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Rajnath urges Karnataka, Haryana to ensure safety of all citizens, including those from NE

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddharamaiah and Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki today and requested them act against miscreants responsible for attacks against citizens from the North-East.
 
Mr Singh told them that law and order must be maintained under all circumstances and to ensure the safety of all citzens, including those hailing from the North-East.
 
He said the Centre was committed to provide security to all the citizens living in the country.
 
"In the last couple of days, some unpleasant incidents of attacks by the miscreants on the citizens from the North East India have been reported in Bangalore and Gurgaon, and it is a matter of concern," he said.
 
An official press release said three persons found to be involved in the Bangalore incident had been arrested by the Karnataka Police.
 
In Haryana, three persons have been arrested in connection with the Gurgaon incident.
 
Both the State Governments have issued directions to the police to deal with such miscreants strictly, it said.
 
Bangalore Police and Haryana Police have taken a number of security measures for ensuring the security of the people including those hailing from the North East. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent advisories to the State Governments and Union Territories in this regard, the release added.
 
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India's Mars orbiter sends video of Red Planet's moon Phobos

 
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has posted on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook the first video that it has received from Mangalyaan, its Mars Orbiter Mission, showing the Martian moon Phobos moving across the Red Planet.
 
"Did you see that? It moved! Oh, it's just Phobos," ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission said on Twitter.
 
It posted the video along with the post, using a Vine account.
 
 
Phobos is the larger of the two moons of Mars, the other being Deimos. The video shows Phobos, seen only as a dark dot, travelling west to east over Mars in its typical orbit. The images were taken from an altitude of 66,275 km.
 
Phobos has a size of only 27x22x18 km in diameter and orbits the Red Planet thrice a day. Moving faster than Mars rotates, Phobos completes an orbit in just 7 hours and 39 minutes.
 
India had scripted space history on September 24 when Mangalyaan slipped into its designated Martian orbit and joined an an elite club of a few space powers who have explored Mars, after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
It has also become the first country to achieve success in its Mars mission on its very first attempt. 
 
The achievement came after the spacecraft, India's first inter-planetary probe, completed a 650 million kilometre space odyssey, 300 days after it was launched onboard ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai.
 
One of the main objectives of the mission is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
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Infosys reports 28.6% rise in net profit in Q2, recommends 1:1 bonus issue

 
Infosys posts higher-than-expected profit
Software services exporter Infosys Limited today reported a 28.6 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) increase in net profit at Rs 3096 crore in the second quarter (Q2) ended September 30 of the current fiscal year.
 
The company said in a press release here today that the quarter-on-quarter (Q-o-Q) growth in net profit in Q2 was 7.3 per cent.
 
The revenues for the quarter were Rs 13,342 crore for a YoY growth of 2.9 per cent and a QoQ increase of 4.5 per cent.
 
The company maintained its revenue guidance for financial year 2015 at 7%-9%.
 
The company said its liquid assets, including cash and cash equivalents,  available-for-sale financial assets, certificates of deposits and government bonds were Rs 33,616 crore as on September 30 as compared to Rs 29,748 crore as on June 30 this year.
 
According to the release, Infosys and its subsidiaries added 49 clients (gross) during the quarter. There was a gross addition of 14,255 employees during the quarter. The company and its subsidiaries had 165,411 employees as on September 30.
 
The company declared an interim dividend of Rs 30 per share. The record date for payment of dividend is October 17, 2014.
 
The company's board, at its meeting held today, recommended a bonus issue of one equity share for every equity share held and a stock dividend of one American Depositary Share (ADS) for every ADS held, as on a record date to be determined.
 
"Digital transformation is reshaping the business of every one of our clients. We see this as a great opportunity to help them renew the core of their business as well as to expand into new frontiers and are seeing early positive results”, said Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys. 
 
“Our strategy is to apply the same principles to our own business in order to capture this opportunity and accelerate our growth, within our culture of lifelong learning and purposeful work," he said.
 
“On several fronts, our efforts to bring in operational efficiencies yielded encouraging results during the quarter," said Mr U. B. Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer. “We have seen positive results of some of our interventions on sales, margins and attrition, and we will continue to focus on these areas.”
 
“We have been able to improve our margins during the quarter and feel confident of sustaining these within a narrow band," said Mr Rajiv Bansal, Chief Financial Officer. “This is giving us increased confidence to make 
the investments required to meet our growth aspirations.”
 
Mr. K.V. Kamath has been elected as the Chairman of the Board effective tomorrow, the release added.
 
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PSLV-C26 to be launched on Oct 16 with navigation satellite IRNSS 1C on board

India's third navigation satellite IRNSS-1C being assembled with PSLV-C26 in the Mobile Service Tower at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
India's third navigation satellite IRNSS-1C being assembled with PSLV-C26 in the Mobile Service Tower at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C26) will be launched on October 16 with the country's third navigation satellite IRNSS-1C on board, six days after its original launch date of October 10.
 
The lift-off is scheduled at 0132 hours IST on October 16 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on the country's east coast.
 
"The launch window of the mission opens at 0132 hrs IST and lasts till 0147 hrs IST. The lift-off is scheduled at the opening of the launch window at 0132 hrs IST. PSLV-C26 will carry the 1425 kg Indian Navigation Satellite IRNSS-1C," a press release from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
 
ISRO had, on October 6, postponed the launch by a week due to "an observation" in the telecommand system. The problem was noticed during the launch rehearsal for the PSLV C26/IRNSS 1C mission, which had begun the previous day.
 
The release said IRNSS 1C had already been integrated with PSLV-C26 and the final phase of checks is progressing. 
 
The Mission Readiness Review (MRR) Committee and the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) had met on October 7 to review the progress of pre-launch activities and cleared the launch for October 16, it said.
 
The 67-hour count down for the mission will commence at 0632 hrs IST on October 13.
 
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IRNSS-1C is part of a seven-satellite constellation being developed by India to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region, extending up to 1500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area. 
 
The mission is aimed at taking India one step closer to establishing a regional navigation system akin to the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS). It will be the 28th flight of PSLV and the seventh time that its XL configuration will be flown. Previous missions in which it was used include Chandrayaan1, the lunar mission, and Mangalyaan, the Mars Orbiter mission.
 
IRNSS 1C's predecessors, IRNSS ­1A and IRNSS­ 1B, were launched by PSLV-­C22 and PSLV-C24 in July 2013 and April 2014, respectively.
 
The configuration of IRNSS­ 1C is similar to that of IRNSS ­1A and IRNSS­ 1B, the sources said.
 
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Infosys bids farewell to S Gopalakrishnan, last of its founders to leave company

Infosys founders N R Narayana Murthy, K. Dinesh, Nandan Nilekani, S D Shibulal and N S Raghavan at a function to bid farewell to S Gopalakrishnan, the last of their group to leave the company, in Bangalore on October 8, 2014.
Infosys founders N R Narayana Murthy, K. Dinesh, Nandan Nilekani, S D Shibulal and N S Raghavan at a function to bid farewell to S Gopalakrishnan, the last of their group to leave the company, in Bangalore on October 8, 2014.
IT services major Infosys Limited today bid adieu to Mr S Gopalakrishnan, the last among the group of its founders to leave the company.
 
Known popularly as Kris, Mr Gopalakrishnan was till some time ago Executive Vice-Chairman of the company.
 
Infosys had, on June 12, announced the selection of Dr Vishal Sikka, who was a member of the Executive Board of enterprise software maker SAP, as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD).
 
He was inducted as a whole-time director of the Board and CEO & MD (Designate) on June 14. He took over as CEO & MD from Mr. S. D. Shibulal on August 1. 
 
The company had also announced then that Infosys founders N.R. Narayana Murthy and Gopalakrishnan will voluntarily step down as Executive Chairman and Executive Vice Chairman, respectively, on June 14.
 
In order to facilitate a smooth transition of responsibilities, they will continue on the Board till October 10 as the Non-executive Chairman and Non-executive Vice Chairman, respectively.
 
Mr. K. V. Kamath will become the Non-executive Chairman of the Board on October 11. Mr. Murthy will be designated as Chairman Emeritus with effect from that date in recognition of his contributions to the company. 
 
At the farewell function at its headquarters here, Infosys celebrated the  contributions and achievements of the founding team. 
 
Mr Narayana Murthy, Mr K. Dinesh, Mr Nandan Nilekani, Mr Shibulal, Mr Gopalakrishnan and Mr N. S. Raghavan were present at the ceremony.
 
"With Kris’ retirement, the last of the founding team at Infosys has moved on, carving a new path for Infosys under the leadership of Dr. Vishal Sikka, who took over as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys on August 1, 2014," a press release from the company said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the founders shared experiences from their journey at Infosys.
 
A visibly emotional Mr Gopalakrishnan said, “Computers have become ubiquitous and created a large industry, both in products and services. The Internet has connected the world. I have been fortunate to be part of this industry for the last 35 years of its 70 years. I was fortunate that my passion for computing became my profession, and that I was able to make an impact in this industry through Infosys, through the innovations we pioneered and the jobs we created.”
 
Mr Narayana Murthy said, “This is a unique event in the 150-plus years of corporate India. Never in the past has this country seen, and probably never in the future will this country see, a set of founders who nurtured their creation with care, sacrifice and passion for 33 years and passed it on with equanimity to a set of outsiders. We leave with the satisfaction of taking this company from a market value of Rs. 28.5 crores on the day of listing in India in 1993 to Rs. 2,00,000 crores today, a return of 6,50,000% over 21 years – a CAGR of 89%. We leave with the distinction of creating several firsts in good corporate governance in India and the world.”
 
Speaking about the importance of connecting with customers for business success, Mr Nilekani said, “Building client relationships, based on intimacy and empathy, ranks among my top three priorities for business organizations. But intimacy is not only about knowing your client; it is also your ticket to mindshare. And anyone who has business experience will tell you that mindshare always precedes share of market, or of wallet. This is the reason why a number of CEOs at global organizations passionately voice their commitment to ‘listening on the job’.”
 
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Speaking about value addition through innovation, Mr Shibulal said, “At Infosys, we have always believed that an idea without execution has little value. Innovation at Infosys is; therefore, not about the next big idea alone but a focus on executing these ideas to add value to all our stakeholders – clients, employees, investors and the society. What makes innovation exciting at Infosys is that it is driven by client relevance. Our innovation is geared towards solving our customers’ problems, co-creating with them and offering them a gamut of pioneering solutions.”
 
Mr Raghavan said, “I was fortunate to be given the extraordinary privilege of steering the human capital management strategies of Infosys for the better part of the first 20 years of its growth period. Justifying the Infosys tagline, ‘Powered by Intellect, Driven by Values’, put an enormous responsibility on all of us at Infosys, to not only build high-capability human resource teams but also to develop and nurture a value-driven organizational culture. I would like to take this occasion and opportunity to acknowledge and salute this first generation of Infoscions who, I believe, deserve to be given the lion’s share of the credit for laying a strong edifice and foundation for the later growth and success of Infosys.”
 
Speaking about his last role as the head of Quality at Infosys, Mr Dinesh said, “Total Quality has made us succeed as an organization and set ourselves on the path of continued pursuit of excellence driven by constancy of purpose. We have earned the sustained trust of our stakeholders – employees, clients, alliance partners, the industry, government and society. This trust is an intangible, yet invaluable asset, and reflects the success of the Quality journey. I strongly believe that it will continue to be at the core of our success in the years to come.”
 
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Flipkart apologises to customers for glitches during "Big Billion Day" online sale

A day after online retailer Flipkart held its "Big Billion Day" mega sale and clocked millions in sales and also attracted a flood of complaints from thousands of dissatisfied customers, the company's founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal issued an apology to them, saying they were "really and truly sorry" for not living up to the promises they had made.
 
"Yesterday was a big day for us. And we really wanted it to be a great day for you. But at the end of the day, we know that your experience was less than pleasant. We did not live up to the promises we made and for that we are really and truly sorry," they said in a statement e-mailed to their customers.
 
"It took enormous effort from everyone at Flipkart, many months of preparation and pushing our capabilities and systems to the limit to be able to create this day. We were looking at fulfilling the dreams of millions of Indian consumers through deals and offers we had painstakingly put together for months," they said.
 
The Bansals said that, though they had seen unprecedented interest in their products and traffic like never before, they also realized that they were not adequately prepared for the sheer scale of the event. 
 
"We didn't source enough products and deals in advance to cater to your requirements. To add to this, the load on our server led to intermittent outages, further impacting your shopping experience on our site," they said.
 
According to them, an unprecedented 1.5 million people shopped at Flipkart yesterday. 
 
"While we stand humbled by the sheer faith that such a large number of customers have shown in us, we are unhappy that we were unable to live up to the expectations of millions more who wanted to buy from us yesterday. And this is not acceptable to us," they said.
 
"Delighting you, and every single one of our customers, is absolutely the top most priority for Flipkart and we have worked very hard over the last seven years to earn your trust. Yesterday, we failed that trust. We have learnt some valuable lessons from this and have started working doubly hard to address all the issues that cropped up during this sale," they said.
 
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On the complaints about price changes, they said that, as they were preparing various deals and promotional pricing in the lead up to the sale, the pricing of several products got changed to their non-discounted rates for a few hours.
 
"We realise that this breaks the trust our customers have put in us. We are truly sorry for this and will ensure that this never happens again," they said.
 
The other major complaint customers had was they more often than not encountered an "out of stock" notice whenever they found an attractive offer and tried to make a purchase.
 
"We ran out of the stock for many products within a few minutes (and in some cases, seconds) of the sale going live. For example, most of our special deals were sold out as soon as they went live. We had ensured availability, anywhere from hundreds to a few lakh units for various products, but it was nowhere near the actual demand. We promise to plan much better for future promotions and ensure that we minimise the out-of-stock issues," they said.
 
They also said that they had large numbers of people buying specific products simultaneously. 
 
"This led to some instances of an order getting over-booked for a product that was sold out just a few seconds ago. We are working round-the-clock to ensure availability of additional units for these products and will do our level best to ensure that we minimise any cancellations," they said.
 
The Bansals also accepted that the shopping experience for many customers was frustrating due to errors and unavailability of the website at times.
 
"We had deployed nearly 5000 servers and had prepared for 20 times the traffic growth - but the volume of traffic at different times of the day was much higher than this. We are continuing to significantly scale up all our back end systems so that we do a much, much better job next time. 
 
"Everything that we have achieved at Flipkart is purely on the basis of our customer's trust and faith. This is why we come to work each day and continue to remain extremely passionate about building the best possible customer experience for Indian consumers. We failed to live up to this promise yesterday and would like to apologise once again to every single customer for our failure," they added.
 
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Karnataka High Court rejects Jayalalithaa's bail application

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail application of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

Karnataka HC rejects Jayalalithaa's bail plea
The Karnataka High Court today rejected the bail application of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalithaa, who was convicted by a special court here on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and  asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The special court sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
The vacation bench of the High Court had earlier, on October 1, deferred till today the hearing on the pleas by Ms Jayalalithaa and her three associates.
 
During the hearing, special public prosecutor Bhavani Singh said he had no objections if conditional bail were granted to Ms Jayalalithaa, leading many to believe that her plea would be granted today.
 
Even as some media organisations reported that she had been granted conditional bail and her supporters started celebrating, both here and in Tamil Nadu, the court dictated an order rejecting her application.
 
The judge said that a person who had been convicted after a trial would be assumed to be corrupt unless he or she is exonerated by a higher court. He also said that any arguments about the evidence could be taken up during the appeal against the judgement. He also made it clear that there were no grounds for suspension of the sentence awarded to Ms Jayalalithaa.
 
“In view of clear observation of the apex court that corruption is a violation of human rights, this is not a fit case for suspension and bail. Bail plea is liable to be dismissed,” the court ruled.
 
According to the judge, the fact that Ms Jayalaithaa was on bail during the course of the 13-year-trial in the case and did not violate the conditions imposed on her did not warrant a suspension of the sentence and grant of bail, now that she had been convicted by a court after application of its mind.
 
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Ms Jayalalithaa's lawyers told newspersons later that they would go in appeal to the Supreme Court tomorrow.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
 
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
 
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Infosys, Stanford University to collaborate in Data Science, Analytics

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IT services major Infosys Ltd. today announced a strategic relationship with the Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering (ICME), Stanford University in the United States.
 
Through this arrangement, Infosys will work with ICME to develop curriculum in Data Science and Analytics focused on real-world problem areas and will undertake joint research using Data Science to find solutions to key industry issues, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said Infosys and ICME will design curriculum tailored to meet industry-specific needs for Data Science and Analytics. These modules will draw upon identified needs of customers drawn from Infosys’ engagement with enterprises across industries.
 
Infosys and ICME will also undertake joint research to apply Data Science and Analytics to solve industry issues.
 
Through this arrangement, Infosys will also gain access to talent at ICME, the release said.
 
Infosys will also encourage more students from Stanford to participate in its globally renowned internship program, InStep, and explore career opportunities with the company.
 
Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys said, “Rapid advances in computing and technology have placed many powerful algorithms only a few clicks away. Gaining meaningful insights from large volumes of data has however become harder, as the deluge of data continues to outpace the gains in technology. Our clients inform us that their great challenge is to fuse domain and business knowledge with algorithms and machine learning."
 
"I am confident that our relationship with Stanford will strengthen the foundations of data science for our clients and for Infosys through training on cutting edge technologies and algorithms. We look forward to conducting meaningful research with world-class researchers on issues of most importance to our clients and their business of today and tomorrow," he said.
 
Prof. Margot Gerritsen, Director, Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, Stanford University said, "We are grateful for Infosys’s support of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME). Our institute develops computational and mathematical models to solve complex problems, ranging from optimization problems to flow physics, from financial mathematics to the geosciences, from uncertainty quantification to recommender systems and machine learning.”
 
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SIDBI lends Rs. 125 crore to Ujjivan, including sub debt of Rs 50 crore

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Ujjivan Financial Services, a leading microfinance institution (MFI) here with pan-India presence, today said it had raised Rs 125 crore of debt capital from the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).
 
This includes Rs 50 crore as sub debt which is the first  transaction with any non-banking financial company (NBFC) MFI post the financial crisis, a press release from the company said.
 
Samit Ghosh, Managing Director, Ujjivan said, “We deeply appreciate SIDBI’s continued support for Ujjivan and the micro finance sector and being the first recipient of sub debt to an NBFC MFI post crisis. The transaction has also opened the doors of sub debt transactions with other MFIs in future by SIDBI. We look forward to a long term partnership in our mission of financial inclusion and building better lives for our customers."
 
N K Maini, Deputy Managing Director, SIDBI mentioned that MFIs contribute to provision of income generation opportunities to urban and rural poor and, therefore, fit in the financial inclusion strategy for India. He also mentioned that post RBI regulation, the sector is on a robust footing and SIDBI has been able to foster a culture of responsible lending in the sector, keeping in view the profile of the clients.
 
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India's Mars Orbiter sends back its first image of the Red Planet

Image Courtesy: ISRO
Image Courtesy: ISRO
India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, which was inserted into the Martian orbit yesterday, has sent its first image of the Red Planet back to earth.
 
The image, taken from a height of 7.3 km with a spatial resolution of 376 metres, was posted on microblogging site Twitter by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
 
"1st image of Mars, from a height of 7.3 km; with 376 m spatial resolution. MT @MarsOrbiter: The view is nice up here," it said.
 
An official press release said ISRO scientists met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and presented the first images of the surface of Mars taken by the orbiter to him.
 
Mr Modi was present at ISRO's Mission Control Centre  in Bangalore yesterday when India scripted space history when the orbiter, Mangalyaan, slipped  into its designated elliptical orbit around the Red Planet after a tricky 24-minute manoeuvre during which the spacecraft was slowed down by 1099 metres per second.
 
With that, India joined an elite club of a few space powers who have explored the Red Planet, after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
It has also become the first country to achieve success in its Mars mission on its very first attempt. 
 
The historic achievement came 300 days after MOM, India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota andat the end of a more than 650 million km space odyssey.
 
Even as Mangalyaan went into the shadow of Mars because of an eclipse at 0712 hours, the burn of its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), along with eight smaller liquid engines, started at 07:17:32 hours for a duration of 1388.67 seconds.
 
"The events related to Mars Orbit Insertion progressed satisfactorily and the spacecraft performance was normal.  The spacecraft is now circling Mars in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7 km and farthest point (apoapsis) at 76,993.6 km.  The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended," an ISRO press release said later.
 
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In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go round Mars once.
 
"In the coming weeks, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in the Mars orbit and the systematic observation of that planet using its five scientific instruments would begin," the release added.
 
One of the main objectives of the first Indian mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
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Modi pledges to follow India's federal structure in letter and spirit

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that India could progress only if the Centre and the States worked together as a team and pledged that he would  follow the country's federal structure in letter and spirit.
 
"India can be strong and developed only if its States are strong and developed," he told a gathering after inaugurating the India Food Park at Tumkur in Karnataka.
 
Mr Modi said Central schemes would have to be implemented by both the Centre and the States working together.
 
He said the Union Government was committed to boosting the agricultural economy and empowering the farmers by facilitating value addition through creation of appropriate infrastructure, including rural connectivity, storage and warehousing. 
 
Speaking about the food park, he said the project would fulfil the vision of  "Annam Brahma" - Food is God. He said his Government was committed to ensuring that as the farmer provides food for all, he should also get good income for his produce (Kisan hamaare pet bhi bhare. Kisan Ki jeb bhi bhare). 
 
Mr Modi said the project was a partnership between the Centre, the State and the private sector. He said the Government would boost infrastructure facilities required for the agriculture and food processing sector through public-private partnership (PPP).
 
He pointed out that value addition in agriculture and food products was not new to India and cited the examples of products like Sattu, Ghee, Jaggery (Gud), Pickle. He said the ancient sea trade route between India and Europe was referred to as the Spice Trade Route.  
 
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister H Siddaramaiah and Union Ministeers Ananth Kumar, D V Sadananda Gowda and Harsimrat Kaur Badal were present on the occasion.
 
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Modi lauds ISRO for Mars mission success, urges it to go for the next frontier

 
Modi congratulates scientists for Mars success
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded Indian space scientists for successfully inserting its Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan, into Martian orbit this morning and urged them to make the achievement the base for challenging the next frontier -- of an inter-planetary mission.
 
"Let today’s success, only drive us with even greater vigour and conviction. Let’s set ourselves even more challenging goals. And strive even harder to achieve them," he told scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) control centre after the historic feat.
 
"Let us push our boundaries. And then, push some more!" he said, exulting over the fact that India had succeeded in its Mars mission in its very first attempt.
 
"History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown. And have achieved the near impossible. I congratulate all ISRO scientists, as well as all my fellow Indians, on this historic occasion," he said.
 
"They achieved it with very little resources and many constraints. only because of their confidence, their abilities and determination," he said.
 
He said what had been achieved was truly remarkable, with the spacecraft travelling a mind-boggling distance of more than 650 million kilometres.
 
"We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination. We have, accurately navigated our spacecraft, through a route known to very few. And, we have done so from a distance so large that it took even a command signal from Earth more time to reach it than it takes sunlight to reach us," he said, referring to the time delay of about 12.5 minutes for a signal from Mangalyaan to reach the control centre.
 
Mr Modi said the odds were stacked against Indian scientists, with only 21 of the 51 previous missions attempted by other countries succeeding. 
 
"But we have prevailed! Every one did not succeed, in fact, very few did. And nobody achieved it in the first atempt. Indian scientists have achieved it in the very first attempt," he said.
 
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He noted that, with today’s spectacular success, ISRO had joined an elite group of only three other agencies worldwide to have successfully reached the red planet.
 
"We put together the spacecraft in record time, within a mere three years of first studying its feasibility. Built it indigenously, in a pan-Indian effort stretching from Bangalore to Bhubaneswar, and Faridabad to Rajkot. Used a smaller rocket and payload to reduce the cost, even while increasing the complexity of an already challenging mission. The mission has cost less than a Hollywood movie," he remarked.
 
"And launched it on our very own PSLV launch vehicle. These are all accomplishments that will go down as landmarks in history," he said.
 
Mr Modi said uncertainty is a part of the journey of every explorer who seeks to push boundaries. 
 
"The hunger of exploration and the thrill of discovery are not for the faint-hearted," he said, and went on to quote from one of his own poems in Gujarati in which he had said that people would have to suffer criticism if they failed and jealousy if they succeeded.
 
"Success will bring new challenges and controversies. Innovation, after all, by its very nature involves risk; as you are trying to do something which has not been done before. It`s a leap into the dark. Humanity would not have progressed, if we had not taken such leaps into the unknown. And space is indeed the biggest unknown out there," he said.
 
"No one represents this zeal for exploring the unknown more than our space scientists here at ISRO," he said, to loud applause.
 
"Through your brilliance and hard work, you have made it a habit of achieving the impossible. You have developed self-reliance across critical domains, often in the face of hostile circumstances. Every generation of your scientists, has groomed the next home-grown lot 
 
"Through your achievements, you have honoured our forefathers, and inspired our future generations! You truly deserve all the love and respect you get from a grateful nation!" he said.
 
"We Indians are a proud people! Despite our many limitations, we aspire for the best. The success of our space program is a shining example of what we are capable of as a nation. Our space program has been an example of achievement, which inspires the rest of us to strive for excellence ourselves," he said.
 
"Moreover, space exploration requires cutting-edge expertise across diverse disciplines. A successful space program thus generates applications across multiple domains. 
 
"Our efforts in particular, have historically focused on the ultimate objective of nation-building. Of translating space technology into space applications. Delivering the fruits of this farthest frontier to the remotest corners of the country. Deepening our governance, strengthening our economy, and improving our lives," he said.
 
"We also have a great legacy and responsibility to live up to. Our ancestors had helped the world understand the mysteries of the heavens. Grasp the idea of Shunya or nothingness. Map spatial knowledge; such as the rotation of the Earth, motion of planets and occurrence of eclipses. Modern India must continue playing this leading role of ‘Jagad-guru Bharat’," he said.
 
"In contrast with the linear nature of Western philosophy; there is no absolute ‘beginning’ or ‘end’ in our Eastern understanding of the cosmos. There is only a continuous, unending cycle of dispassionate, detached perseverance," he said.
 
Mr Modi said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpaye had inspired the people to reach for the moon through the Chandrayaan mission, which in turn led to the Mars Orbiter Mission.
 
He urged all of India, especially students in schools and colleges, to celebrate the achievments of Indian scientists. "Every school and college should gather for a few minutes and honour our scientists," he added.
 
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India scripts space history as its Mangalyaan enters Mars' orbit

India scripted history on Wednesday when its Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan, slipped into its designated orbit around the Red Planet after a tricky 24-minute manoeuvre during which the spacecraft was slowed down by 1099 metres per second.

 
India's maiden Mars mission successful
India today scripted space history when its Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan, slipped into its designated elliptical orbit around the Red Planet after a tricky 24-minute manoeuvre during which the spacecraft was slowed down by 1099 metres per second.
 
With the successful entry of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft into the Martian orbit, India has joined an elite club of a few space powers who have explored the Red Planet, after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
It has also become the first country to achieve success in its Mars mission on its very first attempt. Of the 51 missions to Mars launched by various agencies, only 21 have succeeded so far.
 
"Spacecraft successfully enters Martian orbit," a post on ISRO's website said, confirming, after 12.5 nerve-wracking minutes, that India had made the leap.
 
The historic achievement came 300 days after MOM, India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, on the east coast of the country and at the end of a 690 million km space odyssey.
 
In preparation for today's Mars Orit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre, the spacecraft changed to its medium gain antenna at 0417 hours IST. At 0656 hours, the forward rotation started.
 
Even as Mangalyaan went into the shadow of Mars because of an eclipse at 0712 hours, the burn of its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), along with eight smaller liquid engines, started at 07:17:32 hours for a duration of 1388.67 seconds.
 
Because of the Mars-Sun-Earth geometry, the orbit insertion was destined to happen while MOM was in eclipse and when it was dependent on its batery for all the power required.
 
Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here got confirmation of all the events only after about 12.5 minutes because of the time delay in communication, given the huge distance involved. The confirmation of each event was greeted with loud applause by the scientists and others present.
 
"The events related to Mars Orbit Insertion progressed satisfactorily and the spacecraft performance was normal.  The spacecraft is now circling Mars in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7 km and farthest point (apoapsis) at 76,993.6 km.  The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended," an ISRO press release said later.
 
In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go round Mars once.
 
"In the coming weeks, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in the Mars orbit and the systematic observation of that planet using its five scientific instruments would begin," the release added.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived at the mission control centre here around 0700 hours, was among the several dignitaries present on the occasion.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Modi congratulated the space scientists on their achievement.
 
"Indian scientists, through their hard work and dedication, have stretched the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the Mars Orbiter Mission was an indigenous pan-Indian effort, stretching from Bangalore to Bhubaneswar, and Faridabad to Rajkot.
 
"The hunger of exploration and the thrill of discovery are not for the faint hearted," he said.
 
He said he had chosen to be present at ISRO today, unmindful of success or failure of the mission. He exhorted the scientists to set even more challenging targets for themselves, and said he had confidence that they would be able to achieve even those targets. 
 
"You have made a habit of achieving the impossible," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the success of the space programme was a shining symbol of what India was capable of as a nation.
 
"A successful space programme generates applications across multiple domains," he said.
 
He said the efforts of India`s space scientists were deepening India's governance, strengthening its economy and improving people's lives. 
 
Noting that the whole nation celebrates when its cricket team wins a tournament, the Prime Minister described the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission as a thousand times greater achievement and said all Indians must celebrate the success of the country's space scientists today. 
 
"Let India celebrate the achievements of its scientists. Let students in every school and college applaud their efforts," he added.
 
Others present included Union Ministers D V Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar and Jitendra Singh, Karnataka Governor Chief Minister H Siddaramaiah, eminent scientist Yash Pal and former ISRO Chairman U R Rao were amongst those present.
 
Current ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan went around the control centre, congratulating all the scientists on the momentous achievement, as soon as confirmation was received about the success of the MOI manoeuvre.
 
Earlier, two days ago, on September 22, MOM cleared a crucial test when its main liquid engine was successfully test-fired and the spacecraft underwent its fourth trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM), ahead of its historic tryst with the Red Planet.
 
ISRO scientists test-fired the main liquid engine, which was lying dormant during the 300-day journey to Mars, for 3.968 seconds at 1430 hours on September 22,  consuming 0.567 kg of fuel.
 
This operation of the spacecraft’s main liquid engine was also used for the spacecraft’s trajectory correction and changing its velocity by  2.18 metre/second.
 
The successful test firing meant that the Mars Orbit Insertion operation could go ahead as scheduled today.
 
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Earlier on September 22, the orbiter had entered the sphere of influence of Mars and the propellant lines were enabled for orbit insertion.
 
ISRO scientists had uploaded the necessary commands for MOI on September 14 and verified them on the following day.
 
Last month, ISRO did not carry out the TCM planned for August because it was not required as Mangalyaan was closely following is trajectory.
 
On July 3, the spacecraft had crossed the three-fourths mark of the journey to Mars.
 
On December 1, ISRO scientists had successfully conducted the Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre, setting it on course for Mars through a heliocentric trajectory.
 
Soon after the spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a TCM was performed successfully on December 11. As the spacecraft was on its designated trajectory, the TCM planned for April was not considered essential and the next one was carried out on June 11 by firing its 22 Newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds.
 
One of the main objectives of the first Indian mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
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ING Vysya Bank announces top level changes, Ashok Rao B is new COO

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ING Vysya Bank today said it had appointed Mr Ashok Rao B as its Chief Operating Officer, effective October 1, as part of several leadership changes across operations, IT, retail banking and audit.
 
A press release from the bank said Mr Ambuj Chandna had been appointed as Chief Distribution Officer- Retail Liabilities, effective October 13.
 
Ms Sonalee Panda will be the new Chief Marketing Officer from the same date, while Mr Anantha Raman will take over as Chief Auditor on October 1.
 
Ms A Meenakshi, Head of Operations has decided to pursue opportunities outside the bank and will be leaving effective November 30, the release said.
 
After a stint of two years, Mr. Brett Morgan, Country Head Branch Banking, 
Marketing and Private Client Group has decided to move back to Australia to pursue new opportunities, effective October 13, it said.
 
Mr Shailendra Bhandari, MD & CEO, said, “I am pleased to announce the changes in the leadership team. This is in line with the bank’s philosophy to groom internal talent. Keeping in mind our ambitious growth plans, we continue to develop our leadership pipeline with job rotation, stretch assignments and international exposure. I thank Meenakshi and Brett for their invaluable contribution in our journey, and wish the appointees all the very best in their new roles."
 
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Silver Leaf Oak acquires 10% stake in Syngene, Biocon’s research services subsidiary

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Silver Leaf Oak (Mauritius) Limited. an investment vehicle advised by India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA), has agreed to acquire a minority 10% stake in Syngene International Limited, biotechnology major Biocon’s research services subsidiary.
 
Silver Leaf will acquire the stake from Biocon Research Limited (BRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Biocon Limited at a valuation of Rs.3800 crore, a press release from the company said.
 
The transaction is subject to standard condition precedents including regulatory approvals, it said.
 
Post the completion of this transaction, Biocon and BRL will jointly hold 85.54% stake in Syngene, it said.
 
Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon’s Chairman and Managing Director said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Silver Leaf as a shareholder. This investment reflects Syngene’s leading position in the contract research and manufacturing space in Asia, acknowledging its comprehensive multidisciplinary capabilities. This transaction is part of the overall strategic plan for Syngene and sets a new benchmark as we prepare the company for listing.” 
 
Mr. Vishal Nevatia, Managing Partner, IVFA said, “We had partnered with Biocon through our first fund in 2003. We are excited to partner with them again. Syngene has emerged as one of the leading service providers globally for integrated discovery and development with a marquee client base. This deal showcases the IVFA investment philosophy of working with high quality entrepreneurs and management teams.”
 
Syngene is one of India's leading contract research organization offering integrated drug discovery and development services with capabilities in medicinal chemistry, biology, in vivo pharmacology, toxicology, custom synthesis, process Research and Development, and formulation development for small and large molecules. 
 
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Infosys announces partnerships with Microsoft, Huawei, Hitachi Data Systems

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IT services major Infosys Ltd today announced three significant partnerships with technology players Microsoft, Huawei and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) aimed at strengthening and widening the scope of solutions it offers in the areas of Cloud, Big Data & Analytics, Communication and Infrastructure & Data Center Transformation Solutions.
 
The company said the agreement with Microsoft would expand their decade-long partnership to help enterprises transform their business and tap opportunities in a cloud-first, mobile-first world. 
 
As one of Microsoft’s leading systems integration partners globally, Infosys has thousands of Microsoft Certified Professionals. It will now expand its capabilities for analytics and other service offerings on Microsoft technologies. Infosys will also establish a global center of excellence for Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, capable of training over 1,000 engineers by the end of fiscal year 2015, it said.
 
Similarly, the agreement with Hitachi would expand the partnership between the two countries to bring next-generation infrastructure and data center transformation solutions to enterprises. The new solutions will help improve operational efficiencies and facilitate smooth transition of their IT infrastructure to new cloud-based environments. Infosys will also establish a centre of excellence to co-create ‘pay-per-use’ solutions with HDS.
 
The partnership with Huawei will enable the two companies to jointly offer enterprise customers Cloud, Big Data and Communication solutions, along with other enterprise-oriented services, which will combine Huawei’s Cloud infrastructure and global IT service expertise from Infosys, it said.
 
A press release from Infosys said the agreement with Microsoft would help enterprises harness the power of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Microsoft Power BI to realize more value from their data. 
 
"They can also rapidly deploy systems in production and get to market faster, improve forecasting, predict and prevent problems, and optimize their business Infosys will accelerate its efforts to design frameworks, tools and accelerators to improve end user productivity for the digital workforce on Microsoft cloud platforms. These platforms, including Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, complement Azure solutions," it said.
 
Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft, said: “Our mobile-first, cloud-first world provides a unique opportunity to help customers accelerate and transform their business. Working together, Infosys and Microsoft will bring the benefits of enterprise-grade cloud computing to customers with Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online.”
 
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Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President, Machine Learning, Microsoft, said:
“In today’s fast-paced world, enterprises can gain a significant competitive advantage through data and advanced analytics. Our expanded partnership with Infosys will deliver game-changing capabilities to our joint customers in the speed of delivery and deployment of analytics. It will allow businesses to unlock the incredible value in their data and build operational systems to reduce expenses, grow revenue, fine tune their business operations, and improve service to their end customers.”
 
Ravi Kumar, Executive Vice President and Global Head, Alliances, Infosys, said, "“Software is changing the world and Microsoft is a longstanding partner in this revolution. Together we have transformed businesses and redefined the way enterprises use computing technologies. Now, our customers are asking us to help them tap the power of new opportunities in areas such as analytics and mobility as they set the course for their growth. Expanding our partnership at this crucial time will allow us to take the best of Microsoft technologies to help enterprises craft their strategies for a new era.”
 
According to the release, the solutions offered in partnership with Huawei would target enterprise customers looking to modernize their operations by leveraging cloud infrastructure.
 
"Both parties will build reference architectures and standardized solutions for big data platforms, on Huawei hardware infrastructure, for joint go-to-market efforts. Huawei's customer contact technologies will be integrated with communication services from Infosys to offer enterprise customers a best-in-class communication experience like call centre. 
 
"Huawei and Infosys will explore setting up a joint lab in China to enable better delivery in all areas of the partnership In addition, Infosys and Huawei will further strengthen their existing partnership in the Huawei Business Process and Information Technology space," it said.
 
Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys, said, "Infosys is focused on helping customers succeed with software and services to both grow their business in new ways and to achieve operational efficiencies. We are really excited to partner with Huawei to bring the power of Huawei’s cloud infrastructure and communication technologies to our joint customers, so that they can efficiently achieve this dual objective."
 
Eric Xu, Rotating Chief Executive Officer, Huawei, said: "We are very excited to enter into this global partnership with Infosys. Combining the world-renowned service capabilities of Infosys with our expertise in information and communication technologies, we can build a more harmonious and mutually beneficial industry ecosystem for our customers."
 
The release said the new new data centre transformation solutions, developed by Infosys and HDS, are tailored to meet refresh cycles of enterprise data centers. The two partners will also create reference architectures and solution frameworks to accelerate private cloud deployments.
 
Infosys and HDS will create several private cloud offerings to be delivered as-a-service related to ERP, CRM, Exchange and Collaboration, with flexible pricing models. This will help enterprises reduce capital expenditure on their cloud infrastructure and optimize their private and public cloud investments, it said.
 
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Brian Householder, Chief Operating Officer, Hitachi Data Systems: "Hitachi Data Systems and Infosys have a long history of collaboration. We are pleased to take our relationship to the next level by delivering the latest Hitachi Data Systems 'Continuous Cloud Infrastructure' solutions to help our mutual customers, around the world, deploy the most available, automated and agile environment for next-generation data centers and cloud solutions."
 
U B Pravin, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Board, Infosys: "Growing our partnership with Hitachi Data Systems will enable us to bring together our complementary capabilities around cloud and big data to help our customers enhance their IT infrastructure with new technology solutions. Infosys and Hitachi Data Systems will help enterprises implement infrastructure and data center solutions faster, and at lower costs. Our partnership will also give enterprises the much needed flexibility to plan and progress their transformation to next-generation IT infrastructure seamlessly, and without being daunted by huge capital outlays."
 
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Investment firm KKR to provide $164 million in long-term financing to GMR Holdings

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Leading global investment firm KKR today said it would provide Rs 10 billion ($ 164.2 million) of structured long-term financing, with co-investors, to Indian infrastructure major GMR Holdings Pvt Ltd, the holding company for GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL).
 
The transaction is subject to customary transaction documentation, a press relese from the company said, without disclosing further terms of the transaction.
 
The GMR Group has interests in the airport, energy, highway and urban infrastructure sectors. 
 
GMR Holdings will infuse funds in GMR Infrastructure in the form of equity capital which will help GIL to further strengthen its balance sheet, support the funding requirement for projects and meet its financing obligations, the release said.
 
Mr Grandhi Kiran Kumar, Group Director, GMR Holdings, said, “The infusion of additional equity from promoters of GIL is a testimony to the promoters’ confidence in the long-term value of the group’s business. The rights issue, after successful conclusion, will improve the net worth of GIL and bring down the net debt-to-equity ratio to around 2.85 as against 3.50 prevailing as of March 2014. In addition, it will reduce the corporate debt of GIL. This partnership with KKR helps GMR to strengthen its foundation for the next phase of growth.”
 
Mr B V Krishnan, Managing Director, KKR Capital Markets, said, “We are delighted to have entered into this partnership with GMR, which has been at the forefront of high-quality infrastructure development in India. GMR represents a significant opportunity for KKR to partner with committed infrastructure groups which have developed world-class, highly relevant assets to build India.”
 
In India, KKR provides structured financing solutions through multiple capital pools, including a non-banking finance company, alternative investment funds and special situations capital pools. The firm looks to provide flexible, long-term capital which can help companies achieve their objectives of balance sheet consolidation, deleveraging and long-term growth. 
 
KKR has executed more than $2 billion of structured financing to 21 business groups in India through its credit and capital markets business over the past five years, the release added.
 
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SilkAir adds supplementary flights from Bangalore to Singapore

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SilkAir, the regional full-service carrier of Singapore Airlines, today said it would operate with variable frequency from Bangaore to Singapore upto five times weekly from December 14, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
 
Apart from flying on select weekdays, the airline will also fly on Sundays to match the anticipated travel demand, a press release from Silk Air said.
 
Furthermore, travelers from Bangalore will get to fly the airline’s latest aircraft – the new Boeing 737-800 from October 2014. The new aircraft features a 162-seat configuration, with 12 Business Class and 150 Economy class seats.
 
SilkAir’s new 737 features the Boeing Sky Interior - modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of space and larger pivoting overhead stowage bins. It is also equipped with SilkAir Studio, the airline’s wireless entertainment system. 
 
SilkAir currently offers four weekly services to Bangalore using Airbus A320s. 
 
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Infosys Foundation launches Spark-IT to enhance employability of engineering graduates

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IT services major Infosys, launched Spark-IT, a programme to enhance the skill levels of engineering graduates in the country, at Mysore near here today.
 
Spark-IT is a three month programme to enhance both technical and communication skills of unemployed engineering graduates.
 
Those candidates who have graduated in 2014 and met the eligibility criteria were shortlisted for selection. The eligibility criteria included graduation in specific engineering disciplines and consistently good academic performance. 
 
"While the programme aims to enhance employability of these graduates, it does not guarantee employment at Infosys," a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, the programme received more than 35,000 applications from 27 states. In fiscal 2015, Spark-IT plans to train 1,800 graduates spread over 11 batches, at the Infosys campus in Mysore, Mangalore and Chennai. 
 
Infosys Foundation has committed Rs 9 crore for this programme. Candidates will be given a monthly stipend of Rs 10,000 and an accommodation allowance of Rs 5,000 per month. On completing the programme, they will be given a certificate of participation.
 
Speaking at the launch of the programme, Ms. Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation said, “Many engineering graduates in India find it difficult to gain meaningful employment due to inadequate skills. Through Spark-IT we are imparting technical and communication skills to prepare candidates for future employment. The overwhelming response for the programme demonstrates the need for such an initiative.”
 
Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys said, “At Infosys, we are deep believers in education and in people’s ability to learn, and its power to amplify the human potential. I am delighted that the Spark-IT programme by the Infosys Foundation is helping us extend our expertise in IT to a large pool of unemployed engineering graduates.”
 
The foundation has several programmes aimed at alleviating hunger, promoting education, improving health, assisting rural development, supporting arts and helping the destitute. For fiscal 2015, it plans to deploy Rs 249 crore towards these initiatives.
 
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Columbia Asia announces $150m expansion of its Southeast Asia and India hospital network

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Columbia Asia, one of the largest hospital systems in Southeast Asia and India, today announced plans to invest another $150 million to expand its network to 34 hospitals and one clinic by 2018.
 
In the next four years, the company will open eight more hospitals -- three each in India and Malaysia and two in Indonesia, a press release from the company said.
 
The company currently has more than 8,000 employees serving more than two million patients a year in 26 hospitals and one clinic in Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, it said.
 
Columbia Asia opened four new hospitals just in the last few months – in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, in the Indonesian city of Semarang and in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, India.
 
"Columbia Asia’s strategy is to create clusters of hospitals in large urban areas.  This allows the group to achieve operational and brand leverage across the market in each large city.  Around the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, for example, the company currently has five hospitals, a sixth to open in 2016 and a seventh to open in 2017," it said.
 
To manage the growth of Columbia Asia, John Northen was recently hired to serve as CEO of the 4-country hospital network. Northen comes to Columbia Asia with several decades of experience in the hospitality industry, including six years as Vice President for Marriott International in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
 
“Since opening our first hospital in 1994, Columbia Asia has grown to become one of the most trusted names in healthcare across Asia,” said Northen, CEO of the Columbia Asia Group of Companies.  “No other healthcare provider in Asia has hospitals in as many countries operating under a single brand.  Our goal is to continue to ensure all patients leave our hospitals cared for medically as well as feeling satisfied, respected and comforted.”
 
The Columbia Asia hospital system, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, was created two decades ago with an innovative business model focused on modern, efficient and affordable multispecialty hospitals located close to where patients live and work. 
 
Columbia Asia’s parent company, Columbia Pacific Management, has experience in delivering healthcare to Asia and the United States.  Besides Columbia Asia, the company has three senior living facilities in China through its China senior care affiliate, Cascade Healthcare. 
 
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Wipro wins 5-year Strategic Infrastructure Management contract from Philip Morris International

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Information technology services major Wipro Limited today said it had won a five-year Strategic Infrasructure Management contract from international tobacco company Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI).
 
As a part of the agreement, Wipro will provide a full suite of IT infrastructure management services to PMI, a press release from the company said.
 
The IT infrastructure services will support a host of functions at PMI including management and support of its servers, storage, backup and applications infrastructure, it said.
 
"The PMI relationship is strategic to Wipro and we are excited to embark on this journey. We aim to foster a successful partnership with PMI and deliver the IT innovation that will support their business needs." said Srini Pallia, Chief Executive, Retail, Consumer Goods, and Transportation & Govt. (RCTG) Business Unit, Wipro Limited. 
 
"Wipro's ServiceNXT Operations Framework will be utilized to manage PMI's technology and applications infrastructure," he said.
 
 "We are pleased to be working with Wipro", said Patrick Brunel, Senior Vice President and CIO, PMI. "With Wipro supporting our technology and application infrastructure we look forward to strengthening efficiencies, managing costs and being better able to serve and support our workforce around the world."
 
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Wipro says will double headcount in Oman

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IT and business process services major Wipro today said that it planned to expand its workforce in Muscat, Oman, by doubling the headcount over the next 12 to 18 months, to meet increasing business requirements.
 
Wipro Gulf LLC, the entity established in 2011 in Oman to serve local clients, has been growing rapidly over the last three years, delivering critical projects across oil & gas, aviation, engineering, banks and government sectors within the Sultanate, a press release from the company said.
 
"The recent consulting and implementation projects done by Wipro for clients in these sectors have been well appreciated. Wipro Oman currently employs 70 professionals and has provided services to more than 25 clients across sectors. Buoyed by the rising demand for services, Wipro plans to double the headcount over the next 12 - 18 months," it said.
 
Mr Mukund Seetharaman, general manager and business head - Gulf, Wipro Ltd. said, “In continuation of our long term business outlook for Oman, we are seeing a lot of interest from clients in the region for services around business enablement, simplification and analytics. We are committed to delivering world class solutions and building on our existing footprint to create new job opportunities in the local market.”
 
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Irani sets 13-point agenda for IIMs to use their expertise to meet national goals

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Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani today set a 13-point agenda for the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as part of an effort to use their management expertise in various areas, including national development goals.
 
Addressing a conclave of the Chairpersons and Directors of 13 IIMs at IIM Bangalore, Ms Irani urged them to come up with strategies for making the country both manpower ready and teacher ready.
 
She said that, along with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and the Central Universities, the IIMs should create a mechanism for a global talent pool of eminent persons, who could then contribute their expertise not only to IIMs but to other institutions in the country as well. 
 
She said the IIMs needed to create a knowledge consortium, based on efforts by IIM Ahmedabad, by bringing together various institutions so as to make possible ideas like credit transfer and twinning programmes. 
 
An official press release said the interaction focused on issues related to national development goals, admission process in IIMs, review of the institutes, National Ranking Framework for the management institutions, ICT and other pedagogical innovations and initiatives to scale up research in IIMs, especially the socially relevant research as also to have greater impact on national policy implementation. 
 
Ms Irani asked the IIMs to develop a special programme for students of the North-Eastern states on the lines of a similar programme developed by IITs, called Ishan Vikas. 
 
She said the IIMs needed to work with local industries and local communities with a view to enhance their management capacity. She also asked IIMs to contribute their management expertise to such national projects as development of Smart Cities and Green Cities.
 
Ms Irani also asked IIMs to develop a framework for ranking management institutions with a view to rank institutions world over as per priorities of the developing countries as also help domestic institutions pursue academic excellence to achieve the goalposts set by the National Ranking Framework. 
 
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UMumba to face Jaipur in final of inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi

Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Hosts UMumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers will clash in the final of the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League after beating Bengaluru Bulls and Patna Pirates, respectively, in the semi-finals here tonight.
 
While Jaipur stormed into the final by trouncing Patna Pirates 38-18 in the completely one-sided first semi-final, UMumbai managed to get past Bengaluru 27-23 in the second semi-final.
 
U Mumba led through most of the match, with the Bulls managing to get ahead for a few minutes in the first half but surrendering the advantage soon after when their skipper was sent packing by all-rounder Rishank Devadiga.
 
The ouster, which provided the much needed breakthrough for the Mumbai boys, was followed up with Rajesh Mondal’s exit and two points as Rishank escaped Bengaluru’s four-man defence. 
 
Even Ajay Thakur’s heroics could not help the Bulls as they gifted Mumbai the first LONA points of the match in the 12th minute. With a seven-point lead and an insatiable hunger for points, U Mumba scored their thirteenth point, leaving Bengaluru high and dry towards the end of the first half. With seconds to go for the break, Mumbai’s best raider and the top raider amongst the finalists, Anup Kumar did what he did best, taking the score to 15-9 by half-time.
 
The second half began with Rishank walking out, reducing the Mumbai team to three. Despite the stacking odds towards an all out, Bengaluru’s star raider Ajay was captured by Anup Kumar and Mohit Chillar in the 34th minute, allowing them a chance at redemption. 
 
Mohit’s brilliance as a defender shone through as he executed the perfect tackles against Manjit and Ajay Thakur. 
 
Mumbai’s best defender Surender Nada also joined the party by single-handedly sending the Bull’s captain back. Re-introduced for the second time in the 33rd minute, Mumbai’s Pawan Kumar failed yet again, reducing the Orange brigade to four. After denying Bengaluru Bulls LONA points for a long time, Mumbai gave in, conceding their first LONA in the 37th minute. Though it offered two vital points to Bengaluru, it was a little too late as the Bulls were tamed 27-23.
 
Earlier, Jaipur established themselves as the stronger team within the first 15 minutes of the first semi-final and went on to dominate the proceedings for the rest of the match.
 
Both teams began cautiously before Patna began the fireworks when their best raider Ravi Dalal scored an outstanding three-point raid, sending back Rajesh Narwal, Navneet Gautam and Prashant Chavan of the Panthers.
 
The league got its first chance to use a TV referral, as a turbo-charged Maninder Singh slammed into Rakesh Kumar, knocking them both clear out of the lobby. The referees gave both teams points.
 
Moments later, a brave attempt from Sandeep Narwal failed against Jaipur’s impenetrable defence and Patna was left a four-man army by the seventh minute. 
 
After tying at five, Jasvir Singh clawed down Patna’s defence, earning a crucial one-point lead. The lone man standing, Rakesh Kumar, revived his team but gave away the first LONA points of the night, with a hope of a better, stronger comeback. 
 
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Nursing an injury, Rakesh was ousted by an easy tackle from the Panthers immediately after. With an escalating lead and a diminishing team, Patna’s inability to handle pressure showed as Maninder reduced them to two men, prompting Patna’s second all-out in the 17th minute. The Pirates were able to derive some satisfaction before halftime by taking out the juggernaut Maninder Singh, but with the first-half clearly dominated by Jaipur, the score was 20-7 at the break.
 
As the second half began, Patna was denied yet another chance to come back as, one by one, Rakesh, Ravi and Sandeep were sent back, the latter tackled just a few centimetres away from the centre line. As the Panthers continued to race ahead, their lead extended to twenty points as Ravi failed against the strong defence of the Panthers, granting them their third LONA. 
 
With seven minutes to go and a lot of ground to cover, Rakesh’s lack of form put his team on the back foot again, setting them back by 11 points. Playing his first game, Bashimov was able to gain a point which did not help much as Patna conceded their fourth LONA, giving Jaipur an unassailable lead. 
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Bengaluru Bulls snatch 27-26 win over Telugu Titans

A scene from the match between Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 26, 2014.
A scene from the match between Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 26, 2014.
Hosts Bengaluru Bulls snatched a 27-26 victory over Telugu Titans in the final moments of their match in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League here tonight.
 
In a must-win game for both sides, Titans were cautious in their approach throughout the match but Bengaluru maintained calm in the crucial dying seconds to record a famous win.
 
The Visakhapatnam team got off to a good start as Sukesh Hegde sent the Bulls’ captain Manjeet Chillar back to the dugout. His teammates Rajaguru and Gopu then captured Ajay Thakur, making way for their second point of the night. 
 
Back on full-charge mode, Bengaluru Bulls sent out Vizag’s best raiders Rahul Chaudhari, Deepak Niwas Hooda and Sukesh Hegde, one after the other. Crumbling under pressure, Titans conceded their first LONA points, allowing Bengaluru a six-point lead in the 11th minute. 
 
With a strong defence easing Bengauru’s challenge, Rahul and Deepak were tackled easily and sent back, leaving the yellow army in a spot of bother. The Bulls’ defence continued to dominate for the rest of the first half, saving Bengaluru from one of Rahul’s signature multi-point raid by stopping him just centimetres short of the centre line.  
 
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The Telugu Titans started the second half with a lot of ground to make up. Having been decimated by the Bulls tackles, the score stood at Bengaluru 17, Vizag 10. A successful raid by Sukesh Hegde followed by a tackle by Ajay left Bengaluru with only two players remaining, a perfect scenario for Rahul. 
 
Stepping across the centre line, it took him only seconds to tag one Bull out and escape the grip of another, giving Vizag 4 points, an all-out and bringing them only one point behind. 
 
Soon, the teams were level at 17-17 and they remained tied until the final minute. At one moment, Sukesh was able to tilt the scales towards Telugu, scoring an amazing 3 touch raid against the Bulls. But this was immediately countered by Ajay, scoring a 2 touch raid and once again tying the scores. 
 
Chillar seemed content with this tie, wasting a number of his raids by strolling the centre line. This continued until only seconds remained in the match, but Vizag saw their dreams come crashing down as Sukesh went too deep into the Bull’s territory, and as the Bulls piled on top of the lone Titan, the match decisively went to Bengaluru. 
 
Vizag can still nurse some hopes in the tournament. With Bengaluru winning by only one point, the damage to Vizag’s Score Differential is marginal, and a loss by more than 9 points for Bengaluru tomorrow would bring Vizag back into the reckoning.
 
But it is unlikely that their rivals Jaipur, the leaders in the league table, would go out for a big win and risk injuries just days before the semi-finals.
 
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