BC Should Look to India for International Students

Source: The Province via Academica

PSE institutions in British Columbia would be wise to “cultivate new markets” for international student enrolment and avoid becoming overly dependent on China, according to a US-based analyst. Rahul Choudaha tells The Province that despite a recent jump in the number of Chinese international students coming to BC, this growth—and the overall growth in international student numbers—is slowing. However, India stands out as an exception to this slowdown, says Choudaha, who notes that enrolments from India grew 25% last year, outpacing the growth rate of Chinese enrolments. “Given the scale and the growth potential of India as a source of international students, Canadian institutions have an untapped potential in recruiting Indian students at the bachelor’s level,” the analyst concludes.

Canadian PSE Representatives Travel to India on Trade Mission

Source: Ontario Business Mission to India Press Kit via Academica

Representatives from five Canadian colleges and nine universities have travelled with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on a trade mission to India. An ON release states that the purpose of the mission is to “strengthen economic, political and cultural ties with the world’s third-largest economy.” The creation of new institutional partnerships between the two countries features as one of the highest priorities for the participating Canadian PSE institutions. Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan has also joined the mission, along with 12 delegates from that province.

Future Scope 2014 Education Fair

Future Scope 2014 Education Fair

Future Scope Education Fair 2014 is a quest to provide every student the solution and guidance towards choosing the right career. Consisting of seminars, a counsellors forum & career advisors, the fair aspires to guide students to choose the right institution and course in line with their future aspirations.

More information can be found at: http://futurescope.co.in

Students to Be Connected Through Cloud Services

Source: Times of India | February 21, 2014

Guwahati: Students in Assam will soon be connected via cloud services, announced state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here on Thursday. 
Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of an event to distribute Netbooks among students under a government-sponsored programme, Sarma said that the education department is also aiming at providing internet connectivity for students in all colleges across the state to keep them updated. 
“We are planning to connect all the students who have got laptops and Netbooks through cloud services. Only then can the government’s initiative of providing laptops and Netbooks to students be fully effective,” said Sarma. 
The state government has been awarding free Netbook computers and laptops to students who have passed matriculation with 50 per cent or more marks. He said that plans to connect students with cloud services are aimed at keeping them in constant touch with the latest developments in the education department. 
“After the students are connected via cloud, we will be able to send them timely updates related to examinations and study routines and even send them study material,” the minister said. Cloud computing, which is a process of running a program or application over many computers connected by a network, will benefit thousands of matric passouts who have received laptop computers and Netbooks from the state government. Sarma said connecting the students through cloud services features in the state’s annual plan this year.

TCS Insights: The Indian government is achieving their goal of keeping Assam students connected to their studies by making portable computers accessible to an increasing number of students. Through this upgrade to the education system, students will have more access to course material and information than ever before.

Global Job Offers Double for IIM Bangalore Graduates

Source: Times of India | February 18, 2014

BANGALORE: It’s a windfall for the class of 2012-14 at the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore. Bucking negative trends, 388 students received 425 job offers from 150 companies during the final placement season. And compared to last year, international placements offered to the students doubled, from 20 to 41. This year, the B-school saw its biggest ever postgraduate programme in management (PGP) batch.

The pre-placement offers poured aplenty with 117 students receiving offers prior to the start of the final placements, which is 20% higher than last year.

The lateral placement season for candidates with more than 22 months of work experience broke all records with 127 offers made by firms in varied domains like strategy , leadership, product management , consulting and general management . Nine candidates chose to join social ventures.

The highest number of offers, about 27%, came from the consulting sector. Accenture Management Consulting, with 13 offers, was the top recruiter in this segment this year; McKinsey and Co. and the Boston Consulting Group had 11 each.

Average hike: The average salary offered this year is Rs 19.5 lakh per annum, 13.3% more than the Rs 17.2 lakh offered in 2013

Top sectors: Consulting 27% Banking & finance 19% IT & technology 17% General management 14%

Key recruiters: Amazon, Samsung, IBM, Coca-Cola , PepsiCo, Reliance Industries Ltd and Flipkart

Foreign companies flock to IIMB: Germany-based incubator Rocket Internet hired exclusively from IIMB for the first time, offering an international role for one candidate. Another firsttime recruiter was LinkedIn.

Sankarshan Basu, chairperson of Career Development Services, IIMB, said usually final placements take place during March. This year it was advanced by three weeks. Two students opted out of the placement process, with one wanting to pursue research and the other seeking to explore opportunities with his previous employer.

There is a rise in salary package over last year. This year the average salary is Rs 19.5 lakh per annum and the median salary, Rs 17.3 lakh. Last year, they were Rs 17.2 lakh and Rs 15.5 lakh, respectively. Ankit Rustogi, students’ placement representative , said the highest salary packages were offered by general management and financial services sector.

TCS Insights: Students of IIMB found success after graduation with many graduates quickly earning job offers, including international placements. Industries that have seeked IIMB graduates include Management, IT, Consulting, Banking and Finance. With the average annual salary offered having increased from last year, graduates look to gain as much from foreign companies as these firms hope to gain from their new employees.

Translating Culture vs. Cultural Translation

Source: Hindi Center

Contact: Ravi Kumar, President – Indian Translators Association, 613-707-1349; [email protected]

Harish Trivedi, Professor at University of Delhi, highly appreciates the fact that over last two or three decades, translation and translation studies have become a more visible, more prolific and more respectable activity than ever before.

Trivedi further links this discipline with post-colonial studies that emerged as an area of studies just a few years before translation studies and both of them have become interactive to each through a series of books in this direction, eg. Siting Translation: History, Poststructuralism and the Colonial Context (1992) by Tejaswini Niranjana, The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan (1997) by Eric Cheyfitz, Translation and Empire: Postcolonial Theories Explained (1997) by Douglas Robinson, and Postcolonial Translation: Theory and Practice (1999), a collection of essays edited by Susan Bassnett and Harish Trivedi etc.

Before new development took place, translation remained confined to two different subjects or discipline: linguistics and comparative literature, and remained restricted to substitution of a text in one language for a text in another. But shortly after, it began to be noticed that literary texts were constituted not primarily of language but in fact of culture, language being in effect a vehicle of culture. 

Trivedi recognizes that interaction of language with culture helped translation studies expand its horizons and revitalize the discipline. This helped liberate it from the completely mechanical tool of analysis available in linguistics. The words which proved intractable are often described as being culture specific. For example, words like kurta, dhoti, roti, loochi, dharma, karma, or maya etc.  began to be treated as specific cultural elements very different from their corresponding western near equivalence shirt, trouser, bread, religion, deeds both past and present, or illusion respectively. Slowly not only some words were taken as culture specific but indeed the whole language became specific to the particular culture it belonged to.

Trivedi refers to Susan Bassnett and Andre Lefevere who added cultural dimension to translation studies through their title, ‘the cultural turn in translation studies’ in their book – Translation History and Culture (1990). Trivedi further explains, it was Susan Bassnett who declared death of comparative literature in wake of gaining popularity of post–colonial literature.

Trivedi is concerned with the fact that in parallel there has been growth of Culture Studies – from Eurocentric beginning to International stature- which is like translation studies is interdisciplinary in nature, but of them have failed to interact properly. Susan Bassnett did propose a four point agenda: the way in which different culture construct their images of writers and texts, a tracking of the ways in which text become cultural capital across culture boundaries, and an exploration of the politics of translation, especially of what Lawerence Venuti has called, “ethnocentric violence of translation”, and pooling of the resources.

Trivedi is disappointed with the fact that the cultural turn in translation and culture studies have not come to terms together, maybe because of the fact that translation deals at least between two languages whereas culture studies deals only in one language mainly English. Hence it remains an unfulfilled desire.

Trivedi further moves on to yet another discipline called, “Cultural Translation”. This may not be confused with old fashioned sense of translation that involves domestication of text from source to target language. This sort of cultural translation is yet to find its entry in the encyclopedia and anthologies of translation studies, and that this sort of Cultural translation is a dangerous trend that promotes monolingualism, monoculturalism and wants to convert multicultural and diversified world to a monolithic world.

Trivedi sites some examples of this postcolonial and postmodernist discourse and refers to Homi Bhabha who promotes this trend. Trivedi is critical of Bhabha who in his book, “The Location of Culture (1994)” discusses Salman Rushdie’s novel “Satanic Verses” as an example of cultural translation, inspite of the fact that this mentioned book was written originally in English and read in that language only (not in any other translation). Trivedi called it representation of postcolonial diaspora, and what Bhaba is talking is “Transnational as Translational”. Trivedi rejects this concept and suggests for use of another word in place of translation. It is not translation, it is a process of human migrancy.

Trivedi further sites examples of Hanif Kureishi, a writer born in England with one British and one Indian/Pakistani parents. He has nothing to do with immigrant population as he is by birth British, but he writes on new British immigrant’s communities because he is being paid for it. Thus Trivedi rejects Bhabha’s claim that cultural translation is the need of immigrant population, and asserts that such works are hegemonic western demand and necessity.

Trivedi further sites examples of Jhumpa Lahiri, who was born of Bengali parents in London, grew in America to become an American citizen at age of 18. She has written fiction not about Indians in America, but also some stories about Indians still living in India. She has been criticized for having reflected erroneous and defective understanding of India. She admits that her knowledge of India is limited- the same way- all translations are defective, thus her representation of India is her translation of India. She further elaborates that almost all her characters are translators, insofar as they must make sense to the foreign to survive.

Trivedi is very much worried about use of the word translation with cultural translation as it dilutes the discipline of translation studies. Therefore, he calls for use of other words like migrancy, exile or diaspora with culture to describe such phenomenon, but not the “Translation”.

Trivedi is worried over Susan Bassnett’s statement on Edwin Gentzler’s book, “Contemporary Translation Theories” where she says, “… the book is not only a critical survey but effectively also a translation, it transforms a whole range of complex theoretical material into accessible language”. Trivedi puts his concern by saying, “it is the same language English, in which such theoretical complexity and such accessibility both exist”.

Thus we notice that Trivedi ‘s concern on dilution of the word ‘translation’ with monolingual cultural interpretation of migrant population is quite genuine, and that a careful approach is needed to tackle such dilution process that aims to bury multilingualism, multiculturalism and diversity of culture in name of cultural translation.

Times Higher Education to Add India-specific Parameters to Ranking

Source: The Economic Times | January 6, 2014

NEW DELHI: Indian institutions could improve their scores dramatically in Times Higher Education’s globally cited World University Rankings as the British magazine has agreed to develop and include India-specific parameters for assessment from the next time.

Confirming the development, education secretary Ashok Thakur said the human resource development ministry had asked all groupings of domestic institutions such as the IITs, National Institutes of Technology and central universities to appoint a nodal person to coordinate with Times Higher Education to develop India-specific parameters.

Domestic institutions have long argued that the rankings, which give 55% weight to research indicators and 30% to teaching environment, including 15% to the faculty, do not take into account extenuating “Indian circumstances”.

No Indian institution has yet made it to the top 100 in the rankings, in which Panjab University is the highest ranked domestic institution clubbed in the group of universities ranked 226-250.

India’s premier engineering colleges, the Indian Institutes of Technology, made it to the list last year, with the IITs from Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee all ranked in the group of institutions between 351 and 400.

The government has been concerned over the poor performance of domestic institutions in international rankings and keen to ensure that the rankings take India-specific parameters on board.

There is little clarity on what exactly constitutes “Indian circumstances” except the constitutionally mandated reservation quotas (15% for scheduled castes, 7.5% for scheduled tribes and 27% for other backward classes) and the cross-cutting quota for physically-challenged persons. But issues including intake of foreign students, foreign faculty, marketing and branding of institutions will be addressed while designing India-specific parameters for assessment.

Academics and analysts argue that it is unfair to compare India’s top institutions with American or other western institutions. Centrally-funded institutions such as the IITs, which have a national mandate, cannot admit foreign students at the undergraduate level, and restrictions on assistantships for international students make it difficult to attract foreign students at the PhD level.

None of India’s publicly-funded higher education institution can hire foreign nationals as regular faculty members since guidelines prohibit hiring of foreigners for jobs with salaries less than $25,000 a year. Moreover, even at higher salaries, international faculty can only be brought in on contract for up to five years.

The ministry had also approached the widely respected Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Rankings to develop India-specific parameters for assessment.

TCS Insights: By using India-specific parameters, Indian educational institutions will be better able to compete with international colleges and universities when ranked together. It is difficult for publicly funded institutions in India to measure up to global competition while unable to take in foreign undergraduate students and competing for PhD students from abroad. Times Higher Education has made it possible for such institutions to compete in a manner that is better suited for them.

Only 10% of Students Have Access to Higher Education in Country

Source: Times of India via Newswatch India | January 5, 2014

NEW DELHI: Access to education beyond higher secondary schooling is a mere 10% among the university-age population in India. This is the finding of a report “Intergenerational and Regional Differentials in Higher Education in India” authored by development economist, Abusaleh Shariff of the Delhi-based Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy and Amit Sharma, research analyst of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.  
The report says that a huge disparity exists — as far as access to higher education is concerned — across gender, socio-economic religious groups and geographical regions. The skew is most marked across regions. Thus, a dalit or Muslim in south India, though from the most disadvantaged among communities, would have better access to higher education than even upper caste Hindus in many other regions. Interestingly, people living in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — designated as the north central region — and those in northeast India have the worst access to higher education. Those in southern India and in the northern region — consisting of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Haryana and Delhi — are relatively better placed in this regard.  
In the age group 22-35 years, over 15% in the northern region and 13% in the southern region have access to higher education. In the north-central region, the number is just 10% for men and 6% for women whereas in the northeast, only 8% men and 4% women have access to higher education.  
The report, brought out by the US-India Policy Institute in Washington, is based on data from the 64th round of NSSO survey 2007-08. It throws up quite a few other interesting facts. For instance, among communities, tribals and dalits fare worst with just 1.8% of them having any higher education. Muslims are almost as badly off, with just 2.1% able to go for further learning. Similarly, just 2% of the rural population is educated beyond higher secondary level, compared to 12% of the urban population and just 3% of women got a college education compared to 6% of men.  
South India offers the best opportunities for socially inclusive access to higher education including technical education and education in English medium. For instance, the share of Hindu SC/ST in technical education in south India is about 22%, and the share of Muslims 25%. These were the lowest shares among all communities in south India. But this was higher than the share of most communities including Hindu OBCs and upper caste Hindus in most other regions. South India also has the highest proportion of higher education in the private sector at about 42%, followed by western India where it is 22%. The northeast has the least privatized higher education sector and is almost entirely dependent on government-run or aided institutions.  
Not surprisingly, government institutions are the cheapest places to study at, with annual expenditures ranging from less than Rs 1,000 to around Rs 1,500, except in north and south India, where the average is above Rs 2,000. Both private and private-aided institutions are quite costly, making them difficult to access for the poor. With little regulation of the quality of education and cost differentials, the poor and deprived are often trapped in low quality education, the report points out. It adds that although free education is provided at school level, it is almost non-existent at higher levels.  
The report also compares India’s low 10% access to higher education with China’s 22% enrolment and the 28% enrolment in the US. Since the early 1990s, China’s post-secondary enrolments grew from 5 million to 27 million, while India’s expanded from 5 million to just 13 million, says the report, while emphasizing that higher education has the potential to enhance productivity and economic value both at the individual and national levels.  
“The government has to urgently address the geographical skew in the availability of higher education facilities in the two regions of north-east and north-central,” says Shariff. “The central region, comprising Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha, too needs attention. There is so much talk about a Harvard in India. I say, give two hoots to Harvard. What we need are thousands of community colleges that can offer professional courses so that youngsters can improve their skills and become employable.”

TCS Insights: In regards to the ability to access a higher education, disparities are apparent across a various groups in India. Due to a lack of regulation, in terms of the quality of education provided, not being able to afford a private institution can lead to individuals earning a poorer education because of where they are from, in addition to factors such as religious beliefs and gender. It is thought that increased enrolment in higher education has been linked to both individual and national improvements.

India Confronting Multiple Challenges, Crises in Higher Education: Ansari

Source: News Track India | January, 9, 2014

Lucknow, (ANI): Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Thursday said that India as a nation is facing multiple challenges and crises in terms of delivery in the higher education sector, and warned that if comprehensive correctives are not initiated, the demographic dividend would be severely compromised on the employability front in the years to come. 

He said that it was lamentable to note that in spite of the higher education system turning out nearly seven lakh science and engineering graduates every year,industry surveys have shown that only 25 percent of these are employable without further training. 

He said comprehensive correctives had to be applied on quality covering students, faculty and teaching, research and assessment standards while delivering an annual convocation address at the University of Lucknow. 

He said that any assessment of what ails “our institutions of higher education must begin with the quality of the school leavers that seek admission in them.” 

“The challenge here is to modulate the very considerable quality difference between the elite higher secondary schools in the public and private sectors on the one hand and the average or below average ones on the other, a difference that is often camouflaged by the variations in marking standards by different Boards,” he said. 

Ansari said that in the 21st century, the world is increasingly moving towards a knowledge economy, where industrial trade relations are being replaced by a complex system of information exchange. 

“This has shifted the focus to a nation’s abilities and resources to produce and generate new knowledge that can place it on top of the global power hierarchy. Countries are now required to match the global demand for skills with appropriate supply of human resources in order to remain competitive in the global market place,” he said. 

He expressed that a disturbing phenomenon is the lack of focus on research with only one per cent of the enrolled students pursuing research in various areas. 

According to data for 2009, India stood eleventh in terms of number of papers published, seventeenth in terms of the number of citations, and thirty fourth in terms of number of citations per paper. 

“Our research output as global share of scientific publications was a mere 3.5 per cent compared to 21 per cent of China. The total number of patent applications filed by Indians in 2010 comprised only 0.3 per cent of the total applications filed globally. The picture is no better in social sciences and humanities. In social sciences, India is 12th in ranking with 1.18 percent of global publication share compared to China’s 3rd rank and 5.14 percent share,” Ansari said. 

The vice president said that given the structure of the higher education system, the attainments of these objectives would need to be a collective effort of the central and state governments.

TCS Insights: It is said that various sectors of the Indian education system is in need of corrective actions. Ansari claims that further investments in research, similar to those seen in Canada, can make India increasingly competitive in the global knowledge economy.

Steel imports to remain a hot issue for India

Source: Business Standard

The speed at which China built steel capacity has left the rest of the world bewildered

Overcapacity and production more than the market can absorb at rates remunerative for suppliers have remained principal concerns for the world steel industry since the 2008-09 global financial meltdown, the members of which still keep flying. In the first quarter of this year, the world steel production at 388.696 million tonnes (mt) clocked a growth of 2.3 per cent over the corresponding period of 2012. In contrast to growing production restraints in most parts of the world, Asian steel output in the first three months of 2013 advanced on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis by 6.4 per cent to 259.8 mt. The speed at which China built steel capacity has left the rest of the world bewildered. Once again the progress in Asia’s production so far this year is largely on account of the world’s second largest economy.

China’s production growth when steel prices remain under pressure and capacity lay off in particularly high-cost centres continues, is not endearing the steel goliath to others. The first quarter steel production in the European Union was down 5.4 per cent to 41.5 mt, while North American output slid 5.7 per cent to 29.7 mt. This led an official of consulting firm Wood Mackenzie to tell Reuters that “most of the world is in decline, but the steel industry in China isn’t disciplined in the way Europe might be”. He thinks with Chinese production remaining “persistently high,” steel prices cannot but remain under pressure leading to margin erosion for producers everywhere. The issue is why should China be courting criticism of other producing nations and still stick to growing steel production. Moreover, near-term industry outlook is not at all encouraging. An official of ArcelorMittal credits China for building a “fearsome low-cost steel industry”. At the same time, some spirited house cleaning operation notwithstanding, the Chinese industry is still left with a good amount of high cost and polluting capacity.

That China supports its steel industry and steel products exports by way of subsidies is widely known and resented. The subsidy issue comes to the fore at regular intervals as China will have scrap with countries alleging dumping of steel products by it to the detriment of local producers. What, however, should not be lost sight of is that an industry with China’s capacity is a massive provider of employment in steel mills, upstream mines, downstream value-adding enterprises and tertiary sectors. More than half the steelmakers in China are government owned. Neither Beijing nor the provincial authorities are ready to risk economic disorder and social unrest by withdrawing life-sustaining government support to steel mills. The ArcelorMittal official says, “We are mesmerised by China, but if you look at its steel industry, despite its rise, 92 per cent of steel companies are trading at a loss.” Rising cost of energy and finance is steadily robbing Chinese industry of the status of a low-cost producer. Steel mill wage bill too, is spiralling. And this is happening when world steel demand grows slowly.

In case China sustains steel production at the first quarter rate, then it will end the year with an output of 768 mt against 716.5 mt in 2012. In its short range outlook, World Steel Association says steel use in China in 2013 should rise by 3.5 per cent to 668.8 mt. This is to leave China with an exportable surplus of nearly 100 mt. A point of concern for India, which already is a net steel importer: We should also keep an eye on Japan where softening of yen has significantly improved export competitiveness of its steel. At the same time, “conditions in Europe will remain under pressure in spite of acceleration in production discipline. We, therefore, expect southern European steelmakers to increase their presence in export markets,” says an analyst with Metal Bulletin. In this context is to be seen SAIL Chairman Chandra Shekhar Verma’s observation that “Steel imports will remain a hot button issue for India as long as the world will have much surplus capacity and producers in many places will be in some desperation to export extra metal with them.”

India’s March steel production at 6.86 mt shows a y-o-y rise of 6.5 per cent. However, production rise in this year’s first quarter at 19.826 mt was 2.8 per cent more than in the corresponding period of 2012. Production rises here are due to more and more capacity coming on stream from new projects and existing mill expansion. In fact, this will remain the trend as the country targets a steel industry of the size of 180 mt to 200 mt by 2020. As we go forward, large capacities on account of SAIL, Tata Steel, Vizag Steel and others will get commissioned in close proximity. But will local demand be growing at a rate to ensure that the steel industry will not at any stage be left with much surplus capacity. To go by the observations of Tata Steel Managing Director Hemant Nerurkar and SAIL’s Verma, steel demand in an emerging economy with its focus on infrastructure development should be more than tracking the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate. A six per cent GDP growth in 2013-14 should, therefore, translate into Indian steel use growing at double last year’s 3.3 per cent.


Looking for India’s Zuckerberg

Source: The Economist

A pioneer in outsourcing but a laggard in the internet era, can India become a leader in mobile technology?

Information technology has been a mighty force for good in India. Its first tech revolution began 30 years ago, when a few engineers came up with the unlikely idea of doing back-office IT work for far-off Western firms. Today that outsourcing industry is a capitalist marvel. It has annual sales of $100 billion, mostly from abroad, and these export earnings have been vital in a country with a weak balance of payments. Millions of good jobs in India have been created. Young Indians have seen that globalization creates winners. India’s reputation in the world has changed, too: Bangalore’s shining IT campuses have become as famous as the Ganges and the Gandhis.

Yet India has been a comparative failure in terms of innovation over the past decade. You might have expected India’s many advantages (the English language, abundant engineers and a thriving diaspora in Silicon Valley) to pay off spectacularly on the internet. But only a few start-ups have made clever technical innovations that have been sold abroad. And at home e-commerce is in its infancy, with sales only 6% of China’s. Thanks to lousy infrastructure, useless regulation and a famously corrupt telecoms sector, the web is available to only 10% of Indians, many of them squinting at screens in cafés.

India boasts no big internet firms to compare with Chinese giants such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, nor start-up stars like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Instead, it has seen a succession of false dawns, from its version of the dotcom bubble in 1998-2002 to more recent hype over deal-of-the-day websites and text-based cricket updates. In 2010-11 lots of start-ups raised cash, but they have struggled since. Venture capitalists grumble that their returns have been poor. The original emerging-market tech pioneer has fallen behind in the internet era.

Feeling luckier

Catching up should be a priority for India—not least because its outsourcing champions are now reaching middle age. As the wages of India’s engineers rise, its IT industry cannot rely for ever on doing straightforward work cheaply for foreigners. The good news is that India now has a chance to lead again; the bad news is that this opportunity relies in part on Delhi’s bureaucrats not messing it up.

Optimism springs, first, from a healthy stock of young entrepreneurs (see article). Many have gained valuable experience working in America or for multinational firms. Many are battle-hardened through previous ventures that flopped, from dairy farms to bowling alleys. As in California, failure is no longer frowned upon in India. New firms such as Flipkart and Redbus are adapting Western e-commerce models to deal with India’s rickety logistics and cash-based economy. They are transforming mundane areas such as bus tickets, and opening up scores of smaller cities to modern retailing. Tens of millions of people are benefiting as a result.

The second change is the mobile internet. India’s fixed-line system may be abysmal, but cheap smartphones and fast wireless networks are rapidly spreading. India is poised to leapfrog the era of the personal computer and go straight to the mobile-internet age. Already a quarter of internet traffic is from phones, compared with a seventh worldwide. E-commerce sites are getting a surge in activity from phone-users.

But this budding revolution needs clever regulation. Outsourcing boomed in part because it avoided government: the product was exported through global networks. The mobile internet needs capital, payment systems, and wireless capacity. In all three areas the government is in the way.

The e-commerce industry appears stymied by the same restrictive rules on foreign investment that have bedevilled bricks-and-mortar retailing. Only a fifth of Indians have credit or debit cards—and using them online is a nightmare, again thanks to regulations (India could learn a lot from Africa’s use of mobile money). And India needs more and better wireless networks; some big players such as Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, have been tempted in, but the telecoms regime is a tangle of overcomplicated rules and graft.

India has the talent to lead in the mobile internet, as it did in outsourcing. But so long as Indians struggle to get a signal or to make payments, the revolution will be held back.

‘India is compelling example for Commonwealth’

Source: The Economic Times

LONDON: India is a compelling example for the Commonwealth nations on issues of human rights and democracy, Canada’s special envoy for the 54-member grouping has said.

Describing India as a “powerful, significant and important player in the Commonwealth,” Senator Hugh Segal, Canada’s special envoy for Commonwealth renewal, said, “We believe that both on issues of human rights and democracy India is a compelling example for the rest of the Commonwealth.”

He said “India’s presence is fundamental. India’s influence around the world is increasing because of the power of its economy, remarkable exports in terms of trade and technology and skills sets. It is one of the fundamental pyramids of the Commonwealth and fundamental to its survival and success.”

“Canada has always viewed India as an important bilateral ally and we see them as partners in efforts to modernize the Commonwealth and make it as effective in people’s lives as humanly possible.

“India has been a partner of growing significance. It has invested in the Commonwealth. It has been very active on issues like Commonwealth scholarships and technical assistance.”

He said aid from India to other Commonwealth countries has been a great value and importance and “we believe that the interest India has taken for championing human rights and other issues as it relates to Sri Lanka is a very constructive force.”

“A constructive force of engagement and we respect Indian participation and contribution. We also feel India can do even more.”

Richard Bale named as new Consul General for Canada in Mumbai

Source: Connect – Canada in India

Taking over as the new Consul General for Canada in Mumbai on March 5, Richard Bale said, “Canada has great potential for collaboration in the Indian market in the areas of education, energy, agriculture and infrastructure. I look forward to working with Canadian and Indian organizations and people to increase the linkages between our two countries.” As Head of Canada’s mission in Mumbai, Consul General Richard Bale leads the charge in promoting relations between Canada and Western India, including the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Madhya Pradesh.

Welcoming the new appointment, Stewart Beck, High Commissioner for Canada to India, said, “Canada and India are working together towards achieving the ambitious goal of increasing bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015. We are happy to welcome Richard to India and are confident that he will play a significant role in helping us not only to meet our objectives but to surpass them.”

India launches Canadian satellites

Source: Connect – Canada In India

Two Canadian satellites were launched on board Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C20 rocket from the spaceport at Sriharikota, India, on February 24. The Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) NEOSSat is the world’s first experimental microsatellite designed to detect and track space objects, debris and satellites, and, Canada’s Department of National Defence satellite Sapphire is Canada’s first dedicated operational military satellite. Team Connect spoke with CSA on their latest satellite and the cooperation with India, check it out!

Imax sets its sight on Bollywood and India’s audiences

Source: BBC News via Indian Economic Business News

With 689 movie theatres in 52 countries, the large-screen cinema operator Imax has emerged as a truly global player in the world of films. The Canadian company has yet to conquer India, home to the world’s second largest film industry after Hollywood. More than a decade after first entering India, there are still just four Imax theatres in India. And even as the company guns for growth, their number is expected to barely hit double digits by the end of this year. Mr Gelfond said it is difficult to compete in a country with as strong a cinema culture as India’s In India, Bollywood films that are often low-budget are shown all over the country, often in small, local cinemas where tickets cost $2-3. This makes it much harder to sell an altogether different entertainment proposition that costs five times as much or more, he says. Imax’s latest India strategy is much more comprehensive than its previous ones. At its core is a partnership with Bollywood production company Yash Raj Films Studios to shoot Dhoom 3 in the Imax format, in an effort to build on the success of blockbusters Dhoom and Dhoom 2.

Canada-India research centre builds healthier communities

Source: Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada via Indian Economic Business News

Communities in Canada and India will be the first to try out new technologies related to water quality, infrastructure and public health, owing to the new India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS). The centre was announced in November as the winner of the Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence competition, an NCE initiative introduced in the 2011 federal budget. “Canada needs to be connected to an international supply of ideas, research, talent and technologies in order to prosper in an increasingly competitive global environment,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in announcing the competition results. “This new Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence will build stronger bilateral research ties and create valuable learning opportunities while generating positive economic and social benefits for both countries.” Major Canadian and Indian universities, as well as various private and public sector partners in Canada and India, will pool their expertise in IC- IMPACTS’ efforts to develop and implement better ways of providing safe drinking water, building sustainable and affordable infrastructure, and preventing and treating diseases in the two countries.

Haryana offers trained manpower to Canada’s Manitoba province

Source: PTI via Indian Economic Business News

Haryana has offered the services of doctors, drivers and trained manpower to Manitoba province of Canada. The offer was made by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda during his meeting with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and members of his delegation, who called on him recently. Mr. Hooda said drivers of Haryana are well known for their skill and enterprise. Haryana has three government-run Driving Schools in Kaithal, Bahadurgarh and Rohtak. He said Indian doctors are also doing well in the US, the UK and other countries and asked the Canadian authorities to provide their syllabus to fill in the gap and train them as per Canadian requirements. Indian doctors going to Canada will not have to undertake further studies in Canada and it will thus save them a number of years. Hooda said Haryana being an educational hub also has a number of prestigious technical institutions, which are providing skilled training to youth. Their skills can further be upgraded as per the syllabus of Manitoba.

Canadian Province of Manitoba expanding business with India, says Premier Selinger

Source: Asia Pacific Business & Technology Report via Indian Economic Business News

Visiting Premier of Canada’s Manitoba Province, Greg Selinger congratulated Manitoban firms for growing their business with India, and welcomed a major Indian firm that has established its Canadian headquarters in provincial capital Winnipeg. “India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and with our strong cultural and business connections, there’s huge potential for greater trade between our economies,” said Selinger, Manitoba’s 21st premier. “Homegrown companies like Westeel and MTM are thriving and sharing Manitoban expertise with India, helping store their grains and foods, and power their homes and businesses. And Indian firms like Riya Travel are taking advantage of opportunities in Manitoba,” he added. Westeel, a leader in the commercial storage industry, announced it will open an office in Mumbai to share its expertise in agricultural storage to help Indian producers preserve more of their harvest and better protect India’s food supply. Micro Tool and Machine Ltd. (MTM) of Winnipeg and Kirpekar Engineering of Pune announced the creation of a joint venture company, MTM-Kirpekar, to design and manufacture advanced transformer production equipment for the Indian market. Riya Travel, one of India’s largest travel companies, also announced the official opening of its Canadian headquarters in Winnipeg to grow its Canadian operations.

Inflation likely to ease to 6.5% by March-end: PMEAC

Source: Press Trust of India via Indian Economic Business News

Prime Minister’s key economic advisor C Rangarajan hoped that inflation will come down to 6.5% by end-March and suggested that steps should be taken to release more food stocks to ease price pressure. The wholesale price index-based (WPI) inflation eased to 6.62% in January, from 7.18% in December, 2012, as per official data. “The decline in inflation is a welcome and reassuring sign. I expect March end inflation to be 6.5%,” said Dr. Rangarajan, the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman, adding that January inflation has moderated more than expected. This is the fourth straight month of decline in the WPI numbers. Retail inflation, however, remained in double digits at 10.79% in January mainly on account of higher prices of vegetables, edible oil, cereals and protein-based items. Dr. Rangarajan said with the moderation in manufacture or core inflation in January, there was a need to focus on supply side easing of food articles. Inflation in manufactured items category witnessed a decline and stood at 4.81% in January, from 5.04% in the previous month.