Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Obama gets tougher; firms look to move out of U.S.

Bangalore: At least half-dozen major corporations in the U.S. like Tyco International (TYC) and Ingersoll-Rand (IR) have proposed reincorporating in Ireland or Switzerland since October because of the U.S. President Barack Obama's plans to clamp down on corporate overseas tax maneuvering, reports Business Week

This is because both Ireland and Switzerland offer big tax savings than the U.S. or Europe. Also, both of the countries have well-established tax treaties, which decide which country has primary taxing rights and help avoid double taxation. Paul Schmidt who heads the international tax practice at a law firm Baker Hosteller told Business Week that Switzerland's 'statutory' tax rate is 24 percent, which is a huge savings over the potential 35 percent federal tax rate that the business firms could owe in the U.S. Meanwhile, Ireland has a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate and a good working relationship with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), according to Conor Begley, an independent tax consultant and Former Director of international tax at Grant Thornton.

According to the international tax experts, the U.S. based companies would face the exit charges (taxes based on lost revenue to the IRS for future earnings) and be removed from the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. Several companies that have "re-domiciled" have been dumped from the index. So some companies could be scared off from relocating their official bases from the U.S.

J.Erik Fyrwald, the CEO of $4.2 billion water-treatment and chemicals company NALCO worries that changes to corporate tax law could also make U.S.-based companies targets for foreign acquisition. "If it got to where we were unable to effectively compete globally, we would have to evaluate our options."

APPLE says CEO Steve Jobs back at work

San Francisco
The Economic Times

Apple Inc Chief Executive Steve Jobs is back to work following a near six-month medical leave, the company said on Monday.

"Steve is back to work," a company spokesman said. "He's currently at Apple a few days a week, and working from home the remaining days. We are very glad to have him back."

SONY Silent on Playstation Phone

The Economic Times (Kolkata edition)

Sony Corp remained tightlipped over reports that it may combine its PlayStation Portable game console with a mobile telephone into a new gadget to challenge rival Apple’s iPhone.

Sony is considering developing a new portable game console with the added functions of a Sony Ericsson cellphone, a noted business daily reported on Saturday without revealing its sources.

The high-tech giant, which has faced tough competition in recent years from rival products such as Apple’s iPod and Nintendo’s Wii, will set up a team in July to look into the development of the new product, the daily said.

Sony, which will mark the 30th anniversary on Wednesday of the launch of its first Walkman portable music player, declined to confirm or deny the report. “We don’t comment on plans for next-generation consoles. The report is mere speculation,” a spokeswoman for the group’s game unit said. Sony chief executive Howard Stringer is under

APPLE Iphone 3GS is overheating

DNA (Bangalore edition)

Many users are reporting cases of over-heating with new iPhone 3GS phones when playing games. The overheating turns the white back of the iPhone, yellow. Many users of iPod Touch had also reported similar issues after a firmware upgrade recently. Other reports across the web, including the Apple discussion forums, seem to point at GPS use and playing games as the culprits.

6 Iphone misses for BIZ users

The Times of India

Apple's popular mobile phone iPhone just got an upgrade. The new iPhone 3G S offers as many as 100 new features and more than double the speed of the earliest version. Plus, it comes with a price cut.

However, is iPhone 3GS enterprise-ready? Not really feel many analysts. The news may not be so good for Apple, which has been trying hard to compete with Research In Motion's BlackBerry models in the enterprise space. According to analysts while the gadget has got an upgrade in terms of features for general consumers, the upgrade misses on certain key features which are almost a must for any business manager.

Here are the 6 things that may disappoint business users in iPhone 3G S.

Battery life

For business users one of the top priorities in a smartphone is a good battery life. Though Apple iPhone 3GS has improved battery life, many analysts still feel that the model fails to match up to most BlackBerry models.

iPhone 3G S provides up to 5 hours of 3G talk time or Internet use. Apple claims that the new model supports up to 12 hours of talk time, 30 hours of audio, 9 hours of Wi-Fi and 10 hours on video playback.

BlackBerry Storm supports battery life of up to 15 days (standby time) and up to 5.5 hours (talk time).

Security weaknesses

In terms of security too iPhone 3G S has gone several notches up over its predecessor, however, the new device still leaves lot for improvement.

According to many web reviews, iPhone has been hacked far too many times to be considered a secure platform. iPhone's new operating system, OS 3.0, reportedly includes 46 security patches. The majority of the patches are for the iPhone's Safari browser and the WebKit open source browser engine.

On security front, one of the most loved features in the new device is the Remote Wipe which allows users to erase all data from an iPhone that has got lost.

No physical keyboard

Another big miss for corporate users is the absence of a physical keyboard. Though the new software includes a landscape keyboard for Mail, Messages and Notes, however, most business users feel that a slider-style QWERTY keyboard would have been more handy.

Research In Motion's (RIM's) BlackBerry phones pack QWERTY keyboard for easy typing.

Video conferencing

Though Apple has fulfilled a long time wish by enabling the device to record videos, however, iPhone 3G S still lacks front-facing camera for video conferencing.

This means the device is not capable of sending videos across a Wi-Fi or cellular network in real time. This comes as a big disappoinment especially for business users in the age of video conferencing.

No editing in Word Document

Another dampener for business users is absence of editing support for Word documents. This means while iPhone users can read Word documents, they cannot edit it. This again is an area where Apple needs a bit of rethink especially while targeting the device in the business segment.

Unlike iPhone 3G S, most smartphones let users edit Word documents to make changes and send them. However, there are a couple of third-party solutions that may solve this issue.

No Flash

iPhone 3G S also disappoints corporate users looking forward to Flash support in the new version. The latest iPhone too offers no Flash support.

This is a big miss for users who may want to see those multimedia files that require Flash or browse through Web pages with Flash on their iPhones. Earlier, Apple had said that Flash would run too slowly on the iPhone.

AI sets dec target with IA for IT integration

Mithun Roy, Mumbai
The Economic Times

National carrier Air India is looking at a December deadline for completing the integration of its information technology systems with the erstwhile Indian Airlines in order to get included into the Lufthansa-led Star Alliance club. Top executives at Air India, including its CMD Arvind Jadhav, held a meeting on Monday in Mumbai on this issue.

Star Alliance is the oldest such club of international carriers that allows members to share codes and use each others’ maintenance and parking infrastructure. Other alliances of similar nature are One World and SkyTeam.

Air India has already met 79 joining requirements. The biggest obstacle for Air India in becoming a part of the Star Alliance is the absence of same flight code between Air India and Indian Airlines. At present, AI and IA continue to operate under different codes.

A senior Air India official, who attended the meeting, said Air India was working towards a common IT platform for air tickets reservations, which would result in savings of hundreds of crores annually. The IT integration has been pending for the past six quarters, but it should be finalised soon, the official added.

This is at a time when Nacil (National Aviation Company of India) is incurring a loss of Rs 15 crore each day. Nacil is the holding company formed in 2007 after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines. The Air India spokesperson confirmed that an internal meeting on the Star Alliance took place on Monday, but declined to elaborate, saying it was an internal issue.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel, last month, had expressed concerns over the delay in completing the merger process between Air India and Indian Airlines, apart from other key integration issues.



Nandan Nilekani’s cabinet rank appointment last week is beginning to draw attention to the national identification (ID) project he will head. The aim, to provide Indians with a multipurpose national identity card (MNIC), is worthy. Yet, it needs to be seen not as an elixir for all the nation’s troubles, but a better tool for the government to be answerable to citizens. The onus remains on the government to perform, starting with implementing this card itself.

The greatest benefit of such technology is that it cuts down transaction costs. Today, if the state wishes to provide, say, a food subsidy to the very poorest, an army of bureaucrats stands in between. MNIC can act as a smart card that identifies the right beneficiaries of aid. This is, then, part of a larger movement towards e-governance, one that strikes at corruption and leakages.

Such a card should be made compulsory. By quickening verification, it will help root out possible terrorists. But technology here is no substitute for political will. The problem of illegal immigration is a case in point.

In 1983, India passed the Illegal Migrants Act to determine illegal immigrants in Assam. In 2005, the Supreme Court struck this down, because the Act only made identifying illegal immigrants more difficult. Even with newer technology, how will the government know whom to give its MNIC to across India, when it failed in just one state?

Theoretically, a single MNIC can do away with the multiplicity of other IDs, reducing fraud. For instance, two-fifths of “below poverty line” (BPL) cards, a February piece in the Economic and Political Weekly argued, are with non-poor households.

However, MNIC could become yet another card in the average citizen’s wallet. The Election Commission introduced voter IDs earlier this decade to obviate electoral fraud. Yet, today it allows voters to show other forms of IDs too—an implicit acknowledgement that voter IDs haven’t reached every voter. What’s to say this won’t happen to MNICs?

There’s also a concern that MNIC’s centralized database will heighten abuses of privacy. That’s a possibility, but not one that undercuts MNIC’s rationale; it only means that this project has to come with the right legal safeguards. Nilekani himself has noted the influence of the US social security number for a national ID in India. Then, like the US, India too would need legislation to protect electronic data.

MNIC can go a long way in helping both the public and private sector reach more citizens. But for that, Nilekani will have to address such concerns.

Budget support for INDIAN IT & ITES Sector mooted

Deccan Herald

The US$71.7 billion industry has strong fundamentals of a large talent pool, sustained cost competitiveness and enabling business environment have helped India sustain its position as a preferred sourcing destination.

However, the KPMG Tax Team feels that the industry needs support from the government in the forthcoming budget as the global recessionary trend is now beginning to impact the performance of the industry.

Besides, India is also facing competition from other emerging nations like Vietnam, Brazil, Russia, China, Malaysia, Philippines, etc and our cost advantage is eroded. with regard to the cost advantage offered. KPMG Tax team has prescribed the following incentives to the IT/ITES industry.

Extension of tax holiday

The income-tax holiday under section 10A/10B (relating to STPIs/ EOUs) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, has been a blessing for the industry and has played a pivotal role in driving the success. The benefit is currently set to expire on 31 March 2010 but it is essential that the fiscal support continues for another 3 to 5 years, especially for the small and medium sized companies so that the cost competitiveness is maintained.

Government SEZs

The SEZ scheme is not very well suited for the small and medium sized companies because of lack of the optimum scale of operations. The Government could look at setting up of a few Government-owned SEZs, especially for the small and medium sized companies.

Refund of taxes & duties

The industry looks forward to expeditious disposal and simplification in the procedures for claiming refund of service tax paid on input services. Alternative schemes such as fixing drawback rates may be introduced which would help in simplifying the procedures, felt KPMG.

Service-tax & VAT

At present both service-tax and VAT are being charged by the tax authorities on development and sale of software in India. It is essential that this controversial issue of dual taxation is resolved at the earliest.

Refund of additional customs duty to countervail VAT: Credit and refund of additional custom duties paid on imports is available to manufacturers and traders. This benefit is not available to service providers and should be extended to service companies.

Allocation of funds

The government should also allocate funds for increase in IT spend to provide a strong domestic stimulus to the industry. It should developed public-private partnerships to accelerate already approved e-governance programmes and evolve appropriate new programmes. The government must also spend on appropriate skill development to meet the increasing demand of resources in the industry.

There is a need to implement a nation-wide skill development programme and leverage IT expertise both for enabling education and imparting employable skills that can be deployed in the industry, said KPMG Tax Team.

Cognizant big on mobile couponing

Thanuja BM, Bangalore
Financial Chronicle

Betting on mobile applications as a growth area, IT major Cognizant is developing a new solution for mobile couponing.

Mobile couponing is a process of receiving and redeeming merchant discount coupons electronically using a mobile instrument and network instead of conventional paper coupons.

Said R Viswakumar, AVP, global technology officer, Cognizant: “We are exploring this emerging business need and developing a solution by identifying and creating specific technology components.”

The solution would be piloted in Cognizant first and then launched along with merchants, mobile operators, banks and payment companies in a phased manner.

The trans-border company has discussed the idea with a few existing clients and the response so far has been encouraging, said Viswakumar.

Researches suggest that mobile phones are fast replacing 300 billion paper coupons issued every year in the US. Brands such as Burger King, Dairy Queen, Victoria’s Secret, Unilever and ShopRite have starting using mobile coupons in various forms.

Telcordia bags five-year deal from unitech wireless

New Delhi
Business Standard The Economic Times Financial Chronicle The Hindu Business Line

Communication software service provider Telcordia today said it has received a five-year, multi-million dollar contract from telecom firm Unitech Wireless.

Under the agreement, Telcordia will provide real-time charging solution for Unitech's mobile pre-paid subscribers in all the circles where the telecom firm will operate, Telcordia Technologies India Country Manager Anuj Kapur said.

However, he declined to share the financial details of the deal.

Besides, recharging solutions, the US-based firm would also provide billing solutions for Unitech's value-added services, he added.

Telcordia is already providing pre-paid recharging solutions to Idea, Tata Communications and Aircel.

Unitech Wireless, one of the new operators to get licence, is planning to launch GSM-based mobile telephony services starting from the first five circles of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala by the end of this year.

The solution by Telcordia would power Unitech's pan-India network roll-out and support the introduction of interactive services and tariff plans.

Talking about the opportunities in the pre-paid segment, Kapur said, the mobile market is dominated by pre-paid users. Telecom operators usually earmark 4-5 percent of their capex for pre-paid solutions.

"So this segment offers a huge growth opportunity for us," he said.

According to a recent study by Gartner, prepaid connections accounted for more than 93 percent of all mobile connections in 2008 and it is expected to grow to more than 96 percent of the connection base by 2013, surpassing 741 million versus 312 million in 2008.

With the launch of 3G , the company sees more opportunities in the billing solutions.

"With 3G, the telecom firms will launch new interactive services which will need new billing platforms, " he added.

Build sticky relations with stakeholders

Alokananda Chakraborty
The Financial Express

Jessie Paul joined Wipro Technologies as chief marketing officer in 2005, and is responsible for ensuring a platform to win and engage customers through its domain-specific, IP-led technology and business solutions. She joined Wipro from iGATE Global Solutions, where she was heading the marketing function since 2003. She played a key role in rebranding and repositioning iGATE as an integrated technology and operations company. Prior to joining iGATE, Paul was global brand manager for Infosys Technologies.

She was involved in setting up the marketing department at Infosys Technologies, and putting in place the marketing infrastructure and processes. Her efforts earned her the Chairman’s Award in 1998. In this interview, Jessie Paul, chief marketing officer, Wipro Technologies & Wipro Infotech, discusses the strategies the Indian software industry can formulate to emerge stronger and more profitable when global spending on IT gets back on track.

The West associates India with outsourcing. Has that changed or does India still conjure up images of a low-cost back office?

The West may identify India with outsourcing, but the days of India being seen as purely a low-cost destination are gone. Let me give you an anecdote to illustrate this. When I first visited the US, cab drivers would not accept tips from me because they assumed that I was poor because I was from India. Then after the dot-com boom, they assumed I was rich because I was in technology. Now, when I say I am from India, total strangers say, “You must be smart!”

This is because of two things— one, the outsourcing industry has moved into higher value areas such as consulting and business solutions, and two, India is increasingly seen as a profitable market by the global companies.

Apart from the usual diversification strategies and ‘move up the value chain’ mantra, what new strategies should the Indian software industry formulate to emerge stronger and more profitable when global spending on IT gets back on track?

Whether the market is up or down, the provider who listens best to their clients and crafts solutions to address their needs is likely to increase market share. So when the downturn hit, we launched our performance and capital efficiency (PACE). This is a suite of solutions that would help our clients reduce either their operating expense or capital expenditure within 12 months. We haven’t reduced our marketing budget—we’ve focused it around this one campaign, and it is yielding good results.

We are tracking emerging technology trends and building solutions around each of them. In that sense, we are ahead of the curve and can speed up client adoption. There is a lot of interest in areas such as the intelligent enterprise, customer-centric organisations and any time, anywhere self-service, which use newer technologies such as cloud, and software as a service.

Speed will be in demand when clients start coming out of the downturn, and we are considering renaming our PACE portfolio as performance acceleration and capital efficiency.

Any words of caution for business-to-business marketers looking to take advantage of increasing globalisation?

It is important that any aspiring marketer maps out the ecosystem as a whole. For any product or service a whole ecosystem of influencers, media, government, trade bodies, consumer forums etc have to come together for the market to be successful. Marketers sometimes make the mistake of focusing on one or two elements.

The real benefit of marketing will only be felt when the entire ecosystem is in sync and positive. For example, if the government expresses a negative view of your industry then managing media will not be so effective. Or if the trade analysts are positive but the media is negative, you will again have a challenge.

There are many other aspects of country branding and entering a new country that I cover in my book, No Money Marketing, which is coming out in August.

What are the strategic initiatives that Wipro has developed to move up the value chain and enable intellectual leadership?

Wipro has had an innovation council for many years that functions as an in-house venture capital for funding new ideas. This is in addition to the over 50 centres of excellence that operate and build out new applications for our clients. We have recently boosted our technology expertise with a crack team under the leadership of the chief technology officer. Last year, we launched the Wipro Council of Industry Research, which builds relationships with leading academics and encourages the creation of case studies and white papers.

With the downturn overseas, the Indian IT services sector is beginning to look more seriously at domestic clients. Do you feel IT services companies such as Wipro need to evolve a separate strategy not only for India but also for other emerging markets including Brazil, Russia and China?

Wipro entered the technology space through the domestic Indian market, and has been present here for over 20 years. We are certainly seeing more traction here, with large exciting deals being signed such as Unitech-Telenor and Employees State Insurance Corporation. We evaluate each geography as a market and devise a specific entry plan for each. Emerging markets are an area of interest and we already have a presence in Brazil, India and China. Their IT markets are rapidly developing, but in terms of size still do not match those of the developed economies.

Preeti Parashar
The Financial Express

South Asia region today hosts the entire gamut of IBM’s business services, software, hardware and R&D labs, driving innovation at all levels. Guruduth Banavar, chief technologist, IBM India/South Asia and director, IBM India Research Laboratory has played a key role in formulating an integrated approach to technology innovation.

In an interview Banavar shares his vision and plan for the company.


How do you plan to drive the integrated approach to technology innovation?

We have a significant innovation capability in India/South Asia region, given the research lab, the development lab, and the global business solution centre in India. As a company with end-to-end capabilities an integrated approach to technology is critical for IBM to maintain its leadership in the market. To develop this technical strategy, I have created a team of technical leaders from each of the business lines in IBM India/South Asia. Each of these accomplished technical leaders brings his/her business insights and technical ideas for creating a cross-business technical strategy that leverages the capabilities across the entire IBM India/South Asia organisation. The strategy will help create a broad technical vision that will effectively support the company’s long-term goals for the region, and provide a concrete two-year roadmap for the organisation. It will also encompass the needs of developing the technical community in India/South Asia.

What would be the key focus of your business plan?

The overarching goal is to bring value to our customers through end-to-end offerings, software, systems, and services. If you consider our Smarter Planet vision, we aim to help our customers perform better in a more complex and demanding marketplace. In today’s interconnected and instrumented world, technologies need to be far more intelligent to meet business requirements. We have a bullish business strategy, and we need an aggressive and clearly articulated technical strategy to support that.

What are the key research areas for IRL? What percentage does IBM invest into R&D?

IBM’s India Research Laboratory (IRL) has a balanced research agenda with both long-term exploratory projects and more industry focused short-term projects. Specific focus areas of IRL include software technologies, high performance computing, analytics and optimisation, and information management. Services is also another key research area for IRL as we engage with our services business as well as end customers for industry specific projects. Globally we spent $6.3 billion on research in 2008.

How can integrated approach and technology innovation drive the growth map for the company?

First of all, IBM is a technology company at its core. In order to remain competitive, businesses must continue to innovate at all levels and IBM can provide the technology to support and drive innovations. There are a number of new opportunities for innovation emanating from this region as some of the issues and challenges faced by our clients here are unique. For example, the technology needs of the population at the base of the pyramid represent a huge opportunity for IBM as does the massive scale of the largest enterprises in this region. As we have already begun to invent technologies like the Spoken Web, we fully expect that there will be a stream of technology innovations that will address the needs of this region. But as a globally integrated enterprise, we aspire to take these technologies to other parts of the world, in both growth markets and major markets, and implement them successfully there. As we bring the global innovation engine of IBM to bear on the needs of the India/South Asia region, these technology innovations will continue the growth and strengthen IBM’s position as the undisputed leader in the region.

Innovation doesn't slump

Nishant Ratnakar

In a challenging business environment that we find ourselves today, innovation has become the major differentiator in the marketplace. DNA got together seven prominent industry players cutting across the semiconductor ecosystem to see what sets apart the successful innovators from the also-ran. Not surprisingly, the consensus was on customer-led innovation.

- S Janakiraman, president & CEO (product engineering services), Mindtree Ltd
- Sanjay Nayak, MD & CEO, Tejas Networks
- Arindam Sen, GM (south Asia ops for Performance Technologies), GE Health Vijayaraghava Chitti, manager (systems & processes), Conzerv
- Ajay Vasudeva, head of R&D, Nokia India
- Poornima Shenoy, president, India Semiconductor Association
- Bobby Mitra, president & MD, Texas Instruments India


Can you give us an overview as to how companies are integrated into the semiconductor value chain.

Poornima Shenoy: Semiconductors are two stages removed from the customers. But if you look at it, the bulk of customers are the systems companies, some of whom are represented here. The role of systems companies in the semiconductor space is important because if change has to happen, it has to be driven by them.

Bobby Mitra: As Poornima rightly said, the semiconductor industry in India has been looking at innovation as an important agenda. There is no other way for the semiconductor companies to be successful other than anchoring innovation on the customer. Look at any segment that comprises the semiconductor ecosystem -- mobile handsets, telecom infrastructure, the energy sector, or software companies involved in writing code for semiconductors -- the bottom line is that the system level innovation is tied to customers.

Talking of system level innovation, how do ideas get translated into products?

S Janakiraman: I look at it more like the Mindtree organisation. Ten years ago, it was very different when the West was looking at India. The drivers at that point were whether I can get a cost arbitrage or a talent advantage. But in the last ten years, the industry has matured to a level where it is delivering a notch above customers' expectations.

The second thing is that customers in the semiconductor industry want us not just to design the integrated circuit, but also to help them take it to the market. Similarly, system companies are asking us if we can take them to the service providers and system integrators.

Companies are making products and services for a market larger than their own backyard. How do they arrive at this matrix?

Ajay Vasudeva: Nokia's philosophy is to inspire innovation. Organisations need to spend time, money and resources on creating a culture of innovation. So we want to know what's on our customers' minds and mine data accordingly. We have a huge role to play in rural mobility. For instance, Nokia Life Tools Agriculture services aim to plug the information gaps and needs of the farmers by providing information on seeds, fertilizers, market prices, and weather via mobile phones.

How important is innovation during the downturn?

Arindam Sen: Innovation doesn't take a vacation in a downturn. Companies often miss the clinical need in the healthcare space. There is a skewed ratio when it comes to healthcare spends. Only 10% of the population gets 80% of the healthcare benefits. In India, over 700 million don't have access to healthcare. GE's priority is to drive access and reduce costs. We are putting aside a $5 billion global fund to drive healthcare innovation.

We have two different approaches at play here. Conzerv is delivering niche technology globally and Texas Instruments is offering solutions to cater to the local market. How is innovation fuelling this drive?

Vijayaraghava Chitti: Conzerv realised the need for a better consumer connect. After conducting internal studies, we found that there might be a pattern and timing to the economy, and we could align some of our initiatives in this direction. As part of online monitoring systems, we came up with the dashboard, which gave us an accurate capture of customers' perception on what we were delivering vis-à-vis what they required.

Mitra: Over 1. 6 billion people in the world lack access to electricity and 25% of them live in India. To narrow the gap, we have developed a solution based on the LED (light-emitted diode). There is economics behind it.

What is the engagement model between the systems companies and the semiconductor firms?

Sanjay Nayak: The good news is that the ecosystem in India has evolved as co-creators of innovation. It all started with the services companies building a huge base of talent. Then MNCs like TI and Synopsys brought technology to India and systems players put it all together. India has emerged as a strong market for consumer technologies in the last 5 years.

The cost arbitrage is important for India. But there is a dilemma when it comes to volume versus price. How do you tackle this?

Nayak: Let me give you an example. India adds 11 million subscribers every month whereas the population of Israel is 7.5 million. We add an Israel every month. Does that count? Not much. The momentum is coming from the emerging markets. Look at what Nano has done to world. It's about creating a disruptive affordability benchmark.

Janakiraman: Previously, to sell some product in the third world market, companies would downsize the product and remove some of its features. But today, that's not the case. The demands of the customer is on par with the rest of the world. Innovation starts with how you can amortise costs over volumes rather than addressing a few niche customers.

Mitra: I will give you an interesting example. Tampering meters is rampant in India. We have come up with electronic meters which are tamper-proof with advanced features like the remote meter reading. From a semiconductor point of view, it is important to know whether the chip has right interfaces required by customers.

What is Nokia's stand?

Vasudeva: I think we are driven by consumer insights. Then we start working with our partners within the ecosystem to come up with a unique handset. On the software side, how we drive our people to think differently starts from the non-hierarchical structure. We encourage risk-taking. We believe in fail fast and scale fast philosophy.

Mitra: We have identified India as a very important growth market. We may have the best chips, but how to use them in the systems context is a big part of innovation. That's where the role of applications engineer comes in. In TI, we have created a footprint of 14 offices in India that are close to the customers with the intent of supporting sales and application.

Chitti: At Conzerv, we have set up the iLabs for pursuing R&D. iLabs has benchmarked the future of energy management through standards defining research and evolving technologies to develop products that are characterised by accuracy and reliability.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Indian stocks best performers in 2009

Silicon India

Bangalore: Indian stocks emerged as the best performers by giving investors the highest return of nearly 60 percent in 2009 so far. It has outperformed its global peers, including the U.S., the U.K. and China, which gave returns of 2.33 percent, 10.17 percent and 36.77 percent respectively
According to an analysis of MSCI Barra indices, Indian stocks have provided a return of 59.30 percent year-to-date, against 34.37 percent gains provided by MSCI Barra's emerging market index, covering all developing nations.

Among the emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations, the Brazilian and Russian markets seemed to be slight closer competitors with gains of 56.89 percent and 41.61 percent respectively in the year so far.

The 30-share benchmark index of Indian stocks, Sensex, gained over 5,000 points in the year so far to settle at 14,764.64 points on June 26 compared to 9,600 levels on December 31, 2008.

Other emerging markets which gave over 50 percent returns so far this year include Indonesia with 55.85 percent and Chile with 51 percent.

Analyst believed that the decisive mandate in favor of Congress-led UPA in the recently concluded general elections helped Indian markets to rise on the positive global cues.

An analyst from a leading brokerage said, "The Indian stocks have been on a recovery path primarily in the past three months due to election results and on expectation of new government spurring the economic reforms in the country in the days to come."

Meanwhile, other developed markets including Canada gave 25 percent returns, Sweden (21.42 percent), Norway (24.70 percent) and Japan (2.45 percent), according to the data.

Further, Indian stocks have also performed significantly better in the past three months by period up to June 26 and have given foreign investors returns of 62 percent.

With Nilekani gone, Infosys to decide on co-chair

Bangalore: The board of Infosys Technologies will soon decide whether there is a need for co-chairman in the light of incumbent Nandan M. Nilekani resigning to head the government's unique identification cards project, a top official said Friday

Nilekani was appointed Thursday as the chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by the central government.

"The board will decide whether there is need for co-chairman. Nobody is at this point keen to become co-chairman," Infosys chief executive and managing director S. Gopalakrishnan told reporters here.

The company's next board meeting, scheduled July 10 to approve the financial results of the first quarter (April-June) of this fiscal, may discuss the issue of appointing a new co-chairman.

"In the absence of co-chairman, Nilekani's responsibilities and powers will be distributed across the executive committee. Some may be handled by me and some by others on the board," Gopalakrishnan said on the margins of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) southern region conference.

Admitting that the board and its employees would miss Nilekani who has been associated with the company since its inception as one of the co-founders and subsequently in top positions, Gopalakrishnan said: "Though there would be a sense of loss, he (Nilekani) would continue to be a friend of the company."

"If you look at the larger picture and what Nandan is going to take on, then we will be proud. We are happy that someone like Nilekani has been invited by the prime minister to head such an ambitious project of unique identification cards for over a billion citizens."

In the absence of a co-chairman, the chief executive said, the company had a succession planning process in place and was confident of handling the transition as it did in the past when present chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy handed the baton to Nilekani in 2002.

"Nilekani has been handling marquee clients and brand initiatives. His responsibilities will be distributed to other leadership within the company," Gopalakrishnan added.

Indian IT firms to rake in on smartcard projects

Bangalore: The ongoing migration of Indian citizens from paper cards to smart cards is throwing up a multibillion dollar business opportunity for domestic technology players.

The citizen ID card program proposed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will be supported by a vast eco-system, comprising data collectors or managers, delivery channels, chip designers, smart card manufacturers, application and software providers, system integrators, networking analysts and print companies. The entire ID card project in India is estimated to be around Rs. 10,000 crore, with the first phase covering ultra-urban, urban, and semi-urban population offering Rs. 6,500 crore business opportunities.

IT companies like TCS and Infosys have confirmed that they would actively bid for the project. "The entire process including the bidding process, deal negotiations and business evaluation, are expected to be transparent. There will not be any conflict of interest for us and therefore, we will participate in the bid,'' said a Senior Official at Infosys Technologies.

TCS has already been working with the government on projects like e-passport, Gujarat police and the Defence Ministry. "Since it is going to be an open bidding process, we will be bidding for it,'' said a Senior Official at TCS.

Around 27 large e-governance projects worth Rs. 40,000 crore are currently in the pipeline. Having been badly hit by the economic recession, many technology leaders have been urging the government to accelerate these projects to induce economic buoyancy. The UIDAI comes as a quick response to the industry's call.

Som Mittal, the President of IT industry body Nasscom, told Times of India, "This is a transformational project for the country as it will overlay many underlying projects, creating huge efficiencies for the country leading to enhanced governance and reduced costs."

The global shipment of smart card surpassed an estimated five billion units in 2008 and this figure is projected to surge at CAGR of nearly 11 percent through 2012, according to "Smart Card Market Forecast to 2012", a recent market research report.

FACEBOOK, TWITTER shares for sale but privately

New York, June 28, 2009
The Economic Times

Scott Painter makes his living betting on startup companies, having played a role in launching 29 of them over the years. But with the bad economy choking initial public offerings and acquisitions, Painter is now backing an idea that makes it easier for insiders like him to sell shares in their companies even before they go public.

SharesPost, which was founded by Painter's business partner, Greg Brogger, launched publicly in June. Through the SharesPost Web site, Painter is trying to sell shares in several companies he helped found, including car pricing startup TrueCar.com. He also wants to buy shares in companies that are far from an IPO, like short-messaging site Twitter and business-networking site LinkedIn.

SharesPost is one of a few private stock exchanges that are emerging to fight what venture capitalists call a liquidity crisis. These exchanges give stakeholders an alternative way to trade their shares in hot startups like Facebook for cold, hard cash, without having to wait years for an IPO.

Employees at startup employees often put in long hours but get salaries that can be 20 percent less than their peers at public companies. In return, they get stock or options they hope will be a path to sports cars and summer homes after their company goes public or is bought out.

Services like SharesPost could help startup workers get some cash while awaiting a distant IPO that might never even get off the ground. Most people won't be in on the action, though, since these exchanges are only open to a small pool of buyers.

And it's not clear how much, or how little, stock has changed hands through them. New York-based SecondMarket, said it has completed about 40 transactions in the past year worth about $150 million.

Not Yahoo!'s job to 'Fix CHINA': CEO

Washington, June 28, 2009
The Economic Times

Yahoo! chief executive Carol Bartz has staunchly defended the Internet company's business practices in China and said it was "not our job to fix the Chinese government."

Bartz, appearing at her first shareholders meeting since taking over the Sunnyvale, California-based company in January, said Yahoo! respects human rights.

"We actually hosted a business and human rights summit for high tech companies a month or so ago," she said. "Yahoo! has gone overboard on this point to really be sympathetic, serious and so forth.

"We have done a lot," she said.

"The board does its best, the company does its best to run a good business, to look out for our population around the world, both the people who work for us and the people who come to visit us," she said. "That?s our commitment."

Bartz added that Yahoo! "was not incorporated to fix China."

"It was incorporated to give people a free flow of information," she said.

A number of US companies, including Microsoft, Cisco, Google and Yahoo!, have been hauled before the US Congress in recent years and accused of complicity in building what has been called the "Great Firewall of China."

Yahoo! was thrust into the forefront of the online rights issue after the company helped Chinese police identify cyber dissidents whose supposed crime was expressing their views online.

Alluding to the case, Bartz said: "Ten years ago the company made a mistake, and you can’t hold us up as the bad boy forever.

"We have worked better, harder, faster than most companies to respect human rights and to try and make a difference," she said.

"But it is not our job to fix the Chinese government, it’s that simple.

"We will respect human rights, we will do what’s right, but we're not going to take on every government in the world as our mandate," she said. "That’s not the mandate that the shareholders gave us."

YAHOO chief promises new momentum

Santa Clara (California), June 29, 2009

Yahoo Inc. chief executive Carol Bartz echoed the turnaround promises of her predecessors as she presided over the first shareholder meeting since her hiring, yet left little doubt the slumping Internet company’s new boss isn’t the same as the old ones.

Like Terry Semel did in 2007 and Jerry Yang again last year, Bartz assured shareholders on Thursday that she will polish Yahoo’s tarnished brand and end a three-year financial funk that has depressed the Sunnyvale-based company’s stock.

But her message resonated with more flair and spunk than the more circumspect styles of Semel and Yang.

And Bartz made it clear she didn’t want to hear any questions about Microsoft Corp., whose convoluted courtship of Yahoo began while Semel was still CEO in 2007 and intensified while company co-founder Yang was in charge last year.

Rohini Singh, June 29, 2009
The Economic Times

The government is planning to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in FM radio broadcasters and direct-to-home TV service providers. But several departments, including the Planning Commission, have expressed reservations. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has proposed that FDI ceiling for FM broadcasters be raised to 24 percent from the current 20 percent, and to 74 percent from the existing cap of 49 percent in the case of DTH service providers. It has also proposed simpler FDI rules for Internet service providers (ISPs).

The proposal has been discussed among several government departments and a Cabinet note has been circulated. The proposal is likely to be taken up by the Cabinet soon, said a government official, who did not wish to be named.

The proposals are expected to go through since key nodal departments are in favour of easier FDI norms in these sectors. The proposals are in line with the new rules on direct and indirect foreign holding. All forms of foreign investments, including GDRs, ADRs and FCCBs, would be taken into account while calculating FDI.

The proposals come close on the heels of the information and broadcasting ministry’s clearance to 22 new TV channels from more than a hundred pending applications. This is the first major move on FDI liberalisation since Anand Sharma took over as the commerce and industry minister. The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry is the parent ministry for the broadcasting sector.

DIPP has suggested that up to 24 percent foreign investment be allowed in FM radio, subject to the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The current policy allows FDI and FII only up to 20 percent. For broadcasting infrastructure activities, DTH as well as earth stations, the proposed FDI limit is 74 percent. Currently, 49 percent foreign investment is allowed in this segment with FIPB approval. In the case of DTH, FDI component is not allowed to go beyond 20 percent.

DIPP has also proposed that FDI regime for ISPs without gateways be simplified. Currently, 100 percent FDI is allowed, but FIPB approval is needed beyond 49 percent. However, ISPs have to divest 26 percent of their equity in favour of Indian public if they are listed overseas. The proposal seeks to raise foreign investment limit to 74 percent, with prior FIPB approval beyond 49 percent. This will do away with the distinction between ISPs with and without gateways.

However, the government does not seem to be in a mood to allow more than 26 percent FII and FDI investment in news channels. TRAI has recommended increasing the limit to 49 percent to enable news channels to access more resources without diluting editorial control. However, DIPP is not in favour of changing the current FDI limit. For general channels, 100 percent FDI has been permitted.

There is no proposal to change FDI limits in telecom services. But for satellite radio services and head-end-in-the-sky (HITS), direct and indirect foreign investment limit has been proposed at 74 percent, with FIPB approval beyond 49 percent.

In the case of cable networks also, no change has been recommended and FDI and FII investment will continue to be at 49 percent with prior approval from FIPB. Telecom regulator TRAI had recommended that foreign investment limit be raised to 74 percent since cable TV network is essentially a carriage platform like telecommunication networks where the limit is 74 percent.

The view within DIPP is that if the investment limit is increased to 74 percent, an amendment would be required in the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act. Moreover, I&B ministry is concerned that if the limit is increased then control could be passed on to the foreign partner, raising national security concerns.

It has also been suggested in the Cabinet note that foreign investment caps in both broadcasting and telecommunication sectors be composite caps. This means, it will include both FDI and FII. Foreign investment will also include NRI investments, FCCBs, ADRs, GDRs and convertible preference shares held by foreign entities.

Khursheed draws next generation MCA-21 blueprint

Neha Pal, New Delhi, June 29, 2009
The Financial Express

New corporate affairs minister Salman Khursheed has decided to redraw the ambitious IT plan of his predecessor, Premchand Gupta, even as the corporate sector was coming to grips with the older one.

The MCA-21 project planned to make it possible for every company to talk to the ministry of corporate affairs on an IT platform, within 2021. But under Khursheed, the ministry has decided to draw up a larger blueprint called the Next-Generation MCA-21. The new plan could also raise question marks over the role of TCS, which had won the bid for MCA-21 in 2006 to develop the system in six years by 2013.

A ministry source confirmed that there would be fresh bids for the Next Generation MCA-21 project. “The ministry can’t rely on only one player for the Next Generation MCA-21 which would be more than Rs 500 crore. There will a proper bidding process for the Next Generation MCA-21, based on which the new private player would be roped in.”

The new project is supposed to be an advanced information sharing system with regulators like Sebi, RBI and government ministries to replace the present MCA- 21 which is the e-governance platform for the 9-lakh odd companies in India.

Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice-president and head of government industry solutions unit, at TCS said, “We have not been approached by the ministry for becoming the private player for the Next Generation MCA-21 as it is a large initiative for the ministry and is going to be through public-procurement process.”

According to the ministry, the scope of the Rs 340-crore MCA-21 project is not good enough to integrate the information coming from the companies with that from other financial sector regulators. Under the Indian Companies Act, any company registered with the Registrar of Companies has to file its annual report with it. But there is often evasion by rogue companies, but because of the volume of paperwork involved, prosecution was difficult. MCA-21 aimed to make the process to improve the scale of compliance.

A word of caution for Nilekani

Tushar Gandhi, June 29, 2009
Financial Chronicle

There has been a lot of euphoria and many welcome messages greeting the appointment of Infosys’ Nandan Nilekani as head of the task force that will provide every Indian citizen with a ‘unique personal identity smart card’ within the next three years. If anyone can successfully perform this Herculean task, it is Nilekani. However, I hope he is going in with his eyes open. Before him, many people have burnt their fingers rather horribly.

When Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister, he was brimming with ideas and had a clear-cut vision for the India that he had inherited. After a landslide electoral victory, he set up various technology missions to look into and solve India’s chronic problems. One of these was the technology mission for communications and information technology, or ‘computerisation’, as it was then known. Rajiv brought in non-resident Indian Satyendranath ‘Sam’ Pitroda from the US. Within a few months, Sam charmed the nation. I remember sitting mesmerised in the auditorium of KC College in Mumbai as ‘Sam’ expounded his vision and spoke about technologies that were unheard of until then. We were fascinated, a saviour in shining armour had arrived.

Sam was dismissive of the bureaucracy and political vested interests. He had a mission and he was going to be single-minded about its success.

Sam recruited a team of brilliant young minds. He set up C-DOT, an organisation that would spearhead India’s communications revolution. C-DOT was able to get the best of minds and provided them with the best of facilities. There were no questions asked, since it was working directly with the Prime Minister’s Office. C-DOT came up with one revolutionary concept after another. This was the time when urban telephone exchanges were changing over from the ancient cross bar exchanges to electronic exchanges. C-DOT took the old cross bar exchanges refurbished and modified them and made small exchanges, which were installed in rural areas, providing many villages with communication lines for the first time after Independence.

Rajiv Gandhi’s dream of providing a phone in every village soon became a reality. Sam was flying high. But in his crusading zeal, he had stepped on many toes, and had also hurt many political egos. He had made a lot of enemies in New Delhi. Soon, the knives were out for Sam Pitroda. He was charged of favouritism. Because he was in a hurry while importing some technology, Sam used his company in the US as a vehicle. The babus and politicians found the stone to crush Sam Pitroda. Sam was hounded. Allegations were made in Parliament and an inquiry was instituted against him. Rajiv Gandhi was battling Bofors and could not come to his rescue.

From a knight in shining armour, Sam soon became the hunted one. Bureaucrats threw the rule book at him, every move of his was scrutinised. It was a witch-hunt against him.

C-DOT was dismantled, the technology missions were scrapped. Finally, after a lot of anguish that took a toll on his health, Sam returned to the US and underwent multiple bypass operations. His business also collapsed. His honeymoon with India had ended in bitterness.

However, Sam resurfaced during the past tenure of Manmohan Singh and was invited to head the Knowledge Commission. His brief was to study the education system and suggest changes to make it more effective. Once again, he went about it with evangelical zeal. And once again, babus and politicians thwarted his zeal. In his second innings, Sam had to contend with the wily old fox, the then human resource development minister Arjun Singh. The Knowledge Commission was doomed. Singh insisted on nominating his ‘people’. There were ego clashes and Sam, the lone wolf, was thwarted again. Singh shot down every recommendation made by the Knowledge Commission and ensured that it became a lame duck. Sam Pitroda walked away in a huff again and the commission was aborted prematurely.

Extend TAX Relief to it Industry by at least three years

Himanshu Parekh and Ashish Agrawal, June 29, 2009

The information technology (IT)/IT-enabled services (ITeS) industry has played a key role in putting India on the global map. The Indian IT/ITeS industry is now a $52 billion (Rs 2.5 trillion) giant and its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has quadrupled from 1% to 4% in the last decade. However, the industry is plagued with some issues on the taxation front.

Extension of tax holiday to software technology parks (STPs)/export-oriented units

The IT/ITeS industry is eligible for a tax holiday under section 10A/10B of the Income-tax (I-T) Act, the benefit of which is set to expire on 31 March. Considering the global turmoil and its impact on the IT/ITeS industry in India, an extension of this tax holiday by at least three years will provide a major fillip to the industry, especially when the country is witnessing a downward trend in exports.

Tax holiday for units in special economic zones (SEZs)

The formula provided in section 10AA of the I-T Act for computation of deduction available to SEZ units, in most cases, would result in the profits of the SEZ unit not being entitled to the 100% tax holiday as was promised at the time of introduction of the SEZ regime. The government needs to address this anomaly so as to avoid unnecessary litigation.

Fringe benefit tax (FBT)

One of the key FBT issues affecting this industry is that with a large number of employees travelling to and from India on a regular basis, it becomes extremely difficult to ascertain the “employees based in India”, which is a prerequisite for the levy of FBT. Further, a major incentive provided by the IT/ITeS industry to their employees is in the form of employee stock option plans (Esops) and levy of FBT thereon proves to be a major dampener. Considering the major compliance burden cast by FBT on taxpayers and also considering the meagre revenues which FBT contributes to the exchequer, the FBT regime could be given a burial, especially for the IT/ITeS industry and in particular for FBT on Esops. Further, the benefit of lower FBT on conveyance and hotel expenses needs to be extended to the ITeS industry also.

Issues surrounding computation of deduction under section 10A/10B

Plenty of controversies surround the computation of deduction vis-à-vis the set-off of business loss of an STP unit against a non-STP unit and vice versa, adjustment of profits of an STP unit against the losses of another STP unit, adjustment of business loss brought forward against the profits of current year, etc. Despite several tribunal rulings on these issues, the tax office and taxpayers continue to be at loggerheads with each other.

A suitable clarification on the issues outlined above will provide much-needed respite to the industry.

Amid the benefit of the tax holiday enjoyed by the industry, the various tax controversies have played spoilsport. India can well be described as the land of litigation, what with at least 70,000 cases pending before the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal. The several issues described above have only contributed to this perilous situation. The need of the hour is for the government to come out with appropriate amendments/clarifications on these issues. Further, extension of the tax holiday under section 10A/10B would provide a major boost to this industry, enabling India to truly become a global IT superpower.

Himanshu Parekh is executive director and Ashish Agrawal is manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

HP to take on rivals with financial solutions

N Shivapriya, Las Vegas
The Economic Times

The transformation of Hewlett Packard (HP) from a printer company to a software firm seems to be becoming a reality. HP has unveiled a solution that helps IT managers run their operations with more financial accountability, pipping rival IBM and other players that address individual segments of the problem.

At its annual software summit in Las Vegas in June, the launch prompted many attendees to remark that HP seems to have known of the impending recession. HP executives said the solution was being worked on for at least two years now. Called IT financial management (ITFM), the solution integrates three key components — project and portfolio management (PPM), financial planning and analysis (FPA) and configuration management systems.

“Despite some signs of a recovery, there is still nervousness about spending. It’s going to be a hard journey in the next 12 months. Companies now want to cut costs rapidly — they are no longer to willing to wait for three, five or 10 years to recover their investment. They want it very quickly in 3-6 months,” said Andy Isherwood, VP, support and services, HP.

HP has done two large acquisitions — Mercury Interactive in 2006 and EDS in 2008 — in an effort to build a software and services portfolio. The results of these acquisitions and a number of other smaller ones HP has done in the last few years are finally bearing fruit. HP has spent around $6 billion on acquisitions so far.

Its current offering fulfils the need that has been felt by the market for some years and which has become more urgent with the recession, said Peter O’Neill, vice-president, Forrester Research. “It is impressive and unique at the moment and very clever of HP. IBM doesn’t have any similar productised offering yet — so it is true that HP has a head start in this,” said O’Neill.

In a report brought out in May this year, Forrester recommended that software product vendors should start thinking of IT financial management. The global research firm has predicted that the market for managing IT like a business would see significant growth in the next five years and exceed $800 million in 2013. HP’s real win is in putting together these various pieces to offer one comprehensive solution, according to O’Neill.

Animation firms buck slowdown, see increase in orders

Upasana Kaur, Mumbai, June 28, 2009
Business Standard

70% of animation studios' revenue comes from outsourced work.

The Indian animation sector, it appears, has not been hit by the slowing economy. Rather, major players like Maya Entertainment, Tata Elxsi Visual Computing Labs, Toonz Animation India, DQ Entertainment International and Avitel have seen a rise in the number of deals in the recent months.

For instance, Mumbai-based Avitel recently set up its first post-production studio in India with an estimated net worth of Rs 750 crore. It has orders worth Rs150 crore. Avitel’s animation turnover is projected to shoot up to Rs 50 crore in 2009-2010, an increase of 400 percent from last year’s Rs 13 crore.

Pradeep Jain, chairman and promoter of Avitel Post Studioz, feels the slowdown has been good for the animation industry in India as US studios looking to cut cost are shifting work to India.

“What this slowdown has done is to open the pre-production side of the business to Indian players. The Indian animation industry so far was restricted to the production side of the business, thus targeting only half the business. The current meltdown has opened doors for us to step into the pre-production side of the business also.”

Maya Entertainment, a leading animation studio, is another example. Jai Natrajan, Group Executive VP, Business Development and Marketing, said, “During the second half of the last fiscal, when the economic meltdown hit hard, we signed two large TV serials internationally. We recorded 30 percent growth during the period. We also got Rs 25 crore worth of outsourcing orders.”

The Indian animation industry is currently pegged at Rs 1,740 crore and of the total revenue generated by the studios, over 70 percent is derived from outsourcing, says the Ficci-KPMG Media and Entertainment Industry report 2009.

Analysts note that other than the cost advantage that India offers, studios here are coming up with world-class projects. A point in case being “Roadside Romeo”. Visual Effect Society had nominated Tata Elxsi for animation work in the film, along with movies like Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda and Waltz with Bashir and Bolt. The cost of producing a full-length animated movie in the US is $100-125 million, as compared with $25-30 million if work is outsourced to India.

Unlike the IT industry, where decisions have been slow and existing clients have not ramped up, the animation industry has seen the opposite. “We received repeat orders from our existing partners as well as several new productions,” said Sumedha Saraogi, vice-president, Management Office, DQ Entertainment International.

Saraogi agreed that while deal sizes had remained the same, the quantum of work had risen. “The deal size could vary depending on the format and the length of production as well as the scope of work that is outsourced. On an average, the deals are from Rs 4.7 crore to Rs 24 crore ($1-5 million),” she said.

Analysts agreed that while the outsourced business had not been impacted, a lot of changes had been introduced in the deals. “In many cases, prices have been renegotiated. Where one cannot do that, firms are looking at reducing cost. Firms may look at reducing the number of takes for creating a character or reduce the number of characters in the project. But one positive that has happened for the industry is that a number of small players that had mushroomed during the hype period have had to close down due to pricing pressures.”

“We have also signed co-production agreements for several 2D/ 3D projects. So, we have not been much affected by the ongoing crisis, except for some minor delays in fund flows,” said P Jaykumar, CEO, Toonz Animation India.

Education sector drives notebook sales

Writankar Mukherjee, Kolkata, June 29, 2009
The Economic Times

After nearly seven months of bleak sales, the national notebook PC market is once again picking up. The country’s leading PC vendors such as Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell, Lenovo and Acer claim that the market is gradually bouncing back with month-on-month sales picking up from May onwards. The industry is optimistic on notebook sales growing 20-25 percent during May-July.

While bulk of the demand is coming from the education sector due to the admission season, the vendors claim even overall consumer sentiments are improving. Little wonder, the PC vendors are revitalising their business strategy and refreshing their notebook portfolio in India.

“The education sector is driving demand in the market. Moreover, a lot of consumers who were waiting in the wings for the general elections to get over are now going ahead with purchase decisions. We feel notebook sales will grow by 20 percent in April-June and thereafter upwards of 10 percent,” said HP India’s director (consumer product and marketing - PSG) Rajiev Grover.

HP, which enjoys leadership status in the national PC turf, has just launched six new notebook models. Taiwanese vendor, Acer, too, has expanded its notebook portfolio in India by recently rolling out 20 new models. The likes of Dell and Lenovo, too, are gearing up for the act.

“Despite purchasing budgets still remaining pared down compared to last year, there is a higher uptake and we have seen good traction in segments like education. There has also been long overdue refresh cycle for both laptops and desktops in the corporate segment which is triggering demand,” Dell India country general manager Sameer Garde said.

According to IDC, the Indian notebook market grew by 3 percent in the January-March 2009 quarter as compared to the October-December 2008 period. On a y-o-y basis, notebook sales saw a degrowth by 21 percent in the same period. In comparison, notebook sales in the pre-slowdown days were growing at 25-30 percent in India.

Superatoms may lead to Smaller, Faster, Powerful Computers

New Delhi, June 29, 2009
The Economic Times

Computers may soon become faster, smaller and more powerful as scientists said they have discovered magnetic superatoms, which can provide a way to design novel nano-scale structures.

A team of researchers, including two from Allahabad-based Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI), have discovered the 'magnetic superatom' -- a stable cluster of atoms that can mimic different elements of the periodic table.

The cluster, consisting of one Vanadium and eight Cesium atoms, acts like a tiny magnet that can mimic a single Manganese atom in magnetic strength while preferentially allowing electrons of specific spin orientation to flow through the surrounding shell of Cesium atoms.

"A combination such as the one we have created can lead to significant developments in the area of molecular electronics, a field where researchers study electric currents through small molecules," the scientists said reporting their findings in British science journal 'Nature'.

The study was conducted by a team under Shiv Khanna, professor of physics at the Virginia Commonwealth University along with collaborators at HRI and Naval Research Laboratory in the US.

Magnetic superatoms may also have potential biomedical applications such as sensing, imaging and drug delivery.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nilekani quits Infy, moves to Cabinet to tab terrorists

Silicon India
Bangalore: In order to take charge as the chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority, Nandan Nilekani resigned from the board of Infosys. Under the new role, Nilekani will take forward the government initiative to issue Multipurpose National Identity Cards (MNIC) for every citizen, to tackle illegal immigration and terrorists.

He will also relinquish his post of co-chairman to be inducted in the rank of a Cabinet Minister in the Indian Government. The resignation will be effective from July 9, 2009. A National Population Register will be created by 2011, under which the MNIC cards will be issued.

Nandan Nilekani is a co-founder of Infosys and has served as a director on the Infy's board since its inception in 1981. Between March 2002 and June 2007, he served as the company's Managing Director and CEO. Thereafter, he was re-designated as the co-chairman of the board of directors.

India reply strongly to Obama's 'No Bangalore' policy

Bangalore: India's Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has expressed his aversions on U.S. President Barack Obama's protectionist policies by saying that outsourcing has created more jobs for U.S. He warned that protectionist measures by the U.S. or other developed countries can only be counter-productive against the backdrop of the global financial crisis

Sharma became the first Minister after the Lok Sabha elections to directly address the Obama administration on the issue. He said, "Outsourcing has generated more employment in America itself. Indian FDI in America is more than America's FDI in India. Indian investments are more. Globally if you look at the acquisitions and mergers in the last one decade, it is India which takes the lead. If we have taken 24,000-30,000 H1B visas, then we have also created huge employment."

Sharma spoke in Washington on occasion of 34th anniversary of the U.S.-India Business Council where he met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representatives Ron Kirk, besides key Congressional leaders. Back in India, many business leaders like Azim Premji have also come out strongly opposing trade protectionism in the U.S. and in other countries.

Smart cards replace driving licenses in Karnataka

Bangalore: Karnataka's transport department turned tech savvy Thursday by launching 16-kb microchip embedded 'smart cards' to replace driving licenses and vehicle registration booklets.
Driving license holders and vehicle owners will have to change over to the smart cards within two years.

The smart card, costing Rs.200, would prevent forgery in licenses and registration booklets, Transport Minister R. Ashok said at a function at which Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa launched the microchip embedded plastic card.

The chip stores the details of the driver/owner and can keep record of traffic violations, conviction and details of road accidents involving the driver and the vehicle.

Five regional transport offices in Bangalore began issuing the smart cards Thursday. By September, the remaining 50 regional transport offices in other parts of Karnataka will also start issuing these cards.

MICROSOFT says VISTA buyers to get free WINDOWS 7

The Economic Times

Prices for Microsoft's Windows 7 computer operating system will be largely in line with those for Vista.

In announcing prices on Thursday, Microsoft Corp. says people who buy computers before the new system goes on sale in October will get free upgrades.

To drum up demand among people who aren't in the market for a new PC, Microsoft is taking limited pre-orders, selling some for as little as $50.

People who buy Windows Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate computers starting Friday can contact their manufacturer for a free upgrade when Windows 7 becomes available.

Microsoft is hoping Windows 7's debut will be much smoother than Vista's. Vista was plagued by delays, and many people complained it was sluggish and didn't work with existing devices and programs.

FACEBOOK testing new control for shielding updates

Palo Alto
The Economic Times

Facebook is testing new privacy controls that will allow the online hangout's roughly 200 million users to decide who should see each of their personal updates.

In a Wednesday announcement, Facebook said the option would enable users to customize their postings for specific groups of friends.

For instance, a person may want to share certain things like how they're feeling about the weather with everyone while limiting the audience able to read other developments like a wild night of partying.

Some Facebook users have gotten into trouble with employers and parents who have read updates containing inflammatory remarks or tales of indiscretions.

The additional privacy controls initially will only be available to some Facebook users.

BATH-O-MATIC iphone application allows you to run a bath


Scientists have created a revolutionary iPhone feature that makes it possible to run a bath before getting home.

The Bath-o-matic software means the phone can send orders to a set of high-tech taps on a bath tub that can control the temperature, pressure and draining of the water.

The software for iPhone is available free from Apple's popular App Store. However, users will have to pay 4,000 pounds for the technology at home.

They will then be able to select the temperature, depth and fragrance of the water and even how many bubbles in the bath.

Unique Automation, the company behind the device, recently showed off its wares at a trade show.

A spokesman said: "At the touch of a button, Bath-o-matic fills the bath to perfection - even adding bubbles and perfumes."

"Bringing full automation to the bathroom at last, this technological breakthrough offers energy and water savings plus flooding and scalding prevention."

New Delhi
The Economic Times The Tribune The Times of India

The government plan to provide unique identification numbers to all Indian citizens could be a "big catalyst" for the IT business which for some time has seen a decline in big ticket projects.

Industry analysts feel that all the major domestic players like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam are likely to bid for this ambitious project, which could be, valued around two billion dollars.

"The project would act as a big catalyst. The Unique ID project will overlay many underlying projects, creating huge efficiencies for the country leading to enhanced governance and reduced costs," Som MIttal, President of IT industry body Nasscom, said.

And once implemented, it would open up new markets. "The domestic IT market is still hugely untapped," Mittal said.

However, most of the IT majors when contacted by PTI, preferred not to comment on whether they would bid for the project.

TCS, which is already working on the government's mega e-passport project, refused to comment.

Infosys, whose former co-chairman Nandan Nilekani is going to head the project, also did not say whether they are going to participate in this project.

So did the newly rebranded Mahindra Satyam. Cognizant, however, said it would take a call once the government comes out with a tender.

TECH GUARD: HP aims to make paper forgeries a thing of past

Seema Singh, Bangalore

In 2008, one batch of students at the Indian Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore (IIIT-B) graduated with unique mark sheets—they were tamper-proof. The mark sheets carried a bar code, generated by a new technology from Hewlett-Packard (HP) Labs India. The bar code could be printed on paper by any printer and scanned by normal scanners.

The test run at IIIT-B of the Trusted Hardcopy Solution (THS) is part of a programme at HP Labs, the advanced research group of the technology corporation Hewlett-Packard Development Co. Lp, that is trying to address paper-based frauds which—it estimates, globally cost firms $660 billion (Rs 32 trillion) annually.

The innovation allows companies and institutions to use their existing methods of generating paper documents with machine readable data or two-dimensional bar codes, printed on them.

“Most of the existing technologies in this space either address the digital world or the paper world, but this one (THS) bridges the gap, so we decided to be the experimental site,” said S. Sadagopan, director of IIIT-B.

Since the 1990s, digital watermarking technology has been largely used for ensuring data integrity, but THS is different in the sense that it tests the content, whereas the former tests the veracity of the source of the document. Moreover, its low cost and simplicity make it useful for large institutions; forgery of documents is a growing concern, said Sadagopan.

Leadership is all about Engaging people

Moinak Mitra
The Economic Times

In his trademark blue shirt-red tie combo, Tom Peters could be any corporate exec on the prowl. It's the gift of the gab backed by some ethereal common sense and wit that sets him apart. The 66-year-old management guru was supposed to deliver a lecture on 'Growth and Innovation' in Delhi. Instead, he dwelt on the nitty-gritty that culminates in the Eureka moment, or the great management decision.

What are the four most important words in any organisation ? That poser had many among the audience scratching their heads until Peters spelled it out: What do you think? Peters recounts the tale of Hewlett-Packard CEO John Young in 1977, when he went to Palo Alto. It's a classic in transparency and the acronym still rings out loud. "Instead of layers of oaken doors, we discovered Young sharing an 8 feet by 8 feet cubicle with his secretary. He introduced us to MBWA, or managing by wandering around. I love it because it teaches us to be in touch, the most difficult thing for any manager."

That said, peters firmly believes that b-schools nowadays are barking up the wrong tree with jaded courses and process over-drill . "They should focus more on people ," he says.

He also tells India to dress for success, which is when he falls back on the likes of Ben Franklin, General Eisenhower or even General Schwarzkopf. "Franklin was short and ugly but charmed the women in the tea rooms of Paris, who then convinced their husbands to ally with the US against the Brits in the War of Independence ; General Eiswenhower was short, fat and ugly but the secret of his success was an enduring smile; General Schwarzkopf won the war in the Gulf by sipping tea with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at 3 am," says Peters, again highlighting the significance of little changes to that big outcome.

So, what's his take on leadership? In his inimitable gravely voice, Peters doesn't disappoint . "21st century AD leadership is precisely the same as 21st century BC leadership because it is all about engaging people and that has not changed," says the maverick with a wry smile.

Companies opt for cost Reductions & Efficiency Improvements

Rajiv Memani
The Economic Times

With the global economy in the grip of a downturn, corporate decision-makers have shifted their attention to survival in a tough market. However, in doing so, they risk forgoing those growth opportunities which often present themselves during the times of a slowdown. As organic growth in revenues is difficult to come by and profit margins are constantly under pressure, companies have been busy with much-needed cost reductions and efficiency improvements.

But is this enough to gain real competitive advantage and find the opportunities in adversity? Clearly, given the fact that most people are in business for the long-term , there must be a balance between the fight for survival and the quest for growth. A carefully identified and structured Merger & Acquisition (M&A ) transaction can accelerate growth by providing access to new markets, customer segments, technologies, human resources and economies of scale.

The current M&A activity, or the lack of it, needs to be viewed in this context. According to Bloomberg estimates , Indian M&A volumes have dropped from USD 42bn in 2007 to USD 33 bn in 2008 and just USD3.7 bn in the first three months of 2009. This is a worldwide phenomenon. Global M&A volumes are down to USD 427.4 bn in Q12009 from USD 2498 bn in 2008 and USD 4058 bn in 2007.

The reasons range from a shift in focus from growth to survival, higher risk-aversion , poor or no availability of capital for financing acquisitions, reduced private equity appetite etc. However, this really is the time for corporate strategists to consider M&A , as valuations are modest and an increasing number of companies are looking to consolidate by divesting non-core or non-performing assets and businesses.

In a recent Ernst & Young survey of 121 finance professionals in India conducted during February, 2009, a leading 78 percent of respondents thought that companies are either correctly valued or undervalued. Specifically, the metals and mining and IT and ITeS sector respondents felt that current valuations are low, while real estate and hospitality sector valuations were perceived to be still high and the consumer goods sector dominated the response on correct valuations.

Some recent M&A transactions in India where companies appear to have cashed in on low valuations include American Tower Corporation’s acquisition of Xcel Telecom; TCS buying the BPO division of Citigroup and Sodexho’s acquisition of Radhakrishna Hospitality. But generally, these have been few and far between.

A majority (63 percent) of our respondents felt that the slowdown will result in a consolidation in their sectors. Interestingly, the majority (58 percent) of our respondents in the above-mentioned survey told us that they would consider M&A as a prudent strategic decision for business growth during the slowdown. Yet, M&A volumes hardly reflect this conviction.

Non-availability of capital has been the biggest challenge. While banks have been reeling under a global liquidity crunch, private equity investments have dried up. Also, the Indian M&A boom had been driven by crossborder transactions, which have become much fewer due to lack of capital and increased caution. Further, market uncertainty has resulted in a widening of the bid/ask spread, where bridging the gap between buyer and seller expectations has made deal closures difficult.

Consequently, we are beginning to see some significant changes in the way transactions are financed and executed . With lower leveraging opportunities , promoter contribution has become important and banks may require additional comfort from borrowers . This will significantly reduce highly leveraged buyouts. Maximum debt levels are likely to be between 2.5-3 X EBITDA (post acquisition) vis-à-vis levels of 4-5 X EBITDA, structured through multiple levels of senior , subordinate, quasi and unsecured debt instruments.

Some of the solutions which can be considered include cashless transactions via the share-swap and asset swap route, delayed payment schemes, “earn-out” strategies, upside sharing and minority sales. A large number of all-share mergers could happen. Also, sovereign wealth funds, who continue to be more optimistic, can be considered as an alternate source of finance. Generally, with acquisition financing a challenge, big-ticket transactions may be fewer.

The author is Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young

Has the template for a successful jv changed?

Arati Menon Carrol
The Economic Times

A year and a half ago, against the backdrop of a thriving Indian economy and an automotive market on overdrive, the Hero group announced a Rs 4,400 crore joint venture partnership with Daimler Trucks, a division of Daimler AG, giving Hero the opportunity to enter the commercial vehicles segment in India. In April this year, however, the Munjals unexpectedly announced a pull-out. Speculation had it that financial constraints forced them to re-focus on their core business of motorcycles; Hero Corporate Services chairman Sunil Kant Munjal blamed crashing demand in the commercial vehicle segment.

News of failed JVs has been doing the rounds; Britannia-Fonterra, TVS Group-Wabco and UTI-Shinsei Bank are among those who are either reviewing or have called off partnerships. Larsen & Toubro (L&T )’s plans to enter the non-life insurance business through a JV with US-based Travelers Insurance have also reportedly fallen through and engineering and construction company Punj Lloyd is exiting its two-year real estate business JV; chairman Atul Punj has admitted that a bad real estate environment prompted this decision.

So has the global economic meltdown found its latest victim? Strangely enough, industry pundits say this is a false alarm; partners aren’t necessarily pulling the plug on JVs just so they can shore up revenues or cut costs. “If JVs are not working out it’s less a sign of the times and more a factor of partners going their separate ways over the inability of the Indian partner to match investment dollar for dollar or a mismatch in business strategy,” says Akil Hirani, managing partner at top law firm Majmudar & Co.

Ranjan Biswas, partner and national director India, transactions advisory services at Ernst&Young says a weak global economy does put pressure on JVs but not necessarily enough to break large numbers of them, but adds that for a joint venture to stand up to the event, both parties need to have thrashed out the harder parts of their partnership right at the start.

Hirani actually believes the opposite might be true. “A lot of Western multinationals are looking to beat the blues in their jurisdictions by partnering with Indian companies to leverage existing manufacturing or distribution networks in India.” He might be right—news of fresh JVs has started doing the rounds.

IT training solutions provider Aptech is betting big on the Latin American market by entering into a JV with the Falgo group to set up IT training centres in Brazil.

So global recession may not have played spoilsport on this front but what it is having a significant effect on, says experts, are the foundations upon which partnerships are built. “The global recession is actually a great leveler. Traditionally the Indian promoter has always had his eye on taking the lion’s share of profits by putting in the least amount of money.

So, has the template for a successful JV changed? Everyone agrees that the transparency factor will be key. Bajaj offers his advice: “If you have the right balance between aggression and focus on profits and follow similar corporate governance standards you’re on the right track.” Everyone agrees that there’s likely to be less tip-toeing around common irritants like management and financial control and exit strategies.

Crucial issues that were just left open in the hope that they would be solved later on will now likely be knocked around at the outset. At the end of the day though, says Biswas, every JV has a shelf life. “The average life expectancy of a US company is 32 years. Recession or not, it’s unreasonable to imagine a JV will continue in perpetuity.”

The Financial Express

Altair Engineering (www.altair.com), a global provider of technologies and services for managing the world’s most demanding compute-intensive workloads announced the release of PBS GridWorks 10.1. This latest version builds upon the proven scalability and resiliency of PBS Professional for workload scheduling; delivers PBS Catalyst, an application-aware job management portal; and unveils PBS Analytics to provide expanded options for visualizing usage data to optimize high-performance computing investments.

PBS GridWorks is a complete suite of software tools vital for building and managing private clouds of high performance computing resources. The PBS Catalyst portal can be used to enable software-as-a-service (SaaS) gateways. Workloads can be optimized for dynamic cloud-computing configurations by using PBS Professional. PBS Analytics is well-suited for distributed, highly scalable environments, whether monitoring current resource use or planning for future changes.

"PBS GridWorks 10.1 provides our technical-computing customers with a very cost-effective solution for easily managing their compute-intensive application workloads," said Bill Nitzberg, chief technical officer for PBS GridWorks. "Cost-effective cloud computing requires powerful tools that can match constantly changing workloads with available resources for the most efficient use of all resources. Monitoring how efficiently resources are being used – especially energy – is very important. Our Green Provisioning feature, which is part of PBS Professional, helps customers get the most from their HPC investments by turning off underutilized systems, often lowering their energy use by 20 percent. The result is immediate cost savings, while solving the most challenging problems in the manufacturing, life sciences, financial services, energy and academic research markets."

NETAPP opens innovation centre

Financial Chronicle

NetApp India has invested $20 million to open the NetApp Innovation Centre (NIC) in Bangalore.

MICROSOFT, publicis team up

Financial Chronicle

Microsoft, the world s biggest software maker, teamed up with French advertiser Publicis Group to jointly create programmes and technologies that help to bolster Internet advertising.

Texas Instruments bets on emerging businesses

S Shyamala, Chennai
Financial Chronicle

Semiconductor major Texas Instruments India (TI) is betting big on emerging business areas such as home automation, wireless technologies and domestic low-cost medical equipment manufacturing. Though the global semiconductor market is expected to shrink by about 5 percent, the Asia Pacific region including India will see a healthy growth, a company official said.

The Indian semiconductor market was worth about $2.4 billion in 2008 and it is expected to grow by at least 13 percent this year, said Srinivas Kasa, general manager, South, sales and marketing, Texas Instruments India. However, Kasa refused to reveal financial details and expectations of the company for the year in India.

Emerging growth areas including light-emitting diode (LED) lighting devices, liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions and video surveillance will help in propelling the company’s growth in the country, he added. TI markets more than 50,000 semiconductor products catering to several business verticals such as automobiles, energy, telecom, industrial applications and medicine.

“Although our research and development centre is present in India for the past 23 years, we started focusing on the region as a potential market only in the past three years. There are no local semiconductor companies catering to the needs of the market. We have a large opportunity and have accordingly expanded our sales set up to 14 tier-I and tier-II cities in India,” he added. The Asia Pacific region is the largest revenue contributor to the company because of the enormous manufacturing activities in China, Taiwan, the Philippines and India, he said. Though growth in the sales of consumer electronics and hence semiconductors may be tapered down across the world, the Asia Pacific may not be largely affected because of the local demand, Kasa added.

HP targets publishing, pharma industry in gujarat

Business Standard

The imaging and printing division of Hewlett-Packard India (HP) will be focusing on pharma and publishing industry in Gujarat in the near future. The company is also planning to increase its footprint in the state, which accounts for around 17 percent of HP’s business.

“We will look at bigger opportunities in markets like pharma and publishing for our digital printing business. Around 80 percent of pharma revenues comes from Gujarat. Publishing industry is also growing rapidly at 30 percent per annum.

Therefore, it is being looked from a strategic perspective as far as the digital printing business in Gujarat is concerned,” said Puneet Chadha, director - graphic solutions business, imaging and printing group, Hewlett-Packard India

The company has already strengthened its position in the digital printing space by launching its Indigo Digital Offset Press in Gujarat. For this, HP has tied up with Gandhinagar-based Printwell Offset, an end-to-end digital offset printing solutions provider.

“The Indigo Digital Offset Press will offer a range of unique offerings for home consumers as well as businesses that address the latent gaps in the conventional analogue-based printing industry,” Chadha added.

According to Chadha, typically, an Indigo Digital Offset Press installation costs around Rs 3 crore.

Toshiba's 'ARTFUL' Laptops

New Delhi
The Times of India

Toshiba India has launched its new Artful series of notebooks. The range comprises 2 mini notebooks and 4 mainstream notebooks.

The new range is priced between Rs 22,990 to Rs 53,490 excluding taxes.

The range includes NB200 notebook, which comes in vibrant colors and textured design patterns. The 10.1-inch diagonal wide LED screen mini notebook comes in Cosmic Black Color with Fusion Stripes and Black Flat Keyboard and Satin Brown Color with matt finish.

There's a QWERTY keyboard and a laptop-sized touchpad. A 3D-accelerometer monitoring system dynamically detects free falls, shocks or vibrations. It rapidly moves the HDD head from between the platters protecting valuable data stored on the high capacity (up to 160GB) HDD.

The notebook is powered by 1.60GHz Intel Atom processor N270 / 1.66GHz Intel Atom Processor N280 with Intel 945GSE graphics chipset and comes preloaded with Windows XP Home. There's also Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, Wifi (802.11 b/g)and 10/100 Ethernet. There are also two USB 2.0 ports and a unique USB 2.0 port with sleep-and-charge function that enables users to charge portable electronics and mobile phones even when the unit is turned off. Its advanced multimedia and communication capabilities prove that a small form factor Notebook can yet be ready for business or multimedia applications. The NB 200 has a battery backup of 3.51 hours.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

60 percent of Indians spy online

Silicon India

Bangalore: Indians are turning out to be more spying in the context of catching their partner's lie by using internet. Around 60 percent Indians have accepted to catch their partners lying using the lie detectors, says a survey conducted by Yasni.

Out of the 826 Indian responding, 59 percent admitted discovering a lie told by their partner, another 24 percent taken up internet measures to expose suspected lies, but got no evidence satisfy their suspicions.
16 percent Indians opted for not using the internet for exposing their partner's lies.

In comparison to Indians, only 30 percent of the Europeans have looked for such information online, suggesting their less-suspicious nature. "Fewer people from India than any other country claimed that they would not search for secrets about their partner on Yasni; showing that Indians are the most suspicious when it comes to trusting their partners," said Andy Barr, CCO, Yasni.

"Many people from all over the world come to us with information about their partner which they themselves have found online and has triggered concerns in their mind that they would like us to investigate further, in particular, comments made in their Facebook and other social networking sites. We have found that the most common lie exposed relates to a current partner saying that they had not had contact with an ex, and the second most common is in connection to their working life and having a worse job than they claimed when they first met," said Jorge Salgado Reyes, Allied Detectives.

"We always urge people to be cautious about the information they find and relating it correctly as it can have serious impacts on the relationships," added Reyes.

India's per capita income to cross Rs. 10 Lakh by 2039

Silicon India

Bangalore: India is expected to be even richer with a per capita income in excess of $22,000, adjusted for inflation and real exchange rate movements, says a report. It means that the annual income of an Indian citizen would be over Rs 10.56 lakh after 30 years..

This would be a phenomenal jump by any yardstick as India's per capita income in 2007 was just $940 (around Rs 45,000). "India has the potential to move from a relatively poor, developing country to an affluent economy within 30 years in a single generation," says the report by Emerging Markets Forum a Washington-based strategic advisory firm specializing in emerging market economies. India would be an average economy with global footprint.

India has the potential to overtake the U.S. within a generation, though the country is only one-fourteenth the size of the U.S economy today, says the Forum's report 'India 2039. If India becomes affluent, it would be the world�s second largest economy by 2039, second to China by surpassing the U.S.

The report also suggests that India can accelerate its real GDP growth over 30 years about 9.5 percent a year. At this rate, the U.S economy would increase by a factor of 19 to reach $20 trillion in real terms.

"Under our scenario, 2039 would have a world very different from the one we see today with per capita incomes averaging $23,400 (in 2007 dollars), nearly three times the $8,500 today," said the Forum in its report.