Indian Economy: News and Discussion

Singh

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India seeks rupee status symbol

India seeks rupee status symbol

It has billionaires and big ambitions. Now India wants something that no global economic powerhouse should be without: an international symbol for its currency.

The hope is that the rupee sign will become as ubiquitous as the US dollar ($), or that instant emblem of the digital age, the @ symbol.

But how easy is it to launch a symbol on the international stage and land a coveted place on keyboards the world over?

It doesn't happen very often. One of the most recent symbols to make the leap, the € for euro, had a long and difficult birth.

Before that, in 1971, the @ symbol was assigned an important international role, as the critical connector in e-mail addresses.

A 30-year-old computer programmer named Ray Tomlinson, looking for coding to send the first ever e-mail, surveyed the keyboard on his Model-33 Teletype and chose @ - which is apparently centuries old and has served various different functions - because it was unlikely to appear in a person's name.

Cultural icon?

The Indian government's search for the perfectly formed sign is via an open competition, which stipulates that entries "should represent the historical and cultural ethos of India."

It's the same route that Russia went down in the 1990s, in its search, so far unsuccessful, for a symbol to represent the rouble.

Jasmine Montgomery, of design consultancy FutureBrand, London, says Delhi's move shows it has realised the importance of country branding. But she warns that it can be a tricky thing to manage.

"If the Indian Government is looking for something that symbolises its culture, it must equally bear in mind its business audience," she says. "When you look at it from a business point of view, different things come into play. Monetary policy and the stability of the currency is very important.

"The currency symbol could be a powerful part of the country's brand iconography, a signal of stability and the fact that it is a player on the world stage."

However, she says while devising an international currency symbol is a "brilliant idea", the competition has been set up in the wrong way.

"The idea that the symbol should have some cultural significance is a difficult one," she says. "The dollar, for example, doesn't signify liberty and freedom - there is nothing recognisably American about it."

The origins of the dollar sign have fallen into obscurity. What is known is that the symbol is more recent than the name, which has references in Shakespeare's Macbeth and The Tempest.

One explanation - the most widespread - is that the dollar sign was derived from the Spanish peso. Another, is that the dollar sign has origins in a numeral "8", denoting pieces of eight.

Rigorous testing

Nowadays, designing new symbols involves rigorous testing, says Ms Montgomery.

"The Indian Government will have to consider very carefully how the symbol would be used in all its technical applications - how does it look on the web, blown up on posters, on mobile phones."

India would not want a symbol that looked bad when it was turned upside down, she says - "like someone's bottom," for example.

The European Commission believes it got it right with the euro symbol. Its website optimistically announces that the "success of the euro as a currency worldwide owes a small debt to the unique and memorable symbol supporting the euro notes and coins".

The official version is that it the symbol is "a combination of the Greek epsilon, as a sign of the weight of European civilisation, an E for Europe, and the parallel lines crossing through stand for the stability of the euro", and was designed by an anonymous team of four.

But a former chief graphic designer for the European Economic Community, Arthur Eisenmenger, has claimed that it was in fact he who created the symbol a quarter of a century before its unveiling in 1997.

Mr Eisenmenger, the acknowledged creator of the European flag, said in an interview some years ago, he drew the symbol "without much consideration."

"I wasn't thinking of the euro at the time, but just something that symbolised Europe," he said.

Complicated process

But while the European Commission takes satisfaction in the € symbol, typeface designers say the launch was not well managed.

"The European Central Bank presented it as a logo. At the time, it hadn't considered the technical consequences of it being incorporated into the everyday graphic language, and how it would translate to, say, computers or mobile phones," says Jurgen Siebert, head of graphics software company FontShop in Berlin.

Getting a symbol onto the international scene can be a complicated and lengthy process, says Mr Siebert.

There are the questions about where the new character should be placed in the character table and where it should be placed on the keyboard. (Outside the country in question, it is most likely to be rendered through special coding with keyboard short-cuts.)

Then the operating systems of millions of computers would need to be upgraded, as would dozens and dozens of font sets.

When a computer stores a character, it stores it according to one of several different coding standards, (for example Ascii or Unicode). Any new character would need to be added to those standards, so that when a computer receives it, it knows how to render it to the screen.

Even after a decade, many people still do not use the euro sign. The BBC, for example, writes out "euro", partly because it may still be unfamiliar to some readers, and partly because many keyboards still do not feature the sign.

"When it's all about ease of use and speed, it doesn't make sense that the word euro is still being written out," says Mr Siebert.

While the Indian government has set few conditions for the design of the Rupee the Russian competition, launched in 1999 by a group of journalists and designers and backed by the Russian Central Bank, issued a number of guidelines.

* Simple graphics, strong and easy to write - a single symbol
* Even weight - not overloaded with strokes or have any minor unnecessary lines
* Width not exceeding that of a zero - so it can fit into columns for company reports and accounting

The favourites are reportedly designs based around the letter R, or its equivalent in Cyrillic script, P. One shows an R with two strokes across its spine, similar to the euro, and another has a P crossed by two diagonal lines.

Either would fit well into the existing suite of international currency symbols, but there is still no consensus on what Russia's economic badge of honour should be.

Could India beat them to it?

"It's going to take a very long time before it translates into something," says Sudeshna Sen, foreign editor of India's Economic Times. "But an open competition like this will be fun for the people."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7923825.stm
 

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India car sales beat global slump

India car sales beat global slump

Sales of passenger cars in India have risen for the first time in five months, but analysts say it is too early to see recovery in the sector.

Sales jumped 22% in February, compared with the same month in 2008, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said.

Experts said the spurt was driven by easing bank credit after lenders cut auto-loan rates from about 13% to 10%.

However, sales of commercial vehicles fell by more than 50%.

Analysts said the two factors which had the most impact on February's figures - lower auto-loan rates and government tax cuts - would not necessarily lead to a long-term recovery.

'Sequential spurt'

Ten out of 13 carmakers in India saw a rise in sales during February.

Maruti Suzuki, the country's largest carmaker, said it had been a record month both for sales and exports.

Vaishali Jajoo, auto analyst at Angel Broking in Mumbai, said Maruti Suzuki's exports were helped by a growing appetite in Europe for small, fuel-efficient cars.

However, Ms Jajoo was cautious about how long the growth would last.

"Turnaround is a strong word. Sequential spurt would be better," she said.

The rise in vehicle sales in India contrasts with a slump in demand for cars in Europe, the US and Japan.

But India's carmakers were keen to play down the significance of February's figures.

Last week, Hyundai Motor India announced a 45% rise in domestic sales in February, and an 18% increase in exports.

"The overall market situation continues to be challenging and not much should be read into the February growth," Hyundai spokesman Arvind Saxena said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7933768.stm
 

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India tops in hiring plans

India tops in hiring plans

11 Mar 2009, 0700 hrs IST, ET Bureau


NEW DELHI: India tops a list of nations likely to keep a steady pace of hiring in the April-June quarter of 2009 with one in every four Indian companies surveyed saying it plans to recruit.

South Africa came second in the 33-country study that featured 3,600 Indian companies and 72,000 employers worldwide, according to HR consulting firm Manpower.

The survey’s benchmark net employment outlook (NEO) for India improved from 19% in the previous quarter to 25% in April-June, said the firm’s India MD Naresh Malhan. NEO is arrived at subtracting the percentage of employers expecting to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter from those anticipating total employment to increase.

India had registered a NEO of 42% for Q2 2008, which has now dipped to 25%, indicating the impact of the global slowdown. The relatively slow pace of hiring in the second quarter can be attributed to the employers’ focus on maintaining their workforce at current levels. Also, hiring intentions across all industry sectors have softened, as organisations review their requirements at the beginning of the fiscal year,” Mr Malhan said.

Employers in all the seven industry sectors surveyed said they expected the headcount to grow in the next quarter. The services sector was the most optimistic with a strong net outlook of 29%.

Sectors such as transportation & utilities, (23%) manufacturing (22%), public administration & education (22%), insurance, finance and real estate (21%) are all likely to see robust hiring in the next quarter.

Also, employers in all four regions across the country predict a strong labour market for April-June, 2009. “The most optimistic forecast is from the eastern region, where the net employment outlook stands at 27%, followed by south, west and north at 24%, 23% and 22%, respectively,” the survey said.

South Africa had a NEO of 14% while China registered 4%, and the US just 1%.


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/India-tops-in-hiring-plans/articleshow/4251581.cms
 

EnlightenedMonk

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This will be a great status boost for us if we get it.

I've already tried to start using my head (for a change) and hope to come up with a few simple symbols which I feel will represent our currency well...

Looking forward to having them up here soon...
 

EnlightenedMonk

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Hmmm.... The world is getting screwed... and India's screwed as well... but not as badly as everybody else.... We still have some internal demand to keep us going....

Cheers !!! :D:D:D:D
 

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India Inc's faith in political leadership dips before polls

India Inc's faith in political leadership dips before polls

Sunday, March 15, 2009


New Delhi: India Inc's confidence in the political leadership to pursue economic reforms and deal with international trade negotiation has dipped, says an NCAER survey conducted ahead of the upcoming general elections.

The Political Confidence Index (PCI), which is the barometer of the confidence of business sector in the political management of the economy, has slipped by 4.3 per cent in January, the quarterly report of the economic think-tank has said.

"Among the five factors that are found to be pulling down the PCI, managing international trade negotiations and pushing reform forward are significant in undermining confidence in the political management," it said.

However, the businesses have posed greater faith in the leadership in managing overall economic growth, inflation control and political climate, it added.

Incidentally, India's economic growth dipped to 5.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2008-09, the lowest quarterly expansion in over five years, against an impressive 8.9 per cent a year ago.

Contraction in agriculture and manufacturing output had had a main role in lower GDP growth.

Inflation has, however, eased to a nearly seven-year low of 2.43 per cent for the week ended February 28.

Among four regions, Northern region's firms presented higher confidence in the political management of the economy than in October, the NCAER report said, adding, the index gained 25.2 points in the region.

Source: Press Trust of India


http://news.in.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=2061170
 

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India beats recession blues, attracts $2.7-billion FDI in January

NEW DELHI: At a time when the world economy is facing the worst credit freeze in several decades, India attracted USD 2.7-billion FDI in January, up 58.8 per cent from a year ago, and remained a favourite destination for cross-border investments.

"January numbers are very good...it is an indication of the confidence that the rest of the world has in India," Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Ajay Shankar told PTI.

The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows for the April-January period aggregated to USD 23.8 billion and is expected to cross the last year's target of USD 25 billion this fiscal.

Though the government had set a target of USD 35-billion FDI for 2008-09, it looked rather ambitious in the wake of the global downturn.

Up to September this fiscal, the monthly inflows were in excess of USD 2 billion. However, the following three months saw a sharp dip in the overseas investments.

The January figures bring a renewed hope that India is back on the radar of global investors.
 

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India accounts for half of new jobs created by billionaires: Forbes

India accounts for half of new jobs created by billionaires: Forbes

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Anil Ambani on hiring spree



New York/New Delhi: They have become poorer by billions of dollars in the global economic downturn that has also engulfed millions of jobs, but many brave-heart billionaires are still on a hiring spree for their businesses across the world.

India alone accounts for over one lakh new jobs -- nearly half the global figure -- being created by the billionaires, who according to US magazine Forbes' annual ranking of world's richest people earlier this month, lost about $2 trillion of wealth in the past one year.

In a report in its online edition, Forbes has said that a handful of businesses run by billionaires – ranging from a internet search giant Google to fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz – are bucking the layoff trend and are hanging up "Help Wanted" signs even in the current dismal state of economy.

H&M, run by Swedish billionaire, is also going ahead with plans to open 225 new stores in 2009, which would create 7,000 new jobs.

Google's billionaire founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who are worth $12 billion each, has more than 20,000 employees and "continues to hire, albeit at a reduced rate compared with years past," the report noted.

Other American billionaires with major hiring plans, as per Forbes, include realty-to-biotech business moghul David Murdock, software entrepreneurs John Sall and James Goodnight, H Roos Perot Sr and H Ross Perot Jr of Texas-based Perot Systems and auto parts chain major AutoZone's Edward Lampert.

Besides, Japan's richest person Tadashi Yanai and the country's online retail baron Hiroshi Mikitani, Hong Kong's Li Ka-Shing and Germany's wealthiest person Karl Albrecht also have massive hiring plans, the report said.

Later this month, Perot Systems would open a large facility in Chennai, India, that could generate up to 1,000 jobs, while a new project in the US would create an additional 150 positions.

Murdoch to venture into health, Biotech




While the report did not mention any Indian billionaires, those companies having announced massive recruitment plans despite the current economic scenario, although at least two entities from the business conglomerate run by Anil Ambani, who was incidentally named as the biggest loser of wealth over the past one year, has plans of recruiting people.

Anil Ambani group has plans to hire over 92,000 people in its life insurance business, while it is also looking to bring on board about 1,500 employees in its Reliance Infrastructure unit.

The massive hiring plans by the companies run by these people is in contrast with many other billionaire-run companies, who had been instrumental in creating thousands of jobs in the past, having announced massive layoffs in the backdrop of the ongoing economic and financial crisis.

Noting that billionaires have been responsible for creating thousands of jobs over the years, the report said that "they started some of the country's biggest employers, including companies like Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Dell, to name a few".

"In 2002, Home Depot, founded by billionaires Bernard Marcus and Arthur Blank, partnered with the US Department of Labor to hire 40,000 associates a year. In 2006, Microsoft added 10,081 worldwide hires, the most in its history."

This year, these businesses, like the moguls who founded them, are feeling the economic pinch: In January, Microsoft announced an 18-month plan to eliminate 5,000 jobs across its research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources and information technology departments.

"Home Depot slashed 7,000 positions. While the Walton family's Wal-Mart just announced it was giving a reported $2 billion to its hourly employees, the nation's largest retailer said in February that it was laying off 700 employees at its Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters and another 1,200 Canadian employees."

Ross Perot to open unit in Chennai




At the same time, Forbes said, the economic downturn has "actually helped boost several billionaire businesses and spurred them to add jobs. The discount-shopping sector, for instance, is red hot right now as savvy "recessionistas" hunt for all sorts of bargains".

The report noted that German billionaire Karl Albrecht's discount supermarket chain, Aldi, is planning 80 new stores in the US and holding a series of recruiting events for district managers and trainees this month.

Tadashi Yanai, who owns Japanese discount clothier Fast Retailing, is also continuing to expand and would open 30 new stores in 2009. Compatriot Hiroshi Mikitani of online retailer Rakuten is also looking to hire 316 new college graduates this spring from around Asia, while further 300 fresh hires would follow next year.

The recession also seems to have helped the auto parts business, as people are preferring to get repaired their existing cars, instead of buying new vehicles.

"That bodes well for American billionaire Edward Lampert and possibly for some unemployed auto workers. AutoZone opened 20 new US stores (and closed just one) and eight in Mexico. The company says that hiring and retraining employees is a major focus of 2009."

At the same time, David Murdock, who made a fortune in Dole produce and Hawaiian real estate, is foraying into health and biotech research, and is setting up a new research institute in the US, which along with affiliated state universities, would create 30,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2027.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's telecom-to-shipping conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa's Li Ka-Shing is creating jobs in places like Ireland and China.

"So if you are unemployed, consider trying to get a job working for one of these billionaire-owned businesses. It almost certainly won't make you as rich as the founders but perhaps the post will offer a bit more job security than a lot of companies out there," Forbes said.


http://news.in.msn.com/international/article.aspx?cp-documentid=2222180&page=1
 

EnlightenedMonk

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We again shine on the global stage and claim our rightful place in the world... Right at the TOP !!! :D:D:D:D:D
 

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Goldman Sachs sees scope for more rate cuts by RBI

23 Mar 2009, 2031 hrs IST, PTI


NEW DELHI: Financial major Goldman Sachs on Monday said there is still room for infusion of liquidity by the apex bank, despite the fact that the Reserve Bank has lowered rates aggressively since the economic crisis hit India.

"Although there is still room to cut the cash reserve ratio (CRR), and we think they (RBI) will cut it by 150 basis points by mid-2009, the bulk of the rate cuts is behind us," Goldman Sachs Economist Tushar Poddaar said in a research note.

The central bank has lowered the CRR, the percentage of cash deposits banks are mandatorily required to keep with the central bank, from a high of 9 per cent in the third quarter of this fiscal to the current level of 5 per cent.

The global financial services firm said it expects the RBI to continue with limited quantitative easing by purchasing government securities to help maintain liquidity, fund the deficit, and keep yields from ratcheting up sharply.

"We think, however, that large-scale quantitative easing, by monetising the deficit, can create a large monetary overhang, which can eventually lead to rampant inflation when demand returns," he said.

Poddaar further said that first the RBI can gradually transfer the roughly USD 20 billion deposits sequestered under the Market Stabilisation Scheme (MSS) to government accounts.

But eventually, the apex bank would purchase government securities and thereby release liquidity into the system, Poddaar said.

"We think the monetizing of the deficit, even though limited, will put pressure on the Indian rupee to weaken in the near term," he added.


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...more-rate-cuts-by-RBI/articleshow/4306662.cms
 
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Airbus plans manufacturing base in India

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...cturing-base-in-India/articleshow/4310620.cms

Airbus plans manufacturing base in India
24 Mar 2009, 1908 hrs IST, Nirbhay Kumar, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie on Tuesday said it plans to have a manufacturing base in India in the next three-four
years following a strong presence in areas such as engineering, research, design and training.

The airplane maker said that it is bullish on the emerging market like India and see a double-digit growth in the region in the long-run.

"We will continue to grow our supply base in India with focus on six key areas which include engineering and design. Airbus currently employs 200 highly-skilled at its design centre in Bangalore. The headcount will double to 400 in the next few years," Airbus executive vice president and head of strategy and future programs Christian Scherer said.

Airbus expects an expenditure of about $ 1 billion in India over the next 10 years provided it gets right partners and right projects. As part of its globalisation plan, the company plans to build up to 20% of aero-structures and 30% of engineering sub- contracting offshore by 2020.

"India will get a large chunk of this business," Mr Scherer said.

Airbus currently has an order book of 347 aircraft from Indian airlines. In spite of the turbulence in the aviation sector, the company has maintained its earlier forecast and said that India would require 992 aircraft till 2026. Out of these nearly 60 would be large-size jets like A380.

Asked if Indian carriers have cancelled orders due to slowdown, Mr Scherer said that a few of Kingfisher Airlines' order for A-340s were shifted to Nigeria. "We are carrying out some adjustments with some customers worldwide, redirecting and rebooking aircraft orders," he added.
 

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India can change course of economic growth: UN official

LONDON: The coming summit of Group of 20 (G20) leaders offers an opportunity for India and other members to adopt a greener course of economic
growth, a senior UN official said on Monday.

"This is an opportunity to change the direction of economic growth," Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told international journalists here.

In remarks made ahead of the April 2 summit in London, he said imports account for 75 percent of India's crude oil requirements. "That has a huge impact on the Indian economy, and therefore there's a huge incentive to reduce oil dependence," de Boer said.

The same applied to gas, as gas prices were tied to oil prices, he added.

De Boer hoped countries would use their recovery strategies in the current economic and financial downturn to use energy more efficiently and to switch to clean energy.

He said a number of emerging economies, including China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Mexico, had indicated they are willing to take further action to combat climate change, but that they needed international financial and technical support.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...ic_growth_UN_official/articleshow/4310610.cms
 

EnlightenedMonk

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Indian Service / Outsourcing Sector

Hey there guys,

Opened this thread for objective analysis of the Indian Service and Outsourcing sector. We'll discuss the efficiency, proficiency and other details of the sector along with discussions on the opportunities, threats and other factors (SWOT analysis and beyond) that will govern the future of this industry for us.

And also, of course, what beyond Outsourcing ??? How can we expand this mass base into something of a powerhouse in the world using which we can possibly leverage Brand India in a better way...

Post your views here...
 
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China challenges US global financial leadership(China wants to be #1)

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/China-challenges-US-global-apf-14774658.html

China challenges US global financial leadership
China speaks up, challenging US domination of global financial rules

SHANGHAI (AP) -- The only major economy still growing at a fast clip, China is being unusually forthright in challenging the U.S.-led global order ahead of an April 2 summit on the financial crisis.

In his second rebuke of U.S. leadership this past week, the central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, said China's rapid response to the downturn -- including a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package -- proved the superiority of its authoritarian, one-party political system.

"Facts speak volumes, and demonstrate that compared with other major economies, the Chinese government has taken prompt, decisive and effective policy measures, demonstrating its superior system advantage when it comes to making vital policy decisions," Zhou said in remarks posted on the People's Bank of China's Web site.

In the approach to the London summit of 20 leading economies, Zhou called on foreign governments to give their finance ministers and central bankers broad authority so that they can "act boldly and expeditiously without having to go through a lengthy or even painful approval process."

China has made its agenda clear: It wants a stable U.S. dollar, and has even advocated the creation of another global currency altogether. It is leery of protectionism. And it is demanding a larger say in how financial systems are regulated and rescued, while holding back on any promises for new rescue or stimulus measures of its own.

"So far, China has been playing a game set up by other powers. Now China wants to be part of the agenda or rules-setting," said Ding Xueliang, a China expert at Hong Kong's University of Science and Technology.

Whether Beijing has a workable alternative vision for the future of world finance remains to be seen.

But China's growing assertiveness also suggests a sharpening urgency over its vulnerability to the global financial meltdown.

Fearful of any moves that might weaken the dollar and imperil China's estimated $1 trillion in Treasuries and other U.S. government debt, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has urged the United States to remain "a credible nation." In other words, Beijing wants Washington to avoid spurring inflation with excessive government spending on bailouts and stimulus packages.

To keep the value of its own currency steady -- some say undervalued -- the Chinese government must recycle its huge trade surpluses. The biggest, most liquid option is U.S. Treasuries. But a weakening dollar saps the value of those investments.

The Chinese "are being hurt more than anyone else by the mismanagement of the dollar," said William Overholt, an expert with Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Underscoring that grievance, earlier this week Zhou, the central bank governor, called for a new global currency to end the dollar's dominance in trade, foreign reserves and commodity pricing.

Echoing proposals that have been debated for years, he urged the International Monetary Fund to create a "reserve currency" based on shares in the organization held by its 185 member nations, known as special drawing rights, or SDRs.

Such a move would "achieve the objective of safeguarding global economic and financial stability," Zhou said in an essay released by the central bank both in English and Chinese.

Given the wariness of most governments toward relinquishing any sovereign control over their currencies, few even in China view Zhou's proposal as likely to catch on anytime soon.

"Nobody believes the current global monetary system will be changed soon. It's more like a warning or signal to America to let them know how important it is to keep the dollar stable," said Ding Xinghao, president of the Shanghai Association of American Studies, a private academic think-tank.

China's stolid and somber president, Hu Jintao, will likely focus on cooperation rather than table pounding when he meets President Barack Obama for the first time at next week's London summit on the financial crisis.

"There is no strong consensus between the U.S. and Europe. They have different policy priorities. The EU is quite weak. There are too many states with different opinions and different policy priorities," said Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asia Institute at the National University of Singapore. "So it would be easier for the U.S. and China to work together, despite their huge differences."

Still, China is committed to leading a push by the developing world for a greater say in how global finance is regulated and managed.

G-20 members already have agreed that developing countries need a bigger voice in the IMF. But under a system devised 63 years ago, each country's vote is tied to its financial commitments to the institution, which are determined by economic size, currency reserves and openness to trade and capital flows.

Wang Qishan, a top Chinese financial official and vice premier, said Friday in a commentary in The Times of London that Beijing was ready to contribute more, but wants changes in the IMF's governance structure.

"China is ready to play an active part in exploring ways to raise resources and will contribute to this effort within its ability," Wang wrote.

But he reiterated China's rejection of calls for it to provide part of its $2 trillion in foreign reserves to an IMF bailout fund.

China's leaders have problems at home that they need to spend on, and they insist that their country's greatest contribution to a global recovery is keeping its own house in order and following through on its stimulus package.

Wen said fresh stimulus measures were possible, but only if necessary.

"They've barely spent half of the money. Why should they be spending more now?" said Jing Ulrich, chairwoman for China equities at J.P. Morgan. "They are pacing themselves."

Despite its massive foreign reserves and an economy that many analysts believe is on the brink of recovery, China's leaders face stunning challenges in finding ways to create jobs for millions of migrant workers left newly unemployed. Social welfare and health systems are inadequate and its environment wrecked by decades of rampant industrialization.

"On the top, national level, yes, China has lots of money," says Ding Xueliang, a former Communist Party official. "But if you look at the troubles, all the economic and social challenges the leadership faces, China may hold so much money but it's not enough. It's not enough," he said.

Still, he says, China's leaders do recognize the need to make a bigger contribution if they want a larger say in reshaping the world financial order.

"More and more of the leadership see there is an opportunity for China," Ding said. "I don't expect a big contribution is possible in the short-term, but a gradual increase in support is possible."
 

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Lawyers from US, UK find jobs in India

27 Mar 2009, 0203 hrs IST, Mini Joseph Tejaswi, TNN



BANGALORE: Indian law firms and legal process outsourcing outfits have been attracting many American and British law professionals in the past few months.

The reason: The recession has severely impacted the global legal practising industry; one out of every 10 lawyers in the US is said to have been laid off. To cut cost, many corporations are discontinuing their contracts with external law firms or are outsourcing a substantial portion of their legal engagements to countries like India. This has resulted in a flood of US/UK lawyer CVs to India.

Mumbai-based legal process outsourcing (LPO) firm Mindcrest recently hired five senior US lawyers. It's planning to hire another 10 American lawyers this year. Pangea3, another Mumbai-based LPO firm, recently hired three American legal professionals , while another two are expected to join the company within a month. SDD Global Solutions, a Mysore-based legal practices outsourcer, is also hiring many foreign lawyers.

Mindcrest MD Rohan Dalal said US corporates are significantly downsizing their corporate legal departments. ‘‘ Besides, having India on their CV will give a multi-culture dimension which could help them in future. It's also good for Indian lawyers as they get global mentoring and guidelines.''

Mindcrest, which specialises in litigation documentation, litigation support , corporate law, contracts drafting, due deligence, compliance of laws, business analytics and case analysis, plans to employ 1,000 lawyers by the end of the year, up from the current 616. Pangea3 co-CEO Sanjay Kamlani said a large number of US lawyers have been getting in touch with them. "Some are personally coming to India and meeting us to explore options.''

Russel Smith, president of SDD Global Solutions, said outsourcing to India is enormously cost effective because US lawyers are very expensive. "They are paid $300/900 an hour while it is less than 1/10 of that in India. Globally, the traditional hour-based working style of law firms are changing . Companies these days prefer smaller firms who believe in flat rates,'' said Smith.

SDD Global does legal research, strategic legal analysis, and legal opinion-drafting for upcoming motion picture releases from 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Universal Studios.

According to Sajay Singh, partner and head for technology in law firm J Sagar Associates, apart from reputed legal practioners, a large number of interns are also looking at India. ‘‘ Many Indian law firms today have foreign interns, as US law firms now give only few seats for interns.''

Foreign lawyers are not allowed to practice in India, however they are allowed to join domestic law firms and indirectly advise clients.

Some say the recession in the US legal market will mean a 100% growth for the Indian LPO market. It's currently pegged at $500 million.


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...UK-find-jobs-in-India/articleshow/4316958.cms
 

Rage

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Brain gain anyone?


IBM to cut 5,000 jobs in U.S.

Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:26pm EDT



NEW YORK (Reuters) - IBM will cut about 5,000 jobs in the United States, adding to similarly large cuts in the past few months, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The job cuts will account for over 4 percent of IBM's U.S. workforce, which totaled around 115,000 at the end of 2008. The sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said the cuts will mostly be in IBM's global services business, which includes outsourcing and consulting services.

An International Business Machines Corp spokesman declined to comment. The company, which had a total workforce of 398,455 as of end 2008, has not disclosed how many jobs it has cut so far this year, but has said it was making "structural changes" to reduce spending and improve productivity.

IBM, which now earns around two-thirds of its revenue from outside the United States, has been expanding its workforce in emerging markets like India and China.

At the end of 2008, employment in the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China-- totaled around 113,000.

IBM has been hit by slower U.S. technology spending, although it has fared better than many rivals thanks to its global footprint and a decreased emphasis on hardware sales.

A month ago, IBM affirmed its full-year forecast of $9.20 earnings per share, and said contract signings for its business services had grown so far this year.

Wednesday's news also comes as IBM is in exclusive talks to buy Sun Microsystems Inc, according to sources familiar with the matter, a move that would create a clear leader in the high-end computer server market.

IBM shares fell 0.42 percent to close at $97.95 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Jim Finkle; Editing by Gary Hill)


http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE52O6BV20090325?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

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For laid-off IBM workers, a job in India?

By Ben Arnold l Staff writer/ March 26, 2009 edition

An IBM program offers some incentive to relocate. Americans who have migrated overseas find less pay – but a good lifestyle.

IBM announced a major round of US layoffs on Thursday, even as the company has been hiring workers in developing nations like India.

But over the past year, the company began offering US workers who are facing a job cut a novel carrot: If you apply for a new IBM position in a foreign country and are hired again at local wages, we will cover some of the transition costs like visa fees.

Few IBMers have taken the offer, and the firm has taken public relations lumps over it. But a handful of pioneering Americans at other firms have started to shop their skills on the Indian market, finding fulfillment and job security at a time of deep recession back home.

The IBM offer hints at a future where it’s not just skilled Indians who might have to travel halfway around the globe for a job. It’s likely that more American job seekers will have to think globally, say analysts, and the experiences of Americans who have taken jobs with companies here say it’s not something to fear.

“I was making six figures when I left the States. I’m making six figures here – in rupees,” laughs Jeanne Heydecker, a marketing executive now living outside of Delhi and working at her third Indian company. The salary for this single mother actually translates to roughly $50,000 a year. But it would be a mistake to suppose her quality of life has gone down.

Most everything she could want is available in Delhi. The healthcare, she says, has been top-notch and bottom-dollar. And like most Westerners and wealthy Indians here, she is able to hire people to cook, clean, and drive for her.

“You can come home from work and focus on your family, not on maintaining the car and the housework,” she says.
She left Chicago in 2007 after realizing that she was bored at work and didn’t see companies nearby that were hiring “new people to do new things.” Through the social-networking site Linkedin.com and Skype, Ms. Heydecker talked with the head of a Calcutta technology company who eventually hired her sight unseen.


Not yet a well-worn path

Hers is not yet a well-worn path. But in the coming decades, it will be, says Arvind Panagariya, an expert on the Indian economy at Columbia University in New York.

“Does the average American [worker] think globally? No. I don’t think we’re at that stage yet. But it will happen,” he says. “Such a massive technological revolution will cause the borders to blur, if not disappear.”

So far, there isn’t much evidence of Americans expanding their search beyond places less like Peoria and more like Pune.

“In previous recessions, we have seen such an increase in interest in overseas jobs, but not this time,” says Lisa Hystad, publisher of the International Career Employment Weekly. “Perhaps that is due to the many news stories stating that the economic downturn is worldwide.”

In IBM’s case, fewer than 20 people have taken up the offer for help in locating a new IBM job overseas, estimated company spokesman Doug Shelton, speaking Monday before the latest layoffs. He declined to make any employees available for interviews.

But the jobs in places like India are worth considering, Mr. Shelton suggested, saying that the cost of living is lower and international experience is highly prized in a global marketplace.

“It didn’t go down very well,” says Lee Conrad, a national coordinator with the Communication Workers of America who is trying to unionize IBM. “It was like people felt they were seeing not only their jobs offshored but their citizenship offshored.

“It’s definitely a huge loss in wages to the American worker,” he adds. “I think that’s why it isn’t being so readily accepted. In years past, IBM would transfer an employee to another country, but they would stay with their US wages. That’s changed.”

Mr. Conrad adds that IBM workers are upset at having to train Indians to do their jobs, only then to be laid off.

The sizzle of India’s growth has slowed some, declining to 5 percent this year. Prices for outsourcing services, a key industry in India’s new economy, could be slashed up to 20 percent by 2010, according to Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

Still, there remains a whiff of opportunity in the air in places like Pune, a mid-sized city in southern India that feels far from America’s economic doldrums. Construction cranes tower in the sky and spools of cable and piles of pipes line the roads as apartment buildings, office buildings, and hotels continue to be built.

In one of the new office high-rises, Mindcrest, a legal outsourcing firm, has recently hired three Americans – and has plans to hire more Westerners in the coming year. Like Heydecker in Delhi, the three women are mid-career and weren’t sent here on a temporary foreign rotation by a multinational firm back home.

“The [jobs] situation back home doesn’t make me want to go back,” says Michelle Vega, an attorney in her mid-30s who hears friends in the US describe businesses closing and mass layoffs. “I’d rather stay in Pune where people are still happy.”

It’s perhaps doubly surprising to be employed in a happy workplace when the office is a large room filled with hundreds of lawyers sitting at cubicles. The company hires mostly Indian attorneys to provide basic legal services – such as research, document reviewing, and contracts management – to large companies and law firms in the West.

Ms. Vega and her American counterparts Deirdre Byrne and Rana Rosen help the Indian attorneys understand what the Western clients want. None of them believe their work takes away American jobs, but say it instead frees young lawyers in the US from some early-career drudgery.

Over lunch, the three women laugh about stashing pine nuts, manila folders, and lint-remover rolling pins in their luggage when they come back from visits home. There are other challenges: power cuts, the bureaucracy of setting up basic services like a cellphone, and the more pervasive scenes of deep poverty on the street here.


Demanding job, but a nice lifestyle

But Ms. Byrne, who has worked as a high-powered Manhattan attorney and a realtor for Sotheby’s in the Hamptons, sums up the consensus: “We have a very nice life, and for a fraction of the costs at home” – even with smaller salaries.

She stresses that the work is demanding “on the scale of a New York law firm,” but comes with a “bonhomie” generally absent from Big Apple offices.

As for why more Americans are not considering work abroad, expatriates here admit it grows more complicated for those with more family ties.

Heydecker’s teenage son had to give up friends and skateboarding but has adjusted well, she says. She adds that the advantages to working abroad are often not communicated well.

“I don’t think companies like IBM are getting people in touch with those who are out here doing it, and showcasing those success stories,” says Heydecker. “It can be isolating in the beginning, but eventually, your life is pretty sweet. It all depends on how open your mind is.”


The Christian Science Monitor
 

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Volkswagen Opens India Car Plant

PUNE, India -- Volkswagen AG Tuesday said it will start production at its EUR580 million ($766.9 million) India factory in May.

The plant, which was inaugurated Tuesday, will initially make the Fabia compact car of Volkswagen's Czech unit Skoda Auto A.S.

This will be followed by an Indian version of the Polo hatchback model in early 2010, Jochem Heizmann, member of Volkswagen's board and in-charge of group production, said in a statement.

Heizmann is in India to attend the inauguration of the factory, Volkswagen's first in India.

The plant, located near Pune city in western India, will employ 2,500 workers by December, he said.

"With the start of production... the Volkswagen Group has conclusively arrived in India's emerging market," Mr. Heizmann said.

"Thanks to the local production of Volkswagen and Skoda models in Pune, we will benefit even more from the enormous growth in the Indian automobile market in future."

Volkswagen is Europe's biggest auto maker by sales.
 

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Boeing Opens Research, Technology Center in India

MUMBAI -- Boeing Co. Tuesday said it opened a research and technology center in India, its third outside the U.S.

The center will carry out continued collaboration with Indian research and development organizations, including government agencies and private sector R&D providers, universities and other companies, Boeing said in a statement.

The center will also coordinate the work of more than 1,500 technologists, including 100 advanced technology researchers from across India.
 

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