Dalrymple Bay specify number of hatch changes and draft surveys, de-ballasting rates as well as overall productivity with provisions for denied berthing and/or penalties. Penalties linked to non-compliance with productivity norms are also levied by ports to create the right incentive/dis-incentive structure and improve performance.
Currently, however in many major ports it has been observed that performance norms are not being used optimally to improve productivity. Furthermore, currently, there is no standardized, systematic method for arriving at norms for different commodities. Also, in cases where norms have been prescribed, it is observed that these norms do not utilize the entire capacity of the best available equipment on berth. A guideline for calculation of performance norms for different commodities, taking into account the infrastructure available, is therefore important for enabling ports to use performance norms as a key lever to drive productivity improvement across ports.
This is another important step towards the overall objective of improving efficiency at Ports to reduce logistic costs and provide an environment which promotes domestic manufacturing sector creating employment opportunities and at the same time helps reduce consumer costs for edible oil, power generated by thermal coal transported through coastal shipping route.
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On the basis of the decision of the Government, interest rates for small savings schemes are to be notified on quarterly basis. Accordingly, the rates of interest on various small savings schemes for the second quarter of financial year 2016-17, on the basis of the interest compounding/payment built-in in the schemes, shall be as under: Instrument Rate of interest w.e.f. 01.04.2016 to 30.6.2016Rate of interest w.e.f. 01.07.2016 to 30.9.2016Compounding frequencySavings Deposit4.04.0Annual 1 Year Time Deposit 7.17.1Quarterly 2 Year Time Deposit 7.27.2Quarterly 3 Year Time Deposit 7.47.4Quarterly 5 Year Time Deposit 7.97.9Quarterly 5 Year Recurring Deposit 7.47.4Quarterly 5 Year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme 8.68.6Quarterly and paid 5 year Monthly Income Account Scheme 7.87.8Monthly and paid 5 Year National Savings Certificate 8.18.1Annual Public Provident Fund Scheme 8.18.1Annual KisanVikasPatra7.8 (will mature in 110 months) 7.8 (will mature in 110 months)Annual SukanyaSamriddhi Account Scheme 8.68.6Annual
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In order to encourage the coastal movement of cargo specially automobiles by Ro-Ro ships and to meet the demand of the Auto Original Equipment Manufacture and Ro-Ro vessels operators, Mumbai Port Trust has reduced vessel related charges by about 10% on the applicable Scale of Rates for coastal vessels with further reduction of wharfage charges on vehicles as under:
CategoriesWharfage rate per unitPassenger cars upto 4000 mm lengthRs.500/-Passenger cars from 4001 mm to 4700 mm lengthRs.1,000/-Passenger cars above 4700 mm length & SUVs, MUVsRs.1,500/-Heavy vehicles tare weight weighing upto 5 tonnesRs.2,000/-Heavy vehicles tare weight weighing above 5 tonnesRs.450/- per tonne or part thereof
The aforesaid reduction in wharfage and Vessel Related Charges which is to the tune of about 50% to 65% will be applicable for one year from 01.06.2016. The reduction in wharfage will encourage movement of domestic cars/ trucks from the manufacturing places such as Chennai, etc. to Mumbai, and similarly from Pune/ Nashik to southern and eastern parts of India. Presently these movements take place by road. This will also reduce congestion on roads and would be not only a cheaper option but also environmentally preferred option as it reduces carbon foot print. This would also facilitate faster movement of vehicles meant for distribution and export.
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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.
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 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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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 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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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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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
(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);
(5)Headend-in-the Sky Broadcasting Service(HITS)100%
Automatic184.108.40.206.2 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
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.
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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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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