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Carlsberg froths at the mouth over India arm's alleged shady doings

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MUMBAI: Carlsberg is investigating its Indian unit for financial irregularities, including incorrect payments, embezzlement and kickbacks from customers. The company said the probe followed accusations made by its local partner, with which it's "engaged in a very difficult commercial conflict".The maker of Tuborg beer has launched an internal audit of all processes related to permits and licences, and has reopened previously closed investigations, regulatory filings show. The audit is being conducted under the supervision of Carlsberg Group's global integrity committee.Carlsberg said conflict with the JV partner was at the heart of the matter. It entered India in 2006 by incorporating South Asia Breweries, a JV with Nepal-based Khetan Group."We have, for some time, been engaged in a very difficult commercial conflict with our Indian JV partner about the repayment of a $43 million loan he owes us and his wish to sell his stake in the business early at an unreasonably high price," Steve JH Deng, corporate affairs director, Carlsberg Asia, told ET. 74503288 Second Internal Inquiry in 2 Years"As the commercial conflict intensifies, our partner and his representatives on the Carlsberg India board have decided to circumvent appropriate governance structures and share a series of wide-ranging accusations at all possible opportunities, including in the Carlsberg India annual report," said Deng.Three board members of Carlsberg's Indian unit voted not to approve the latest accounts, citing lack of clarity on these matters.Carlsberg said it has sought advice from external law firms, informed several Indian states about its approach, and in some instances, adjusted its practices accordingly, as well as tightened internal processes. "The issues mentioned in the report are of very different nature and background, ranging from disagreements on interpretation of local legislation to more serious compliance matters which we investigate thoroughly and which our partner is well aware of," Deng said. "Unfortunately, investigations are being further complicated by the fact that our partner's representatives are refusing to cooperate with the investigators."Allegations by ex-employeeThe current internal inquiry is the second in as many years. About two years ago, a former employee had alleged that executives at Carlsberg's Indian unit had offered bribes to government officials in Hyderabad in 2015-16.The employee, who claimed wrongful dismissal, had however refused to hand over all the evidence unless he was paid. The matter was later investigated by a committee that included a former Delhi court judge, an external law firm and a chartered accountancy firm, which found the allegations to be unsubstantiated. "Despite being a private entity, Carlsberg should look into appointing independent directors and implement a mechanism that leads to greater accountability and transparency," said Mohit Yadav, founder of Veratech Intelligence.The company said in its financial statement that it had received communications alleging potentially unlawful and unethical practices by some employees. "The matters include allegations of promoting sale of company products in prohibited areas, potential improper payments, kickbacks from its customers and misappropriation of sales promotion schemes payments, etc," said Carlsberg India in its latest regulatory filing, which was sourced from Veratech. The review will be concluded in the first quarter of 2020.Carlsberg has a 19% share of India's beer market and is the world's third-largest brewer after United Breweries and ABInBev.Two years ago, the Competition Commission of India had launched a probe into whether the three companies, which collectively control more than 90% of India's beer segment, were guilty of price cartelisation.

Markets singed, Rs 4 lakh cr gone in 60 secs

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NEW DELHI: When America sneezes, the world catches a cold. This phrase aptly defines today's carnage on Dalal Street. A rout in US stocks overnight has sent shivers down investors' spine globally. The US President Donald Trump took note of a possible hit from the coronavirus outbreak on the US economy. This along with a 50-basis points rate cut by the US Fed this week -- which a few analysts said was in a haste, especially ahead of the FOMC's March 17-18 policy review -- are hinting at deeper concerns brewing over the health of the world's largest economy. In India, where investors were still digesting the news of a withdrawal cap at the fourth-largest lender, YES Bank, the news could not have come at a worse time. By 9.16 am, the BSE Sensex cracked 1,459.61 points, or 3.79 per cent, to 37,011. The NSE barometer plunged below the 10,900 mark at one go. The 50-pack index was trading 374.40 points, or 3.32 per cent, lower at 10894.60. fear gauge India VIX spiked 12.11 per cent to 26.06. The rupee tumbled to a low of 73.90, the lowest since October 2018.Within 60 seconds into the trading, investors in India had lost Rs 4.42 lakh crore of wealth, with the market value of all BSE-listed comapnies faling to Rs 143.17 lakh crore compared with Rs 147.59 lakh crore in the previous session.Banking stocks took a hit. YES Bank plunged 14.93 per cent to hit a low of Rs 31.35. IndusInd Bank cracked 11.37 per cent to Rs 952.50. SBI dropped 8.39 per cent to 264.10. Thirty of 30 Sensex stocks were trading in the black Tata Steel, Bajaj Finance, UltraTech Cement, L&T and M&M tanked 3-6 per cent. Ninety per cent of the active stocks were trading in the red.Data suggests at least 57 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the US on Thursday as the virus struck for the first time in Colorado, Maryland, Tennessee and Texas, as well as the city of San Francisco.Investors were also worried about the spread of the virus in India. "While the first-order impact on India is contained (virus spread, supply chains, limited exports), its second-derivative effect could be greater: particularly given India is already at a low: growth, risk appetite and policy flexibility. India is getting hit with the virus when its immunity is low," Edelweiss Securities said.A study by SBI Economic Wing suggests that was 99 days that the highest percentage variation for Nifty peak-to-bottom was 15 per cent between January 2015 and February 2020. "It took 59 days to reach there and comparably for a 17 per cent bottom to peak variation was achieved in 158 days. The impact is asynchronous and we believe that the short run impact of virus will be significant for the market," it said.

South Koreans know where coronavirus was

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By Anjani TrivediLike it or not, we may have to submit to the intrusion of big data because of the coronavirus.South Korea is at the cutting edge of how this could work in a democracy. Tracking down patient zeros — the first documented cases — and the ones that follow is becoming critical to containment and public safety. There won't be a cure or vaccine anytime soon. The global number of cases is nearing 100,000. South Korea has the largest outbreak outside China, with almost 6,000 cases. The surge has largely been contained to the city where it erupted, Daegu, around a religious cult.Central to South Korea's approach has been the extensive collection and effective use of data as a public good – in this case, disease surveillance and testing. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's daily reporting details patients affected and being tested, connections between them and what provinces they're in. It includes fatality rates by age and gender. Health authorities posted a detailed log of patients' whereabouts prior to confirmation of infection. Their names weren't given, but they were numbered. People were informed that this personal information was being collected and publicized. They didn't have a choice. A Wall Street Journal report chronicled this: "Patient No. 12 had booked seats E13 and E14 for a 5:30 p.m. showing of the South Korean film, "The Man Standing Next." Before grabbing a 12:40 p.m. train, patient No. 17 dined at a soft-tofu restaurant in Seoul. Patient No. 21 drove her car to attend a weekday evening church service."From a visit to a funeral home to a restaurant and bakery, a website that uses government data now allows tracing infected individuals. Colour-coded by timing, it allows people to avoid those places and enables so-called social distancing, or staying away from large groups and crowds. It's a more focused way to confront the epidemic than living in a generalized state of paranoia. And far more targeted than locking down entire cities. App developers are using the public data to warn users if an infected person is within 100 meters. Because the coronavirus has been asymptomatic in some cases, tracing those infected is even more important. 74504174 Tech giants have mined data this way in marketing for at least a decade. Scientists have analyzed data from Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google Trends to understand human mobility. Cellphone data has been used to track cholera outbreaks and the role of crowds. South Korea is pulling all these threads together. It's also collecting data from pharmacies and doctors on how medication is being dispensed, and plans to use a similar system to ensure people aren't hoarding masks.Breaking OutThe more information you have, the more you can do with it. South Korea's growing pile of data has enabled authorities to quickly test for the disease and keep pace with its rapid spread. Knowing that the cases are concentrated in Daegu has helped ramp up testing there. That's a big step forward. In previous outbreaks, delays in collecting and tracking led to slow response times.This capacity hasn't been conjured from nothing. South Korea has spent years investing in technology and, more recently, biotechnology. Research and development spending accounts for around 4.5% of gross domestic product, topping the list of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which average around 2.37%. Given the out-sized role of companies like Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. in the country's life, South Koreans are highly tech-enabled, with nine out of 10 people on the internet and 95% using smartphones.To be sure, disease surveillance isn't new. Typically, healthcare professionals need to inform public health officials for selected diseases. That takes time. Voluntary sharing risks misreporting, with no validation from lab tests. There are other pitfalls, especially data collection based on human behavior and media coverage. For instance, Google and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention teamed up for web data on searches around the flu. In 2013, Google's estimates for Christmas-time flu peak were almost double the CDC's. Meanwhile, Google underestimated swine flu.Putting data to work effectively isn't an easy task. In China, a highly connected and watched society, fears of misuse and mass-scale surveillance abound. Beijing has resorted to data to track citizens in the ongoing quarantines across the country. The U.S. doesn't seem to have the data, or at least isn't marshaling it effectively. Much of what it collects is in the hands of Big Tech. Testing and reporting for the coronavirus is proving difficult (and almost non-existent in places). In Europe, even if governments wanted to fully utilize all available information, new privacy laws would get in the way. South Korea is conscious of risks to privacy; there are laws to protect data about children and personal information. But having a watchful eye in the name of public health has helped in this time of crisis. Without using data as ammunition, it isn't clear how to effectively contain the spread of this disease without locking down large parts of a country.So, wouldn't you rather know if someone with coronavirus had been sitting where you're now sipping coffee?

RBI takes control of Yes Bank, withdrawals cap at 50k

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MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) superseded the board of Yes Bank and imposed a month-long moratorium, it said in an announcement late on Thursday. It expects to arrive at a credible restructuring plan in the next few days."The Reserve Bank assures the depositors of the bank that their interests will be fully protected and there is no need to panic," it said in a statement. This is the first time that the central bank has taken such drastic action with respect to a big bank since July 2004 when the regulator got state-run Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) to take over Global Trust Bank to rescue the private sector lender.The RBI action follows the lender's inability to raise funds that would have helped it provide against loan losses. Prashant Kumar, former deputy managing director at State Bank of India (SBI), will be the administrator of Yes Bank, RBI said.Depositors will be restricted to a maximum withdrawal of Rs 50,000 even if they have multiple accounts, a government gazette notification said. RBI will relax the withdrawal limit in the event of medical emergencies, higher education fees or marriage expenses — up to a cap of Rs 5 lakh. Drafts and pay orders issued so far will be paid in full, it said. 74503121 RBI Blames Lax Governance Standards"In the absence of a credible revival plan, and in public interest and the interest of the bank's depositors, (the RBI) had no alternative but to apply to the central government for imposing a moratorium," the central bank said. "The Reserve Bank will explore and draw up a scheme in the next few days for the bank's reconstruction or amalgamation and with the approval of the central government, put the same in place well before the period of moratorium of 30 days ends so that the depositors are not put to hardship for a long period of time."The central bank said its preferred option had been a market-related solution."Since a bank and market-led revival is a preferred option over a regulatory restructuring, the Reserve Bank made all efforts to facilitate such a process and gave adequate opportunity to the bank's management to draw up a credible revival plan, which did not materialise," the RBI said. "In the meantime, the bank was facing regular outflow of liquidity.'' The central bank blamed lax governance standards at Yes Bank over the past few years."The financial position of Yes Bank Ltd has undergone a steady decline largely due to inability of the bank to raise capital to address potential loan losses and resultant downgrades, triggering invocation of bond covenants by investors, and withdrawal of deposits," said the RBI. "The bank has also experienced serious governance issues and practices in the recent years which have led to steady decline of the bank."Yes Bank will be allowed to repay loans or advances granted against government securities or other securities to the bank by the RBI or by any other bank and remaining unpaid as of Thursday. It would also be allowed to operate its account with the RBI.The lender, which has seen its fortunes slide over the past 18 months, has been in talks with equity investors over the past year, but had failed to come up with a concrete investment plan."The bank management had indicated to the Reserve Bank that it was in talks with various investors and they were likely to be successful,'' said the RBI statement. "The bank was also engaged with a few private equity firms for exploring opportunities to infuse capital. These investors did hold discussions with senior officials of the Reserve Bank but for various reasons eventually did not infuse any capital."Last month, Yes Bank had informed exchanges that about half-a-dozen investors, including JC Flowers & Co., Tilden Park Capital Management, OHA (UK), part of Oak Hill Advisors, and Silver Point Capital, had submitted "nonbinding" expressions of interest. Yes Bank had also postponed its December quarter results announcement, citing fundraising talks, to March 14.The lender turned wobbly due to surging bad loans and management uncertainty when the Reserve Bank of India declined to extend the term of founder Rana Kapoor as chief executive in 2018. Under his successor Ravneet Gill, the bank managed to raise one round of funds through share sales to institutional investors, but that didn't prove to be enough.

Firms gearing up to meet sanitisers, masks demand

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Kolkata | New Delhi: As Covid-19 patients continue to surge in India, sanitisers and masks have started to disappear from shelves with several stores and chemists in larger cities selling the coveted items at 2-3 times their price to panicky buyers.E-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Big Basket and Grofers have not had stocks of frontline sanitiser brands at several locations. Chemist shops in several cities said they are not getting any fresh supplies of sanitisers from Tuesday, while face masks, too, were almost sold out. Several people took to social media to express their shock on black sales.Hindustan Unilever, makers of Lifebuoy hand sanitisers and hand wash, said while certain pockets may witness a shortage due to sudden demand, the company has adequate overall stock of hand sanitisers and is geared to meet increased demand. "We have redoubled our efforts to ensure consumers have access to products that keep them safe," a spokesperson said.Some mask manufacturers are also cashing in on virus terror by jacking up prices. "Price of a surgical mask, which was earlier selling for ?1, has skyrocketed to Rs 15," said Kailash Gupta, president of All India Chemists and Distributors Federation.Large retail chains like Reliance Smart, Reliance Fresh, Big Bazaar and Spencer's Retail said they have sanitiser stocks and are moving inventory to Delhi-NCR, Kerala, Jaipur and Hyderabad, where demand has jumped multiple times in the last few days. These retailers said sales of hand wash, too, have spiked."Heightened awareness coupled with social media is making consumers conscious of personal hygiene," said Spencer's Retail MD Devendra Chawla. "Sales of sanitisers in the last three days have tripled and the segment has been growing by more than 100% in the last one month," he said.Future Group president (food business) Kamaldeep Singh said while there is stock, there is pressure in pipeline for sanitiser. "Brands have to ramp up production. We are confident to meet the demand for hand wash and moving stock of sanitiser from other markets to cities where demand is huge," he said.Industry executives said sanitiser manufacturers like Reckitt Benckiser and Himalaya Drugs are expanding production. Himalaya Drug Company CEO Philipe Haydon confirmed production hike, saying sales is up ten times following the outbreak. ITC spokesperson said there is "adequate supply" of Savlon hygiene products.Grofers CEO Albinder Dindsha said he expects the frontline sanitiser brands to be back in stock soon. He said Delhi-NCR and Hyderabad together witnessed a five-fold surge in demand in the last three days, which is the highest increase in sales in any category in over six months. Big Basket CEO Hari Menon said the company still has no visibility when stocks will be back.Reliance Retail CEO (grocery) Damodar Mall said whenever there is uncertainty of this kind, customers tend to trust organised supermarkets since they know there will be no change in pricing.Reckitt Benckiser, Amazon and Flipkart did not respond for request for comment for this story.Hand sanitiser has been a small category in India, at about Rs 110 crore, which hitherto was growing at 15% per annum.

Leveraging global supply chain to avert Covid-19 impact: Honda

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New Delhi: Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) said it is leveraging its global supply chain to ensure smooth sourcing of components amid Covid-19 outbreak in China, which has disrupted production at several other automakers since last month.Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice-president (marketing and sales) at HMSI, said: "As of yesterday (Wednesday), we have not seen any impact on our production (due to disruption in supplies from China)… We are leveraging our global sourcing chain and closely monitoring the situation."Guleria was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the BS-VI-compliant premium motorcycle Africa Twin, which the company launched at prices starting at Rs 15.35 lakh (exshowroom).Although HMSI has not been affected so far by the Covid-19 outbreak, Guleria said two-wheeler makers will face a tough 2020-21. "FY21will be a challenging year…We do not think that the market will recover and grow volumes over the previous year," he said.Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted supply of components from China, affecting production at Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), MG Motor India, Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motor Company. Most automakers expect production to continue to be affected in March.MG Motor India president Rajeev Chaba told ET, "Supply chains have been disrupted, both from Europe and China, and our production in February and March is impacted. But we see some signs of stabilising and feel that normalcy should be restored in April."Veejay Ram Nakra, chief of sales and marketing, automotive division, M&M, said: "Because of the unforeseeable challenges on parts supply from China, our BS-VI ramp-up has been affected. This has resulted in a high de-growth in our billing volume for February and our dealer inventory is now under 10 days. Going into March, we anticipate challenge on parts supplies to continue for another few weeks before we get back to normalcy."In February, Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motor Company took a 10% hit on production. "The ongoing Covid-19 issue had adversely impacted production at the manufacturing facilities of Hero MotoCorp in India in the month of February. Since then, substantial progress has been made in developing alternative sources for procuring components. Meanwhile, the component makers in China, having restarted production, are also expected to resume normal supplies soon," Hero MotoCorp said in a statement recently.Meanwhile, TVS Motor Company said while the company's direct dependency on China is limited for components, some tier II suppliers have been impacted adversely. The company's CEO KN Radhakrishnan said, "To minimise the impact on production of BS-VI vehicles, we are consistently monitoring developments with those of our suppliers who are sourcing certain components from China. Parallelly, we are also exploring suppliers in other regions and are looking to localise within India. As a customer-centric organisation, our endeavour is to ensure that the impact on our customers and operations is minimal."

Nifty down 11% from highs, but fall not over yet: CLSA

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Benchmark indices have corrected 9 per cent from their all-time high levels, but CLSA said that top indicators are yet to signal a final low."Possibly, a large part of price fall may have played out but we may see a longer correction period," said CLSA.Indian markets have been hit by the global sell-off as the Covid-19 spreads beyond China. Even India, which had been relatively less impacted till last week has seen new confirmed cases of the virus. Earlier this week, the Nifty touched a low of 11,036.25 intraday, which would mean an 11 per cent correction from its lifetime high levels.According to CLSA, the ongoing decline is the 19th instance of an over-10 per cent fall in the Nifty since 1992.Earnings yield of the Nifty minus the 10-year bond yield is near levels which have coincided with historical Nifty bottoms. The Nifty earnings yield is only 0.2 percentage point above the bond yeild which indicates that attractiveness of equities is rising compared to debt. 74503516 However, market's volume, volatility, momentum and breadth indicators have yet to confirm a low."With valuations (PE and vs the 10-year bond) supportive but momentum indicators yet to signal a bottom, we expect a correction period before a final bottom is made," said CLSA.Daily volumes, volatility and selling intensity in the market tend to peak before a bottom is hit and these indicators are off their peaks when an actual bottom is hit in the market, the brokerage said.In contrast, technical indicators suggest that there may be support for the index at 10,600-10,900 levels."Over the past decade, secondary corrections to the tune of 15 per cent within the framework of a structural bull market is considered a normal bull market correction, offering a favourable risk reward... In the current scenario, the index has already corrected 11 per cent, thereby offering a favourable risk reward," said ICICI Securities.The domestic brokerage firm believes HDFC Bank, United Spirits, Larsen & Toubro, TCS, Tata Steel, Biocon and Bharti Airtel are bargain buys.

Bhasin says SBI buying stake in YES Bank as big as a rate cut

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What happens to Yes Bank now? Do you think that this is the reason why markets are rallying?I think this is as big as an interest rate cut. I mean there was so much bonhomie on negativity on YES Bank that as if the system was totally collapsing. So I think this is as big as a rate cut, which the US Fed did a few days back, and this reinsures confidence from the largest bank that there is enough value in a lender like YES Bank. Secondly, it helps YES Bank tide over the problem of liquidity. They are in the process of getting some other source of funding, but that is all dependent on RBI. So in the very-very immediate term, where people were writing off the bank to go zero, this has come as a very-very big, and it should reinforce confidence in the entire system that there is no problem with banking and nobody will be going down under and so on. So I think this is a very big move. It also stems from the negativity, which coronavirus has caused despite any causality. So I think that this is a blessing in disguise the Fed rate cut, the fall in crude all board extremely well that the second half, maybe April onwards we should start to see the real V-shaped recovery in the economy and globally where equities have bore the brunt of the selling, there should be a huge comeback so I am extremely positive on the broader market coming the month of April. Do not you think that the markets are over-cheery right now with regard to the way the stock of YES Bank has gone up soaring because right now we do not have the details about whether it is a merger, a stake buy, whether it is fund infusion. We do not even know the valuation. So what could it do to YES Bank going forward once the details are there because right now definitely it is a very shocking and a very sudden positive reaction coming by?Well when the stock of YES Bank fell from Rs 50 to Rs 29 there was no alarm bell, so if it just rally 25 per cent, it also tells you that there is a discount of Rs 5 on the futures prices, which is telling you where the bears have got stuck so where do you get this type of arbitrage. It is telling you that a lot of people who were extremely negative have been caught flat-footed. And like I said we will wait for the numbers, but I think Yes Bank putting it into a perspective if the liquidity infusion comes through State Bank of India and a consortium, it will give it a much needed breather. It is a very high bank on the technology platform and I think if they can weather through this liquidity crunch then we are looking at a much better scenario on credit growth in the second half of the year on the back of the rabi crop and so on. Also, I think they will have enough momentum to shore up earnings over there after the asset weakness, which is already evident. So I think it is a cause for celebration in fact that the system is responding very-very proactively rather than reactively which is what the Fed did when he cut 50 bps ahead of the meet. If SBI had to take this bank over, what would it mean for SBI, yes there will be integration issues, but after that?Let us not value SBI on the basis of just this one bank, they are doing it as -- we do not know whether it is an investment or it is a merger or what, we will know the details as they come. SBI has enough fire power, it has a book of Rs 20 lakh crore as a lending book, for them to absorb this may not be all that difficult. Look at what they are encashing in sum of parts SBI Card, the other businesses so they are amply sufficient with liquidity and the technology platform from YES Bank once you take away the negatives over a period of time could actually enlarge their ecommerce and other things which is very-very prevalent on Yes Bank. So I think in the sum of parts, we will have to wait for the final numbers, but I would think it is a win-win for both.

Data Bill: Global trade bodies raise privacy concerns

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NEW DELHI: More than a dozen technology and business trade groupings from the US, Europe and Japan have jointly asked a parliamentary panel examining the draft personal data protection (PDP) bill to protect the "privacy of Indian citizens" and "remove barriers" to the growth of the country's economy.The coalition, which represents companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and IBM among others, has raised concerns over areas such as data localisation, government access to non-personal data and the classification of sensitive and critical data. The letter was addressed to Meenakshi Lekhi, head of the joint select committee."We are concerned that some provisions in the PDP Bill would hamper the country's economic growth, constrain the ability of companies operating in the market to innovate, and in some cases potentially undermine the protection of Indian citizens' privacy," the letter said. 74503957 The groups include the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), CompTIA, DIGITALEUROPE, and Japan Electronics and Information Technology Association (JEITA)."I really hope this law doesn't kill the golden goose that laid the golden egg," Stephen Braim, vice president, government affairs, IBM Asia Pacific, told ET separately.'Establish Clear Parameters'"No one really knows what the long-term effect will be but I think with the innovation opportunity that is going to present itself in the next five years, anything that would weigh down the Indian IT services is going to have a long-term negative effect."In fiscal 2019, India's software and services exports stood at $137 billion, a fourth of overall exports of $535.5 billion, according to government data. In fiscal year 2020, software exports are expected to grow to $147 billion.The letter called for removal of the clause that makes it mandatory for companies to share non-personal, anonymous data with the government."The ambiguity in the definitions, and the restrictions on where data must be stored based on those definitions, presents a serious constraint for many companies when planning their future investments in India," it said.The coalition asked the government to wait for recommendations that will be made by a committee led by Infosys cofounder Kris Gopalakrishnan on non-personal data, before finalising any legislation."Relatedly, we also respectfully ask that the government of India establish clear parameters for government access to both personal and non-personal data, grounded in rule-of-law processes that protect the privacy of citizens and business confidence," it said.After the PDP Bill was tabled in Parliament in December last year, it was referred to the joint parliamentary committee, which had asked stakeholders to send feedback by February 25. The committee is likely to ask stakeholders to appear before it to understand their concerns.The signatories also included ACT | The App Association, Internet Association (IA), National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and techUK.

Productivity in India not at par with global standard, says survey

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Bengaluru: Despite India having one of the largest and cheapest workforces, the productivity isn't yet at par with the rest of the world, says a study by Kronos in association with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).The 'Future of Work – Trends at Work and Workplace' study highlights employer sentiments on the trends that will impact the future of work, enabled by disruptive technologies. The study purports to identify the leading elements impacting the workforce, and its immediate ramifications for organisations.At various levels, productivity impacts the cost of goods and services and improving productivity could have a significant impact on India as a global player. In order to improve operational efficiencies, organisations are looking at automating critical areas around planning like manpower forecasting, 24x7 operations, skill-based staffing and incentive computation. Eight in 10 of the survey respondents felt that automating these areas would positively impact employee perceptions around fairness and equity. The study highlights that not only will automation result in more effective and efficient decision making, but it will go a long way in reducing unwarranted biases.To better understand how organisations are looking to improve efficiencies, Kronos and SHRM attempted to assess the top hurdles around productivity and how businesses were tackling them. Both manufacturing and services were unanimously in agreement that employee absenteeism, inaccurate manpower planning and deployment, and skill development were the top three issues hindering productivity improvement. Despite employee absenteeism being the top-ranking hurdle for productivity, barely 25% of the organisations were actually tracking this as part of their productivity metrics. The study indicates that there is definitely a lot more scope for improvement by better aligning metrics to operational barriers."Organisations across the world are facing disruption due to a number of factors including technology advancements and that in turn has changed work, the workplace and the workforce. As a leader in this space it's important for us to understand the impact of these changing trends and their relevance across geographies, industries and cultures," said Sumeet Doshi, country manager, India, Kronos.The study is based on an assessment of employers across the country and identifies the leading elements impacting the workforce in India today as well as its implications for organisations in the near future.

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