Tag Archives: #B2B

Indian it firms plan to move to Mexico & Canada due to h-1b visa restrictions

Indian and U.S. technology firms advise the Trump administration to reverse an executive order restricting access to certain job visas, saying the change would disrupt a market model used to bring high-skill expertise to Wall Street and Silicon Valley clients.

Last week’s order from Donald Trump inhibits approvals of a range of visas all through to the year-end, including those for intra-company transfers and study-outside programs, and aims to give American preference after recording job losses from the coronavirus pandemic. H-1B visas used by Indian workers and other countries to occupy key roles are vital to the tech industry.

Visa delivery is an complex, month-long undertaking and some interruption could affect vital employees’ ability to fly to consumer locations for an prolonged period of time. The virus lockdowns have now delayed vital consulate access to the network and pushed hundreds of thousands of employees into demanding work-from – home conditions.

India’s technology trade group, Nasscom, called Trump’s order “misguided and harmful to the U.S. economy” and warned it would exacerbate the country’s economic pain. 

Indian companies provide technology staff and services to U.S. hospitals, drugmakers and biotechnology companies, Nasscom pointed out. In addition, the industry may send more workers to Canada or Mexico without access to the U.S. market.

“These are highly-skilled workers who are in great demand and they will be mobile no matter what,” said Shivendra Singh, president of global trade development at Nasscom.

Among the other critics of the order were Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith and Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk. Pichai, himself a beneficiary of the H-1B visa system in the 1990s, tweeted, “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today.” Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd., among the largest outsourcing companies in Asia, declined to comment.

According to immigration numbers, India accounts for around 70 per cent of the 85,000 H-1B visas granted annually. Of this number, 65,000 visas are given to international professionals with bachelor’s degrees, while the remaining 20,000 will be assigned to employees with more advanced degrees. The visa program was developed to allow businesses to recruit foreign staff to address a lack of highly qualified technical services and product creation expertise. The reality that every year Indian outsourcers receive a large amount of the visas has rendered the scheme problematic, with opponents alleging that businesses misuse the system by replacing American employees with cheaper foreign labour.

Shortly after assuming office, Trump promised to clamp down on work visas and overhaul the “broken” immigration framework. A long-term issue for outsourcers is the proposed redesign of the existing H-1B visa scheme by the government, which will substitute the established allocation mechanism to decide who accepts visas with a merit-based method that prioritizes wage-based applicants.

Now, outsourcing firms are grappling with the unpredictability of the visa situation and the possibility of an H-1B revamp being able to make it impossible to take all but the most important of talent outside the world.

Source:https://www.livemint.com/industry/infotech/indian-it-firms-may-set-up-new-outposts-in-canada-mexico-amid-h-1b-visa-curbs-11593495677657.html

GOVERNMENT LIKELY TO SPEND MUCH LESS THIS FISCAL YEAR

Rationalisation of expenditure by the government for the second quarter of the current fiscal year has led to rising concerns. Fear’s have plummeted as many believe that the government may end up spending way less than the budget level, it has previously estimated, this would result in the economy taking even longer to recover than before.

Lower revenue intake and rising debt rates of central and state governments due to increased borrowing to cope with COVID-19 pandemic-related spending have also contributed to worries about the debt-GDP ratio crossing the 80 per cent notional red line from the 70 per cent rate seen in the last fiscal period. Nevertheless, the worries are being challenged by some analysts who stress the need to focus on economic recovery and prosperity instead of relying exclusively on debt figures, with high economic costs of debt reining in terms of jobs and loss of life and wellbeing.

Last week, the Finance Ministry released spending control guidelines in the quarter of July-September, extending an earlier order for the cash management system, dated April 8. The April order had grouped divisions of government and ministries into three, detailing their April-June quarter budget limit. Class A has without limitation ministries and agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Rural Development and the Supreme Court of India.

Category B ministries and departments such as fertilizers, taxation, home affairs, election commissions and road and highways are expected to restrict spending to 20% of the 2020-21 budget total, whereas Category C ministries such as petrochemicals, energy, commerce, telecommunications, education , housing and urban affairs will only spend 15% of the budget.

The budget rationalization is likely being undertaken to allow enough headroom to dovetail the stimulus package unveiled last month, particularly when receipts are projected to be significantly smaller than this year’s projections. Direct taxes dropped by more than 25 per cent in the first quarter, though GST collections were just 45 per cent of the monthly mark. Economists point to some key aspects of the stimulus program, such as the allocation of funds to micro, small and medium-sized businesses under the 100 percent Emergency Credit Line Guarantee System that are failing to take off, thus exacerbating the effects of the continuing reduction of government spending.

With insufficient cash outgoing, fiscal support from the government in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has been constrained. Schemes that are part of the stimulus plan, such as providing funds to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises under the 100% Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Programme, are failing to take off, with banks able to disburse a little over 7% of the volume distributed under this heading over the last one month. For MSMEs, hard hit by the pandemic lockdown, credit remains a challenge amid the demand slump. Official data shows that as of June 18, state-owned banks sanctioned loans worth Rs 40,416 crore under the scheme, of which Rs 21,028.55 crore has been disbursed, which is a little over 7 per cent of the Rs 3 lakh crore package under this head.

Source:https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-the-government-is-likely-to-spend-much-less-this-fiscal-6481331/

TENSION BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA ESCALATES

India is considering multiple, comprehensive measures to curtail China’s economic dependence on the country, targeting trade , investment, and project services in the wake of hostilities at the border. These are expected to include limits on Chinese firms’ involvement in government contracts and infrastructure programs, higher tariffs on imported Chinese finished goods as well as closer review of free trade arrangements that the country uses to indirectly export goods to India.

According to Economic times, a high-level meeting, likely to be attended by key stakeholder ministers and top officials from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), is expected soon to discuss the details and the extent of measures.

“Measures are being examined… All pros and cons of how and when as also their repercussions on Indian businesses will be looked into,” said a government official.

On the trade side, tariff as well as non-tariff measures could be put in place to discourage China’s imports which added up to $70 billion in FY19, which was more than any other country. In FY19, India had a trade deficit of $53 billion with China, and attempts to address it have made little progress. Chinese firms have a significant portion of the cell phone and electronics industries in India. The government should take steps to curtail Chinese imports while at the same time creating an atmosphere for domestic production of these goods.

India will also review its free trade arrangements with other countries to determine whether China is using them to enter the local market. India has already left the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, which includes China among others, on the grounds that there is no safeguard against a further increase in exports to India from that country. In addition, stringent quality standards and controls could be introduced to contain the country’s goods inflow.

Various options are being examined by the law ministry on the exact contours of the clause to ensure it cannot be challenged and meets international norms. The omnibus clause could cover all countries, the official said, though it is primarily aimed at Chinese companies.

One of the first sectors to introduce the clause could be roads and highways before it is expanded to others and eventually includes public sector units, said the officials. The ministries of road transport and highways and law are already in discussions to finalise the wording of the new clause, one official said.

The government has sought to cancel and rework contracts with state-owned telecommunications firms Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) to keep Chinese vendors out of security issues. Additional criteria could be introduced to ensure Indian suppliers of goods and services secure contracts awarded by the government as well as public sector entities. The Ministry of Law is examining the feasibility of introducing such a clause examining the feasibility of introducing such a clause in contracts in accordance with restrictions or strict conditions imposed by some other countries on Indian firms from contracting.

“These stiff criteria essentially are barriers to ensure that only local companies can participate,” the official said, adding that such restrictions imposed by other countries are also being examined in detail.

The exercise was already underway as part of the Atmanirbhar government’s mission, or self-reliance, and gained importance following changed border circumstances, he said. The cabinet secretary, who also chairs a committee to boost local manufacturing, has had discussions with various ministries dealing with infrastructure projects on how to boost local sourcing of both goods and services.

The lowest bidder is generally accorded prior security clearance but there’s a growing view that a more stringent framework is needed, said the official cited above.

Some bids in which Chinese companies were roped in as partners by an Indian company in the roads sector have been cancelled recently, including one in Nagpur. The government has already reserved supply contracts of up to ₹200 crore for local producers. The government is likely to revisit these criteria to ensure wider participation by domestic companies, another official said.

Source:https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/india-set-to-erect-a-great-wall-against-chinese-companies/articleshow/76455684.cms

Japan’s economy in turmoil

The Bank of Japan has expanded the total size of its funding packages for cash-strapped companies from about $700 billion reported last month to $1 trillion. While they announced on Tuesday that they would keep monetary conditions stable and hold on to their expectation that the economy would slowly rebound from the coronavirus pandemic on it’s on, suggesting that they have taken ample measures to sustain recovery for now. The BOJ remains focused on steps to ease corporate funding strain.

“Given markets have calmed down and the economy appears to be bottoming out, there’s no reason for the BOJ to take action anytime soon,” said Hiroshi Shiraishi, senior economist at BNP Paribas Securities.

“Fiscal policy will play a main role in responding to the virus fallout, so the central bank will continue to indirectly help the government by keeping borrowing costs low,” he said.

The BOJ kept its yield curve control targets at -0.1 per cent for short-term interest rates and 0 per cent for long-term rates in a widely expected move. The central bank has also made no significant improvements to its programmes to alleviate the pressures of corporate finance, including a loan facility aimed at channeling funds to businesses.

Due to the way it is designed, the amount of money to be pumped out via the programmes will reach 110 trillion yen ($1 trillion) if more loans are taken out via government schemes, the central bank said.That was larger than an estimate of 75 trillion yen made in May, as the government expanded the range of eligible loans under a second stimulus package.

Japan’s economy appears to have hit bottom and is eyeing a recovery from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, its finance minister said, underscoring cautious optimism spreading among policymakers after the relaxation of lockdown measures.

“We’ve succeeded in putting a floor on the economy, which seems to have hit bottom. How strong the recovery will be depends not just on domestic conditions but overseas developments,” Finance Minister Taro Aso told parliament on Friday.

In April, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proclaimed a state of emergency telling enterprises to shut down and people to remain at home, a development that dealt a serious blow to income and sales by corporations. Although the state of emergency was lifted in late May, economists estimate that in the current year, after falling into recession in January-March, the economy experienced more than a 20 percent annualized contraction.

Last year, Japan was a tourist mecca welcoming 31.9 million foreign visitors. That was a peak after seven consecutive years of growth.But in a sudden turn of events, prolonged coronavirus travel bans have brought Japan’s tourism industry to a standstill, with a 99.9 percent fall in tourists in April, the high time for cherry blossom viewings.The tourism Industry in almost all countries around the world have been devastatingly affected due to the pandemic.

However, the new domestic travel improving initiative from the government — the “Go To” program unveiled last month — has since been delayed after reports of an unsustainable administrative and office expense allocation. The “Go To” program is a collaborative public-private partnership that provides consumers purchasing travel goods from approved distributors in the four groups, tentatively named Go To Ride, Go To Eat, Go To Case, and Go To Shopping Strips, discount vouchers of 50 to 20 percent off. The initiative was dubbed “murky” and “untransparent” by the opposition.

Adding to the controversy is the bidding method the government adopted to attract business contractors. Before the official bidding start date, the Ministry of Economy had interviewed Japanese global advertising giant Dentsu 10 times. But the minister for economy explained that meetings had been held with 50 businesses along with Dentsu and that the 10 interviews with Dentsu had been consultations for reference due to the company’s experience in “implementing projects of unprecedented scale.”

In response to criticisms the government said it would suspend the open recruitment for business contractors and would revise the budget from the ground up to ensure unnecessary expenses are removed. The tourism recovery campaign was expected to launch in July, but to the disappointment of struggling local businesses a new start date has yet to be determined.

Source: 1.https://in.reuters.com/article/us-japan-economy-boj/bank-of-japan-holds-fire-pledges-1-trillion-to-struggling-firms-idINKBN23N0D5

2.https://japantoday.com/category/politics/Japan’s-economy-bottoming-out-says-Aso

3.https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/japans-campaign-to-revive-virus-hit-tourism-sector-postponed-amid-cost-controversy/

Indian social media app migrates to google cloud

Homegrown social media site, ShareChat, announced Monday the full transition of its technology to Google Cloud that supports more than 60 million active monthly users. The regional platform has made the shift to scale its market, boost productivity, cut costs and enhance the overall success of the app that houses active users in 15 Indian languages.

ShareChat following a host of Indian companies that, during the lockdown, changed or rebalanced their cloud provider mix to scale up to the massive increase in usage and reliance on such services. ShareChat’s IT network was divided between Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud according to the platform ‘s previous privacy policy claim.

Given the high-intensity data , high volume of content and traffic that the platform generates such as posts, likes, views and followers, ShareChat relies heavily on IT infrastructure. A significant proportion of their mobile-application’s subscribers come from cities that come in tier-2 and tier-3, with most of them heavily  depending on 2 G networks. Therefore the it is most critical for such businesses to be able to minimize the impact of mobile bandwidth and providing all users with a great experience, the management said.

Cloud service companies have seen consistent increase in revenue in the first six months of 2020 with multinational technology firms such as Amazon.com, Microsoft Corp, and Google Inc. announcing solid growth in the demand for cloud computing as growing percentages of institutions turned to online connectivity for continued research.

As per the numbers shared by the companies for January-March, Amazon Web Services ( AWS) continues to lead with a global market share of 32 percent followed by Microsoft Azure (17 percent) and Google and Alibaba at around 6 percent each. India is currently a high-priority destination for these companies, with a growing number of established firms, startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) looking to embrace cloud and IT technologies in the face of the government’s drive for a stronger digital presence. The pandemic has only added to that urgency.

In April 2020, ShareChat decided to migrate to Google Cloud to successfully scale and achieve its customer service goals.

“We are happy to share that a couple of months down the line we have not only experienced 100% uptime but also we see the cost benefits of our choice much beyond our initial expectations. The scale at which ShareChat is, we wouldn’t have looked beyond the top three providers and Google was the perfect fit for us,” said Venkatesh Ramaswamy, vice president of engineering, ShareChat.

In the middle of the covid-19 crisis, the monumental eight-hour move from ShareChat ‘s predominant cloud network to Google Cloud forced the former to conduct a meticulous review for nearly three months, preparing and conducting a detailed operational and strategic approach to fulfill their market needs.

“60 million users, is among the largest that we have helped migrate in recent times. Because they had a very specific requirement about the timing and method of migration, our people across the professional services, India engineering and cloud teams, APAC and global teams were all on standby to handle any situation that arises,” said Karan Bajwa, managing director (MD), Google Cloud India.

Source:https://www.livemint.com/news/india/sharechat-migrates-60-million-users-to-google-cloud-11592197345377.html

ITC SPELLS TROUBLE FOR M&M

A US regulator ruled that India’s Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd infringed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s (FCA) Jeep brand’s intellectual property rights, barring the selling of the vehicles involved.

The International Trade Commission, in a decision released late Thursday, issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting sale or import of the infringing vehicles and parts, as well as a cease and desist order to Mahindra and its North American unit. According to the the ITC, Mahindra’s Roxor off-road utility vehicle violated the “trade dress” of FCA’s Jeep Wrangler SUV.

Trade dress consists of the unique features that distinguish a product and is generally accepted by the public as having been identified with that product. FCA, for example, sees the boxy body form of the Jeep Wrangler, front grille and round headlights as distinct from the model. The order is automatically effective but the U.S. Trade Representative has 60 days for policy reasons to potentially disapprove. The ITC, which originally began its investigation in September 2018, has since last November been evaluating the original decision of an administrative law judge. The outbreak of coronavirus postponed ITC announcement.

Mahindra said in a statement on Friday that the vehicle subject to the ITC action is no longer in production and the 2020 design was refreshed.

“The company and Mahindra Automotive North America … remain resolute in its position that the Roxor does not dilute or violate Jeep’s trade dress,” Mahindra said, adding it was weighing options with respect to an appeal during the review period or in federal appeals court.

FCA said in a statement it was pleased with the decision and that the Italian-American automaker reserved further comment while it studied the ruling.

The Roxor is assembled in Auburn Hills, north of Detroit. Mahindra on Friday reported a quarterly loss and was pushing to cut costs during the outbreak.

Mahindra & Mahindra began it’s journey in 1945, with them getting into the steel business first, and then over time, expanded to 22 key industries. As need for change was felt in the agricultural practices

M &M entered into that sector right before the agriculture revolution began in India. We became one of the key torch-bearers of the IT revolution in our country.They focus mostly lies in developing alternate energy sources because they have propagated a lot towards energy-conservation believe energy conservation will play a huge role in ensuring a better future – for not just our country and communities, but the entire world.

One of the more important sector that they are involved in is Agriculture.They are known to empower farmers with the most relevant technology and agricultural know-how, and link them to the market, so as to maximize their returns and to ensure they get better returns. Their agricultural inputs, advisory services, and output procurement businesses all aim to deliver continued Farm Prosperity, while their Farm-to-Fork model ensures stringent quality checks throughout the supply chain.They have also been known to partake in many charities as well as is considered to be one of the few multi-national companies in the world to have actively taken steps towards prevention of environmental degradation.

Source: https://in.reuters.com/article/fiat-chrysler-mahindra-complaint/u-s-regulator-sides-with-fca-in-jeep-trade-case-against-mahindra-idINKBN23J2E8

luxury food industry amasses heavy losses due to the virus

Global demand for luxury foods such as wagyu beef, bluefin tuna and caviar has plummeted into decline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of restaurants shuttered.

The luxury food industry may be among the hardest affected because it depends heavily on restaurants and top hotels for ordering deluxe goods from caviar to champagne, because tight shutdown efforts to curb the epidemic ravage global economic activity. While some gourmet food manufacturers are specifically targeting customers to remain alive, some have been compelled to slash production since some goods have lost nearly half their value since the beginning of the year.

Jean-Marie Barillere, co-chairman of champagne producers’ lobby CIVC in France, said he hoped people would celebrate the easing of lockdown with a bottle of champagne, but expected a difficult end to the year. “This is really a period that looks like a war time,” he said.

Bookings data compiled by OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation service, showed this year a decline of nearly 80 percent year-on-year in seated restaurants in the United States, UK , Germany, Canada , Australia, Ireland and Mexico. Restaurants is among the world’s hardest-hit industries

“People will not want to taste a Chateau Petrus wine, a lobster or caviar under a bell jar,” said Michel Berthommier, managing director of Caviar Perlita in southwestern France. “If you force people to eat in these conditions they will prefer going to fast foods.”

Premium foods was “one of the worst hit sectors worldwide”, said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney. He said he did not expect a prompt recovery given many countries were in recession. Falling demand has already taken a toll on the prices of luxury items.

In Tokyo, the price of top-quality wagyu beef cuts fell around 30% from a year ago, bluefin tuna – deemed the best in Japan – fell more than 40% during that period, while Shizuoka’s popular ‘Earl’s melons’ prices dropped 30%. Russia’s largest breeding sturgeon business-Russian Caviar Shop-meanwhile gave Beluga hybrid caviar a 30 per cent discount.

“Spring and summer are always low seasons for the caviar market, but if we compare this period with previous years, the sales in Russia are down 50%,” said the firm’s owner Alexander Novikov.

In France, caviar prices languished near historic lows, champagne sales tumbled, while foie gras producers have had to cut output to prop up prices. Cifog, a foie gras producers’ group, said restaurants account for 40% of total foie gras sales. “Mid-March it felt like the sky had fallen on us,” said Florian Boucherie, who produces 2 tonnes of foie gras per year in France.

To plug the yawning gap left by eateries, many high-end food producers are attempting to reach consumers directly via e-commerce platforms. Others are steering more produce onto supermarket shelves. “We are accelerating our supply of products into some of the world’s largest supermarkets, gourmet butchers and direct to consumers online,” said Hugh Killen, chief executive of Australia’s largest listed beef producer, Australian Agricultural Company.

In Japan, top sushi chefs pay 400,000 yen ($3,737.97) for 10kg of the best cuts of tuna compared to the 25,000 yen paid by supermarkets for 10kg of lower value cuts, said Yukitaka Yamaguchi, owner of Yamayuki tuna brokerage at Toyosu Market in Tokyo. He said “the best part of (the) tuna” was usually sold first to high-end sushi restaurants but when these closed the “harakami had nowhere to go.” They eventually started offering high-quality tuna to fish retailers and supermarkets. For now, Yamaguchi has had to park plans to retire as he has accumulated debt during the pandemic. “I had planned to retire when I turn 60, but that’s no longer possible,” he said.

Source:https://in.reuters.com/article/health-corononavirus-food-premium/luxury-food-industry-turns-sour-amid-global-coronavirus-lockdowns-idINKBN23J0SR

Swiggy to shut down it’s independently working food delivery service-scootsy.

Bangalore-based food-tech unicorn, Swiggy plans to close its on-demand online food delivery service Scootsy, a Mumbai-based startup which it acquired in 2018, for an estimated value of Rs. 50 Crore, to expand its operations in the online food delivery segment.

Scootsy,  was permitted to function as an independent app, serving food from a curated list of brands (such as Masque, Nara Thai, Royal China, Trattoria),gourmet food stores, and  bakeries after the takeover in Mumbai.

Swiggy is one of the many big Indian brands that have been adversely affected by the Corona-virus pandemic.Food delivery business in India saw a 70% drop in food order volume, with just 25% of listed restaurants operational.

In the past month, Swiggy has concentrated on luxury ‘curated’ consumer food delivery and has been linking itself to premier hotel groups like ITC Hotels, Marriott, Hyatt, KA Hospitality and such similar brands—to raise its average order volume and size on its website as it aims to benefit further from high-ticket size orders.

Thus the major food startup is planning to fully merge Mumbai-based Scootsy, an already premier food delivery brand , on its own platform and will redirect Scootsy’s customers to the Swiggy app. With this it will also undertake the transitioning of Scootsy’s partners and delivery fleet onto the Swiggy platform.

“Swiggy has seen a increase in demand over the past few months for customized food choices from premium brands. In order to extend our reach to all discerning consumers across Mumbai, we will be transferring the services provided by Scootsy to Swiggy ‘s platforms in the near future. This will be the first big step in setting up the premium category for Swiggy,” said a Swiggy representative.

Recently, gourmet restaurants have slowly begun to tap food distribution services such as Swiggy to ensure continuity of business as the industry expects  changes in consumer behavior toward eateries.

Source: https://www.livemint.com/companies