Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Agni-V Launched, To Be Battle-Ready In 2015
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Faster Internet, But Sibal Stresses Affordability At Launch
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Kolkata: Sixteen years after it ushered in the cellphone revolution in India, with chief minister Jyoti Basu making the first call to telecom minister Sukhram on July 31, 1995, Kolkata once again made telecom history on Tuesday by becoming the first Indian city to have a 4G link.
The service, an abbreviation for fourth generation wireless, was launched by Airtel, whose predecessor in the city, Modi Telstra, had launched the cellphone service from the city with Basu’s historic call. It wasn’t just the emotional factor that made the city an automatic choice for the 4G launch. A senior Airtel official said the 4G infrastructure in the city had been put in place before others by ZTE Corporation, China’s largest listed telecom equipment company roped in to plan, design, deploy and supply the 4G network in Kolkata. And in remarks that would show Bengal and its capital in positive light to the industry, Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal, who unveiled the service along with telecom minister Kapil Sibal, thanked the state government for fast clearances.
So, Kolkatans can now access ultra-fast broadband service that, according to experts, is expected to be five times as fast as 3G. But a 4G connection will not offer voice or text services (in other words, you cannot use it to make calls or send SMSs). The service is being provided through dongles, which will allow you to link up with computers, laptops and some tablets. A 4G network lets users download songs and stream movies much more quickly than with 3G or WiFi.
But as with the rest of the world, its success in India, too, will depend on affordability, a point Sibal emphasized, confessing the 3G story hadn’t been a successful one.
“Many people have forgotten that the first telephonic experience was executed by A J C Bose in Kolkata. Now the 4G launch in Kolkata adds to the glory,” said Suparno Moitra, regional manager (east), Nasscom.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Regulator broadly accepts Jalan panel recommendations, sets norms for alternative investment funds
3 Apr 2012, Mint, BY ANIRUDH LASKAR, VYAS MOHAN & DEEPTI CHAUDHARY
PRADEEP GAUR/MINT Former RBI governor Bimal Jalan says he is pleased with the balanced view taken by Sebi after its board meeting. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Monday allowed the country’s stock exchanges to raise capital from the public through the listing of their own shares, which was opposed by the Bimal Jalan committee in its 2010 report.
Stifling rumours of the report being dumped in the backdrop of widespread controversies, the markets’ regulator said it broadly endorsed the committee’s recommendations that will change the way stock exchanges, depositories and clearing corporations do business in India.
Despite its key recommendations being rejected, Jalan, a former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor and head of the committee on market infrastructure institutions (MIIS), said he was pleased with the balanced view taken by Sebi after its board meeting on Monday.
“Sebi has maintained our basic emphasis of investor protection,” Jalan said. “It has decided that the regulatory and commercial functions of the stock exchanges should be separated, which is consistent with our report. It has taken a balanced view.”
Sebi set up a seven-member panel in February 2010, headed by Jalan, to review the ownership and governance structure norms of MIIS. Its November 2010 report recommended several changes.
But the report was stuck at the finance ministry over suggestions against the listing of bourses and segregation of their regulatory and commercial roles.
“MIIS should not become a vehicle for attracting speculative investments,” the report had said. “Further, MIIS being public institutions, any downward movement in their share prices may lead to a loss of credibility and this may be detrimental to the market as a whole.”
All the stock exchanges opposed the recommendation.
Sebi also framed exit norms for regional stock exchanges,
R 8FA57 most of which are dormant and are looking to liquidate their assets. Sebi chairman U.K. Sinha had pointed out in an interview last year that this was one of the areas that hadn’t been addressed in the Jalan report.
The regulator said stock exchanges could be listed when they put in place an appropriate mechanism to tackle conflict of interest. No stock exchange will be allowed to list shares on its own equity trading platform, and to float an initial public offering (IPO), the exchange will need to complete at least three years of operations.
The exchanges will also have to set up a conflict resolution committee with majority external and independent members. Sebi will prescribe the minimum listing standards for exchanges.
Both BSE Ltd and National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE) have in the past expressed their intention to sell shares.
Sebi said no single investor can hold more than 5% in exchanges, except for banks and financial institutions that may
® ® hold up to 15%. In line with the Jalan panel’s recommendations, Sebi mandated that stock exchanges should have a diversified ownership. “Fiftyone per cent of the holding of the stock exchanges will be held by the public,” it said.
Trading or clearing member representatives won’t be allowed on the boards of exchanges. That could pose difficulties for BSE, which has several brokers on its board, in the event of an IPO.
The new norms will require stock exchanges to have a minimum net worth of ` 100 crore, and the existing exchanges will be given three years to achieve this. The minimum net worth for other MIIS such as clearing corporations and depositories will be ` 300 crore and ` 100 crore, respectively.
Sebi will set up an expert committee to examine the viability of introducing a single clearing corporation or interoperability between different clearing corporations, Mint had reported on 31 January.
Depositories can also be listed, but not exchange clearing corporations. Both BSE and NSE have their own clearing corporations.
Sebi said a single stock exchange can’t hold more than 51% in a clearing corporation, and the combined holding of stock exchanges has to be at least 51%. A stock exchange holding 51% in one clearing corporation cannot hold more than 15% in any other such entity.
“It is a welcome and significant development, of considerable importance to the MII industry,” an NSE official said on condition of anonymity. “It should have a significant impact on the way the MII industry is structured.” BSE refused to comment. The regulator wants the non-core activities of MIIS to be assigned to a separate legal entity. When a related business of an MII delivers a service to another MII, it will have to provide equal and fair access to all. This means a depository or clearing corporation cannot prefer the trades made on the exchange that owns a majority stake in it.
Sebi also suggested changes in the compensation structure for key management personnel at MIIS.
To enable the exit of stock exchanges, Sebi said a bourse without any trading on its own platform or annual volume of less than ` 1,000 crore can apply for voluntary de-recognition and exit.
If a stock exchange entitled for voluntary de-recognition fails to achieve a turnover of ` 1,000 crore on a continuous basis or does not apply for voluntary exit within two years from the date of the regulator’s notice, Sebi will initiate a compulsory de-recognition process. There was no clear rule so far regarding such exits.
Out of India’s 25 stock exchanges, Sebi has de-recognized five. In September, Mint
Following recommendations: reported that Sebi was working on exit norms for exchanges.
Post-corporatization and demutualization of exchanges in 2004, several regional stock exchanges saw turnovers dwindling. As BSE and NSE expanded their network through franchises and brokers, firms preferred to be listed on these two, making regional stock markets unviable. There was no clear rule so far regarding ways to deal with assets of defunct exchanges and shareholders of companies listed on such exchanges.
Alternative investment funds
The regulator also proposes to regulate so-called alternative investment funds (AIFS) such as private equity (PE) funds, venture capital (VC) funds, infrastructure funds and social sector funds under an omnibus regulation.
The objective of the AIF regulations is to eliminate the investment risk of investors in privately managed funds.
All AIFS must register with Sebi. So far, most of these funds had been regulated under Sebi’s VC funds norms, which have now been repealed.
The regulation classifies AIFS under three categories.
The first category includes VC funds, small and medium enterprises funds, social venture funds and infrastructure funds. These funds could be given certain concessions by the government.
The second category includes PE funds, debt funds, fund of funds and others. Both these categories of AIFS will be close-ended and will not engage in leverage. The third category includes hedge funds and can be open-ended and may engage in leverage.
The categorization is a good way to bring clarity to fund structuring, said Vijai Mantri, chief executive officer and managing director at Pramerica Asset Managers Pvt. Ltd. So far, as most of these funds had been broadly classified as VC funds, it had become difficult to give targeted concessions to VC funds to promote start-ups.
“The disclosures are stringent. It is not possible to have all AIFS in one category. It’s a well-thought move,” Mantri said, adding that the regulators want the structures to be genuine.
According to new rules, the minimum contribution for a manager or sponsor in an AIF is 2.5% of the initial corpus (compared with 5% proposed earlier), or ` 5 crore, whichever is lower. Globally, limited partners (LPS, or investors in investment funds) seek a contribution of 1-2% of the fund size by its sponsors or general partners.
Also, such a contribution cannot be through the waiver of management fees. A management fee is usually 2% of the fund corpus offered on an annual basis for running the investment firm. According to the Sebi regulations, an AIF will not accept an investment of less than ` 1 crore from an investor. Further, the AIF shall have a minimum corpus of ` 20 crore. Also, the fund should not have more than 1,000 investors.
“Moving the 5% (contribution requirement) down to 2.5% in my mind is positive and now more palatable,” said Vivek Gupta, partner (mergers and acquisitions practice) at BMR Advisors. “Regulations like minimum investment of ` 1 crore and not having more than 1,000 investors is Sebi’s way of maintaining the sanctity of these Pe-type funds as genuine instruments for sophisticated investors to come in and invest without giving it too much public character.”
AIFS will not be permitted to invest more than 25% of the funds in one company and they are not allowed to invest in associate companies.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Career Journal: Job Tips From Female LeadersBy Prerna Sodhi
It’s still a man’s world in corporate India but some women leaders inspire us all.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2011, three successful women of corporate India share advice for women who are professionals.
–Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive officer, ICICI Bank Ltd.
If women want to be treated as equals at the workplace, they should not be asserting their womanhood, says Ms. Kochhar.
Avoid saying things like, “I have to go home at 5 o’ clock because I am a woman.” Or “I will not travel because I am a woman,” says Ms. Kochhar.
“Whether you are a man or a woman, you need to put in the hard work,” says Ms. Kochhar.
Ms. Kochhar joined ICICI in 1984 as a management trainee, and at the time, she says people couldn’t believe that a young woman was visiting factories. She recalls that many factories and offices did not have washrooms for women back then.
On juggling between a hectic work schedule and family life, Ms. Kochhar says that women need to put in much more effort than men, so they should continue working only if they don’t consider it a burden.
Ms. Kochhar makes it a point to stay in touch with her children even when she travels for work.
When Ms. Kochhar’s children were younger and she had to travel, she would ask her mother to come and stay with them.
Now, Ms. Kochhar’s 21-year-old daughter is in the U.S. but “I make sure I speak to her when she has to wake up or study.”
The veteran banker says her female role model is the average Indian woman, including women in rural India who put their family and children before themselves.
–Vinita Bali, managing director, Britannia Industries Ltd.
“Since (women) are in a minority, more attention is paid to how you deliver or handle pressure,” says Ms. Bali.
The key to dealing with this scrutiny, she says, is to not pay too much attention to how you are being perceived by others.
“Do what you believe in,” says Ms. Bali.
While Ms. Bali says she has never experienced gender bias in her working life, she has seen it around her.
“We are a society where on one hand we are talking about giving girls and boys equal opportunities…but we also do not give women the deserved credit,” she says.
Ms. Bali says companies need to do a better job of providing equal opportunity at work, and also of tackling harassment of women in the workplace. Companies need “to send a strong message that such actions will not be tolerated” says Ms. Bali.
She says that women in India often make more adjustments than men to balance work life with a family, with many quitting their jobs. But these women don’t have to worry about getting a job afterwards, so long as their work speaks for them.
In a growing country like India, “there are more opportunities than qualified people,” says Ms. Bali.
–Jayashri Ramamurti, head of human resources for engineering and product, Google India.
Women need to talk about their problems and stand up for themselves more often, says Ms. Ramamurti.
“Most of the time women expect people to understand (what they want) without voicing their concerns,” says Ms. Ramamurti.
But this doesn’t get them anywhere. So for instance, if a woman needs flexible work time for a specific period, she should discuss it with her manager, says Ms. Ramamurti.
To balance work and family life, Ms. Ramamurti suggests that women should not be ashamed of asking for help. “Women have an image of how they want to raise their kids and do not like to compromise on that by seeking help,” says Ms. Ramamurti.
She took a break from her career for four to five years to raise her children. Since then, she has relied on maids and family members to help out.
“My father lives with me which has really helped,” says Ms. Ramamurti.
Do you think Indian women professionals are treated equal in corporate India? Share your thoughts.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Gopinath quits from Kingfisher Board
Thursday,25 March 2010, 08:13 hrs
New Delhi: Captain G R Gopinath, the pioneer of the low-cost carrier model in the country, resigned from the board of Kingfisher Airlines. Captain Gopinath has started a new venture - express transportation and logistics company 'Deccan 360' - where he is the Chairman and Managing Director, reports PTI.
"Captain Gopinath and Captain K J Samuel have resigned from the board as Directors to take effect from the close of the meeting of the Board of Directors of the company held on Wednesday," Kingfisher said in a communique to the National Stock Exchange. Gopinath was appointed Vice Chairman of Kingfisher Airlines after the Vijay Mallya-led carrier took controlling stake in his budget airline Deccan Aviation.
Last year, Captain Gopinath had continuously been offloading his stake in Kingfisher, bringing his holding down to 0.3 percent in September 2009.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Indian rupee to get unique symbol in 2010-2011
|Press Trust of India / New Delhi February 26, 2010, 15:48 IST|
The Indian Rupee will this fiscal join the elite league of global currencies like US dollar, British pound and euro that have their unique symbols, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday.
"In the ensuing year, we intend to formalise a symbol for the Indian Rupee, which reflects and captures the Indian ethos and culture," he announced in his Budget speech in Parliament.
"With this, Indian Rupee will join the select club of currencies such as the US dollar, British pound Sterling, euro and Japanese yen that have a clear distinguishing identity," he said.
While these foreign currencies have their own unique symbols, other than their abbreviations like USD and GBP, Rupee is only referred to by the abbreviation \'Rs\'. Moreover, the same abbreviated forms are also in neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka rupee.
The decision to have a symbol for Rupee was taken by the government last year. It was also decided to invite designs from the public for the new symbol. The shortlisted designers would present their designs to a seven-member jury, comprising of officials from the government and RBI as also people from institutes like J J Institute of Applied Art, National Institute of Design, Lalit Kala Akademi and Indira Gandhi National Centre.