TCS becomes world’s most powerful IT Services brand

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s top IT services and consulting company today said that it has been rated as the world’s most powerful brand in IT Services by Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation firm.

Brand Finance’s 2016 annual report evaluates thousands of the world’s top brands to determine which are the most powerful, and the most valuable. Scoring highly on a wide variety of measures on Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index, such as familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation,

TCS emerged as the IT services industry’s most powerful brand with a score of 78.3 points – earning it an AA+ rating. Across all industries, Disney was rated as the most powerful brand and Apple as the most valuable brand for 2016.

TCS is also the fastest growing brand within its industry over the last 6 years. The company’s overall brand value has increased from $ 2.34 billion in 2010 (when the first evaluation of the TCS brand was conducted) to $ 9.04 billion in 2016 with a growth rate of 286%.

“TCS’ customer focus has been central to its recent success, but a closer look at our data shows strong and improving scores for brand investment and staff satisfaction too. It has emerged as a dominant force in the IT services industry and is the strongest brand in the sector. Its brand power is indisputabl,” said David Haigh, CEO – Brand Finance.

“Customer centricity lies at the heart of our organization and is a key driver for growth of the TCS brand. The efforts of our 344,000 employees – our best brand ambassadors – have helped our brand strength to be rated at the top of our industry,” said N. Chandrasekaran, CEO and Managing Director – TCS.

Over the last year, TCS has invested in several strategic initiatives to strengthen its brand. Its branding, public relations, sponsorships, employer brand and community programmes have been recognized with 30+ awards worldwide in 2015.


Modi’s New Year gift: With ATMs and all, ‘Post Bank’ is readying itself to serve the poor

Things are fast progressing for India Post’s grand entry to banking industry.
As the latest step, on Tuesday, the NDA-government amended the Post Office Savings Bank General Rules, 1981 to permit select offices of Department of Posts to issue ATM cards to savings bank account holders and issue account statements, instead of the traditional passbooks.
Presently, the service will be limited to only those post branches, which are under the core banking solution (CBS) network. To put it simple, CBS makes possible real time operation of a bank account across all branches connected through the network.
That is the reason why a customer can transact in their accounts in any bank branches. Most Indian commercial banks have covered their entire branches under CBS.

For India Post, only 676 post offices are under the CBS network out of its total 1.55 lakh branches. Hence the ATM/account statement services will be initially limited to those branches. However, the department is currently undertaking a project to cover more number of branches under CBS as part of its IT-modernisation programme, besides increasing its ATM network to 2,800 by 2015.
The point to be noted here is with the permission to operate accounts through ATMs and issue account statements instead of a post office passbook, India post has already almost become a bank, albeit, in small scale, and if one exclude the credit operations business. A customer can keep their savings, draw statements, withdraw money from ATMs like in any other bank.
India Post already manages deposits worth ove Rs 6 lakh crore under its various deposit schemes.
To offer credit, however, the department needs to set up a formal bank. Early this month, a task force, headed by former cabinet secretary, TSR Subramanian and comprising of experts that includes former Infosys board member TV Mohandas Pai, had mooted the creation of a full fledged post bank that can undertake all kind of business activities including credit like a normal bank, focusing on the poorest segments of the country.
But that process will take time, since such an avtar requires a fresh legislation and capital infusion from the government. The norms do not permit government entities to apply for a small bank licence.
But the postal department can certainly take the first step forward to realize the dream of ‘Post Bank of India’ by becoming a payments bank, permissible under recent RBI guidelines. The deadline to apply for payments bank is on January 16. Getting a payments bank licence will be cakewalk for posts, since RBI is already is in favour of its candidature to become a bank.
India Post was among the 25 contenders for a full service banking licence last year but didn’t get into the final list since the UPA government at the time wasn’t keen on backing the move and refused to provide the department with the minimum capital required to set up a commercial bank.
RBI issued licences to only two from the 25–IDFC and Bandhan—for the full service operations but had observed that India Post can be given banking licences if government, technically the promoter of the proposed Post bank, gives its nod.
If financial inclusion is the topmost priority of the government, post bank’s entry into the banking can immensely benefit the poor, much more than the ongoing Jan Dhan Yojana, where state-run bankers are kept at gun point to meet the magical target numbers (Rs 10 crore in seven months), that in many cases has ended up in free distribution of duplicate bank accounts to existing account holders with loose KYC norms.
Force-feeding financial inclusion to the poor and unbanked has hardly worked in India in the past as is evident from large number of dormant accounts under the massive no-frills account opening drive under the RBI and previous UPA-government. Instead, preparing the ground, where poor is given easy access to the formal financial system, can work better if the intent is the real inclusion.
And no one knows the unbanked farmer, vegetable vender or daily laborer in the villages more than the postman. They KYC process is already done and the villager will trust the Postman to keep his small savings than a brand-new bank.
Of its total network, about 1,39,040 post offices are in rural areas. Going by a 2011 estimate of the postal department, about 6,000 people are covered on average by post-offices in rural areas and about 24,000 in urban areas.
Through its various saving schemes, Postal department handles deposits to the tune of Rs 6,00,000 crore.
The department only needs to manage the fresh resources needed to undertake full-service banking operations; the infrastructure is already present.
As Firstpost has noted several times before, the entry of post to the scene can change the game in banking. May be, that’s the best gift Modi can offer to India’s poor in 2015.

MTNL Launches New Schemes on Good Governance Day

On the occasion of Good Governance Day, Minister of Communications & Information Technology Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad has launched three new schemes and services for the customers of MTNL. These schemes and services of MTNL are expected to deliver better services to its customers and will synergize with the initiatives being taken to achieve Good Governance. The salient features of these schemes / services are:

1. Make Jodi:

In this plan, MTNL Prepaid Mobile Subscriber can make Jodi (Pair) with another MTNL mobile or land line number. The calls to the paired number will be charged @ 20 paise per minute whereas the calls to other local network and STD calls will be charged @ 40 paise per minute and 50 paise per minute respectively. This tariff plan is very competitive. Apart from this package, during the first month of activation, 100 minutes local calls on MTNL network and 200 MB data download will be free. However, the paired number should be from MTNL and the same city.

2. Waiver of one month Rent:

MTNL in its endeavor to provide affordable and customer friendly services, has launched a scheme in which the subscriber who books Broadband connection or Combo Plan (Landline +Broadband) between Good Governance Day ( 25.12.2014) and 66th Republic Day (26.01.2015) will get waiver for fixed charges i.e. one month Rental only upto Rs.999/-. The moto of this scheme is also to expand broadband internet services to the customers of both Delhi and Mumbai and to contribute in Digital India and Good Governance initiatives of Govt.

3. MTNL App:

By going with Governments initiative to bring Good Governance, MTNL launched an application. By installing this application in his/her Android Mobile Phone, one can use certain MTNL services without visiting any of its offices. Through this application, subscriber can book new connection, make complaint for faulty telecom services, can view telephone bills and make payment and get e-receipt for payments made. Subscriber can also get registered for getting telephone bills on e-mail. MTNL Self Care application for MTNL Mumbai and My MTNL application for MTNL Delhi can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

Vodafone to encourage start-ups in mobile apps in India

Leading telecom service provider Vodafone would actively encourage start-ups in the mobile applications arena as part of facilitating young entrepreneurs, MD and CEO Marten Pieters said.“We have created a new platform for young entrepreneurs who have developed mobile apps,” Pieters said at Infocomm 2014 here today. He said that Vodafone would offer such start-ups to plug in their apps and help them gain access to 75-million-odd subscribers of the telecom firm’s network in India.

Stating that the telecom sector was contributing to Indian society in a big way, Pieters said the industry had created both social and economic development in the country by offering huge employment opportunities

Barnes and Noble, Microsoft end two year Nook Media partnership

Barnes & Noble struck a deal to buy Microsoft’s stake in Nook Media LLC, ending a two-year partnership and clearing the way for the bookseller to spin off its loss-making e-reader and digital content division.

Barnes & Noble shares closed down 5.4 percent on the New York Stock Exchange after the company also reported a much-weaker-than-expected quarterly profit, due to lower sales of Nook devices.

The company estimated the value of the cash and share deal at about $125 million.

Nook, launched in 2009, enjoyed initial success but has ended up costing Barnes & Noble hundreds of millions of dollars as it was unable to keep pace with’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad.

Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader in 2012 to gain a foothold in the fast-growing e-books market. As of Sept. 9, Microsoft owned about 17 percent of Nook Media through preferred shares.

Barnes & Noble said in June it would spin off its Nook Media business, which includes college bookstores, to focus on its retail book business.

“We mutually agreed that it made sense to terminate the agreement,” a Microsoft spokesman said in an email. Microsoft will lose money on its initial investment, but will also be spared any future payments to fund Nook, which were running at about $21 million per quarter.

Under the agreement announced on Thursday, Microsoft will have the right to receive about 22.7 percent of total proceeds of Nook’s digital business, which excludes the college bookstores, if it is sold in the next three years.

Pearson Plc owns 5 percent of Nook Media, which had revenue of $815 million in the second quarter ended Nov. 1.

The company said it would buy Microsoft’s stake in Nook Media for $62.4 million in cash and about 2.7 million in shares.

Barnes & Noble said it now expected to complete the separation of its Nook Media business at the end of August 2015. It had earlier expected to complete it by March.

The company said its total revenue fell 2.6 percent to $1.69 billion in the second quarter. Retail sales fell 3.6 percent.

Net income fell to $12.3 million, or 12 cents per share, from $13.2 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average expected a profit of 31 cents per share on revenue of $1.69 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Food Ordering App TinyOwl Raises USD 3M from Sequoia and Nexus

Mumbai-based food ordering app, TinyOwl has raised USD 3 million led by Sequoia Capital and Nexus Ventures Partners. In August, the company had received USD 1 million. The latest round brings its total capital up to USD 4 million.

As per an ET report, the raised funds will be used to expand its presence in Mumbai as well as in other metros.

Launched in March 2014 by five IIT Bombay alumni, the company enables consumers to order food through their mobile phones and gets it delivered to their doorstep. Currently, the app is available for Android and iOS users. Payments can either be made via the app using credit cards or through cash-on delivery.

Recently, Delhi-based restaurant listing site Zomato, had raised USD 60 million in series E round led by Vy capital, Info Edge Limited and Sequoia Capital. Last month, Rocket Internet backed Foodpanda acquired Pune-based TastyKhana for an undisclosed amount.

Huawei and SingTel Team up to Launch 5G Joint Innovation Program

Chinese smartphone and telecommunication equipment manufacturer Huawei  will launch a joint innovation program with Singapore telecommunications and multimedia company, SingTel to develop 5G technology. As revealed on Thursday, at a forum in Shanghai, both companies will set up a team to conduct the 5G trial.

Huawei has also previously announced global plans to invest a minimum of USD 600 million in the research of 5G technologies by 2018 and commercial operation of 5G telecom services is in turn expected to start globally by 2020.

5G speeds is estimated to provide 1,000 times more capacity than current mobile broadband networks. The 5G network standard will be helpful to provide faster network speeds which can download a ”1 hour HD movie” in just few seconds.

SingTel Group CTO Mr. Tay Soo Meng said, “We are pleased to participate in this 5G Joint Innovation Program with Huawei to keep abreast and appreciate 5G technologies to ensure SingTel continue its technology leadership in the mobile communications domain as we move towards the 5G era.”

China and Singapore are not the first countries to team up for 5G development. South Korea and Samsung backed European Union are also in race to develop the technology. They are expected to launch jointly funded research projects in 2016 or 2017.

India and Israel countries also set up a joint effort to develop the global standard for the technology. The other players are also included in this space like Japan’s NTT Docomo, the U.S.’s Intel etc,

Rattled by Chinese submarines, India joins other nations in rebuilding fleet

is speeding up a navy modernisation programme and leaning on its neighbours to curb Chinese submarine activity in the Indian Ocean, as nations in the region become increasingly jittery over Beijing`s growing undersea prowess.

Just months after a stand-off along the disputed border dividing India and China in the Himalayas, Chinese submarines have shown up in Sri Lanka, the island nation off India`s southern coast. China has also strengthened ties with the Maldives, the Indian Ocean archipelago.

China`s moves reflect its determination to beef up its presence in the Indian Ocean, through which four-fifths of its oil imports pass, and coincides with escalating tension in the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing`s naval superiority has rattled its neighbours.

“We should be worried the way we have run down our submarine fleet. But with China bearing down on us, the way it is on the Himalayas, the South China Sea and now the Indian Ocean, we should be even more worried,” said Arun Prakash, former chief of the Indian navy.

“Fortunately, there are signs this government has woken up to the crisis,” he said. “But it will take time to rebuild. We should hope that we don`t get into a face-off with the Chinese, that our diplomacy and alliances will keep things in check.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s government has ordered an accelerated tendering process to build six conventional diesel-electric submarines at an estimated cost of 500 billion rupees ($8.1 billion), in addition to six similar submarines that French firm DCNS is assembling in Mumbai port to replace a nearly 30-year-old fleet hit by a run of accidents.

The country`s first indigenously built nuclear submarine – loaded with nuclear-tipped missiles and headed for sea trials this month – joins the fleet in late 2016. India leased a nuclear-propelled submarine from Russia in 2012 and is in talks to lease a second one, navy officials told Reuters.

The government has already turned to industrial group Larsen & Toubro Ltd, which built the hull for the first domestic nuclear submarine, to manufacture two more, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Elsewhere in the region, Australia is planning to buy up to 12 stealth submarines from Japan, while Vietnam plans to acquire as many as four additional Kilo-class submarines to add to its current fleet of two. Taiwan is seeking U.S. technology to build up its own submarine fleet.

Japan, locked in a dispute with China over islands claimed by both nations, is increasing its fleet of diesel-electric attack submarines to 22 from 16 over the next decade or so.

In addition to the leased Russian nuclear-propelled submarine, India`s navy currently has 13 ageing diesel-electric submarines, only half of which are operational at any given time due to refits. Last year, one of its submarines sank after explosions and a fire while it was docked in Mumbai.

China is estimated to have 60 conventional submarines and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, including three armed with nuclear weapons.

Ma Jiali, an expert at the China Reform Forum’s Centre for Strategic Studies which is affiliated with the Central Party School, said Beijing`s top concern in the Indian Ocean was safeguarding the passage of its commodities, especially oil.

“There are many voices in India who believe the Indian Ocean belongs solely to India, and no other country belongs there. That line of thought is common – but of course it shouldn’t be viewed like that. Our (China’s) view is that there should be dialogue and discussion between China and India.”

With India building its navy to about 150 ships, including two aircraft carriers, and China holding around 800 in its naval fleet, the two are more likely than not to run into each other, naval officials and experts say.

David Brewster, a strategic affairs visiting fellow at the Australian National University, said India will do everything it can to recover its dominant position in the Indian Ocean.

It may seek naval cooperation with Japan and Australia, and expand a military base on the Andaman Islands which lie about 140 km (87 miles) from the Malacca Straits, he said.

“India sees the presence of any Chinese naval vessel as an intrusion. There is a big ramp-up in their presence, which is clearly intended to send a message to India,” said Brewster.

India has engaged in intense diplomacy with Sri Lanka about the Chinese submarine presence, reminding it that New Delhi must be informed of such port calls under a maritime pact they signed this year along with the Maldives.

India has also muscled into an $8 billion deep water port that Bangladesh wants to develop in Sonadia in the Bay of Bengal, with the Adani Group submitting a proposal in October. China Harbour Engineering Company, an early bidder, was the front-runner.

“If China continues down this path and continues with this level of presence in the Indian Ocean then the Indians will feel they need to respond,” said Brewster.

Mercedes-Benz inaugurates new dealership in Mumbai

Mercedes-Benz India today opened a new dealership in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Located at Aston Tower, Lokhandawala, Andheri, the facility was inaugurated by Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India and Mohan Mariwala, Managing Director, Auto Hangar India Pvt. Ltd. With nine outlets in Mumbai (including this latest one) 13 outlets in Maharashtra, the Three Pointed Star has the densest network presence in the country with 67 outlets in 37 cities.

Speaking on the inauguration of Auto Hangar Andheri showroom, Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, “Mercedes-Benz is synonymous with luxury motoring and it has been our continuous endeavor to provide a superlative experiences to our customers in line with our core brand philosophy of ‘Best or Nothing’. Mumbai is a matured market and consumers expect luxury, technology and service that are at par with global standards. The new Mercedes-Benz showroom is equipped with world class features that are aimed to take care of all automotive needs of our evolving customers and thus establishing a world class car ownership experience. This is the 10th outlet we have inaugurated this year and continue to have the densest network in the country. Our bullishness is also echoed by our dealer partners, who are also investing into making such world-class facilities, and creating benchmarks in modern luxury.”


Spread over 6,000 sq. ft., Auto Hangar has a 7 car display in the showroom, along with valet parking, exclusive customer lounge, Mercedes Café, exclusive zones for accessories and collections and an exclusive AMG display area.

Mohan Mariwala, Director, Auto Hangar, said, “Our association with the Three Pointed Star is more than a decade old and we are delighted to take this association further with the inauguration of this world class showroom. This new Mercedes-Benz showroom is in the heart of the city and will enable us to successfully cater to our growing customer base. We look forward to being a part of the growth story of Mercedes-Benz in India. We aim to provide an unparalleled buying and ownership experience to our customers and are confident of fascinating them with the brand.”

Mercedes Benz celebrates 20 successful years in India

Mercedes Benz has been a local favorite for quite a while now. The brand indeed stands out as the most preferred choice in the luxury car segment among Indians. Setting its first shop in India way back in 1994 with the iconic W124, Mercedes Benz as part of its first lot in the country brought-in E-class way back in 1995, followed by the S-class in 2000 and the C-class sometime in July 2001.

In India, Mercedes Benz has faced strong competition against it rivals namely the BMW and Audi that made its moves way back in 2006-07 in India. Amongst the current offering by the German carmaker in India, is the A-Class that is indeed one of the most affordable luxury cars available. By records, Mercedes Benz India has already exceeded the 9000 units mark this year. The group brought its first AMG trim in India way back in 2009 and since then has launched GL 63 AMG, ML 63 AMG, CLA 45 AMG and GLA 45 AMG this year. In 2012, the company had inaugurated state-of-the-art paint shop in Pune that reportedly provided Eco-friendly, water-based painting solution.

Moreover, with twenty years of success, Mercedes Benz has also achieved an important milestone with the 50,000th car being roll-out from the Chakan plant. The company also claims to have about over 3,000 compact cars from the A-class and B-class on Indian roads till date. Mercedes Benz offers more than 17 products in India that is well supported by quality service centers and steadily growing brand network in India.