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Satyam Drops 18 Percent as World Bank Slams Ban | TCS: Walk-in Jobs | AGILENT: Forced Vacation | $58B Target | Eyeing Bhutan

Satyam Drops 18 Percent as World Bank Slams Ban

The World Bank Dec. 24 said Satyam Computer Services was debarred from getting direct contracts from it under its corporate procurement program for eight years from September this year.

But it clarified there was no evidence of Satyam being involved in malicious attacks on the bank's information system. The company was declared ineligible for contracts for providing improper benefits to bank staff and for failing to maintain documentation to support fees charged for its subcontractors, the bank said in a statement Dec. 24.

Satyam shares slid 18 percent to Rs. 119 per share during the course of trading Dec. 24, the lowest since September 2003.

The World's Bank's disclosure has become an embarrassment for Satyam that is embroiled in an unrelated controversy after its aborted bid to buy two firms linked to its promoter B. Ramalinga Raju.

The country's fourth largest software exporter faced a major shareholder rebellion last week after it announced plans to buy two firms linked to the promoter for $1.6 billion. The decision was endorsed by the board. However, within a few hours Satyam called off the deal to buy Maytas Infra and Maytas Properties. It has, however, been tight-lipped on key questions on who did the valuation of the real estate firm.


TCS: Walk-in Jobs

At a time when job offer letters to campus recruits are few and far between, India's software giant Tata Consultancy Services Limited has declared that it will recruit all doctorates in computer science without any interview.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the PanIIT 2008, a conference of the Indian Institute of Technology alumni here Dec. 20, TCS CEO and managing director S. Ramadorai declared: “We will hire Ph.D. degree holders in computer science over the next five years.”

He said the move was expected to enthuse more students to pursue doctoral studies in the subject.

Tata Consultancy Services Limited is a software services and consulting company. It is one of India's oldest and largest providers of information technology and business process outsourcing services. As of 2007, it is Asia's largest information technology firm. The company is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India.


AGILENT: Forced Vacation

In a novel way to ease the pressure on resources, Agilent, the world’s largest measurement and testing software company, has made a  two-day leave mandatory every month in India for its 1,800 employees. Over and above that, the company has announced a two-week vacation effective Dec. 20.

On Dec. 17, the $5.2-billion company announced a retrenchment of 800 jobs globally. Instead of giving pink slips, Agilent India’s senior management executives are being asked to take a two-day “vacation” every month. Junior employees have been asked to take a day’s off in lieu of their earned leave. “Those who don’t have paid leave left will have to take a leave without pay for those particular days,” Agilent India country manager Venkatesh Valluri said.

“Employees would encash their entitled annual 15-day leave, which sometimes added up to a large sum due to accruals over the years,” he said. “The move will definitely have a cost benefit on our profit and loss statement.”

Meanwhile, during the two-week hiatus, the first time in its history, only a few sales and support staff will be required to come. Agilent India has also cut down on international travel and is holding virtual meetings instead.


$58B Target

The ninth edition of the largest IT global networking event in India, INDIASOFT 2009, to be held in Kolkata, is targeting the new emerging markets of South Africa, Spain, France and Germany for software exports and services.

Last fiscal, the country exported software worth $45 billion and the target this fiscal is around $58 billion. Out of this, $3.6 billion has been earmarked for electronics hardware and $55 billion for software and services.

"The software market in South Africa is estimated to be around $12 billion and we want to tap this potential market. At present, we export 0.7 percent of it only and want to increase it," said D.K. Sareen, executive director of Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council.

INDIASOFT 2009 will have around 120 buyers from these focus regions and also from Latin America, he said. The event will be held in Kolkata Feb. 26 and 27.

Around 80 domestic exhibitors will participate in the event. When asked about the last fiscal figures of the IT industry, Sareen said the industry did a business of $25 billion from April to September, involving $2 billion in the electronics hardware and $23.65 billion in software services segment.


Eyeing Bhutan

If things go according to plan, Bhutan could well become an important IT hub with giants like Infosys, Gen Pac and Microsoft evincing keen interest to set up BPOs and data centers in the Himalayan country.

Around 30 leading IT firms from India held strategy meetings in Thimphu recently to explore investment possibilities in Bhutan.

The IT leaders said that Bhutan can play host to an array of possibilities like data centers operation, disaster recovery centre, BPOs and software development center.

"We are looking at Bhutan as a good destination for investment," said Infosys board chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy.

He said this was a reconnaissance trip and "that is how you start building a relationship, once you start appreciating the country and good things in the country, possibilities start coming before your eyes."

On the chances of a small country like Bhutan being an IT destination, Murthy said they are good as Infosys itself had started with seven people but was now worth nearly 5 billion dollars.


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