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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

economic news of india - world economic news - economics news for students - indian economy news

economic news of india - world economic news - economics news for students - indian economy news


Singh brothers used public money to settle their personal debts

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NEW DELHI: Religare Enterprises' former promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Mohan Singh had diverted public money from group entity Religare Finvest to shell companies and used it to "square off their personal liabilities", the Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has said in its charge sheet against the brothers.Executives at Religare Finvest, the group's lending arm, had approved unsecured loans worth hundreds of crores to the shell companies within two hours of getting the proposals, even when these companies themselves had not sought the loans, the EOW said. The Singh brothers had joined the board of Religare Finvest in 2016 with the intention of diverting money to these 19 shell companies, it alleged.The procedure adopted to peruse documents for approving loans was nothing but a "paper formality", said the charge sheet filed last week in a local court, in a funds-misappropriation case filed by Religare Finvest. ET has seen the charge sheet.Malvinder and Shivinder Singh had denied any wrongdoing on their part. 73507763 A "prominent feature" of the entire process was that these "shell/dummy companies" never made any request for loans, the charge sheet said.It noted certain instances where the loan approvals were given almost immediately. On September 1, 2016, a loan of Rs 162 crore to Modland Wears Pvt Ltd was proposed at 3:14 pm and was approved at 4:36 pm — within 82 minutes. On the same day, another loan of Rs 165 crore to Artifice Property Pvt Ltd was approved in 103 minutes, it said.The charge sheet alleged that after the Reserve Bank of India in 2014 redflagged abject lack of rigour deployed by Religare Finvest (RFL) in its corporate loan book, as opposed to strict scrutiny in SME loans, it resorted to "Google check", as well Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, Registrar of Companies, Cibil and KYC checks. "But no assessment of repayment capacity was done," it said.The agency said the only "precaution" it took was that the credit notes used to read "the corporate is known to the promoters of Religare and based on their comfort, we are proposing the deal". The loans were cleared on "verbal instructions" of the promoters, it added.Filing the charge sheets against the Singh brothers, former Religare chairman Sunil Godhwani and two others, the EOW said "despite being a listed company, no corporate governance norms were adhered with respect to the disbursal of loans".The EOW has questioned directors of the 19 shell/dummy companies named by it. Five of the directors told EOW that they were "namesake" directors and that they all were "followers of Radha Soami Satsang Beas and old acquaintance of late Parvinder Singh, father of Singh brothers", the charge sheet said.The "dummy" directors further claimed that they "signed the documents which were sent to their house through a messenger/employee of promoters at the year end and received salaries from the companies", the EOW said. They also said none of them were signatories of the bank accounts of the companies.According to the charge sheet, these directors claimed that all the 19 entities "were controlled and owned/operated by Malvinder and Shivinder Singh through their employees of RHC Holding Pvt Ltd (owned by the brothers) and its subsidiaries", and that the companies were "not separate entities and were operating from the office of RHC Holding…""Malvinder and Shivinder used shell/ dummy entities along with the management of REL (Religare Enterprises) and RFL to divert the money from REL to their holding company, by adopting circuitous transaction to conceal the fake transactions and to make them appear genuine," the EOW said.During his questioning, Malvinder Singh told EOW that "Sunil Godhwani and his team at Religare managed and ran the affairs of RHC and its subsidiaries, decisions of money movement between REL, RFL, Babaji (Radha Soami Satsang chief Gurinder Singh) entities and RHC group entities".Fastening entire responsibility on Godhwani and his team for "mismanagement" of RFL, Malvinder Singh told the EOW that "the management changes at REL in July 2016 were done at the direction and instructions of Babaji".Malvinder Singh has further alleged that "Religare and its subsidiaries owe money to RHC Holdings and not the other way around. Fern Healthcare, Modland (which are described as shell companies by the EOW) owe money to RHC Holdings and its subsidiaries and were fraudulently made part of the RHC Group without any diligence, valuation or any board approval. This was done by Shivinder Singh to shield Babaji and his family members to personally owe over Rs 1,000 crore to these entities," he has alleged.Shivinder Singh, on the other hand, has denied the allegations stating that he took retirement from active life and went to Radha Soami Satsang Beas in 2016. He said he was completely unaware of the operations at REL and RFL.

India's battered telcos have one lifeline

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Mumbai | New Delhi: The Supreme Court will next week hear pleas by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices that they be allowed to negotiate terms and timelines for payment of statutory dues with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). That has given hope to the three phone companies seeking relief on payments aggregating Rs 1.02 lakh crore due Thursday. DoT officials indicated they were open to discussions but said an initial payment had to be made by the deadline.The court, in its order on Tuesday, didn't specifically defer the January 23 deadline. The phone companies expect that the DoT won't force the carriers to pay their entire dues by Thursday and wait until the court decides on the matter."Until the court hears next week, we do not expect DoT to press for payments. We expect DoT to wait for court to clarify the modification petition," said Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), an industry body that represents Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm.DoT officials told ET that if the phone companies remit a part of the dues by the deadline, the government is open to discussing a payment schedule for the remainder, possibly over a few years.DoT may Seek Payment Plans"Our stand is clear — we are saying at least show us your intention to pay. If the telecom companies pay some amount on the 23rd, then we can soften our stand," a senior government official told ET. 73508128 Once such an initial payment is made, DoT will likely ask the companies how they propose to spread the payment "before they go to the court, so that we do not oppose their plea to negotiate the timeline with the DoT," said another official.COAI suggested this period could be 15 years.Investors were buoyed by hopes of a positive outcome--Vodafone Idea surged 21.8% to close at Rs5.92 while Bharti Airtel ended 0.4% higher at Rs511.35 on the BSE Tuesday.A bench headed by chief justice of India SA Bobde said on Tuesday that a justice Arun Mishra-led bench will hear the modification pleas next week. Mishra had headed the threemember bench that passed the October 24 verdict widening the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) to include non-core items. This meant 15 telcos had to pay additional licence fees, spectrum usage charges (SUC), interest and penalty dues of more than Rs1.47 lakh crore by January 23. Licence fees and SUC are calculated on the basis of AGR.Mahesh Agrawal of Agrawal and Associates represented Vodafone Idea while Harsh Kaushik and Manali Singhal appeared on behalf of Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices."Upon hearing the counsel, the Court made the following order: List next week before the Bench which passed judgment dated 24.10.2019 as per Rules," SC said in its order Tuesday.The court had last week rejected review petitions from the three telcos, prompting them to file the modification applications on Monday, warning of bankruptcies, defaults and job losses if forced to pay the whole amount at one go.Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel face statutory dues of Rs 53,039 crore and Rs 35,586 crore, respectively, as per government disclosures to Parliament. Tata Teleservices, which has sold its consumer mobility business to Bharti Airtel, faces dues of Rs 13,823 crore.Harsh Walia, partner at law firm Khaitan & Co, said the Thursday deadline stands."If the court had the intention of not letting any coercive action happen, then it could have given an order restraining DoT from taking any coercive action till next date of hearing," he said.DoT expects telcos to make initial payments totalling Rs25,000-30,000 crore, most of it coming from Bharti Airtel, officials told ET. "Airtel has just raised money," one said, referring to its $3 billion fundraising exercise. But it's not clear how much or whether the operators will pay up by December 23. ET had reported on January 18 that Vodafone was likely to submit around Rs 4,000 crore as token payment by January 23 while seeking to extend the timeline.DoT hasn't decided on any payment tenure. "We will need to sit down with the telcos and chart out the entire payment plan since there will be an interest component as well. Extension of timeline will come with an interest factor," said the first official cited. Amended payment terms may need to be ratified by the cabinet or approved by a committee of secretaries, he said.DoT should offer a structured debt package of 15 years with a two-year moratorium and recalibrate interest rates to bank borrowing rates, COAI's Mathews said.Vodafone Idea had said in its modification plea to the court that it will have to shut if there's no relaxation on payment terms."If a suitable and appropriate arrangement is not made available, it will lead to immediate closure of one of the oldest and largest telecom companies in India," according to the petition, which ET saw.Bharti Airtel told the court on Monday that the calculations that need to be made are "complex" and cannot be done within the 90 days stipulated by the court. This will "require further interaction with the respondent as it covers licences across 22 circles and a period of over 15 years and post submission of the same to the respondents, the parties will have to reconcile all these calculations," Bharti Airtel said in its modification application, seen by ET.

Govt may let you lower your PF kitty

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New Delhi: If you are a working woman, a professional with disabilities or a young working male in the age bracket of 25-35 years, you may be allowed to lower your contribution towards the provident fund kitty by 2-3%.A senior government official told ET that lower contribution rule under PF will not apply to all."It will not be universal... This will be permitted for certain class of workers," the officials said, adding that these class of workers will be decided based on a certain criteria.Working women and professionals with disabilities could be included in the class of workers as per the criteria being discussed.The labour ministry has begun discussions on the proposed criteria to be adopted to classify the category of workers who can be given an exemption of up to 2-3% in their share of contribution, and a decision is expected shortly."Government is seized of the fact that social security is needed at the time of retirement. However, young employees need enough funds at disposal for wedding, housing and other needs in the initial years of their careers and hence the proposal," the official quoted above said.Currently, all employees are mandated to contribute 12% of their basic wage under the Employees Provident Fund Organisation and a matching contribution is made by the employer.As part of the Code on Social Security, 2019, the labour ministry has proposed flexibility in the Employee Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, allowing for different rates of contribution. No change has been proposed in employer's contribution. The bill, tabled in Parliament, is now before the standing committee on labour.The rule defining the criterion for applicability will be notified by the ministry once the Code is approved by the Parliament. The idea is to allow some flexibility to a certain category of workers in a fixed age bracket to reduce their contribution to PF and thus allow them to increase their take home salary.As per the current EPF & MP Act, 12% of basic salary (capped at Rs 15,000) is contributed to an employee's EPF account, with amatching contribution from the employer. Of the employer's contribution, 8.33% goes to Employee Pension Scheme (EPS). Also, the EPS contribution is calculated on a basic pay of Rs 15,000 or actual basic pay, whichever is less. If the basic exceeds Rs 15,000, then EPS contribution is calculated as 8.33% of Rs 15,000, which is Rs 1,250 per month.

Insurance frauds: Exorcising the ghost

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On the pages of Gujarat officialdom, Manu Parmar became a footnote in the summer of 2015. The government register that notes births and deaths put Parmar down as a victim of drowning on June 27 at Paroda village, Ahmedabad. A blood examination report from an established pathological lab certified the death as such.But there was a twist in the tale. Of course, Manu was no longer in this world, but his departure from it actually happened four years ago – in 2011. According to an FIR, the insured was covered for Rs 2.60 lakh in 2015, in case of natural death. Jagdish Parmar, the beneficiary, filed claims in May 2017. While the insurance company started investigating the claim, a letter from the sarpanch of the village exposed the fraud, saying that Manu Parmar had died in 2011.This is not an isolated case. There are quite a few in which gram panchayats issued death certificates without doing much due diligence. That creates the dark web of elaborate deception, trapping companies that insure lives."Ghost applications and applications from terminally ill individuals constitute typical life insurance frauds," said Yusuf Pachmariwala, senior vice president and head of operations, Tata AIA Life Insurance. "Usually, they are executed by a coordinated team of racketeers and the sum insured involved is low."73509175 DECEPTION MOST FOULEarlier, frauds were trigger-based and largely relied on intuition. Now that frauds are more organised, insurers can't depend completely on traditional practices to avoid escaping the trap.Bajaj Allianz, for instance, recently got a motor insurance claim from Odisha, wherein a cleaner of a truck died as the truck collided with a tree in the early morning hours. The insurer investigated the claim that the truck driver had escaped the scene while the major damage was on the driver side of the truck.To the company's surprise, the driver didn't have any injury due to the accident and instead the cleaner did. After the accident reconstruction, it was clear that the cleaner was driving the vehicle when the truck met with an accident. The cleaner had injuries on forehead, left femur bone fracture, and right hand laceration that matched with the post-mortem report of the cleaner. The cleaner did not have a valid driving licence, and the company concluded that it was a fraudulent claim.BIG DATA TO THE RESCUEWith financial crimes becoming sophisticated and organised, insurers are contesting claims by adopting a combination of data analytics and forensic science to investigate frauds. Insurance companies have started looking for fraud detection tools, predictive analytics models and credit bureau data to track overall financial behaviour."If credit scores are good, generally the mortality is low. Those with good credit history are seen as reliable insurance seekers," said Pachmariwala.Insurers today sit on a huge data repository that helps them understand customer behaviour and introduce products as per their needs. This database additionally helps in identifying the trends in terms of frauds as well. Many of the private insurers have come together and designed a common investigation portal to help investigate and create a claims probeoutcome repository. Private insurers are also working on creating an insurance data repository, in line with the banking industry, at the policy issuance stage itself.Another nexus of motor insurance fraud was exposed in Rajasthan, which has been among the top 10 states in vehicle theft, government data showed. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance received multiple intimations for motor theft claims of heavy construction vehicles in Bharatpur district. While going through the preliminary investigations of stolen vehicles, their investigation team observed that, though all these vehicles were purchased by different owners just a year ago, the FIRs for stolen vehicles were registered through court by the same advocate.Furthermore, the location of incident and narration of the given intimation were not matching. These findings raised questions and the team decided to meet the insured. Upon visiting the insured's location, Bajaj learnt that they were labourers who worked in the stone-breaking industry. The probability of these people affording such heavy construction machinery and vehicles or even securing loan to purchase such vehicles was low. This triggered a doubt of a huge nexus with the involvement of many people. The team shared the entire case and evidence with police authorities and requested their support for further investigation. The police then arrested the people involved and an FIR was lodged against them.THE MODUS OPERANDIThe masterminds would look for people with low income, give them a lucrative offer in exchange of their details and then purchase a new vehicle using those details. Formalities of loan, RTO registration and insurance were also done by them. The insured had no control over the vehicle, except his name as registered owner. The insured were assured monthly rent of the vehicle and an assurance of repayment of EMI.After a few days of purchase, the new vehicle was sent to a person in J&K and the intermediaries informed the insured that the vehicle was stolen and a claim needs to be registered. With the help of an advocate, the insured would lodge an FIR through court. The culprits further revealed that they had used similar practice with other insurance companies from the same location. The 'stolen' vehicles were then sent to people associated with the nexus in J&K and Mizoram."Accident reconstruction is a branch of forensics which helps determine how and why the accident happened," said Sanjiv Dwivedi, head - investigation & loss mitigation, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. "It's not always possible that there will be eye witness or images of the accident that will help settle the claim immediately. It helps us analyse the impact of the accident and verify the authenticity of the claim made."TIME LAPSEOn an average, the claim registration time for a motor claim from the date of accident is around 18 months. The more the time gap between the accident and claim registration, the lesser are the chances to get proper evidence about the claim. Insurance companies today share their respective fraud claims data with GIC. This helps them identify fraudsters who are hopping customers and make similar claims with various companies.Insurers are identifying frauds at multiple stages — from underwriting stage to claim intimation — through the use of advanced analytics.Insurers today are also exploring the geotagging option where a customer can send images of the damage or an investigator can click an image of the accident area by geo-tagging it. This increases the authenticity of the image shared with the insurer for claims.

Mastercard swipes right on Pine Labs

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New Delhi | Mumbai: Global payments technology giant Mastercard is in talks to invest in India's largest point-of-sale (PoS) solutions provider Pine Labs as part of a $300 million financing round, said three people aware of the development. The transaction, which would value the Singapore and Noida-based firm at $1.2-1.5 billion, will likely involve a mix of primary and secondary shares and give Mastercard a firm footing in the fast-growing merchant acquiring segment.Venture capital fund Sequoia Capital, the largest stakeholder, could make a partial exit as Pine Labs vaults into the unicorn club of privately-held tech firms with valuation of $1 billion or more. Sequoia has been invested in Pine Labs since 2009 and holds an estimated 68% stake. It could offload 15-25% to the incoming investor, said the people cited above.Investors like Advent Cap may Also JoinMastercard and Pine Labs didn't respond to queries. A spokesperson for Sequoia Capital said, "We have nothing to share at this time."People familiar with the fundraising talks said other investors like Advent Capital may join Mastercard in the latest round.The fundraise, which could close over the next few weeks, will be the first by Pine Labs since it raised $125 million in equity financing in 2018 led by the likes of Temasek, the investment firm backed by the government of Singapore, and US-based online payments company PayPal, valuing it at $800 million.73509564 Prior to that, in March 2018, the company raised $82 million in funding, led by investment firms Actis and Altimeter Capital, according to data collated by Tracxn. Pine Labs was founded by Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg and Tarun Upaday in 1998.This will not be the first time Sequoia Capital is selling Pine Labs shares. In 2017, the venture capital firm had offloaded a stake to Madison Capital as part of a larger $180 million block deal.Pine Labs has been regarded as an attractive acquisition target in the recent past. The Times of India reported In October last year that Naspers-owned PayU was evaluating a majority share purchase in the company, while two other investors — China's Tencent and pension fund CDPQ — were in talks to acquire minority stakes.The company has been broadening its product suite in the past few years. The merchantfocused, last-mile retail transaction technology platform also provides collateral-free business loans, having partnered with top banks and nonbanking finance companies (NBFCs), besides offering equated monthly installment (EMI) solutions at the point of sale.It acquired Bengaluru-based startup Qwikcilver for $110 million in March last year, as it looked to deepen its presence in the loyalty and gifting services segment, funding the transaction from capital raised from its investors and cash reserves.Pine Labs reported total revenue of Rs 503.2 crore in FY19, up from Rs 336.1 crore in the previous fiscal. Losses widened to Rs 13.7 crore in the 12 months ended March 2019 from Rs 2.5 crore in the previous financial year, according to paper.vc.

FPIs, PE funds get notices from AAR

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MUMBAI: Private equity funds and foreign portfolio investors that were looking to get clarity around grandfathering benefit of Singapore and Mauritius tax treaties have hit a roadblock as advance tax ruling authorities have demanded additional details from many of them.Many PE funds and FPIs that had invested in India through Mauritius and Singapore had got a grandfathering benefit whereby they were allowed to pay lower taxes if they had invested before the bilateral tax treaties were amended.However, now the authorities have asked many of these investors to provide details such as last 15 years' minutes of meeting, date of investment, management fees paid over the years, and expenses incurred – some of which might not be even available anymore – tax experts said."Several PE funds and FPIs who had approached the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) to confirm benefit of grandfathering under Mauritius tax treaty have been asked to answer a lengthy questionnaire before availing the benefit," said Shefali Goradia, partner at Deloitte India. "They have been asked to furnish minutes of board meetings since incorporation, date of investment, source of funds, group structure, all regulatory filings, management fees paid over the years, salaries paid, expenses incurred among other things. In most cases, this level of historical detail is neither available with the investors nor is it relevant to claim treaty benefit under established principles," she said.Many FPIs are also nervous because, in a separate ruling AAR had last year disallowed grandfathering benefits of tax treaty to a foreign investor that routes its investments in the country through Mauritius. The ruling had denied any benefit of the India-Mauritius tax treaty under which the applicable rates are a bit lower.If investments were made before the amendment of the tax treaty in 2016, benefits were to be grandfathered— that is, income from such investments or capital gains would attract concessional tax rates prevalent before 2016.Industry trackers said the issue was more worrying for several funds that have already filed returns and their cases could be scrutinised and questioned by the tax officers.

New Singapore treaty may impact FPI flows into India

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Singapore might lose some of its allure for various foreign portfolio investors as a preferred destination to route their investments into India. With the Multi-Lateral Agreement (MLI) between the two countries set to come into force from April 1, fund managers in Singapore, who invest in India, could face a stiffer task of convincing local tax authorities that they have not set up shop in the island nation to avail the tax benefits.Investors based out of Singapore continue to avail several tax benefits for putting money in India. These include exemption from capital gains tax on derivatives and lower capital gains tax rate for equities. But, these exemptions will be applicable only if the Indian taxman are convinced that they are not in Singapore to avoid taxes. While the government has already implemented the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) to curb tax avoidance, MLI comes with much stricter provisions and is believed to override GAAR, say experts. GAAR, implemented in 2017, requires foreign investors to prove that they are in a jurisdiction not just to take advantage of the tax treaty.The Indian and Singapore governments ratified the Multi-Lateral Agreement in December 2019 and its provisions come into force from April 1, 2020. MLI, an international tax law under the umbrella of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), comes with strict tax antiavoidance rules. As per the MLI, an entity can be declined treaty tax benefits if one of the reasons for choosing a jurisdiction is tax benefit. 73508160 The move could impact most of the mid and small sized funds that have created investing entities out of Singapore but don't have any business or commercial interest in Singapore. Singapore is the fourthlargest source of FPI inflows with assets under management worth Rs 3.15 lakh crore.The MLI comes with the so-called 'Principal Purpose Test' (PPT) which will be used by tax authorities to determine if an investor has set up shop in Singapore for tax avoidance purposes or not. As per the PPT, even if tax is amongst one of the key reasons for an entity to choose Singapore, then such an entity can be declined tax treaty benefits. GAAR, on the other hand, provides for much liberal interpretation in terms of tax avoidance since it can be invoked only if tax avoidance is the prime purpose for an entity to choose a jurisdiction."While both the Indian GAAR and PPT (of MLI) seek to prevent tax abuse, the scope of PPT is much stricter," said Rajesh Gandhi, partner, Deloitte. "As per the PPT, tax abuse can be triggered even if one of the main or principle purposes of a transaction is tax avoidance. However, GAAR can used only if the main purpose of an arrangement is tax avoidance and also the arrangement does not have commercial substance."For instance, an FPI 'X' chose to set up an intermediary entity in Singapore that invests in India. The main reasons behind X choosing Singapore include availability of efficient manpower, good infrastructure and favorable tax agreement with India. In this scenario, if GAAR was the guiding law then the arrangement adopted by X may not be considered for tax avoidance since tax is not the only reason for choosing Singapore. However, under MLI, this arrangement could be termed for tax avoidance since tax is one of the reasons. The tax authorities will have the power to interpret if an entity has fulfilled conditions of MLI or not."The provisions of MLI in relation to India-Singapore tax treaty seem to be more stringent in comparison to GAAR provisions," said Amit Singhania, partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas. "GAAR provisions get invoked if the main purpose is to obtain a tax benefit and one of the four prescribed conditions gets satisfied. However under MLI, PPT is the solitary requirement to negate the treaty benefit."OECD had proposed the introduction of MLIs in order to curb tax avoidance, especially amongst multi-national companies (MNCs) who explore the gaps in the tax laws among different countries. Currently, 87countries including Australia, France, Japan and the United Kingdom are signatories to the initiative.

Series of negative divergence on RSI doesn’t bode well for bulls

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By Chandan TapariaNifty opened negative and continued its negative momentum for the second consecutive session on Tuesday. It formed a Bearish Candle, as It failed to hold above 12,200 mark and corrected towards the 12,162 mark. The ongoing profit booking started from the strong hurdle of the Rising Trendline on the weekly chart and now the index is approaching the previous gap area between 12,044 and 12,130 levels.We also witnessed a series of negative divergence of the RSI oscillator on the daily scale, which doesn't bode well for the bulls. Going forward, Nifty's immediate support is placed in the 12,130-12,050 zone. While the immediate resistance for Nifty is now shifting lower to 12,250 level, the medium-term resistance is placed in the 12,400-12,430 zone.On the options front, maximum Put open interest was at 12,000 followed by 12,200 levels, while maximum Call OI was at 12,500 followed by 12,300 levels. A good amount of writing was seen in Call options at 12,300 and 12,500, while marginal Put unwinding was seen at strike price 12,200. Options data indicated a trading range between 12,000 and 12,500 levels.India VIX moved up 2.94 per cent to 15.86 level. There is a spike in volatility due to the ongoing earnings season and the forthcoming Union Budget 2020.Bank Nifty opened on a negative note and respected its major support in the 30,800 – 30,900 zone. It consolidated just above the support band and formed a Doji candle on the daily chart, indicating indecisiveness among the market participants. Now, the bulls have to hold above 30,800 level for a pullback move. In the coming days, as it breaches the 30,800 level, we may see a further drop towards 30,500 and then 30,300 levels. On the flipside, immediate resistance is placed at 31,500 and then 32,000 levels.Nifty futures closed negative at 12,200 with a loss of 0.51 per cent. Long buildup was seen in LIC Housing Finance, ZEEL, RBL Bank, Jindal Steel, Aurobindo Pharma; while shorts were seen in PFC, IOC, Tata Steel, BHEL and REC.(Chandan Taparia is Technical & Derivative Analyst at MOFSL. Investors are advised to consult financial advisers before taking an investment calls based on these observations.)

Indian SaaS firms eye Japan, Latam to pip global giants

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Indian Software-as-a-Service companies are speeding up forays into non-mainstay regions such as Japan and Latin America, as selling business software in advanced economies other than North America becomes increasingly important in taking the battle to market leaders such as Salesforce and Microsoft.North America, which includes Canada, remains the key target market for most companies, but clients have emerged in Singapore, Indonesia and Japan, as well as some countries in Latin America and Africa. The global SaaS business, dominated by the North American market, is slated to grow at a 16% clip to $116 billion this year, according to market research firm Gartner. Indian firms are aiming to diversify focus on the Rest-of-the-World markets. The market expansion coincides with a push towards a platform play – creating a common design and engineering base from which products can be developed to meet a quicker time-tomarket paradigm.At the Sridhar Vembu-led Zoho, organising user events is one way to test new markets. Raju Vegesna, chief evangelist at Zoho, said the company will enter the Brazilian market this year and will expand its team in Colombia, besides bolstering its presence in Chile.In 2019, it had a hectic pace of market evaluation with 33 user conferences across 25 countries.73508604 It is also close to hiring its first set of employees in South Africa.Zoho entered The Netherlands, Singapore, Dubai, Mexico and Australia last year.The broad strokes of Zoho's expansion model, according to Vegesna, were a predictive play on the next wave of growth."If you overlap the GDP growth in a country with the median age, an interesting trend/theme will be noticeable: whenever the median age of a country is between 25 and 40, GDP of that country accelerates, sometimes exponentially. Part of it can be attributed to the acceleration of business formation, and job creation as a result. As the market expands and business formation accelerates, software and other vendors enter those regions...," he said.Chennai-incubated Freshworks entered Japan last year by tying up with regional player OrangeOne Corporation.It seeks to replicate the re-seller model during other possible market entries, too."We had setup a robust partner network before we entered the region in March last year with a regional hub in Singapore," Freshworks' regional spokesperson told ET, adding it would continue to invest in the ASEAN region.The Mathrubootham-founded Freshworks, headquartered in San Mateo, California, is reportedly in a growth push before going public in the United States. SaaS firms, which sell a gamut of products aiding customer relationship management to workflow automation, have also discovered the potential in 'platformising' technology, not dissimilar to the way a basic automotive design is parlayed into different car variants.