Layoffs in IT not ruled out; sector reeling under visa curbs, rising rupee: ASSOCHAM

With the US tightening the norms for H-1B visas under the President Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ campaign, the Indian IT companies are bound to face disruptions by way of higher costs and even some laying off work force back home, as the rising rupee is aggravating the situation further for the technology export firms, an ASSOCHAM paper has cautioned.

Nearly 86% of the H-1B visas issued for workers in the computer space go to Indians and this figure is now sure to be scaled down to about 60 % or even less.

Remittances from US would decline hurting the balance of payment. World bank data showed the U.S was the second largest source of remittance for India in 2015, behind Saudi Arabia, and about $10.96 billion-nearly 16 percent of the total inflows were sent to India. ASSOCHAM expects it to disturb the balance by 8-10%.

As the cost pressure would increase, aggravated by rising rupee leading to lower realizations, the Indian IT firms may be forced to displace work force. “In that case, the chances of layoffs are real,” the ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat cautioned, while impressing upon the IT industry apex bodies and the government to work out a joint strategy to deal with the unfolding situation.  In the last three months, the Indian currency has gained by at least five per cent against US dollar, reducing net realizations for software exporters, among other export –oriented sectors.

“After all, our stakes are quite high. It is a question of USD 100 billion software export industry that employs over four million people and reservations for H1B visa for start-ups with less than 50 employee will decrease the number of visa available for Indian firms.

According to the ASSOCHAM paper, the reverses resulting from the tightening of the H1B visas would force IT giants to create fundamental changes in their strategies in terms of hiring, salaries, jobs, impacting employees in India too.

The move would also have an adverse macro impact for the Indian external sector economy. Remittances from US would decline hurting the balance of payment. World Bank data showed the U.S. was the second largest source of remittance for India in 2015 with USD 11 billion – nearly 16 percent of the total inflows. “We expect disturbances in remittances by 8-10%”, the paper said, adding there would be fewer opportunities for individuals to work on offshore location.

With the UK already hiking the minimum wage requirement to £35,000 for tier-2 visa immigrants, this latest move by the US will act as a definitive dampener to the Indian outsourcing industry.

The alternate solutions for the Indian outsourcing industry are:  investing in “near shore centres” – facilities close to the US, focus on local hiring in America and to work virtually, which is becoming easier with the wider adoption of cloud services and greater digitization.


High-end luxury banquet launched in Thane

You don’t necessarily need to have a sky-high budget to get married or arrange an event. Located in the heart of Thane, ‘iLeaf Ritz banquets’ is a premium range of luxury banquets which brings a rare combination of quality, luxury and value – all under one roof. The spacious property offering customized services is set to redefine the standards of celebration for its consumers. On Sunday, the city witnessed launch of their state-of-the-art entity ‘iLeaf Ritz Banquets’ in Thane. The venue was inaugurated by Chairman of Runwal Group, Honourable Shri. Subhashji Runwal Chandaji Runwal and Honourable PWD (P.U) Minister, Shri. Eknath Shinde and MP Dr.Shrikant Shinde.

The inauguration was commenced by lighting of the traditional lamp followed by unveiling the name of ‘iLeaf Ritz Banquets’ by Chairman of Runwal Group and PWD (P.U) Minister along with other dignitaries present at the event.  Addressing the august gathering, Honourable PWD (P.U) Minister, Shri. Eknath Shinde said, “Locations like Thane, Kalyan, Dombivli and Bhiwandi have emerged as preferred housing destinations. Thanks, to the new wave of economic luxury. Thane is waking up to be the next business hub offering corporate or business community facilities almost shoulder-to-shoulder with Mumbai and Navi-Mumbai. As we move around the Thane city one can witness plush, high rises with glass façade and décor, various colourfully lit-up hospitality industry. From a humble beginning of a cultural hub status, Thane has transformed into a hospitality destination in a span of only two decades. This has further increased the need for high-end banquets in the surrounding areas.”

Shri. Shinde applauded the work of two youngsters and defined ‘iLeaf Ritz Banquets’ as one-stop destination offering customized services from planning a wedding or a corporate event to complete event management solutions. He also praised ‘iLeaf Ritz Banquets’ for becoming the first-of-its-kind banquet hall to donate excess cooked food and raw food to the shelter homes. The food donation campaign was launched during the inauguration ceremony of ‘iLeaf Ritz Banquets’. To convert this idea into a more systematic approach, iLeaf Ritz Banquets has collaborated with a shelter home in Thane, called ‘Ma Niketan’. The volunteers from ‘Ma Niketan’ would collect the excess food from the venue at the end of every event held by iLeaf Ritz Banquets.

The occasion was also graced by the presence of National Award winning lyricist and singer, Swanand Kirkire, Subodhji Runwal, Sandeepji Runwal and television and Marathi film actress Shruti Marathe.

The keynote address was delivered by Founder and Chairman of Runwal Group, Mr. Subhash Runwal. He described the style and flair as well as attention to the details as some of the key factors enabling ‘iLeaf Ritz Banquets’ to make a mark as one of the best choices in Thane for celebration. He said, “Choosing the right place to celebrate is a significant decision that people make in their life. We are delighted to partner with iLeaf Ritz in creating a thoughtfully-designed banquet hall tailored to suit the requirements of people looking for a best place to celebrate. ‘iLeaf Ritz Banquets’ is slated to be the first such sole banquet offering high-end amenities and housing many people at the same time. Here you can conduct celebrations of small size to large size ones. iLeaf banquets also provides large car parking area within the vicinity.”

Mr Runwal added, “We always believed in being the trend setters in the industry and had introduced world-class facilities in the real-estate segment. With this added achievement we are confident that iLeaf Ritz Banquets will bring more delight to its customers and redefine their standards of celebration.”

Spread over 30,000 square feet built-up area, constructed on the same floor of R-mall at Godhbunder road in Thane, the hassle-free banquet offers finest amenities with a palatial feel that transports you to the richness of your event. Mr. PratishAmbekar, Managing Director of iLeaf Ritz Banquets feels that the time is right to provide a new address for celebration. He also shares their plans to create a chain of banquets across the country in the coming years. “iLeaf Ritz Banquets is a premium range of luxury banquets. It’s a flagship property and we have many more to come in near future,” added Pratish Ambekar.

“We maintain good relationship with our key service providers such as the decorators and catering services, to create a perfect event. This means that the customer has a single point of contact and can truly sit back and enjoy the event,” said Mr. PratishAmbekar,

Mayor of Thane, Smt. Meenakshi Shinde also praised Mr. Pratish Ambekar and Abhishek Kadam for their latest venture. “I liked the tagline of this banquet which says, “luxury for all”. There is an urgent need for such facilities in Thane. Ileaf Ritz Banquets should live up to the expectations of a common man and offer budget friendly services to the people of Thane. We want many more such kind of facilities to come-up in Thane.”

Talking about the philosophy of ‘iLeaf Ritz’, Mr. Abhishek Kadam, Director of iLeaf Ritz Banquets, said, “We believe in offering luxury for all. The company considers every aspect of the event – from making the bookings to designing a concept for the event and lastly executing it effectively. The state-of-the-art venue offers four banquet on the same floor, three green rooms for relaxation and two spacious changing rooms.”

Super calculator child competition held in Delhi


Will you believe your eyes if a 5 years old child spells table of 369 without a break or can do 20 rows of difficult calculation in a split of a second? No? It sounds unbelievable when 200 questions of calculation are asked to be solved in less than 8 minutes. All this is possible and that too by children between 5 to 13 years. This impossible looking task was made possible by these children through ABACUS arithmetic technique. The event was held today at St. Columbus School, Gole Market where more than 3000 students participated.


Rajeev Garg, organizer of the 12th State level Abacus & Mental Arithmetic Championship said, “UCMAS is an international concept developed from “Zhusuan Methodology” for brain development of children of age group 5-13 years. UCMAS mental arithmetic is an internationally well- known powerful mental development program which effectively activates children’s latent mental power and develops mental & creative skills and a photographic memory resulting in self-reliance and self–confidence”.

The 12th State level Abacus & Mental Arithmetic Championship was followed by the Listening championship wherein 60 students from all the 66 centers of UCMAS Delhi. These students have completed the course from UCMAS. The instructor was giving calculations orally from one-digit to four-digit number upto 100 rows, and children were solving all problems simultaneously. It was unbelievable to eyes that a layman cannot even write the numbers with such a speed by which children were solving calculations mentally.

The winner of the State level championship will be announced next week. The winner will be awarded an electric bike from Lohia Autos along with a cash amount. And other participants will get trophies and merit certificates. The winner will go to Gujarat to participate in national level championship.

Aditi Sharma from the Alaknanda Centre stood first in listening championship. Daksh Agarwal and Anish Roy Chowdhary became first and second runner-up. The winner was awarded a trophy with a cash amunt of Rs. 5100, whereas first and second runner-ups got trophies with cash prize of Rs. 3100 and Rs. 2100.

Aditi Sharma, the winner of listening championship said, “I take 1-hour class and practice it back at home for 10 minutes on regular basis and that’s how I only take few seconds to solve all the calculations requiring 1-5 digits. Not only my calculation skill has got sharper and faster, my learning speed has also got increased by practicing the method”.

Manulife announces global partnership with World Heart Federation

HONG KONG, CHINA- Today, Manulife has announced the commencement of a new global partnership with the World Heart Federation (WHF) to bolster awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to increase CVD prevention efforts.

CVD is the leading cause of death around the world, with 17.5 million people dying from CVD, such as heart attack and stroke, in 2015 alone. Many premature deaths from CVD are preventable through lifestyle changes — like diet, exercise and nicotine use — and this new partnership will seek to raise awareness of these avenues to better heart health.

“Manulife sets out to help people achieve their dreams and aspirations. A healthy life is crucial in being able to reach those goals — which is why we believe Manulife has a substantial part to play in promoting good health and active living around the world,” said Roy Gori, President and CEO of Manulife Asia.

Through the course of the partnership, WHF and Manulife will work closely to make a meaningful impact on the health of both customers and communities.

Roy Gori said that the partnership had particular significance to Manulife staff and agents in Asia, with more than three quarters of CVD deaths occurring in low or middle-income nations.

“A lot of communities in Asia are struggling to combat heart attack and stroke within their health systems. More than almost anywhere else, it is vital that we communicate the importance of prevention and lifestyle change here in Asia,” Roy said.

“Like the WHF, Manulife has a vast and vibrant footprint in the region, and we believe we can leverage the good work of the WHF to drive up healthy heart awareness.”

“Our partnership with Manulife will help us continue to build the World Heart Day campaign and generate new awareness of cardiovascular disease,” said Vash Mungal-Singh, Interim CEO, World Heart Federation.

“Most of all, the partnership will aid in giving individuals the information and motivation they need to live longer, healthier lives.”

Manulife will be undertaking a range of activities throughout 2017 to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle throughout its markets, with a goal of tangibly improving the health of its customers, employees and communities.

This partnership is the latest outcome in Manulife’s ongoing commitment to promoting happy, healthy living. It follows the launch of Vitality in North America, ManulifeMOVE in parts of Asia and a series of marathon sponsorships around the world.

Jindal Stainless Limited awarded with prestigious Golden Peacock National Training Award 2017 in Dubai


Jindal Stainless Limited, one of country’s largest integrated stainless steel manufacturers has been awarded with the prestigious Golden Peacock National Training Award 2017 in recognition of the innovative training practices in the steel sector. His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Hon’ble Cabinet Member and Minister of Economy, Govt. of UAE presented the award to Mr. Amitabh Akhauri, Chief Human Resource Officer, Mr. Ratan K. Saha, Mr. Praneet Kumar and Ms. Sarwat Chishti from Jindal Stainless Limited at the ‘Golden Peacock Awards Ceremony’ in Dubai.

Golden Peacock National Training Award was instituted by the Institute Of Directors in 1998, to identify excellence in training practices at organizations. Jindal Stainless Limited won the award under this category after an extensive 3 stage assessment by the Jury members. The jury was headed by Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Needham (The Earl of Kilmorey PC), Non-Executive Director, NEC Europe Ltd. & Chairman- Advisory Group, STERN UK.

Commenting on the accomplishment, Mr. Amitabh Akhauri, CHRO- Jindal Stainless Limited said, “Our endeavour has always been to provide the best in class training to our employees and we are delighted to achieve this esteemed award. We will continue to further innovate our practices for the employees, who contribute in accomplishing our company’s goals. This recognition will help us to be motivated to work hard for future. I am highly obliged to receive the award on behalf of Jindal Stainless Limited.”

Jindal Stainless limited successfully competed along with the other companies of repute including Maruti Suzuki India Pvt Ltd, Accenture Solutions, Bosch Limited, State Bank of India, Aditya Birla Financial Services Group, Nestle India, Oil India Limited, Reliance Industries, VFS Global, and L&T Construction Skills Training Institute.


GPNTA stimulates and helps organizations to rapidly accelerate the pace of customer-oriented improvement process. It is a powerful self-assessment process and a way to build organizations brand equity on ‘Excellence in Training’. The knowledge gained by the organization in describing and self-assessing its Training operations leads to IMPROVED organizational training performance.

Instituted by the Institute of Directors (IOD) in 1991, Golden Peacock Awards are regarded as a benchmark of Corporate Excellence worldwide. Justice P N Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India, is the Chairman Emeritus of Golden Peacock Awards while Justice M N Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India and Chairman, Institute Of Directors is the Chairman.

Discovery bringing the amazing stories of footballing legends to viewer’s screens across India


Discovery is set to excite audiences in India by bringing the amazing stories of footballing legends to viewer’s screens across India. Cristiano Ronaldo-The world at his feet and Sleeping Giant –An Indian football story are the two movies Discovery will premiere under its recently launched ‘Movie Nights’ on Saturday, 29 April and 6th May 2017.


These movies will encourage viewers to follow their dreams, and never give up. Cristiano Ronaldo-The world at his feet is based on the life of the current global Portuguese superstar who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team. The documentary reveals how he spent his childhood practicing football for hours, skipping his meals and sometime school too. The movie further showcases how he honed his natural ability, through sheer determination and commitment to his craft and shaped his attitude to conquer his fears and realize the ultimate dream – to be the best footballer in the world.


On the other hand, Sleeping Giant – An Indian football story is about the future of Indian football. The movie features the story of two ordinary children from Mumbai who followed their passion, persevered and earned a golden chance to play for famous football clubs in England.

Boost launched a three-part digital video campaign with the youth icon Virat Kohli

Boost & Virat Kohli_ Play the pros.png

Boost, one of GSK’s leading brands in the Health Food Drinks category, has launched a three-part digital video campaign with the youth icon Virat Kohli. With this campaign, the brand intends to take its theme of ‘Play A Bigger Game’ beyond an inspiring message to actually providing kids with an opportunity to prepare to ‘Play A Bigger Game’ by learning it from Virat himself.


The video features Virat Kohli preparing a young kid to play a bigger game in his own unique style. This is one of first set of long formbranded digital series created exclusively for kids. The videos are about how Virat coaches a young kid in his own unique & unconventional ways & helps him prepare to #playabiggergame. Boost plans to drive over 10Mn+ views for the #playabiggergame campaign by promoting it across popular digital platforms of YouTube, Facebook & Gaming Apps.


Talking about the digital campaign, Prashant Pandey, EVP Marketing, GSK Consumer Healthcare said,

Boost’s energy proposition has been evolving with the times and made to come alive through a great mix of innovative and experience-driven marketing. Last year we had launched a new communication platform called ‘Play A Bigger Game’, in line with the brand purpose of ‘Unleashing the winner in you (kids)’. This platform has worked brilliantly for us in terms of connecting with the core TG of 8-12-year-old kids leading to the best-ever business results. We feel that the platform is so powerful that it can transcend across touch-points to connect with kids across multiple touch-points that are of interest to them.

He further added, “Through our integrated approach module, our creative agency JWT came up with an idea that takes the leverages the platform of Play A Bigger Game to actually help kids prepare to Play A Bigger Game. Hence, we decided to launch the first ever branded digital series with Virat Kohli to engage with kids. The digital trilogy showcases how Virat coaches a young kid in his own unique ways & helps him prepare to Play A Bigger Game.”

He also said, “as part of the campaign, Boost is also calling out kids to share their videos of practice & WIN a chance to train with Virat himself. This is one of the biggest digital campaigns in GSK CH India that aims to connect with consumers through a medium (digital) & genre (long form digital video) that provides the strongest scope of engagement with them. We are confident that this will help in a big way in strengthening the love for Boost amongst kids.

Talking about the association with Boost, Virat Kohli said, “Right since I was a kid, Boost, led by stalwarts like Kapil Dev, Sachin, MS Dhoni, has always been a brand that has inspired kids to unleash the winner in themselves. I have been associated with Boost for over 4 years now & elated that the baton is with me now to continue this journey of inspiring kids to unleash the winner in themselves. The new campaign of #playabiggergame aims to take this journey forward by helping kids on how to prepare for playing big & winning big.”