Google to offer free websites to Indian SMEs

“Google India’s goal is to help 5,00,000 small medium businesses in India to get online in next three years through this programme”: Rajan Anandan

Google India said it offered free websites to an estimated 5 lakh small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

Google India, the Indian unit of the global internet giant, said on its official blog that it has launched an ‘India Get Your Business Online’ program to provide website, internet domain and web hosting services to SMEs in the country.

“The initiative aims is to break down the barriers that stop small businesses from getting online - by offering a quick, easy and free tool to set up and host a website. Our goal is to help 5,00,000 small medium businesses in India to get online in next three years through this programme,” Google India MD and vice president (sales and operations) Rajan Anandan said.

Interested small business owners would need to submit their PAN (Permanent Account Number) and other tax-related details for verification, after which they would be provided with an online tool for a free website and web hosting service for one year. After a year, website owners will have to pay a charge if they wished to renew their domain name. Under the programme, all interested businesses would also get free email addresses and advertising related benefits.

“While India is home to an estimated 8 million small medium businesses, only about 5 per cent have a website. This program is designed to bridge the information gap that exists online due to the lack of presence of local Indian businesses on the Internet,” Anandan said.

The company has partnered with the U.S.-based Web host HostGator for the initiative. The web firm would also offer free support in creating, hosting and managing the website for a period of one year without any cost through its toll free call centres.

The programme is supported by Federation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), popularly known as FISME. The non-profit organisation, FISME, will work with Google India to help SMEs get online through direct customer outreach and events.


Nilekani panel suggests 2-phase IT strategy to revamp PDS

The first phase of PDS revamp will deal with supply chain improvement, while the second will focus on direct transfer of subsidy, UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said after submitting the report to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi: A panel headed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani today suggested two-phase strategy to use IT to improve the PDS (public distribution system) network and provide direct subsidy to poor, besides checking pilferage in the process, reports PTI.

The first phase of PDS revamp will deal with supply chain improvement, while the second will focus on direct transfer of subsidy, Mr Nilekani said after submitting the report to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The task force on direct transfer of subsidies on kerosene, LPG and fertiliser was set up in February.

The task force has recommended a dedicated institutional mechanism to implement end to end computerisation of PDS across the country, Mr Nilekani said after submitting the report.

It has suggested creation of a National Information Utility or Public Distribution System Network (PSDN) by April 2012 and initiation of pilot projects by December 2012.

There are about 4.62 lakh fair price shops (FPS) which distribute commodities, like wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene, worth over Rs30,000 crore every year to 18 crore families.

“The task force believes that a strong, robust IT infrastructure backbone is critical for reforming the functioning of the PDS”, the report said.

It pointed out that true PDS beneficiaries suffer due to “wholesale problems such as large-scale pilferage and diversion... duplicates and ghost beneficiaries, wrongful exclusion and inclusion.”

Mr Nilekani said, “The large focus of the report is to make system more efficient (and) to make sure people have choice.”

The government has in-principle accepted the report of the task force, he said, adding, “it will now process the report and take appropriate action”.

The Nilekani report talks of effective computerisation as a must to achieve the scale, speed, cost-effectiveness, and quality in operations, while respecting the federal structure of the country.

It also talks about the need to empower the ultimate beneficiary and the likelihood of asynchronous rollout of the suggested mechanism.

“Participation of the states in the PDSN would be voluntary and would not hamper the current efforts in computerisation of the PDS in the states,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

After receiving the report, Mr Mukherjee asked the ministry of consumer affairs and food and public distribution to examine the recommendations for implementation in a time bound manner and, if required, to seek the guidance of the EGoM for any remaining unresolved issues.




5 years ago

This sounds like a real issue which technology should be able to help with the majority of the issues. But it may not help overcome the forces exploiting the system.

Will Axis Focused 25, a fund that will invest in just 25 stocks, deliver?

Focused funds have not done that well in the past

After JP Morgan India Focus Fund, Axis Mutual Fund has also filed its offer document with SEBI (the Securities and Exchange Board of India) to launch ‘Axis Focused 25’, an open-ended equity fund. The New Fund Offer (NFO) price is Rs10 per unit. The scheme will invest 65%-100% in the units of equity and equity-related Instruments (not exceeding 25 companies). The composition will be as follows: Companies among the top 200 in terms of market capitalization—90%-100%; other equities—0%-10% with high risk profile, and the fund will invest up to 35% in debt- and money-market instruments with low- to medium-risk profile.

There is no reason to believe that the new Axis Focused 25 Fund will do any better than the other well-performing schemes. Besides, we already have some 16 existing schemes with similar objectives. They have not delivered exceptional performance. All of them on an average have managed to give a return of just 11% since inception. Proven diversified funds are better options. 

The investment objective of the fund is to generate long-term capital appreciation by investing in a concentrated portfolio of equity & equity-related instruments of up to 25 companies. The benchmark for the fund is S&P CNX Nifty.

Entry load is not applicable and an exit load of 1% is payable if units are redeemed/switched-out within 1 year from the date of allotment. Minimum application amount is Rs5,000 and in multiples of Re1 thereafter. The minimum target amount for the scheme is Rs10 crore. The fund manager for this Axis fund is Pankaj Muraka.



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