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This London based NRI run conglomerate is making its big-bang foray into India’s defense sector.
Global conglomerate Hinduja Group is making a foray into the defense sector in a “big way” and may soon add it as their eleventh autonomous business to “strengthen India’s self-security”.
The London-based Hinduja group has the ability to manufacture parts that might be needed in the field of defense equipment, NRI industrialist and Co-Chairman Gopi Hinduja said.
“We are expanding in a big way in the defense sector because within the group we have the capabilities and facilities for the ‘Make in India’ concept,” he said, referring to the slogan coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to manufacture as much as possible in India.
The company may soon add an eleventh “vertical” – defense – to the 10 they already have, namely autonomous businesses in the areas of health, energy, power generation, automotive, finance ad banking; oil and gas, IT and BPO, media and cable; real estate and trading.
He said: “At the moment, we have three companies dealing with defense, but the objective of the group is to centralize manufacturing into one vertical.
“Defense does not mean I am going to build airplanes or submarines; I am going to provide them (the makers) the facilities that I have; manufacturing parts, designing engineering, local knowledge, expertise. Whatever facilities we have within our companies to whoever is coming to India and wants to do defense business and make something in India.
“After all, the country needs self-security. Today, India is suffering in a big way because it needs to do much more to protect itself.”
The self-help philosophy that Modi has espoused is one with which the Hindujas agree.
Gopi said that Modi has “clear cut objectives”. “There was a time when India was going to the world for showcasing that India is a good investment destination. Today, the world is coming towards India.
“If Modi is able to implement 30 per cent of what he is promising, that will be a great success. His problem is tackling the system and culture of so many years – to convert that with the bureaucracy he has inherited takes time.
“But Mr Modi and his senior cabinet ministers are headed in the right direction. I am confident they will be successful in changing the face of India and that is why we are taking more and more interest in India. We have even enhanced our exposure to India by further 10 per cent,” Gopi said.
In India, the Hindujas have stirred interest by declaring that the group is prepared to invest USD 10 billion in ‘Brownfield or distressed projects’, for example in the renewable and infrastructure sectors, according to information given in the Asian Rich List 2015 that has the Hinduja brothers on the top.
Gopi also said that the company has identified four projects in power, two in infrastructure, two in engineering, procurement and construction, and three or four in the defense sector.
Source : Business Insider
NRI deposits dip by Rs 9,890 crore in Gujarat
A steady rupee is pushing NRIs to withdraw from banks in Gujarat. After posting growth for five consecutive quarters, NRI deposits in banks, mainly private sector banks, across the state — except Kutch — have reduced by Rs 9,890 crore during the quarter ending December 2014. Rupee largely remained steady in comparison with US dollar during the quarter.
According to the latest data compiled by State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), NRI deposits decreased stood at Rs 49,722 crore forming about 10.56% of the total deposits as of December 31, 2014 as against Rs 59,612 crore (13.08%) as of September 30, 2014.
NRI deposits of Axis Bank reduced from Rs 6,550.35 crore in September 2014 to Rs 5.7 crore in December 2014. Similarly, NRI deposits of ICICI bank also reduced by Rs 1,987 crore over September 2014.
Source: Times of India
Indian-American among two South Asian science, math mentors honoured by Obama
An Indian-American and a Sri Lankan-origin scientist and teacher are among fourteen individuals and one organization named winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).
Andhra University graduate Murty S. Kambhampati, a professor of biology at Southern University at New Orleans, and Sri Lankan origin Tilak Ratnanather, an associate professor in the biomedical engineering department of the Johns Hopkins University, Maryland will receive their awards at a White House ceremony later this year.
“These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” President Barack Obama said announcing the names of the award winners Friday.
“They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”
The PAESMEM is awarded by the White House to individuals and organizations to recognize the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering-particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields.
In addition to being honoured at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 from the National Science Foundation. The mentors and organizations announced Fridat represent the winners for 2012 and 2013.
Kambhampati holds a PhD from Jackson State University in Environmental Science and a PhD from Andhra University, India in Ecology.
Over the years, he established excellent collaborations with several instittions to place students for summer internships and ecological field trips. according to his profile.
He is an active research mentor for undergraduates and is Southern University at New Orleans’s Beta Kappa Chi/National Institute of Science chapters’ sponsor.
He has won several awards for his work as a mentor, including the National Role Model Faculty Award from Minority Access, Inc., in 2008.
His research interests are Phytoremediation, Environmental Toxicology, ecological studies on coastal ponds, and Environmental Biotechnology.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Ratnanather is at the forefront of the relatively new field of computational anatomy, an emerging discipline at the interface of geometry, statistics, and image analysis.
His current research interests include shape analysis of brain structures in schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, depression, and deafness in addition to mathematical and computational problems in cochlear and cardiac physiology, according to his university profile.
Source : Yes Punjab
Real Estate Investments Bang for The Buck for NRIs
Non Resident Indians if made today in the real estate sector, will surely bring higher appreciation in the years to come without any regret. As per the said Foreign Exchange Management Act, an Indian citizen who resides outside India is permitted to acquire any immovable property in India other then agricultural/plantation property or a farm house. With such liberal policies of the government, if your children are NRIs, they can buy property in India. It can be a residential or commercial property.
To add to it, there is no restriction on the number of properties NRI can purchase in India as they do not require any Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permission. However, they cannot buy agricultural land, plantation land or a farm house in India. The purchased property can also be rented out and NRIs can earn rental income. This way one can get returns on investment. The rental income can be repatriated abroad. An NRI can also transfer or sell the property. It is to be noted that the sale proceeds of property inherited from a resident Indian not exceeding USD one million can be remitted abroad in one calendar year.
“The Non-Resident Indian can make investment in a residential property or in a commercial property with the objective of receiving a regular flow of rental income. The provisions of taxing rental income are simple, easy and investor friendly. Broadly speaking, from the rental income derived by a Non-Resident Indian deduction is available in respect of actual payment of house tax as also a special 30 per cent deduction is available towards repairs, maintenance and collection charges of the property. This special deduction is permissible irrespective of the fact whether one spends on the repairs or not. Thus, this is a big deduction available from rental income which is instrumental in cutting down the tax payment by a Non-Resident Indian on rental income”, says Mr. Raja Mukherjee, Head- Sales & Marketing, Concorde Group.
If the objective of a Non-Resident Indian is to make investment in real estate, with the sole objective of making money by selling such real estate, then in such cases it is strongly recommended that they should not sell their real estate at least within three years of purchase of the real estate.
To make the things very simple and clear it may be noted that whenever the property whether commercial or residential is sold by a Non-Resident Indian, then just like Resident Individual income-tax is payable on the Capital Gains amount received by selling the real estate. In case the property is sold for holding it for a minimum period of three years, in that situation the Capital Gains arising to the Non-Resident Individual is known as Long-Term Capital Gain.
The concept of Reverse Mortgage which is very popular and prevalent in USA and other countries of the world is also now popular in India. Now the senior citizens in particular can take advantage of reverse mortgage in respect of the real estate owned by them in India. The amount taken from the bank consequent to reverse mortgage is not added as income of the Non-Resident Indian. Thus, in old age this concept of reverse mortgage really happens to be a wonderful tool of enjoying your property in India on the one hand and on the other hand taking money from the bank consequent to reverse mortgage of the property.
Finally, the NRI while making investment in real estate in India would find their decision a really rewarding proposition because now a days hassles are less, tensions are less, tax provisions are simple, innovative vistas are available to save your tax and finally repatriation becomes easy and simple. Authored by Mr. Raja Mukherjee, Head- Sales & Marketing, Concorde Group.
Source : Business Wire India
For OCIs, traveling to India is now easier but confusing too
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement about the merger of the persons of Indian origin (PIO) and overseas citizens of India (OCI) schemes in September, followed by a home ministry notification in January that all PIO card holders will be deemed OCI card holders, an important issue of the overseas Indian community has been sorted out.
However, the implementation of the new merged scheme is not without hiccups and many of the former PIO card holders have been facing some confusion when travelling to India. Some Indian high commissions and consulates overseas have, in fact, been holding outreach programmes among the Indian community to address the complaints and problems.
According to notifications issued by the various Indian missions overseas and circulated among the Indian community, the PIO card scheme has been abolished and all PIO cards issued before January 9, 2015 have been converted to OCI cards. The facilities that OCI card holders enjoy include lifelong validity of the card with no registration needed with the foreigners’ regional registration offices in India if the stay exceeds 180 days.
However, PIO cards issued on or after January 9, 2015 are not valid and card holders have to apply for a refund of their fees and reapply for an OCI card.
According ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) sources, the PIO card, which came at a lower fee and was issued faster, usually within a week, was preferred by many for travel to India at short notice. Now that the card has been scrapped, there is a longer wait for the OCI card for which a more rigorous security check has to be carried out for applicants. The process can currently take up to 10 weeks. The Indian government is, however, working on a time frame of 21 days to issue OCI cards, and till security and other issues are sorted out, gratis tourist visas are being issued to those who have OCI applications in process but need to travel to India immediately.
“There is still some confusion among the holders of OCI and PIO cards about the implications of the merger of both the schemes. Further, some of the immigration officials at Indian ports of entry are also not clear about the changes,” says Sanjay Puri, chairman of the Washington DC-based US Indian Political Action Committee. He adds that the Indian government’s visa-on-arrival scheme, too, is causing confusion among those who don’t have valid PIO or OCI cards because many don’t know that they have to first apply online and get an email confirmation of their travel authorisation and can’t just show up at an Indian port of entry with their foreign passports.
“The Indian missions in the US and other countries and the external affairs ministry are working with the Indian community overseas on educating them. But it will take some time for the information to trickle down to the community and within the consulates too,” Puri adds.
The other issue which is creating confusion for the overseas Indian community is the decision by the Indian government to dispense with the universal, or U-visa sticker, on the foreign passport of OCI card holders with immediate effect, and to modify the OCI registration certificate in the form booklet to provide for the endorsement ‘visa validity-lifelong’. However, it is advised that passport containing “U” sticker may be carried with the new passport and OCI registration card, wherever it is possible. But immigration authorities in India have also been advised not to insist on production of the foreign passport containing the “U” visa sticker and to grant clearance based on production of the OCI card only.
“Such government notifications are very confusing not just for OCI card holders traveling to India but also for diplomatic officials at the missions and immigration officials at the Indian ports of entry. It is necessary to educate everyone when new rules come into effect to avoid problems for OCI travelers,” says, a retired Indian Foreign Service officer.
Source : indiatimes.com
NRIs In Home Run As Economy Surges
The trend of Indians returning from abroad to work here has picked up pace with the recovery in the country’s economy. Counter intuitively this is even as the monetary benefit that these executives could expect to earn has reduced over the last few years. The gap in premium between what the managers would have expected, say, three years back and now has nearly halved, say hiring experts. However, the reasons for the homing pigeons coming back to their lofts are quite similar — family matters and better job prospects.
Despite halving premiums, the trend is no longer restricted to largely IT as was seen earlier. Recruitment experts say it’s a more broad-based trend now encompassing sectors like banking and finance, pharma, auto, textiles and food processing. “With the recovery of the Indian economy and increase in the number of Indian companies looking to expand globally, there is a definite rise in the number of Indian repatriates,” said Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India, a leading recruitment and staffing firm.
Should NRIs return to India?
The search for top talent coupled with high inflation in India has helped to reduce the difference in compensation between India and the western countries. “About a decade ago, the difference in the junior and middle levels was as much as 75%, and at the top management level it was about 50% to 60%. Today, the difference at the junior and middle levels is about 50%, and at the top it’s just about 30% to 40%,” said Uppaluri.
According to Nilay Khandelwal, regional director, Michael Page, a recruitment firm, the difference is thinning down on functions which have been in India for a longer time than others, such as analytics, risk, finance and operations in banking. “The gap has been reduced as the early movers had a better advantage than people moving at later stages. So, for example, a 40-50% premium in the past is now reduced to 20-30%,” said Khandelwal.
Post the financial crisis of 2008, banks in India started grooming talent from within so that they don’t have to rely on expats and returning Indians. In finance and operations, where the supply is greater than the demand, Khandelwal said the gap in premium salary (pre-2011 levels and now) for returning Indians has reduced. “So if a VP level in finance and operations was earlier coming at Rs 50 lakh, he/she today is ready to take up the assignment for between Rs 35-40 lakh,” said Khandelwal.
Foreign banks in particular are witness to this reversal of brain drain. “We have seen a lot of interest across the developed markets from managers wanting to relocate to India, whether for personal or professional reasons. In the last 18 months, the trend of returning Indians has gathered momentum,” said Anuranjita Kumar, chief HR officer, Citi South Asia. “The last time around when we witnessed such a trend was a decade ago between 2005-07 when Indian GDP growth was around 8% to 9%. However, following the subsequent uncertainty surrounding the global financial crisis and lower growth in India, the trend plateaued out,” said Kumar.
At Citi, Indian managers based abroad with varied experience have indicated their interest to come back to India, given the positive market sentiment. As compared to the 9% growth in compensation in the Indian banking sector, developed markets offer around 2%. “More than compensation, the opportunity for these managers is in up-skilling themselves in a growing market like India,” said Kumar.
With economic growth stalling in the West, leading to slower career growth opportunities, India is a market which appears to be more dynamic, offering better job prospects to NRIs. What’s assisting the process is a change in the standard of living in India and its education system.
For Akash Kapoor (name changed on request), a senior management official working for a multinational bank, who returned to India after spending over a decade in London, adjusting to the improved quality of life which came at a more affordable rate was clearly a plus point. “The standard of living has risen here and international schooling is, in fact, better and more affordable,” said Kapoor, who returned to India so that his children could reconnect with their roots.
While Kapoor declined to give a comparison of what he earned in pounds in London and now in India in rupee terms, he sees a lot of the other Indians settled abroad considering relocating to India with a number of jobs being offshored and roles being developed for the market here.
“NRIs are in demand as they have gained experience in developed markets. Generally, they are considered to have worked in a more professional environment, where ownership and decision-making has been encouraged. In addition to this, they have a good understanding of the cultural differences between India and other developed markets,” said Khandelwal.
Employers value the international experience, but the skill set the person has acquired abroad should also be transferable to the Indian market. “If someone has built a career in finance and has no knowledge of the Indian accounting and tax regulations, it will make the job search more difficult,” said Khandelwal.
Source : Times of india
NRI, PIO can invest up to 24 percent in Zicom Electronic Security
“Non Resident Indians (NRIs)/Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) can now invest up to 24 percent of the paid up capital of Zicom Electronic Security Systems Ltd under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS),” RBI said in a notification.
The purchases could be made through primary market and stock exchanges.
FIIs, NRIs and PIOs (Persons of Indian Origins) can invest in primary and secondary capital markets in India through PIS.
The RBI monitors the ceilings on FII/NRI/PIO investments in Indian companies on a daily basis and has fixed the cut-off points two percentage points lower than the actual ceiling.
Zicom Electronic shares closed at Rs 161.90 per share on the BSE on Thursday, down 0.61 percent from the previous close.
NRI-owned Firm to Develop New Techniques for Diamond Industry
SINGAPORE: An NRI-owned firm on Tuesday launched a green-house plant, touted to be the world’s largest, to produce synthetic diamonds and a research centre for developing innovative techniques for the diamond industry.
The 2,00,000-square-foot facility will use the company’s patented diamond-growing process to produce colourless, high quality diamonds.
“The centre will generate new applications for diamonds, either from existing research ideas or something completely out of the box, by working with industry partners and research partners,” deputy prime minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said at Tuesday’s launch of IIa Technologies’ new facilities.
“This has important spin-offs for other industries as many technology applications experience thermal issues as devices miniaturize,” said Tharman, highlighting IIa Technologies’ eight years of research and technology development to grow diamonds in Singapore.
“Diamond is, as you know, an excellent heat sink because of its superior thermal conductivity. We look forward to seeing IIa Technologies spinning off new innovative applications and collaborations through its co-creation Centre,” said Thrman, who is also Singapore’s finance minister.
IIa Technologies was established by the Mehta Family’s third generation professionals in the gems and jewellery industry and diamond expert Dr Devi Shanker Misra.
Speaking to PTI at the opening of the SGD110 million plant, IIa Technologies’ chief executive officer Vishal Mehta said plans are to increase capacity to grow diamonds to 4,50,000 carats a year from the Singapore plant in two years from the current 3,00,000 carats.
Expansion of the plant, which is currently growing 3,00,000 carats, would be to meet the ever increasing demand, which is estimated 30 per cent on the year.
Source : Times Of India
Long Term Fund From Parag Parikh Aims to Attract NRI Community
Parag Parikh Financial Advisory Services seems to be focusing on Kerala’s NRI community for its long-term value fund, considering its response in some of the southern States.
PPFAS Long Term Value Fund (PLTVF) is an open-ended, equity-oriented scheme with flexibility to invest a minimum of 65 per cent in Indian equities and up to 35 per cent in overseas equity securities and domestic debt/money market securities. It was opened on May 28, 2013 and has exposure in Google.
The Long Term Value Fund is ideal for those looking for more than five years of investment, Parag Parikh, founder and Chairman, PPFAS, said.
Confident of impact
Looking at the overwhelming response from Chennai and Bengaluru, he said the company would like to build a track record.
The combined investment of the promoters, directors and staff of PPFAS in the fund comes to around 9 per cent of the value. According to him, South Indian investors (both resident and NRIs) have been very positive towards long-term value funds and prefer a conservative style of fund management. The company is confident its approach, which focuses on capital preservation and providing reasonable, inflation-beating returns, would appeal to them.
A stock market veteran, Parikh, who was in Kochi to popularise the fund, said people today are scared of investing in equity markets because of their volatility. Investors would find it difficult in understanding the behaviour of stock markets. For them, he suggested mutual funds as an investment vehicle to provide long-term returns. The MF industry, according to him, would do well in India but the challenge is to get educated and financially literate investors.
With an investor base of more than 3,500, the fund has assets of nearly ₹600 crore as on February.
PPFAS Long Term Value Fund is the first mutual fund to organise an AGM. The latest NAV of the regular plan is 16.30
Source: The Hindu Business Line
NRI Grooms Spend Top Dollar on Note-Garland
The pomp of the big, fat north Indian weddings is legendary. One of the most visible ceremonial props is the garland of currency notes that the groom wears. In shops and street baraats, it is common to spot the horse-riding groom sporting a garland made of Rs 10, Rs 100, Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes. NRIs do it their own way-they go for dollar garlands.
Numerous shops in Delhi service these clients, who come to them with wads of dollar bills to make garlands. Sellers say these garlands are worn both in domestic weddings to underline one’s NRI status, or taken abroad where the ritualistic accessory can belong better.
“Last year we made 24 such dollar garlands for NRI customers who were visiting. The customers bring the dollar bills since we cannot procure them,” says Rajesh Arora of Krishna Tracer store in west Delhi’s Tilak Nagar market. The store, nearly 60 years old, has been making these garlands for about 25 years now. At least in west Delhi, the popularity is noteworthy.
“These have become more popular in the last 3-4 years. There weren’t as many people getting these made earlier. The adjoining Chokhandi area has a lot of affluent Punjabi families who have relatives settled abroad. These dollar garlands are a status symbol for them,” says Arora, who points out that currency garlands have become a feature even in non-Punjabi weddings. “Canadian dollars are rare. People usually prefer dollars as they are more recognizable,” he says.
These fads are common in areas with a large Punjabi population, says H S Khandelwal of Roopam Silver and Zari in Karol Bagh market.
“It is mostly NRIs who get it done. We ask them for the currency notes, and charge according to the quality of a maala and making charges. A maala can cost anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 2,000-the elaborate ones with embedded stones cost more,” he says.
He adds, “making costs range from Rs 20 to Rs 50, it all depends on the number of notes you want and how you want them arranged”.
Speaking to wedding accessories stores in Karol Bagh, Raigarpura, and Old Delhi’s Kinaari Bazaar, one finds a readiness among shopkeepers to make these dollar garlands.
“You bring us the currency. We will make it for you, no problem,” is their standard response. While Krishna Tracer in Tilak Nagar claims to get heavy business, other stores in the rest of Delhi claim to get only 4-5 such orders in a year.
In Chandni Chowk’s Kinari Bazaar, Shadi Ram Triloki Nath had one man get a garland made of British pounds from them.
“The garland had 100 pounds on it altogether,” says the proprietor Sushil Kumar. In Raigarpura, close to Karol Bagh, there is a dedicated street corner with carts and stalls displaying 10-rupee note garlands. Krishna Kumar, has only begun to get the odd dollar carrying customer in the last two years. “Customers mostly take it abroad for weddings in the US,” says Kumar.
However, Narain Dass and Sons in Karol Bagh, says that the currency note garland trend on the whole is on the wane in the country. “In India, at least, people don’t like using these anymore. They increasingly find the trend outdated. NRIs still take it for their weddings,” says Deepak Malhotra, one of the store-owners.
Source: Times of India