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India’s Richest Get Poorer
INFOSYS: First Tele Incubator
Optical Fiber Network for Panchayats
WIPRO: Workday Tie Up

India’s Richest Get Poorer

India’s richest are getting poorer, according to Forbes, as falling stock prices, corruption scandals in Asia’s third-largest economy and a global slowdown wiped 20 percent off the total value of the country’s 100 wealthiest in the last year.

Mukesh Ambani, head of Reliance Industries, retained the top spot with a value of $22.6 billion, despite seeing his net worth drop by $4.4 billion.

The biggest loser in the list was Ambani’s younger brother, Anil, whose net worth stood at $5.9 billion, down from $13.3 billion. His Reliance Group companies have been some of the worst performers on the Mumbai Stock Exchange this year.

A major drag for Ambani has been telecom firm Reliance Communications, which has $7.5 billion in debt and has so far failed in efforts to ease debt and raise money.

The combined wealth of India’s richest 100 people fell to $241 billion in 2011, according to the Forbes India Rich List, which includes 57 billionaires, a dozen less than a year earlier.

The world’s second-fastest growing major economy after China grew only 7.7 percent in the three months to June, its weakest in 18 months, and Mumbai’s benchmark stock index is down 16 percent since January.

India has raised its interest rates 13 times in 19 months, hurting demand for big-ticket items and making it more expensive for businesses to raise capital.

Of the 85 alumni from last year’s list, 66 saw their worth drop this year. A net worth of $370 million was enough to make the 2011 list, down from $500 million a year ago.

The big ten: Mukesh Ambani leads a top ten dominated by industrial tycoons, including ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal, who came in second with a net worth of $19.2 billion.

Energy and metal barons Shashi and Ravi Ruia lie fourth with a combined worth of $10.2 billion.

Kumar Birla, head of the fabrics to cement Aditya Birla conglomerate, Adi Godrej of the Godrej Group and construction tycoon Pallonji Mistry -- the largest individual shareholder of the Tata Group and father-in-law to Noel Tata, touted as a likely successor to Ratan Tata -- are also in the top ten.

Many of those companies are benefiting from India’s plans to spend $1 trillion in the five years to 2017 to overhaul its infrastructure, seen as a barrier to continued economic growth.

Only one name from IT sector made the top ten: Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro, India’s number three software services provider, ranked third with a net worth of $13 billion.

Savitri Jindal, head of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, was India’s richest woman, sitting fifth on the list with a net worth of $9.5 billion. Jindal was one of only five women on the list of one hundred. On the other hand, those who are associated with the campaign said that the bulk SMS partners were not willing to send the SMS.

Meanwhile, Vinay Agarwal, managing director, Unicel Technologies, confirmed that the company received request from India Against Corruption to handle a campaign which involved sending five to ten million SMSs.

Agarwal further said he was not aware why IAC contacted the company now and said there was no instruction from operators or any regulatory authorities against handling the IAC campaign.

A spokesperson from India’s telecom regulator TRAI said that the government has not instructed any service provider to ban any bulk SMSs, including that of team Anna.


INFOSYS: First Tele Incubator

India’s first telecom business incubator will be set up in Kerala under Infosys co-founder and executive co-chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan.

The Indian Telecom Innovation Hub will focus primarily on student start-ups from college campuses and would be modeled on technology incubators in the Silicon Valley, according to a press release.

“With the launch of Telecom Innovation Hub, the aspiring young entrepreneurs of the state will get an opportunity to work closely with big companies and create path-breaking technologies,” said Kerala Industries and IT Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty.

The National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board of the central government’s Department of Science and Technology, Technopark and MobME Wireless have joined hands to set up the hub.

It aims to incubate 1,000 product startups over 10 years and start the search for a billion dollar company from a college campus by the turn of this decade.

Gopalakrishnan has agreed to be the chief mentor of the hub.

This is one of the first public-private-partnership technology business incubator in the country. Subject to the availability of land, its most likely location would be Kochi, the statement added.


Optical Fiber Network for Panchayats

The federal cabinet recently cleared a plan for creating a national optical fiber network for providing broadband connectivity to panchayats with the likelihood of boosting rural employment.

The plan will also facilitate electronic services including e-education, e-health and e-agriculture and reduce the migration of rural population to urban areas.

“The cost of this initial phase of the NOFN plan is likely to be about Rs. 20,000 crore. A similar amount of investment is likely to be made by the private sector complementing the NOFN infrastructure while providing services to individual users,” according to a press release.

“The objective of the scheme is to extend the existing optical fiber network to the gram panchayat level,” it added.

So far the optical fiber network was available up to the district level. By implementation of these services, the scheme will also lead to inclusive growth besides providing high bandwidth connectivity for electronic delivery of services to citizens.

According to a study conducted by the World Bank, with every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, there is an increase in the gross domestic product growth by 1.4 percent.


WIPRO: Workday Tie Up

Wipro Technologies announced that it has entered into an alliance with Workday to provide consulting and IT services to clients deploying Workday solutions. Workday is a provider of SaaS-based enterprise solutions for global human resources, payroll, and financial management.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, HR organizations are responding by building 21st century HR operations by leveraging new technologies, strategies and models. Workday’s innovative cloud based business management solutions combined with Wipro’s vast experience in optimizing and integrating cloud based solutions will enable organizations to achieve accelerated value, the company said in a press release.

Wipro’s human capital management services helps customers build a ‘people plan’ based model using solutions that range from deploying new technology or creating a shared services center to outsourcing and best-shoring.

Wipro is a diamond sponsor at Workday Rising 2011. Wipro will showcase its unique HCM offerings that help customers accelerate business value with Workday, including Wipro’s Cloud & Beyond for HRO.

Cloud & Beyond for HRO is an innovative BPO solution that will integrate Workday with Wipro’s process and workflow management tools supported by Wipro’s implementation expertise, process support and transition management services. This unique solution will allow clients to manage HR operations in a more effective and efficient manner.



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