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Infosys inducts Prof John Etchemendy as Independent Member on its Board

John W. Etchemendy
John W. Etchemendy
IT services major Infosys Ltd today announced the appointment of John W. Etchemendy, Provost of Stanford University and Patrick Suppes Family Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, as an Independent Member of its Board of Directors.
 
Prof. Etchemendy is also a faculty member of the Symbolic Systems Program and a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI). 
 
He has received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (1988), and the Bing Award for Excellence in Teaching (1992). In addition, he is also the recipient of the Educom Medal for leadership in the application of technology to teaching.
 
Prof. Etchemendy received his B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Nevada, Reno.  He earned his doctorate in Philosophy at Stanford University.  He served on the faculty at Princeton University for two years before joining the Department of Philosophy at Stanford as a faculty member.
 
He is the author of numerous books and articles on logic, some co-authored with several close collaborators. He has been co-editor of the Journal of Symbolic Logic and is on the editorial board of several other journals.
 
Speaking about this appointment Mr. K. V. Kamath, Chairman of the Board, Infosys said, “I am pleased to welcome Professor Etchemendy to the Infosys Board. We will benefit immensely from the global experience and insight he brings to the Board as we work towards building a next-generation services company.”
 
Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys said, “Professor Etchemendy is an extraordinary teacher to me and countless other students. His joining our Board will help us strengthen, and indeed reinvent, our core foundation of learning and education. As we work towards a future where computing technologies greatly amplify human potential, and enable us to create purposeful solutions for businesses around the world, I am very excited that Infosys will have the guidance of this tireless researcher of the human-computer relationship.”
 
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India software market grows by 10.7% in H1 of 2014

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Political stability and economic revival helped the India software market register an improved first half (H1) in 2014 as compared to a slow first half in 2013, International Data Corporation (IDC) said today.
 
IDC said in a press release that the India software market registered a 10.7 per cent year-on-year (YOY) growth in H1 of 2014.
 
"The sweeping win of the BJP Government in the 2014 elections resulted in some amount of positivity in the market which reflected in the IT investments by major verticals like BFSI, Manufacturing, Retail and Ecommerce," it said.
 
According to it, a few big vendors closed major deals which were in the pipeline since early 2013, but did not materialize owing to economic and political uncertainties. This led to overall growth of the market during 1H 2014, it said.
 
"IDC expects the software market to grow at a stable pace in the next five years (2014-2018) with a healthy CAGR of 10.5%. Some of the areas which are expected to witness software uptake are mobile application development and mobile device management, security software (related to 3rd Platform), system software, analytics and engineering applications," it said.
 
Virtualization and cloud players such as VMware, Salesforce and Red Hat generated good business owing to greater market awareness while database and analytics players such as Teradata, Informatica, Oracle, Qlik and others registered strong double digit growth due to widespread demand for customer insights and analytics, it said.
 
The release said Banking, Finance, Securities & Investment Services (BFSI), Manufacturing and Communication & Media were the top verticals which invested in upgrades and new licenses. 
 
"Some of the sectors to watch out for in the future includes Entertainment, Retail & Ecommerce, Education, Hospitality etc. There has been a shift in the mindset of users across these industries. IT investments are now made not only for process improvements but also for growing business opportunities and improving customer experience," it said.
 
The release said the software market started to revive since the second quarter (Q2) 2014 post the elections to the Lok Sabha. Some of the solutions which were readily accepted across verticals included customer analytics, mobile solutions, cloud solutions, customer management solutions, omni-channel management systems and data loss prevention.
 
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Government initiatives such as Mobile Seva, Digital India, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and so on will be instrumental in triggering adoption of software solutions in the coming years. Launch of various schemes and policies is expected to catalyze software uptake by Manufacturing, Retail, Travel & Tourism and BFSI in the coming 2-3 years, it said.
 
“Large as well as SMB customers are looking at ways to curb their capital expenditure and are keen to embark on the cloud journey. This has led the vendors to make their licensing policies more flexible and easier so that existing customers could smoothly transition to a cloud environment,” Shweta Baidya,  Senior Market Analyst, Software, IDC India said.
 
“Some vendors are offering exchange schemes to their customers to buy back their hardware in exchange of a cloud setup which is resonating very well with the SMB market,” Baidya added.
 
The release said there had also been a rise in adoption of open source software especially among the SMB segment which is shying away from blocking its capital on expensive proprietary software. Small and Co-operative banks, Retail and Telecommunication sectors are looking at customized solutions based on open source platform for greater flexibility and cost reduction. The evolution of 3rd platform is expected to fuel the uptake of open source solutions further in the times ahead, it added.
 
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Communication satellite GSAT-16 to be launched on December 5 morning

GSAT-16 in clean room, undergoing pre-launch tests, at Arianespace's spaceport at Korou in French Guiana. Photo courtesy ISRO
GSAT-16 in clean room, undergoing pre-launch tests, at Arianespace's spaceport at Korou in French Guiana. Photo courtesy ISRO
India's communication satellite GSAT-16 is scheduled to be launched at 0208 hours IST on December 5 as a co-passenger on the sixth Ariane 5 mission from Arianespace's spaceport at Korou in French Guiana, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said.
 
The satellite, which had reached Korou last month by a chartered cargo aircraft, has been put through its paces at the European commercial satellite launch company's facilities since then. It has undergone detailed checks ahead of the launch and has been fuelled, Arianespace had said earlier this month.
 
GSAT-16 will be a co-passenger on the Ariane 5 mission along with Directv-14, built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL) for operator Directv.
 
Developed by ISRO, GSAT-16 will have a lift-off mass of 3181.6 kg and will carry Ku- and C-band transponders to further augment communication services across India.
 
Directv is a 20-kilowatt-class Ka-band and reverse-band digital broadcast satellite, to be used in delivering Ultra HD and other new consumer services for Directv.
 
The December 5 flight with Ariane 5 is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system for its family of launchers, which also includes the medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega. 
 
GSAT-16 is meant to deliver telecommunications services that include very small aperture terminal (VSAT) transmissions, television broadcasting and emergency communications.
 
According to ISRO, GSAT-16 is configured around I-3K extended bus with a 6500 W power generation capacity and mission life of more than 12 years. 
 
In November last year, Arianespace had said ISRO had chosen it to launch its GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 telecommunication satellites. GSAT-15 will also have lift-off weight of around 3150 kg and 6500 W power generation capacity. Its commercial payload will include Ku-Band transponders and a two-channel GAGAN payload. 
 
On August 30 last year, Arianespace's Ariane 5-VA 215 launch vehicle had launched India's first dedicated maritime communications satellite, GSAT-7, which will have defence applications also.
 
ISRO has a long history of launching payloads with Arianespace – dating back to the third mission of an Ariane-series vehicle in 1981. Arianespace has so far launched 17 satellites for ISRO, including INSAT-3D, which was a co-passenger on Ariane Flight VA214 in July last year.
 
According to ISRO sources, the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system, established in 1983, is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region. It presently comprises ten satellites, providing transponders in S, C, extended C and Ku bands.
 
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GSAT-16, which will be inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system, is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by ISRO so far, in normal C-band, upper extended C-band and Ku-band. GSAT-16 carries a Ku-band beacon as well to help accurately point ground antennae towards the satellite, the sources said.
 
They said the transponders together will ensure continuity of various services currently provided by the INSAT/GSAT system and serve as on-orbit spares to meet contingency requirements or for the augmentation of such services.
 
Ariane 5 VA-221 will launch GSAT-16 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), after which ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan will take control and perform the initial orbit raising manoeuvres using the satellite’s on-board liquid apogee motor (LAM), finally placing it in the vicinity of circular geostationary orbit. 
 
After this, the deployment of appendages such as the solar panels, antennae and three axis stabilisation of the satellite will be performed.
 
GSAT-16 will be positioned at 55 deg East longitude in the geostationary orbit and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites.
 
The satellite will have 12 Ku-band transponders each with 36 MHz usable bandwidth with footprint covering Indian mainland and Andaman & Nicobar islands. It will also have 24 C-band transponders each with 36 MHz usable bandwidth and 12 Upper Extended C-band transponders each with 36 MHz usable bandwidth, with footprints covering Indian mainland and island territories, the sources added.
 
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Mukherjee to visit Karnataka, Maharashtra on Nov 25, 26

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President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit to Karnataka and Maharashtra from tomorrow, an official press release said here today.
 
Mr Mukherjee will inaugurate the First Commonwealth Science Conference at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, tomorrow, it said.
 
On Wednesday, he will address the 11th Convocation of Symbiosis International University at Pune. 
 
On the same day, he will visit Bajajwadi and an Innovation Exhibition at Bajaj Science Centre, Wardha.  He will also attend the Centenary Celebrations of Shiksha Mandal and visit Sewagram Ashram at Wardha before returning to New Delhi, the release added.
 
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Infosys partners Stanford Graduate School of Business for education, training

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IT services major Infosys Limited today said it would collaborate with Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) to create a comprehensive executive education program for its executives, clients and partners.
 
As part of the agreement, Stanford GSB will team with senior Infosys executives to design and deliver a customized strategic leadership development program, a press release from Infosys said.  
 
The executive education program will include a suite of business management skills, as well as courses in corporate innovation processes to help Infosys balance business discipline and entrepreneurial spirit. 
 
The office of Executive Education at Stanford GSB and Infosys will deliver the leadership program through in-person and online instruction, as well as live sessions enabled by distance-learning technology.
 
The initiative will include 200 executives who will each participate in a part-time, year-long program in groups of 40 over three years. Executives will be able to test and apply their learning to real business challenges in parallel.
 
Stanford has leveraged Infosys’ facilities in Bangalore to offer its world renowned Stanford Ignite Program to participants across India. Stanford Ignite is a certificate program that teaches innovators to formulate, develop, and commercialize their ideas. The part-time program is delivered in-person and through live, high-definition video conference technology, which seamlessly connects Stanford GSB with participants in seven global markets. 
 
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Infosys has twice hosted the program through its high-definition video teleconference facility at Infosys headquarters in Bangalore. Infosys will now host and support Stanford Ignite at its teleconference facility in London in 2015.
 
Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys said, “We want to empower our people to help our clients lead the way in finding the great opportunities of our times, and to uncover new solutions in exemplary new ways. This mandates a step change in our thinking. We are excited to be working with Stanford to build and nurture a workforce that is fully equipped to deliver the next-generation services that our clients are looking for."
 
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Infosys BPO names Anup Uppadhayay as new CEO after Gautam Thakkar quits

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The Board of Infosys BPO Limited has announced the appointment of Mr Anup Uppadhayay as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of the company.
 
The company also announced that it had removed Mr Abraham Mathews, its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from the services of the company for not complying with its code of conduct.
 
"This departure is in keeping with the company’s goal of setting the highest standards of corporate governance and adhering to the letter and spirit of the company’s code of conduct," a press release from the company said.
 
Mr. Gautam Thakkar, the current CEO has submitted his resignation to the company effective November 30, 2014, taking responsibility on moral grounds and will be assisting Mr. Uppadhayay in this transition, it said.
 
Mr. Uppadhayay joined Infosys Limited in 1993 and has held various senior management positions within the company. He most recently served as Senior Vice President and Global Head of Delivery for Financial Services.
 
Mr. Deepak Bhalla has been appointed as the new CFO of the company. He  joined Infosys Limited in 1998 and most recently served as Associate Vice President and Head of Corporate Accounting Group.
 
Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director of Infosys Limited said, “BPO is of fundamental and strategic importance to our company. Our endeavor is to transform BPO with process innovation, automation and artificial intelligence to deliver exceptional efficiency and business value to our clients. I am very confident that under the leadership of Anup and Deepak, our BPO practice will become an exemplar on how business processes should be run.”
 
While the Infosys press release did not mention the reasons for the changes, media reports suggested that the issue was related to overbilling in some contracts.
 
Infosys BPO Ltd is the business process outsourcing subsidiary of IT services major Infosys Ltd and was set up in April 2002.
 
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Infosys Science Foundation announces winners of Infosys Prize 2014

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Prof Jayant Haritsa of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and Prof Shubha Tole of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai are among the winners of the Infosys Prize 2014 across six cateogries announced here yesterday.
 
The prizes are given every year by the Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) in the six categories: Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. 
 
The prize honours high-calibre researchers for impactful contributions to their fields. 
 
"This year’s winners have been recognized for research in fields as diverse as database design and optimization, interpretation of patent laws, understanding emotion and cognition in the brain, probabilistically checkable proofs, green chemistry and affordable health care. The prize consists of a purse of Rs. 55 lakhs, a 22 karat gold medallion and a citation certificate for each category," a press release from ISF said.
 
Prof Haritsa is Professor, Supercomputer Education and Research Centre (SERC) and Chair, Department of Computer Science and Automation (CSA) at IISc. He has been awarded theprize for his contributions to the design and optimization of database engines.
 
Prof Tole is Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, TIFR. She has been chosen for her significant contributions to studying the hippocampus and amygdala – centres of learning and memory in the brain. Her work can lead to a better understanding of human behavior, cognition and emotions, the release said.
 
Mr Shamnad Basheer, founder and Managing Trustee, Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), Bangalore and Founder – SpicyIP, India has been awarded the prize for contributions to the analysis of a range of legal issues, including pharmaceutical patent injunctions and enforcement.
 
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In the area of Life Sciences, the prize has gone to Prof Madhu Sudan, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research New England and Adjunct Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS) department and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has been awarded for his seminal contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and error-correcting codes.
 
Dr Srivari Chandrasekhar, Scientist G, Organic Chemistry Division, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad, has been chosen for the prize for his contributions in the general area of synthetic organic chemistry with a special focus on the synthesis of complex molecules from natural sources.
 
In the category of Social Sciences, Prof Esther Duflo, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Founder & Director, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), United States, has been chosen for the prize for her pioneering contributions to development economics, especially work related to countries such as India and Africa.
 
The winners of the Infosys Prize 2014 were evaluated by a panel of jurors comprising esteemed scientists and professors from around the world. The jury chairs are Prof. Pradeep K. Khosla -- Engineering and Computer Science, Prof. Amartya Sen – Humanities, Prof. Inder Verma – Life Sciences, Prof. Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan – Mathematical Sciences, Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni – Physical Sciences, and Prof. Kaushik Basu – Social Sciences.
 
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Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, President, Board of Trustees, Infosys Science Foundation said, “The Infosys Science Foundation has been able to recognize some of the best researchers of our time through the Infosys Prize. The past laureates have established themselves further and each year there is palpable excitement as we await the announcement of the winners. Their contributions will be an inspiration to students and professionals and have the potential for real-time impact on individuals and society. The ISF continues to focus on its paramount agenda of fostering a culture of scientific thinking through initiatives such as public lectures, workshops for science teachers from rural areas, and science oriented events for school students.”
 
The award ceremony for the Infosys Prize 2014 will be held on January 5, 2015, in Kolkata, by President Pranab Mukherjee.
 
The Infosys Science Foundation is a not-for-profit trust instituted in February 2009. It is funded by a corpus which today stands at over Rs 00 crore ($ 16 million), contributed by the trustees and Infosys.
 
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Infosys to hire over 2100 in United States, including 600 graduates

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IT services major Infosys Limited today said it would undertake a major recruitment drive in the United States to support te growth of its business and enhance its capabilities.
 
The company plans to hire 1,500 professionals for consulting, sales and delivery during the current financial year. In addition, it will hire close to 600 Bachelors and Masters graduates from US Universities over the next twelve months, a press release from the company said.
 
"With this program, Infosys will bolster its expertise in client relationship management, consulting and technical delivery. The addition of these employees will help Infosys provide its clients local market insights, industry-leading technology expertise, and timely responsiveness to critical issues," it said.
 
According to the release, Infosys will recruit up to 300 management and technology graduates from leading US universities. They will work across multiple technology domains including digital, big data, analytics and cloud. 
 
Upto 180 graduates will be recruited into the Infosys consulting practice in the US. They will join existing teams advising clients on business and technology transformation strategies. Infosys will also continue its global recruitment program of hiring MBA graduates from leading business schools, and will recruit 100 Masters graduates for its sales teams under this initiative, it said.
 
Peggy Tayloe, Head of Human Resources in Americas, Infosys said, “We believe in hiring professionals who will help us build a next-generation services company. Technology is truly reshaping the world around us today. At Infosys, we offer the best opportunities to learn while working on exciting projects, pioneering the latest technologies for some of the world’s best corporations.”
 
Sandeep Dadlani, Executive Vice President, Head of Infosys Americas, Infosys added, “We are particularly looking forward to bringing a large group of graduates into Infosys in the US. This is a terrific time for young, smart and talented leaders to be graduating from the best American schools and choosing a career in the technology industry.”
 
The release said the recruitment drive would leverage the wide range of relationships between Infosys and academic institutions across the US. These relationships have been cultivated through programs such as the global InStep Internship Program and the recently announced collaboration with the Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University.
 
Candidates who wish to apply or learn more about this initiative can click here.
 
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Biocon Academy records 100% placement for third batch of life sciences program

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Biocon Academy, a Centre of Excellence for Advanced Learning in Applied Biosciences set up by biopharmaceuticals major Biocon Ltd, today said that the second batch of the ‘Biocon-KGI Certificate Program in Biosciences’ has successfully completed the course and the batch had recorded 100 per cent placement.
 
All 30 students scored above 2.75 CGPA on a scale of 4, a press release from the academy said.
 
The program is a 16-week, full-time certificate course being offered by Biocon Academy in collaboration with the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) of Claremont, California in the United States.
 
Leading companies from the Indian pharmaceuticals industry, including Intas Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi India Ltd, Richcore Lifesciences, Zydus Biologics, GlaxoSmithkline India, and Theramyt Novobiologics participated in the campus recruitment process. The job offers covered a wide variety of profiles including Production, Quality Assurance, Regulatory Affairs, Research & Development and Marketing, the release said.
 
Biocon CMD and Biocon Academy Chief Mentor Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said: “We are happy to develop high-end talent for the life sciences sector at Biocon Academy who are being picked up by leading firms in the sector. Our aim is to address the huge skill deficit of the biopharma sector through Biocon Academy students who have been educated on the ‘business of science’ through experiential learning by experts from KGI and Biocon.” 
 
Dr. Shelly Schuster, President, Keck Graduate Institute, said: “These students have had profound learning experiences on various aspects of the pharmaceuticals industry. They have had a multitude of opportunities to engage in the processes that would find applications in producing Biomolecules, Pharmaceuticals & Diagnostics. I am sure that each one of them will be a major contributor in their area of interest in the Life Sciences Industry and continue to learn and be passionate about their profession.” 
 
The third batch of the Biocon Academy commenced on November 3 with a group of 30 students.
 
The online application process for the fourth batch will commence from November 10, the release added.
 
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Bangalore is Bengaluru, Mysore is Mysuru as Karnataka notifies changes in names of 12 cities

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Bangalore will henceforth be officially known as Bengaluru and Mysore as Mysuru with the Karnataka government notifying changes in the names of 12 cities of the state with effect from today. 
 
This followed the clearance received from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs 
to a proposal made by the state government way back in 2006, a notification issued by the Revenue Secretariat said here yesterday.
 
The announcement has come on the 69th anniversary of the formation of the state of Karnataka. 
 
According to the notification, Mangalore will now be known as Mangaluru, Bellary as Ballari, Bijapur as Vijayapura, Belgaum as Belagavi, Chikmagalur as Chikkamagaluru, Gulbarga as Kalaburagi, Hospet as Hosapete, Shimoga as Shivamogga, Hubli as Hubballi and Tumkur as Tumakuru.
 
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Ganapathy Subramaniam appointed as chairman of Tata Elxsi

Ganapathy Subramaniam
Ganapathy Subramaniam
Mr N Ganapathy Subramaniam, Executive Vice-President at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and head of TCS Financial Solutions, has been appointed as an aditional director and chairman of the board of Tata Elxsi, a design company with effect from November 1.
 
He will succeed Mr S Ramadorai, who stepped down from the Board of Directors of the copany on attaining the age of 70 years as per its policy.
 
Part of TCS and the Indian IT Industry for over 30 years, Mr Subramaniam has served in a multitude of roles in delivering solutions to TCS customers globally. As a part of his current role, he is responsible for steering the financial products business, under the brand name, TCS BaNCS, globally. 
 
TCS BaNCS is a suite of products covering the banking, capital markets, and insurance domains. 
 
Earlier, as Global Head of the Banking Industry Practice for TCS, he was entrusted with the responsibility of creating new opportunities, knowledge/ asset management, consulting, third-party alliances, and the overall management of product-related initiatives.
 
"Mr. Subramaniam brings in-depth knowledge about technology trends, systems and policies of leading global corporations, and international business. He actively participates in banking, technology and business forums in addition to specific knowledge streams in risk management and Six Sigma orientation," a press release from the company said.
 
 
Established in 1989, Tata Elxsi is part of the Tata group and a listed company that addresses the communications, consumer products, defence, health care, media and entertainment, semiconductor and transportation sectors. 
 
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Engineers’ Conclave-2014 being held in Bangalore from Thursday

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The three-day Engineers Conclave 2014 organised by the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began at the Indian Institute of Science here today.
 
The event provides a platform to all professional engineers and scientists of the country to address some of the major engineering challenges relevant to society as well as the country and to suggest suitable engineering solutions.
 
The conference will be inaugurated by former ISRO Chairman U R Rao, who is currently the Chairman of the PRL Council.
 
Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, Department of Space is the Chair and Dr Baldev Raj, President, INAE/Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies, is the co-chair of Engineers’ Conclave-2014.
 
A press release from the organisers said the conclave has two themes -- Emerging Space Applications and Technologies for the Hill Regions. 
 
Technical sessions in the “Emerging Space Applications” theme will have 15 invited talks by experts from various organisations including ISRO and will cover Energy and Infrastructure, Weather and Climate, Natural Resources Monitoring, Management and e-Governance, Early Warning Systems and  Communication and Navigation.
 
The sessions in the "Technologies for the Hill Regions" theme will cover Mountain Weather, Gravity Flows and  Associated Hazards, Communications for Hazardous conditions in the Hill Regions, Earthquake and Avalanche Hazards in Himalayan Regions and Its  Mitigation, and Snow Cover, Water management and Energy in the Hill Regions.
 
The valedictory session will be chaired by Dr. K Kasturirangan, Chairman, Knowledge Commission, Government of Karnataka and former Chairman of ISRO.
 
The outcome of EC-2014 will form the recommendations to various organisations involved in the related activities in the country, the release added.
 
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Infosys donates $2 m to Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

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IT services major Infosys and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton, New Jersey in the United States today announced a new endowment fund that will be used to support visiting scientists and scholars advance their research at the world-renowned institute.
 
IAS is one of the world's leading centres for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry.
 
The Infosys Fund has been created following a donation of $2 million by Infosys to the IAS and will be used to support two scholars across the Institute’s four Schools each year. 
 
The Infosys Members will receive support related to all aspects of the academic appointment and community life that are unique and fundamental aspects of the IAS experience, a press release from the company said.
 
Visiting scientists and scholars at the Institute, known as “Members,” are at the heart of the Institute’s mission to encourage and support curiosity-driven research in the sciences and humanities. They are selected from the world’s leading universities and research institutions and spend time at IAS addressing some of the most intriguing questions across the sciences and humanities, unencumbered by teaching and administrative obligations.
 
Infosys has a longstanding connection with the Institute through the Infosys Prize, which has recognized several of its former visiting scientists in the subject of Mathematical Sciences.
 
Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director, Institute for Advanced Study, said: “This generous donation from Infosys is a remarkable recognition of the Institute for Advanced Study's legacy, and is a powerful endorsement of our future promise. The freedom and independence to pursue the most interesting and relevant questions about nature and humanity have been the essence of the Institute for more than eighty years. In particular, the field of computing—where Infosys is making such important contributions today—had its start at the Institute under the direction of legendary mathematician John von Neumann."
 
"The Institute exists to provide an optimal environment where scholars from all over the world can think and share, imagine and risk, and begin again without conditions and limitations. The extraordinary gift from Infosys will help us continue to meet this critical need. We hope that this is the beginning of a long and close association with Infosys," he added.
 
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Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys, said, “At Infosys we believe that people, when amplified by technology, knowledge, imagination and an enriching ecosystem, can achieve incredible things. This is the beginning of a human revolution, and institutions like IAS have long served to accelerate it. By mentoring visiting scholars, in both academic and practical terms, the IAS has created yet another avenue to produce advances in knowledge that can change the way we work and live - with wide-ranging impact on global development.”
 
Infosys has pledged US $42 million in the current financial year towards corporate social responsibility through the Infosys Foundation, its philanthropic arm.  
 
The Foundation is engaged in several programs aimed at alleviating hunger, promoting education, improving health, assisting rural development, supporting arts and helping the destitute.   
 
In the US, Infosys recently signed up as an implementation partner for the Global STEM Alliance, a global program recently established by the New York Academy of Sciencesthat aims to empower the next generation of scientific innovators.
 
The IAS, founded in 1930, is a private, independent academic institution. Its more than 6,000 former Members hold positions of intellectual and scientific leadership throughout the academic world. Thirty-three Nobel Laureates and 40 out of 56 Fields Medalists, as well as many winners of the Wolf and MacArthur prizes, have been affiliated with the Institute.
 
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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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