Monday, March 31, 2008

Airtel Launches Internet Portal

Airtel yesterday announced the launch of "", claimed to be an all-in-one Internet portal for its customers. This makes the company the first telco in the country to launch such a portal, it said.

The portal is looked upon as a milestone for Airtel; it builds upon the existing Broadband ecosystem to establish an Internet destination for Web applications, said Atul Bindal, president of Airtel Telemedia Services during the launch.

Airtel's move is expected to give its customers easy access to Google's simple yet powerful applications over the company's fast and reliable Broadband network. At "", Airtel customers will can access -- for free -- Google's Applications messaging and collaboration Suite that includes email services, Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Services are co-branded and powered by Google and Airtel Broadband. Airtel claims it has also partnered the likes of, 24x7guru, and to offer exclusive deals and discounts on its portal.

Bharti Airtel, spear-headed by Sunil Bharti Mittal, is the country's leading integrated telecom services provider with a total subscriber base of nearly 61.91 million.

Yahoo targets women with new 'Shine' site

Yahoo on Monday will launch a new Web site aimed at women. The site, called "Shine," will feature original blogs and content from major publishing partners including Conde Nast, Hearst, and Time.

The site is Yahoo's latest foray into vertical sites, which include the popular Yahoo News and Yahoo Finance, as well as Sports and Entertainment, and the much less popular Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Green. This site is Yahoo's first targeting a specific audience and not just a topic.

Yahoo aims to be the top destination site in the lifestyles category, said Amy Iorio, general manager of Lifestyles at Yahoo. Women as a demographic is a good target, particularly given the number of women who use Yahoo (40 million women between the ages of 25 and 54 every month) and the fact that females tend to blog more than males.

"This is really a key audience for Yahoo," she said. "We've been calling them 'chief household officers' internally."

Pepsi, Cognizant among America's 50 best corporate performers

Global beverage giant Pepsico and outsourcing major Cognizant, both headed by Indian-origin persons, figure on a list of '50 best corporate performers' by US financial magazine BusinessWeek.
However, both the companies – Indra Nooyi-run Pepsico and Francisco D'Souza-headed Cognizant Technology – have dropped from their previous year rankings.
PepsiCo beats Coca-Cola

While PepsiCo has managed to beat arch-rival Coca-Cola in the annual BusinessWeek 50 list, it has fallen one rung from its previous year's ranking. Cognizant has shed seven places from its 2007 rank.

PepsiCo, which has Chennai-born Nooyi at the top as its Chairman and CEO, has been ranked at 31st position in this year's list, where Cognizant has been placed at 19th.
D'Souza, who was part of Cognizant's founding members, had become its President and CEO with effect from January 1, 2007.
Besides Pepsi and Cognizant, Google, Goldman Sachs,, Lehman Brothers and Moody's have also dropped from their previous year's rankings. Google has dropped to 34th position from its first position in BusinessWeek 2007 list.

However, those like Apple, Colgate-Palmolive, Microsoft, Starbucks, Verizon, AT&T, Coach, Gilead and CB Richard Ellis have improved their rankings since last year. Firms like Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil, Nvidia and BJ Services were not on the list last year.
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Cognizant | A twist in the outsourcing story

There is a story that Cognizant employees love to tell. Some years back, India’s No 1 software company, Tata Consultancy Services, and a relatively unknown Cognizant Technologies were pitted against each other to clinch a lucrative project. TCS, the big daddy, was the first to present it credentials. It showed many examples of work similar to the project on offer and seemed poised to clinch the offer. Until a man from Cognizant (CTL) walked in with his team. That man was Lakshmi Narayanan.

He ran a little sermon. "I know TCS made a great presentation. I know you are all impressed by their credentials. Just a point or two before you sign the project in their favour. I am a TCS product, the other two who are here with me are also TCS trained guys and the several examples that TCS showed you were implemented by us. Now we are all with Cognizant." The rest, they claim, is history.

Chennai’s IPL team launched | Main sponsor Aircel

In a glittering function that had loads of dance and music, the Chennai Super Kings cricket team was launched here on Saturday.

The team — none of the foreign players could make it due to “prior commitments” — was introduced to the gathering.

Chennai Super Kings assistant coach, V.B. Chandrasekhar, described the team as a group of “fearless entertainers.”

K. Srikkanth, the brand ambassador of the Chennai Super Kings, explained why he was the perfect man to represent the team. “As a player I never lasted more than 20 overs. Did I?” the former India captain said.

M.S. Dhoni, the skipper of the team, said he is proud to lead a young team. “Our ultimate aim is to win the Trophy,” he said unveiling the team apparel whose sponsor is Reebok.

The Brand ambassadors of the team, actors Vijay and Nayanthara, Gurdeep Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Aircel Cellular Limited, the team sponsor, were also present at the function.

Google launches YouTube insight

Google has introduced a free YouTube tool which will allow those posting clips, including advertisers, to view detailed statistics about the videos uploaded.

YouTube Insight will mean those uploading can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions or how popular they are, relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time.

The tool will also allow uploaders to look at the lifecycle of videos, to see how long it takes for a video to become popular and what happens to video views as popularity peaks.

Insight will allow advertisers to study their metrics and successes to tailor their marketing.
Tracey Chan, product manager at YouTube, said: “This really enables programmers and marketers to optimize their presence on YouTube.”

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Google contest spurs innovation among engineering college students

You are never too young to innovate — and when it comes to software products, learning and doing can go nicely together. Which is why Google decided that any quest to unearth cool, new ideas in India must begin with college students.

A nationwide contest among computer science students drew entries from nearly 100 teams of between 2 and 5 members each. After assessment, 12 were supported by Google with a grant of Rs. 50,000 each, so that they could buy any software or tools required to execute their ideas.

“We wanted to encourage and celebrate the innovative talents of young Indians — but we have no agenda beyond that ... there is no Google tool or product they are obliged to use. The seed money gave them the freedom to use whatever software they wanted,” explained D.R. Prasad Ram, Head of Google India R&D.

The top prize of Rs. 5 lakh went to the team from IIT-Bombay consisting of Aman Parnami, Prekshu Ajmera, Sanchit Garg and Vipul Shingde, for “Collaborate-Draw,” a web tool that allowed multiple users to jointly work on drawings, charts and blueprints. Trying out the tool, this correspondent found the palette of draw and paint options easy to use and as good as the best of the commercial offering out there.

The first-runner up team, which took a Rs. 2.5 lakh prize, was also from IIT-Bombay: Ankit Gupta, Chinmay Jain and Raghuvar Nadig, created “Polls,” a tool which helps set up your own online opinion poll, quiz your friends or your community of the like minded and, most usefully, analyse the results at lightning speed in multiple ways.

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Earth Hour across globe & on Google

People switched off lights for an hour across the world on Saturday night, dimming buildings, hotels and iconic landmarks in a symbolic expression of concern for a planet threatened by global warming.

Up to 30 million people were expected to switch off their lights for 60 minutes by the time Earth Hour — which started at 8pm local time in Suva, Fiji, and Christchurch, New Zealand — completed its cycle westward. People from more than 370 towns and cities scattered across 35 countries have signed up for the campaign.

“Earth Hour shows everyday people are prepared to pull together to find a solution to climate change. It can be done,” said James Leape of the World Wide Fund for Nature, which is running the campaign. “But we need to harness some of the co-operative spirit we’ve seen with Earth Hour to find a global solution,” he said.

Source The Telegraph
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Friday, March 28, 2008

Trai ready for legal battle if operators move court against penalties

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today said it was ready for a legal battle if the telecom operators moved the court challenging its decision to impose penalties on service providers for unsolicited calls to the subscribers.The telecom regulator had on Monday said that for the first unsolicited communication, a service provider would have to pay a penalty of up to Rs 5,000, which could go up to Rs 20,000 for each subsequent call.The telecom operators’ associations yesterday strongly opposed the decision, which they said was “unfair”.The letter, jointly written by both the GSM and CDMA operators’ associations — the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Association of United Service Providers of India (AUSPI), also stated that there was no way a service provider could ensure that the telemarketer had scrubbed the calling list in an appropriate manner before making the sales call.n spite of all the efforts made by service providers to ensure that all telemarketers register, only 13,600 telemarketers have registered with the national ‘Do-Not-Call Registry’, out of an estimated total of over 75,000, it said.
Source Business Standard
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Now, hackers sneak into govt websites

Remote injection, authorisation bypass and Cult of the Dead Cow are terms that one would imagine keeps the ministry of health awake. But these are elements that make up a wider nightmare, which government departments — from Railways to Trai to Customs — suffer now-a-days. Website hacking, especially of government sites, has attained critical mass in India and the Centre is donning the riot gear. The last few months have seen hackers attack the website of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Indian Railways, Department of Telecom, Air Cargo Customs, National Institute of Social Defence, Forward Markets Commission, National Institute of Health & Family Welfare and BSNL, among others. Ironically, the hackers even disfigured the website of the Department of Information Technology, the nodal agency that is supposed to fight the menace. Hackers have also crashed into the website of the wireless planning and co-ordination wing of DoT, the body which handles spectrum allocation. In a bid to stem the tide, the IT department says it is in the process of hosting all servers of the key ministries in the country itself.

BlackBerry emails may be on govt snoop list soon

Electronic mails sent from BlackBerry handsets, manufactured by Canada's Research In Motion and distributed in the country by the two top cellular service providers, may soon join the long list of the government's snoop list.The home ministry has asked the department of telecommunication (DoT) to work out modalities for lawful interception of e-mails sent from this handheld device.The BlackBerry is a patented service that allows users to receive and send e-mails on the move just like text messages in any conventional mobile phone.It transfers data in an encrypted format and does not allow interception. At present, mails sent from a BlackBerry — unlike those originating from any normal computer — cannot be intercepted by security agencies as the device works through a server outside India.The government wants the service to come under the scope for lawful interception owing to security implications, especially when members of terror outfits are increasingly using e-mails to communicate among themselves.A blanket ban on the service is, however, not preferred as it will hit nearly five lakh mobile subscribers using BlackBerry.The MHA wants DoT to work out a solution with the Canadian firm. Sources said that DoT has already written to Indian telecom operators providing the service in India, asking them for monitoring facility for lawful interception of data transferred through the devi

Look East: TCS Hat Trick At BE Quiz ’08 Kolkata Round

Team Holds Nerve And Lead To Beat ISBMIT’S IN human nature to root for the underdog. And this was amply evident during the concluding moments of the Kolkata round of the Idea Brand Equity Quiz ’08, held on the evening of Wednesday. As favourites TCS prepared to square off against International School of Business & Media (ISB&M) in the final round, quizmaster Derek O’Brien did a spot poll to see which team the 200-strong audience wanted representing Kolkata in the national finals. Popular sentiment clearly lay with professors Gautam Ghosh and Mahuya Maitra — although TCS loyalists were by no means few in number. However, TCS finally triumphed, making it to the national finals for the third year in a row. “No disrespect to TCS who played brilliantly, but my heart was with the professors,” O’Brien admitted.The Kolkata round had 23 teams — including SBI Life from Bhubaneshwar and Tata Motors from Jamshedpur — slugging it out to make it to the dais. The six that made the grade were IMS Learning, ITC, Standard Chartered, ISB&M and two teams from TCS. In fact, at one stage, both the teams from TCS were way ahead of the pack, before ISB&M got its act together and edged into the final showdown. The quiz saw healthy audience participation, helped in no small measure by generous doses of goodies that O’Brien handed out for every right answer from the spectators. Questions ranged from the relatively simple to the really hard. During World War II, what did the British call ‘Tatanagars’ — the armoured vehicles built by the Tatas. What is the ‘Sundown Rule’ that Wal-Mart strives to achieve — dealing with customer requests by the close of business on the day they are received. Every year, what does the Kolkata Municipal Corporation buy 400 tonnes of at a cost of Rs 50 lakh — broomsticks. Whose designation reads managing director, LeftWord Books — CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. Sanjay Budhia, MD, Patton Group, and Utpal Chatterjee, senior VP, Chirag PCs, gave prizes worth Rs 1.42 lakh to the winning team.The Brand Equity Quiz 2008 is presented by Idea Cellular, and the grand prize sponsor is Mahindra Scorpio Lx. The associate partners are Times Now and Radio Mirchi, and the quiz is powered by The airline sponsor is Kingfisher Airlines, while the official time partner is Pierre Cardin. National prize sponsors are Star Cruises, Nokia, Spykar, Provogue, Vedic Spa Village,, Roncato (Italian travel gear), Digjam, ITZ Cash Cards, Gitanjali Gems, Zenith Computers, Chirag PCs and Quick Heal Anti Virus. The hospitality partner for the Kolkata round was Peerless Inn, while IIAS was the knowledge partner. Local prize sponsors were Seagram’s 100 Pipers, Patton, YES – Your Everyday Stationery, Coffee Pai, VLCC, Inspirations and Nik Nish.

US senator seeks report on stopping visa abuse

THE issue of H-1B visa abuse by foreign firms, including Indian firms that are the biggest users of the workers’ visas, has cropped up again. US senator Chuck Grassley, who introduced an H-1B visa reform bill last year to give priority to American workers and crack down on visa frauds, has now questioned the US Homeland Security department as to what actions it has taken to reform regulations. He also alleged that H-1B users are bringing in idle workers to US and ‘leasing’ them to other firms.According to data from the US Citizenship & Immigration Services, in 2007, Indian IT major Infosys, which got 4,559 H-1B visa approvals, and Wipro (2,567 approvals) were the biggest beneficiaries of the visa programme for temporary workers in the US. These are followed by Satyam Computer Services (1,396), Cognizant (962), Microsoft (959), TCS (797), Patni (477), US Technology Resources (416), i-Flex Solutions (374) and Intel (369).He also alleged that firms are making a commodity out of H-1B workers. Mr Grassley and senator Dick Durbin had last year raised the issue of abuse of the H-1B visa programme. They wrote to nine Indian IT companies, including Infosys, TCS, Wipro and Satyam, seeking information about visas they had applied for and wages and lay-offs in the US.

Cognizant signs $95-m deal with AstraZeneca

Global IT firm Cognizant on Monday signed a $95-million agreement with AstraZeneca, a global pharmaceutical company, to provide clinical data management services for the latter's clinical development. The contract is for five years in which Cognizant would provide a broad spectrum of centralised data management services for AstraZenecas global clinical development programmes, a company official said. The clinical development programmes include data management planning, clinical study set-up for electronic data capture, medical coding, adverse event reconciliation, clinical data management and training for the clinical sites and investigators, Cognizant said in a statement.

CTS, AstraZeneca ink CDM pact

COGNIZANT Technology Solutions has inked an agreement with pharmaceutical major AstraZeneca to deliver centralised clinical data management (CDM) services.The five-year agreement is expected to generate revenues of approximately $95 million. AstraZeneca said last year that it would centralise its clinical management services to drive its R&D efficiencies.Through the agreement, Cognizant will provide services such as data management planning, clinical study set-up for electronic data capture, medical coding, adverse event reconciliation and clinical data management for AstraZeneca’s global clinical development programmes. “Our life sciences service offering spans the entire pharmaceutical life-cycle from initial discovery, pre-clinical and clinical development to legislation and pharmacovigilance, manufacturing, sales and marketing,” said Cognizant Technologies’ president and managing director R Chandrasekaran.Cognizant currently provides CDM services for AstraZeneca and four other global pharmaceutical companies.Earlier, the Nasdaq-listed company announced a multi-year relationship with Pfizer Global Research and Development (PGRD) to provide solutions in the area of CDM services and biometrics.For the quarter-ended December 2007, Cognizant derived 24% of its revenues from the healthcare and life sciences segment.


Reliance Communications, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani flagship, on Sunday announced an employee stock options (ESOPs) scheme for 20,000 employees of the company and its subsidiaries. Claiming that the scheme would be the largest in the Indian telecom sector, the group said the initiative was in line with its policy "to create value for stakeholders ­ external and internal". The ESOS Compensation Committee of the board of directors of the company approved grant of 17.5 million options to eligible employees based on specified criteria, stated a company release.The company conducted extensive research based on intricate scientific models to formulate an innovative 3-Tier Model that would consider multiple parameters to derive at the number of options to be granted to every individual employee. The three-tier model, incorporating global best practices, would consider multiple parameters including number of years in the company, role, contribution and experience amongst others while categorization under "Founder's Club", "Pioneer's Club" and "Growth Club".

BSNL to Trai: Renew access deficit costs

Mobile and internet consumers can kiss lower telecom tariffs goodbye if Trai gives in to BSNL’s renewed demand for a Rs 8,774 crore annual payout by way of access deficit charges (ADC). Despite a commitment by Trai to move to a zero-ADC regime by year-end, BSNL said at a Trai Open House on Tuesday that it continues to need a subsidy just to sustain the operations of its rural fixed network. Trai’s records show that consumers have already contributed Rs 12,774 crore to BSNL, which is the sole beneficiary of ADC payments. Trai has committed in each of its consultation papers that ADC is a depleting regime, to be phased out on or before 2008. The reason for this is that ADC increases costs for BSNL’s competitors and their subscribers. It also adversely impacts prices for global customers calling India.

Transfer money with Airtel mobile

BHARTI Airtel on Tuesday announced a slew of partnerships for mobile commerce services including mobile money transfer. Bharti said it has entered into agreements with India’s leading banks ICICI bank, HDFC bank, SBI, Corporation bank and also with financial services major VISA to offer three specialised services Mobile Money Transfer (MMT), postpaid bill payment and prepaid recharge. Besides, Bharti Airtel customers can also make payments over their mobiles for air, rail and movie tickets.Bharti Airtel director marketing & communications Gopal Vittal said that mobile money transfer services would be launched across the country on March 15. “At the first stage, only transfers within India will be possible. Later, we will launch the platform that will help residents outside India to transfer money back home via their mobiles— we are awaiting regulatory clearances for this,” Mr Vittal said. Bharti has already tied up with the world’s largest money transfer company Western Union for international mobile money transfer services.The mobile money transfer services launched on March 15 will therefore be limited to those customers who have a VISA credit or debit card issued by ICICI, HDFC, or Corporation Bank. Further, the receiver can collect the transferred amount only if they have a VISA card. In addition, SBI customers will be able to transfer money from one SBI account to another SBI account or to any VISA debit/credit card in the country.

Cognizant takes over T-Systems India ops

COGNIZANT Technology Solutions on Wednesday said it had reached a deal to take over the Indian operations of German telecom operator Deutsche Telekom’s IT services division as part of a partnership to jointly provide system integration services.The alliance will result in the transfer of T-Systems India-and its approximately 1,150 employees to Cognizant, with the US-based company saying it expects to generate revenues of at least $40 million in the first year of the partnership. Cognizant, which saw off competition for the deal from India’s biggest software exporter, TCS, declined to divulge further financial details. “Today's announcement is about a long-term partnership.The financial component of the asset transfer in the form of a share purchase will simply occur at book value,” Cognizant president and MD R Chandrasekaran told ET by e-mail.Analysts said the alliance would give Cognizant a firmer foothold in the European market while allowing T-Systems to benefit from its partner’s offshoring capabilities to win new clients. Easier access is especially seen for the Nasdaq-listed company in Germany, a reluctant outsourcer. “T-Systems was functioning as a shared services centre of Deutsche Telekom in India and developed very good processes internally. But it was restricted in the number of clients it served.Source: ET, Chennai

Two TCS top 10 clients defer deals

THE waves from the US subprime tremor have reached Indian shores through yet another route. Two Wall Street giants, which are among the top 10 clients of India’s largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), have postponed their ‘committed engagements’ with the company for the quarter, TCS officials said.The company declined to name the clients, but most analysts that ET spoke to believe that they are Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. The two together have taken a knock of more than $41 billion due to subprime-related losses and are likely to announce more write-downs. The names could not be confirmed independently.Their decision would lead to ‘‘some impact’’ on TCS’ financials, but the same clients were ramping up business in other areas, chief operating officer N Chandrasekaran said. ‘‘There could be de-growth in the accounts that have been scaled down, leading to short-term weakness,’‘ said one analyst who did want to be quoted.The impact of the postponement has already been factored into the TCS valuation and no further re-rating in its share price is expected, an analyst said. Other top-tier IT firms have not indicated any project postponement so far, but in such an eventuality, valuations could fall by another 10%, the analyst said. On the other hand, the upside potential for valuations in the sector is expected to be as high as 30%.‘‘Overall, no cut is expected in offshoring spend. So it is positive for the long-term. There will be re-rating of the sector, but it will be gradual,’‘ said another analyst with a foreign brokerage. The BSE-IT index has lost 300 points, or over 7%, in the last one month. Among the top-tier companies, some believe that TCS, Infosys and Cognizant Technology Services could be more susceptible given that many of their large clients are from the financial services segment as compared with Wipro, Satyam Computer Services and HCL Technologies.‘‘Some IT companies also had an active client mining strategy to get a higher percentage of business from a single client. This has worked against them. Satyam, Wipro and HCL Tech are better placed in this regard because they have more number of smaller clients,’‘ said one analyst.

After Budget is Telecom Industry Going to Boom ?


At end-January ’08, the wireless subscriber base stood at 242.4 million, making India the third-largest wireless market in the world after China and the US. The total telecom subscriber base stood at 281.6 million, indicating an overall teledensity of 24.63%. The wireless subscriber base is expected to touch 490 million by March-end ’12. The growth is expected to be driven by opportunities arising out of low penetration, rising incomes, everfalling handset costs and local tariffs. Currently, around seven players operate in each circle. The entry of new players is expected to intensify the alreadytight competition, resulting in declining tariffs and cost of subscription to subscribers.BUDGET IMPACTThe excise duty cut on wireless data card from 16% to nil is marginally positive, as the effective duty would reduce from 21.7% to 4%. This will help raise the penetration of wireless internet services. With an average handset priced at Rs 2,500, the 1% National Calamity Contingent duty would have a negligible impact. Cellular services’ penetration will thus not be affected.

Cognizant to hire 14,700 employees

On Feb 18, 2008, GLOBAL BPO giant Cognizant said it will expand its headcount in India by about 14,700 this year and would broadbase its talent pool by hiring doctors, lawyers and CAs.The move comes at a time when global giants such as Yahoo and IBM as also some Indian companies are cutting their work force in the backdrop of wage inflation, rupee rise and economic uncertainties in the US, which have dented their profitability.The Nasdaq-listed outsourcing firm said, it plans to add 16,600-19,600 professionals globally in the calendar year 2008 to take its global headcount to 72,000-75,000.“Of these 16,600-19,600 professionals to be added globally, 75% upwards will be hired in India,” Cognizant human resources vice president Bhaskar Das told reporters in an e-mailed statement.Cognizant’s global headcount at the end of December 2007 was 55,400, which included more than three-fourth (over 41,000) employees in India. The company is also planning to widen its recruiting pool beyond the traditional streams such as engineering, management and science.“On the type of profiles we will go after, beyond engineering, management and science disciplines, it will include doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, pharmacists, bio-statisticians and supply chain specialists for our IT services and KPO practice, and in recruiting graphic designers, user interface specialists, and learning specialists for our content and design services,” Mr Das said.Cognizant reported an impressive Q4 results, with a 41% increase in revenues to $600 million compared to the year-ago quarter, beating market expectations at a time when financial results of companies like Yahoo and IBM failed to meet their targets. The two companies have also announced job cuts to the tune of 740.Talking about the salary trend in 2008, Mr Das said the company expects the wage inflation to moderate from the 2007 increase levels.

Another round of sell-off likely

From a news source:- NEAR-TERM indicators on charts are pointing to further weakness in the market, with the Nifty yet to close above a crucial resistance level of 5,368 points (though it was tested last Wednesday). With global markets also ending lower on Friday, the market should see another round of sell-off.

Technically, the Nifty has support at 5,181 (10-day exponential moving average (EMA)). But the index, last week, moved below 5,181 twice, which can be treated as an early indication of another round of sell-off. Further on the lower side, the Nifty has strong support at 5,052 (200-day simple moving average). A close below this level for more than two days can cause a major sell-off, and in that case the Nifty may test 4,803.6 (the previous bottom recorded on February 11) first and then could move down towards the panic bottom of 4,448.5, which recorded on January 22.

If the Nifty manages to close above 5,368, it can negate the downtrend in the short run, and can take the index towards 5,600 levels. The index will need a lot of support from heavyweights like Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, ONGC and Bharti Airtel.
Reliance Industries is the lone counter with strong supports at the moment. But if the stock falls below the Rs 2,375-level, then it may find support only at Rs 2,304, because the 3-,9-and 18 simple moving average combination can give a sell signal.

“IT also begets IT”

It’s not just that “trust begets trust”, as the Finance Minister stated in his speech. IT also begets IT. Investments in ‘information technology’ have helped the government reap substantially higher income tax collections, as admitted by Finance Minister. The government should leverage this powerful example and encourage investments in e-governance across all departments for transparent, expeditious, and smooth governance.
Mr. Lakshmi Narayan, Vice-Chairman, Cognizant, says, “With the knowledge economy booming, an outlay of Rs. 15,000 crore for commissioning a world class skill development program on a mission mode will be a significant catalyst for a skill dependent industry. Giving teeth to this program with an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore in government equity will be seen as an attractive proposition by entrepreneurs and private players. It could well be the model of the future for creating the right framework for skills development.”
Source: Business Line, Bangalore Edition.

Yahoo! Launches New Lab in Bangalore, India

Yahoo! Labs - Bangalore to be at the forefront of discovering New Technologies that deliver compelling experiences on the Web. Its first in India Eminent Scientist Dr. Rajeev Rastogi appointed to head the lab. It will be a center of excellence for next generation search and advertising technologies, focused on making the Web more relevant and simple for users and advertisers. As a demonstration of Yahoo!’s commitment to recruiting world-class talent in India, Rastogi was appointed to assemble a world-class team of scientists and engineers to focus on new approaches to information extraction and machine learning, multimedia and query processing.
Source: Yahoo! Inc

Is Kamal Nath’s unhappiness justified ?

From a news source:- Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath is disappointed with the budget proposal and is thinking of meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding this issue.
In the budget, the recommendation of both the Rangarajan and the Krishnamurthy Committee has not been considered.
The two expert committees appointed by the Prime Minister are believed to have recommended several fiscal and other measures to mitigate the trouble of exporters especially in the labour oriented sectors of textile, handicraft, leather and marine products.
According to the pre-Budget Economic Survey released last week, growth in textile exports for the April-September period of the current fiscal dropped sharply to a mere 1.2 per cent from 33.5 per cent in the same period last year. Handicraft exports have shown a big negative growth of 14.5 per cent against a positive 5.2 per cent a year ago.

Comparison of Excise duties imposed on various forms of automobiles before and after budget 2008

Before the announcement of the annual budget 2008 it was speculated that the Government would like to keep the auto industry robust because it also affects transportation of goods in the country. As part of the rationalization of duty rates, the Government has brought down the excise duty rates from a whopping 40 per cent in 2001-2002 to 16/24 per cent in 2007-08.The demand of the industry was to eliminate tax inefficiencies on the input side and also lower duty/tax rate on some category of finished vehicle.Here's what Venu Srinivasan, CMD, TVS Motors expected from the Budget"We are not expecting any significant changes in this year's Budget. There would be no change in excise duties as there is a pricing deficit. No favorable changes are expected for the two-wheeler industry as we have not made any proposal"
On 29th February the Budget 2008 has finally brought welcome relief to the auto sector, which was otherwise spinning under a slowdown caused by firm interest rates.Mr. P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister on Friday, has announced a surprise cut in excise duty for small cars (4,000 mm in length and engines with 1.2 litres capacity, if petrol or 1.5 litres capacity, if diesel) from 16% to 12%. With this move, small cars will cost Rs. 7000 to 16000 less. Maruti Suzuki, a major listed player in the passenger car market, will be the main beneficiary.The company has announced a reduction in prices of some of its models following Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's proposal. The models are Maruti 800, Omni, Zen, WagonR, Swift Diesel and Alto.

Commercial vehicles, too, stand to beneficiated with the budget proposal. The excise duty on buses has been reduced to 12% while on trucks it was reduced to 14%. It is anticipated that the reduction will bring down prices by Rs 20,000-Rs 40,000.Excise duties on hybrid cars have also been reduced by 14% to 24% and on two and three-wheelers to 16% from 24%.

Though Mr. VENU SRINIVASAN, CHAIRMAN, TVS MOTOR CO LTD was not expecting any significant changes in this year’s budget, this is how he reacted on the announcement of the budget 2008-"I warmly welcome the lowering of the excise duty from 16 percent to 12 percent in the annual budget 2008 and the support given by the finance minister to the automotive sector, as it is the engine of any economic growth. At a time when the two-wheeler industry is going on a downturn, this will come as a shot in the arm to reverse the trend."

UNION BUDGET - Increase in tax limit cheers salaried class

The Finance Minster has played Santa to cheer the working class by increasing the threshold limit for tax exemption from Rs 1,10,000 to Rs 1,50,000, thus giving every taxpayer a relief of a minimum of Rs 4,000. He has been extra generous to the women taxpayers, by further increasing the exemption limit to Rs 1,80,000 for them.
The salaried class seems to be very buoyant about these provisions. "The new tax slabs will help the working middle class to improve savings and start investing. The increase in the purchasing capacity of the population will fuel growth of the manufacturing sector and improve the standard of living of the masses," felt Mr Animesh Ghose, assistant systems engineer, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
And the service class has already started planning for the extra money that this tax exemption will help save. Mr Amar Rajgopal, telecommunications engi neer, Ericsson, said, "The price cut announced by the auto majors following the budget has brought the entire vehicle segment within the common man's reach. Reduced cost of cereals will also largely benefit the middle clas."
"Mediclaim being extended up to 50,000 if spent on parents will benefit the working youth. No hike in home loans is another important good news for the us," added Mr Venkatesh Narasimhan, Finance executive, Cybernet SlashSupport Mr Nachu Nagappan, PR executive, pointed out, "The increased allocation to SSA and Education is a positive sign for a growing economy. This is a balanced and growth oriented budget with benefits for the sectors like education, health and agriculture." Amount Tax Exempted Up to Rs 1,50000 NIL Rs 1,50001-Rs 3,00000 10 % Rs 3,00001-Rs 5,00000 20 % Rs 5,00001&above 30 %

Economic Survey: Expand telecom infrastructure, R&D

According to the Economic Survey for 2007-08 telecom infrastructure and research and development (R&D) needs to be expand.

"With the rapid growth of the telecom network, there is a need to further expand the telecom infrastructure and research and development. This would require infusion of funds and strengthening of the domestic telecom manufacturing sector," the annual survey presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha on Thursday said.

"The development of special economic zones (SEZs) facilitates better telecom services, which will help in making India a hub for telecom manufacturing."

To increase the growth of telecom in rural areas the government has proposed to set up 200 million telephone connections by 2010.

Moreover the government has target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010.
For more information click

Economic Survey: Expand telecom infrastructure, R&D

According to the Economic Survey for 2007-08 telecom infrastructure and research and development (R&D) needs to be expand.
"With the rapid growth of the telecom network, there is a need to further expand the telecom infrastructure and research and development. This would require infusion of funds and strengthening of the domestic telecom manufacturing sector," the annual survey presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha on Thursday said.
"The development of special economic zones (SEZs) facilitates better telecom services, which will help in making India a hub for telecom manufacturing."
To increase the growth of telecom in rural areas the government has proposed to set up 200 million telephone connections by 2010.
Moreover the government has target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010.
For more information click

Arbitrage is passe, time for Indian IT to innovate.

Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra, who described himself as a representative of "smoke stack economy" said it is time the Indian IT business starts looking at itself from a different perspective. At NASSCOMS's Annual February jamboree held at Mumbai this year, a delegate from a global technology company pointed out, "it almost seems like the Indian IT business is on the back foot. I've never heard the Indian representation sound so circumspect in all my years here". The reasons though aren't too difficult to get a handle on. Over the last couple of years, fears has been mounting around an impending recession in the American Economy. One of the fallouts of that fear has been a weak dollar. In turn, it has impacted on the rupee revenues of Indian IT companies with a significant presence in US. Into this, add the shortage of trained manpower in the country; and skyrocketing salaries that have eroded the labor arbitrage advantage that Indian companies have had and the industry cu of woes seems full.An ominous sounding Lakshmi Narayan, Nasscom chairman and vice chairman at Cognizent Technologies said, "The current situation is not temporary. It is the new baseline. The industry will have to learn to operate under new parameters."Anand Mahindra said that Indian IT Industry needs to send out a signal to the world that it is capable of something spectacular- akin to the TATAs' achievement of building Nano- the cheapest car in the world. More optimistic tones were were stuck by representatives of multinational tech companies like IBM ans Accenture.If consensus is anything to go by, clearly tough times lie ahead.

Aircel launches lifetime prepaid at just Rs 248/-

Chennai, February 26, 2008: Aircel, the No.1 cellular service provider in Tamil Nadu State has been spearheading the telecom revolution in the State for nearly a decade through its innovative business approach and product offerings. Aircel today announced an offer of Lifetime prepaid at just
Rs.248 and to ensure that existing Aircel subscribers get more, the same is available at Rs.199. This is also coupled with an attractive tariff of Re.1 for all local calls. The new call rates will be extended to existing lifetime subscribers automatically.
Product offerings
New subscribers: New subscribers will need to buy a Starter Pack at Rs.49 and recharge with Rs.248 to avail lifetime
Existing Aircel subscribers: Existing Aircel prepaid subscribers can recharge with Rs.199 and get lifetime validity. However existing Aircel lifetime subscribers will get the tariff benefit automatically.
Tariff highlights: Local calls –Re.1/min and STD calls Rs.2.74/min
To further reduce call and SMS rates subscribers can use Rate Cutters – RC 36 for mobile calls at 49p/min, RC 33 for 100 local SMS/day at 5paise and RC 69 for Aircel calls at 20p/min, mobile calls at 49p/min and STD at Rs.1.50/min. The tariff will be applicable for 30 days.

Bharti joins five global telcos for US-Japan undersea cable

BHARTI Airtel has joined hands with five international companies including internet giant Google to construct a new high-bandwidth, sub-sea cable system linking the US and Japan. These two companies along with Global Transit, KDDI Corporation, Pacnet and SingTel have formed the Unity Bandwidth Consortium which will together invest about $300 million to construct the undersea link.This new consortium is yet another step towards improving redundancy with resilient networks, especially in the wake of the recent crisis when undersea links were damaged off the coast of Egypt, disrupting internet connections in many countries including India. With multiple undersea cables in place, Bharti Airtel can hedge itself by redirecting traffic via other undersea links.This is the third major initiative by Bharti Airtel in the recent past aimed at becoming a major player in the international bandwidth business. Last month, Bharti Airtel along with eight leaders of the global telecommunications industry including VSNL, had signed a formal construction and maintenance agreement to build a fibre-optic submarine cable that stretches from India to France via the Middle East. Last year, Bharti joined the Telecom Malaysia (TM) led 17-member consortium of telecommunication companies to set up an Asia-America gateway (AAG) — the first submarine-cable system linking South-East Asia directly to the US.

Bharti Airtel | Sunil Mittal gets global telecom award

Bharti Enterprises Group Chairman and CEO Sunil Mittal has been awarded the global telecom industry’s highest honour – GSM

Association Chairman’s Award 2008, for his contribution to the development of India’s telecom sector . The award coincides with Bharti Airtel achiving the 60 – million subscriber mark, both in mobile as well as fixed line telecom services.