In what could bring cheer to 60 million salaried employees, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) may raise interest rates from 8.55 per cent currently. Three officials said that if not raised, it will at least be retained at the existing level, making it one of the most rewarding savings schemes. Although the EPFO rate is declared in December every year, there was a slight delay in 2018 as the account audit was still being done. It is now expected to be announced on February 1. There is little scope for reducing the rate and efforts would be made to increase the return, Mr. Prabhakar Banasure, member of EPFO’s central board of trustees said. The interest rate would be in line with what the government recently announced incentives such as a nearly 50 per cent hike in incentives for frontline health workers, including those working at Integrated Child Development Scheme centres (anganwadis). The government has also made the National Pension System (NPS) withdrawals tax-free. The average interest rate of Public Provident Fund and National Savings Certificate in 2018 was 7.7 per cent while leading ultra-short-term debt funds returned an average of 7.78 per cent.
Private sector lender RBL Bank has named Mr. Pankaj Sharma as its chief operations officer to majorly overlook the corporate services function and the bank’s overall operations. Mr. R Gurumurthy, Head – Risk & Governance at RBL Bank stated, “We have been scaling up our operations and Pankaj’s appointment is in line with our growth strategy. As we continue to enhance our capabilities, Pankaj’s rich experience, coupled with his knowledge and expertise will contribute immensely to further strengthen our operations unit and take it to the next phase of excellence.” Mr. Sharma, who did his graduation in business studies from Delhi University and post-graduation from Symbiosis, Pune, previously worked with Axis Bank where he was heading retail operations. At Axis, he had spearheaded the ATM channel, phone banking, and branch automation and digital initiatives. Prior to that, he has worked with GE Countrywide, ICICI Bank and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.
Pilots flying Air India’s Boeing fleet have opposed the airline’s decision to revise their salaries and bring them on par with pilots operating other aircraft. The Indian Pilot Guild (IPG), which represents pilots operating the wide-body Boeing fleet, has sent a notice to Air India. The labour commissioner is expected to call the two sides for a reconciliation meeting next week. “Air India is going ahead with its decision to revise our salaries in accordance with an agreement with the narrow-body Airbus pilots of the airline. We consider this a contempt of court,” said a senior airline pilot.
Axis Bank said its Managing Director and CEO Ms. Shikha Sharma has retired, effective December 31, 2018. “We wish to inform you that Ms. Shikha Sharma, Managing Director and CEO of Axis Bank Limited, has retired from the services of the bank and has accordingly ceased to be the Managing Director and CEO of the bank, with effect from close of business hours on 31st December 2018,” it said in a regulatory filing. Mr. Amitabh Chaudhry will be the new managing director and CEO of the bank with effect from January 1, 2019, it said further. Mr. Chaudhry, the former MD and CEO of HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company, was in September named the MD and CEO of Axis Bank for a period of three years, with effect from January 1, 2019. Earlier on December 8, Axis Bank had inducted Mr. Chaudhry as additional director on its board, three weeks ahead of his taking over as the new managing director and CEO of the private sector lender. Mr. Chaudhry, 54, started his career in corporate banking with the Bank of America in 1987, where he worked in diverse roles. He is a BTech (Electronic & Electricals) from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani and an alumnus of the lndian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
According to reports of an internal communication rolled out to employees, Netherlands-headquartered PayU India’s CEO, Mr. Amrish Rau is to shift to their South African parent company, Naspers with a wider role span as head of financial technology partnerships and investments. This shift would entail the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer for PayU. With the scope of digital payment firms increasing worldwide and especially in emerging economies, it would be interesting to see who will be brought in as Mr. Rau’s replacement. Naspers seems rather optimistic about the potential of fintech disruptions in India and Mr. Rau’s broadened role would be in synch with their attempt to drive acquisitions and partnerships, develop a stronghold and dominate the Indian fintech market which currently has strong players like Paytm. While Mr. Rau will continue to report to Laurent le Moal, the CEO of PayU, the email shared with employees’ states that Mr. Rau will be scouring the market for fresh acquisitions and create synergies amongst the group’s portfolio companies.
The year 2019 could bring cheers to job seekers looking for employment opportunities, especially in the e-commerce sector. From well-funded startups like Healthians, Milkbasket, Car24, Instamojo to established companies like Zomato, Oyo and Swiggy — all are planning to raise their headcount by over 30 per cent. These companies have already chalked out plans to hire over 40,000 people in the next year alone. However, most of the jobs will be in advanced areas of artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning. Tech startups would add over 40,000 additional new jobs in 2019. A major reason for an uptick in hiring is being attributed to a strong demand of talent in these startups, which are extensively using advanced technologies to understand customer behavior and earn more profit. Besides, the entry-level packages across the tech sector could see a significant rise in 2019. “The year 2019 is going to be better for entry-level guys because hiring is going to be much better,” Mr. TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer of IT major Infosys Ltd, said.
US-based online video streaming service provider Netflix has reportedly leased a 1.5 Lakh sq ft space in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai to set up its India headquarters. This development comes in after media reports in October stated that the company has plans to double its employee count in the country within the next six months. As per media reports, Netflix has rented the space in commercial tower Godrej BKC for a lease of nine years. The new Indian office will be spread across two floors. The video streaming platform will be reportedly paying a rent of $6.8 Mn (INR 47.70 Cr) annually. In India, currently, the platform has an office located in North Avenue, Maker Maxity in BKC, with a team of 40 employees.
The government plans to rope in professionals for top positions at Air India through a global search process, as part of efforts to revive the national carrier, according to Civil Aviation Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu. With the proposed strategic stake sale of the Air India failing to take off in May this year, the government has been working on various initiatives, including hiving off a significant chunk of over Rs 55,000 crore debt into a special purpose vehicle, to turn-around the ailing airline. Against this backdrop, the government is now actively considering the proposal to professionalize Air India management. Talking about steps for reviving the national airline, Mr. Prabhu said there are plans for complete professionalization. “I have already ordered a global search for professionalization of Air India completely. All top positions in Air India should be filled by some sort of a global search. That proposal is now under active consideration of the government,” the minister said.
OYO Rooms, India’s second-most valuable startup, will hold a share buyback in January, the first in a series of programmes that is expected to yield its former and current employees a total of $150-200 million over the next two to three years. About 250 ESOP holders of OYO will be able to offer their shares in the first round estimated at about ₹40-50 crore. The hospitality chain declined to name the investor who will buy the shares. “As a part of this effort, eligible option holders both existing and ex-employees will be rewarded for their loyalty and value created over the last four years by way of liquidating a portion of their stock options,” Mr. Dinesh Ramamurthi, chief human resources officer at OYO Rooms said. “The eligibility for awarding ESOPs was calculated based on the individual’s role, contribution, and long-term potential. The move by OYO Rooms comes in a year that has seen many startups, including Flipkart, Paytm and Ola, offer cash to ESOP holders. This represents a major boost for the startup ecosystem that has struggled in previous years to prove that ESOPs matter as an avenue of compensation. Such liquidity events also track the general rise in exits at startups where secondary share sales have led to many early investors bagging attractive returns.
Online sellers’ representative body AIOVA alleged that Flipkart’s delivery unit Ekart has fired about 300 seasonal workers, but the Walmart-backed e-tailer said such workers were hired through local third-party vendors for limited duration especially during festive time. In a tweet, the All India Online Vendors Association said: “Employment practices of Ekart, owned by Flipkart and Walmart under scrutiny. 300 seasonal workers fired in Kheda. Lot of sellers blacked out. Flipkart in a statement said it continues to work with many reputed local third-party vendors who support in temporary staffing solutions to cater to festive demands. “In cases where we have to reduce our contractual employee strength (contracted by the vendor), we do offer pre-agreed-upon severance packages, which has been the case here as well. We are working closely with our third-party vendors to ensure that they fulfil their obligations, statutory or otherwise, with full fairness,” the statement added. Flipkart said it remains committed to be a partner with Gujarat to foster inclusive growth in the state.
Mr. Unnat Varma, Managing Director, Pizza Hut-India Subcontinent, has been elevated as Managing Director, Pizza Hut Asia Pacific effective January 1, 2019. In a press release, Pizza Hut International said Mr. Varma will, in his new role, be responsible for steering Pizza Hut to the next phase of growth across the Asia Pacific region. To be based in Pizza Hut APAC headquarters, Singapore, he will report to Mr. Vipul Chawla, President, Pizza Hut International, and will oversee over 5,500 stores across 22 countries. The release said that with Mr. Varma at the helm since 2015, Pizza Hut-India subcontinent has delivered 10 successive quarters of positive Same Store Sales Growth. The brand has also expanded its physical store footprint, having recently launched its 500th outlet in the subcontinent. Mr. Varma, who has over 24 years of industry experience, joined Yum! in February 2006 and was elevated to Director Marketing, KFC, India Subcontinent in 2008. In February 2011, he took over as General Manager of Taco Bell, and later assumed charge as General Manager, Pizza Hut-India Subcontinent in December 2015, before being promoted as its Managing Director in February 2016.
At a time when, Wipro and its IT services rivals such as Infosys, Cognizant and HCL Technologies lose talent to each other and to captives of multinationals who are expanding in India to build digital capabilities, Wipro looks to introduce a new policy to curb attrition. Under the new initiative, Wipro will pay a one-time bonus to junior employees who have remained with the company since they have been hired from college campuses. This would also include engineers who have expertise in skills in new areas of digital and cloud, business segments that are growing for Wipro and across the industry. The company will give a percentage of their total pay as a bonus with the January salary, primarily to employees in the B1 and B2 bands. However, to avail this benefit an employee needs to commit to staying at the company till 2020. Wipro employed 1.75 lakh people as of September end and as a good number of them were at the bottom of the hierarchy with 1 to 5 years of experience, the move will have an impact on many of them. Wipro’s competitors in the industry such as Infosys and Cognizant have also introduced similar initiatives in the past. While Infosys has started programs to enable employees to learn skills and allow them to be consultants with a commitment that it will double wages for those who successfully complete them, Cognizant is looking to offer a quarterly promotion to people with newer skills.
IIM Indore’s director, Professor Rishikesha T. Krishnan completed his tenure of five years and handed-over the directorship in an official ceremony to Professor Himanshu Rai, who took over as the new director. Professor Rai in a press conference organized at the Institute noted in accordance with IIM Indore’s mission, that he aims to develop a strategy that helps the Institute create responsible leaders who remain contextually relevant. Prof Rai, a former professor of Human Resource Management at IIM Lucknow, was appointed by the Board of Governors as the Director for IIM Indore in November. ‘We would also focus on doing research which not only is rich in content and data, but also which contributes to the society, city, state and nation as a whole,” Prof Rai said. “We will plan for new pedagogies and we aim to be one of the top Institute in the world in the coming years’, he added.
Ahead of the New Year 2019, here’s good news for single fathers working in the central government. Now, they will be able to take child care leave (CCL) like women staffers. During their entire tenure, the single father would be able to take up to 730 days of child care leave. For this, the central government has issued a notification. Till now, only the women employees were allowed 730 days of paid child care leave. Now, this has been extended to single male parent also in accordance with the recommendation of the 7th Pay Commission. Now, the single father looking after a child aged below 8 years of age can enjoy the CCL benefit at par with women employees.
Power bank segment can grow around nine-fold to become a Rs 18,000 crore industry by 2025 and create 80,000 jobs if right policies are implemented, the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) said. The ICEA has proposed to bring power banks under phased manufacturing plan scheme, which if accepted, will lead to the imposition on customs duty on imported power banks. “Given the right policy prescription, by 2025 the Power Banks can be built into Rs 18,000 crore industry, generate 80,000 jobs in India and exports can touch Rs 5,800 crore,” ICEA Chairman Mr. Pankaj Mohindroo said. According to the mobile phone and component industry body, India consumes about 33 million power banks a year worth about Rs 2,000 crore. “Currently, most of the power banks are imported and can be easily substituted by power banks made in India,” Mr. Mohindroo said.