Safari drivers undergo skills training under wildlife expert as Covid-19 takes toll

2016年2月23日 0 Comments

Drivers who take out tourists on jungle safaris have a hard task As a result, the travellers neither notice nor remember the drivers. Sushil Chikane, Pune-based wildlife expert, has taken up the task to rectify that. He has started a drive to train these drivers in various skills that can range from narration about the wildlife, performing first-aid, to ensuring strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. Chikane trained 60 such safari drivers earlier this month at Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. He was joined by fellow experts The project was conducted as a collaboration with the Panna Forest Department and could possibly have been the first such endeavour in the country. Each year, the guides at tiger reserves undergo training so that they can be better hosts to tourists. However, safari drivers are as much a stakeholder in the parks, and forest departments should also invest in them and their training, Chikane said. He added several tourists had organised fundraisers for the guides during Covid-19, but very few remembered the drivers, who were also among the hardest hit by the pandemic, Chikane said. He added that the shutdown of wildlife sanctuaries due to Covid-19 hit their livelihood and many safari drivers were now forced to take up jobs as bus or truck drivers. Several villagers had bought cars for the jungle safaris, but had to sell them off being unable to pay the EMI. With jungle safaris expected to resume again from October, Chikane sees tourism resuming and said the drivers of safari vehicles needed to be equipped with skills they could make use of in case there is another round of lockdown.

How lucrative is investing in homes in holiday destinations, like Dharamshala or Goa?

2016年2月23日 0 Comments

By Ravindra Sudhalkar The COVID19 pandemic, the gloom around life and economy aside, has been a time when many young people realized their home-owning dreams. As upward mobile individuals and families moved from states with high counts of COVID19 infections to popular holiday destinations such as Goa and Himachal Pradesh, to wait out the pandemic, these became hotbeds for property owners. But apart from the idyllic appeal of these destinations, To be sure, Goa The North district particularly attracted investors from all over India, but that too is changing as the rather sleepy South slowly catches up. The state is open for people buying both land and constructed property. Land titles though can be a problem, titles in the former Portuguese colony can date back to that era. Not to mention, the several claims by family members to a single property. For buyers who do not wish to get caught in the quagmire, developed flats and villas are a good option. Besides, the development of the MOPA airport in the extreme North of the state will give a fillip to the real estate prices. As for destinations in Himalayan states such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, buying land can be little more complicated. Even then, ownership for a pre-constructed property is limited to the property only and not to the land. One can easily buy land in these areas. Apart from resale value of these properties, whether in the hills or the beaches, rentals are a good option to explore given the tourism appeal in these states. Apart from monthly let outs,com have gained immense popularity in these destinations. The return on investment from daily rentals is very lucrative and is being increasingly explored. However, as word of caution, hilly regions should be viewed through the prism of the environment. While as primary homes, these destinations can have their own cons, such as access to healthcare, education, etc., for investment purposes their appeal is here to stay. (Ravindra Sudhalkar is the CEO at Reliance Home Finance. Views expressed are the authors own.)

Analyst Corner – SBI Life Insurance: Retain ‘buy’, ULIPs have sustained demand

2016年2月23日 0 Comments

Business momentum remains strong in July and August: Improved sales momentum witnessed in June has continued in July and August. All product segments have contributed to this growth. Non-par savings logged growth of 50% YoY in July. Q1FY22 performance of this segment was muted due to strong traction in ULIPs. However, by Q2FY22 expect growth to be back in black. ULIPs have sustained strong demand on the back of capital market outperformance. Protection growth to be led by retail and credit protect: Despite the pandemic, SBI Life has remained constructive on retail protection. Going forward, the company expects credit protect to start firing as retail loan book of SBI picks up pace. Higher-than-industry pricing ensured ease in dealing with reinsurance price hike. Group term is a highly competitive business; therefore it remains selective in this segment. Distribution might to be further boosted by focus on agency channel: Agency remains an important element of distribution strategy with a contribution of ~30% in APE. High emphasis is placed on nurturing and training individual agents so that they can understand various products, customer needs and improve productivity. SBI life is therefore continuously investing in them to reap long-term benefits. Despite the lockdown in Q1, sales of agency grew 38% YoY to Rs 4.7billion. Key risks: Protracted weakness in capital markets affecting ULIP persistency: Limited renewals obviously hurt a largely fixed cost-quasi asset management business through a rundown in asset size and consequent cost-driven profitability pressures. Regulatory changes can have a profound impact. Operational challenges such as managing activations across the massive branch network and management continuity given its PSU parentage Outlook and valuation: Quality at attractive valuation; retain Best-in-class cost ratio, improving persistency and strong premium growth ensure continuity in sound operating performance. While margin has expanded YTD, it still lags peers and therefore has highest room for improvement over FY21 The stock is trading at 2.5x FY22E P\/EV; in our view, it deserves a re-rating upwards. Maintain \u2018BUY

April-July FY22: Centre reins in fiscal deficit at 21% of BE

2016年2月23日 0 Comments

The Centre3% of the full-year budget estimate (BE), the lowest in 11 years, thanks to curbs on expenditure and a rise in tax and non-tax revenue collection. The fiscal deficit was 103.1% of the corresponding annual target in the April-July period of FY21. Despite the announcement of the relief package in June, the fiscal cost of which is estimated at around Rs 1.5 lakh crore, the deficit target of 6.8% of GDP for FY22 would be met, given the possibility of revenue receipts exceeding the budget estimate and expenditure rationalisation, finance secretary TV Somanathan had told FE recently. Most departments were asked to contain spending in July-September at 20% of the BE against norm of 25%. The data released by the Controller General of Accounts on Tuesday put the Centre21 lakh crore against the BE for 2021-22 of Rs 15.07 lakh crore. The Centre7 times to Rs 1.39 lakh crore in April-July of FY22 thanks to the Reserve Bank of India Non-tax receipts in the first four months of FY22 were 57.6% of the FY22BE compared with just 6.4% of the corresponding target achieved in the year ago pandemic-hit period a year ago. The Centre6 times on-year to Rs 5.29 lakh crore or 32.2% of FY22BE compared with a mere 12.4% of the corresponding target reported in the year ago period. The Centre28 lakh crore or 23.2% of the target as against 27.1% of the relevant target achieved in the year ago period. Capital expenditure has slowed down during the first four months as it grew by 15% against the required rate of 30% to achieve the full year target of Rs 5.54 lakh crore in FY22. Capex declined 39% on year to Rs 16,932 crore in July 2021. Total expenditure in the first four months of the current financial year stood at Rs 10.04 lakh crore or 28.8% of the full year target compared with 34.7% of the target, achieved in the year ago period. Gross tax revenue grew 83% on-year in April-July, aided by corporation tax (y-o-y up 171.5%), custom (144%), central GST (78%) and income tax (77%). While net tax revenue growth of 161% in April-July of FY22 was boosted by low base of FY21, the collections were even higher by 56% compared with the pre-pandemic April-July of FY20. 8%, April-July 2020 WPI growth: -1.8%). Tax collections in FY22 has been benefitted by sharp real GDP growth (mainly due to low base of last year) and inflation tax,

Twitter turns ‘safety mode’ on, new feature will autoblock accounts for abuse and harmful tweets

2016年2月23日 0 Comments

Social media giant Twitter will launch the new Safety Mode feature that will autoblock accounts sending harmful or abusive tweets to a user on a temporary basis. The Safety Mode feature is launching for a The accounts for which the feature will go live are on Android, iOS, and Twitter.com with English enabled. The company plans to expand the group in the next few months. Twitter However, users will be able to unblock accounts that get erroneously blocked. The San Francisco-based company had shown off the Safety Mode during its Analyst Day presentation in February. Twitter had said at that time that it didn The Safety Mode feature is Twitter It had recently introduced features such as the option to hide replies, limiting who can reply to a user Despite the introduction of these features, Twitter continues to be plagued by harassment on the platform. Recently, a few Black players of the England football team suffered a barrage of racist abuse following their loss to Italy in the final of Euro 2020. In India, too, trolls associated with IT Cells of political parties have been known to harass and bully people on their Twitter profiles.

MedTech: An agenda to render affordable and efficacious healthcare

2016年2月16日 0 Comments

By Himanshu Baid The healthcare and medical device sectors have grown significantly in the last decade. A transforming medical technology landscape, improving healthcare delivery and financing mechanisms and changing patient profile are driving growth in the medical technology industry. However, the industry has been stifled by some key impediments to growth. The foremost among these is the lack of affordability, accessibility, awareness, and availability. A key question, therefore, is how to increase penetration of medical technology to improve health outcomes in India. The answer lies in innovation. Medical technology innovation can be the tool to make modern care accessible, available and affordable by lowering the cost of the product or delivery. Innovation need not only be restricted to products. Business model innovation across the value chain and frugality can often generate significant benefits to all stakeholders, including patients. For innovation to make an impact, collaboration between the stakeholders in the medical technology ecosystem is a key success factor. The industry must move from All stakeholders MedTech Industry will need to derive business models to make healthcare affordable and bring it at the doorstep for the masses. Telemedicine aims to meet the needs of today The poor infrastructure of rural health centers makes it impossible to retain doctors in villages, who feel that they become professionally isolated and outdated if they are stationed in remote areas. Also, people from these areas prefer to spend out-of-pocket for health expenses in hospitals in bigger cities. Telemedicine may turn out to be the cheapest, as well as the fastest way to bridge the rural Considering Indias huge strides in the field of information and communication technology, telemedicine could help to bring specialized healthcare to the remotest corners of the country. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in India has seen success in other areas such as infrastructure, energy, education, urban development, tourism and more. It can be the panacea to India PPP in healthcare has the potential to accelerate and provide deeper access to masses in hinterland of the country. It has the potential to improve the healthcare system by pooling in the expertise and finances of the private sector and subsidies of the public sector. New-age innovative technologies adopted by private players can make healthcare accessible to rural India. We are witnessing technology-led solutions which were in the forefront treating people impacted by COVID-19. These solutions were in the form of IoT devices, to specialized equipment Also, there is a strong need to change the focus diametrically and move from treatment model to preventive model. Availability of screening tools like Holters, Portable X-ray machines, portable Ultrasound equipment would further improve accessibility of quality Healthcare in remote areas. People in Tier 2 Tier 3 cities are becoming more conscious about their health risks and proactively adopting preventive healthcare measures. Medical devices such as blood glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, Pulse oximeters, body fat analyzers are high in demand due to the increased cases of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disorders, obesity, etc. These devices will enable patients to regularly monitor health indicators and take charge of their health at home. The application of these Point of Care equipments along with self-testing will be more widespread in the coming years. Digital devices, that provide real time health readings, negate the requirement of manual intervention for diagnosis of the vital statistics and offer data while providing access to quality medical practitioners through connected devices. The key innovation trends in healthcare should help in developing affordable medical devices to extend the reach and accessibility of healthcare services beyond Tier-1 cities. MedTech sector must partner with the government to invest in skill development so that technicians can operate easily new technology devices in the remote area. Virtual trainings and learning events can reduce the need for the additional infrastructure for skill building. Companies must scale up Online Medical education programs for knowledge upgradation of the doctors other healthcare professionals for continuous improvement of patient care. While medical technologies can push boundaries and redefine the healthcare ecosystem, it is to be remembered that the impact of such endeavors depends entirely on their extensive adoption by the public and private stakeholders in the delivery of healthcare. (The author is Managing Director, Poly Medicure Ltd. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

Camp K12 raises USD 12 mn in funding round led by Matrix Partners India, Elevation Capital

2016年2月16日 0 Comments

Gurugram-based edtech firm Camp K12 on Thursday said it has raised USD 12 million funding in series A round led by Matrix Partners India and Elevation Capital. The company plans to use funds to hire leaders across functions, hyperscale operations, marketing, and to build engineering and product teams. We are able to establish our product leadership in every category and geography we have forayed into, be it India, Middle East, or the United States. This series A Investment will accelerate our expansion and we are beefing up our team with experienced doers from business, sales, marketing, product, operations and engineering, Camp K12 co-founder Sandeep Bhagi said. The company claims that its US business has grown two times month-on-month over the past three months. In the Middle East, Camp K12 claims to have registered three times month-on-month growth. Over the next six months, the company will add two new geographies and one new content category, and will deepen its reach in each existing geography via a group class format that in India already accounts for over 25 per cent of revenues, the statement said. We have seen Camp K12 successfully using technology to own quality and end-to-end experience, and to evolve a new pedagogy for online learning. Their investment in product research and development has also allowed them to nimbly expand into new categories and geographies and to rapidly scale small group classes as a format, Elevation Capital partner Mukul Arora said. Camp K12 connects students in the 5-18 age group across the globe with teachers for live, interactive online courses across essential skill categories such as coding and English. We are excited for the next leg of growth as we co-invest with Elevation Capital in this round, Matrix India managing director Vikram Vaidyanathan said.

Google removes 95,680 content pieces in July in India: Compliance report

2016年2月16日 0 Comments

Google received 36,934 complaints from users and removed 95,680 pieces of content based on those complaints in July, the tech giant company said in its monthly transparency reports released on Tuesday. In addition to reports from users, Google also removed 5,76,892 pieces of content in July as a result of automated detection. The US-based company has made these disclosures as part of compliance with Indias IT rules that came into force on May 26. On Tuesday, Google said it had received 36,934 complaints in July from individual users located in India via designated mechanisms, and the number of removal actions as a result of user complaints was 95,680 – the highest so far. In June, Google had received 36,265 complaints and removed 83,613 pieces of content as a result of user complaints. It had removed 59,350 pieces of content in April and 71,132 pieces in May. Some requests may allege infringement of intellectual property rights, while others claim violation of local laws prohibiting types of content on grounds such as defamation. When we receive complaints regarding content on our platforms, we assess them carefully, Google said on Tuesday. The content removal was done under several categories, including copyright (94,862), trademark (807), court order (4), circumvention (3), counterfeit (1), graphic sexual content (1), impersonation (1) and other legal requests (1). Google explained that a single complaint may specify multiple items that potentially relate to the same or different pieces of content, and each unique URL in a specific complaint is considered an individual item that is removed. Under the new IT rules, large digital platforms – with over 5 million users – will have to publish periodic compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon. The report must also include the number of specific communication links or parts of the information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools. Googles report showed that it had removed 5,76,892 pieces of content in July as a result of automated detection. This number stood at 5,26,866 in June. The company said for data related to automated detection processes, it has included data where the sender or creator of the content is located in India. In order to attribute a location to an individual sender or creator, we use data signals such as location of account creation, IP address at the time of video upload and user phone number, as available. Please note that senders or creators of content may attempt to evade detection through location-concealing mechanisms, it said. While Google is committed to revealing any bad actors through industry-leading detection tools, reporting based on location attribution should be interpreted as a directional estimate, it added. The company noted that when it receives complaints regarding content on its platforms, it assesses them carefully. There are many reasons we may not have removed content in response to a user complaint. For example, some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the user wanted us to remove (for example, no URL is listed in the request), or the content has already been removed by the user when we process the complaint, it explained. A removal action may be taken on a complaint if the content violates Googles Community Guidelines, content policies, or local legal requirements, while for automated detection processes, a removal action is taken if content violates its Community Guidelines or content policies, it added.

Full vaccination prerequisite if attending mass gathering essential: Govt ahead of festive season

2016年2月16日 0 Comments

Mass gatherings should be discouraged but if attending it is essential then full vaccination should be a prerequisite, the Union government said on Thursday and urged people to get the jabs and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, especially during the festive season. In a press conference, it warned the second wave of coronavirus infection in India was not yet over even though the weekly positivity rate was showing an overall declining trend. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 39 districts in the country reported over 10 per cent weekly Covid positivity rate in the week ending August 31 while in 38 districts it was between 5 and 10 per cent. He asserted that 16 per cent of Indias adult population have received both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine while 54 per cent have been administered at least the first dose. In Sikkim, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Himachal Pradesh all the adult population have got at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Bhushan said. In view of the upcoming festive season amid the scare of the third wave of COVID-19 infections striking the country, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said mass gatherings have to be discouraged and full vaccination should be a prerequisite if attending such a congregation is essential. People should celebrate festivals at home, follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and embrace vaccination, NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said. The government said that about 300 cases of delta plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in India so far.

Construction of new terminal building at Pune Airport to be completed by August next year: AAI

2016年2月16日 0 Comments

The construction work of the new integrated terminal building at Pune Airport, which is coming up at an investment of Rs 475 crore, is expected to be completed by August next year, with 60 per cent of the work already completed, AAI said on Wednesday. Spread over in 5-lakh sq ft area, the new terminal building once function will cater to 19 million passengers per annum, and will help in reducing the peak hour congestion at Maharashtras one of the major airports, it said. The existing terminal building with built-up area of only 22,000 Sq mt has the capacity to handle passengers up to 7 million passengers per annum (MPPA), Airports Authority of India (AAI) said. In 2018-19, the existing building handled more than 9 million passengers, it stated. As much as 60 per cent of the work has been completed and construction of the new building is likely to be completed by August 2022, The new building will have five passenger boarding bridges, 34 check-in counters and in-line baggage handling system, among others, it said, adding that it would have 36,000 sq ft space for food and beverages (FB) and retail outlets. The building will be an energy efficient with four-star GRIHA rating. Besides, a multilevel car parking facility (ground plus three storeyed and two basement floors) is also being constructed at the airport at a cost of Rs 120 crore, the AAI said. The facility will have a to park 1,024 cars and it will be connected to the departure area of existing building with a sky bridge with provision of staircase, escalators and elevators at building side for dropping\/ going up.