He is the most Credible “DOER”face in the Modi Government as an efficient minister. He should have been given the Finance Ministry as he is well qualified and tolerates No Nonsense. He has the guts to call a spade a spade and does not tolerate inefficiency and excuses.
His commitment and alignment to the BJP / NDA manifesto is unparallelled.
“Reciprocity should be there. Is India a punching bag that if you want then you can come and invest in India and earn and Indian companies cannot come and earn in your country. We believe in reciprocity and it is also a display of our strength,” the minister said.
… that today is Oldest El Capitan Climber Day? On this day in 1999, 81-year-old Gerry Bloch became the oldest climber to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It’s not the first time Bloch had set a record. In 1986, when he was 68, he set the record then for oldest climber. He broke his own record!
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“To me – old age is always ten years older than I am.”
… that today is Oldest El Capitan Climber Day? On this day in 1999, 81-year-old Gerry Bloch became the oldest climber to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It’s not the first time Bloch had set a record. In 1986, when he was 68, he set the record then for oldest climber. He broke his own record!
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“To me – old age is always ten years older than I am.”
Jessica Hagy , CONTRIBUTORI use graphs and charts to tell stories, jokes, and truths. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.(all illustrations by Jessica Hagy)”I’m so sorry, but—” is the introductory phrase of doom. Apologizing when you haven’t made any mistakes makes you look weak and easy to dismiss, not polite.Still want to say sorry? Then just don’t say it in these 10 situations.1. Don’t apologize for taking up space.You’re three-dimensional in many powerful ways.2. Don’t apologize for not being omniscient.If you really were psychic, you’d be out spending your lottery winnings already.3. Don’t apologize for manifesting in a human form.
Collection of superb hard hitting humorous comments on govt, politics, bureaucracy
“In my many years I have come to a conclusion, … that one useless man is a shame, two [useless men] is a law firm and three or more [useless men] is a government.”
“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do
read the newspaper you are misinformed.”
“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” ~Winston Churchill
********* “A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
~George Bernard Shaw *******
“Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor
people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”
~ Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University
“Giving money and power to government is like giving
whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
~P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean
politics won’t take an interest in you!”
~Pericles (430 B.C.)
“No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”
~Mark Twain (1866)
“The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy
appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.”
~ Ronald Reagan
“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”
“What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.”
~Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
“A government big enough to give you everything you want,is strong enough to take everything you have.”
“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”
“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!”
Software industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) dismissed incorrect reports of mass layoffs by IT companies in India. The industry body said the numbers being reported with regard to layoffs across different sources are not in line with the actual employment progression. “In fact, the industry continues to be a net hirer with talent acquisition continuing across sectors. In 2016-17, the industry added 170,000 new jobs (600,000 in last three years) and today boasts of a total employee base of 3.9 million (95,000-100,000 in start-ups and 50,000-60,000 in e-commerce),” it said in a statement. “The sector remains one of the largest employers of the nation. While there is a gentle deceleration in the net hiring growth rate due to shifting focuses towards innovation, lower attrition and enhanced efficiencies, the sector continues to hire fresh as-well-as lateral employees in equal proportion thus indicating the opportunities for employment at the entry as well as the mid-management level.” The statement said workforce realignment is common to any industry and is a part of the regular exercise of yearly performance appraisal processes, which only impacts 0.5-3 per cent of the overall IT talent pool. “Both skilling and talent re-deployment are part of a regular yearly cycle, as this enables companies to remain competitive,” Nasscom Chairman Mr. Raman Roy said.
In a first for an e-commerce company, Mr. Kunal Bahl and Mr. Rohit Bansal, co-founders of online marketplace Snapdeal, are planning to give $30 million, roughly Rs 193 crore, to the existing and some former employees from their own payout once the company’s sale to Flipkart is through. According to sources, the 1,200-odd employees left at Snapdeal will get from the co-founders half the $60 million payout SoftBank will pay Mr. Bahl and Mr. Bansal for their 6.5 per cent stake in Snapdeal. The co-founders, along with other directors including early investors Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners, agreed last week to SoftBank’s proposal to sell Snapdeal to Tiger Global-backed Flipkart. The value of Snapdeal shares and options has eroded and will be nil once the deal is signed. The deal-linked payment will also be extended to employees who do not own Esops to reward those who stayed on. Sources said that employees at Snapdeal individually would be richer by Rs 2 lakh-1 crore. “This would depend on how long an employee has been with the firm, their overall experience, and their position in the company. Some of the senior management team members who have stuck around with the founders even through tough times would be handsomely rewarded,” said a source close to the company. Not only the present employees, some who have left the firm but hold Esops or were asked to leave would be compensated. While in the past one and a half years around 30 ecommerce companies and startups — some even funded by big venture funds — have shut shop, none of the founders had promised such severance packages to their employees. Ecommerce firms such as Askme simply shut shop and left close to 4,000 employees high and dry. According to sources, even when Snapdeal had laid off most of the 10,000 employees it had till February 2016, they were given three months’ salary. Sources said that the founders had — as part of the deal to sell their stake — asked SoftBank to ensure that the 1,000-odd employees were absorbed in the merged entity at least for four to five months so they could have a smooth exit from the company. “The founders have been asking for an employment guarantee that Flipkart should absorb the employee strength in total,” the source added.
Paytm has received the final approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and is set to launch Paytm Payments Bank on 23 May, its holding company One97 Communications Pvt. Ltd said. Ms. Renu Satti, vice-president of business at Paytm, will take over as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Paytm Payments Bank, the company said. Ms. Shinjini Kumar, who was hired in February last year by Paytm to lead the payments bank, is on her way out, according to people directly involved in the matter. Ms. Kumar was a former senior executive at the Reserve bank of India. Ms. Satti has been with Paytm for nearly a decade now and started out as manager of human resources at One97 Communications. Since then she has worked on several projects, including Paytm marketplace and the wallet business. One97 Communications founder and CEO Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma was among the 11 applicants to receive RBI’s in-principle nod for a payments bank licence in November 2015. In January, Paytm had said it received the final approvals from the RBI and was planning to start payments bank in one or two months, but the launch was delayed. In the same month, Bharti Airtel Ltd started operations for Airtel Payments Banks, a joint venture between Bharti Airtel Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. Paytm said that all active wallet accounts on the payments app will be transferred to the payments bank. “As per the directions of RBI, the company will be transferring its wallet business to the newly incorporated payments bank entity, Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, under a payment bank licence awarded to a resident Indian, Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma,” it said in a statement.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon have a chief financial officer (CFO) to oversee financial reporting and accounts, besides shaping policies. Spelling out job responsibilities for the CFO, who will be of the rank of executive director, the RBI said he or she would be responsible for “accurate and timely presentation and reporting of financial information”. The head of finance should essentially be a qualified chartered accountant with at least 15 years of experience of overseeing financial operations of banks or financial firms, the central bank said in a notification seeking applications for the position. Till now, the central bank does not have a dedicated official handling the finance function, and the tasks are being carried out internally. The CFO’s responsibilities will also include establishing accounting policies and procedures, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations and standards. The CFO would communicate both the expected and actual financial performance of the bank. His work will also involve overseeing the Budget process, collecting inputs and comparing actual performance vis-à-vis the Budget Estimates. Mr. Raghuram Rajan, during his tenure as RBI governor, had toyed with the idea of having a chief operating officer of the rank of deputy governor. Mr. Rajan wanted Mr. Nachiket Mor, presently director on the central board of the RBI, to be in that position, said two senior bankers. The RBI expects the CFO to flag risks to the finances and develop strategies to counter and mitigate the same. He would have oversight of three departments, including department of government and bank accounts, corporate strategy and budget department, department of corporate services.
Infosys, the second largest information technology (IT) services firm in the country, will maintain its annual campus hiring at 20,000 this year, but is looking at engineers with new skills such as digital and analytics. IT firms in the country have witnessed technology and business shifts in the past few years. Clients are now spending more on digital, Cloud and analytics. Maintenance and testing — services usually performed by freshers — are also getting automated. This has prompted Infosys and its peers to look for new skills when they hire. The Bengaluru-headquartered company will begin its annual campus hiring in September, an Infosys spokesperson said. The placement process at engineering colleges goes on till February. IT companies hire in the third and fourth quarters and absorb the new work force in phases. “Hiring at Infosys has always been driven by business. Over the years, we have only increased the spread of roles we offer on campuses. The IT industry is witnessing a change in hiring patterns with unconventional, high-value graduates with differential skills likely to be more attractive,” said the Infosys spokesperson. The National Association of Software and Services Companies said the focus of the IT services sector was “shifting from scale to skill”. College administrations, however, report they have hardly witnessed any change. Mr. M K Panduranga Setty, president of the trust of Bengaluru-based R V College of Engineering, said, “So far, we have not seen any impact in terms of jobs. About 95 per cent of students in the final year have already got jobs. For the next year, we will have to wait and watch how the companies react to recent shifts in the sector.” Earlier this month, Infosys announced it would hire 10,000 in the US over the next two years and open four new technology and innovation hubs across the US. These would focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, Cloud, and big data.
Micromax’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Shubhajit Sen has stepped down from his position, and is moving out to pursue other interests. The company appointed Mr. Shubhodip Pal as its new Chief Marketing & Commercial officer and Group Head for VAS and online sales efforts. This includes both the Micromax and YU business. “It has been a great journey at Micromax over the past two years; one which I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of. As I leave Micromax, I feel satisfied that there is an excellent marketing team in place, deep relationships with strategic partners and a compelling future roadmap for the business. These present multiple opportunities for growth for Micromax going forward and I wish the leadership team all the very best for an exciting future,” said Mr. Shubhajit Sen, ex-CMO, Micromax Informatics in a press statement. Just last week, Mr. Sen had addressed the media about Micormax’s latest mid-segment phone, the Canvas 2 (2017). He had underlined how Micromax had kept quiet for a few quarters as the malarkey situation had changed and how it now planned to draw on its strengths in the offline channel. In a press statement, Micromax noted the development as a vision move to the next phase of growth for the company. The company’s new CMO Mr. Shubhodip Pal has over two decades of consumer marketing experience in launching, building and managing brands.
IBM India’s performance based appraisal exercise of its employees is likely to impact around 1-2% of its total employee strength while the company has strongly denied any move towards layoffs. In response to a query on reported layoffs, a statement from IBM said, “This is factually incorrect. We are not going to comment further on rumours and speculation.” IBM India which has estimated employee strength of around 1.5 lakh regularly undertakes performance appraisal exercise and sources indicated that the technology major is likely to be very selective in identifying the non-performers. This development at IBM comes amidst the similar exercise undertaken by other companies such as Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and Capgemini. Nasscom, the Indian IT industry’s trade body has also said that the annual performance appraisal process for the sector generally impacts around 1-3% of the total employees and this year has been no different from the past. Nasscom also said the industry has been a net hirer of 1.5 lakh people every year with the total headcount now standing at 4 million. “Skilling and workforce realignment are essential to remain competitive in international markets. It needs to be appreciated that such workforce realignment is a normal part of the internal process of companies based on their own operational imperatives,” it had stated. Nasscom chairman Mr. Raman Roy said that 50-60% of the workforce needs to be re-skilled by 2020 to meet the new demands in the market like digital. He also remarked that automation will eat into 260 million jobs worldwide by 2025.
Every industry is on the cusp of a transformation because of technology and this is probably one of the most exciting times to be in the job market, Mr. Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, Senior Vice-President of Corporate Marketing at Cognizant, said. “We are talking about 3-D printing happening in manufacturing, in financial services people are talking about blockchain, media and entertainment industry people are talking about virtual reality, augmented reality, so on and so forth. All these are enabled by the technology. So if somebody were to get employed by the market today the opportunities and the options that are available to the individual today, the canvas is much wider more enriching,” Mr. Ramamoorthy said. In March, Cognizant came under the scanner for reportedly laying off 6,000 employees and also offering voluntary separation package to senior level staffers. To bring their grievances to people’s notice, the Forum for IT employees (FITE) reached out to the Tamil Nadu state government as well. The US-headquartered firm employs over 2, 61,000 employees. Denying that the company plans to lay off about 6,000 people, Mr. Ramamoorthy said that re-skilling of the employees is required across every sector owing to automation. He added that the company plans to reskill 100,000 of its employees this year in digital technologies such as Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and automation etc.
Hindustan Unilever, the country’s largest consumer goods company, will rationalise its workforce as it reviews its business in line with parent Unilever’s directives. Last month, Unilever, the world’s second-largest consumer goods company, said it would combine two of its main business units, food and refreshment, divest its spreads business, buy back shares worth 5 billion euros, raise dividend to 12 per cent, and target a 20 per cent operating margin by 2020, up from 16.4 per cent last year. While the measures were aimed primarily at boosting its business prospects in Europe and North America, the India business, which contributes eight-nine per cent to Unilever’s $56.1-billion annual overall turnover, would feel the heat, especially in the area of workforce rationalisation, sector analysts said. In response to a query on the subject, HUL’s managing director and chief executive officer, Mr. Sanjiv Mehta, said the company was integrating “brand builders and brand developers” in a bid to optimise resources.
US automaker Ford Motor is making plans to cut about 10 per cent of its global staff, which could mean about 20,000 jobs worldwide. Most of the jobs will be salaried workers who do not have union protection, rather than the 57,000 US hourly staff who work on assembly lines. The company did not confirm or deny the report, saying only that “reducing costs and becoming as lean and efficient as possible” is one of its key priorities, but that it has yet to announce any new job cuts. Ford announced last month that it was looking to reduce costs by $3 billion in order to offset efforts to invest in “emerging opportunities”. The company has said that efforts to develop the next generation of electric and self-driving cars would lead to a lower profit margin in the near term. Those are expensive, long-term bets that will take some time to pay off, if they ever do. Ford announced the $3 billion cost cutting goal at the same time it reported sharply lower first quarter earnings. The company has been under pressure from shareholders about declining profits and a weak share price. Earlier this year, shares of electric car manufacturer Tesla (TSLA), which is a fraction of Ford’s size, passed Ford in terms of market value. But Ford and other US automakers have also been under pressure from President Mr. Donald Trump to create US jobs. Ford won praise from Mr. Trump when it announced in January that it was scrapping plans for a plant in Mexico and would invest $700 million in a Michigan plant to build electric and self—driving cars. But the company is still moving ahead with plans announced last year to shift all small car production to Mexico.
Cisco Systems Inc said that it is laying off 1,100 more workers, deepening job losses at the internet gear maker battling declining revenue. The new round of layoffs comes on top of the 5,500 jobs Cisco announced it was cutting in August. That amounted to about 7 per cent of its workforce at the time. Cisco sells routers, switches, software and services business and has seen its business hurt as more of its corporate customers rely on remote data centers for their computing needs instead of online networks maintained on their own premises. The company based in San Jose, California, reported revenue of $11.94 billion for its fiscal third quarter that ended in April. That was down from $12 billion a year earlier. It said it expects its revenue to decline 4 to 6 per cent in the quarter ending in July compared to the same 2016 period.
L &T Technology Services Ltd, the IT services arm of India’s largest engineering and construction firm Larsen and Toubro Ltd, will hire 2,500 Indians across verticals in the financial year to March 2018, a top company executive said. The company also intends to increase salaries at the entry level this financial year by up to 20%, Mr. Paneesh Rao, chief human resources (HR) officer at L&T Technology Services, said in an interview. “Telecom and hi-tech (comprising of semi-conductors and consumer electronics) and transportation are the two verticals that will be driving growth. Additionally, we also see industrial products growing this financial year,” Mr. Rao said. About the impact of automation on jobs at L&T Technology Services, Mr. Rao said, “Comparing us to a purely IT company is not fair. We are a purely engineering services company. We are a designing company, and we support design till production. A design cannot be automated. We need human brains working on it. To that extent, we are excluded from the automation impact.” Companies across the information technology (IT) industry have started to lay off people as growth slows and profitability declines.
To encourage internal talent, markets regulator Sebi has decided to fill two-third executive director posts from within the organisation. The remaining one-third will be filled up by deputation/contract. Sebi has six EDs currently and is planning to increase the strength. Earlier, 50 per cent of the total posts of executive directors had to be filled on the basis of internal candidates and the rest were to be recruited from outside the organisation. In case of non-availability of talent in any category –internal and deputation/contract — the post may be filled from other categories, it added. Now, the new selection committee would comprise two external experts nominated by the Sebi’s chairman apart from others. Earlier, it consisted of two board members, apart from the Sebi chief. The new rules would become part of Sebi (employees’ service) regulations. An employee association of Sebi, representing over 600 people, had recently sought the removal of a provision in their service rules that allowed the regulator to hire 50 per cent of its EDs on deputation, contract from outside the organisation.
The suspense for central government employees over recommendations to 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) could be over soon, as some union leaders may meet senior government officials soon. The meeting could offer an update on the recommendations related to allowance structure. Even though similar reports of a meeting were doing the rounds, the Finance Ministry or any of the government officials did not provide any confirmation. The 7th pay commission’s review committee on recommendations had submitted its report to Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley on April 27. Ever since the submission of the report, the central government employees have been eagerly waiting for an update from the Finance Ministry. The Committee of Allowances was formed under Finance Secretary Mr. Ashok Lavasa to examine the 7th pay commission recommendations on allowances, as passed by the Union Cabinet on June 26, 2016. This was in light of the extensive changes to the allowance structure recommended by the CPC and numerous representations received from central government employees and member of staff. The 7th CPC had recommended that 52 allowances be abolished altogether and 36 be subsumed in other allowances, out of a total of 196 allowances. The changes effected under the 7th pay commission will benefit 47 lakh central government employees presently working across the country.
Finding a well-paying job for graduates of India’s premier engineering institutes, the IITs, has always been a cakewalk. However, amid protectionist policies in the US and other countries, the decades old trend of placements has shown a decline this year. According to reports, the data sent by IITs to the human resource development (HRD) ministry revealed only 66 per cent of students who appeared for campus recruitment got a job offer in 2016-17, as against 79 per cent in 2015-16 and 78 per cent in 2014-15. If one goes by the official data sent to the human resource development (HRD) ministry, out of 9,104 student in 17 IITs who appeared for placements this year, only 6,013 were placed, it said. “We could have potentially done better, we were not able to get as many companies due to political uncertainties in the state. Companies that were to come to campus fulfilled their requirements with other institutions,” said Mr. Manu Santhanam, placement advisor at IIT Madras. The decline in placements at India’s premier engineering colleges is seen as a possible outcome of various disruptions globally, including protectionist steps taken by countries like United States and Australia.
Could potentially put the entire equity base of banks at risk
MUMBAI, MAY 17:
The Indian banking system is in the middle of a perfect storm with stagnant credit growth, surging deposits, and growing stressed assets even as it grapples with rapid digital banking adoption as well as a changing regulatory environment, a new report released by McKinsey & Company said.
The report, ‘Mastering new realities: A blueprint to transform Indian banking’, highlights the challenges as well as the technological trends driving the growth of new opportunities.
Renny Thomas, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Co, and leader of the firm’s financial services practice, said that the stressed assets of the Indian banking sector are currently greater than its networth, with the potential of putting the entire equity base of banks at risk.
Stressed assets had crossed ₹10 lakh crore in December 2016 but provisioning against these levels is only ₹3 lakh crore, he said.
He argued that the industry structure as it exists today is sub-optimal with far too many public sector banks in existence and made the case for more mergers.
However, one has to move beyond consolidation in order to attract capital and talent into State-owned banks on a sustainable basis, he said.
Calling for a structural overhaul, a systemic intervention to resolve the issue of non-performing assets (NPAs) and spur innovation and transformation, Renny said this could lead to the overall credit volume moving up by more than 120 per cent from current levels over the next five years in a favourable scenario, compared to a contraction if status quo is maintained.
Could potentially put the entire equity base of banks at risk
The future of work is a key topic at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. For more information, watch the Promise or Peril: Decoding the Future of Work session here.
Could a robot do your job? Millions of people who didn’t see automation coming will soon find out the painful way. The answer is a resounding yes.
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobsstudy predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.
The good news is that those same technological advances will also create 2.1 million new jobs. But the manual and clerical workers who find themselves out of work are unlikely to have the required skills to compete for the new roles. Most new jobs will be in more specialized areas such as computing, mathematics, architecture and engineering.
Governments and employers in every sector are being urged to retrain and re-skill workers to avoid a crisis.
“Without urgent and targeted action today, to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future-proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
New skills for new economies
So what skills should workers be acquiring to make sure they have value as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace? Some may be surprised to learn that skills we develop in pre-school will be valued highly.
David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, argues that soft skills like sharing and negotiating will be crucial. He says the modern workplace, where people move between different roles and projects, closely resembles pre-school classrooms, where we learn social skills such as empathy and cooperation.
Deming has mapped the changing needs of employers and identified key skills that will be required to thrive in the job market of the near future. Along with those soft skills, mathematical ability will be enormously beneficial.
Single-skillset jobs in decline
Deming shows that in recent years, many jobs requiring only mathematical skills have been automated. Bank tellers and statistical clerks have suffered. Roles which require predominantly social skills (childcare workers, for example) tend to be poorly paid as the supply of potential workers is very large.
The study shows that workers who successfully combine mathematical and interpersonal skills in the knowledge-based economies of the future should find many rewarding and lucrative opportunities.
Refocusing skills education
The challenge now, says Deming, is for educators to complement their teaching of technical skills like mathematics and computer science, with a focus on making sure the workers of the future have the soft skills to compete in the new jobs market.
What have Picasso, Warhol, Caravaggio, and Van Gogh in common? Yes, they were all great artists, but they also painted paintings that got lost in time and made, when they were rediscovered, their finders immensely rich.
The Sunset at Montmajour was discovered by a Norwegian man in his attic in 2013, but he did not care much for the painting because he thought it to be a fake. By 1991, the owner had already asked experts in the Van Gogh museum for their expertise, and they had decided that the painting was a fake (due to the missing signature). However, several years later and with advanced technology, the painting was examined again. After chemical analysis, X-ray research, and examination of Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, they finally concluded that the painting was a real Van Gogh. They were even able to find out the exact date when it was finished: July 4, 1888.
Just for comparison, Van Gogh’s painting Portrait of Dr. Gachet was sold for $82.5 million.
… that today, besides being Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day!!), is the Birthday of Mark Zuckerberg (1984)? Chairman, chief executive officer, and co-founder of Facebook, Zuckerberg’s net worth is estimated to be $58.6 billion as of March 2017. In December 2012, Zuckerberg and his wife announced that over the course of their lives they would give the majority of their wealth to “advancing human potential and promoting equality” in the spirit of The Giving Pledge.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.”
If China thinks – with unprovoked Cease Fire by its ally and Terrorist State Pakistan who also helps it s land Grab intentions in Pak Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit, Baltistan which are India’s Sovereign – then it is sadly mistaken. Its intentions are worse than the British Colonialism and it will meet its fate In the similar manner.
All countries should respect each other’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Chinese President Xi Jinping said today while opening the One Belt, One Road or OBOR project which India has boycotted. A key part of the planned project runs through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. India has raised strong objections, saying it violates India’s territorial integrity, since PoK is part of India. While boycotting the OBOR, India said, “No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Infosys plans to soon “fire” an unspecified number of its techies for “non-performance”, over a week after announcing on May 2 that it would hire 10,000 Americans in the US, said the global software major. “A continued low feedback on performance could lead to certain performance actions, including separation of an individual,” said the city-based company in a statement. As a bi-annual exercise, the IT major’s management would make performance assessments of its employees, keeping in view the business goals set for individuals. “Performance assessments are done with reference to the goals individuals have on business objectives and other strategic priorities, asserted the company in the statement here. Though the outsourcing firm declined to mention how many pink slips it would hand out, sources said they could be in hundreds at middle and senior levels, working in its development centres across the country and a few in its overseas offices or subsidiaries. The proposed sacking by the troubled company follows similar layoff moves by rivals Wipro, TCS and Cognizant to right size their human resources and reduce cost of operations in a tough environment, with disruptive technologies and declining IT spend by enterprises worldwide due to sluggish economy.
IDFC Managing Director Mr. Vikram Limaye’s appointment as the National Stock Exchange (NSE) CEO is likely to be cleared by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Mr. Limaye is expected to start his new innings sometime in June. His appointment had been long pending and SEBI has expressed concerns over his role as part of the Supreme Court-appointed committee to look at the cleanup of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The market regulator is concerned that Mr. Limaye may not be able to efficiently discharge duties as the chief of NSE and has sought clarifications over his role. The Supreme Court had appointed Mr. Limaye on the four-member BCCI panel on January 30. The NSE board has assured SEBI that Mr. Limaye’s commitment to BCCI is only for short term. However, if he is still part of the committee beyond July NSE board will approach the Supreme Court to release him off his responsibility as part of the BCCI panel. SEBI Chairman Mr. Ajay Tyagi had last month told reporters that the regulator would soon take a decision on Mr. Limaye’s nomination. “We had sought some additional information from NSE on his candidature. These were on three to four aspects. The exchange has replied to us a couple of days back and we would be able to take a call on it soon,” Mr. Tyagi had said. If appointed, Mr. Limaye will succeed Ms. Chitra Ramkrishna who quit NSE citing personal reasons on December 2.
Taxi-aggregation company Uber has done away with its three-member team model in India and has hired over 1,000 people, making the country as one of its biggest employee bases outside the US. The company is planning to hire more people this year as it looks to scale its marketing, customer support and new businesses such as Uber Eats and UberHire in India. Out of the 1,000 people, about 400 are based in Hyderabad, in its customer support centre of excellence division. “There are functions like customer care, marketing where we need to add resources to be able to keep up with the growth in the business. There are also new businesses – such as the Uber Eats launch that just happened…so that team will scale as the business scales. There are experiments that we do, for example — Uber Hire. That team needs to get supported as we scale it. The expansion will be mostly linked to how the business scales,” Mr. Pradeep Parameswaran, head of central operations of Uber India said. Uber has already invested over USD 1 billion in India. The company that sold its China operations to rival Didi Chuxing is looking to scale more even as biggest rival Ola already has a staff strength of about 6,000 people across functions. “We are a thousand people plus now in India, starting with just three people some three and a half years ago,” he added. Uber globally has about 9,000 employees and it is present in over 80 countries.
British lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said it was planning to cut over 300 jobs and outsourcing others to India as part of its efforts to become a “simpler, smaller UK-focused bank”. RBS informed staff that it would be letting go of 154 contractors by year-end, while 180 permanent roles have been put at risk—with a total of 92 staff positions set to be axed. “As RBS moves towards becoming a simpler, smaller UK- focused bank, we’re continuing to restructure our back-office support and reducing its size so it’s a better fit for our business. Unfortunately, these changes will result in the net reduction of 92 roles… We understand this will be difficult news for staff and we will be offering support to those affected, including redeploying people into other roles where we can,” the bank said in a statement. The job cuts are expected to affect tech staff across a number of the bank’s departments including risk solutions, digital engineering services, finance solutions, core and payments, and NatWest markets technology. Reacting to the announcement, workers’ union Unite called on the state-funded bank to impose a moratorium on the “unjustified” moving of jobs to India, believed to cover 38 technology-related roles.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics named a new head of mobile marketing as well as a China chief as part of a long-delayed executive reshuffle following the arrest of its vice chairman for alleged bribery. Samsung said Executive Vice President Mr. Choi Kyung-sik had been promoted to head of the mobile division’s strategic marketing office. His predecessor, Mr. Lee Sang-chul, had been reassigned to oversee the firm’s Southeast Asian operations. Mr. Koh Dong-jin remained the head of the company’s smartphone business. The South Korean firm also named Mr. Kwon Kye-hyun as head of the China business, where Samsung’s smartphone sales have struggled to regain momentum amid competition from rivals such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. The world’s top maker of smartphones and memory chips is widely expected to deliver record profits this year, but the arrest of Samsung Group leader Mr. Jay Y. Lee has raised doubts about its future direction and strategy. Mr. Lee, 48, has been in detention since February as part of a graft scandal that led to the ouster and arrest of former president Mr. Park Geun-hye. He denies any wrongdoing. Samsung said “further delay” to the personnel changes pending since late last year would hurt its ability to compete. In the smartphone business its main challenger for market leadership is Apple.
Snapdeal co-founders Mr. Kunal Bahl and Mr. Rohit Bansal are likely to receive USD 30 million in cash each from SoftBank after their exit from the company. The payout is part of the merger of Snapdeal with Flipkart. SoftBank is likely to invest a large sum in the merged entity, giving the existing stakeholders an exit. The founders hold less than 6.5 percent stake in Snapdeal, pegging the deal valuation at just about USD 1 billion, almost one-sixth of what it was valued in early 2016. “The company’s board has reached a consensus and due diligence is likely to take place from next week. Almost all the deal contours have been finalised,” a company official said. The two founders had earned close to Rs 80 crore each from sale of shares during a large funding round led by Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan in 2015. Snapdeal has agreed to a non-binding letter of intent (LoI) for a merger with rival Flipkart. The deal, which has been in works for last few months, was stuck due to disagreement amongst stakeholders over final settlement for the company’s earliest investors namely Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. Except for few top executives, others are not likely to be retained in the combined entity, said the person quoted above without specifying the exact number. In February, Snapdeal went through a mass retrenchment exercise which saw over 2,300 employees being let go. Over the last few months, the company has also witnessed massive voluntary attrition. While the exact number of the employees in the company could not be ascertained, the company’s headcount is expected to be below 2,000 people as of now. There was no immediate clarity on whether or not the existing or former employees who have vested Esops in the company would be entitled to any benefit through this deal. Around 2,500-3,000 current as well as former employees hold close to 5-6 percent stake in Snapdeal in terms of ESOPs.
Bucking the trend, global software major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has ruled out laying-off employees in the near future and instead plans to create more jobs. “No, certainly no,” Mr. Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and MD of TCS, said when asked if there were any plans of laying-off employees or downsize as some other big players in India’s IT sector have said they would do. “We are here to create jobs, not to downsize,” he asserted after TCS launched a BPO centre here to create new opportunities as part of the government’s Digital India push. At a time when it has been reported that Indian software companies like Wipro, Infosys and Cognizant have decided to downsize, Mr. Gopinathan’s revelation that TCS is not going to follow suit is seen as a welcome development. Later, TCS spokesperson Mr. Pradipta Bagchi said the IT sector has a bright future in the country with the Digital India initiative on the right track. “We are looking forward to expand and spread our business and connect with more and more people.” TCS operates in 45 countries and has over 387,000 of the world’s best trained consultants. The company generated consolidated revenue of $17.6 billion in the fiscal ended March 31, 2017.
Cognizant has sought two weeks’ time from the Telangana government following a meeting convened with the joint commissioner of labour and the company management to arrive at an amicable solution. The next meeting is scheduled to be held on May 26. Telangana is also the first state to intervene in the forced resignation issue despite Cognizant’s claim that it has not conducted any layoffs but conducted a performance-based process. A Cognizant spokesperson confirmed that senior officials from the company met the joint commissioner of labour Mr. R Chandra Shekaram, JCL, Hyderabad, said that the company officials had detailed discussions over the forced layoffs of eight employees. These employees had given a representation to the labour department on the sudden layoffs recently. “While three of the eight employees were forced to submit their resignations, the rest were yet to get any notices or any orders,” he added. However, sources in the know said that the government was also serious about understanding about the proposed expansion plans by the company in Hyderabad.
With the process of merging Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in full swing, the two entities are now looking for a Chief Executive Officer to head the consolidated firm. Both companies are in the process of hiring a selection committee led by Aditya Birla Group chairman Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, which will be responsible for appointing the CEO. The contenders include Idea chief Mr. Himanshu Kapania and Vodafone India CEO Mr. Sunil Sood. Vodafone Plc executives may also be considered for the CEO job. The search is not restricted to in-house names, however, as the committee will also look elsewhere. The two telecom operators are also in the process of aligning the structure so that they are “mirror images” of each other for a seamless transition after the merger. On March 20, India’s No. 2 telecom company by subscribers, Vodafone, and No.3 Idea had said they had signed a pact to merge their telecom businesses, excluding Vodafone India’s stake in Indus Towers. After both the companies come together, the combined entity will take the first position in terms of subscriber case and push Bharti Airtel to the second spot.
Global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will hire 4,000 people across business verticals in financial year 2017-2018 in India. Digital, management consulting – healthcare and pharma, retail, cyber security, financial sector technology and forensic services will be the key growth areas for PwC in the current financial year. Emerging technology—internet of things, apptech, and robotic process automation will be among the other focus areas, said Mr. Jagjit Singh, chief people officer, PwC India. “Hiring for relevant skills in government reforms and infrastructure development, urban planning, goods and services tax, risk assurance shall be key,” Mr. Singh said, adding that a large part of the hiring shall be focussed at acquiring execution skills with the right attitude and values. Candidates with knowledge in areas of data analytics and cyber security verticals will be high on demand at the global consulting firm’s India office. Responding to the availability of talent with expertise in niche skills like data analytics and cyber security, Mr. Singh said that very few educational institutes have specialised courses on data analytics and cyber security. The company confirmed that it is already working with universities and institutes to train students in acquiring such niche skill sets. “We shall continue to invest in and grow our internal talent pool to take on larger roles within India and nearby geographies. We are also looking to attract and evaluate Indian diaspora based out of Europe, South Asia and the US for regular as well as marquee skills,” Mr. Singh said.
Software services firm Tech Mahindra has sacked a thousand-odd employees this month, following moves by Wipro, Infosys, and Cognizant to trim workforce amid the worst business crisis in nearly a decade. Indian information technology (IT) firms are witnessing their slowest growth in a decade due to automation, technology shifts, and increased protectionism in its main markets. Global firms are shifting their budgets from traditional IT services to newer areas such as digital and cloud, which require engineers to engage with clients than work remotely. Also, low-end maintenance work is getting increasingly automated, forcing companies to shift workers to other projects and reduce hiring from campuses. With growing stress on their businesses, IT firms are also increasing scrutiny on employees and weeding out non-performers. “We have a process of weeding out bottom performers every year and this year is no different,” a Tech Mahindra spokesperson said. As on December 31, 2016, the company’s total employee headcount stood at 117,095, while the software division had 80,858 employees. Industry experts say mid-level employees with 10-15 years of experience may be largely affected as many are averse to learning new skills.
The time limit to receive and dispose of pay-related anomalies of central government employees arising out of the 7th Pay Commission has been extended by the Centre by three months. The deadline to resolve any discrepancy arising out of the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission (7CPC) reports will be 15 November, instead of 15 August, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. The Centre has accepted most of the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, to be implemented from 1 January 2016. “The time limit for receipt of anomalies is extended by three months from the date of expiry of receiving anomalies i.e. from 15 February 2017 to 15 May 2017,” the DoPT order issued last week said. The DoPT had last year asked all central government departments to set up committees to look into various pay related anomalies. The anomaly committees were to be formed at two levels — national and departmental — consisting of representatives of the official side and the staff side of the national council and the departmental council respectively. The Departmental Anomaly Committee is chaired by the additional secretary or the joint secretary (administration) concerned.
Australia said the changes made in its work visa regime were not directed at India or any other country and asserted that Indians are not likely to be significantly affected by the modification in the policy. Australia’s High Commissioner to India Ms. Harinder Sidhu also said the change in visa regime was carried out to ensure that Australians get first preference in skilled jobs. She said Indians are mostly employed in the high-skilled IT sector where Australia does not have sufficient manpower. Referring to incidents of attacks on Indian students in Australia, some of which were allegedly racial in nature, she asserted that Australia has “zero tolerance” for any racial behaviour. During an interaction with journalists here, Ms. Sidhu also emphasised that the bilateral ties have seen a “steady upward trajectory” and Prime Minister Mr. Malcolm Turnbull’s recent visit here has “injected a fresh momentum” in the relationship. “We have diaspora from 120 countries living in Australia. These restrictions are only to maintain our integrity. There is no intension to target any country, including India,” Ms. Sidhu said while replying to a volley of questions on the issue. Australia last month announced scrapping of the popular 457 work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.
L&T Infotech, which recently revamped its brand identity as LTI, plans to recruit 1,500-2,000 freshers for its projects in India, the company’s managing director and CEO Mr. Sanjay Jalona said. This is a significant number for the company, which has 21,000 employees in the country. This is also a notable move as it comes at a time when many IT companies are in the news for downsizing teams. The company would also consider opening new centres in Hyderabad or Delhi, depending on the requirement. At present, LTI is present in four locations in India— Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune and Mumbai. According to Mr. Jalona, the hiring pattern in the IT sector would witness a change thanks to technological advancements. “With the technology moving fast, nobody can hire two years in advance like we used to hire. You will see more and more people going just in time.” The company, which has created its new brand identity to signify a synergy of new technologies, will be focusing on five broad themes: Data analytics, digital, automation, Internet of Things and cloud services.
The government announced a major reshuffle in the top management of seven public sector banks in a bid to improve their efficiency. The changes come at a time the government is trying to come to grips with the bad-loan problem at public sector banks. Mr. R. Subramaniakumar, an executive director at Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), was appointed managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of IOB till 30 June 2019. Mr. Mr. Rajkiran Rai G., MD and CEO of Oriental Bank of Commerce, will now hold the same post at Union Bank of India. His term is valid for three years starting on or after 1 July and extendable until 31 May 2022. He will be replacing Mr. Arun Tiwari, whose tenure ends in June. Mr. Sunil Mehta, an executive director at Corporation Bank, will join as MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank, replacing Ms. Usha Ananthasubramanian.
Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) recently introduced the State-Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act (S. 1040) to federalize a portion of America’s migration system. Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) has announced plans to introduce a companion bill in the House.
The typical state licenses hundreds of professions. Some of those are unobjectionable—most people want doctors and anesthetists to undergo a licensing regime before assuming their professions, for instance. But other licenses are problematic. For instance, many states require interior designers and florists to be licensed. Do we really need to be protected from a rogue designer who might do damage to the color scheme of our homes? The same question can also be asked of manicurists, barbers, aestheticians, and other professions that have little to do with health or safety.
… that today is Glacier National Park Day? Established on this day in 1910, Glacier National Park is located on the Canada-United States border and covers over 1 million acres. This vast pristine ecosystem, with more than 130 named lakes, has almost all its original native plant and animal species — grizzly bears, moose, mountain goats, wolverines, Canadian lynxes, hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“You attract people by the qualities you display. You keep them by the qualities you possess.”
Did you know…
… that today is Movie Weekend Sales Record Setting Day? In 2002, “Spider-Man” became the first movie to make more than $100 million in its first weekend. It was released on Friday, May 3, 2002, and quickly became the fastest movie ever to earn more than $100 million at the box office, raking in a staggering $114.8 million by Sunday, May 5.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”
— Les Brown
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc’s bribery and corruption scandal has drawn in its departing auditor KPMG, which has become the target of a probe by the U.K.’s accounting regulator. The Financial Reporting Council said it started an investigation into KPMG’s audits of Rolls-Royce’s earnings…
A top Brazilian prosecutor said Thursday there was still much work to be done to rid state-run oil company Petrobras of corruption, despite more than three years of investigations into a political kickback scheme involving contractors. Prosecutor Carlos Lima made…
Romanian senators on Thursday rescinded a proposal they approved a day earlier which called for a draft bill on prison pardons to include corruption offences. On Wednesday, the senate’s legal committee approved amendments to the bill to include influence peddling…
An Income Tax commissioner in Mumbai and the managing director of Essar Group were among six arrested by the CBI Wednesday in an alleged bribery case. B B Rajendra Prasad, Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), was arrested for allegedly taking…
Brazilian forward Neymar has been cleared of fraud but still faces a corruption trial in Spain in connection with the value of his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona, the Spanish National High Court said on Thursday. The defendants in…
Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad, who had vowed an all-out fight against corruption by arresting offenders on a weekly basis, today (May 4 2017) confirmed that he has delivered on his promise. Dzulkifli said…
Cognizant Technology Solutions has floated a voluntary separation option for its employees at the senior management level, at a time when the company is pushing for automation and digital technology and is in the process of trimming its workforce. The Nasdaq-listed US-based company, which has most of its India operations in Tamil Nadu, confirmed the development. Cognizant said the option had been offered to senior executives — from director level to senior vice-president. Sources in the company said that those who had annual salaries in excess of Rs 40 lakh might also be eligible for the option. A minimum of nine-month salary will be paid as compensation under the initiative, depending on the executive’s post. The IT firm said the move was related to its overall strategy to accelerate shift to digital and deliver high-quality, sustainable growth. The company will, however, continue to hire across all of its practices and is expanding facilities globally, ensuring that it has the “right expertise to help its clients”. “As part of these initiatives, we are offering a voluntary separation incentive to some eligible leaders, representing a very small percentage of our total workforce,” said a company spokesperson. Asked about the compensation, the spokesperson said, “We believe it provides a fair and positive experience for those choosing to leave.” He didn’t disclose any details. The company wants the process to be concluded by the end of the second quarter, and is not expecting any disruption in its day-to-day operations or client commitments due to this. Following the annual appraisal earlier this year, the company initiated efforts to reduce its manpower. The process could see about 2.5 per cent of its staff losing their jobs. The company had 260,200 employees at the end of December 2016.
Snapdeal has started pay-out process of employees it fired two months back. Although it did not disclose how many employees were laid-off, it is estimated around 1,500 people were asked to leave across three units- Snapdeal, FreeCharge and Vulcan Express. As Snapdeal has begun the process, one of the issues concerning employees is the value of Employee Stock Options (Esops). The Esops have gone down drastically. In May 2015, Snapdeal had made several senior hires with the promise of heavy chunks of Esops. “I joined Snapdeal two years ago, when the company was valued at $6.5 billion. I was entitled to shares worth Rs 7-8 lakh. When I checked the value of my shares in the first week of March, they had fallen to Rs 1.8 lakh,” a former employee involved in strategy and business development at the organisation said. “At FreeCharge, employees have received their severance and settlements as indicated. I received my payout between April 10 and 12 which was the promised payout date,” a former senior executive said. Reportedly, severance packages for the affected employees ranged between two and four months’ of salaries.
Alphabet Inc can’t seem to stop heaping massive pay packages on Google’s Mr. Sundar Pichai. The chief executive officer (CEO) of the search-engine unit received $199.7 million in compensation for 2016, according to a regulatory filing. That marks his third straight year getting nine-figure pay — a rare accomplishment even at well-paying technology companies and virtually unheard of in other industries. Since he became CEO in 2015, Mr. Pichai has moved to give Google more control over two critical fields: Artificial intelligence and cloud. He oversaw a 17.8 per cent jump in Google’s core ads business last year, while also boosting its revenue in cloud and hardware, a long-sought goal of the company. Mr. Pichai’s 2016 compensation consisted mainly of 273,328 Class C shares that vest quarterly through 2019 if he remains on the job. The award was granted about six months after the tech business announced it would reorganise into holding company Alphabet. As part of the transition, Mr. Pichai was tapped to lead Google, taking the reins from Mr. Larry Page who became chief executive of the parent entity. It wasn’t the first time following in Mr. Page’s footsteps led to big payouts for Mr. Pichai. In 2015, he got about $100 million in reported compensation after he was promoted to senior vice president of products and took over many of Mr. Page’s responsibilities overseeing areas such as search and ad products. That made him one of the highest-paid US executives that year.
The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A)’s first international faculty director Mr. Ashish Nanda has stepped down from the post with effect from September 1, 2017, exactly a year before his term ends. Mr. Nanda cited personal reasons, including long distance between him and his immediate family, in his resignation letter to IIM-A Board of Governors (BoG) chairman and Aditya Birla Group chairman Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla. An alumnus of IIM-A from the 1983 batch, Mr. Nanda was a Robert Braucher Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School and later a Harvard Business School faculty member, before he took charge on September 2, 2013. “Professionally, I have enjoyed the experience immensely and I have learned a lot. However, personally, living a long distance from my wife and son has been a challenge. When I joined, I had committed to serving at most one term. On September 1, it will be four years, to the day, since I took charge. It is a good time to step aside and to hand over the responsibility and honour of leading the Institute to the next, fortunate person. I will hand over responsibilities of director at the end of that day,” Mr. Nanda stated in a letter addressed to the IIM-A community.
Amazon has announced that it will create 5,000 new jobs in India, by doubling its storage capacity and adding 14 new fulfilment centres by end of this year. The move by Amazon comes at a time when local rival Flipkart last month raised USD 1.4 billion from eBay, Microsoft and Chinese player Alibaba’s formal entry into the country is imminent this year. As per the plan, the e-commerce giant will create these additional jobs in packaging, transportation, logistics, and hospitality through expansion. Its storage capacity will be doubled to 13 million cubic feet by the additions of these new fulfilment centres (FCs). “These 14 FCs will bring us closer to our customers and enable thousands of small & medium businesses to fulfil their orders in a cost-efficient manner,” said Amazon’s Mr. Akhil Saxena. These new centres will act as a warehouse to store the products shipped by online sellers. These FCs are in addition to the seven specialised centres announced recently for large appliances and furniture by Amazon. These seven centres will be set up in Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh by June, this year. Last week, Amazon reported stronger-than-expected financial results for the first quarter, as profit rose 41 percent from a year ago to Rs 4,650 crore, on revenues growing 23 percent to Rs 2,29,320 crore. Amazon founder and chief executive Mr. Jeff Bezos used the earnings report to highlight the company’s efforts to expand in India.
Infosys, India’s second largest software services firm, is planning to hire 10000 Americans over the next couple of years. The Bengaluru-headquartered company said it would open four new Technology and Innovation Hubs across the United States focusing on cutting-edge technology areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud, and big data. The company said in a statement that these four hubs would not only focus on technology and innovation areas, but also serve clients in key industries such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, energy. The first hub, which is expected to come up in Indiana in August this year, will create 2000 jobs by 2021 for American workers and will help boost the local economy. The company’s decision comes at a time when the Trump led US administration has proposed measures to restrict issuance of H1B visas for highly-skilled workers and higher minimum wages for H1B visa-holders. Indian IT companies including Infosys has been dependent on H1B visas to send software engineers on projects in the US to support the local team. “Infosys is committed to hiring 10000 American technology workers over the next two years to help invent and deliver the digital futures for our clients in the US. Learning and education, along with cultivating top local and global talent, have always been the core of what Infosys brings to clients; it is what makes us a leader in times of great change. In helping our clients improve their businesses and pursue new kinds of opportunities, we are really excited to bring innovation and education in a fundamental and massive way to American workers,” said Mr. Vishal Sikka, chief executive officer, Infosys. The company said it would also take the model of hiring fresh engineers from colleges and training them on its core technologies to global markets of the US, UK. Infosys will gradually step up hiring from US universities too.
Tata Teleservices has fired between 500 and 600 employees to tide over difficult times in the hyper-competitive telecom market. As many as 600 employees have been impacted by the layoffs in sales and other related functions, two people familiar with the matter said. The lay-offs are across locations, they said, adding that the severance package being offered to the employees impacted by the decision is one month’s salary for every year of service. Sources in the company said that these are challenging times for the telecom industry. “What most operators, including Tata Telservices, are doing is workforce rationalisation, to stay competitive in line with the needs of the market,” said one of them. Tata Teleservices spearheads the Tata Group’s presence in the Indian telecom market. The company, along with the listed arm, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, has a presence in 19 telecom circles. It offers integrated telecom solutions to customers across wireline and wireless networks. According to TRAI data, Tata’s mobile subscriber base stood at 51.2 million as on February 28. The company has nearly 4.4 per cent market share in the country’s total mobile subscriber base of over 1.16 billion.
Jet Airways has told pilots that the freeze on pay hikes would be reviewed after declaring the first quarter results and urged them to make “personal sacrifices” amid business headwinds. Faced with financial challenges and intense competition, the full service carrier recently decided to freeze the increments for the staff in the current fiscal year — which it had done in 2016-17 too. Pilots have been having differences with the airline management on certain issues, including those related to expat pilots. The carrier has around 1,500 pilots. In a communication to the pilots, Jet Airways said continued efforts are being taken to improve the over-all performance, processes and trim costs. As a result, the operations management team has been restructured and work force has been rationalised. “This has begun to yield results and we need to sustain fully this momentum. To this, we need to make some personal sacrifices. “We therefore, appeal to you, to share a part of the burden. As a result, we will take an increment freeze for the present, which will be reviewed post declaration of the first quarter results of FY 2017-18,” the communication said. In the interim, the airline said the international per diem layover and the international trainers allowances would continue.
Facebook Inc will hire 3,000 more people over the next year to respond to reports of inappropriate material on the social media network and speed up the removal of videos showing murder, suicide and other violent acts, Chief Executive Mr. Mark Zuckerberg said. The hiring spree is an acknowledgement by Facebook that, at least for now, it needs more than automated software to improve monitoring of posts. Facebook Live, a service that allows any user to broadcast live, has been marred since its launch last year by instances of people streaming violence. Mr. Zuckerberg, the company`s co-founder, said in a Facebook post the workers will be in addition to the 4,500 people who already review posts that may violate its terms of service. Mr. Zuckerberg said: “We`re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner – whether that`s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.” The 3,000 workers will be new positions and will monitor all Facebook content, not just live videos, the company said. The company did not say where the jobs would be located.
The Union Cabinet approved the modifications under the 7th Pay Commission recommendations on pay and pensionary benefits in the course of their implementation. The Cabinet which was chaired by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, informed that the benefit of the proposed modifications will be available with effect from January 1, 2016, which is the date of implementation of 7th Pay Commission recommendations. The government approved the retention of percentage-based regime of disability pension implemented post 6th CPC, which the 7th CPC had recommended to be replaced by a slab-based system. The issue was temporarily suspended after the Army, Navy and IAF last year strongly demanded that their persisting salary anomalies had not been rectified by the panel. Now, the approved decision will benefit existing and future Defence pensioners will entail an additional expenditure of approximately Rs 130 crore per annum, the Cabinet said. Last year in June, the Cabinet had approved implementation of the recommendations with an additional financial outgo of Rs 84,933 crore for 2016-17, which included arrears for two months of 2015-16. With the increase approved by the Cabinet, the annual pension bill alone of the Central Government is likely to be Rs 1, 76,071 crore.
The financial services industry, more specifically banking, is expected to see a substantial rise in jobs in the next few years even as automation encroaches on most of its core activities. Automation, chat bots and big data analytics programmes might take a toll on the sector in the next decade or so. But now, digital technology, together with physical labour, is scaling new heights in the banking sector. With financial exclusion being as high as 55-60 per cent of adult population, notwithstanding Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan push, banks will continue to hire — a number of well-trained people armed with cutting-edge digital technology but reaching out to harvest customers who can’t make use of these services on their own. HR managers are bullish on the industry. “Banking is the new IT industry in terms of employment generation,” said Mr. Ajay Shah, head of recruitment services at Teamlease, a manpower firm. According to Mr. Shah, incremental hiring in private sector banks would increase 10-11 per cent in the next 12 months. HR does not count public sector banks, as these do not follow a linear recruitment path. Moreover, these banks are either overstaffed or understaffed.
Razorpay Software Pvt. Ltd, which runs payment gateway company Razorpay, has roped in Mr. Arif Khan, a senior MasterCard executive, as chief innovation officer. Mr. Khan will manage innovation by building strategies and identifying new business opportunities, the company said in a statement. He will also work closely with banking and financial institutions to develop new technical capabilities and a robust payment architecture, the statement added. Before joining Razorpay, Mr. Khan was senior business leader at MasterCard, where he helped expand the company’s payment gateway platform, Simplify, in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to MasterCard, he was senior vice president at HDFC, where he led and implemented strategic projects in the payments and digital space. “I will be focussing on leveraging advances in financial services and technology to create new products and solutions for Razorpay merchants,” Mr. Khan said. Earlier this month, Razorpay announced the appointment of Mr. Amit Saini, former director of engineering at cab-hailing services company Ola, as vice president-engineering. Razorpay was founded by IIT-Roorkee alumni Mr. Shashank Kumar and Mr. Harshil Mathur. The company, which helps businesses accept online payments via credit/debit cards, netbanking and mobile wallets, has over 20,000 merchants, including Papa John’s, Knowlarity, Chai Point, Nestaway and Eatfresh, among others.
Online marketplace Paytm E-Commerce Pvt. Ltd, majority-owned by China’s Alibaba Group Holdings, has inducted SAIF Partner’s Mr. Ravi Adusumalli and four top executives from Alibaba as its board of directors. The new members of the board from Alibaba Group include the e-commerce giant’s senior director of finance Mr. Jason Pak Tung Yip; secretary and general counsel at Alibaba Group Holding Mr. Timothy A Steinert; former director of Alibaba.com Europe and present executive director at Alibaba Entrepreneurs Hong Kong Mr. Mei Ki Cindy Chow Lok; and chief executive of Alibaba’s payments subsidiary Ant Financials Mr. Jing Xiandong. The newly-elected five members will join Paytm founder Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma and vice president Mr. Amit Sinha on the board, the report added. Last year, Noida-based One97 Communications Ltd separated its e-commerce and payments businesses as Paytm E-Commerce and Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, respectively.
Beverages multinational Coca-Cola’s Indian arm announced that Mr. T.K.K. Krishnakumar will take over as the President of the company’s India and South West Asia business. According to the company, Mr. Krishnakumar, who currently serves as the CEO and South West Asia Regional Director of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, will replace current President Mr. Venkatesh Kini, who served the company for 19 years. “As outlined by our President and Chief Operating Officer Mr. James Quincey a few weeks ago, the Coca-Cola Company is designing a new operating model to support the next stage of our transformation into a growth-oriented, consumer-centred, total beverage company,” Coca-Cola’s Asia Pacific Group President Mr. John Murphy said in a statement. “Key components of this new operating model are a revitalised organisational capability and better system alignment to ensure that optimum execution multiplies our marketing plans and investment.” The company has appointed as its South West Asia Regional Director, Mr. Vamsi Mohan, who currently serves as BIG’s (Bottling Investments Group) Region Director for Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. “Mr. Christina Ruggiero, currently Chief Procurement Officer for the Coca-Cola System in North America, and President and CEO for Bottlers’ Sales & Services, LLC, will be reporting to Mr. Vamsi as the new CEO of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages,” the statement added. Coca-Cola India is one of the country’s leading beverage companies which, along with its bottling partners, has a strong network of over 2.6 million retail outlets.
The government exuded confidence that the US administration will take into account the benefits Indian IT firms brought in for American companies when it goes for the H1B visa policy review. “We fully believe when they do the review, they will take into account the benefits that have gone to the American public and companies, the mutually-beneficial relationship between Indian companies and them and based on that, they will take a decision,” IT secretary Ms. Aruna Sundararajan said. Earlier this month, US President Mr. Donald Trump had signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H1B visa programme, the most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals, to stop “visa abuses”. Acting on his “buy American, hire American” pledge, Mr. Trump has sought to replace the lottery system for issuing H1B work visas with a merit-based approach. The US has also accused top Indian IT firms TCS and Infosys of “unfairly” cornering the lion’s share of the H1B work visas by putting extra tickets in the lottery system. Apart from the US, other countries like Singapore, Australia and New Zealand have also initiated similar steps to safeguard jobs for locals and raise the bar for foreign workers. On its part, the Indian government and Indian IT body Nasscom have been engaging with US authorities to highlight that there is shortage of highly-skilled domestic talent in America in IT, healthcare, education, and other fields and that is a gap which Indian IT companies fill. The H1B visa programme is most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals to work on customer sites. Every year, the US grants 65,000 H-1B visas, while another 20,000 are set aside for those with US advanced degrees.
… that today is First Driverless Car License Day? On May 8, 2012, Google received the first self-driving vehicle testing license to a Toyota Prius in Las Vegas, Nevada. Legislation has since been passed in four U.S. states and Washington, D.C. allowing driverless cars. Florida became the second state to allow the testing of autonomous cars on public roads, California became the third, with Michigan following closely behind.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.”
For many Westerners, a diamond engagement ring is the go-to item for when you decide to pop the question. However, due to years of ad campaigns, the public believes a massive amount of misinformation about these sparkly stones. So let’s shatter a few of those beliefs, shall we?
Given how almost 80 percent of couples in the United States today propose with a diamond ring, you would think that this is an old tradition. After all, it seems like we have been doing it forever. In actuality, while the giving of a ring is an old tradition going back to at least the Romans, diamonds are another story.
Around 1900, almost no one proposed using diamond rings. It wasn’t until the DeBeers mining cartel was formed that diamonds came into play. In what was arguably one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time, they connected diamonds with the purity of marriage. In their own words, “We are dealing with a problem in mass psychology. We seek to [ . . . ] strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring—to make it a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services.” They even created a “Diamond Information Center” that promoted diamonds by making up articles about the history of diamonds. And you thought fake news was a new thing.
It was so successful that within three months, sales of diamonds had risen by 50 percent. Oh yeah, that idea that you should spend several months’ worth of your salary on an engagement ring? Another DeBeers creation.
“Diamonds are forever” is probably a saying that is ingrained in most people’s brains. This is actually a marketing ploy from DeBeers to get more people to buy diamonds. The truth is a bit more depressing.
While it is true that diamonds are one of the hardest things in the world, that hardness comes at a price. Diamonds are actually rather brittle. Strike them at the right way and at the right strength, and they will split or chip. So just don’t be a butterfingers at your proposal, or you might have a very expensive mistake.
Diamonds have another flaw that makes it very unlikely for them to see eternity. At its heart, a diamond is just a really pure piece of carbon. This is the same stuff as the graphite in your pencil or a block of wood. Just like graphite or wood, if you add enough heat and oxygen, diamonds will actually burn.
It takes a temperature of about 900 degrees Celsius (1,652 °F) to set a diamond on fire. This temperature is easily obtained with a propane torch or in a house fire. In fact, diamonds are such pure carbon that they will burn down to carbon dioxide gas, leaving not a speck of ash behind.
When you think of diamonds, a pile of clear, glittering stones comes to mind. However, in the diamond world, these are the cheap stones. Diamonds come in a variety of colors, such as blue, yellow, black, brown, or the most valuable: pink. Almost all of these are rarer and more expensive than the colorless ones we are used to.
In fact, the one of the most expensive diamonds ever sold was a fancy, vivid blue diamond called the Oppenheimer Blue. It brought in a cool $57.5 million in 2016. Still, it’s nice to know that the cheap, clear stones are still being sold. We wouldn’t want the diamond merchants to lose the leases on their second vacation homes, would we?
Another excuse that diamond sellers have for the jaw-dropping price tags on their wares is the “fact” that diamonds are a scarce commodity. After all, if something is rare, it’s expensive, right? In actuality, the only reason that we think of diamonds as rare is due to our old friends, the DeBeers corporation.
For many decades, DeBeers had a monopoly on the diamond industry and could control how many diamonds were produced. This was a brilliant strategy to create rarity and jack up prices. Many other gems are actually much rarer then diamonds. In fact, there are enough diamonds for every person in the US to get their very own cupful.
Although DeBeers no longer has a stranglehold on the diamond industry, the image that they spent so long cultivating still captures the imagination.
Yet another myth that the DeBeers corporation has fostered upon us is that diamonds are a good store in value. You aren’t just wasting a couple of months of your life on a pretty stone; it’s a good investment. In reality, diamonds are just a retail good.
Once you buy a diamond, its value drops by quite a bit. After all, you have to pay the seller’s fee, the miners, taxes, and so on. Basically everyone who touched the diamond before you has to get paid, and you won’t be able to recover that cost when you sell it. In general, there is a 100- to 200-percent markup on the price of a diamond, so expect that to evaporate the instant you buy it.
The only reason why people ever thought that diamonds appreciate in value is because DeBeers used to fix the price of diamonds so that they went up every year. Without this meddling, diamonds hold their value at best. So, the bottom line is expect to lose most of the money you sunk into the stone if you try to sell it.
Blood diamonds are more than a great action movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. These stones, also known as conflict gems, basically come from the seedy parts of the world, especially in Africa. These gems provide income to warlords, criminals, and terrorists, while the people who mine them make a pittance.
The United Nations did establish the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, which aims to stop these abuses. However, loopholes and work-arounds make it difficult to enforce. After all, how do you tell if a shiny rock was mined legally from an area or illegally? Not to mention that the chain of custody stops at individual jewelers. The only way you can tell if your diamond is conflict-free or not is to trust the jeweler to buy certified stones and not the cheaper blood diamonds. This means that a number of abuses still occur in the mining of diamonds, and the industry will probably have blood on its hands for quite some time.
The shocking truth is that we can now make diamonds fairly easily in the lab. These stones are literally identical to the ones that are pulled from the Earth. They are so similar that even trained experts with years in the field cannot tell them apart.
If the diamond growers wanted to, these artificial diamonds could flood the market with as many diamonds as anyone could ever want. Of course, they won’t because to do so would destroy the value of diamonds and lose them buckets of money, but that’s besides the point.
Ask any kid what the hardest thing is, and thanks to the efforts of hundreds of jewelers, they will be able to quickly spout back “diamonds.” However, this is not true, or at least, it’s not true anymore. Diamonds were indeed recognized as the hardest mineral or naturally occurring crystal—until 2009. As scientists scoured the Earth, they figured out that not one but two rare minerals beat diamonds for hardness.
Wurtzite boron nitride has a similar structure to diamond, which lends it a similar hardness, but the different elements it is comprised of allow it to eke out a bit more, making it 18 percent harder than diamond. Scientists have also documented lonsdaleite, which, while chemically identical to diamond, has a different chemical structure, which makes it a whopping 58 percent harder. It’s safe to say that the king of hardness has definitely been overthrown. Oh, and the hardest synthetic material? Diamond lost that back in 2005.
While natural diamonds are not overly rare as mentioned earlier, they certainly aren’t found in any great concentration in a given patch of rock. Because of this, the environmental impact of mining them can be immense. For every carat of diamond that is mined, 1,750 tons of rock has to be mined and discarded. For comparison, that is around 82 fully loaded school buses’ worth of rock.
The most common way to mine for diamonds is called open-pit mining. This means they essentially dig a giant hole in the Earth hoping to find the diamonds. As diamonds are typically found in narrow veins called pipes, the vast majority of material pulled from the ground is waste. In addition, these mines can collect water which, then becomes acidic and kills aquatic life. If you care about the environment, getting a natural diamond is not the way to go.
Recently, you may have seen advertisements for “Chocolate Diamonds.” While this may seem romantic, in actuality, it’s just another way the jewelers have come up with to milk money out of people.
Chocolate diamonds are just brown diamonds. These are the most common diamonds, and up until the ad campaign, they were almost worthless. However, with a bit of rebranding, they are now being sold for the same price as other diamonds.
Alex Emert is a science teacher who spent the last three years teaching among the Lakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota.