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MoU signed between NIIF and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for facilitating Investment from Qatar in the infrastructure sector in India
Jun 09,2016

With a view to attracting investments from Qatar under the umbrella of NIIF, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) entered into an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) on 5th June, 2016 during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Doha on June 4th and 5th , 2016. The MoU was signed by Mr. Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, CEO of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Mr. Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs on behalf of NIIF Ltd.

The objective of the MoU is to facilitate QIA to study investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector in India and develop a framework for exchange of information with regard to such investments opportunities, in order to enable both sides to decide on joint investments. It will remain in effect for twelve (12) months during which period, both parties will discuss and agree on the terms, principles, criteria for such investments. The NIIF shall share with QIA a pipeline of investment opportunities available in the infrastructure sector in India

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar. They are long-term investors and access investment opportunities across all geographical areas, sectors and asset classes. The majority of their investments are outside Qatar with assets spanning a wide range of sectors and spread across asset classes. The fund deploys a wide range of investment strategies and invests through a carefully selected network of top-tier fund managers.

The Government had earlier approved the creation of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) with the aim to attract investment from both domestic and international sources for maximizing economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects.

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Skill Development Training for the residents of villages around Kamarajar Port
Jun 09,2016

Kamarajar Port has taken up Skill development training under CSR initiatives for the local fishermen community at a cost of Rs.1,57,50,000/-. The training will be imparted by MRF Institute of Driver Development, Chennai and National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Hyderabad.

The training by MRF Institute has already started. KPL is incurring the cost of training, transport and also stipend. MRF Institute will give training to 196 applicants in driving. The National Institute of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Hyderabad will give training to 865 applicants in the trade of Lab technician, tailoring/garment making, AC & Refrigeration mechanic, electrician, wireman, welding, motor rewinding and mobile phone servicing.

The above initiatives will make the local fishermen skilled in various trades and make them employable. This initiative was taken up as per the recommendation of NABARD consultants, appointed by KPL who have conducted the baseline survey of nearby villages.

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More than one lakh connections released under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
Jun 09,2016

Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Sh Dharmendra Pradhan held a review meeting on implementation of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in the State of Uttar Pradesh on 08 June 2016 with all District Nodal Officers (DNOs) of state. The meeting in New Delhi was also attended by top officials of three Oil Marketing Companies and senior officials of the Ministry. The thrust of the meeting was essentially to expedite the implementation process and carry it forward on a war footing.

The Minister complimented all Nodal Officers for implementing the Scheme across the State and appreciated the efforts made to release more than one lakh connections under the Scheme in the very first month of implementation. He urged the Nodal Officers to reach out to all the eligible beneficiaries and ensure that the connections are released in a time bound manner. He also emphasized that adequate awareness/education on safety norms should be given to all the beneficiaries along-with insurance coverage provided for the consumers. The reasons for rejecting the application should also be documented and kept in the public domain. A transparent process should be followed in this regard.

Nodal Officers shared their experiences in implementing the Scheme and also gave feedback on the response of the beneficiaries. They informed that the Scheme was receiving extensive publicity and the response from the beneficiaries was quite encouraging. Distribution Melas, under the stewardship of the local elected Member of Parliament have been organized to release new connections to the beneficiaries.

MoS(I/C) directed that the issue and concern raised by the DNOs to be addressed expeditiously and suitable instructions should be issued in this regard.

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Gartner Forecasts Indian Business Intelligence and Analytics Software Revenue to Reach $214 Million in 2016
Jun 09,2016

Indian business intelligence (BI) software revenue is forecast to reach US$ 213.8 million in 2016, a 18.6 percent increase over 2015 revenue of $180.2 million, according to Gartner, Inc. This forecast includes revenue for BI platforms, advanced analytics platforms, analytic applications and corporate performance management (CPM) software.

The BI and analytics market is undergoing significant change. Adoption of machine learning techniques, and the emergence of smart data discovery solutions are fueling next round of investments, said BhavishSood, research director at Gartner.

The BI platforms segment continues to lead the BI software market in India, as BI platforms revenue is forecast to reach $136.8 million in 2016 (see Table 1). All segments of the BI software market in India are expected to experience double-digit growth in the next 2 years.

Table 1 India BI Software Revenue Forecast Estimates (Millions of Dollars)

Market Segment

2015 YR

2016 YR

Analytic Applications and Performance ManagementRevenue21.125.1Growth (%)18.94%CPM SuitesRevenue28.533.3Growth16.76%Advanced Analytics PlatformsRevenue15.018.6Growth23.59%BI PlatformsRevenue115.6136.8Growth18.33%Total Revenue180.2213.8Total Growth (%)18.59%

Source: Gartner (June 2016)

We see signs of the emerging importance of BI in India as senior executives are increasingly exploring the different styles of analytics to resolve their business imperatives, said Mr. Sood. There is an increased emphasis on metrics management and the growing use of performance management. Big data use cases are maturing and have executive visibility. This is leading to more investments in BI and information management.

Purchasing decisions continue to move from IT leaders to line-of-business executives and users who want more agility and more flexible personalized options n++ making the land-and-expand model the new norm. This is in stark contrast to the large, enterprise-scale deals that fueled double-digit growth at a time when IT had larger budgets and wielded much more influence in buying decisions. The primary drivers of new growth in this rapidly evolving market are being influenced by the following dynamics:  The increased need for governance will serve as the catalyst for renewed IT engagement as business-user-led deployments expand.  Market awareness and adoption of smart data discovery will extend data discovery to a wider range of users, increasing the reach and impact of analytics.  Indian enterprises adopting BI have the advantage of benefiting from earlier adopters in developed markets, rather than needing to build their approaches from the ground up. They are increasing BI adoption through data discovery, geospatial and mobile based approaches.

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Incentives like interest subvention & MEIS imperative to promote G&J exports: ASSOCHAM
Jun 09,2016

Apex industry body ASSOCHAM today urged the government to extend incentives like interest subvention, Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and others to promote gems and jewellery (G&J) exports that have been marred by global slowdown thereby putting at risk livelihood of over 30 lakh people employed by the sector across India.

n++G&J exports from India are likely to remain under pressure this year as well, even though there are indications of improvement in business sentiment in United States of America (USA) which takes nearly half of countrys diamond jewellery production,n++ noted an ASSOCHAM paper titled 2015-16: A year of dismal export performance for India.

n++Though market share of the USA and Hong Kong in diamond and precious stones exports has expanded to 29 per cent and 36 per cent respectively over the last few years, market share of the UAE has fallen steadily from one-fifth a few years ago to less than one-tenth of the total exports,n++ noted the paper prepared by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB).

While import of rough diamonds and semi-precious stones have fallen by over 11 per cent in FY2015-16, the net diamond exports and semi-precious stones have declined by about 43 per cent year-on-year i.e. from $4.2 billion (bn) in 2014-15 to just $2.4 bn in 2015-16.

Besides, exports of jewellery have also fallen by about 17 per cent i.e. from $13.2 bn in 2014-15 to $11 bn in 2015-16. Dubai and Thailand are fast emerging as major jewellery manufacturing hub as a lot of Indian businesses are setting up units there.

The Gold Monetisation Scheme might help reduce reliance on import of gold to meet domestic demand and may have some positive impact during the course of the year, the paper observed.

ASSOCHAM has reiterated its appeal to the government for granting industry status, to the gems and jewellery sector to give a fillip to investments and bring down costs of operation as that would also help build trust and faith in Indian brands in global markets and in achieving goals of Make in India.

Modernisation of labour laws, requirement of more export-oriented economic zones, establishment of a gold board, ensuring access to better financing, relaxation of certain taxation laws, segregation of investment and consumption demand, setting up a gold tourism circuit are certain key areas focus on which can help in reviving the G&J sector in the country.

Impact of falling global prices and export volumes has not only affected the G&J sector but petroleum products exports have also plummeted by over 46 per cent i.e. from about $67 bn to $30.4 bn during the aforementioned period. n++This seems to be much larger problem as Indian firms are losing their share in global markets.n++

The ASSOCHAM paper has also suggested for replacing power looms that account for about 65 per cent of fabric production in India by modern shuttle-less weaving equipment, besides it is also required to diversify its export markets away from a few countries in the European Union and the USA to nearby countries in the Asian continent.

Further, ASSOCHAM has recommended to urgently put in place the long-pending goods and services tax (GST) to reduce the burden of un-refunded state level taxes to make Indias exports competitive.

It has also suggested the government to set up a high-level committee to look into costs of inter-state barriers to trade and suggest a time-bound roadmap to address the same as that would not only provide much-needed relief to the export sector but weld India into a single market much bigger than EU in terms of population.

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Commerce Ministry approves establishment of Mega Leather Cluster at Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh
Jun 09,2016

The Ministry of Commerce & Industry has given approval to establishment of Mega Leather Cluster at Kota Mandal, Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. Minister of Commerce & Industry Smt Nirmala Sitharaman in a letter to the Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh mentioned that It gives me immense pleasure to inform you that proposal for establishment of Mega Leather Cluster at Kota Mandal, Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh has been approved with a central government assistance of Rs 125 Crores. The project sanctioned under Indian Leather Development program would create state of the art infrastructure for labour intensive units and is expected to generate employment for 20,000 people and leverage an investment of at least Rs 500 Crores in the first phase itself. The Minister requested the Chief Minister that due process related to award of contract etc be completed so that the central government could release the funds to start the project as soon as possible.

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Gartner Survey Shows Technology Provider CEOs Believe That Customer Experience Provides a Winning Strategy
Jun 08,2016

Technology and service provider (TSP) CEOs are using innovation projects and leveraging digital business to drive growth through better engagement with customers, according to a new survey by Gartner, Inc. The survey found that investment is being driven toward sales and customer-facing roles instead of toward new product development or cost-saving measures.

Gartner analysts presented these findings during the Gartner Tech Growth & Innovation Conference, which is taking place here through Wednesday. The survey involved 501 CEOs from North America and Western Europe at TSPs with annual revenue from $10 million to more than $1 billion.

Gartner has long believed that the best product doesnt always win and that many other factors contribute to success, especially a positive customer experience, said Todd Berkowitz, research vice president at Gartner. Customer engagement received the highest investment from an innovation standpoint with 42 percent of TSP CEOs listing it as one of the top two priorities, ahead of new products and services and significantly ahead of internally focused activities.

Innovation spending is still being directed toward new products and services, but more often it is being directed to find new ways of engaging customers, which includes sales, marketing and customer success management efforts.

With only 5 percent of technology vendors very or extremely effective at differentiating themselves, differentiation continues to be a major issue for TSPs, and its even harder when the differentiation is tied to product features and capabilities, said Mr. Berkowitz. Superior customer engagement, which leads to a superior customer experience, can be a powerful source of differentiation, although only when based on real proof, versus simple claims.

Like all end-user CEOs, TSP CEOs believe that digital business will be transformational to their business. However, the survey showed that, when compared to all end-user CEOs, those from TSPs are more likely to believe that that digital would be impactful in allowing them to enter new markets and industries rather than just drive down costs and push more business through digital channels. TSPs said that they are using digital business to create revenue/customer value (43 percent in top three expected outcomes) and cross-industry boundaries (40 percent) rather than reduce costs (33 percent) and drive more business through digital channels (30 percent).

While TSP CEOs clearly view customer experience improvements as the single biggest factor in winning more deals, they see improving sales and marketing effectiveness as being more important in hitting future growth targets. They are investing more heavily in sales and marketing than anywhere else, including customer experience or product development. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents placed sales in their top three areas for investment and 51 percent had marketing in their top three, compared with only 37 percent for product development. CEOs are also investing more heavily in customer-facing roles to help hit those targets.

For TSPs, long-term success, and even long-term survival requires continued innovation, embracing of new opportunities and responding to the changing needs of customers, said Mr. Berkowitz. By innovating in areas outside of products and services and using digital to improve customer engagement and experience, TSPs can drive competitive advantages. In addition, by adapting sales and marketing strategies and continuing to invest in those areas, TSPs can more easily meet future growth targets.

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Global economy stuck in low-growth trap-OECD
Jun 08,2016

The global economy is stuck in a low-growth trap that will require more coordinated and comprehensive use of fiscal, monetary and structural policies to move to a higher growth path and ensure that promises are kept to both young and old, according to the OECDs latest Global Economic Outlook.

n++Growth is flat in the advanced economies and has slowed in many of the emerging economies that have been the global locomotive since the crisis,n++ OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurrn++a said while launching the Outlook during the Organisations annual Ministerial Council Meeting and Forum in Paris. n++Slower productivity growth and rising inequality pose further challenges. Comprehensive policy action is urgently needed to ensure that we get off this disappointing growth path and propel our economies to levels that will safeguard living standards for all,n++ Mr Gurrn++a said.

Weak trade growth, sluggish investment, subdued wages and slower activity in key emerging markets will all contribute to modest global GDP growth of 3% in 2016, essentially the same level as in 2015, according to the Outlook. Global recovery is expected to improve only to 3.3% in 2017.

Among the major advanced economies, the moderate recovery will continue in the United States, which is projected to grow by 1.8% in 2016 and 2.2% in 2017. The euro area will improve slowly, with growth of 1.6% in 2016 and 1.7% in 2017. In Japan, growth is projected at 0.7% in 2016 and 0.4% in 2017. The 34-country OECD area is projected to grow by 1.8% in 2016 and 2.1% in 2017, according to the Outlook.

With rebalancing continuing in China, growth is expected to continue to drift lower to 6.5% in 2016 and 6.2% in 2017, supported by demand stimulus. Indias growth rates are expected to hover near 7.5% this year and next, but many emerging market economies continue to lose momentum. The deep recessions in Russia and Brazil will persist, with Brazil expected to contract by 4.3% in 2016 and 1.7% in 2017.

The Outlook draws attention to a number of downside risks. Most immediately, a United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union would trigger negative economic effects on the UK, other European countries and the rest of the world. Brexit would lead to economic uncertainty and hinder trade growth, with global effects being even stronger if the British withdrawal from the EU triggers volatility in financial markets. By 2030, post-Brexit UK GDP could be over 5% lower than if the country remained in the European Union.

n++If we dont take action to boost productivity and potential growth, both younger and older generations will be worse off,n++ said OECD Chief Economist Catherine L Mann. n++The longer the global economy remains in this low-growth trap, the harder it will be for governments to meet fundamental promises. The consequences of policy inaction will be low career prospects for todays youth, who have suffered so much already from the crisis, and lower retirement income for future pensioners.n++

The OECD highlights a series of policy requirements, including more comprehensive use of fiscal policy and revived structural reforms to break out of the low-growth trap.

The Outlook argues that reliance on monetary policy alone cannot deliver satisfactory growth and inflation. Additional monetary policy easing could now prove to be less effective than in the past, and even counterproductive in some circumstances.

Many countries have room for fiscal policies to strengthen activity via public investment, especially as low long-term interest rates have effectively increased fiscal space. While almost all countries have scope to reallocate public spending towards more growth-friendly projects, collective action across economies to raise public investment in projects with a high growth impact would boost demand and improve fiscal sustainability.

Given the weak global economy and the backdrop of rising income inequality in many countries, more ambitious structural reforms - in particular targeting services sectors - can boost demand in the short-term and promote long-term improvements in employment, productivity growth and inclusiveness, the OECD said.

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Strategic partnership between Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship & Ministry of Civil Aviation to Boost to skill initiatives in aviation
Jun 08,2016

Airport Authority of India (AAI), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) signed a Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where AAI has committed to contribute an amount of 5.25 crore of its CSR funds to NSDF along with land and premises for setting up skill development centres in the country for scaling up skill development initiatives in the aviation sector. This pact is the result of the joint efforts made between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The MoU signing ceremony took place in the presence of Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy The MoU was signed by Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, CEO, NSDF, Mr. Rajiv Goel, Director India Aviation Academy, Airport Authority of India and Mr. Jayant Krishna, CEO, NSDC.

Commenting on the strategic partnership, Shri P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, n++As we gear up for a new civil aviation policy, for new avenues that aviation will open up for economic growth of the country, for more new airports, and existing ones becoming active; there has to be a large part of our strategy towards sourcing skilled workforce to make all our plans successful. Our plans can be the most well thought out plans, but we need trained and certified people to execute those plans. Any vibrant program needs a skilled workforce. Our partnership with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship through this MoU signing between AAI, NSDC and NSDF will certainly help us ready that workforce from right now. In this way, we are investing back into our sectors and the countrys brighter future.n++

Welcoming this contribution from the aviation sector, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, said, n++The Aviation Sector has seen some good traction in the skill ecosystem. It is estimated that by 2035, the Indian Civil Aviation sector would employ 8 to 10 lakh personnel directly and another 3 lakh indirectly. To cater to this requirement, we introduced a new Sector Skill Council exclusively for preparing a job ready workforce for the Aerospace & Aviation Sector, last year. We welcome the contribution being made by the Airport Authority of India through their CSR funds. We are certain that together we will be able to bring about a constructive change in the aviation sector in India. I thank Mr. Gajapathi Raju and the Civil Aviation Ministry for joining hands with us in this endeavour.n++

n++We have skilled more than 1.04 crore youth last year in 2015-16 which is an incremental growth by 36.8% from the previous year. With contributions like these we are certain that we will be able to bring speed and scale along with standards to skill initiatives in the nation,n++ he further added.

Speaking on the occasion Secretary, MSDE, Mr. Rohit Nandan, said, n++This is a welcoming move from the Civil Aviation Ministry and AAI; and we are a committed to this partnership with them. We hope that more Corporates and PSUs like them, come forward and invest in skills for a brighter future of the country. Skill India is the largest human resource exercises that has ever happened till now and it is imperative that we together develop a vision for convergence across all stakeholders in the country to achieve this goal of skilling 40.2 crore people in the country. Our partnership with Civil Aviation Ministry is certain to see great results.n++

Under the MoU, AAI also committed to undertake Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programs for their current employees, to train and certify in their existing skill sets, in association with the Aerospace & Aviation Sector Skill Council and any other council as may seem fit. The this MoU, AAI will also align its ongoing skill development programs with the Skill India Mission so that all courses are aligned to one National Skill Qualification Framework which is recognised by the industry today.

The program will be managed by NSDC and its training partners who have till now cumulatively skilled more than 80.33 lakh youth in the country. The fund contributed by AAI will also be utilised to support and sponsor candidates for skill development programs, including Substantially Affected Persons under AAI projects.

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Gartner Says By 2020, 60% of Digital Businesses Will Suffer Major Service Failures Due to Inability of IT Security Teams to Manage Digital Risk
Jun 08,2016

As organizations transition to digital business, a lack of directly owned infrastructure and services outside of ITs control will need to be addressed by cybersecurity, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 60 percent of digital businesses will suffer major service failures due to the inability of IT security teams to manage digital risk.

Cybersecurity is a critical part of digital business with its broader external ecosystem and new challenges in an open digital world, said Paul Proctor, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. Organizations will learn to live with acceptable levels of digital risk as business units innovate to discover what security they need and what they can afford. Digital ethics, analytics and a people-centric focus will be as important as technical controls.

Gartner has identified five key areas of focus for successfully addressing cybersecurity in digital business:

Leadership and Governance n++ Improving leadership and governance is arguably more important than developing technology tools and skills when addressing cybersecurity and technology risk in digital business. Decision making, prioritization, budget allocation, measurement, reporting, transparency and accountability are key attributes of a successful program that balances the need to protect with the need to run the business.

The Evolving Threat Environment n++ IT risk and security leaders must move from trying to prevent every threat and acknowledge that perfect protection is not achievable. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 60 percent of enterprise information security budgets will be allocated for rapid detection and response approaches, up from less than 30 percent in 2016. Organizations need to detect and respond to malicious behaviors and incidents, because even the best preventative controls will not prevent all incidents.

Cybersecurity at the Speed of Digital Business n++ Digital business moves at a faster pace than traditional business, and traditional security approaches designed for maximum control will no longer work in the new era of digital innovation. IT risk and information security leaders must assess and transform their programs to become digital business enablers rather than obstacles to innovation. Organizations that are able to successfully establish an ecosystem that balances protecting and growing the business will remain competitive and in a position to address cybersecurity threats.

Cybersecurity at the New Edge n++ It used to be easy to protect data because it resided in the data center. The new edge has pushed far beyond the data center into operational technology, cloud, mobile, SaaS and things. For example, by 2018, 25 percent of corporate data traffic will flow directly from mobile devices to the cloud, bypassing enterprise security controls. Organizations need to address cybersecurity and risks in technologies and assets they no longer own or control. Business unit IT is a fact in most modern enterprises, and it will not be shut down by cybersecurity and risk concerns. It must be embraced and managed to deliver appropriate levels of protection.

People and Process: Cultural Change n++ With the acceleration of digital business and the power technology gives individuals, it is now critical to address behavior change and engagement n++ from your employees to your customers. Cybersecurity must accommodate and address the needs of people through process and cultural change. People-centric security gives each person in an organization increasing autonomy in how he or she uses information and devices n++ and what level of security adopted when he or she uses it. The individual then has a certain set of rights in using technology and is linked to the group in the entire enterprise. The individual must also recognize that if things go wrong, it will have an impact on the team, group and business.

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Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales to Slow in 2016
Jun 08,2016

Gartner, Inc. said global smartphone sales will continue to slow and will no longer grow in double digits. Worldwide smartphone sales are expected to grow 7 percent in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion units. This is down from 14.4 percent growth in 2015. In 2020, smartphone sales are on pace to total 1.9 billion units.

The smartphone market will no longer grow at the levels it has reached over the last seven years, said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. Smartphone sales recorded their highest growth in 2010, reaching 73 percent.

Slowing Replacement of Phones

Today, the smartphone market has reached 90 percent penetration in the mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and Mature Asia/Pacific, slowing future growth. Furthermore, users in these regions are not replacing or upgrading their smartphone as often as in previous years.

In the mature markets, premium phone users are extending life cycles to 2.5 years, which is not going to change drastically over the next five years, said Ms. Cozza.

Communications service providers (CSPs) have moved away from subsidies providing a free smartphone every two years, which has led to more varied upgrade cycles. On the other hand, CSPs have introduced financing programs and vendors such as Apple now offer upgrade programs that provides users with new hardware after only 12 months. These programs are not for everyone, as most users are happy to hold onto their phone for two years or longer than before. They do so especially as the technology updates have become incremental rather than exponential, added Ms. Cozza.

In emerging markets, the average lifetime of premium phones is between 2.2 and 2.5 years, while basic phones have an average lifetime of three years and more. 2015 was the year when sales of smartphones overtook those of feature phones for the first time in Sub-Saharan Africa. This region represents an attractive market for vendors that can persuade users to migrate to their first smartphone, said Ms. Cozza.

India Is the Main Focus for Growth Opportunity

Since mature markets are saturated, the focus for many vendors is on India and China. India has the highest growth potential, said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. Sales of feature phones totaled 167 million units in 2015, 61 percent of total mobile phone sales in India.

Smartphones are expensive for users in India, but with the average selling prices (ASPs) of low-end models falling, Gartner estimates that 139 million smartphones will be sold in India in 2016, growing 29.5 percent year over year. ASPs of mobile phones in India remain under $70, and smartphones under $120 will continue to contribute around 50 percent of overall smartphone sales in 2016.

After recording growth of 16 percent in 2014, sales of smartphones in China were flat in 2015. In this saturated yet highly competitive smartphone market, there is little growth expected in China in the next five years, said Ms. Zimmermann. Sales of smartphones in China represented 95 percent of total mobile phone sales in 2015. Similar to India, falling ASPs for smartphones will make them more affordable for users.

The worldwide smartphone market remains complex and competitive for all mobile phone vendors, and we are not expecting the vendor landscape to get smaller, said Ms. Zimmermann. In such a fluid vendor landscape, some will exit the market while newcomers, including mobile manufacturers or internet service providers from China and India, could make their debut.

Gartner forecasts that by 2018, at least one nontraditional phone maker will be among the top five smartphone brands in China. Chinese internet companies are increasingly investing in mobile device hardware development, platforms and distribution as they aim to grow their user bases and increase user loyalty and engagement, concluded Ms. Zimmermann.

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FICCI suggests for creating the Geospatial Information Regulatory Authority
Jun 08,2016

FICCI appreciates the efforts of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India for taking geospatial information into consideration in view of ensuring security, sovereignty and integrity of the nation. There has been a requirement for a policy framework and well-articulated guidelines to regulate this sector, in order to allow public, private and public-private partnership projects to benefit from the geospatial technologies in a more legal and time-bound manner. An appropriate policy framework will help the geospatial industry to flourish without compromising national security. The industry would also be able to ensure proper planning, monitoring and execution of Governments developmental projects, and more efficient use of public money. FICCI has recommended that the government should re-consider some aspects of the draft Bill, especially mechanism for acquisition, storage, dissemination and distribution of the data so that, the growth of the industry is not adversely impacted, the benefits of this technology to citizens enjoying is not be hampered, and the initiatives of the Government of India, like Smart Cities and Digital India, do not get adversely affected. The draft bill is a step in right direction but certain sections of the bill need to be looked upon again.

On the issue of Acquisition of Geospatial Information of India, FICCI has suggested that the Government of India may consider replacing the licencing with registration, and could also create a Geospatial Data Registration Portal for making the process transparent and time saving. Bringing each and every citizen under the purview of the Bill may not be required, especially when regulations ensure that only secured and authentic geospatial information is created and disseminated by agencies working in this area. Nowadays, a common man uses variety of location-enabled gadgets and apps like, smartphones, cameras, online shopping and navigation apps, which can bring such users under scanner as per the provisions of the Bill in its present form.

The draft Bill appears to retrospectively regulate geospatial data even if it was acquired through legal means or the data which is already approved by the appropriate government authorities, prior to the implementation of the Bill. Not only does this clause seek to charge for this retrospective vetting, but also suggests that the permission to retain and use the data may be denied and the data would have to be surrendered/destroyed. This will severely impact businesses and projects under execution leading to penalties and losses.

Further, the Chamber has suggested that there should be well-defined processes and guidelines to ensure smooth dissemination of geospatial data (especially non-sensitive data). The government may consider creating a regulatory body Geospatial Information Regulatory Authority with an objective to ensure hassle free sharing of data between various entities, and for quick access of data for businesses and individuals.

The Government could provide a list of critical establishments or provide broad guidelines of establishments of a particular nature that need to be masked. This clarity would help content creators in preparing maps and geospatial information as stipulated government guidelines. Instead of complete masking, critical installations could be named as Government Building or something like a common identity.

FICCI agrees with the intent of the Government of India to correctly depict national boundaries so as to ensure that sovereignty and integrity of the nation is maintained. It suggests that in order to maintain and ensure the usage of right International boundary, the ideal scenario would be that the government provides the same at a high resolution to all registered organisations for use in all published maps.

Furthermore, vetting should be limited to base maps and should not be applied on value added products and services. In addition, it should focus only on the sensitive data, i.e., administrative boundaries, restricted areas and points of interest. Taking real-time data out from the system and sending it for vetting instead of its actual site of application would not be practical for the agencies that create such data. It is suggested that data creators provide access to the data being generated to the Security Vetting Authority in a form which is practical, efficient and can protects the IP rights of the creator.

Regarding offences and penalties, FICCI advocates that there should be a provision of giving warning or notice to those who are found responsible (directly/indirectly) for misrepresenting Indian territories and boarders.

Finally, FICCI notes that the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 is intended to regulate geospatial data pertaining to international boundaries and national security. However, the draft Bill needs certain modifications. The Chamber recommends that the Government of India could take steps to freely provide accurate boundaries for India in order to encourage correct representation of Indian territories.

The flagship projects of the Government like AMRUT, Smart City, Digital India etc., envisage involvement of industry and demand use of modern technologies, like IoT-enabled and location-intelligent devices to fulfil their objectives. However, various procedural barriers mentioned in the draft Bill could result in delays in clearance/license, and hence the interruption in nation building exercise and relief efforts.

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Cane price arrears for sugar season 2015-16 come down to Rs. 6,225 crore
Jun 08,2016

Sugarcane price arrears for sugar season 2015-16 have come down to Rs. 6,225 crore. As on 8.06.2016, about 87% cane dues have been paid for the season. During the corresponding period of last year these dues were Rs. 19,437 crore.

State wise cane price arrears for sugar season 2015-16 are as follows:-

Name of State

Dues at FRP (in Rs./cr.)

Bihar143Punjab28Uttrakhand198Uttar Pradesh2428Andhra Pradesh181Telangana99Gujarat255Maharashtra883Karnataka1325Tamil Nadu610Puducherry11Chhattisgarh15Odisha32Madhya Pradesh16Goa1Total dues6225

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Ind-Ra: Policy Stance Accommodative, but RBI Concerned about Upside Risks to Inflation
Jun 08,2016

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its second bi-monthly review for this fiscal maintained status quo on the repo rate. The repo rate, reverse repo rate, and marginal standing facility rate continue to stand at 6.5%, 6.0%, and 7.0%, respectively. This is in line with India Ratings and Researchs (Ind-Ra) expectation. RBI also kept the cash reserve ratio at 4% in line with Ind-Ras expectations.

Ind-Ra believes RBI had front-loaded the rate cut in the month of April 2016 on the expectation of a normal monsoon and declining retail inflation. Although the expectation of a normal monsoon has gained further strength post the latest assessment by Indian Meteorological Department, so have the pressure points with respect to inflation. These are (i) firming up of global oil prices and (ii) the impact of implementation of the award of Seventh Pay Commission. Therefore, Ind-Ra believes keeping the policy rates unchanged at this juncture is a prudent step. Ind-Ra believes RBI still has room to ease policy rates by another 25bp this fiscal but it will be contingent on the outturn of monsoon and its subsequent impact on inflation along with crude price movement and global risk balance.

Upward Bias in Inflation Trajectory: For RBI, the transmission of the previous rate cuts remains a work-in-progress and it sees some uncertainties surrounding the domestic inflation trajectory. Yet RBI has retained its Consumer Price Inflation projection at the level n++of around 5% during FY17n++, which is same as stated in the April 2016 policy statement. The forward stance of RBI however crucially hinges on the evolving inflation trajectory amid continued global uncertainties. Inflation surprised on the upside in April 2016. Consumer Price Index increased to 5.4% in April 2016 led by food prices. On the domestic front, the behaviour of food inflation and the ability of the manufacturing sector to exercise pricing power over the coming months will determine the inflation trajectory. However on both accounts, the outlooks appear favourable. According to Indian Meteorological Departments revised forecast, rainfall will be above normal and well distributed (spatial and temporal) this year. In addition, the existence of excess capacity in the manufacturing sector will keep a check on output prices even as demand picks up.

Growth Momentum Visible: According to RBIs assessment, domestic conditions for growth are improving gradually, mainly driven by consumption demand. Rural demand is likely to pick-up pace aided by a normal monsoon while rising consumer confidence, combined with the implementation of Pay Commission award, will likely boost the overall consumer spending. The central banks latest rounds of forward-looking surveys indicate an improvement in the business situation, driven by a pick-up in capacity utilisation and order books. Private investment, though, remains weak due to financial stress. However, public investment, mainly in roads and railways, is gaining strength and is likely to give a fillip to private investment. Despite the signs of improving business conditions, RBI expects business confidence will remain curbed on account of external factors such as slowdown in global economic activity, geo-political events with consequent impact on financial flows, and muted trade on weak demand. The central bank has retained its projection of gross valued added for FY17 at 7.6% based on its assessment of risks from domestic and global factors.

Policy to Have Neutral Impact on Bond Market: In the near term, the bond market is likely to look through todays policy as a reiteration of RBIs stated intent of staying accommodative and providing adequate liquidity - resulting in curve steepening. The focus will be on high volatility global developments such as the upcoming US Fed policy review (14-15 June 2016) as also the Brexit vote decision. The bond market is likely to remain focussed on the scope for incremental open market operations in the coming days. RBI has made an open market purchase of INR0.70trn in the last two months. While the short-term possibility of bond yields moving up remain, Ind-Ra remains constructive on the bond market for the medium term based on two developments - favourable demand & supply dynamics and easy liquidity. Ind-Ra expects the overall focus of market to shift to these two developments, once the uncertainties related to the Feds action and concerns over monsoon alleviate.

Rupee to Remain Stable, Notwithstanding FCNR B Redemptions: Ind-Ra had already outlined that the foreign currency non-resident bank account FCNR (B) deposit redemption risks were manageable, which RBI emphasised today. RBI is actively deploying a communication channel to discourage any possible episodes of currency speculation as also alleviate excessive concerns building up around the redemption pressure. In Ind-Ras assessment, RBIs proactive cognizance of redemption pressure as also willingness to utilise foreign exchange reserves, if need be, will ensure rupee stability when the bunched up redemptions fall due. At the same time, RBIs management of rupee liquidity in the period can be through multiple tools - longer tenor term repos, durable infusion through open market operation purchases of G-sec and relaxation in the daily requirement for cash reserve ratio (currently at 90%), ensuring the transition into a neutral liquidity position. The rupee is likely to continue taking cues from the shifts in global risk preference and stay relatively stable ahead of the Fed policy outcome.

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Observational Campaign to study Small-Scale Processes and Large-Scale Monsoon Variability under a Joint Indo-UK Effort
Jun 08,2016

Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) launched the National Monsoon Mission program in 2012 with an aim to improve monsoon prediction at all temporal and spatial scales through joint efforts of national and international scientific communities. Although there has been considerable progress in research in monsoon modelling and predictions, however processes operating at small scales pose a major challenge towards improved prediction. Paucity of data at smaller space and time scales, have a major effect on the large-scale variability of the monsoon. Improved understanding of the smaller scale physical processes will help in improving the computer simulation models, parameterization of physical process, which in turn will produce improved monsoon prediction.

To address the issue of better understanding of processes that drive the variability, and predictability of the South Asian Monsoon, India and United Kingdom have embarked on an ambitious plan to carry out a large-scale joint observational campaign involving the deployment of UKs BAe-146-301 atmospheric research aircraft with sophisticated scientific instruments and Indias Sagar Nidhi and Sindhu Sadhna research ships during the period May-July 2016. The UKs instrumented aircraft is a special aircraft which can fly at a very low-level for taking the observations. The aircraft observations will be augmented by special observational programs over the land using boundary layer flux towers, radars, Microwave Radiometers etc.

This joint effort is part of the implementation agreement signed between MoES and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK on n++Predicting the Variability of the South Asian Monsoonn++ under the existing MoU between MoES and UK on Collaboration in Earth System Science. Three research projects involving the Indian and UK scientists will study different aspects of physical processes affecting the monsoon.

The project n++South West Asian Aerosol - Monsoon Interactions (SWAAMI)n++, involves measurements of aerosols across northern India and the Bay of Bengal during the pre-monsoon which will then be synthesized with long term measurements from ground based networks and data from previous intensive campaigns. The study is expected to characterize the mechanisms by which aerosols influence the Indian monsoon. The project n++Interaction of Convective Organization and Monsoon Precipitation, Atmosphere, Surface and Sea (INCOMPASS) aims to capture the key surface-atmosphere feedback processes in models. The study will improve the skill of rainfall prediction in operational weather and climate models by way of better understanding and representation of interactions between the land surface, boundary layer, convection, the large-scale environment and monsoon variability on a range of scales. The aim of n++BoBBLE: Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experimentn++ is to determine, quantify and model ocean-atmosphere interactions that drive variability in the South Asian monsoon. Under this project, an observational campaign will be undertaken in the Bay of Bengal during June-July 2016 along with the analysis of wider observational and reanalysis-based data sets, and a set of hierarchical modelling experiments. The study will improve the understanding about the role of thermodynamic surface and mixed layer processes in the monsoon as well as the role of large-scale ocean structure, ocean dynamics and ocean biogeochemistry in the monsoon.

The observational campaign will start on 8th June 2016 and will last till end of July. The cost of this important observational campaign is approximately Rs 50.00 crore which is shared between MoES from the Indian side and NERC and the UK Met Office from the UK side.

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