The Economic Times Daily Review | 26th October 2018

♠Economic time♠

India doubles presence in QS Asia Rankings

  • INDIAN EDUCATIONAL institutions doubled their presence in the latest edition of the QS Asia Rankings, but none made it to the top 20.
  • According to a press statement released by Quacquarelli Symonds on Wednesday, India has the third largest number of universities and institutes, after mainland China (112) and Japan (89), in the Asia Rankings. There are 40 new Indian institutions taking the total number to 75.
  • IIT-Bombay remains the highest ranked institution. It moved up one place to the 33rd position. IIT-Delhi at the 40th position, IIT-Madras at the 48th position, Indian Institute of Science at 50, IIT-Kharagpur at rank 53, IIT-Kanpur (61), Delhi University and IIT-Roorkee are among the Indian institutions in the top 100.
  • “With forty new universities ranked and fourteen moving up the table, India is making good progresses in this analysis…. Since India has to cater principally for its rapidly growing student population, it has domestic priorities which results in it lagging behind in the international faculty and students’ indicators. Its leading institutions are well-liked by employers and respected by academics internationally: nine Indian universities place among the top-100 for these two indicators,” Ben Sowter, research director at QS, said in a statement.
  • National University of Singapore has been assessed as Asia’s best university, followed by University of Hong Kong, Nanyang Technological University, Tsinghua University and Peking University, in that order.

RBI may look at relaxing PCA framework 

  • The Reserve Bank of India may look at relaxation of its prompt corrective action (PCA) framework, said a senior government official. 
  • The government also expects some lenders to come out of the PCA framework on their own after recent recoveries made through the Bankruptcy process, the above quoted official added. 
  • At present there are 11 banks under the RBI’s PCA framework and the minimum common equity (CET) Tier I ratio as prescribed by RBI stands at 5.5% as against 4.5% under Basel III norms. “These issues were discussed in the RBI’s board meeting,” he said. 
  • RBI, however, has defended its PCA framework in the past. Earlier this month RBI’s deputy governor Viral Acharya had said that any relaxation of the PCA imposed on weak banks should be avoided. 

India set to replace US as the second-largest steel-consuming country

  • India is set to pip the United States as the second largest steel consuming country in the world next year. China, the largest market for steel, will remain on top with an estimated consumption of 781 million tonnes.
  • According to a World Steel Association forecast, the usage of finished steel product in the country is expected to touch 102.3 million tonnes in 2019, up from an estimated 95.4 million tonnes this year, registering a year-on-year growth of 7.3 per cent. The country recorded steel usage of 88.7 million tonnes in 2017.
  • The steel consumption in the US is projected at 101.2 million tonnes next year, up from an estimated 99.9 million tonnes this year.
  • “As the shocks of demonetisation and implementation of GST retract, the outlook for the Indian economy is improving. Steel demand is expected to show high growth driven by revival in investment and healthy consumption. The steel demand in the country has almost doubled in the last decade and is now very close to overtake the US, if current outlook stays,” Adam Szewczyk, head economic and statistical analysis of World Steel Association, said at a conclave on Capital Goods for Steel Sector: Manufacture in India, which was organised in Bhubaneswar. India’s steel demand is set to go up in short and medium terms owing to favourable macroeconomic conditions and ambitious reforms agenda, he added. 

China-built world’s largest amphibious plane, completes maiden flight test 

  • China’s indigenously designed and built amphibious aircraft AG600, touted as the world’s largest, successfully carried out its first take-off and landing tests on Saturday. 
  • The aircraft, developed and built by the state-owned aircraft firm Aviation Industry Corporation of China, took off and later landed on the water in Hubei province’s Jingmen, state-run China Daily reported. 
  • The seaplane took off from the Zhanghe Reservoir at 8:51 am (local time) and stayed airborne for about 15 minutes, said the report which also accompanied the videos of the aircraft’s take off. 
    he aircraft code-named Kunlong was piloted by four crew members. 
    Early this month, it completed its first water taxiing trials at a high speed of 145 kilometres. 
    Designed to be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, AG600 is powered by four domestically-built turboprop engines and has a range of 12 hours. 

Sony working on e-paper watch, expected to release next year

  • Sony is developing a watch made out of electronic paper for release as soon as next year in a trial of the company’s new venture-style approach to creating products, according to people familiar with the matter. 
  • The watch’s face and wristband will be made from a patented material that allows the entire surface area to function as a display and change its appearance, the people said, asking not to be named. 
  • The device will emphasise style, rather than trying to outdo more technological offerings
  • like Apple’s watch and Sony’s own Smart Watch, they said. CEO Kazuo Hirai formed a business creation division this year to fast-track promising products, and the watch is one of the effort’s the first results. 

Rupee slump may boost remittances to a record high of $76 billion in 2018

  • Lured by the sharp slump in rupee against the dollar, Indians living overseas may boost remittances to a record, helping bolster the nation’s efforts to support Asia’s worst-performing major currency.
  • The country is expected to receive remittances of about $76 billion in 2018, 10 percent more than in the previous year, according to estimates by EbixCash, the financial exchange unit of US-based insurance software provider Ebix Inc. About three-fourth of the inflows come via Ebix’s outlets, the company said.
  • Flows from an estimated 20 million nationals working abroad will help bolster India’s efforts to cap the nation’s current-account deficit. Without remittances, the gap would have been about five percent of gross domestic product at mid-year, instead of two percent, according to Capital Economics.
  • “When rupee depreciates so sharply, inbound sources of money get active,” Hariprasad M P, head of treasury at EbixCash, said in an interview on Wednesday. “These inflows are important for the economy at this juncture.”
  • A global emerging-market sell-off that’s triggered outflows from Indian bonds and stocks saw the rupee setting a string of fresh lows earlier this month. Likely intervention by the Reserve Bank of India in the forex market, a drop in prices of oil — the nation’s top import — and easing of rules on overseas borrowings have helped steady the rupee off late

Nokia begins manufacturing of 5G equipment in India

  • Finnish telecom gear maker said that it has started manufacturing 5G equipment in India. It’s Chennai manufacturing plant is making New Radio (NR) based on the 3GPP 5G New Radio Release 15 standard. 
  • The gear maker may also begin manufacturing of IP and Optics product lines in India. “We are currently evaluating this,”Amit Marwah, head of marketing and corporate affairs at Nokia, told ET. 
  • Nokia may explore manufacturing of fixed networks products in India if it sees enough demand coming from Indian telecom operators, Federico Guillen, President – Fixed Networks, Nokia, had previously told ET. 
  • Nokia’s Chennai plant is one of the largest telecom equipment manufacturing plant in the country, recently reaching the 4 million unit annual production milestone of 2G, 3G and 4G units. It serves both domestic as well as global customers, shipping to over 100 countries. 
  • Sanjay Malik, senior vice president and head of the India Market, at Nokia, said, “This is another big leap towards the‘Make in India’ vision as our factory continues to contribute to the Indian economy and the country’s growing profile as a manufacturing and engineering hub. 
  • Nokia had start manufacturing telecom networks equipments in the country in 2008, and has developed the local supply chain for various components. 
  • We are now pioneering 5G manufacturing in the country, making India and the world ready for 5G,” Malik said. 

E-commerce steals the show from finance in IIM Lucknow summer placements

  • With global online retail giants making India their next playfield, the premier Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L) has reported finance being replaced by e-commerce as one of the most popular sectors in the current summer placements.
  • IIM-L has clocked 100 per cent summer placements for 455 students of the 34th batch (2018-20).
  • As per data, the top sectors based on roles offered were sales & marketing (28 per cent), consulting (22 per cent), e-commerce (19 per cent), finance (17 per cent), general management (11 per cent) and systems/IT (3 per cent). The rest of the offers emerged from domains such as market research, analytics, business development, social media marketing and HR.
  • Last year, sales & marketing topped the table (35 per cent), followed by consulting (20 per cent), finance (25 per cent), e-commerce (10 per cent), systems/IT (5 per cent) and general management (5 per cent). Thus, while e-commerce grew from merely 10 per cent to almost double at 19 per cent this season, the finance sector roles shrunk by about 35 per cent, from 25 per cent to 17 per cent.
  • In the composite IT/ecommerce/technology sectors, recruiters such as Amazon, Capgemini, Google, eBay, Flipkart, MakeMyTrip, Microsoft, OLX, Pepperfry, Samsung, Swiggy, Uber and Wipro made a total of 87 offers. These firms recruited not only for IT/Systems profiles, but also for category management, business development, supply chain management, product marketing, strategic alliances, program manager and analytics.

♦ Vodafone Idea focusing on merging networks to offer superior 4G, VolTE in India: KM Birla 

  • Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said that India’s largest telco’s current focus is to merge the networks of Vodafone and Idea in the country, and refarm spectrum to enhance 4G LTE and VoLTE service in the country. 
  • “A lot needs to be done…. we are working on upgrading and consolidating the infrastructure to deliver better services for masses,” he said during his keynote speech at the India Mobile Congress 2018. 
  • Birla said that mobile broadband will be at the heart of India’s transformation into becoming a digital economy. “India has begun its odyssey to become a digital economy… We are committed to make Digital India a reality,” he said, adding that the digital revolution will ride on a ubiquitous high-speed data infrastructure. 
  • “Telcos have been successful in delivering voice service under NTP 1999, and the time has come to repeat that, and make digital India a reality,” he added. 

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