Booming and Bubbling India-III

Acquiring World over: Sun Pharmaceutical Industries acquires Israel-based Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, a multinational generic manufacturer, in an all cash deal for $454 million (Rs1, 844 crore).

Rural Connectivity improving fast: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged Rs 480 billion to dramatically step up its spending on roads in rural areas for a four-year project ending in 2009 to connect 66,000 villages.

India’s talent crunch a myth: Only 9 per cent of Indian employers found it difficult to fill positions because of lack of suitable talent as against 41 per cent of employers worldwide. Additonally, as opposed to the global trend, the crunch seems to be easing off in India. The global recruitment firm Manpower conducted the study in late January 2007.

Finishing schools for improved employability: Dale Carnegie, one of the prestigious universities in the US, and other agencies are exploring the idea of setting up an IT finishing school in Karnataka and elsewhere for providing specialised training to fresh engineering pass-outs to make their ready for IT industries.

Auto makers partner state-run ITIs: Auto and autoparts makers, such as Toyota and the Sona Koyo group of autopart makers, are partnering state-run ITIs to train students to meet their specific requirements and save on the time spent training workers. The number of workers required in the industry is estimated to go up 10-fold to 25 million. Of this, a tenth, or about 2.5 million workers, are likely to be directly employed in the industry in shopfloor positions such as machinists and technicians.

India Flying High: The mega carrier being created by merging Air India and Indian Airlines – National Aviation Co. Ltd (NACL) – will begin its first direct non-stop Indo-US flight on August 1. While AI and IA have placed orders for 111 new generation planes, their aging fleet would get 25 new Boeing and Airbus by this year-end. In 2006, the aviation industry witnessed a growth of nearly 50% with 16 million passengers buying around 30 million seats. Projected figutes indicate that over 70 million passengers are expected to fly by 2010.

Indian mangoes go to USA and Japan too: After the US, India has started exporting mangoes to Japan with the first consignment of one tonne of Banganpalli mangoes from Tirupati sent to Tokyo. It will be through mango-growers cooperatives and involve women’s Self Help Group to ensure that farmers get better price for their produce.

India as destination: IT solutions and software provider 3i Infotech launched a new Global Development Centre (GDC) in Chennai. The centre will focus on enhancement and development of the company’s flagship insurance solution ‘Premia’ and banking solution ‘Kastle’.

Manufacturing too flourishing: Wärtsilä Corporation has received an order for six turnkey biomass-fuelled power plants from German-based company Bayernfonds BestEnergy 1 GmbH & Co. KG in April for a total value of approximately euro 100 million.

NXP (Next eXPerience) Semiconductors, the new semiconductor company founded by Philips, is partnering with mobile communication service provider Reliance Communications (RCom) to bring out low cost handsets in India. The price of the handset could be around Rs 800 ($20) with features such as colour display, MP3 player and FM radio.

Arham in Sriperumbudur: Arham Plastics has commissioned a new plant in Sriperumbudur, primarily to meet demand accruing from increased requirements of Korean auto major Hyundai. Arham will be thereby doubling its auto components production capacity,

India Fusion research becomes neighbour’s envy: “The Indian programme is very ambitious. I believe $130 million has been spent by the Indian government for this kind of research while we have spent just $30 million so far,” said Song Tao Wu, the deputy director general at the China’s Institute of Plasma Physics.

IT goes superfast: India’s IT exports are growing at more than 30% annually and are expected to cross $50 billion in early 2008. Indian enterprises are expected to invest Rs 8,974 crore on information technology (IT) in FY08 – an increase of 26% when compared with the FY07 expenditure of Rs 7,123 crore. However, IT still has miles to go before it catches up with global giants in terms of productivity. An American IT professional contributes nearly ten times higher to the company’s turnover than his Indian counterpart.

Entry-level salaries increase:
Major IT firms and even some mid-size ones have increased their entry-level compensation packages by 10-16 per cent, as competition intensifies to attract the best talent from campuses. TCS is offering annual salaries ranging between Rs 2.7 lakh and Rs 3.3 lakh, depending on the colleges and course streams. Wipro is contemplating a 10-15 per cent hike in freshers’ salaries. For graduates joining in 2007, it had offered Rs 2.4-2.7 lakh per annum. The Infosys compensation package for graduates joining in 2007 stood at Rs 2.75 lakh per annum.

India ahead of China’s offshore market: China’s push to become an alternate off shoring hub for MNCs tackling soaring wages and high attrition rate in India remains a distant dream as its market is developing slower than expected. Despite massive government support and huge visibility on the global arena, China’s offshore market has not taken off as expected and still has a long way to become a potential alternative to India, according to technology research firm Forrester.

Europe convinced: Some, if not all West European Governments are gradually realising that offshoring and offshore outsourcing is not a choice for Europe – it is a fact. Corporate Europe is already gearing up. Europe’s top 500 companies could potentially save Euro 50 billion annually, or almost Euro 100 million on average per company, by offshoring many of their back-office activities.

Biopharma growing: In India, biopharma, the largest segment of biotech, grew by 32% to $1 billion in 2005-06. The domestic biotech sector is growing at a CAGR of 35%, and is expected to touch $5 billion by 2009-10, according to estimates. The focus area of leading companies such as Biocon, Dr Reddy’s, Panacea, Shantha Biotech, Workhardt and Zydus, is vaccines and bio-generics.

Sweetening India: Sugar production of India, the world’s second largest producer after Brazil, is all set to touch 27 million tonnes in 2006-07 season with output already crossing 26 million tonnes till 15 May. The sugar production in 2005-06 season stood at 19.3 million tonnes. Sugar year runs from October to September

And the cement industry: The demand for cement in the country is projected to go up to 200 million tonne a year by 2010 from 149 million tonne at present, by which time the capacity will have risen to 240 million tonne a year from the current 165.

Indians excel: Indian-born Srinivasa SR Varadhan on Tuesday accepted the Norwegian Abel Prize, known as the ‘Nobel Prize for mathematics’. King Harald presented the award worth 6 million kroner ($920,000) at a ceremony in Oslo.

Harjit Gill of Dakoha village in Punjab made history by taking over as the 527th mayor of the city of Gloucester in England. He is the first Asian to be mayor of the historic city – famous for its docks, the 1300-year-old Gloucester Cathedral of Saint Peter’s and, lately the locale of the first Harry Potter film.

Indian artists going rich: Indian artists never had it so good – an auction of modern and contemporary Indian art here including those by masters like M F Husain, Francis Newton Souza and Tyeb Mehta – has fetched a fabulous $ 8.809 million. The auction was held by the Christie’s last evening and the highest price of £ 720,000 went for Syed Haider Raza’s La Terre (1985).

India in space: The Chandrayaan-1 mission is making substantial progress.” The CARTOSAT-2 satellite launched in January this year has special cameras that have a resolution of less than one metre, and is being used for detailed map development applications and disaster management activities. The successful launch of INSAT-4B that has 24 DTH transponders has been a major milestone. The EDUSAT, a satellite dedicated to education, has connected around 10,000 classrooms, benefiting rural and remote areas. Other achievements are the pathbreaking demonstration of the capability to recover an orbiting satellite through the Space Recovery Experiment, the successful ground testing of the indigenously developed cryogenic stage for the Geo-Stationary Satellite Launch Vehicle, and the demonstration of the Supersonic Combustion Ramjet required for advanced rocket systems.

Retail on move: Aditya Birla group announced an investment of Rs8,000-9,000 crore over the next five years to start a retail chain. Bharti, Reliance, and Aditya Birla Retail Ltd (ABRL, the name of the group’s company in the retail business) enter the $300 billion (Rs12.3 lakh crore) Indian retail market. According to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which will partner Bharti in a wholesale venture, store chains currently account for 4% of retail sales, but this number is set to increase to 35% by 2015.

Billion Club Expanding: From January this year until now, at least 20 companies now have a market capitalisation of $1 billion taking total number of publicly traded Indian companies with a market cap of $1 billion each to 146 from just 98 companies a year ago. The Indian stock markets are now flirting intimately a combined market capitalisation of $1 trillion.

Exemplary Telecom sector: With an addition of 5.15 million wireless subscribers in April, the total telephone users are now 212.02 million, the world’s fourth biggest and tele-density is 18.74%. Total broadband connections in the country has reached 2.43 million by the end of April with an addition of 0.13 million connections during the month, compared to 0.09 million added during March, a growth of 5.65%. India has many ‘firsts’ to showcase in global telephoney. Just this calendar year, India has had the distinction of having the world’s lowest call rates (40 paise), the fastest growth in the number of subscribers (15.31 million in 4 months), the fastest sale of a million mobile phones (1 week), the world’s cheapest mobile handset (Rs 777) and the world’s most affordable colour phone (Rs 1,234).Roaming tariffs are slashed by 50% and call rates are as low as 40 paise, as against Rs 12 in the UK, Rs 2.5 in Sri Lanka and Rs 7 West Asia. Reliance Communications launched the world’s cheapest phone at Rs 777. In Sri Lanka, a handset costs a minimum Rs 4,000. In most other countries, the minimum price for a handset is $80 (Rs 3,200).

NSE 3rd fastest growing bourse: The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has emerged the world’s third fastest-growing exchange in terms of increase in listed companies – outpacing global names such as NYSE, Nasdaq and London Stock Exchange.

“When the history of our time in office is written, I am confident the great strategic leap forward in cementing the Indo-US strategic partnership will count among the most important accomplishments of Presidents (George W) Bush and (Bill) Clinton with Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh and his predecessors”. Nicholas Burns, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

This is booming and bubbling India.
T Thomas: Re-branding India

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