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AIRTEL PAYMENTS BANK OFFERS 7.25PC INTEREST

NEW DELHI: Airtel Payments Bank on Thursday launched nationwide operations, offering 7.25% interest on savings bank balances, which is more than the maximum 7% paid by SBI on its fixed deposits. The only catch is that the payments banks, which do not offer loans and several other facilities offered by full fledged rivals, are not allowed to accept deposits beyond Rs 1 lakh in bank accounts, which will have the same number as your mobile number. Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said that the higher interest rate and freebies such as life insurance of up to Rs 1 lakh was an “introductory offer” and the rates would go down in a falling interest rate environment.

Only a few years ago, RBI had removed the 4% cap on savings bank deposits, prompting “newcomers” such as Kotak Mahindra and Yes Bank to offer 6-7% to their account holders on idle balances in savings bank accounts. But that did not result in accountholders shifting banks to earn more. Mittal said Bharti and Kotak Mahindra, which holds a 20% stake in the payments bank, would invest Rs 3,000 crore in the venture. “As more and more telecom companies enter into the fray, I think we will hopefully see competition not only amongst telecom companies which we read a lot about these days, but probably see a competition between conventional and new mode of banking,” FM Arun Jaitley said at the launch.

CONSUMERS, PETROL PUMPS NOT TO BEAR CARD TRANSACTION FEE: OIL MINISTER DHARMENDRA

NEW DELHI: Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said consumers and petrol pump owners will not have to bear the transaction charge for using plastic money to pay for fuel. “It was unanimously decided that consumers and dealers will not bear any burden on debit card transactions at OMC (oil marketing companies) petrol pumps,” Pradhan said in a tweet after discussing the issue with financial services secretary, heads of state-run fuel retailers and representatives of major banks. He said banks and government-run fuel retailers will bear any burden of merchant discount rate (MDR, or transaction fee) on card transactions at petrol pumps. “Banks and fuel retailers will continue to discuss as to who should bear the charge and in what proportion.”Proper mechanism will be put in place by January 16 and the rate (within the RBI cap) will be based on the negotiations between oil marketing companies and banks,” he said. Axis Bank executive director (retail banking) Rajiv Anand said, “We are working with the oil marketing companies to implement an arrangement which will allow consumers to continue to use debit cards at fuel retail outlets. We remain committed to ensuring that the momentum built for digital transactions is carried forward and that customers are not inconvenienced”.

CHAIRMANSHIP OF TATA SONS IS A HUGE ACCOUNTABILITY, WILL REACH OUT TO EVERYONE: N CHANDRASEKARAN

NEW DELHI: Newly-appointed+ Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said that it’s a huge responsibility to lead a group that’s in the hearts of the people. “At the Tata group, we are at an inflection point. I am aware that this role comes with huge responsibilities,” Chandrasekaran+ told reporters at his first press conference after being named the head of the holding company of the $103 billion Tata Group. The former TCS chief said he believes his new position will require leadership qualities and compassion and that he would need the support of a lot of people. “I feel I will grow into this role over a period of time. I will need support and for this, I’ll reach out to everyone. It will be a collective leadership,” Chandrasekaran confessed humbly. Calling his appointment a great privilege, Chandrasekaran promised to honour his role as head of the group which is in the hearts of the Indian people. “It will be my endeavour to help progress the group with the ethos, ethics and values that the Tata group has been built on,” he said. Chandrasekaran was chosen to step into the shoes of interim Chairman Ratan Tata, who took over on October 24 last year after the removal of Cyrus Mistry. The announcement did not mention Chandrasekaran’s tenure at the top.

‘WASN’T ACADEMICALLY BRILLIANT, BUT WOULD PUT MIND AND HEART INTO DUTY’, SAYS NATARAJAN ELDER BROTHER

CHENNAI: In the early 1970s, N Chandrasekaran, along with his two brothers, would walk 3km to his Tamil medium government school in a village called Mohanur in Namakkal, some 415km west of Chennai. When he drives into Bombay House to occupy the corner office on February 21, it will mark the arrival of a man, who believes in loyalty and hard work. Chandra, as he is called by his friends and family, is the youngest of three brothers and has three sisters. “His standout quality is his commitment,” says eldest brother N Srinivasan, group finance director at Murugappa Group. “He will invest commitment and time to achieve anything that he sets out to do.” TCS was his first employer. “He joined TCS more than 30 years ago (in 1987) in Chennai and lived with me. He used to be the first to leave home for office, often by 7am, and the last to return, sometimes way past midnight,” says Srinivasan. The modest lifestyle of the three brothers involved sharing an apartment in Chennai and moving around on a scooter. “While all three of us have been religious, Chandra in particular learned Vedic hymns from a scholar,” recalls the brother. Corporate achievement, too, runs in the family. Another brother — N Ganapathy Subramaniam, elder to Chandra and younger to Srinivasan — was elevated as the COO of TCS on Thursday, soon after Chandra was named the Tata Sons chairman. His sisters live in Erode, Bengaluru and Chennai.

WHY INDIAN JOB-SEEKERS NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ALTERS TO H-1B VISA

NEW DELHI: Donald Trump has listed immigration reform among executive actions he plans on his first day in office. Ahead of his swearing-in, two American lawmakers have introduced a bill that seeks to change the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes+. Here’s how the bill could sting Indian workers. The US has already sharply hiked H-1B and L-1 visa costs in January 2016 — from $2,000, to $6,000 for H-1B and $4,500 for L-1 visas — for firms that employed 50 or more workers in US, with more than 50% of them employed on H-1B or L-1 visas.

INFOSYS Q3 PROFIT UP 7PC TO RS 3,708 CR, REVISES REVENUE GUIDANCE

BENGALURU: Country’s second-largest software firm Infosys reported a 7 per cent growth in its consolidated net profit at Rs 3,708 crore for the October-December quarter of the current fiscal. The IT major revised its current fiscal constant currency revenue guidance to 8.4-8.8 per cent against 8-9 per cent estimated earlier. The Bengaluru-headquartered firm’s net profit stood at Rs 3,465 crore in the corresponding three months a year ago. Its consolidated revenues in the third quarter rose 8.6 per cent to Rs 17,273 crore from Rs 15,902 crore in the year-ago period, the company said. Reacting to the results, Infosys shares fell 0.61 per cent in early morning trade to Rs 993.95 apiece on BSE. “Taking into account seasonal and other additional headwinds for the quarter, our Q3 revenue performance was broadly in line with our expectations,” Infosys CEO and MD Vishal Sikka said. Infosys COO U B Pravin Rao said the company’s utilisation has remained healthy in a seasonally soft quarter. “Our continued efforts to improve employee engagement and experience resulted in a reduction in attrition. During the quarter, we added 77 clients and also added 2 clients in the USD 75mn-plus revenue category,” he added.

 

SC SEEKS MATERIAL IN SUPPORT OF PLEA AGST PRESENTATION OF BUDGET

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday sought material and legal provisions in support of a PIL seeking postponement of presentation of the Union Budget due to assembly elections in five states. “You (lawyer) tell us what provisions have been violated. Tentatively speaking, we don’t find any material in support of the petition,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said. The bench asked lawyer M L Sharma to take time and prepare “hard” and come out with material in support of the PIL. The court then fixed the PIL for further hearing on January 20. Earlier, the bench had refused to accord urgent hearing to the plea. The PIL has also sought a direction to strip BJP of its lotus election symbol for alleged violation of the model code of conduct which came into effect after declaration of assembly polls in five states. The PIL said the Centre be directed to present the Union Budget in the financial year 2017-18 which would commence from April 1, instead of the proposed February 1 date. It also said that the central government be restrained from declaring “any relief, programme, financial budget until the states’ elections are over” as they would violate the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). The Election Commission had on January 4 come out with the schedule of Assembly elections to be held in five states, including Uttar Pradesh. The Centre has already decided to convene the Budget Session of Parliament from January 31 to present the Budget for 2017-18 fiscal the very next day.

SPICEJET TO BUY UP TO 205 BOEING AIRCRAFT WORTH RS 1.5 LAKH CR

NEW DELHI: In one of the biggest aircraft orders by an Indian airline, SpiceJet on Friday announced it will buy up to 205 Boeing planes worth $22 billion (Rs 1.5 lakh crore).

SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh, who brought the airline back from the verge of closure two years back, said the order is a firm one for 155 Boeing 737-8 Max and 50 purchase rights for wide body long haul planes like Dreamliner and the B-737s.

“Our turnaround story has been one which has very few parallels in the world and we are proud of it. SpiceJet has achieved seven consecutive quarters of profit, highest on time performance and lowest cancellation and a record load factor of over 90% every month for 20 months in a row,” said Singh.

The agreement with SpiceJet is a much-needed boost for Boeing in India, as its rival Airbus has won record-sized orders with InterGlobe Aviation’s IndiGo, India’s biggest budget airline, as well as a recent deal with GoAir.

India is the world’s fastest growing aviation market and among the most attractive for planemakers seeking a new wave of growth. Indian passenger numbers are increasing by more than 20 percent annually thanks to low prices and rising disposable incomes.

TCS NET PROFIT UP 1.6 PC, HITS $1 BN IN A QUARTER FOR FIRST TIME

BENGALURU: Tata Consultancy Services reported a 0.3% rise in sequential dollar revenue in the third quarter helped by demand for digital services and improved results from its banking financial services and insurance (BFSI) and energy and utilities sectors.

The growth was better than expected by many analysts. Though the third quarter is a seasonally weak quarter due to furloughs and the annual holiday season in the US and UK, TCS’ net profit rose 1.6% to touch the $1 billion milestone in a quarter for the first time. Operating margins remained flat at 26%, but within the company’s expected range. Revenue rose to $4.39 billion for the third quarter ended December 31, from $4.37 billion in the previous quarter. On a constant currency basis, which discounts the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue rose 2%. “For the last 5-6 quarters, there were three to four areas that were troubling us and I believe those have past their bottom, pushing us in the growth curve,” chief executive N Chandrasekaran, who will move on from TCS to head the entire Tata Group next month, said in a news conference on Thursday. The areas include TCS’ weak performance in Japan and Latin America and its UKBPO division Diligenta.

While growth in Japan remained slow, Chandrasekaran said it was showing signs of improvement. Latin America grew 12.5% sequentially. “Diligenta is on the right track to deliver the right set of numbers,” he added. But Chandrasekaran also pointed out that volatility in currency movements was “too much”. This, he said, was affecting the company’s results. “We have lost about 170 bps, or about $75 million, between October and January.”

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