Tata Starbucks has suspended the use of ingredients which are not approved by food regulator FSSAI in certain products served at its India outlets. Tata Starbucks Pvt Ltd, is a joint venture of Tata Global Beverages Ltd and Starbucks Coffee Co, said that it is “diligently working with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to provide the technical information relating to our pending ingredient applications that they have requested”. “In line with the FSSAI guidelines, while we finalise the documentation necessary to complete these applications, Tata Starbucks has initiated the suspension of applicable ingredients from certain products served in our India stores,” the company said. “These actions ensure that we are able to continue delivering the unique Starbucks Experience to our customers without disruption,” it said. “All of these imported ingredients received the then applicable product testing and safety authorisation when they were imported into India,” the statement said. Starbucks said, that it has “the highest standards for the safety and quality of the beverages and food” offered to customers. “We are committed to complying with the regulations in every market we operate in.” Starbucks maintained that all the imported ingredients used by it, including the ones it has suspended, were “safe and meet the safety standards in over 65 countries where Starbucks operates.” By Premji
Long term stagnation of the Chinese economy can prompt India to play a vital role among the Southeast-Asian countries to become the century’s destination by successfully enacting pro-market reforms. "China may be heading toward long-term stagnation, but if India and the nations of Southeast Asia successfully enact pro-market reforms, it may well be an 'Indian Century'," said Nicholas Eberstadt, Derek Scissors, Dan Blumenthal and Sadanand Dhume from American Enterprise Institute, a US think-tank, in an essay published in the Washington Examiner, this week. "India is also an oasis of stability in a region broiled by radical Islam. An uptick of violence in Afghanistan, as well as a surge in terrorism and sectarian killings of minority Shiite Muslims in Pakistan, underscores the relative calm of India," they wrote. "Thanks in part to China's slowdown and its unfavorable demographic future, India has a chance to carve out more space for itself in a rapidly changing Asia," the AEI experts wrote. "A more business-friendly Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has renewed optimism about a country with more than 1 billion people," it added. "Under the right circumstances and provided it follows the right policies, India could outpace its northeastern rival in coming decades. The United States should welcome this," the essay said. "At its core, an American bet on India is a bet on its economy. This means the overarching goal of policy toward India should be to help economic reform. At the same time, Washington should strive to deepen trade ties to bind the two democracies more closely to each other," they said. The experts opined that, the US should encourage India to become a more competitive, market-oriented economy as an end in itself, even if specific reforms offer no immediate reward for American firms. By Premji
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced fresh guidelines to enable commercial banks to acquire a majority stake in the companies that are unable to repay loans and has come under the strategic debt restructuring (SDR) scheme. The measures are aimed to provide banks with a more flexible process to recover bad loans, which have been mounting in recent months. According to the new guidelines, banks that decide to recast a company's debt under the SDR scheme must hold 51 percent or more of the equity after the debt-for-share conversion. Banks will be allowed to convert the debt to equity within 30 days of the review of the company's accounts. The RBI circular states that the general principle of restructuring should be that shareholders have to bear the first loss rather than the debt holders. With this principle in view and to ensure more 'skin in the game' of promoters, JLF or the corporate debt restructuring cell (CDR) will consider the possibility of transferring the equity of the company by promoters to lenders to compensate for their sacrifices. Promoters must consider infusing more equity into their companies. Banks will have to consider the option of transferring promoters holdings to a security trustee or an escrow arrangement till the turnaround of the company. Lenders who acquire shares of a listed company under a restructuring will be exempted from making an open offer, as per rules from capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the RBI said. Ten bank stocks immediately rose by 0.17% to 0.95% at 10:40 IST on BSE after the Reserve Bank of India has announced that the banks can undertake a strategic debt restructuring of a stressed assets by converting loan dues into equity shares. By Premji
The central government has announced the simplified and thinner income tax return forms, which do away with the need for the unnecessary disclosures on the spending on foreign visits and dormant bank accounts and extended the deadline for filing the papers by a month until August 31. "Forms ITR 1, 2 and 4S for assessment year 2015-16 were notified on 15th April 2015. In view of various representations, it was announced that these ITR forms will be reviewed. Having considered the responses received from various stakeholders, these forms are proposed to be simplified," the finance ministry said. On bank accounts, only the IFS code along with the account number of all current and savings accounts will be required to be filled up, but account balance need not be declared. "Details of dormant accounts which are not operational during the last three years are not required to be furnished," it added. Individuals having exempted income without any ceiling, other than agricultural income exceeding Rs. 5,000 can now file Form ITR 1 (Sahaj). Similar simplification is also proposed for individuals / HUF in respect of Form ITR 4S (Sugam). The government has also simplified the form for an individual who is not an Indian citizen and is in India on business, employment or student visa, would not be required to report the foreign assets acquired by him during the previous years in which he was non-resident, if no income is derived from such assets during the relevant previous year. "Very welcome move. The government has carefully considered the representations made and suitably dealt with the same by coming out with changed and different forms. Expatriates can breathe easy as unnecessary information will not be requested," said Sonu Iyer, human capital leader at consulting firm Ernst & Young. By Premji
Its vacation time for students and what better way to spend the vacations than to surf the Internet. BSNL is making it more easier for all its subscribers for pre-paid 2G and 3G services by rolling over their their unused mobile Internet data to the next recharge. It so happens that most of the times users have to buy fixed data packs for 3G/2G and the unused data is wasted once the period of the pack ends. BSNL’s move will help many users save money on refills and plan their Internet usage better. The company released a statement saying that this facility will be available on BSNL network for both 2G and 3G mobile Internet users. “This new facility will be applicable for all the GSM 2G and 3G pre-paid mobile customers of all BSNL circles across India,” the statement said. It has also introduced the cheapest 3G surfing plan in India to its users called Rs.68 Data Special Tariff (STV) which will allow 1 GB 3G Mobile Data for 10 days. The remaining data of this pack can be rolled over to next recharge as per above press release. “Quality of service and customer satisfaction is our top priority and transparency makes us different from other operators,” BSNL Director for Consumer Mobility, N K Gupta said. BSNL has already allowed its landline users free calling facility between between 9pm and 7am from March 1, in a bid to increase the landline telephone usage among Indians.
Low fare airline SpiceJet, turns 10 this week and to celebrate the occasion the airline today launched a special discount offer called the #CelebrationSale with tickets priced at Rs 1,010 all inclusive. SpiceJet, which flew its first commercial flight between Delhi and Ahmedabad in 2005 on a Boeing 737 aircraft, completes its first decade of flying on May 23, 2015. according to Spicejet, its efforts over the decade helped make average airfares in India more affordable than ever before. Amongst the firsts SpiceJet takes credit for are the first to offer hot meals for sale on board, the first to offer dedicated extra legroom seats in a specially configured cabin, and the first to innovate in multiple other ways such as through the introduction of Bombardier Q400 turbo-prop aircraft to fly to smaller cities, through its popular weekend uniform, and through its unique celebrations of festivals such as Holi and Diwali. Take the opinion poll: Do you think this latest Spicejet offer is worthwhile?YesNoCan't SayVoteView ResultsPolldaddy.com “When SG101 took off from Delhi bound for Ahmedabad on May 23 2005, the iPhone was still two years away, Twitter was still a year away, and Facebook and YouTube were new-born babies. In that sense SpiceJet was one of the new breed of ventures – young, dynamic, different, friendly and approachable and with a sense of humour, somewhat iconoclastic, and with a refusal to accept the status quo. 10 years later, our DNA remains the same, which is why we are the warmest, friendliest, trendiest, and most fun airline in India today, the airline with spunk and with heart, the airline that has truly enabled more Indians to fly than ever before. Through ups and downs, the SpiceJet passion and spirit has never dimmed” said Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer (COO), SpiceJet Ltd. The three day Spicejet sale launched today and will be open till midnight, May 21. The travel period covered in this sale is July 1, 2015 to October 15, 2015. The offer is available for all domestic flights on SpiceJet’s direct, via (same flight number hopping flight), and connecting flights network. Examples of routes where fares are available starting at Rs. 1,010/- all-in include: DELHI – SRINAGARMUMBAI – GOAKOLKATA – AGARTALACHENNAI – BANGALOREHYDERABAD – VIJAYWADA Highlights 1. Tickets for this new sale can be booked on www.spicejet.com, on online travel portals, and through travel agents. 2. Tickets under this offer are non-changeable and non-refundable (taxes and fees are refundable). 3.Rs 1,010 offer is for one way all -inclusive. All the other statutory taxes are applicable. 4. Booking period: May 19 – May 21, 2015 5. Travel Period: July 1 – October 15, 2015 6. Limited seats, offer available on First-Come-First-Served basis There is limited inventory under the offer, and seats will be available on First-Come-First-Served basis. Sales fares are not applicable on group bookings. Fares vary from sector to sector depending on the travel distance and flight schedules and timings are subject to regulatory approvals and change(s). The airline has recently launched a suite of new ancillary products, Spice Assist, Priority Check – in, Bag-out-first and Spice Assurance, offering customers with more choices in terms of peace of mind and ease of journey, for very modest add-on fees.
India's gold demand has increased by 22% in the last quarter of the financial year 2014 - 15 to 150.8 tonnes. This is along with a 6% fall in investment-related gold demand, which is at 40.9 tonnes, according to the data released by the World Gold Council in the report regarding demand trend for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. “India’s gold demand during the first quarter of 2015 was up 15 per cent compared with the corresponding quarter last year, though it is still below the 5-year average. This growth is a reflection of the muted demand in the same period as last year due to crippling gold import policies, coupled with weak economic sentiment and trade uncertainty at the time of the general elections,” WGC Managing Director, India, Somasundaram PR told. "Every quarter is going to be higher than the previous ones this year because GDP growth is expected to be higher and gold prices have come down," he added. "Notwithstanding the unseasonal rains in the early part of the calendar year, which will impact the rural economy, we expect the full-year demand in the range of 900-1,000 tonnes," he added. The jewellery demand for Q1 grew by 22 per cent to 150.8 tonnes when compared with 123.5 tonnes previous year. In terms of value, jewellery demand stood at Rs 36,761.4 crore, an increase of 16 per cent from Rs 31,706.4 crore in Q1 last year. "Due to certain restrictions, sales of bars and coins have faced a lot of headwinds and a part of investment demand has moved to jewellery," said Somasundaram. He said, following the partial removal of the import curbs (with the exception of a duty reduction) and the Budget announcements introducing new gold products, the environment for gold has been encouraging in the past few months, resulting in buying behaviour slowly returning to normalcy. By Premji
BMW India has announced that they are looking to arrest the two-year sales decline by introducing new as well as refreshed models in the Indian market, and tackle heavy competition faced by rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Models to be announced include the new i8 Hybrid sports car, that launches on February 18. The Munich-based car manufacturer ended the year 2014 by pushing out 6,812 units, as compared to Mercedes-Benz India’s 10,201 units and Audi India’s 10,851 units. BMW is looking to re-emerge in the competition by announcing plans of partnering with seven local parts suppliers for increased localization, which could help them price their products more competitively. BMW India is planning to launch 15 new models and variants this year, which include the highly anticipated i8 hybrid sports car, refreshed 3-Series and 6-Series (includes the M6 GranCoupe), and the recently announced high performance M variants of the X5 and X6 – the X5M and X6M. Phillip von Sahr, president of BMW India, said that a “new era is coming”, as far as their business strategies are concerned. He was also quoted saying, We do not want to play in the volumes category with low-cost entry models. Unlike some of our competitors, BMW India’s focus will be on having a profitable business through sale of higher-end cars, but without discounts. Other models to be launched this year include the X5M and X6M duo Other than the high end CBU models (M performance cars, Z4, 6 Series), BMW imports CKD kits for the 1, 3, 3 GT, 5, 7 Series as well as the X1, X3 and X5, that are manufactured in other countries and then assembled at BMW’s plant in Chennai, which has an annual capacity of 14,000 units.
RBI chief Raghuram Rajan has written to the prime minister’s office seeking “concerted” action in the country’s 10 biggest bank frauds allegedly involving prominent real estate, media and diamond firms that are being probed by the CBI, officials told. He has listed the scams pegged at about Rs 17,500 crore and outlined their dates, the reasons cited by banks for delays in their investigation and the status of the cases obtained from the CBI, said sources. “All these high-value frauds have taken place in the last 10-15 years,” said a senior official from the department of financial services (DFS), a finance ministry wing. “Investigations by the CBI are on in the listed cases.” Analysts say such frauds have triggered a rise in non-performing assets, which stood at Rs 2,60,531 crore for public sector banks till last December. The top 30 defaulters accounted for more than a third of these bad loans. The bank accounts cited by the RBI belong to Winsome Diamond and Jewellery, Zoom Developers, Tiwari Group, Surya Vinayak Industries, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, First Leasing Company of India, Biolor Industries, Surya Pharmaceuticals, Prime Impex / Prime Pulses and a person identified as Shivraj Puri, sources said. “The PMO asked the DFS to suggest a mechanism for coordinating and pursuing large-value banking frauds including structural changes that may be required in fraud reporting and coordinating arrangements apart from suggesting regulatory changes where necessary,” sources said. The PMO has instructed the DFS secretary to examine the scams and take it up with the cabinet secretary. It has also asked all concerned agencies to pursue the cases “vigorously”. By Premji
German luxury carmaker Audi launched a new version of its sports car Audi TT in India as it tries to retain top position in Indian luxury market. "This is the first of the five launches that we have planned in the next five months. Despite economic downturn last year we have grown," Audi India Head Joe King told. "Re-engineered for more power, the all-new Audi TT Coupe blends dynamic aesthetics with innovative technology and inspired performance. A design icon, the all-new Audi TT Coupe combines classic TT DNA with that of the legendary Audi Sport models, truly embodying 'Vorsprung durch Technik'. The futuristic interiors with brushed aluminum inlays, finely stitched leather sports seats, and innovative Audi virtual cockpit truly embody the sportiness, progressiveness and sophistication of the Audi brand and is the perfect car for our young and dynamic customers in India," said Joe King, head, Audi India. "Both our product launches of 2015 -- the limited edition Audi R8 LMX and the all-new Audi TT Coupe -- have a strong sporty flair. This highlights Audi's heritage in sports cars, our leadership in this segment in India and our seriousness towards this ultra-luxurious and indulgent market space. Having said this, we are gearing up with other thrilling surprises on the product front and our Audi fans will surely be spoilt for choices this year," added King. A six-speed S tronic transmission and Quattro permanent all-wheel drive, helps the 2.0 TFSI engine, with its 230 hp, accelerates the new Audi TT Coupe from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds. TT 45TFSI, gets its power from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with indirect injection supplementing the direct injection of the FSI. It produces 230 hp and 370 Nm of torque and is paired exclusively to a 6-speed DSG transmission (a manual gearbox is available on the international version). Audi claims the new TT can hit a top-speed of 253 km/h. Technical Specs of Audi TT 45 TFSI (Petrol) is as below PerformanceTop Speed - 250 kmphAcceleration (0-100 kmph) - 5.8 SecondsEngine Displacement (cc) - 1984Maximum Power - 230bhp@4500-6200rpmMaximum Torque - 370Nm@1600-4300rpmEngine Description - 2.0-litre 230bhp 16V Petrol EngineTurning Radius (wheel base) - 5.45 metresNo. of Cylinders - 4Drive Type - AWDTurbo Charger - YesSuper Charger - NoValves Per Cylinder - 4Fuel Supply System - Direct InjectionGear box - 6-SpeedSteering Gear Type - Rack and Pinion Capacity Seating Capacity - 4No of Doors - 2Length - 4177mmWidth - 1966mmHeight - 1353mmGround Clearance - 135mmWheel Base - 2505mmFront Tread - 1572mmRear Tread - 1552mmKerb Weight - 1335kgGross Weight - 1735kgFront Headroom - 993mmRear Headroom - 858mmFuel Tank Capacity (litres) - 55Cargo Volume - 305-litresTyre Size - 245/40 R18Tyre Type - Tubeless,RadialWheel Size - 8.5J X 18Alloy Wheel Size - 18 Inch Comfort Air ConditionerPower SteeringEngine Start/Stop ButtonRemote Trunk OpenerRemote Fuel Lid OpenerAccessory Power OutletTransmission TypeAutomaticNavigation SystemAdjustable SeatsCD PlayerDVD PlayerFM/AM/RadioAudio System Remote ControlSpeakers FrontSpeakers RearIntegrated 2DIN AudioBluetooth ConnectivityUSB & Auxiliary inputLow Fuel Warning LightAutomatic Climate ControlAir Quality ControlHeated Seats - FrontLeather SeatsVoice ControlCup Holders-FrontTrunk LightVanity MirrorBottle Holder - Front DoorSeat Lumbar SupportCruise ControlMulti-function Steering WheelTouch ScreenFront Suspension - Sports SuspensionRear Suspension - Sports SuspensionSafetyAnti-Lock Braking SystemParking SensorsFront & RearCentral LockingDriver AirbagPassenger AirbagRear Seat BeltsSmart Access Card EntrySeat Belt WarningBrake AssistDoor Ajar WarningCrasZ SensorAnti-Theft AlarmPower Door LocksSide Impact BeamsFront Impact BeamsDay & Night Rear View MirrorPassenger Side Rear View MirrorEngine ImmobilizerCentrally Mounted Fuel TankRear CameraTraction ControlAutomatic HeadlampsFront Brake Type - Ventilated DiscRear Brake Type - Ventilated DiscHeight Adjustable Front Seat Belts By Premji
For boosting landline business, BSNL has announced unlimited free calling scheme during night hours from its fixed line phones to any operator including mobile phones anywhere in the country from May 1. The scheme will be operational from 9 PM to 7 AM and would cover all type of connections, BSNL said in a statement. "BSNL has introduced unlimited free calling during night hours from its landline phones to all landline phones and mobile phones of all service provider's network on all India basis from 1st May," BSNL said. “BSNL landline phone offers voice clarity. Now landline customers can make unlimited calls comfortably anywhere in India to all networks from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. without paying call charges,” the statement added. All major landline general plans of rural and urban areas, landline special plans as well as all major combo (landline with broadband) plans will be covered. This is a very welcome step by the state run telecom company, which is losing its customers due to the lackluster attitude of its employees. There is a need for the employees to be educated how to deal with the customers and how to provide better service to its customers. The customer friendly private operators provides its customers with hassle free services and the customers even when they know that the service of the private companies are not upto the mark opts for a private service provider. The user friendly packages of the private companies can easily satisfy the customer needs. Whereas, the packages provided by BSNL is a frustration to its customers. This is the USP of private operators. BSNL has to do a lot to make it a customer friendly service provider. By Premji
Rating agency Moody's said emerging economies in Asia Pacific region, including India, have a high degree of immunity to external shocks, but will face challenges when the US Federal Reserve begins raising interest rates. "A common challenge for emerging economies in the region will come when the US Federal Reserve begins to raise interest rates. Asia Pacific sovereigns generally exhibit strong external payments positions and government debt profiles relative to peers elsewhere in the world are the factors that should stand them in good stead," Moody's Investors Service said. Most Asia Pacific (APAC) sovereigns have a relatively high degree of immunity to external economic shocks but their ratings momentum is diverging as some drive through ambitious reforms, while others struggle with long-standing challenges. "A key risk for credit quality is therefore whether governments can deliver on policy pledges," it said. Moody's has a 'Baa3' rating for India, with a positive outlook. Most sovereigns in Asia Pacific are net oil importers; the recent slump in oil prices will have a largely positive impact on the region. "Savings on energy costs will support sovereigns in their efforts to rein in budget deficits or rebuild fiscal buffers," Moody's noted. "Commodity exporters in the region will be most adversely affected by China's "new normal" of slower economic growth," Moody's said. International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that India will overtake China as the fastest growing emerging economy in 2015 - 16 by clocking a growth rate of 7.5 percent on the back of recent policy initiatives, pick-up in investments and lower oil prices. The rating agency Moody’s finding show the strength of the present government to make Indian economy stronger and unshaken. This will lead to large scale investment , which will trigger the growth of the Indian economy. By Premji