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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Airtel Payments Bank Starts Pilot Services in Rajasthan


Aimed at testing systems and processes ahead of a full-scale pan-India launch, Airtel Payments Bank has rolled out a pilot of its banking services in Rajasthan, a company statement said here on Wednesday.

Airtel Payments Bank is a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel. The bank will offer interest rate of 7.25 percent per annum on deposits in savings accounts.

The company said customers in towns and villages across Rajasthan will now be able to open bank accounts at Airtel retail outlets, which will also act as Airtel banking points and offer a range of basic banking services.

“With this, Airtel Bank becomes the first payments bank in the country to go live. Airtel Bank will commence the pilot with banking points at 10,000 Airtel retail outlets (in Rajasthan),” the statement added.

At a time when the country is grappling with the demonetisation drive, the company said a wide network of merchants (sellers/shops) across Rajasthan will accept digital payments from Airtel Payments Bank from day one. It will offer customers the convenience of cashless purchase of goods and services through their mobile phones in a quick and secure manner.

(Also see: Telecom Firms to Waive Mobile Banking Charges Till December 31)

“Airtel Bank plans to expand its merchant network in Rajasthan to 100,000 by the end of the year, giving a big boost to digital payments ecosystem,” the statement added.

On April 11 2016, Airtel Payments Bank (which began operations in 2011 as Airtel M-Commerce Services) received a payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India. Kotak Mahindra Bank has acquired 19.90 percent stake in Airtel Payments Bank for around Rs. 98.8 crores in February 2016.

“Airtel Payments Bank will play an important role in taking banking services to the last mile in a quick and efficient manner and benefit millions of unbanked citizens of this country. With this pilot, we have taken a big step towards the launch of our banking services and will be testing our operational readiness for full-scale launch across India,” said Shashi Arora, MD & CEO, Airtel Payments Bank.

The payment banks will cater to the needs of small savings accounts, remittance services, low income households, small businesses and other unorganised sector entities.

“This initiative, perfectly in sync with Prime Minister’s vision for financial inclusion and Digital India, will be a boon to residents in far flung areas who are yet to have access to formal banking. I look forward to Airtel reaching every corner of Rajasthan,” said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

Airtel Payments’ Bank’s services can be accessed by Airtel customers on their mobile phones through the Airtel Money app.

Highlights about the bank:

  • Anyone (non-Airtel customers also) with an Aadhaar card can open a Savings Account
  • Customer’s Airtel mobile number will be his/her bank account number
  • Personal Accidental Insurance of Rs 1 lakh with every Savings Account
  • Customer can open an account by visiting a designated Airtel retail outlet in his/her neighbourhood
  • Airtel Bank does not offer ATM/Debit Card facility, at present. Customers can deposit withdraw cash at any of the designated Airtel retail outlets
  • Airtel Bank is a paperless bank. Customers can check their account balance, access other services using Airtel Money app, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) or Interactive voice response over their mobile phones
  • Customers can access money transfer services using the Airtel Money app or through USSD by dialing *400#. Money transfers from one Airtel number to another Airtel number within the bank will be free

3rd Pay Commission for CPSE employees: Cabinet clears 15% salary hike


New Delhi: The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a 15% hike in salaries for public sector company employees.

The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved implementation of the recommendations of the 3rd Pay Commission for central public sector enterprises’ (CPSE) employees, an official said in New Delhi.

The commission had recommended a 15% increase in emoluments, the lowest so far. Higher wages are effective from 1 January 2017.

The previous commission had given a 37.2% rise in 2007 and the first commission had given between 24% and 30% increase.

Huawei and Oracle Officially Sign Power IoT Ecosystem Partnership MOU


New Delhi, India

Huawei and Oracle officially signed a ‘Power IoT Ecosystem Partnership’ MOU recently, which will see continued cooperation around the marketing and sales of the Huawei AMI Solution with Oracle Utilities Meter Data Management (MDM), Oracle Utilities Smart Grid Gateway (SGG) and related Oracle Utilities products.

Huawei and Oracle Officially Signed a ‘Power IoT Ecosystem Partnership’ MOU

Huawei and Oracle plan to continue cooperating around customer requirements, with the parties able to make use of Huawei’s leading-edge Information and Communication Technology products and solutions, in coordination with Oracle’s strong capability of R&D, implementation and outsourcing services in the utility industry. This collaboration will enable a robust end-to-end AMI solution helping power and grid companies to improve customer experience and operation efficiency, achieve energy saving and emission reduction.

Huawei, a Platinum member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork, delivers a powerful service package, its AMI solution. This solution can manage smart meters, communications networks and head end systems using Oracle Utilities MDM, Oracle Utilities SGG and Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing (CC&B) to support MDAS and customer systems. Previously, Huawei and Oracle successfully completed integration testing for the Huawei AMI Solution Head End System and Oracle Utilities MDM and Oracle Utilities SGG. Both parties used standard IT technology under open architecture to achieve interconnectivity.

Oracle Utilities MDM provides comprehensive management of meter commands for remote switch, data and event access and meter ping. With these functions Oracle Utilities MDM and Huawei HES work together to optimize AMI scenarios, such as smart meter implementation, remote control, power-theft analysis and power quality analysis. Based on the success of the integration test and technology seminar, Huawei and Oracle officially agreed to continue cooperation, which should help boost the global grid construction and leverage global knowledge around utilities’ maturity and direction.

Huawei Energy Solution Managing Director, Cong Peijin, said: “Huawei is very glad to establish a favorable cooperation relationship with Oracle in connected smart grid territory. We plan to increase strategic investment in solution construction, market expansion projects and joint marketing, conduct the cooperation deeply and consistently, and to finally achieve a win-win business situation.”

Oracle Greater China Regional Senior Director Sales, Stuart Shaw, said: “Oracle is looking forward to working together with Huawei in marketing, sales and technology to take the AMI Solution into the target sectors. Huawei along with Oracle’s utility and customer experience will jointly approach the customer opportunity and achieve a win-win business situation.”

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Our aim is to enrich life and improve efficiency through a better connected world, acting as a responsible corporate citizen, innovative enabler for the information society, and collaborative contributor to the industry. Driven by customer-centric innovation and open partnerships, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio that gives customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei’s 170,000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

Infosys’ guidance remains buoyant: 10 top takeaways from Q3 earnings


IT behemoth InfosysBSE -1.90 % on Friday reported better-than-expected earnings for the quarter ended December 31, 2016. After surging as much as 4.49 per cent in early trade, shares of the company were trading 0.50 per cent down at Rs 995 at around 9.40 am (IST).

During the quarter, the company added 77 clients, two of which are in the over $75 million revenue category. Most analysts tracking the sector expected muted Q3, which also happens to be a seasonally weak quarter.

Here are the top 10 takeaways from Infosys’ third quarter earnings:

Guidance slightly down: For the financial year ended March 2017, Infosys revised the revenue guidance to 8.4-8.8 per cent from 8-9 per cent in constant currency terms. This translates into a revenue guidance to 7.2-7.6 per cent in dollar terms based on December 31 rates.

Sikka remains buoyant: CEO and MD Vishal Sikka in a release said, “Taking into account seasonal and other additional headwinds for the quarter, our Q3 revenue performance was broadly in line with our expectations.”

Liquid assets dip: The company’s liquid assets, including cash and cash equivalents and investments, stood at $5,255 million as on December 31, 2016 compared with $5,349 million as of September 30, 2016 and $4,765 million as on December 31, 2015.

Attrition rate down: The attrition rate declined to 14.9 per cent on a standalone basis and 18.4 per cent on a consolidated basis in the October-December quarter. Standalone and consolidated attrition figures stood at 15.7 per cent and 20 per cent in the sequential quarter ended September 30, 2016.

Management changes: Infosys has appointed Ravikumar S as Deputy Chief Operating Officer reporting to Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer, with immediate effect. In addition to his current responsibility of heading the global delivery organisation, Ravikumar S will oversee certain strategic Business Enabling Functions in India.

Net profit jumps: For the quarter under review, Infosys’ bottom line jumped 2.83 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis to Rs 3,708 crore from Rs 3,606 crore in the sequential quarter ended September 30, 2016.

Revenues decline: The company reported 1.23 per cent drop in December quarter top line at Rs 17,273 crore against Rs 17310 crore reported for the previous quarter.

Total income rises: Total income of the company increased to Rs 18,093 crore, up 0.12 per cent from Rs 18,070 crore reported for the previous quarter.

Total expenditure down: For the October-December period, Infosys reported a consolidated total expenditure of Rs 12,939 crore, down 0.47 per cent from Rs 13,001 crore reported for the July-September quarter.

Operating profit grows: The company reported 1.68 per cent rise in operating profit at Rs 5,154 crore for the quarter under review against Rs 5,069 crore in the last quarter ended September 30.

Donald Trump tax cut: Warren Buffett says now is the time sell assets


Seattle/New York: Billionaire Warren Buffett said that he is more inclined than usual this year to sell some assets because the tax advantage could soon diminish for divesting securities at a loss.

“We would rather take losses than gains because of the tax effect,” Buffett said on Saturday at the annual meeting of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska. While that is normally his view, it is even more of a preference now because tax rates may decline, he said.

President Donald Trump has pledged to reduce the cost of taxes for corporations. That means it may be better to take gains later, when tax rates might be lower. By the same logic, losses are more valuable when tax rates are high.

“That is not a big deal, but it would be a very slight preference” when making decisions about the securities portfolio, Buffett said. “And it may get to be more of a factor in deferring any gains and perhaps accelerating any losses as the year gets closer to December 31.”

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