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Saudi National Day 23rd September, 2019
His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanKingdom of Saudi Arabia
His HighnessKing Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
His Excellency Dr Saud Bin Mohammed Al SatiSaudi Arabian Ambassador
His Excellency Saad Zafer AlgarnySaudi Consul General
A file picture of Prime Minister Modi with Crown Prince Shaikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
Modi to visit UAE, BahrainABU DHABI: Prime Min-ister Narendra Modi will visit the UAE this week-end. Modi will hold talks with His Highness Crown Prince Shaikh Moham-mad Bin Zayed Al Nahy-an on ways to bolster the historic friendship and strategic co-operation be-tween the UAE and India.
The two leaders will also discuss the latest developments and the regional and international issues of common inter-est. Modi’s visit comes in line with the two leader-ship’s keenness to develop their ties of friendship and co-operation further in the best interests of the two nations. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi, Modi is scheduled to visit the UAE on Aug 23-24 and Bahrain on Aug 24-25.
“ Prime Minister Modi would receive the Order of Zayed, the highest civil decoration of the UAE which was con-ferred earlier in April
2019 in recognition of the distinguished leadership of Modi for giving a big boost to
bilateral relations between the two countries,” accord-ing to a statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
The award in the name of Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, acquires
special significance as it was awarded to Prime Minister Modi in the year of the birth
centenary of Shaikh Zayed,” it said. The ministry said India and the UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-fac-eted relations underpinned by cultural, religious and economic linkages which, during Modi’s previous visit to the UAE during August,
2015, stood elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
In Feb 2018, Modi vis-ited the UAE as Chief Guest at the World Gov-ernment Summit. Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had visited India during Feb 2016 and then during Jan, 2017 as the
(Contd. on page 2)
KOCHI: Minister of State for External Affairs V Mu-raleedharan promised more flights to Kerala from the Gulf countries during the coming Onam season.
The minister said start-ing more flight services was one way out to address the problem of steep rise in air-fares for international flights from the Gulf countries during the festival season. He was addressing the 10th anniversary of the Pravasi Legal Cell here. Muraleed-haran said the civil aviation ministry was also looking at other options to address the issue of the spike in air ticket prices during festival seasons such as Onam.
Recently, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-had held discussions with Union civil aviation officials in New Delhi on various issues, including airfares, increasing flights and fur-ther developing aviation in-frastructure in the state. The chief minister had sought more flight services by Air India and budget carriers to Kerala.
Gulf fl ights for OnamSmugglers active
in gold businessMUMBAI: With the Union government jacking up im-port duty on gold, smug-gling of the yellow metal from Gulf countries, Singa-pore and Malaysia is in full swing. Ever since customs duty on the precious metal was raised from 10pc to 12.5pc on July 5 in a des-perate attempt to narrow the fiscal deficit, not a day passes without the arrest of gold-runners by eagle-eyed officials at one airport or the other in the country.
While customs sleuths at Kochi on Aug 6 busted a gang of six who had sneaked in 25 kg of gold bars from Dubai in the past few days, Sri Lankan officials collared six Chennai-bound Indian tourists carrying contraband gold worth Rs 17 million, at an international airport on Aug 4. On Aug 3, even as gold prices zoomed to almost Rs 37,000 per 10 gram, seven gold biscuits worth Rs 2.9 million were recovered from
a passenger, who had arrived at New Delhi from Dammam (Saudi Arabia), and his ac-complice, an employee of Air India SATS, a joint ven-ture between Air India and Singapore-based SATS.
What’s more, whip-smart contrabandists have hit upon novel tricks to bam-boozle even alert law-keep-ers for pushing gold into
India. If three women who had travelled from Colombo with gold paste concealed in plastic sheaths in their rectum were hauled up at Bengaluru airport, 2 kg of gold in paste form hidden
in a waist band and floppy slip-pers was con-fiscated from a frequent flyer who had landed at Kochi from Dubai. Indeed, among other in-genious modus operandi, smug-glers have of late been hiding gold in toys, radios, bag handles , brass pipes, in-duction cookers, damaged chairs, e m e r g e n c y
lights, vacuum cleaners and hidden cavities of cars to throw dust in the eyes of the airport officials.
On the (Contd. on page 2)
CV-profi le key to UAE jobs, say expertsABU DHABI: Candidates should populate their CVs and humanise the content.Since the UAE’s job mar-ket is highly competitive -- with people jockeying for position not just locally but also regionally and glob-ally --- maintaining proper profiles and populating it to catch the attention of the HR executives is of utmost im-portance in order to improve chances of getting hired.
There are quite a few job opportunities that have come up in the UAE, re-cently.
“The local market is be-coming very competitive. We are living in a city which is among the top cities, where people from other parts of the world want to relocate
to,” says Anas Al Marei, director of social media solutions at PwC Academy. “So we are not only compet-ing with people here in the country but in the region and globally also. If you ask any HR executive, they say they receive CVs from every single corner of this world.”Personal profi le
Candidates should popu-late their CVs and humanise the content and should not be robotic, he adds. “Be-ing a good prospect in the market is like a hot lady; everyone wants to talk to her. Similarly, you should present yourself as good in what you do that most of the companies reach out to you,” Al Marei said.
“Looking for a job doesn’t
start when you lose a job, but you have to be always alert building your personal pro-file and relations with the employers. So looking for a desired job is a non-stop process. We should not look for a job only when we lose it. It is too late for that.” He revealed that another secret sauce to improve chances of getting a job is to use keywords in online profiles, which people use in the industry so that people are easily discoverable.
“No matter how good you are, if you don’t have the right skills listed on your profile or the text de-tailing your profile, no one will find about you. It is like your own Ferrari, but don’t have enough money to
maintain and run the car, so what is the point of having it? Having an online profile alone is not enough; techni-cally, managing and building content and creating your network is a component you need to think of.” He stressed that the aesthetic look of the profile is as important as engaging with professionals of the field to stay in touch with people in the industry and to know what is happen-ing around you.
“Your profile is a precious thing - think of it as your passport or ID that you share with only those who matter. When you show your CV or LinkedIn profile, you are ex-posing yourself. It is human psychology that some people (Contd. on page 2)
Reviving growth RBI’s priorityMUMBAI: RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said re-viving economic growth remains his top priority and urged bankers to pass on past interest rate cuts to borrowers at a faster pace.
The six-member mon-etary policy committee is giving growth the “highest priority”, Das said at a bank-ing conference on Monday here. Policymakers, finan-cial sector representatives and bankers were all con-
cerned about how to revive activity in Asia’s third-larg-est economy, he said.
The call comes as high-frequency data signal a worsening slowdown in the economy with car sales in July dropping the most in almost two decades and infrastructure sector out-put in June growing at the slowest pace in more than four years. RBI has taken ad-vantage of benign inflation to lower interest rates by a
cumulative 110 basis points since Feb to help bolster growth, putting it ahead of its Asian peers in the cur-rent easing cycle. “Today we are all aware that there are challenges which the busi-ness community is dealing with in the real economy,” Das said. “There are global headwinds emanating from issues like trade and geopo-litical tension.”
Government bonds pa- red losses (Contd. on page 2)
Stimulus package for industry on anvilNEW DELHI: Finance Minis-ter Nirmala Sitharaman met Prime Minister Modi for con-sultations on a booster dose for the economy. During the meeting, it was decided that the government had to take steps to arrest the decline in fortunes of several sectors. The package could be an-nounced at any time.
She had last week met representatives from several distressed sectors, includ-ing public and private sec-tor banks, MSMEs, NBFCs, automobiles, financial ser-vices, FPIs, steel and real estate sector. Sources said a consensus had been reached on boosting some of the sectors in trouble and steps had been taken to address one of the sources: Lack of
liquidity with non-banking finance companies that had been lending to the automo-bile and real estate sectors. Industrialists had suggested injecting liquidity in the system to the tune of Rs 1-lakh-crore.
Among the steps being considered are offering GST relief to some segments in the automobile sector and restoring input tax credit for the real estate sector. But both these measures will have to be taken to the GST Council for discussion and it is a moot point how many states would be willing to forego revenue on this ac-count. In the realty sector, there is a consensus between the industry and the govern-ment on increasing the tax
for premium real estate but the former also wants resto-ration of input tax credits to take place in tandem.Likely measures
The proposed surcharge on the foreign portfolio in-vestors (FPIs) may be re-versed through tweaking as it has done incalculable damage to the stock market. Long-term capital gain tax to be enhanced to three years. GST rate could be slashed to 18pc across all auto segments. Further, lower registration and road tax levies may provide addi-tional cushion as the festival season kicks in. One-time stimulus package for real estate developers is on cards since both auto and realty sectors are job providers.
Lawsuit fi led against US-Indian widow NEW YORK: The widow of an Indian-American who committed suicide in 2016, a week after being indicted for insider trad-ing, is faced with a lawsuit asking her to cough up $105 million her husband earned at the firm.
News reports said the hedge fund alleg-edly swindled by Sanjay Valvani is suing to get the $105 million he earned at the firm back from his widow.
His big-bucks earnings for Visium As-set Management during the decade he was
employed at the $8 billion hedge fund made Valvani, 44, the “health-care industry star on Wall Street,” the company said in its Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, accord-ing to a news report.
Valvani was indicted along with two others for using non-public information on drug applications allegedly to game the stock market.
The 44-year Duke University grad had “appeared to generate legitimate substantial positive returns” for the firm and its funds.
2 EMIGRATION Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Published by IPEPCIL Publications LtdRNI No.: MAHENG/2018/76663
Publisher: Supreet M.J.Editor : E.L. VaidyanathanVolume No.: 1, Issue: 90
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Modi to visit UAE, Bahrain(Contd. from page 1)Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations. “With robust flow of bilateral investments and an annual bilateral trade of about US$60 billion, the UAE is our third-largest trade partner. Also, the UAE is the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India. A 3.3 million-strong vibrant Indian community in the UAE nourishes the vibrant people-to-people contacts between our two friendly countries. The visit would further strengthen our friendly bilateral ties with the UAE.”Visit to Bahrain
The prime minister would also be paying a state visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain from Aug 24-25, 2019. Modi’s will be the first-ever prime ministerial visit from India to Bah-rain. During the visit, Modi would be meeting and holding talks with His Royal Highness Prince Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain to discuss entire spectrum of bilateral relations and also regional and international issues of mutual interest. “His Majesty the King of Bahrain Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will be hosting a banquet dinner in honour of Modi. The PM would also launch the renovation of Shreenathji (Shree Krishna) temple in Manama.”
India enjoys close and friendly relations with Bahrain rooted in ancient trade and cultural links and people-to-people con-tacts and underpinned by regular exchange of high level visits.
Smugglers active in gold...(Contd. from page 1)one hand, gold-runners have started using people working in the Gulf for smuggling, and on the other, down-at-heel Muslims wanting to perform the expensive pilgrimage of Umrah are also lured into the illegal activity with offers of hassle-free travel to Gulf and jewellery at throwaway prices. Also, the runners, who hitherto travelled by airplanes and trains, have started using cars to bring in the contraband through porous borders with neighboring countries.
No wonder, members of the all-India Jewellery Trade Council (GJF) recently met federal finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi and told her that the import duty hike would only encourage gold smuggling, and pointed out that 300 tonnes of gold was being brought into India through unofficial channels, leading to huge revenue losses.
With seizures of contraband gold day after day in the past few weeks even before Nirmala Sitharaman an-nounced the 2.5pc import duty hike in her maiden budget speech, speculation was rife in commodity circles that the customs duty will be drastically cut from 10pc to four per cent in the none-to-distant future.
Even the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council had been demanding a massive import duty reduction in precious metal to help double the country’s gold jewellery exports to US$18 billion and add three million jobs to the existing five million, and importers were licking their lips because federal ministers had been hinting at this prospect at major business summits.
DUBAI: Despite authori-ties’ continuous awareness efforts against bogus in-vestment portfolios, several people still fall prey to Ponzi schemes.
The number of people who end up losing all their hard-earned savings after investing in bogus schemes --- lured by high revenues over a short span of time - are increasing every day, accord-ing to reports. In recent years, the UAE witnessed several such bogus portfolios involv-ing hundreds, if not thou-sands, of victims. Some of them still have outstanding claims before the courts. In one of the most recent Ponzi schemes that were seen by the Dubai Courts, over 500 complaints had been filed against two Indian execu-tives, who were involved in a $200-million fraud.
Hundreds of investors were lured into currency trading (forex market) with promises of high monthly profits. At some point, the promoters stopped paying the investors, who then approached the court to re-
Beware of Ponzi scamsters in UAEcover their money. The duo was sentenced to more than 500 years each in jail --- one year for every criminal case.Illegal projects
Emirati lawyer Abdul Moneim bin Suwaidan of Bin Suwaidan Firm for Ad-vocates and Legal Counsels warned against such portfo-lios, saying they are illegal. “It usually starts with people amassing funds from their friends who also tell their friends about it. A fictitious project would then start where people are promised a high percentage of monthly profits, which are far higher than what banks deliver. The investments are made with-out guarantees, except for the cheques that are issued as security deposits to tempt and invite more depositors.
“In the first few months, people would indeed get a percentage of profits. How-ever, they are unaware that it is paid from their own money, while the remaining larger amount of the deposit would be the scamster’s share.” Such financial deal-ings are prohibited by law
and only banks are autho-rised to engage in such a business, with an authorisa-tion from Central Bank.
“Wi th the secur i ty cheque (issued against the amount invested), an in-vestor can file a criminal complaint at a police station. For civil claims, they resort to the civil court. After the legal proceedings, the court may preemptively order se-questration of the property ---- real estate, cars, bank ac-counts and whatever assets the holder of the portfolio has locally and offshore. “In some high-profile cases, spe-cial committees were formed by the Dubai Courts upon a royal decree. Those com-mittees were assigned with assessing and liquidating the properties and freezing the funds and accounts of the individuals and businesses in question, for distribution among the depositors on ‘in-vestment quotas basis’,” Bin Suwaidan explained. If there is no such committee, the claimant, who filed a civil lawsuit, is compensated on the basis of “first come first
served” , irrelevant of any other victim who did not file such claims.Legal action
“Victims should not hesi-tate to take legal action as the defendant might dispose of his property and the claim-ants could consequently lose their chance to get their money back. The execution judge may give the defen-dant a chance and (may) grant him bail for a month or two to arrange for a right way to settle his dues to the creditors,” Bin Suwaidan pointed out.
The criminal side of the case has nothing to do with the civil claim. “Whoever issues a dud cheque in such investments will serve time in jail, unless the complain-ants relinquishes their right to pursue the legal proceed-ings following a settlement.
“Better be safe than sorry --- such investments should happen through banks only. With banks, everything hap-pens by the book and peo-ple’s funds and rights will be safeguarded,” the lawyer advised.
Indian student wins Spelling Bee
Navneeth Murali receiving the South Asian Spelling Bee award.
NEW JERSEY: An Indian American teen from Edison, New Jersey, was victorious in the 2019 South Asian Spell-ing Bee, correctly spelling “flipe” to earn the national title and $3,000 grand prize.
By correctly spelling the word that means to strip off by or as if by peeling, Navneeth Murali bested Hephzibah Sujoe (13) of Fort Worth, Texas; Pranav Nanda-kumar (13) of Austin, Texas and Vayun Krishna (12) of Sunnyvale, California, who all tied for the runner-up position, the bee said.
“It fills my heart to see such talented young spellers from across the country who make us proud as a community,” South Asian Spelling Bee founder Rahul Walia said in a statement. “The initiative is unique in its reach and engage-ment and with the help of the SAS-Bee programme, we were able to give even more spellers the opportunity to win it all and raise the bar even higher. My heartiest congratulations to the winner,” Walia added.
The bee was open to chil-dren up to 14 years of age and
was held in five regional cen-ters across the US , including New Jersey, the Washington Metro area, Dallas, the San
Francisco Bay Area and Char-lotte. Over 600 spellers from these centers participated from which 15 finalists took the stage at the finals.
“We are extremely happy with Naveneeth’s win at the bee as it goes to show that
today’s South Asian kids are all well-rounded and highly dedicated to their craft,” Tim Tan, managing director
of Kawan Food, the event sponsor. The initiative was organised by multicultural advertising firm Touchdown Media Inc. Sony Entertain-ment Television Asia will broadcast the event across the globe in over 120 countries.
Aramco deal will help Reliance to reduce $42b debtNEW DELHI: Reliance In-dustries’ deal to sell a 20pc stake in its oil to chemicals business to Saudi Aramco will reap major dividends for both companies, analysts said.
Under the terms of the non-binding deal an-nounced, the conglomerate will get roughly $15 billion for the 20pc stake, money that it will use to pare its massive debt load. Reliance has an overall debt of nearly $42 billion including $20 billion at its fibre division which the group is currently in talks to sell. In exchange, Reliance will buy up to five lakh barrels a day of crude oil from Aramco, more than double its current purchase.
Reliance chairman and the country’s richest man Mukesh Ambani said that the company had been pro-cessing Saudi crude oil ev-ery single day for the past 20 years and this deal, among
the largest foreign invest-ments in India, signified “perfect synergy between the world’s largest oil pro-ducer and the world’s larg-est integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex.” The deal will cover all of Re-liance’s refining and petro-chemicals assets, including 51pc of its petroleum retail joint venture.Strategic partners
Reliance has been on the lookout for strategic partners for its businesses to help it in its goal of reducing its debt, said Ajay Bodke, CEO , portfolio management ser-vices at Prabhudas Lilladhar, a brokerage. “Reliance has become a net debt company from a net cash company. Whatever money that flows in from this deal will be used by Reliance to deleverage,” he said. It’s “a marriage made in heaven because you have the largest oil explorer in the world tying up with
India’s largest oil to chemi-cals company,” he added.
Gagan Dixit, vice presi-dent institutional equities research at Elara Capital, agreed that the deal will give Reliance “much needed capital.” Plus, “refining is a dying business and they can use this money for the high margin business of chemi-cals,” he said.
That apart, historically Reliance has bought oil from Iran and Venezuela, both of which are under US sanc-tions. This deal helps Reli-ance secure its supplies and ensures Aramco that additional business as well, said Dixit. Aramco has been beefing up its business in Asia, especially with some of the large importers of crude oil. With the US, the world’s largest consumer of energy, depending less on Saudi Arabia for oil, Aramco needs new markets to hedge its bets. India, one of the
largest energy consumers in the world after the US and China, fits the bill.
The Aramco deal is the latest in a series of moves by Reliance to sell non-core assets or establish joint ven-tures to reduce debt. Speak-ing to shareholders, Ambani said the group will become a zero net debt company within 18 months.
Ahead of the Aramco deal, Reliance announced a joint venture with global oil major BP to set up a nation-wide network of fuel retail outlets where Reliance will have a 51pc stake, to cash in on rising demand in the country. It will also market aviation turbine fuel to cater to India’s growing aviation industry.
“Our transactions with Saudi Aramco and BP will create win-win relation-ships, generating significant strategic value for our part-ners,” Ambani said.
Reviving growth RBI’s...
(Left to Right) Lulu Official Archana Anand, Indian Ambassador to UAE Navdeep Singh Suri with his wife Saifee Rupawala and Nandakumar V, marketing head of Lulu at Celebrating India.
JAIPUR: Narendra Kumar Jain, president of Employers’ Association of Rajasthan, is a happy man, thanks to the labour reforms, initiated in 2014-15 under the then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. “There is industrial peace in the state,” says Jain. Ishwar Chand Agar-wal, Chairman of Genus Power Infrastructures Lim-ited, agrees. “For the last five years, there has been no la-bour unrest (in Rajasthan)”.
In 2014-15, the Raje-led Rajasthan government amended four labour laws: The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970; The Factories Act, 1948 and The Appren-tices Act (1961). Under the amended Industrial Dis-putes Act, employers could retrench up to 300 employ-ees without permission of the government — this was capped at 100 employees earlier, a worker should raise an objection regarding dis-charge, dismissal, retrench-ment or termination within
Labour reforms boost Rajasthan’s MSME sectorthree years while there was no time limit earlier and that the trade union can be formed only if it gets 30pc of the total workers as mem-bers, up from 15pc.
Further, complaints against the employer about a violation of the Factories Act do not receive cognisance by a court without prior written permission from the state government. The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abo-lition) Act, 1970 was made applicable only to companies that employed more than 50 workers, up from 20 workers earlier. And under The Ap-prentices Act, the stipend for apprentices was “no less than
the minimum wage”.Not surprisingly, the lat-
est Economic Survey of India praised Rajasthan, holding it up as a role model for the rest of the country. Comparing the change in Compound An-nual Growth Rates (CAGR) two years before and two years after the law change, the Survey noted, “It can be clearly seen that, for all variables, CAGR post labour reforms in Rajasthan has in-creased significantly vis-à vis the Rest of India”. Moreover, the number of firms with 100 employees or more have increased at a significantly higher rate in Rajasthan than in the rest of India.
(Contd. from page 1)after Das’ comments that stoked expectations of more rate cuts. Nevertheless, commercial lenders have passed on only a fraction of the past easing to borrowers, much to the frustration of the central bank.
Das termed as “encouraging” the move by some banks such as SBI to link their lending rates to the benchmark repo rate. But the central bank’s expectation is for bor-rowing costs to move lower faster, he said, adding that the time has come to formalise the linking of lending rates to external benchmarks. He said maintaining financial sta-bility was key to growth, at a time when the economy was facing headwinds from upheavals in credit and financial markets, the external sector and the payments space.
India’s economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 5.8pc in the quarter ended March, as investments dropped and consumers held back on spending amid worries about job losses. Data due Aug 30 will probably show the economy expanded 6.1pc in the April-June period, accord-ing to a Bloomberg survey. That pace is slower than the seven to eight per cent growth seen in the past few years.
CV-profi le key to UAE jobs, say experts(Contd. from page 1)don’t hire those who have been fired, thinking that they were not productive enough in their previous job. So they prefer hiring someone who is currently employed,” he added. While pointing out common mis-takes in profiles, Najat Ab-dalhadi, senior corporate
communication manager for the Mena at LinkedIn, noted that people, surprisingly, don’t complete their profiles.
“If you upload a picture, you are nine times more likely to be seen in searches. Also, use keywords, which recruiters look for. So popu-late your profile with any-thing you can do because be-
ing idle is a big mistake; keep engaged and post content to grab attention of the people,” she suggested. Marwan Al Nemr, public sector director for the Mena at LinkedIn, advised people not to bug HRs time and again once you have reached them for a job. “Commit to your work and people will approach you.
3GULF JOBS & OPPORTUNITIESTuesday, August 20, 2019
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An IPEPCIL initiative to help Gulf job-seekers
Indian Personnel Export Promotion Council (IPEPCIL) is a 39-year-old professional body devoted to resolving the grievances of overseas placement community. This council consists of only registered
recruiting agencies who are legally and professionally engaged in sending manpower to overseas, particularly to the Gulf nations.
IPEPCIL Publications (P) Ltd.IPEPCIL Publications is publishing NEWS AND NRI CONNECT, which is the “Gateway
to Global Opportunities”. Published from India’s business capital Mumbai, this bi-weekly (Tuesday and Friday) newspaper is circulated pan-India. This English newspaper carries Gulf and national placement advertisements and provides authentic and useful information of Indian and overseas recruitment, critical news packets of job opportunities and crucial changes in policies that affects the industry.
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4 GULF JOBS & OPPORTUNITIES Tuesday, August 20, 2019
CHENNAI: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) are working on ‘Osmot-ic Power’ or power from estuaries, an alternative source of power, it was announced.
“Osmotic power genera-tion is, as name suggests, based on the osmotic pres-sure that is generated when a semi-permeable mem-brane separates salt water from fresh water. This pressure can be converted into electricity,” Vishal Nandigana, Assistant Pro-fessor, Fluid Sytems Lab-oratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, was quoted as saying in a statement from IIT-M.
“The first osmotic pow-erplant was built in 2009 in Tofte, Norway, and pro-duced 4 kilowatt of power, which, while sufficient to perhaps run a clothes
IIT-Madras researchers working on power from estuaries
dryer, is inefficient for any large scale use,” the Institute said.
In 2016, a team at the University of Illinois, Ur-bana Champaign, found that membranes made of extremely thin layer of molybdenum di-sulphide
were able to generate os-motic power of 1 MW per square metre.
Nandigana was also part of the University of Illinois team.
In a recent study pub-
lished in the Nature Re-view Materials, Nandigana takes the research further and presents a detailed dis-cussion of the membrane’s potential with comparisons and pointers to go forward.
“Our molybdenum sul-fide membrane produces
higher power density than other membranes studied so far and is much better than its nearest competitor boron nitride nanotubes, which have been shown to produce power density
of only 1 kW/m2,” Nandi-gana said.
“The increase in power generation compared to earlier studies is because of the use of single atomic layer of molybdenum di-sulphide, which is ion-selective, and the osmotic pressure generated volt-age is augmented by the ionic current produced,” he added.
According to the state-ment, the IIT-M team is trying to first produce membranes in the scale of square centimetres rather than square micrometres that are currently pos-sible, with future plans to increase size further.
This is based on the calculation that a single membrane, roughly one square meter wide, would generate enough power to light up 50,000 energy-sav-ing light bulbs, IITM said.
BENGALURU: The Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore will host a three-day International Confer-ence on Public Policy and
Management from August 22–24, 2019. The confer-ence has been organized to encourage discussion, debate, and conversations on current policy issues like evaluating Education in India, Contemporary Issues in Infrastructure
IIMB to host 14th intl meet on public policy and mgmt
Development, Health Sec-tor: Issues and Solutions, Public Expenditure Review of Health and Education in the Select States, Barriers
to Trade, Political Economy and Governance, Trends in Migration, Economics of Inequality, and many more.
The event shall see Dr Gagandeep Kang, Execu-tive Director, Translational Health Science and Tech-nology Institute, Faridabad,
delivering the keynote ad-dress on ‘Trials and Tribu-lations: Clinical Research in India’. Renana Jhab-vala, Padma Shri awardee,
Chairperson and Board of Director member of Sitara, a Self-Employed Women’s Associa-tion (SEWA) ini-tiative, will deliv-er the valedictory talk on ‘Women, Work, and the Economy’.
The confer-ence will have p l e n a r i e s o n ‘Changing Faces
of Media in the New Era’, and ‘Federation and Decen-tralization’. The objective of the conference is to provide a forum for ex-posure to new ideas and methodologies, hopefully leading to cross-learning and collaboration.
BENGALURU: Content writ-ing offers endless opportuni-ties for everyone. Excellent writing skills will always be an asset whether you want to start your career, excel in the corporate world, or build a high-income online business.
The good thing is, any-one can learn to write well. Good reading habits and a flair for writing provides a good foundation upon which you can build your career. Thus, if you are ready to up-grade your skills and boost your earning potential, then consider content writing as your first option. Here are some benefits of a career in content writing.
Excellent writing skills lead to crisp thinking. Every job in the world requires well-structured, analytical
Career in content writingthinking. Thus, if you are a good writer, you may help your colleagues in many ways. From writing persua-sive emails, handling escala-tions and negotiating deals, to creating engaging presen-tations, you can help your colleagues with intellectual tasks. Thus, excellent writ-ing skills can fast-track your way up the corporate ladder and help you accomplish your professional goals.
As a writer, you can work from home, make your own schedule, and work as much or as little as you please. All you need is a laptop and a stable internet connection. Excellent writing skills can help you build a sound and high profile without sub-stantial initial investments.
Some writers choose to specialise in any one of the
following streams: Copywriter: Copywrit-
ers write short, crisp and persuasive content to con-vince the reader to take action. They are the voice behind all the ads you see on the internet and elsewhere.
Copywriters usually charge from Rs 500-3000 per hour.
Technical writer: Since a
subject matter expert (SME) may not be a good writer and a good writer may not be an SME, there is always a good demand for skilled technical writers. Techni-cal writers charge anything between Re 1 to Rs 5 per
word depending on their expertise.
Business writer: The
task of business writers in-volves writing emails, busi-ness blogs and articles, web content, case studies, press releases, etc. As a freelance business writer, you tend to develop a direct writing style that helps in getting things done. Business writ-ers charge anything between 50 paise to Rs 3 per word.
Academic writer: The market of freelance academ-ic writing is booming due to the exponential growth of the e-learning industry and personalised assistance to students. Academic writers charge 50 paise to Rs 3 per word as their professional fee.
Blogging: If you have technical expertise in a particular field, then this is the best option to build a promising online business.
Start a blog, post quality content regularly, build an audience, and monetise the blog. It takes around six to nine months to generate sig-nificant income from a blog. Once you get an audience, there is no looking back.
Digital marketer: Content is the heart and soul of digi-tal marketing. Most of the successful digital marketers are also good writers. Hone your writing skills if you want to achieve significant tangible results through your digital marketing efforts.
Published author: Be-coming a published author was never so easy. There are plenty of free self-publishing tools that you can use to for-mat and publish your books in minutes. All you need is a well-written draft that can resonate with your audience.
Professional content writing is entirely different from writing casual social media posts. Spare some time in understanding the business of content writing and digital marketing before you take the plunge. If re-quired, join a professional content writing and digital marketing before you take the plunge. If required, join a professional content writing course that helps you acquire all types of writing skills and assists you in monetising your skills. Remember, no mat-ter what you do, written communication will always act as a catalyst in your success. Finally, as a writer, you have the potential to change the lives of millions of people through your en-gaging content.
NEW DELHI: The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) has invited applications for the post of Managing Director and Chief Executive Offi-
cer (MD and CEO) in two major public sector banks, Punjab National Bank and Bank of India.
The post of MD and
BBB invites applications for top posts in PNB, Bank of India
CEO in PNB will fall va-cant after incumbent Sunil Mehta superannuates on September 30. The post in Bank of India is lying va-
cant since July 1 after Din-bandhu Mohapatra retired. The top post in another major state-run lender Bank of Baroda will fall vacant in
October when the extended term of the bank’s CEO and MD P S Jaikumar will end. However, the BBB has not included the vacancy in its latest selection process.
As per the BBB’s recruit-ment notice, candidates can apply for the vacancies at PNB and BOI till Septem-ber 16. The appointments will be for three years. “To help assess the leadership competencies and potential capabilities of shortlisted candidates an advisory firm may assist the Banks Board Bureau. “The advi-sory firm will have no role in shortlisting. Shortlist-ed applicants will appear for interactions with the Bureau,” the notice said. Based on the interactions,
the BBB said it will send its recommendation to the government.
PNB was hit by a mas-sive fraud amounting to about Rs 14,000 after it came to light that jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi fraudulently siphoned off the money in connivance with of some officials of the bank.
Bank of India was in the Prompt Corrective Action framework, but the RBI lifted the curbs in January this year af-ter it met the regulatory norms including Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) and net NPAs of less than 6pc as per third-quarter results.
NEW DELHI: Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro will launch in India on August 20. Both the phones will have a quad-camera setup at the back with the ‘Pro’ variant having 48MP primary sensor. The phones will be successors to Realme 3 and Realme 3 Pro respectively, which were unveiled in India earlier this year.
Both the Realme phones are listed on Flipkart, which reveals a few specifications. In addition, Realme CEO Madhav Sheth hinted in a tweet that Realm 5 could be priced under Rs 10,000. We take a look at how to watch Realme 5, Realme 5 Pro launch event livestream, expected specifications and India price:
Realme 5, Realme 5 Pro India launch on Aug 20
The company will also stream the event live via its ‘realmeIndia’ YouTube channel. Those interested can head to the channel and click on the ‘Set reminder’ option to get notified when the event begins. In addition, the company is also expected to put out live notifications on its official Twitter and Facebook pages.
Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro will both feature four back cameras. However, the primary sensor on both phones will be different. Realme 5 Pro will have a 48MP Sony IMX586 pri-mary camera, coupled with 119-degree ultra wide-angle secondary lens, super macro lens, and a fourth portrait lens. The phone will ship
with support for VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 (20W) technology, which is said to offer 55 per cent charge in 30 minutes.
Realme 5 sport a pri-mary lens of f/1.8 aperture, while the rest of the three cameras will be the same as Pro variant. The battery will be 5,000mAh. Sheth’s tweet reveals that a new Qualcomm processor in India, suggesting Realme 5 could come with a Snapdragon 665 processor.
In terms of pricing, Realme 5 could be priced un-der Rs 10,000, hinted Sheth in the tweet. While Realme 5 Pro will be a more premium device starting upwards of Rs 12,000. We will have to wait for an official launch to know which storage options are launched.
NEW DELHI: Xiaomi CEO and co-founder Lei Jun has confirmed that the Redmi Note 8 and a new Redmi TV will launch on August 29. Jun shared a Weibo post where he talked about the Redmi TV, emphasising the screen size, which will be 70-inches. He said the prod-uct would be released on August 29. He also replied with a thumbs-up emoji to a comment on the post, asking if the Redmi Note 8
Redmi TV set to launch on Aug 29 alongside Redmi Note 8 Smartphonewould launch on the same day. His reply confirms that the new Redmi phone will also be unveiled on the same day.
Previously, Xiaomi VP and Redmi General Manager Lu Weibing had mention the Redmi Note 8 in a Weibo post, saying that the new variant will be much stron-ger. In a new post, Weib-ing has confirmed that the Redmi Note 8 will have a better camera, longer better
life, higher screen ratio and will feel better in the hand.
Earlier this month, Xiao-mi confirmed that it would launch a phone with the new camera sensor from Samsung. Xiaomi is also working on a camera phone with the 108MP sensor, which will use the sensor from Samsung as well.
Xiaomi had confirmed earlier that the Redmi phone with the 64MP camera will come to India in the fourth
quarter of 2019, which would mean a launch in October-December period. The 64MP camera sensor is being manufactured by Samsung, and this is the ISOCELL Bright GW1 sen-sor.
Samsung has claimed that the ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor can descramble its colour filter to deliver full-size 64MP photos. Oth-er brands like Realme and Samsung are also expected
to launch phones with a 64MP camera later in the year.Redmi Note 8: Expected specifications
It is expected that the Redmi Note 8 will come with the MediaTek G90 series processors. The com-pany had confirmed earlier that they would launch a new gaming phone with the Helio G90T and that this will be a Redmi device. The expectation is that this will
be the new Redmi Note 8.Xiaomi’s India head
Manu Kumar Jain had also posted that a Redmi phone will launch with the same MediaTek processor. It is unclear whether the Redmi Note 8 will get a Pro variant like we saw on the Redmi Note 7 series, and what processor will power this device.
The 64MP camera will be the highlight of the Red-mi Note 8 series no doubt,
given the Redmi Note 7 came with a 48MP camera, which was the major selling point. Like the Redmi Note 7, the Redmi Note 8 will continue with a glass body design and a waterdrop notch on the front.
With Redmi Note series, we have seen a typical re-fresh cycle of 6 months or so from Xiaomi, so it is not surprising that the company is launching the Note 8 so quickly.
GULF JOBS & CAREERS 5Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Researchers discover new pain organ in skinResearchers have dis-
covered a new sen-sory organ that is able
to detect painful mechani-cal damage such as pricks and impacts.
Researchers at Karolinska Institute have discovered this
new sensory organ in the skin that is sensitive to hazardous environmental irritation. It is comprised of glia cells with multiple long protrusions and which collectively go to make up a mesh-like or-
gan within the skin.According to the study
published in the journal -- Science -- this organ is sen-sitive to painful mechanical damage such as pricks and pressure.
The study described
what the new pain-sensi-tive organ looks like, how it is organised together with pain-sensitive nerves in the skin and how activation of the organ results in electri-cal impulses in the nervous
system that result in reflex reactions and experience of pain.
Pain causes suffering and results in substantial costs for society. Almost one person in every five experiences constant pain and there is a considerable need to find new painkilling drugs.
However, sensitivity to pain is also required for sur-vival and it has a protective function. It prompts reflex reactions that prevent dam-age to tissue, such as pull-ing your hand away when you feel a jab from a sharp object or when you burn yourself.
The cells that make up the organ are highly sensi-tive to mechanical stimuli, which explain how they can participate in the detection of painful pinpricks and pressure. In experiments,
the researchers also blocked the organ and saw a resul-tant decreased ability to feel mechanical pain.
“Our study shows that sensitivity to pain does not occur only in the skin’s nerve fibers, but also in this recently-discovered pain-sensitive organ,” said Patrik Ernfors, professor at Karo-linska Institute’s Depart-
ment of Medical Biochem-istry and Biophysics and chief investigator for the study.
“The discovery changes our understanding of the cellular mechanisms of physical sensation and it may be of significance in the understanding of chronic pain,” added Prof Enforce.
BP in midlife may be related to dementia riskA recent study sug-
gests that abnormal blood pressure in
midlife persisting into late life increases the likelihood of developing dementia. “Our results suggest that one’s blood pressure dur-ing midlife may influence how blood pressure later in life relates to dementia risk. We found that individuals with high blood pressure in midlife may benefit from tar-geting their blood pressure to normal levels in later life, as having blood pressure that is too high or too low in late life may further increase dementia risk,” said Keenan Walker, Ph.D., assistant pro-
fessor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
In the study published in the journal of JAMA, re-searchers found that those
people with the high blood pressure condition hyper-tension during middle age
and during late life were 49 per cent more likely to de-velop dementia than those
with normal blood pressure at both times.
But, putting one at even greater risk was having hy-pertension in middle age and then having low blood pressure in late life, which increased one’s dementia risk by 62 per cent. High blood pressure was consid-ered any measurement more than 140/90 millimetres of mercury, whereas low blood pressure was defined as less than 90/60 millimetres of mercury. A cognitive exam, caregiver reports, hospitali-sation discharge codes, and death certificates were used to classify participant brain function and determine cog-
nitive impairment.High blood pressure can
be genetic, but can also be the result of not enough exercise and poor diet. As people age, the top blood pressure number (systolic) oftentimes increases while the bottom number (dia-stolic) can decrease due to structural changes in the blood vessels. Walker said dementia itself may lead to a lowering of blood pres-sure, as it may disrupt the brain’s autonomic nervous system. Stiffening of the arteries from disease and physical frailty can also lead to low blood pressure in late life.
Optimal levels of vitamin D vary from person to personVitamin D require-
ments differ from person to person
and is even dependant on the ethnic groups. A study published in the ‘Metabo-lism, Clinical and Experi-mental’ journal said that those with less than 20 nanograms of Vitamin D
per millilitre of blood have deficiency.
Whereas, the En-docrine Society has set a higher threshold
of 30 nanograms. “Recom-mendations based on ear-lier studies using a number of different tests for vita-min D levels persist and, not surprisingly, current guidelines vary,” said au-thor Sylvia Christakos, a professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
“For example, it is not
clear that the most optimal levels for vitamin D are the same for Caucasians, blacks or Asians alike. More laboratories are now implementing improved tests and efforts are being made to standardize results from different laborato-
ries,” Christakos added.Vitamin D’s main func-
tion is to ensure that our body absorbs calcium. A deficiency of vitamin D can cause delayed development of the skeletal system as well as rickets in children. Adults with deficiency are also at an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Calcium supplements are not enough for to pre-
vent rickets. Vitamin D should be consumed along with them to get optimum results. Elderly people will benefit from taking these supplements. But excess of vitamin D is harmful as well. High doses increase the risk of fracture. The Na-tional Academy of Medicine recommends 400 iu/day for infants, 600 iu/day for peo-ple age 1 to 70 and 800 iu/day for people over 70.
Some studies have proven that Vitamin D supplementation has re-duced mortality and others suggest that it is good for immune function, cancer and cardiovascular health. Christakos said a consis-tent benefit of vitamin D supplementation has yet to be shown. However, Chris-takos noted that most stud-ies have not discriminated between participants who are vitamin D sufficient or deficient.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences has rescheduled the
dates for the MBBS coun-selling from August 20-21 to 26-27.
“Considering the large number of candidates and guardians participat-ing in the Open Round of Counselling (AIIMS-MBBS-2019), under the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided by the competent authority that for adequate arrangement and ensuring safety, the Open Round of Counselling has been rescheduled from 20th and 21st August to 26th and 27th August 2019. The online registration for Open Round of Counselling is reopened till 21st August 2019, 5.00 pm,” read the official notification.
AIIMS reschedules MBBS counselling dates
Candidates who take seats in any AIIMS during Open Round of Counsel-ling are required to stay back for Medical Check-up on 27/08/2019 and 28/08/2019 (if needed) to
be held at AIIMS, New Delhi for all AIIMS. The fees and formalities related to admission to all AIIMS, shall be completed at AI-IMS Delhi, the notification
mentioned.AIIMS MBBS counselling 2019: Check cut-off
The cut-off for unre-served category candidates is 50 per cent and for SC/ST candidates it is 40 per
centAIIMS MBBS counselling 2019: Documents needed
• Certificate of having passed the 10+2 or equiva-lent examinations, showing
the subject offered by him/her in the examination
• Certificate from the Board from which he/she passed the High School/Higher Secondary Exami-nation, showing his/her date of birth
• Certificate/mark sheet from the Board from which he/she passed the 10+2 or equivalent examina-tion showing that he/she has secured 60 per cent or more marks (50pc in case of SC/ST/Persons with Benchmark Disability) in aggregate in English, Phys-ics, Chemistry and Biology
• Migration certificate from the University/Board last attended by him/her
• Applicable only to candidate belonging to Scheduled Caste/Tribe/OBC/OPH Category
The Ministry of Hu-man Resource Devel-opment (MHRD) will
launch the world’s biggest teacher training pro-gramme on August 22 to train over 42 lakh teach-ers. “On August 22, the MHRD will launch the world’s biggest proj-ect for teacher train-ing called NISHTHA (National Initiative on School Teachers Head Holistic Advancement), under which more than 42 lakh teachers will be trained,” Rina Ray, Secre-tary, Department of School Education and Literacy, MHRD, said.
“India has traditionally been known for leadership in education and teacher preparation. For thousands of years, Indian teachers
HRD ministry’s new training project to train over 42 lakh teachers
were considered as vishwa guru,” said HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
The achievements of the
ancient Indian education system were legendary, he said, adding that schools were the foundation of any progressive nation and teachers were the power-house of the society, who moulded and shaped the future of students to be-come productive citizens of tomorrow.
Ray said around 19,000
teacher-training institutes across the country were mapped and put on Google Earth. “Users can go online
not only to see the geographical location of these institutes around the country but also to check their report cards and give their feedback,” she added.
Yaduvendra Mathur, Special Secretary, NITI Aayog, was also present
on the occasion.“Teachers are the pil-
lars of society, but it is important to upgrade their skills and ensure that they are trained in the best way. This is only possible in collaboration with teach-er education institutions, which play a key role in their actual transforma-tion,” he said.
IIT-Kharagpur will steer Saraswati 2.0 — a multi-institutional and multi-
crore project funded by the European Union, and the departments of Science and Technology and Biotech-nology of the Central gov-ernment — to treat waste water and make it potable.
The project is set to begin at IIT Kharagpur next month.
“IIT-Kharagpur is the overall Indian coordinator and partner for three pilot projects. While there was a Saraswati project in which we treated waste water, the aim of this project is to
treat waste water to a stan-dard that it can be potable. We are experimenting with different technologies… Of course, once we reach this standard, the water will not be used for drinking, but for horticulture and other such uses. Three plants — an anaerobic digester with bio-electro chemical filter, another with photohetero-tropic bioreactor and one for ultrasonic treatment of sludge — will be set up at IIT-Kharagpur,” said Prof Makarand Madhao Ghan-grekar, Professor in-charge of IIT-Kharagpur’s Aditya Choubey Center for Re-
Water Research.While construction of
these pilots is expected to begin soon, the plants
themselves will be com-missioned by January 2020. The overall objective of
Saraswati 2.0 is to iden-tify the best available and affordable technologies and provide solutions to
challenges in both rural and urban areas, said the professor.
The technologies are to be provided by various universities and research institutes in Europe and
will then be adopted by IIT and its other partner institutes. Seven other pilot plants will be set up in the partnering Indian institutes. At a household decen-tralised level, septic tanks are used for removal of 35-40 per cent organic matter and around 50-60
per cent solids from sew-age. The cost of wastewater treatment hovers around Rs
7-10 per KL for secondary treatment in centralised treatment plants, however they are unable to pro-duce safe reusable quality treated water, except for restricted irrigation, and further tertiary treatment is required. This tertiary treatment will add on the treatment cost… which could be in the range of Rs 10-50 per KL,” said Prof Ghangrekar.
With an overlay of Rs 15 crore, Saraswati 2.0 has been selected under the EU-India Joint Call on Research and Innovation for Water. The EU, through
its research and innova-tion programme ‘Horizon 2020’, and the Centre’s departments, will invest a total of upto Rs 323 crore on various projects, which have an average duration of 4 years.
IIT Kharagpur will man-age the project with its lead European partner — BOKU (University of Natural Re-sources and Life Sciences, Vienna).
Among other Indian partners are IIT-Madras, IIT-Bhubaneswar, IIT-Roor-kee, NITIE, Mumbai, MNIT Jaipur and TERI School of Advanced Studies.
IIT-Kharagpur to lead project to tap waste water
6 IN FOCUS Tuesday, August 20, 2019
GULF FAQsI have been working in a hospital as a registered nurse since May 2014. My first two contracts were unlimited and after finishing the second contract term, the hospital’s management renewed the con-tract as a limited labour contract. I have now resigned and am in a two-month notice period, as per the contract. I need guidance on my gratuity calculation. The hospital management has calculated it as 14 days multiplied by four years (for the completed unlimited contract period) but I have completed five years and four months in total. What do you think the right calculation is? My employer has also asked me to pay two months of full salary as a penalty since I am resigning without completing the limited contract. Is this right?
This is a private hospital, so the UAE Labour Law applies. You state you had two unlimited contracts but an unlimited con-tract has no end date so this cannot be the case. Unlimited contracts are open ended and do not renew. It therefore sounds as if you were on limited contracts and now in third one. As you were happy to renew, this is somewhat academic, however, a limited contract is relevant in terms of calculat-ing the penalty for leaving employment. No matter the nature of the contract, the period of employment that should be used for calculating an end-of-service gratuity is the job’s start date, or strictly the date a visa is issued, until the last day of service. In this case it is five years and four months. As this is in excess of five years, the full calculation is applicable. Per Article 132 of the law: “The worker having spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an end-of-service gratuity upon the termination of his service. The days of absence from work without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the period of service and the gratuity shall be calculated as follows: 1 - The wage of 21 days for each of the first five years of service. 2 - The wage of 30 days for every additional year.” This will be 21 days of basic pay for the first five years and then 30 days for any additional years, calculated pro-rata, for the extra period of four months. Where an employee breaks the terms of their fixed-term contract, by ending service before the end, a penalty is payable. However, it is not two months’ salary so the hospital is incor-rect. This is clearly set out in Article 116 of UAE Labour law which states: “Should the contract be rescinded by the worker … the worker shall be bound to compensate the employer for the loss incurred thereto by reason of the rescission of the contract, provided that the amount of compensation does not exceed the wage of half-a-month for the period of three months or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.” A contract cannot penalise an employee for more than the statutory amount, so you are liable to pay a penalty equivalent to 45 days of total pay.
Bank mortgageI took out a mortgage with a bank in the UAE in May 2017 and had no issues until recently. The loan agreement that I signed with the bank in 2017 had a clause regard-ing early redemption that said: “A fee of one per cent calculated on the amount being prepaid or Dh10,000 whichever is lower shall be imposed for any prepayments/redemptions within five years from date of first disbursement. After five years, the bank will not levy any early settlement fees.”I was under the impression that this clause stating whichever is lower between the one per cent or Dh10,000 caps the repayment settlement fee to Dh10,000. I raised this and the bank replied that “the settlement fee is one per cent + VAT and the cap of Dh10,000 was removed in July 2018. The revised cap as per Central Bank guidelines is now three per cent”. They also said that “a formal communication of this change was sent to all our clients last year on your bank registered mobile number”. I did receive a text message and a link but I hadn’t read it. I don’t feel I was properly informed and I have not agreed to any other conditions. These new terms have been applied without my agreement. I have been charged a total of Dh17,915 instead of Dh10,000. I feel wronged here. I would like to know if this is something I should forget about as nothing can be done or if I can seek help in reclaiming the extra amount?
It is correct that the UAE Central Bank changed the guidelines for mortgage repay-
Is my gratuity calculation right?ments. A circular was issued on June 18 last year, the “Amendment to Annexure 2 of the Regulations Regarding Bank Loans & Services Offered to Individual Customers (2011)”. In respect of home loans this stated that the penalty for full or partial repayment of home loans could be a maximum of three per cent of the amount outstanding. I would expect that the loan agreement included a clause that stated that charges would be in line with legal limits so the bank is permitted to amend the penalty terms in this regard.
The Central Bank circular states that it has “also instructed banks and finance companies to display the new fee caps on their websites”. We have no reason to believe this wasn’t done. As you received notification by text message, the informa-tion was on the bank’s website, and also published across all the local press, it must be assumed that you were able to access this information. Any claim that you were not properly informed is not going to be accepted and in this instance the bank has not made any errors.
Security checksI have applied for a job in Abu Dhabi and the company has offered me a place with the condition that I pass the government security check. They informed me that my security check has not been positive, but they didn’t provide any further informa-tion. I have visited the UAE three times without problems and I have not been in the army or associated with any extremist groups. The rejection has been a shock for me and I am sure there has been a mistake or a misunderstanding. How can I get this changed so I can take up a job? Can a new employer reapply for a security check if the last application was less than six months ago?
It is not unusual for people from certain countries or for those applying for specific roles, to have to undergo a UAE government security check, especially if they are apply-ing to a government or semi-government company. The company is not obliged to provide details and it is likely that they don’t have any as only the Ministry of Interior can tell someone why a visa ap-plication has been rejected and even then, they are not obliged to so do, either to an individual or their potential sponsor. If a visa is rejected and the individual believes that there is no reason why it should be, such as in this case, there is nothing stop-ping an employer from reapplying although a different result is not guaranteed. Note however, that if the reason for rejection is stated as “security reasons” no further ap-plication will be considered. If you know no reason why the application has been rejected, or believe it is a mistake as there are other people with the same name, you can try to explain this to the employer and they need to raise this with the Ministry of Interior at the time of any further ap-plication and ask them to cross reference passport numbers and date of birth. Other common reasons for visa rejection include incorrectly entered details or a criminal case in a home country where the countries liaise. A further application does not have to be delayed if dealt with correctly.
Residence visaI am a UAE residence visa holder, working and living in Abu Dhabi. I also do online trading and may start making some in-come. I do not wish to do my job anymore but want to stay in Abu Dhabi. If I leave my job and don’t take up employment elsewhere, can I still get a residence visa for myself and my wife?
Although the majority of UAE expatriates are sponsored by their employer or spouse, there are other options. One is to own a property in certain emirates with a value in excess of Dh1 million but that requires an income from other sources. More popular is to set up your own business. This must be done properly by obtaining a trade licence and then a linked visa. The best type of trade licence depends on the activity and the costs will also vary. Some businesses require a mainland licence, usually with a local sponsor, others can be set up via one of the many free zones although not all free zones permit all activities. For a small number of activities, freelance visas are available. The costs will vary depending on requirements but are not insignificant and licences must be renewed annually for a further fee. I suggest you speak to a busi-ness set-up specialist about the options to find the best way to run his own business.
An Australian delegation led by Director and CEO, Australia India Institute, Prof Craig Jeffrey met Union Minister for Social Justice Thaawar Chand Gehlot to take forward the implementation of the MoU signed in 2018 for co-operation in the areas in disability sector, in New Delhi on Monday.
GUWAHATI: As part of the Rs 22,594 crore mega expansion project, North East India’s largest refiner, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), will ramp up its headcount by over 62pc in the next four years, it’s Managing Director SK Barua said.
Barua said apart from direct employment to 550 people, over 12,000 indi-rect jobs will be created during the construction of the new units. “We will require about 550 more people to fully operation-alise the refinery post-commissioning,” he said. At present, the total head-count at the NRL stands at 874, including management and non-management staff. Barua said of the 550 peo-ple required, 150 are imme-
Numaligarh Refinery to hike manpower by 62pc
diately needed during the execution stage. “Already 68 freshers have been hired from different engineering institutes. They will be put on the company payroll after completion of their probation period. Other than the permanent staff, opportunities for indirect employment are huge. At the construction stage it-self, about 12,000 contract workers will be hired,” he said.
The contract employees will be hired as contrac-tors, sub-contractors, ven-dors, suppliers, transport-ers, hoteliers and vehicle hiring agencies, Barua said. NRL is tripling its capacity from existing 3 MMTPA to 9 MMTPA at an invest-ment of Rs 22,594 crore, which includes a 1,398
km-long crude oil pipeline of 9 MMTPA from Odi-sha’s Paradip to Assam’s Numaligarh and a 654 km-long product pipeline of 6 MMTPA from Numaligarh to West Bengal’s Siliguri. Speaking on the progress of the project, Barua said: “Pre-project activities are in full swing. The con-struction work is expected to begin from Nov this year considering receipt of all statutory clearances, including those related to the environment, by then.”Diversifaction
He said an oil refinery expansion work of this magnitude usually takes around 48 months to get completed. Meanwhile, the company has announced plans to diversify its portfo-lio by entering exploration
for crude oil within the next few months.
The Mini Ratna PSU has already received board approval for an initial in-vestment of Rs 150 crore for diversification into ex-ploration and has applied for necessary approvals for two blocks in Assam along with other partners. The company was set up in accordance with the provisions made in the historic Assam Accord. Bharat Petroleum Corpo-ration Ltd (BPCL) has a 61.65pc stake in NRL while Oil India Ltd (OIL) and Assam government have 26pc and 12.35pc holdings respectively. The present authorised capital of the company is Rs 1,000 crore and paid-up capital is Rs 735.63 crore.
BHUBANESWAR: The Odi-sha government has revised service bond policy for medical students in order to stop brain drain of doc-tors. The new policy will be applicable from next academic session.
As per the revised policy, students pursuing MBBS, post-graduation and guper specialisation medical courses in govern-ment colleges will have to serve for minimum two years in the state. Those who fail to adhere to it will be penalised. If any candidate does not serve the state for the period after completion of MBBS course, he/she will have to pay Rs 50 lakh. While compensation against the bond for PG students is Rs
1.5 crore, those pursuing super-specialty courses will deposit Rs 2 crore.
Health Minister Naba Kishore Das said the de-cision to revise the bond policy was taken to pre-vent students from leaving the state after completion of their medical courses. Earlier, the bond amount was Rs 36 lakh for both PG and students pursuing super-specialty courses.
“We have decided to in-crease the penalty amount from Rs 36 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore for medical PG and Rs 2 crore for super-specialty students,” Das told report-ers.The bond is compulsory for all candidates taking admission in government medical colleges, either under state quota or the
all-India quota. The bonds would be signed by candi-dates, two sureties (parents or guardians), the dean and the principal of the institu-tions concerned.
The policy will, how-ever, lapse on its own if the state government fails to provide employment to a candidate within six months of completing the course. The state has more than 2,500 posts of doctors at different levels lying vacant due to shortage of medicos. “The state is spending huge amount of money for the medical students and they should serve the state for at least two years. The move will help serve the interest of the people and check brain drain,” the minister said.
Odisha medicos should sign bonds
NEW DELHI: The CBDT has said all communications made by the tax department to assessees from Oct 1 will carry a Document Identifica-tion Number (DIN) in order to promote transparency.
With a view to bring-ing greater transparency in the functioning of the tax administration and improve-ment in service delivery, almost all notices and orders of the income tax depart-ment are being generated electronically on the Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) platform.
Nevertheless, it has been
brought to the notice of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) that there have been some instances in which the notice/letter was found to have been issued manually, without maintaining a prop-er audit trail of such com-munication. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured honest and law-bid-ing taxpayers that they will not be harassed by the tax department. The CBDT has now laid down parameters specifying the manner in which any communication issued by any income tax authority relating to assess-
ment, appeals, orders, statu-tory or otherwise, exemp-tions, enquiry, investigation, verification of information, penalty, prosecution, recti-fication and approval to the assessee will be dealt with.
“All such communication issued on or after the 1st of October, 2019 shall carry a computer-generated DIN duly quoted in the body of such communication,” the release said.
The CBDT has also speci-fied exceptional circum-stances where the commu-nication could be issued manually. “Any communi-
cation which is not in con-formity with the prescribed guidelines shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued,” it added. Further, CBDT has also laid down the timelines and procedure by which such communication issued manually will have to be regularised and intimated to the Principal Director Gen-eral of Income-tax (Systems). The CBDT said issuance of DIN is another step towards better delivery of taxpayer services while ensuring accountability in official dealings.
All tax communications must have DIN from Oct 1
KATHMANDU: External Af-fairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to visit Nepal this week to participate in the fifth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commis-sion to review the overall state of bilateral relations. The meeting is taking place in Kathmandu from August 21 to 22.
Jaishankar will co-chair the meeting along with his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. The joint meeting will review “the overall state of bilateral relations, and various areas of co-operation such as con-nectivity and economic part-nership, trade and transit, power and water resources sectors, culture, education and other matters of mutual interest”, the statement said.
Jaishankar tovisit Nepal
CORPORATE NEWS 7Tuesday, August 20, 2019
The government is mulling liberalising its Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) policy as part of a package to revive a faltering economy.
Besides tweaking FDI limits in aviation and in-surance intermediation, the government will also come out with clarificatory notes that will clear up grey areas in the FDI policy such as explicit permission under the automatic route to contract to manufacture as well as relaxing the cap for FDI in single-brand retail allowed under the automatic route.
It is also planning to come out with a clarifica-tory note on Foreign Portfo-lio Investors (FPI) to ensure they do not come under the ambit of the super-rich tax. A super-rich surcharge was introduced in this year’s budget on individuals and groups of individuals who earned more than Rs 2
Centre likely to raise FDI limitcrore annually. The tax surcharge is also applicable to FPIs as they mostly function as trusts. In all, foreign investors took out $1.8 billion from Indian stock markets last month, after the announcement of the tax.
Officials said that a tweak in the definition of trusts was being consid-ered as a way out of this logjam. This would be done by the income-tax department, while the FDI policy changes would be
ushered in by the Depart-ment of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
Top officials of the Min-istry of Industries said that while most manufacturing sectors were almost 100 per cent open to FDI and these manufacturers were
allowed to retail their prod-ucts in India, the “grey area was when a company had these products manufac-tured through a contractor and then tried to sell them in the market.”
A clarificatory note
allowing 100pc FDI in contract manufacturing, as also its sale within In-dia by the original brand owner, is being considered. Firms like Apple, which have contracted I-phone manufacturing to Foxconn Technology Group, will
be benefitted by the move.
A n o t h -e r s e c t o r where the government is mulling r e l axa t ion in rules is single-brand retail where up to 49pc is allowed through the
automatic route. Besides, officials said they were looking at proposals to al-low local sourcing norms requirement to be met in 8-10 years, instead of five. “Single brand retail has been a top draw in FDI
inflows and it makes sense to encourage this route. Multi-brand retail remains a political minefield and the govt would probably avoid touching it at the current juncture,” said Prof Biswajit Dhar of JNU.
The government will also look at increasing FDI limit in airlines, a move which was earlier bitterly resisted by many Indian airlines including the now-defunct Jet Air-ways. Officials said the government was planning to relax the cap of 49pc FDI under the automatic route for airlines.Foreign insurers
The Central government is also looking at a move to relax the cap on insurance intermediation from the current 49pc. Most of the world’s largest insurance brokerages are currently absent from India and this is expected to help bring them in.
Gearing up for the next phase of growth in consumer Internet and
financial services, digital payments player Paytm has announced the promotion of its Chief Financial Of-ficer Madhur Deora as the company’s President.
Prior to joining Paytm in October 2016, Deora served as Managing Director in Citi-group’s investment banking business.
“We have grown over 20x in the last three years by cre-ating a payments-led lifestyle and financial services app in our country,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm, said in a statement.
“As we expand our busi-ness, we are promoting De-ora to the role of President who has been a key partner in this success,” Sharma added.
Pay tm recen t ly an -nounced that within a year of the launch of its “Loan
Manappuram Fi-nance Ltd’s con-s o l i d a t e d n e t
profit for the quarter ended June 30, 2019 jumped to Rs 268.91 crore, an in-crease of 35.27pc over Rs 198.79 crore recorded in Q1 of the previous fiscal. Net profit for the quarter of the standalone entity (which excludes subsid-iaries) is reported at Rs 219.53 crore.
Total consolidated op-erating income during the quarter stood at Rs
Paytm promotes CFO Madhur Deora as President
Manappuram’s Q1 net up 35pc
EMI, Credit Card Bill, and In-surance premium” payment use-case, it has captured 70pc market share among all mobile payment apps for BFSI payments.
The company has been rapidly onboarding partners from the insurance and bank-ing sector to become a single platform for such payments.
It has tied-up with more than 30 major insurance companies and more than 45 finance companies.
“I am excited about our next phase of growth in con-sumer Internet and financial services,” said Deora.
Paytm is the single largest platform for banks, finan-cial services, and insurance (BFSI) payments.
It registered over 50 mil-lion transactions within a year of its launch. This has encouraged millions of users to make digital payments in-stead of submitting cheques or visiting the bank branch.
Devices powered by KaiOS have been in the market only
since mid-2017. But thanks to the huge popularity of Jio phones from Reliance, this light Linux-based op-erating system today has a greater market share than iOS in India.
Built by San Diego, California-headquartered start-up KaiOS Technolo-gies and led by CEO Se-bastien Codeville, KaiOS is the third biggest operating system globally after An-droid and iOS.
Data from StatCounter show that while Android has over 91.5pc share in India, iOS has over 2.6pc share as of July 2019. Kai-OS has over 4.3pc share in the country.
The emergence of KaiOS has led to the growth of a
Reliance Jio propels growth of KaiOS in Indianew category of devices -- smart feature phones. For those who cannot afford a smartphone, these devices have proved to be a boon as they allow users to con-nect to the Internet, thereby bridging the digital divide.
KaiOS-powered devices allow users gain access to apps such as WhatsApp, YouTube, Google Maps, the Google Assistant and Face-book, as well as a store for apps called the KaiStore.
Thanks to the ultra-cheap data rates offered by Reliance Jio, these devices helped a large section of India’s population move from 2G network to a high-speed 4G network.
“Kai experienced strong growth in 2018 as it built a presence in new mar-kets such as India and Africa through critical part-
nerships with companies including Reliance Jio, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Orange, MTN, Qualcomm,
and others,” Codeville wrote in a blog post in May this year.
The team behind KaiOS comprises over 260 people
spreading out in offices in Hong Kong, the US, Taiwan, China, India (Ben-galuru), Brazil, and France.
In a good news to the start-up, a recent Counter-point study found that the smart feature phone seg-ment presents a $28 billion
market opportunity in the coming three years.
With more than 100 million devices shipped in
over 100 countries till now, the company is betting big on demand from India as well as countries in Africa and Latin America.
“Reliance Jio is a great case study showcasing the success, reach, and impact of KaiOS-powered devices. After adopting the KaiOS platform, Reliance Jio ac-quired tens of millions of 2G feature phone users and transitioned them to its 4G network,” the com-pany said.
“Consumers found the phone appealing because it was a fraction of the price of an entry-level smart-phone but offered curated apps and robust functional-ity like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google Assistant,” it added.
KaiOS Technologies in May announced $50 mil-lion in a Series B funding round led by Cathay In-novation, with continued participation from Kai’s ex-isting shareholders Google
and TCL Holdings.With this Series B, Kai
said it plans to expand into new markets, and to invest in product portfolio research and development.
In June, KaiOS an-nounced the launch of two smart feature phones in Brazil and in August TECNO, the leading mobile phone brand in Africa, announced the launch of the latest 3G smart fea-ture phone T901, the first TECNO device running on KaiOS.
“Kai aims to transition a substantial portion of the more than 1.5 billion fea-ture phone users to smart feature phones, enabling carriers, manufacturers, developers, and advertisers to create innovative, new business models,” Codev-ille said.
Va d o d a r a - b a s e d , Chemcon speciality chemicals, a leading
manufacturer of pharmaceu-tical chemicals has filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its proposed IPO.
Chemcon special i ty chemicals is the world’s eighth largest manufac-turer of Hexamethyldisi-lazane (HMDS) and the second largest manufacturer of Chloromethyl isopropyl carbonate (CMIC), as men-tioned in the DRHP filed by the company.
The issue comprises of a fresh issue of 175 crore
Chemcon Speciality Chem files for an IPO
and an offer for sale of 43 lakh equity shares from the promoters.
As per market sources, the Initial Public Offering (IPO) size will be approxi-mately Rs 350 crore.
The managers to the offer are Intensive Fiscal Services and Ambit Capital.
The company has a mix of domestic and interna-tional customers across USA, China, Japan, UAE, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Russia and Malaysia and its key customers include well known pharmaceutical com-panies like Aurobindo, Lau-rus Labs Ind-Swift Labs and Hetro Labs.
New Delhi-based Aviom India Hous-ing Finance has
raised Rs 60 crore from Japan’s Gojo & Company and Capital 4 Development Asia Fund Netherlands in its Series B round of funding.
The firm intends to raise another Rs 500 crore in debt in the coming year.
The company will use the funding to expand its reach into Tier II and III cities, Investment advisory firm Unitus Capital was the financial advisor to Aviom India Housing Finance.
“Aviom follows a strong in-house credit assessment
Aviom India Hsg Fin raises Rs 60cr in Series B funding
model, which serves a dual purpose of empow-ering women in rural In-dia by creating jobs for them and allowing them to work flexible hours to contribute to the overall economic development. The company has training centres in every branch for women train & hire mod-ule,” Aviom MD & Founder Kajal Ilmi said.
“Its unique programme with 8,000 women agents working as associates is actively leading to bet-ter access and increasing financial literacy across India. We are now aiming to have 50,000 women
agents to join us in a year,” Ilmi added.
Aviom is planning to venture into cities of Ra-jasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttaranchal, and Delhi NCR. It intends to pro-vide a major fillip to low-income masses in the informal urban sector who often face loan rejections mainly due to undocu-mented incomes.
The housing finance company had earlier raised Rs 15 crore in Series A round from Singapore-based impact-focused ven-ture capital firm Insitor Management.
Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (USFB) filed its draft red herring
prospectus (DRHP) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its proposed initial public offering (IPO).
According to the DRHP, the company seeks to raise Rs 1,200 crore, including reservation of equity shares of upto Rs 120 crore.
The shares being offered are at a face value of Rs 10 each, USFB said.
In consultation with the book running leading man-agers (BRLMs), USFB may consider a pre-issue place-ment of an aggregate amount not exceeding Rs 300 crore (pre-IPO placement), says
USFB fi les DRHP with SEBIthe DRHP filed by USFB.
The pre-IPO placement, if undertaken, would be at a price to be decided by USFB in consultation with the BRLMs and the pre-IPO placement would be under-taken prior to filing of the red herring prospectus with the ROC.
If the pre-IPO placement is undertaken, the amount raised from the pre-IPO placement would be reduced from the issue, subject to the minimum issue size constituting at least 10pc of the post-issue paid-up equity share capital of USFB.
Uj j ivan said i t has served4.72 million custom-ers from its 474 banking outlets.
Hitachi Payment Ser-vices is planning to double its white-
label ATMs this fiscal, of which, about half would be cash recycler machines (CRMs).
At present, it has about 2,500 WLAs, and is target-ing to have close to 6,000 such devices by the end of this fiscal. Of this, 50pc of the new deployments, or about 1,250 to 1,750 de-vices, will be cash-recycler machines. “We manufacture CRMs in our plant in Benga-
Hitachi Payment Services to expand white-label ATMsluru. As many as 52pc of all the CRMs deployed in the market are from Hitachi,” said Rustom Irani, Manag-ing Director, Cash Business, Hitachi Payment Services.
Unlike an ATM, CRMs can not only dispense cash but also take deposits of money from customers. According to Irani, they are gaining popularity even with banks with many lend-ers now replacing old cash deposit machines, or ATMs, with such devices.
“Recyclers have many
features that ATMs do not. For instance, CRMs check every note they dispense to ensure that they are not counterfeit. The security features of CRMs are much
better,” he said, adding that they also cut down the cash handling charges for banks.
“While CRMs tend to be costlier than ATMs, they save huge amounts of time and money as they reduce the requirement of a teller at the bank branch. So, in effect, it is much cheaper,” Irani noted.
According to estimates, about 10 to 15pc of all ATMs deployed in the country are CRMs, and the numbers are set to increase further in the coming years.
1174.48 crore, an increase of 25.50pc in comparison to Rs 935.82 crore reported in the year ago quarter. Consolidated assets under management (AUM) grew by 21.47pc to Rs 20,185.94 crore, from Rs 16,617.78 crore reported in the year ago quarter.
The Board of Directors, have approved payment of interim dividend of Rs 0.55 per share of face value of Rs 2/-
The company’s Gold loan Assets under Manage-
ment (AUM) increased by 6.65 pc to Rs 13,292.41 crore, from Rs 12,463.60 crore in the year ago quar-ter. Gross NPA for the gold loans portfolio stood at 0.71pc while Net NPA was contained at 0.45pc. The gold loans business added 1.45 lakh new customers while the aggregate gold loans disbursed during the quarter amounted to Rs 26,396 crore. The number of live gold loan customers stood at 24.62 lakh as of June 30, 2019.
Behind the Scene with Jacqueline Fernandez for a Splash advertisment campaign at the Palazzo Versace Hotel, Dubai.
8 Travel / Entertainment
Printed by Supreeth MJ and published by him on behalf of IPEPCIL Publications Pvt Ltd. and printed at Inquilab Off set Printers Ltd.,156, D J Dadaji Road, Tardeo, Mumbai-400 034, Maharashtra and published from Offi ce No. 1001, 10th Floor, Navjivan Commercial Premises Co-op. Society Ltd., Lamington Road, (Dr.D.B.Marg), Mumbai Central, Mumbai - 400 008. • Editor: E.L. Vaidyanathan • Volume No.: 1, Issue No. 90 • RNI No. MAHENG/2018/76663.
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Dubai has welcomed 8.36 million interna-tional overnight visi-
tors in the first six months (Jan-June) of 2019, posting a positive three per cent in tourism volume growth compared with the same period last year, according to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
India once again led the pack, drawing the highest half- year volumes with 9.97 lakh visitors, followed by Saudi Arabia at 7.55 lakh visitors at two per cent year-on-year growth over six months with a notable 4.9pc increase over the Eid break alone --- signifying contin-ued stability in Dubai’s at-tractiveness for Saudi fami-lies and millennials
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism said: “Tourism is one of the cornerstones of
Indians again top visitors to DubaiOver 8.36m tourists visit Dubai in fi rst-half of 2019
Dubai’s diversified econom-ic growth, and we measure success based on our abil-ity to aggressively advance towards our goal to be the number one most visited and most preferred city. Staying firmly within Dubai’s top three traffic drivers, the UK delivered 5.86 lakh travel-lers beating all odds against a significantly devalued British Pound (vs. US dol-lar), amidst growing political and economic turbulences surrounding Brexit.
With over 501,000 Chinese visitors to Dubai from Jan to June 2019, the stellar 11pc year-on-year growth from inarguably the world’s most aggressively sought after con-sumers is testament to Dubai Tourism’s successful strategies to maintain high conversion appeal for China’s outbound market, said the DTCM state-ment issued in Dubai.
Very close on China’s heels, the second GCC strong-
hold - Oman ---- catapulted into the top five with a mas-sive 28pc growth to land 4.99 lakh visitors to Dubai, as Dubai Tourism’s season-al campaigns, tactical pro-grammes and city activations reaped tangible dividends.
Following an exceptional resurgence in Dubai travel for 2018, thanks to the vi-sa-on-arrival enablement, growth from Russia levelled to more sustainable levels, as H1 2019’s sixth largest source market delivered 3.75 lakh visitors to Dubai.
The US followed in sev-enth spot with 3.29 lakh visitors, marginally up from 3.27 lakh visitors in H1 2018, supported by con-certed marketing efforts and trade collaborations with five new trade partnerships developed in the first- half of 2019, to raise awareness of the destination and promote
holiday packages and deals.Germany’s five per cent
growth to deliver 3.16 lakh visitors and Pakistan’s three per cent growth to yield 2.53 lakh visitors, brought them in at eighth and ninth posi-tions respectively, as Philip-pines jumped three ranks into the top 10 finishing a strong first-half with 2.16 lakh travellers, reflecting a 29pc increase that made it the fastest growing source market for Dubai this year.
The collective perfor-mance of Western Europe helped it to retain its region-al leadership with strong contributions in overnight visitor volumes during H1 2019. Commanding a 21pc share of arrivals, and in ad-dition to UK and German contributions, 10pc growth stemmed from France and five per cent growth from Italy with the Netherlands and the Nordics adding to net volumes. The GCC and
South Asia closely followed, with 18 and 16pc share of all international visits to the city respectively.
Average occupancy for the hotel sector stood at 76pc ---- one of the highest hotel sector occupancies in the world --- with establishments delivering a combined 15.71 million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a five per cent in-crease over the same period in 2018 . Spread across a total of 714 establishments, Dubai’s hotel room inven-tory stood at 118,345 at the end of June 2019, represent-ing a six per cent increase, which showcased continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism demand and market appetite. Luxury five-star and four-star hotels commanded 34 and 25pc of the emirate’s total inventory, respectively.
Jacqueline’s ad shoot in Dubai
Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandez, who was closely watching her diet for the last four days in preparation for a fashion shoot for retailer Splash in
Dubai on Sunday, let herself go as she bit into a deliciously sinful chocolate cake at her surprise birthday bash.
“This belated birthday bash came as such a big
surprise…This is so sweet of them. Yay, now I am part of the Splash family now… Today is my first cheat day because I had this shoot,” said Fernandez in an exclusive interview to a TV channel. She brandished a chocolate cupcake with “Jacqueline & Co” emblazoned on it for greater effect. The Sri Lankan beauty queen and Bolly-wood actress, who turned 34 on Aug 11 and ushered in her birthday in her native beach town with friends last week, is the latest entrant to the Splash Middle East’s brand ambassadors list and joins the likes of Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. She is in the UAE this week to film portions of their advertisement campaign.
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As on 19th August, 2019 (In rupees)
Currency Buying Selling
Australian Dollar 46.85 49.85Bahraini Dinar 184.75 194.75 British Pound 85.00 88.00Canadian Dollar 52.30 55.30Emirati Dirham 18.90 19.90 Euro 77.75 80.75 Kuwaiti Dinar 229.35 239.35Omani Rial 180.60 190.60Qatari Riyal 19.10 20.10 Saudi Riyal 18.50 19.50Singapore Dollar 50.05 53.05 Swiss Franc 71.05 74.05US Dollar 70.10 72.60
Saudi Arabia plans to is-sue as many as 10 mil-lion visas this Umrah
season, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Haj and Umrah.
In an interview with a TV channel, Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, the ministry’s chief planning and strategy officer, said that the visas would be issued electronically without the need to visit an embassy or consulate for a stamp. According to Al-Maddah, by 2030 the kingdom expects to issue Umrah visas for 30
Saudi to issue 10m Umrah visas this season
million pilgrims.“The target number of
pilgrims in  will be 15 million,” he said. “The ministry is well prepared for these cumulative num-bers and pilgrims now have several e-booking platforms that continue to increase and are no longer limited to external agents.” Al-Maddah added that the central res-ervation platform serves as a “reservation engine” that connects all service provid-ers, including transport, housing and cultural trips
associated with platforms such as Agoda and Musafir.
“This way, the ministry ensures that all services are available to pilgrims inside and outside the kingdom through the internet and reli-able websites, which pilgrims are accustomed to using when making their bookings,” he said. To facilitate the Umrah trips, pilgrims will be pro-vided with a reference num-ber when they buy a package from the online platforms, which in turn will then allow them to obtain an e-visa.
Special trains for Velankanni festivalThe Southern Railway
will operate special trains to Velankanni
from various parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to cope with extra rush of pilgrims attending the church festival there.The Chennai Central-Velankanni special fare spe-cial train will leave Chennai Central at 8.10pm on Sept 3 and reach Velankanni at 8am the next day. Similarly, Velankanni-Chennai Central special fare special train will leave Velankanni at 4.30pm on September 4 and reach Chennai at 3 am the next day.
The trains will stop at Arakkonam, Katpadi, Vel-lore Cantt, Arni Road, Po-lur, Tiruvannamalai, Vil-lupuram, Tirupadripuliyur, Chidambaram, Mayiladu-turai, Tiruvarur and Nag-apattinam. The Chennai Egmore-Velankanni special fare special train will leave Chennai Egmore at 11.50pm on Aug 28 and Sept 4 and reach Velankanni at 8am the next day.
The Velankanni-Chennai Egmore special fare special train will leave Velankanni at 5.20pm on Augt 29 and
Sept 5 and reach Chennai Egmore at 3.15am the next
day. The trains will stop at Tambaram, Chengalpattu, Tindivanam, Villupuram, Tirupadripuliyur, Chid-
ambaram, Mayiladuturai, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam
and Velankanni. The Tam-baram-Velankanni special fare special train will leave Tambarm at 7.20pm on Sept
8 and reach Velankanni at 3.30 am the next day.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, was the most
punctual Middle Eastern carrier in the first seven months of 2019. New fig-ures produced by the avia-tion data company OAG show that Etihad was the only Middle Eastern carrier whose punctuality averaged more than 80pc for flights across this period. The data also showed that of the airlines monitored by OAG, Etihad was ranked 24th globally for on-time per-formance in July, the peak summer month for air travel
Etihad most punctual airline in MidEastin the Middle East.
John Wright, Etihad Air-
ways’ Vice President Global Airports and Network Oper-
ations, said: “Etihad Airways is a high-quality airline, and
reliability is a key element of the total product we of-
fer. We continually strive to deliver excellence for our guests, in the air and on the ground.” Four Middle Eastern carriers featured in OAG’s list of the top 50 most punctual airlines.
Etihad’s July perfor-mance was 10 percentage points above the region’s average and four per cent above the next highest car-rier in the region. The airline industry’s globally-applied definition of on-time depar-ture and arrival is within 15 minutes of published schedule times.
Saudi Arabia’s first na-tionally-owned and op-erated cinema opened
its doors to the public for the first time on Friday. The report in the Saudi Gazette revealed Muvi Cinemas’ first venue at Mall of Arabia in Jeddah was inaugurated ahead of the opening by Saudi Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al Shabanah. Muvi’s first cin-ema in Jeddah accommodates 1,950 guests in 15 screens and includes 21 seats catering to visitors with special needs.
A first-of-its-kind in the kingdom, the cinema also uses Barco high-resolution screens and the Dolby Atmos surround system, both of which are available in the “Xperience” screen, which also offers seats with smart-phone chargers and extend-ed legroom. Another of the cinema’s features include “ScreenX”, in which films are shown via multiple projectors that create a panoramic image
First Saudi-owned cinema opens in Jeddah
on the main screen and side walls simultaneously.
The Saudi Gazette report also notes that the cinema offers a suites option which includes a private lounge to meet friends and family before films begin, luxurious motorised reclining leather
seats, and a footrest. Addi-tionally, Muvi has plans to launch a junior screen cater-ing to children, which will include a slide to allow them access to their movie. Muvi Cinemas plans to launch 250 screens across the country over the next 24 months.
Kochi to host CIC meet on Aug 29Kochi will host the
three-day 12th edi-tion of Conventions
India Conclave (CIC), a pre-mier international meet on MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition).
Around 300-350 dele-gates are expected to attend the conclave, which will begin on Aug 29. It is being organised by the India Con-vention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) and sponsored by the union ministry of tourism and the Kerala Department
of Tourism. The con-clave, with the theme “Mapping the sustain-able MICE future of India”, will focus on creating the opportu-nity for participants to look for new avenues of business development.
Terming it the larg-est MICE event of South Asia, Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said here that the conclave would help us showcase our
strength. “The international conclave has been conceived and structured on the lines of global meetings and world exhibitions, like IBTM World (Barcelona, Spain), IMEX (Frankfurt, Germany) and IMEXA America (Las Ve-gas),” said Surendran.
“The response to the event has been encouraging not only in terms of num-bers, but also in terms of the participants’ profile”, said Chander Mansharamani, ICPB Vice-Chairman.