Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to raise upto Rs 500 crore through tax-free bonds

A container terminal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai
A container terminal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Mumbai will open on March 11 its public issue of tax-free bonds in the nature of secured redeemable non-convertible debentures of face value of Rs 1000 each, with an option to retain oversubscription upto Rs 1500 crore such that the overall issue size does not exceed Rs 2000 crore in the fiscal year 2013.

The issue will close on March 15. The bonds are proposed to be listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), with NSE as the designated stock exchange for the issue, a press release from the company said.
The release said that, in terms of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notification, the issuer may also issue tax free bonds in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures through private placement route for up to 25% of Rs. 2,000 crore, i.e. not exceeding Rs.500 crore. 
The issuer shall ensure that the funds raised through public issue route and/or private placement route shall together not exceed Rs. 2,000 crore. In case the issuer raises any such funds through private placement, the above aggregate of Rs. 2,000 crore shall be reduced to that extent, it said.
JNPT runs the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai, providing various services and facilities pertaining to the handling of diverse types of cargo, including container, dry bulk, break bulk cargo and liquid bulk cargo.
The issue has been rated “CRISIL AAA/Stable” by CRISIL, "BWR AAA" by Brickwork. Instruments with such ratings are considered to have the highest degree of safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligations. Such instruments carry lowest credit risk, the release said.
Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Limited, ICICI Securities Limited and SBI Capital Markets Limited are the Lead Managers to the issue which is open to Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs), Domestic Corporates, High Networth Individuals (HNIs) and Retail Individual Investors. 
The bonds, with a tenure of 10 years,  will carry a fixed interest of 6.82% per annum. Additional interest rate of 0.50% i.e. 7.32% per annum shall be paid to original allottees in retail individual investors category, it said
The net issue proceeds raised through this issue are proposed to be utilised primarily for the purpose of dredging works for deepening and widening of the Mumbai harbour channel and JN Port’s navigational channel and capital expenditure for other projects in relation to the port operations. The total estimated cost of the dredging project is Rs. 1,571.60 crore and the estimated period for completion of this project is 25 months.
JNPT has initiated capital dredging at the JN Port in order to enable handling of vessels up to draught of 14 metres, using tidal windows. The capital dredging work has been awarded to Boskalis International BV and is expected to be completed by September 2014. 
In addition, JNPT is currently undertaking feasibility studies for deepening of navigational channel further, for accommodating 17 metres draught vessels, using tidal window.
JN Port also provides other value-added port services like container freight stations and facilitation of rail handling. In fiscal year 2012, JN Port handled 55.60% of the total container cargo traffic handled by all major ports in India (in terms of TEUs), thus making it the leading port in the country for handling of container cargo in that period. 
JN Port is open for operations throughout the year. It is situated on the eastern end of the Mumbai harbour in Nhava Sheva, Maharashtra, and shares a common harbour channel with the Mumbai Port up to Jawahar Dweep Channel.
JNPT commenced its operations in 1989. Subsequently, in July 1997, JNPT entered into a license agreement with Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal Limited for developing a container cargo handling terminal.
Thereafter, in August 1999, JNPT entered into a license agreement with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited for development of a twin berth liquid bulk cargo handling terminal.
In August 2004, JNPT entered into a license agreement with Gateway Terminals India Private Limited for redevelopment of its existing bulk terminal into a container terminal.

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Indiabulls Financial Services merges with its home loan arm


Indiabulls today announced the reverse merger of Indiabulls Financial Services Limited (IBFSL) with Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited (IHFL), its home loan arm.

IHFL is registered as a housing finance company (HFC) and is regulated by the National Housing Bank (NHB).
The share swap ratio among the stake holders in the two companies has been fixed at 1:1, a press release from the company said.
“The Union Finance Minister’s budgetary proposal to allow additional tax deductions for first- time home buyers has given a new impetus to the real estate sector and we see this as a great opportunity for home loan companies to contribute to the nation’s growth," Mr Gagan Banga, CEO of IHFL said.
The release said the amalgamation would enable efficient utilization of the company’s capital, consolidating it into the HFC where most of the incremental mortgages business was being booked. This amalgamation underlines the company’s long term commitment to the mortgage finance business, it said.
Going forward IHFL will be planning to offer a wider range of innovative products on housing finance, especially for the affordable segment below Rs 25 lakhs, it said.
For the nine months ending December 31, 2012, the company’s assets under management (AUM) stood at Rs. 32,551 crore, up from Rs. 27,521 crore as on March 31 2012. For the same period, the company clocked a profit after taxes of Rs. 898 crore. The PAT for the entire FY 2012 was Rs. 1,006 crore, the release added.

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Two startups that complement your use of Twitter, Facebook

Image courtesy: Timerabbit
Image courtesy: Timerabbit

Two startups caught my eye this week, one of them from India, and both revolving around well-known social media sites. 

From experience I can tell you that India lags behind where the startups eco-system is concerned compared to the rest of the world. So I make it a point to talk of an India-located startup as and when a new one pops up.
This one’s called Tweriod and it’s just come online. Tweriod (pronounced as Twe – roid…..a service that improves the performance and effectiveness of your twitter posts) is a social networking tool that is a Twitter enhancer. Enhancers are tools or services that help boost your online performance.
This one promises of pumping up your act where micro-blog Twitter is concerned. It takes charge of your Twitter account completely, scrutinises the past, looks at the tweets posted by your followers, and then comes up with a detailed plan that tells you when’s the right time for you to tweet for maximum leverage.
That’s the basic nut and bolts stuff. The way you use Tweriod is also very simple. But before I go any further, let me just tell you that this startup is in no way connected to Twitter.
There are two versions of Tweriod, of course, the free and the premium. You simply go on the Tweriod website and sign in with your Twitter account, and then give Tweriod permission to analyse your account. The tool then tracks down all the followers from your Twitter account. Depending on which version you have subscribed to, it will go down to 1000 followers (free) and 5000 followers (paid), track their last 200 tweets, your very own past 200 tweets, as well as gather information on all the people that you are following on Twitter.
Image courtesy: Tweriod
Image courtesy: Tweriod
Based on all this information, it then analyses the best time slots for you to tweet. The data gathered from your account is put up in analytical charts indicating the best times when your followers are most active. This means whatever you tweet in these hours is bound to get you maximum response from your Twitter fans.
The information is very systematic and it even has facts such as those followers who are active on which weekdays and the ones who are more responsive on the weekends.
The report that Tweriod draw up for you is sent to you either as a direct message in your Twitter account or to your email, complete with graph and all. The duration of receiving the reports ideally depends on the number of followers you have on Twitter.
Now, you will ask me, how does all this help? Well, because of all the content explosion around us, it is highly probable that whatever you post or tweet sinks without a trace, or without provoking a murmur. For the average Joe, a tool like Tweriod helps in getting whatever it is he or she has to say, to the largest number of followers or fans, and thus evoke a response or initiate a debate.
For the online marketer, this kind of tool can be of immense help because he can them time his marketing related tweets to the time when his target audience is on Twitter. Tweriod can be a highly effective communication tool, I feel. Plus, the basic version is free, so no sweat off your back to try it out, right?
The other startup that I am going to talk of now, too, revolves around a well-known social media site –Facebook. Called TimeRabbit, the app has been developed by software company Breakpoint Software Development Inc.
TimeRabbit is not a tool. It is a standalone browser-based application, meaning it can be used in any browser from Firefox to Windows Internet Explorer. Now, the thing you can do with TimeRabbit is to monitor how much time you spend daily on your Facebook account. That’s right. Like I told someone in jest once, this is an ideal app for Facebook junkies, those of you out there who cannot do without their daily ‘fix’ of this social site.
As soon as you log into your FB account, TimeRabbit starts your Time counter. Since it is located in your browser, you do not have to do anything special. It tallies seconds, minutes & hours as long as you are on FB. It pauses the counter once it notices that you are idle. How? Whenever you stop moving your computer mouse or stop using your keyboard for over 30 seconds, the counter stops running. And after you have logged out from your account, the timer stops five seconds later. TimeRabbit gives you a breakdown of your statistics (weekly, monthly as well as lifetime) of your time spent on FB. Howzzat?
Previous columns by Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla is a journalist with near three decades of experience and has worked in well-known Indian and international print and television media organizations such as The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, United News of India (UNI), The Gulf Today and India TV. He has founded a Knowledge Services firm called New Age Content Services LLP, that leverages on the inherent strengths of the digital world. He also edits the website,

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Commissioner of Customs, agent arrested in bribery case in Mumbai

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a Commissioner of Customs posted Jawaharlal Nehru Customs House, Nhavasheva in Mumbai and a Customs House agent for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 19 lakhs from a Rajkot-based businessman.

A press release from the CBI said it had received a complaint from the businessman alleging that the official and the agent had demanded the bribe from him for releasing his container. Later, the official told the businessman to hand over the money to the agent.
The CBI laid a trap and allegedly caught the agent red-handed while demanding and accepting the bribe on behalf of the official. The commissioner was also arrested, the release said.
According to it, searches were conducted at the residential and official premises of both accused. During searches of residential premises of the public servant, documents pertaining to investments made in real estate and flats in Mumbai as well as in Patna were recovered, it said.
Both the accused persons were produced today before the Special Court of CBI, Mumbai and remanded to judicial custody upto March 21, the release added.

IPL: Mumbai Indians commences online ticket sales

Mumbai Indians logo

Mumbai Indians, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisee owned by the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) group, today commenced the online ticket sales for the sixth edition of IPL 2013.

Fans can book Mumbai Indians home matches tickets on the team's website, a press release from the team said.
Mumbai Indians have made some additions in the team and support staff for this season, including Anil Kumble as chief Mentor, John Wright as head coach and Ricky Ponting as the captain.
Mumbai Indians play their first home match against Delhi Daredevils on April 9. 
The following is the Mumbai Indians' home match schedule:
Apr   9, 2013  Tuesday Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils 8:00 PM
Apr 13, 2013  Saturday Mumbai Indians vs Pune Warriors India 4:00 PM
Apr 27, 2013  Saturday Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 8:00 PM
Apr 29, 2013  Monday  Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab 8:00 PM
May  5, 2013  Sunday   Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings 4:00 PM 
May  7, 2013  Tuesday  Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders 8:00 PM
May 13, 2013 Monday Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad 8:00 PM
May 15, 2013 Wednesday Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals 8:00 PM
Mumbai Indians is owned by IndiaWin Sports Pvt. Ltd, a group company of RIL.

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Sehwag dropped, no replacement named in team for 3rd, 4th Tests

File photo of Virender Sehwag
File photo of Virender Sehwag

Opener Virender Sehwag, who has been struggling to get among the runs, was today dropped from the Indian team for the final two Tests of the four-match series against Australia.

The senior selection committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which met here today, did not name any replacement for Sehwag, retaining the rest of the team that played the first two Tests at Chennai and Hyderabad, both of which India won.
This means that either Shikhar Dhawan or Ajinkya Rahane will open the innings with Murali Vijay, who scored a superb century at Hyderabad.
Sehwag, 34, last scored a century against England in Ahmedabad last year and since then has managed scores of just 25, 30, 9, 23, 49, 0, 2, 19 and 6 -- the last three against Australia in the current series.
The selectors are obviously trying to settle on a reliable opening pair ahead of the crucial tour of South Africa later this year. Sehwag's famed partner Gautam Gambhir has already been dropped from the side because of poor form.
India's openers, Vijay and Sehwag, could put on only 11, 16 and 17 runs for the first wicket in the three innings against Australia so far, though Vijay did strike a century in the last Test at Hyderabad. Sehwag, on the other hand, has made only 27 in his three outings against Austrlia in this series.
The swashbuckling right-hander made 253 runs in seven innings during the home series against England last year, which included 117 in Ahmedabad. In the two home Tests against New Zealand, he failed to come up with even a half-century. On India's last foreign tour to Australia, he made a total of 198 runs in eight innings.
The following is the team:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain, wicket-keeper), Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma
The third Test will be played at Mohali from March 14-18 and the fourth Test in Delhi from March 22 to 26.

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Elder Pharma to set up JV with Kose of Japan for manufacture of cosmetics in India


India's Elder Pharmaceuticals Limited today said it had agreed to establish a joint venture (JV) with Japan's cosmetic giant Kose Corporation for manufacturing and selling cosmetics in India.

Kose will hold 60 per cent and Elder 40 per cent in the proposed joint venture, provisionally called Kose Elder (India) Pvt Ltd, a press release from Elder said,
Both the companies have, subject to fulfillment of certain terms and conditions, finalized terms and conditions of the JV contract. It stipulates that Kose will focus on the Indian market through the JV for manufacturing and selling cosmetics in India. 
“India is a developing consumer market with strong growth potential. Its population stands at 1.2 billion, second only to China’s, and forms a pyramid structure with young people at the base. 50% of the population of India consists of people within the age of 25 years. Women’s fashion is also diversifying, and tastes in cosmetics are changing dramatically. Elder has successfully established and run subsidiaries abroad and with alliance with Kose, Elder is foraying into its maiden joint venture arrangement in India with a Japanese company,” said Mr Alok  Saxena, Joint Managing Director , Elder Pharmaceuticals Limited.
“Elder’s thorough knowledge of local markets and strong sales network within India will be synergized with Kose's strengths of technological prowess and creation of high value added cosmetics through this joint venture. The aim is to develop new products assimilating Japan’s refined, advanced technology with the universal aesthetic demanded by the Indian woman, and to expand in the Indian market. Once the joint venture is established, the parties will consider the details of sharing tasks between the two companies and specifics such as sales channels, products, and brands for the Indian market." he added.
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Tata Power makes India's first 4000 MW UMPP fully operational


Tata Power, India's largest integrated power utility, today said that its wholly owned subsidiary, Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL), had synchronised 800 MW unit 5 of the ultra mega power project (UMPP) at Mundra in Gujarat.

With this, India’s first 4000 MW thermal power plant using supercritical technology is now fully oiperational, a press release from the company said.
The total power generation capacity of Tata Power now stands at 8500 MW, reinforcing its position as the largest integrated power company in India, it said.
The company had commercialised Unit 1 of Mundra UMPP in March 2012, Unit 2 in July 2012, Unit 3 in October 2012 and Unit 4 in February 2013. 
"With synchronisation of Unit 5, the thermal power generation capacity of Tata Power stands at 7647 MW and the generation through clean sources such as hydro, wind and solar stands at 852 MW," it said.
The release also said the company had commissioned a total of 3,200 MW at a single location in a year, setting a new record. The average gap taken between synchronisation of two units has been 3.5 months which is  better than the baseline schedule of 4 months and is much better than the 5 months provided in original PPA, it said.
"The 4000 MW Mundra UMPP is the first of the UMPPs that heralds the entry of 800 MW supercritical boiler technology in India, which is environment friendly and efficient. This technology and the choice of unit sizes will help save fuel for the project and cut down the greenhouse gas emissions as compared to regular coal-fired power stations. In addition, the choice of imported coal significantly lowers sulphur emissions. The plant will use significantly less than the stipulated 1 % sulphur and 10 % ash content in coal," it said.
Mr. Anil Sardana, Managing Director, Tata Power, said, “The synchronization of Unit 5 of Mundra UMPP marks a milestone in India's history as the first Ultra Mega Power Project setting execution excellence benchmark for Indian power sector. The synchronization of the last unit is a significant achievement in a sector, which is ridden with numerous challenges. The Mundra UMPP features a number of new and advanced technological initiatives based on super critical technology. We eagerly await a viable solution by the Hon'ble CERC and look forward to an early resolution of this issue.”
CGPL is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for setting up and operating the UMPP. CGPL has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with seven procurers (distribution licensees) from five states -- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab -- for the sale of contracted capacity. 

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7 killed, 3 injured as jeep overturns near Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai


Seven men were killed and three others suffered injuries when the jeep they were travelling overturned near Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai in the early hours of today

The mishap occurred at a spot near the end of the Pune-Mumbai expressway, police in Kalamboli said.
The Tata Sumo vehicle was on its way from Pune to Thane, near here, and was carrying a group of passengers, including a few who had gone to attend a wedding reception in Pune, when the mishap occurred around 0430 hours.
The injured were taken to a hospital in Vashi for treatment, polce added.

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CBI arrests CBDT accounts officer in Mumbai in bribery case


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a senior accounts officer of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in Mumbai and a private person for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs. 10,000 from a contractor.

The contractor, who provides cars on rental basis to the Income Tax department, had complained to the CBI that the officer had demanded the bribe from him for clearing his pending bills.
The agency registered a case against the officer and laid a trap and allegedly caught him and a private person, who allegedly accepted the bribe on his behalf in the cabin of the accused in Aaykar Bhavan, New Marine Lines, Mumbai.
Both the arrested accused were produced before the Special Judge, Mumbai and were remanded to police custody till March 4. Further investigation is in progress, a press release from the agency added.

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Meet Pheed, one of the seven social networks to watch out for in 2013

Image courtesy: Pheed
Image courtesy: Pheed

Two very exciting things happened in the Internet world in the week gone by. While one has the potential of changing the way we live online, the other, a gadget, will surely change the way we control the electronic stuff around us. 

And when that happens to you, remember, you read it here first.
Some of you may have come across the world "Pheed". Nah, it’s not some new word added to the English language. Instead, Pheed is a new smartphone app that has become a rage. It is a social networking app….but before you groan and say, “Oh no, not another one”, listen up.
What if I were to tell you that the Pheed iOS app bumped off Facebook and micro-blog Twitter  from the No:1 spot in the Apple Store? What if I tell you that Pheed is being hailed as the new Twitter? What if I tell you that you, the user, can make money even while using this app? What if I were to tell you that well-known business magazine Fortune has listed it as 1 of the 7 social networks to watch out for in 2013. Got your attention now?
The Pheed website was launched in October 2012 in Los Angeles, USA by a group of Internet entrepreneurs, while the App was launched the following month. Between then and now, Pheed has been on and off the No:1 slot in the Apple Store, such is its popularity.
Pheed was set up by a group of entrepreneurs. One of its co-founders is O.D. Kobo, a well-known Hong Kong based Internet entrepreneur, who among other things, also runs the Koolanoo Group based in China.
Pheed’s tagline is -Express Yourself. Here’s what this app offers, which will make you realise why it is so popular:
• Users can share text, photos, videos, audio and voice messages
• They can even use the app to broadcast anything they want, ‘Live’
• Pheed even allows members to share updates to other networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler
• User can monetize their posts or their ‘Live’ events by installing a Paywall. Members can set a price for others to view their posts or the ‘Live’ event. Charges can be on a ‘per view’ or ‘per month’ basis, and can range between US$1.99 & US $ 34.99 USD for one post or one month.
• Users can add a watermark to their posts
• Users can also subscribe to the channels of other users
• Using the ‘Remix’ feature, they can share and view other user’s post and
So go check out Pheed, it probably will be worth your while.
And now on to something even more exciting.
Image courtesy: MYO
Image courtesy: MYO
There’s now an arm band that allows you to control any electronic gadget around you provided it has a Bluetooth facility in it. No need to touch any buttons or use a remote control. Just wear the arm band and start controlling all your devices like your computer or television set with hand gestures.
Called the MYO arm band, this one was developed by Thalmic Labs, and shall be available late 2013 but you can pre-book yours now for just US $149, and wherever you are located in the world, it shall be delivered to you.
Thalmic Labs was founded by three University of Waterloo Mechatronics Engineering graduates, Aaron Grant, Matthew Bailey, and Stephen Lake. They began collaborating on building the technology behind the MYO armband, and today run a full-fledged company.
MYO works by using a combination of electrical activity in your muscles and motion control. MYO has an ARM processor and is powered by rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries. It connects to a device by Bluetooth. As of now, the MYO can be paired with Windows PC and the Mac, but soon, it will work on iOS, and Android, too. You can use this arm band to make presentations in office, play online games using nothing but your hand, or flip channels on TV without ever touching the remote.
MYO represents a fast-growing breed of gadgets called Wearable Devices. These are essentially computing devices that you can wear on your body. Smartwatches, for example, belong to this class of gadgets. Almost every hardware company worth its salt and then some, are today researching and building prototypes of wearable devices. Some like Thalmic Labs have even launched some of their products commercially, while others such as Google Glass, are still being honed.
So I end this column with a question – where is the world headed? To twist the old Chinese proverb/curse – Are we truly living in interesting times?
Previous columns by Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla is a journalist with near three decades of experience and has worked in well-known Indian and international print and television media organizations such as The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, United News of India (UNI), The Gulf Today and India TV. He has founded a Knowledge Services firm called New Age Content Services LLP, that leverages on the inherent strengths of the digital world. He also edits the website,

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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1504 crore in February

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said that its construction division had secured new orders valued at over Rs 1504 crore across various business segments in February this year.
A press release from the company said its Water & Solar Business has bagged new orders both in domestic and international markets. Its Water and Effluent Treatment Business has won orders valued at more than Rs 621 crores. 
Under the Design Build and Operate (DBO) model, L&T Construction will construct a sewerage network and waste water treatment facility for Bhatpara Municipal Town – a project of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.
Another order is from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for the construction of 110 MGD raw water pumping station, raw water transmission main, 50 MGD water treatment plant and clear water pumping station at Kolkata. 
On the international front, the company has secured an additional order from Qatar for its ongoing project for re-use and waste water treatment. 
L&T Construction’s Solar Business Unit, the largest EPC player in solar power projects in India, has won new EPC orders worth Rs 413 crores from Kiran Energy for the construction of Solar PV plants in Tamil Nadu.
In the Power Transmission & Distribution business, L&T construction has won a new order 
worth Rs 265 crores from the Tamil Nadu Generation & Distribution Corporation Limited 
(TANGEDCO) for power distribution work across various districts in Tamil Nadu.
In the Heavy Civil Business, various additional orders worth Rs 205 crores have been secured from ongoing projects, the release added.

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RBI Dy Governor Anand Sinha gets extension till January 18, 2014

Anand Sinha
Anand Sinha

The Government has extended the term of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor Anand Sinha till January 18, 2014.

Mr Sinha was first appointed as the Deputy Governor of RBI in January 2011 for a period upto February 28, 2013. 
According to a notification issued by the Government yesterday, he will continue in the position until January 18, 2014 when he completes the tenure of three years from the date on which he assumed office, that is, January 19, 2011.
Mr Sinha will continue to look after Department of Banking Operations and Development, Department of Non-Banking Supervision and Urban Banks Department as well as Departments of Risk Monitoring, Information Technology, Expenditure and Budgetary Control, Legal and Premises, an RBI press release added.

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Hackers target big online companies – does it mean a setback to BYOD?

Image courtesy:
Image courtesy:

Hacking reared its ugly head last week. For the first time, social network Facebook acknowledged the fact that attempts were made to get into its servers by a group of hackers, sending shock waves through the entire online community. 

Just when it was recovering came the second shocker. Apple Inc. claimed that its online defences, too, were breached but timely intervention had prevented damage.
Then, as if the proverbial Pandora’s Box had been flipped open, complaints started pouring in from all over. Micro-blog Twitter had already let it be known in January that around 250,000 user accounts may have been compromised. 
In the Facebook and Apple cases, it is now almost certain that the same group of hackers was behind the attacks. This is based on the modus operandi adopted. The hackers had surreptitiously put in malicious pieces of code on the computers of FB and Apple employees when they had logged to particular developers’ websites. The malware was then used to try and infiltrate into the mainframe servers.
Initially, though not many said it out openly, this was thought to be the handiwork of certain Chinese hackers, strongly denied by the government of China. The US is paranoid about  Chinese hackers, so that was a given. Now, even as I write this column comes the news by CNN that it could be the work of an east European gang. 
Quoting from a Bloomberg report, CNN said the news agency, quoting two unnamed people, was reporting that the gang wanted to steal secrets from these companies. East Europe is the other ‘favoured status’ region of the online players to pin such hacking attempts on.
Forget the identity of the hackers for the moment, what is lost in the din and the noise is the
fact that when massive online companies are unable to thwart hacking attempts, with all their latest hardware and software, what happens to ordinary mortals? The other area of concern is its implications on the Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) to work culture that’s fast becoming popular.
If employees start doing this, encouraged by their own company managements, what happens to malware, hacking attempts, and stuff like that?
Anyway, for ordinary users, here’s some online security advice from me, some old, some new.
The most basic one – do not, I repeat, do not click on any link that looks alien to you or try and open any email that seems suspicious. Not in your Inbox, not in your Facebook account, not on Twitter.
Keep the Spam filters of your emails on ‘High’.
Keep your anti-virus software updated, always. That is if you have one. You will be shocked if I were to tell you how many people out there are still using the Net without any, I repeat, any kind of anti-virus software on their computing devices.
Do not use free versions of anti-virus programmes. There are no free lunches in life. Free versions just skim the surface, and do not go deep. Buy a reputed anti-virus software. The basic ones are really not expensive.
If you use a mobile computing device like a smartphone or a tablet, get a licence for that, too.
As far as possible, since mobile computing is not as robust as desktop computing, except for conducting your basic computing needs on them, do not do anything else. Do not log into bank or credit card accounts from your smartphone, for example. Even well-known companies have in the past, acknowledged that their apps were always running in the background, collecting user information, so why take the risk? 
Also, this is another basic precaution, when keying in important passwords to log in, use the virtual keyboard provided by the bank or service provider, do not use the physical keyboard because there are now software that can copy your every keystroke.
When making online payments, check if the portal has an SSL certificate, and also check its type.
Keep the number of browser plugins to a minimum. Plugins are additional pieces of software located in our browser.
Since we are on plugins, there’s major concern being expressed online about the once-popular Java computing software application. Java, as some of you may know, is used for playing online games, for using web-based applications, and stuff like that. In the Facebook hacking case, it was reported that the hackers had exploited a zero-day Java exploit to compromise the employees’ computers.
Java has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for a while now. There are hackers out there who use loopholes in the Java programming to get into people’s computers, and Oracle, the owner of Java, has constantly been updating Java with new security patches. So much so, that the US federal government has asked computer users to disable or even uninstall Java. 
Personally, I feel that is too extreme a response. But if concerned users still want to know how to disable Java, at least till the time the present crisis blows off, it`s easy to do that. Just go into your browser, find out where the plugins section is, and search for the Java plugin, then click on the ‘disable’ button. To uninstall it, you have to go to your computer’s Control Panel, where you will see an Uninstall button, click on it, find Java, then press the Uninstall Programme tab.
Previous columns by Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla is a journalist with near three decades of experience and has worked in well-known Indian and international print and television media organizations such as The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, United News of India (UNI), The Gulf Today and India TV. He has founded a Knowledge Services firm called New Age Content Services LLP, that leverages on the inherent strengths of the digital world. He also edits the website,

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IPL: Mumbai Indians appoints Ricky Ponting as captain

Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting

Mumbai Indians today announced the appointment of former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting as its new captain for the coming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

A statement from the team said the decision was taken in consultation with its newly appointed chief mentor Anil Kumble, head coach John Wright and icon player Sachin Tendulkar.
Ponting was awarded to Mumbai Indians at the recently held players' auction in Chennai. 
“Ricky has a lot of experience to lead a competitive and a high-profile side like Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Sachin readily agreed to my suggestion that Mumbai Indians is best served when he leads the batting unburdened by the rigours of captaincy. It was our idea (Sachin and mine) to bring in Ricky as the captain of the Mumbai Indians," Kumble said.
Ponting said, “It’s a huge honor and I thank Mrs (Nita) Ambani and the Mumbai Indians management for the faith they have reposed in my abilities. Mumbai Indians has the potent combination of Indian and International cricketers and I look forward to leading the team to play to its full potential.”
Nita Ambani of Mumbai Indians said, “On behalf of the Mumbai Indians family, I welcome Ricky Ponting to the team as the leader of the side. Today we have world’s two biggest cricketing greats in Sachin and Ricky, and I am sure the duo will be an inspiration for the youngsters in the team. Sachin will always be an integral and important part of Mumbai Indians’ leadership. Ricky will bring in fresh perspective in the team leadership and will have the support of the best cricketing minds like Sachin, Anil and John Wright.”
Mumbai Indians will start their IPL 2013 campaign on April 4 in Bangalore.The team is owned by IndiaWin Sports Pvt. Ltd, a group company of Reliance Industries Ltd.

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Sharma says boost to manufacturing needed to address challenge of job creation


Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Anand Sharma today said that the share of manufacturing in the gross domestic product (GDP) must climb up to 26 per cent from the current 16 per cent to address the challenge of job creation. 

Speaking at an interactive session on "Transforming India: Role of Youth" organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at the St Xavier's College here, he said the National Manufacturing Policy was one of the key instruments to achieve this goal. 
Mr Sharma admitted that creation of jobs was a major challenge before the nation, and therefore it was necessary to go back to high rate of economic growth of around 9 per cent per annum.
“High growth is not an option, but an imperative. The larger issue is not just numbers but the social dimension. If we fail to address the issue of job creation, the social cost will be unbearable,” he said.
The Minister used the opportunity to brief the students about the National Skill Development Mission which has set an ambitious target of imparting job skills to 500 million persons by the year 2022. 
Underlining the seriousness of the government in making India a major manufacturing hub, he said it was in the process of establishing 12 standalone world class industrial townships across the country. 
Terming the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) as the biggest industrial infrastructure project in the world at the moment, Mr Sharma said that 9 of the 12 industrial townships fell under DMIC, with Dholera Industrial Centre in Gujarat, at 900 sq km, being the largest. 
“We have gone beyond the drawing board. Master Plans for seven projects have already been completed,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of technology, Mr Sharma said that “the world is changing, and technology is leading the change.” He said that the government has placed immense importance on technology development and has drawn up plans to double expenditure on R&D from the current 1 per cent of GDP to 2 percent of GDP.
New IITs, IIITs, National Institutes of Designs and so on, which are being established, would address the growing needs of youth to prepare them to take up the challenge, he said.
Mr Sharma told the youth that the decades ahead presented immense opportunities for India. He said that “with ageing West, and China following suit, India, with a large young population, will have 57 million surplus skilled workers ready to absorb job opportunities across the world”. 
He said that economic integration was a necessity in the present globalised world, and India has engaged with the rest of the world through comprehensive economic partnership agreements with several countries including ASEAN and African nations. He said that in a multi-polar world, India’s trade relations have diversified, with ASEAN accounting for $ 80 billion and Africa accounting for $ 70 billion.
“We are no more dependent only on the developed world alone,” he said, indicating that the South-South cooperation is going to grow further in coming years. 
Calling the attention of students to the two important visits to Mumbai and Delhi – by French President Francoise Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron, he said that "the world is looking at us and India must capitalise on its strengths to assume global leadership in the 21st century.” 
On the issue of corruption and scams, the Minister said that India has in place an effective mechanism in the form of free judiciary to fix the problem. He cited the example of Satyam and said that the government was able to facilitate transfer of ownership in a transparent manner, at the same time protecting over 20 thousand jobs. He said, unfortunately, only the negatives get magnified and positives are not reported by the media. 
The CII initiative of engaging youth in economic development was attended by over 500 students of St. Xavier's College.
Former President of CII and Vice President Tata Steel, Mr. B Muthuraman, CEO of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Mr. Amitabh Kant and Principal of St. Xavier College, Fr. Fraser Mascerenhas were also present. 

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Reliance, BP, CSMVS and British Museum present exhibition on "Mummy: The Inside Story" in Mumbai

RIL CMD Mukesh Ambani, British Prime Minister David Cameron and BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley at the exhibition of the Mummy: The Inside Story presented by Reliance Foundation, BP, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and British Museum in Mumbai on February 18, 2013.
(L to R)  Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries; David Cameron, British Prime Minister; Bob Dudley, Chief Executive, BP Group at the exclusive exhibition of the Mummy: The Inside Story presented by Reliance Foundation, BP, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)  and British Museum at CSMVS in Mumbai on February 18, 2013.
(L to R) Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries; David Cameron, British Prime Minister; Bob Dudley, Chief Executive, BP Group at the exclusive exhibition of the Mummy: The Inside Story presented by Reliance Foundation, BP, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and British Museum at CSMVS in Mumbai on February 18, 2013.

MIAL selects Wipro for 10-year total IT outsourcing of its new terminal T2


Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (MIAL), the operator of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai, has entered into a 10-year contract with Wipro Infotech, the India and Middle East IT Business unit of Wipro Ltd. for  providing world-class IT services for the new integrated terminal T2.

"This partnership will significantly enhance customer experience and satisfaction through the use of IT," a press release from Wipro said here today.
Wipro will be responsible for providing managed services across the entire IT landscape at MIAL and delivering high availability and operational efficiency across all the critical airport processes, it said.
According to the release, MIAL will leverage Wipro’s leadership in airport operations and technology innovations to deliver newer services, seamless processes and enhanced experience to passengers and airlines. Although initially envisaged for T2, Wipro will begin the transition with a takeover of the IT services in the current terminals at CSIA which is expected to commence from April 1, 2013. 
As regards to T2, Wipro will assist in the preparation of IT related Standard Operating Procedures and also work closely with MIAL during the testing and trial phase of the IT systems prior to managing all the IT services for the new terminal. Wipro will be responsible for complete IT management for T2 for a period of 10 years.
MIAL is currently implementing a master plan to build an integrated terminal, T2, designed to cater to 40 million passengers annually. When completed, it will be a state-of-the-art, four level integrated terminal with an area of around 4,39,000 sq. mts and will include new taxiways and apron areas for aircraft parking.
“Our vision is to make T2 a Global showcase and IT will play the role of a significant business driver. In line with this vision of making CSIA a world class airport, and T2 an iconic terminal, we plan to invest in best-in-class technology and systems and have accordingly decided to partner with a world class IT company like Wipro to provide the best services," Mr Rajeev Jain, CEO, MIAL said.
"We are delighted to have a strong partner like Wipro on board with proven capabilities in delivering superior business value and in realizing that vision for us. The state-of-the-art changes that this exercise will bring to CSIA will help raise it to global standards, equipping it with technology that is currently present at top airports across the world," he said.
Mr Anand Sankaran, Senior Vice President - Wipro Infotech and Global Infrastructure Services said, “We are excited that Mumbai International Airport has chosen Wipro as a strategic partner for their IT transformation project. Wipro will leverage its global expertise and strong understanding of the business domain, to deliver a best-in-class experience to MIAL’s stakeholders including customers, employees and airlines. This engagement with MIAL adds strength to our existing Airport and Infrastructure Practice and positions Wipro uniquely in delivering value to our clients globally in this major emerging sector.”
MIAL is a joint venture between the GVK-led consortium and Airports Authority of India. MIAL was awarded the mandate of modernizing, upgrading and expanding Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in May 2006. CSIA catered to 30.75 million passengers and 657469 tonnes of cargo in FY 2012.

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Humble PC is being choked to death by mobile computing devices

I intend to dish out today’s column as a warning to all those who are ‘connected’. By that I mean using computing devices to get on to the Internet. For those of you who are still using desktops to log on, you may soon be labelled as the dinosaurs of the computing world.
Desktop computing is on the verge of passing on in the history books, relegated to being dubbed the computer world’s Jurassic, Mesozoic or whatever period you may call it, era. What’s next? If you are still asking this question, you are only underlining my point, it’s time for you to wake up.
Mobile computing is truly here. To stay. The humble PC, once a central point in all our computing lives, is facing an onslaught from mobile devices. Please do not confuse mobile devices with mobile phones, here. By mobile devices I mean smartphones, Tablets, two-in-one laptops, wearable devices, and everything in between. It may just prove to be too much for the table-top computer.
Desktops tie you down. In today’s fast paced, wired world, that’s akin to serving a prison sentence. Who wants to sit at a table and peck away at a keyboard? Today’s online world is moving to a wireless world finding wi-fi hotspots where devices, rather than human beings ‘talk’ to each other. You have to be connected 24X7. Not only at your place of work but while travelling home; at home. 
Things have come to such a pass that there are applications out there that allow you to transfer files and everything else between two smartphones just by touching one phone to the other. The Internet of Things means all your other devices such as your microwave and refrigerators, too, will soon be connected. 
Samsung, for example, is about to launch a new model of a fridge that comes with an Android Tablet. It will be used by the consumer to track how many calories he has consumed on any given day, how fresh is the food inside, and so on. You house will soon have computer voices,
much like Apple iPhone’s voice assistant Siri, updating on everything – from the temperature inside to when to turn on the music. There are already smart cars and smartphones around.
In all this, where do you think the poor PC fits in? It’s dying, I tell you. No wonder, PC sales are at the lowest point in years, they did not even sell during the December holiday season, as much as computing devices.
Here’s evidence. Just two days ago, a report released by Marin Software has forecast that by the end of this year, one-third of Paid Online Search clicks will be done through mobile  devices. One-third! Imagine what will be the case by the end of 2014?
Some software and hardware guys have caught on to the trend early. Microsoft is one of them. See how cleverly it has released the new Operating System Windows 8. This one was hailed as a revolutionary piece of work, aimed largely at the touch device market. Of course it works on a desktop but to be dazzled by it, you really need a Tablet. And of course, for that, you have the just launched Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet. You may have a tough time buying one because it sold out within days of its launch last week.
Online Content Management Systems, too, are being re-worked in a manner that they work better on mobile devices. Recently, a leading CMS provider, CoreMedia launched a mobile-centric Content Management Platform, subtly hinting that the days of the PC may be ending.
For every purpose in life, and more, there are mobile applications. You can monitor weight loss, look up the various postures laid out in the Kamasutra, find your way to the nearest Chinese restaurant or movie hall, spy on your partner; apps are sprouting up faster than you can say, Apps. At last count, Apple had paid, and hold your breath, a total of US $8 billion, to app developers for making apps for its Apple iStore. 
There are millions of apps out there, and many thousands are being added every day. Compare this to the average software like Windows or Linux or whatever needed to power you PC. I mean, there’s no comparison, even. Mobile apps give you the freedom of doing just
about anything with your device.
Even the usual things we do on the PC are being re-done for mobiles. There’s the soon-to-come MailBox (, which will make using an email account on a mobile device, a breeze. All just by touch. Swipe in, swipe out. So popular is this app that even before it’s official launch, there’s a reservation system to get it. Howzzat?
I wouldn’t yet write the epitaph for the desktop, but I guess, that day is not too far away.
Previous columns by Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla is a journalist with near three decades of experience and has worked in well-known Indian and international print and television media organizations such as The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, United News of India (UNI), The Gulf Today and India TV. He has founded a Knowledge Services firm called New Age Content Services LLP, that leverages on the inherent strengths of the digital world. He also edits the website,

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83 % drop in prime retail space supply in 2012 in India: CBRE report

There was an 83 per cent drop in supply of organised retail space across key cities in India in 2012 but they continued to witness an increase in transaction activity and retailer expansion, according to CBRE's latest report, “Indian Retail Market View H2, 2012”.

The report said approximately 2.5 million sq.ft. of fresh retail space entered the market in 2012, mainly concentrated in Bangalore, Kolkata and Pune,  as against over 15 million sq.ft. in 2011. 
Though this is a significant drop in prime retail supply, the market witnessed leading brands and retailers pursuing expansion plans aggressively and increasing their presence in the Tier I as well as Tier II and III cities of the country, it said.
Developers remained focused on attracting tenants in completed properties and reducing existing vacancy levels, rather than focusing on launching new projects. Most of the supply pipeline is scheduled for completion in 2013; by when the existing vacancy levels might reduce, it said.
“Despite the large dip in prime retail space supply across key cities last year, the good news is that retailers continued with their expansion plans. This positive sentiment is indicative of retailers taking a long term view of the Indian economy despite the short term struggle. The Government’s bold and welcome move of allowing FDI in retail has further contributed to this positive sentiment," Mr. Anshuman Magazine, Chairman and Managing Director of CBRE, South Asia Pvt. Ltd said.
In all the seven cities presented in the review, the retail real estate market appears to be promising with an increase in retailer enquiries, the report said.
"High street formats continued to dominate the retail landscape, while most luxury retailers preferred to operate from five star hotels and premium malls. New markets are also coming under consideration as international retailers expand their focus beyond the top three cities to include the likes of Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh," it said.
Major cities continued to witness steady expansion by international apparel and F&B retailers. Several well-established international mass market brands have also entered tier II locations, partly due to the lack of space options in tier I markets, it said.
According to the report, domestic retailers are expanding steadily in tier I locations but fierce competition with international brands for prime space in core locations is pushing some to tier II cities. 
"Fashion remains the high growth sector, and leading apparel brands from the US and Europe continue to try and enter or expand in major markets across the country, including some tier II locations. 
"International food and beverage (F&B) outlets are also expanding, both at the fast food and fine dining end of the market. Luxury retailers are entirely focused on tier I locations but continue to refine their strategy and product offering for India, which in selected cases has seen them consolidate and reduce the size of some stores. Among domestic retailers, home furnishers and supermarkets are expanding in metro cities," the report added.
CBRE Group, Inc., a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm. It was the first independent international real estate consultancy to set up offices in the Indian sub-continent with an office in New Delhi in 1994.

Lite Bite Foods awarded 30 F&B outlets at new terminal at Mumbai Airport

Food and beverages retail firm Lite Bite Foods (LBF) today said it had been awarded the food and beverage concessions at the new Terminal 2 at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai.

LBF has been awarded Package 1 -- made up of 21 outlets including the International Security Hold Area (SHA) Food court and the domestic SHA departure non-food court outlets -- and Package 3, comprising a total of 9 outlets pre-security and at arrivals outlets, taking the total number of Lite Bite Food outlets at the new terminal to 30, a press release from the company said.
Once complete, the new T2 will cover 439,000sq m and will be able to accommodate 40 million passengers per year, catering to both domestic and international passengers. 
Lite Bite Foods promises to offer travelers from Mumbai best-in-class services and a wide range of cuisines by bringing in their popular brands Punjab Grill, Zambar, Asia Seven, Fresc Co, Baker Street, Pino’s, Street Foods of India and Pollo Campero, the release said.
“This will make LBF one of the biggest players in F &B Travel Retail. This concession will double the size of our company both in sales turnover and the organization size," Mr. Amit Burman, Chairman, Lite Bite Foods, said.
Mr. Rohit Aggarwal, Executive Director, Lite Bite Foods, said: "All of us at LBF are very excited on winning this concession. MIAL has created a world class Terminal with T2 and we intend to do our part to live upto their vision & expectation by offering the highest culinary standards and an enhanced customer experience.”
LBF, promoted by Mr Amit Burman and Mr Rohit Aggarwal, currently operates over 60 outlets across India and overseas. They plan to add another 100 outlets in the next 3 years. The diversified group operates under its existing three verticals – Quick Service, Casual Dining and Fine Dining restaurant concepts.

Australia series: Gambhir dropped, Harbhajan back, Bhuvnesh, Shikhar in

Opener Gautam Gambhir, who has had a poor run with the bat, has been dropped and Shikhar Diwan has been included as his replacement in the 15-member Indian squad announced here today for the first two Tests against Australia.

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, 32, finds himself back in the team and will form a spin trio with R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.
Pace bowler Bhuvnesh Kumar, who was impressive in the recent ODI series against Pakistan and England, has received his first Test call.
The senior selection committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), headed by Sandeep Patil, met for more than two hours to pick the team.
Harbhajan Singh had been dropped from the side after the loss in the third Test against England last November. He has a good record against Australia and that must have weighed with the selectors.
Gambhir, 31, has not scored a Test century for more than three years now. He will replace Dhawan in the India A side for the three-day game against Australia to be played from February 16-18. Gambhir will lead the India A team, a BCCI press release said.
His Delhi team-mate and opening partner Virender Sehwag, who has also been in indifferent form, has been retained in the side. Dhawan and Murali Vijay are the other openers in the team.
Dhawan, 27, has been impressive in domestic matches and had hit a century for Delhi in a warm-up match against England last year.
Vijay, 28, had struck a century in the ongoing Irani Cup match against Mumbai, a match that Sehwag missed due to a stomach bug.
The team will undergo a preparatory camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore from February 15 to 18.
The BCCI had conducted open trials for fast bowlers across the country last year. The best bowlers were shortlisted and sent to the regional academies at Mumbai, Chennai and Mohali for advanced training. This list was then trimmed further, on the basis of the feedback of the coaches at the academies. The bowlers in the final list will bowl to the Indian batsmen during the preparatory camp.
Australia, on January 31, had named 17-man squad, led by Michael Clark for the tour beginning later this month.
The first Test is scheduled to begin on February 22 in Chennai. The second Test will be held at Hyderabad from March 2 to 6, the third in Mohali from March 14 to 18 and the fourth at Delhi's Ferozshah Kotla Ground from March 22 to 26.
The following is the team:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni - Captain, Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara,  Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, R. Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha,  Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Murali Vijay and Ishant Sharma

The ‘connected’ world is truly getting connected

Image courtesy: PushBullet
Image courtesy: PushBullet
This last week has been a hectic one for the online world, what with launches of new smartphones, Tablets and software. 
Apple came out with its 128GB iPad, in a sense, the Mother of all iPads, last Tuesday. So here we are, the iPad is now available is the following sizes, and sure is no other competitor that offers so many – 16 GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128 GB.
Apple fans need not get very excited though. This fourth-gen iPad does not have any updated processor or other performance enhancers, the only thing that makes it different from others of its ilk is the storage space – 128 GB. And of course, the price tag. This one starts at US$ 799, which is approximately Rs 40,000. Nobody has a clue yet why Apple has come out with this ‘enhanced’ model, but when has that stopped people from trying to guess.
Phenomenal Mobile Internet Growth
Since I am on the subject of Tablets, software solutions company Cisco has just released its Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic forecast, and the report is mind-boggling. There’s no other adjective that can be used for the kind of statistics and data that Cisco has laid out here.
The first figure that jumps out at you from this forecast is that by 2017,Cisco predicts, there will be 5.2 billion mobile users in the world, from the 4.3 billion last year. Wow. Fits in with what a Gartner study had said earlier that by 2015-16, there will be more mobile devices connected to the Internet than desktops.
Here are some of the interesting points from the Cisco forecast:
Image courtesy: Cisco
Image courtesy: Cisco
• Internet traffic will reach 134 exabytes per annum (that’s a new word) by 2017, equivalent
to three trillion YouTube video clips to give you a perspective.
• While in 2012, 2G networks supported 76 per cent of all mobile connections, while 3G
supported 23 per cent and 4G only 1 per cent, by 2017, 2G networks will support 33 per
cent, 3G 57 per cent and 4G 10 per cent.
• In 2012, the average mobile user every month spent one hour watching video and two hours on audio, had one video call and downloaded one app. By 2017, the average mobile user will watch 10 hours of video a month and spend 15 hours on audio, will be on five video calls, and will download 15 apps.
• In 2013, smartphones will overtake laptops in the amount of mobile Internet traffic
generated, and by 2017, that smartphones will account for 67.5 per cent of all mobile
Internet traffic, compared with 14 per cent by laptops and 11.7 per cent by tablets. Also
by 2017, smartphones will account for 27.4 per cent of the mobile devices accessing the
For those of you who are interested in reading up the entire forecast, go to this link.
Your PC and Mobile device can share everything now without wires
Which brings me to the last point of this column. Most of us may have mobile computing devices connected to the Net, as well as desktop machines at home or office, too. Yet, it becomes quite a tedious task when we have to transfer files or folders or that piece of music we like, between our desktop PC and the mobile device. 
Either you need to duplicate things, or physically connect your device to your PC, or ask some IT friend to help you sort things out.
Fret no longer. There’s a new smartphone app launched called PushBullet that claims to help you snyc your PC with your mobile without wires. Yup, that’s right. PushBullet has been designed by a California, USA located company and is a free Android App, launched on January 20 this year.
I feel that’s the only drawback of this App, that it is meant only for Android run devices. So, while your phone keeps you connected with the world, this new App connects it to you, the user of both, the PC and the phone.
So, for example, you want a file from your computer on your phone but these two instruments are nowhere near each other. PushBullet allows you to ‘Push’ your file or folder from your PC to your phone without hooking your phone up physically to your computer. The same with your various, 'To do' lists, like the grocery list or the Appointments list. Push it to your phone and it will be there when you need it. Then, when you are shopping in that department store, all you need is to refer to the list on your phone to see what you want to buy, and keep ticking off the items as you buy them. 
The App actually works on the Jellybean (Android 4.1) supercharged notification system to deliver this functionality.
Clearly, the way the digital world is moving, getting connected will very soon no longer mean being tethered to a desktop.
Previous columns by Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla
Sorab Ghaswalla is a journalist with near three decades of experience and has worked in well-known Indian and international print and television media organizations such as The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, The Indian Express, United News of India (UNI), The Gulf Today and India TV. He has founded a Knowledge Services firm called New Age Content Services LLP, that leverages on the inherent strengths of the digital world. He also edits the website,

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Kareena Kapoor launches book on her style

Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor launching, 'The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva', a book on her by Rochelle Pinto, at Shangri-La Hotel in Mumbai on February 6, 2013.
Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor launching, 'The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva', a book on her by Rochelle Pinto, at Shangri-La Hotel in Mumbai on February 6, 2013.
Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor launching, 'The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva', a book on her by Rochelle Pinto, at Shangri-La Hotel in Mumbai on February 6, 2013.

Indian squad for Test series against Australia to be picked on Feb 10


The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today said its Senior Selection Committee will meet on February 10 here to pick the team for the Test series against Australia.

The team will undergo a preparatory camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore from February 15 to 18, BCCI Honorary Secretary Sanjay Jagdale said in a statement.
The BCCI had conducted open trials for fast bowlers across the country last year. The best bowlers were shortlisted and sent to the regional academies at Mumbai, Chennai and Mohali for advanced training. This list was then trimmed further, on the basis of the feedback of the coaches at the academies.
The bowlers in the final list will bowl to the Indian batsmen during the preparatory camp, the statement added.
Australia, meanwhile, on January 31, had named 17-man squad, led by Michael Clark for the tour beginning later this month.
The first Test is scheduled to begin on February 22 in Chennai. The second Test will be held at Hyderabad from March 2 to 6, the third in Mohali from March 14 to 18 and the fourth at Delhi's Ferozshah Kotla Ground from March 22 to 26.
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